Blackhawks Down But Not Out; Upcoming Goalie Extractions

The Blackhawks are now down two games in the Western Conference finals, but they really look better each game, even though they’ve yet to notch a win.

Last night, Chicago lost on a brutal Brian Campbell turnover, but the Wings haven’t quite looked like themselves in the series. It’s never a great sign when Dan Cleary is carrying you. But he’s been a monster in the series.

If I’m the Blackhawks, I’m not losing hope yet. Sure, it’s sad that the Red Wings on cruise control are still so much better than just about every team in the league, but if the Blackhawks can control their turnovers and get the puck off of Detroit’s sticks for an extended period, they’re in a much better position to earn a win.

Meanwhile, the Blackhawks are waiting to figure out what to do about goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, who’s a free agent after this season. They signed Cristobal Huet at the start of the season and couldn’t unload Khabibulin, who eventually emerged as the number one goalie. Would the Blackhawks re-sign Khabibulin and try and unload Huet, knowing last time around, when they signed Huet, they couldn’t unload Khabibulin? I refuse to believe they would, but it would be pretty hilarious if they did. The only precedent I can think of is that on LOST, they all went back to the island once they escaped it.

Speaking of goalies, the Ducks are trying to figure out how to manage too many good goalies. They want to honor Jean-Sebastien Giguere’s number one goalie role while still giving Jonas Hiller, who emerged big time this season, lots of starts. But like Highlander, there can be only one number one goalie. That whole 1A/1B thing coaches talk about is just something they say to make backups feel better about themselves.

Finally, Bleacher Report has a great slideshow of the best playoff Photoshops. It’s pretty funny, although I like to think more stuff will come in between now and the end of the Conference Finals.