CHICAGO -- Captain Serious isn't one for extemporaneous quotations. But when it comes to predictions, he is certainly efficient.
"It doesn't really matter who we play in the first round," Toews said, with a hint of playoff whiskers already in place. "It's how we play."
We've seen what happens when the Blackhawks play bad, and the memory is still fresh as a Zamboni-slick rink. After a 6-7-2 post-Olympic malaise, the Hawks have stormed back in April, and won six in a row before dropping a 3-2 overtime game to the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday to finish the regular season.
A home loss to their bitter rivals was relatively tough to swallow, because the Hawks had a chance to clinch home ice advantage over everyone but the Eastern Conference champion Washington Capitals. Instead, the San Jose Sharks take the No. 1 seed by one point, 113-112. But there is no time to dwell on it. It's disposable, like the rest of a wildly successful regular season.
"We've waited a long time for the playoffs to start," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "We had a good season, but now we're excited to start the second season."