Experts on Hawks' season: This goal is worth repeating
If Fernando Pisani (left) stays healthy, the veteran could be a 20-goal threat for the Hawks this season, one expert says. Goaltender Marty Turco, acquired in the offseason, is seen by some experts as a great complement to the Hawks' talented defense.
Where do the Blackhawks stand in the court of expert opinion- Hawks reporter Adam L. Jahns reached out to some analysts for their take on the defending champs, asking these questions:
*Which player will the Hawks miss the most-
*Which new Hawk will do the best this season-
*Which Western Conference teams are capable of ending the Hawks' repeat chances-
*Will the Hawks repeat-
ESPN, former Hawk
**It's going to be Kris Versteeg. He does so many little things well. ... He's a guy that will blossom into that 30-goal man perennial year after year. He was very instrumental in them winning, and they're going to miss him a lot.
**It's going to be [Marty] Turco. He's going to have a great year. He's a very confident guy and a very good goaltender.
**If you look at Vancouver with what they've done to their back line, the guys are poised to have a great season. Detroit is improved.
**All you need to do is get to the dance. You get to the Stanley Cup playoffs, and anyone has a chance.
For more from Barnaby, click here for the full transcript.Craig Custance
**Dustin Byfuglien brought a skill set that is nearly impossible to replace. There just aren't many NHL players who are 6-4, can play either on offense or defense and can change the game with a huge hit or goal.
**I love the Marty Turco signing. The way he handles the puck really complements Chicago's defense.
**I picked Detroit and Vancouver to play in the Western Conference finals. Vancouver addressed its lack of depth on defense and should have the right mix of talent and drive needed to be successful in the postseason.
**You can't count out any team led by Jonathan Toews, but a repeat seems unlikely.
For more from Custance, click here for the full transcript.Bob McKenzie
TSN of Canada
**Byfuglien, not so much in the regular season, but in the playoffs. He stepped up at key moments and if the Blackhawks have lost one general thing, it's that they're maybe not as tough a team to play against now and Byfuglien, when so moved, was the epitome of that.
**Turco. He's highly motivated and feels he has a lot to prove.
**Detroit and Vancouver both look as though they could be improved this season. San Jose is always a credible team. Those three teams are the Hawks' primary challengers.
**I am inclined to say no, not because the Hawks have gone south so much as we haven't seen a team repeat in the post-lockout NHL. That said, if they came back with their team intact, they would have been prohibitive favorites.
For more from McKenzie, click here for the full transcript. Barry Melrose
**Byfuglien because he's so unique. ... A guy that big and that talented is very tough to find.
**[Viktor] Stalberg. He's an offensive guy. He's got great skills. He can be a guy that really fits in good with the Blackhawk forwards.
**I like Vancouver a lot. They were almost as good as Chicago last year. They've added [Dan] Hamhuis and [Keith] Ballard on defense. ... I'm picking them to win the Cup.
**They're not as good as they were last year, and teams got better. I don't think they can. I don't think they're as a deep. I don't think they're as dangerous. I don't think they're as big.
For more from Melrose, click here for the full transcript.Eddie Olczyk
NBC, Versus, CSN, Ch. 9, former Hawk
**I look at Andrew Ladd -- two Stanley Cups, his ability to be able to play on the first line or fourth line, energy, big goals, big shifts, big momentum changers. It's hard to find big bodies that can do all of that and be responsible.
**Turco, just with his character, personality and demeanor, he'll be able to handle that pressure that comes with being the guy in goal for the team that won the Cup the year before.
**There's a lot of good teams but Detroit, Chicago, Vancouver and San Jose are going to be there. L.A. could take a big step if they have the willingness and ability to go out and get a second-line center to help out [Anze] Kopitar.
**They will make a run. But a lot plays into the mental challenge that comes with defending. When the line in the sand is drawn, how far are you willing to skate through it- You need everybody.
For more from Olczyk, click here for the full transcript.
**Kris Versteeg because he is the one guy they lost from last year's team who really was both a legit scoring threat and a defensive presence every night.
**Marty Turco is going to have a great season. Are there question marks- Absolutely. But, Turco is motivated to win and it helps that he's only got a one-year contract. ... I look for Turco to be in the Vezina [Trophy] discussion.
**The Wings have the best team in the league from top to bottom. I'm not sold on Vancouver yet because they haven't given me a reason to be, and I'm still not sure San Jose and Phoenix have enough horses to win the race.
**The Hawks won't repeat, in my opinion. They certainly wouldn't shock me if they did, but the Wings are deep, talented, experienced, refreshed and hungry, whereas the Hawks may have some Stanley Cup hangover. It's only natural to have it.
For more from Rosen, click here for the full transcript. Greg Wyshynski
Puck Daddy, Yahoo! Sports Blogs
**As much as he was a zilch in the regular season at times, there's no replacing a Dustin Byfuglien in the postseason. He demands attention on the power play like few power forwards do in the NHL anymore.
**Depending on his health, Fernando Pisani could be a cheap sleeper. He turns 34 in December, but if given some quality time in the top six, there might still be a 20-goal season lurking in those hands.
**The top five teams in the West are legit: Chicago, Detroit, Vancouver, San Jose and the Los Angeles Kings. Detroit, in particular, is a team I see moving ahead of the Blackhawks into the division lead this season, as part of the Nicklas Lidstrom/Mike Modano Victory Lap 2010-11 Tour.
**As one of the most entertaining teams in hockey- Yes. As a playoff team- Yes. As a first-round playoff winner- Yes. As a conference champion- No. Which should answer that question by default.
For more from Wyshynski, click here for the full transcript.