You can talk all you want about Patrick Kane’s wrist. You can talk all you want about Corey Crawford’s glove. Heck, you can talk all you want about Dan Carcillo’s fists. But if you want to know the true key to the Blackhawks season, then you need look no further than two numbers.
Two and Seven.
Those are of course the numbers Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook wear on their sweaters. And the difference between the last two seasons is night and day.
When the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup two years ago, it was because of tremendous play by the defenseman. Sure, Antti Niemi had himself a nice little playoff run. But his job...
I read this article the other night and began thinking about the Dion Phaneuf trade. The fact that Brian Burke was able to acquire his cornerstone player and eventual Leaf captain for basically nothing still boggles my mind. Burke unloaded an underachieving pending UFA in Matt Stajan; a small, tweener defender having a career year (who was also a pending RFA looking to cash in) in Ian White; a streaky, run of the mill winger in Niklas Hagman; and a journeyman fourth line winger in Jamal Mayers. In addition to Phaneuf the Leafs also obtained well thought of at the time Flames prospect Keith Aulie and veteran winger Fredrick Sjostrom.