The Blackhawks have a chance to win their first-round playoff series Sunday against the St. Louis Blues. Sports writers Tom Musick and Jeff Arnold discuss:
Musick: Playoff hockey is the best. It feels so random. A bounce here, a breakaway there, and all of a sudden the Blackhawks come roaring back from a 2-0 series deficit to grab a 3-2 lead. Do they close it out Sunday on home ice? Is it too early to start thinking about another run to the Stanley Cup?
Arnold: That’s the beauty of playoff hockey. It’s so edge-of-your-seat (especially in this overtime-happy series). The Hawks seem to have all the momentum right now and are the only team in this series to win on the road. I know you’d like another road trip to St. Louis, but I’m going to say it ends Sunday. As far as the Stanley Cup goes, however, the Western Conference is so stacked that I don’t think Jonathan Toews and company can afford to take anything for granted.
Musick: I wanted to be one of those cool kids who didn’t believe in momentum, but this series is the latest reminder that it’s a real thing. Even within games, momentum has shifted back and forth several times between the Hawks and Blues. This doesn’t feel like a first-round series to me, it feels like a conference championship round. I guess that’s why I keep daydreaming about the Cup.
Arnold: I can’t remember the last time I dreamed of a big silver chalice, with a bunch of hockey players names on it. But I know what you mean. This series does have a certain feel to it – kind of like Cubs-Cardinals, our city is better than your city type of a deal. From watching the immediate reaction of Blues players after Jonathan Toews scored in overtime, they just look spent. Like they know the inevitable is coming. But I do expect them to maybe try to bully the Hawks around a bit Sunday, doing whatever they can to get the series back to St. Louis. Agree or disagree?
Musick: Agree. Some big hits are in store against the Hawks, no question. But I think the game will be close enough that the Blues still will be focused on trying to win instead of trying to knock Duncan Keith into some distant galaxy. Still, if I’m Joel Quenneville, I keep Brandon Bollig in the lineup in case the Blues try any funny business.
Arnold: I think Game 6 follows the script of the entire series. I’ve already said I think the Hawks close it out. I won’t speculate about overtime because by now, that seems to be a given. Once the game is over, you can go back to daydreaming about the Stanley Cup, and people who believe in things like playoff beards can put their razors away again.
Musick: This has been a big decade for beards. When will we get another bearded president? Soon, I hope. But probably not before the Hawks get another Stanley Cup parade or two or three.
Arnold: Can you even name the last bearded president? William Taft, maybe? I’d go for a president with a mullet that can stand up to Patrick Kane’s. They’d get my vote. But I think there will be at least one more Grant Park celebration before that happens.