April 7, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Red Wings forwardPavel Datsyuk
(13) celebrates after scoring a goal during the third period against the Chicago Blackhawks at Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Earlier this week I caught up with Keith Schultz, the editor of the Chicago Blackhawks FanSided site Blackhawk Up. A question and answer session soon followed as I wanted to know how Blackhawk fans feel about the division and their team this season. Here are his thoughts on how the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks match-up this season, with a little commentary from me.
With the loss of Nicklas Lidstrom do you feel the Blackhawks have a better chance to best Detroit in the standings?
Keith Schultz: Yes. The Red Wings lost a long-time leader and excellent defender in Lidstrom. Coupled with other retirements and injuries, it could be difficult for the Red Wings to play as well as they did last year. The Blackhawks have the advantage with a great offense, healthy players, and quite a few that have been playing in other leagues this season.
Me: Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Brunner, Miller, Kindl, Mursak, and Filppula have all spent time overseas as well.
KS: We all know that Crawford had his ups and downs last year, and it ended on a down. However, a couple of his “ups” happened to be against the Red Wings. Last year, Crawford picked up three wins and two overtime losses against the Red Wings. Emery had one win. They both have played strong games against Detroit in the past, and I have every confidence that they can do the same this year.
Me: The only time I would want Emery as my goalie would be if there was a goalie fight. One tough guy, but swiss cheese between the pipes.
Who will win the series between the Red Wings and Blackhawks this season?
KS: As a writer for Blackhawk Up I’m contractually obligated to say the Hawks, but I believe the Red Wings are getting older and struggled last year for consistency. The only way I could see the Red Wings winning the series is if Crawford falls on his face or the shortened season creates a lot more injured Hawks stars than Red Wing stars.
Me: The Detroit Red Wings a.k.a. the oldest team in the NHL since 1999. We don’t even have anyone over 40 on our team any more.
Which Red Wing player are you most afraid of playing against this season?
KS: Most afraid of Octopus remains on the ice, but player wise Howard getting hot in a shortened season.
Me: Isn’t everyone.
With the addition of Jordin Tootoo the Red Wings once again have a legitimate fighter, who do you send out to fight him?
KS: Brandon Bollig. He took on Ryan Reaves from the St. Louis Blues last year in a fight that impressed me. Daniel “Car Bomb” Carcillo will be back from injury also and he is dangerous for all players on the ice no matter what jersey you are wearing.
Me: Bollig is a big guy, but Tootoo won’t back down from anyone. You are right Carcillo is dangerous out there to everyone, including himself.
How do you feel the Blackhawks will do this season and where will they end up in the standings? (Central/Western)
KS: I feel like the Blackhawks season really depends on Crawford stopping everything he should. That being said I see him making a comeback from his sophomore slump and leading the Hawks to a division title. I predict the Red Wings finishing a close second with Nashville and St Louis regressing and fighting for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with no need to mention the red headed step child Columbus.
Me: Red Wings finishing second in the Central to the Blackhawks… I think I am ok with that. At least it is better than being second fiddle to St. Louis again.
KS: Hossa has been cleared to play by team doctors. More importantly, he feels great, he feels ready. Once he gets into the rhythm again, I fully expect him to be the same old Hossa. Great news for us!
Me: This is great news. As Wings fans have experienced with Patrick Eaves concussions can have lasting affects on the body and we are happy to here Hossa is healthy once again.
A big thank you to Keith Schultz and Blackhawk Up for taking the time to answer questions. If you would like to see Octopus Thrower’s response to his questions you can click here which will take you straight to Blackhawk Up’s article.