Predators rested, ready to face Blues in surprising semi

"Joel is our head coach (and) he will continue to be our head coach", Bowman said. "We had our struggles early on in the year, but toward the end of the season we played more consistent, and we carried that into the playoffs". "And it's a complete failure when you measure it against the expectations that we have of ourselves", said Bowman onSaturday. "We did not come even close to reaching the standard we have set over the years here". And that's unacceptable. Any successes that we did experience this year are completely overshadowed by the abrupt ending to our season.

But if that's not good enough for you, and you're now all like, "BUT WHY ISN'T THERE A VIDEO OF HER SCREAMING FROM THE STANDS?", please know, there is from Game 3.

"They're real hot, they're rested, watching us battle it out", said Blues forward Scottie Upshall, who was drafted by the Predators with the sixth pick overall in 2002 and played parts of four seasons there.

But Chicago was sent packing after a 50-win regular season that saw the Blackhawks compile the conference's top record.

One problem. They weren't the only ones with their arms up.

"It's tough enough to lose a series and fall short", captain Jonathan Toews said.

For the first time since the National Hockey League adopted its current playoff format in 1994, a No. 1 seed has been swept in the first round. While Niklas Hjalmarsson and Corey Crawford also have a no movement clause, theirs are only partial. "It was pretty embarrassing".

Nashville coach Peter Laviolette gave his team Friday and Saturday off, a precious commodity this time of year, after finishing its sweep of Chicago on Thursday night. "But that said, I know that we're playing a great team with a ton of confidence".

Yes, Bowman hit all the right notes in his opening comments at the United Center on Saturday morning. But in the playoff sweep, Chicago managed just three goals. Johansen got most of his points on assists (47) while Arvidsson got most of his on goals (31). He became just the fourth goalie since 1967-68 with four wins in a series with a goals-against-average of 0.70 or less, and the first since Tuuka Rask in 2013.

Like Toews, Bowman is heading into one of his most intriguing offseasons since he was promoted to general manager in 2009.

Nashville did it better, truly resembling for the first time the Stanley Cup contender they were thought to be when the season started. The Blackhawks have made a living working around the salary cap and keeping their core intact.

The players shared the frustration and disappointment Bowman and Quenneville displayed off the bat.

"We had the opportunity last game to do it, and we didn't", Crosby said. While he didn't get into specifics - including the future of goaltender Scott Darling - Bowman was insistent that the Blackhawks are under the gun to get this fixed.

With veterans Brian Campbell and Johnny Oduya likely headed for free agency, the Blackhawks could take a closer look at young defensemen Michal Kempny, Gustav Forsling and Ville Pokka.

Coaching advantage: Midseason replacements don't usually get much Jack Adams Award love (see Mike Sullivan of the Pittsburgh Penguins a year ago), but Yeo's work in transforming a sluggish Blues team into a cohesive unit that is among the most hard to play against deserves admiration, if not hardware.

"I don't want to go anywhere".

  • Salvatore Jensen