The Blackhawks will play on their biggest stage since 2010 when they play host to the Boston Bruins in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Sports writers Tom Musick and Jeff Arnold discuss:
Musick: Two quick questions: Which team will win the opening faceoff in Game 1? And what were your impressions as one of a zillion reporters covering the NHL's media day?
Arnold: Man, as much as the United Center will be jumping after Jim Cornelison finishes the national anthem, I'd be hard pressed not to take the Hawks. But then again, I thought Jonathan Toews could win a faceoff with 9.4 seconds left in Game 5 against the Kings and we saw how that worked out. Too soon? Media day impressions? Too much facial hair and too many people with cameras and boom mics. I couldn't see Patrick Kane. I know the dude's short, but still, I assume he was somewhere in there. You know – it's media day – everyone's on their best behavior unless you're Viktor Stalberg. What did you walk away with from our get-together with 400 of our new best friends?
Musick: My favorite moment came when someone asked Bruins forward Milan Lucic about his thoughts on Tim Tebow joining the New England Patriots. And, no, it wasn't Skip Bayless asking the question. I probably was struck most by the calm, casual demeanor of players on both teams. Maybe that shouldn't have been such a surprise considering both clubs have been to the Cup Final in the past few seasons.
Arnold: I was impressed with the way Stan Bowman dealt with the temptation to dump Joel Quenneville after last year's first-round exit and make sweeping changes. I think they could have shopped Corey Crawford and could have sent Quenneville packing. But like he said, there's such a thin line between winning and losing. How impressive of a job has Quenneville done in getting the Hawks back to the Stanley Cup Finals, especially given the distractions of a lockout and the whole historic streak thing? I know purists will love this line of questioning considering the whole shootout aspect of the unbeaten streak.
Musick: No question. Quenneville knows his stuff, and he always seems to push the right button at the right time when it comes to shaking up his lines or applying public pressure on a player to step up his game. Players respect him and like him at the same time. Dave Bolland once called him a "teddy bear." I smell a Hawks promotion for next season: Stuffed Q Bears to the first 10,000 kids.
Arnold: And who else has a Twitter feed dedicated to his mustache? That says it all right there. Coach of the Year. OK, what's the difference in this series? I know we both are taking the Hawks to win in 7 (much to the chagrin of our boss), but what ultimately makes one team better than the other in this series?
Musick: The Hawks have depth. They have home-ice advantage. And they don't have to answer Tebow questions.