We missed the Three Questions for Sunday's game; entirely my fault. However, Greg Boysen of Second City Hockey is back this time around to preview tonight's game through the lens of The Streak currently going on in Chi-town.
1. So, "the streak" now sits at 20 games. In your estimation, is there a point at which the pressure to keep it going almost becomes a burden for the Blackhawks?
GB: I don't think "the streak" becomes a burden for the Hawks. They have a pretty level head about this and realize that an historic start means nothing without an equally historic finish. This streak is producing some lofty expectations. Anything short of another Stanley Cup will be looked at as a disappointment. That is where pressure can become a factor, but I don't see it being an issue. There are still a lot of guys left from the 2010 team that knows what it takes to win in the playoffs.
2. The Hawks have always had the goal-scoring talent. However, they gave up 2.82 goals per game last season. As of right now, they're down to 1.70 goals per game allowed this season. What's been the biggest difference that has made this team so much better on defense this season?
GB: It starts with the forwards being much more responsible in their own zone. Last season they looked for their first chance to break out of the zone and ignored their defensive duties. The blue line has been solidified as well. The acquisition of Johnny Oduya has been one of the best trades Stan Bowman has ever made. His addition allows Nick Leddy to play on the 3rd pairing where he has excelled. Having Sheldon Brookbank and/or Michal Rozsival as the 6th defenseman is a major upgrade from the Sean O'Donnell, John Scott, Dylan Olsen revolving door from last year. Niklas Hjalmarsson and Duncan Keith have returned to their form from 2010. Brent Seabrook came out of the gates very slow but has started to regain his form the last few games. This makes life easier for both Corey Crawford and Ray Emery, who have both improved from a year ago as well. Crow is playing the best hockey of his career and has never looked more confident in the crease than he does right now. Hopefully these physical ailments of late are not a chronic problem going forward.
3. The Jackets--for all of their faults and holes--have played the Hawks tough in their previous two meetings. How insane and embarrassing would it be for the streak to end against Columbus?
GB: The streak is going to end at some point. If it ends against the Jackets so be it. Sure Hawks fans will get some grief about it but then we will politely just ask people to check the standings. I'd rather have you guys end the streak as opposed to either the assbags in St Louis or Detroit!
Thanks to Greg! Head over to SCH to check out their Game Day coverage!