Kristen Bell is a big Detroit Red Wings fan (pictures)

KRISTEN-BELL

There’s little doubt that, when it comes to adorability, Mega Detroit Red Wings fan Kristen Bell gives just about every actress in Hollywood a run for their money.

Besides being one of the most sought after actresses in Hollywood, with roles in movies like Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him to the Greek, Ms. Bell rose to fame and garnered critical praise as the title role on the acclaimed television series Veronica Mars from September 2004 to May 2007 on UPN and The CW.

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NHL Western Conference Finals Preview

By Aylin Diaz of Chics Hockey and the Big Hair Hockey Show

The Chicago Blackhawks have lifted themselves to their first Western Conference Finals in 13 years.  They are matched up against their hated rival and reigning Stanley Cup winner, the Detroit Red Wings.  The Chicago Blackhawks are topped off with a corps of young players such as Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Jonathan Toews and Kris Versteeg.  They are lead by solid goaltending in veteran Nikolai Khabibulin. 

The Detroit Red Wings count on experience with seasoned veterans such as Nicklas Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Marian Hossa.  Their goaltending performance is topped off with Chris Osgood as he continues a stellar playoff performance.

Even though age and experience plays a factor, the Blackhawks can count on Khabibulin’s experience on goal.  The prior Stanley Cup champion (2004 Tampa Bay Lightning) now with years of experience playing for the Blackhawks, hadn’t beaten the Vancouver Canucks in eleven years prior to this past playoff run.  He notched 4 out of 6 games in the semifinals against the Canucks maintaining a .896 save percentage in a total of 12 postseason games.

Detroit Red Wings’ Chris Osgood baffled many spectators and quieted his critics.  He began the season with a .887 save percentage that evolved to .921 during the playoff season.  Only Detroit General Manager Ken Holland kept confidence in his performance following Osgood’s disastrous season start.  Relying on solid goaltending, the Detroit Red Wings were able to eliminate the Anaheim Ducks in seven games.

The series is slated to be an Original Six special relying on traditional gritty plays mixed with the new NHL factor of speed.  The Blackhawks will count on their quick skating and physical play against the Detroit Red Wings.  Similarly to the early games against the Anaheim Ducks, the Red Wings must watch out for their capable goal scorers being shut down by heavy checking.

And the Blackhawks will definitely focus on hits during this series.  They are third in the playoffs with Dustin Byfuglien holding a record 55 hits and Brent Seabrook totaling 45.  The team also counts on Dustin Byfuglien, Samuel Pahlsson and rookie Kris Versteeg to produce against the Detroit Red Wings.  The so called “energy line” has combined for a total of 7 goals, while Martin Havlat, Dave Bolland and Andrew Ladd have totaled 11 goals.

The Detroit Red Wings will also take firepower from their defense. Nicklas Lidstrom has averaged a point-per-game through the first playoff two rounds while Brian Rafalski tied with his teammate for third in defensive scoring during the regular season with 59 points proves similarly.

Offensively, the line consisting of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp has generated 17 of Chicago’s 44 goals.  Patrick Kane alone has achieved 12 points and a team-leading eight goals in 11 games. He notched his first career playoff hat trick during game 6 placing the team ahead of the Vancouver Canucks.

To outplay the Blackhawks, Detroit will attempt to outshoot their opponent.  In fact, the Detroit Red Wings have outshot their opponents by an average of 13 shots a game so far in the playoffs.  Their offensive capabilities count upon less heralded players such as right wing Daniel Cleary and center Darren Helm.   Daniel Cleary is fourth in the playoffs in scoring for the Detroit Red Wings with 9 points and team best plus 10 rating.   Darren Helm, who has never scored a goal in 23 career regular season games, has achieved 4 in 29 playoff games spanning two seasons.  These players are keeping the Detroit Red Wings going.

Furthermore, the Detroit Red Wings powerplay as that of the Blackhawks is superb. However, both teams have struggled with penalty killing.  The return of Brian Rafalski to the lineup has generated the best defensive opportunities for the Detroit Red Wings on the penalty kill this past playoff run.

Despite the even matchup, the Blackhawks have the advantage of now having Scotty Bowman, who coached the Detroit Red Wings for 15 years.  Bowman serves as an adviser to the Chicago Blackhawks.  Coach Joel Quenneville finds his insight useful and Detroit Red Wings’ coach Mike Babcock knows the implications of his influence on the young team.  He will be a huge asset to preparations.  In fact, Babcock said to the Canadian Press:  “Scottie is a book of knowledge. Number one, he’s got to be willing to share with you. Number two, you got to want it.”

The Chicago Blackhawks really want to win and can achieve it in 7 games if their speed, production and new Bowmanian tactics work in favor against the Detroit Red Wings.