Blackhawks biggest obstacle? Likely the LA Kings again


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The LA Kings will probably be the biggest obstacle the Chicago Blackhawks will face when it comes to returning to the Stanley Cup Final. I know that is shocking to absolutely no one, and is anything but going out on a limb.

After all the LA Kings are the exact team that the Hawks defeated to reach the Final, and the previous Stanley Cup champion before Chicago. Their best player, goalie Jonathan Quick, has extra incentive to perform well during the first half of the NHL season with the chance of starting for the U.S. Olympic team dangling out there and now no Jonathan Bernier behind him.

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Eddie Olczyk on the LA Kings:

“All they need to do is to stay healthy. You’re talking about a banged up hockey club last year in the playoffs. I don’t care how much tape and glue that the trainers have. I mean there were guys pieced together in there and it was not going to end well for the LA Kings because they were on fumes.And when you play long series and you have the type of style that Darryl Sutter wants his team to play and you’re banged up, it’s going to take its toll, and that’s exactly what happened with the LA Kings.

I like their team a lot. I think they have a terrific chance to get back to where they got to last year – you know two seasons ago. You need a little luck. They got the guy in goal.”

Pierre McGuire on the LA Kings: “have so much depth down the middle with Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards, Jarret Stoll, Colin Fraser, and an evolving young player, Nick Shore. I love the way Slava Voynov and Jake Muzzin have stepped up as young defensemen in this league. If you look back to the ’08 draft you’d have to say that Slava Voynov might have been the steal of that draft, 32nd overall pick.”

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“even through Jonathan Bernier is not there, I’ve known Ben Scrivens body of work going back to when he was playing at Cornell, and he’s more than adequate to step in there if Quick can’t go.”

The Penguins reacquiring Rob Scuderi will be a big loss for the LA Kings. He is exactly what the Pittsburgh Penguins needed. But who will step into those minutes and have the impact that he made on that team? The LA Kings wanted him back, but they just couldn’t work it out. Maybe the LA Kings will find that production from Willie Mitchell.

Yes, the same Willie Mitchell who said “Patrick Kane can’t play 5 on 5,” right before Kaner scored a hat trick in the 2009 Western Conference semi-finals to eliminate the Vancouver Canucks.

Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net, an affiliate of Fox Sports. An analyst for 95.7 The Fan and 1620 The Zone, he also writes for Chicago Now. Follow him on Twitter (@paulmbanks) and Facebook, subscribe to his RSS feed here

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