As impressed as Minnesotans are with the Wild's effort in its Game 1 loss to the Blackhawks, many in the Chicago media were chiding the Blackhawks for their performance.
In the Chicago Tribune, columnist David Haugh wrote: "The Hawks can beat the Wild in the first round but won't win another Cup this way. On CSN Chicago, the great Pat Foley accurately described the Hawks as 'out of sorts.'' On the ice, they opened the game as if they exhaled after seeing (Niklas) Backstrom leave. This didn't consistently look like the team that won the Presidents' Trophy. This looked like the team that had been ousted in the first round two straight years. The Hawks can say they were ready to begin a postseason that carries a Stanley-Cup-or-bust mandate, but that start was no way to show it.
Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times lauded Wild goalie Josh Harding in his story about the game: "Josh Harding — the goaltender who was an utter disaster in his last start, three long months ago, a last-second fill-in for a suddenly and stunningly injured veteran starter — was brilliant from the outset, aided by teammates fanatically devoted to protecting him."
More on Harding from Nina Falcone of CSN Chicago: "It wasn't just the Wild that had positive things to say regarding their goaltender. The Blackhawks, too, tipped their hat to Harding. 'Of course (we're impressed),' center Jonathan Toews said. 'Everyone knows his story this year and he’s one of those guys, I’m sure, who wants to step up in the playoffs. He played a heck of a game, considering that, tonight. We can expect the same thing from him next game. We want to get on him more and make his job tougher than tonight.' "
Tim Sassone of the Daily Herald rubbed in the trade that sent Eden Prairie high school superstar Nick Leddy to the Blackhawks for the departed Cam Barker: "It was on Feb. 12, 2010, that (Blackhawks general manager Stan) Bowman, searching for veteran depth on defense for the Hawks' Stanley Cup run, dealt defenseman Cam Barker to Minnesota for veteran defenseman Kim Johnsson and Nick Leddy, who was the Wild's first-round draft pick (16th overall) in 2009. The Wild agreed to include Leddy thinking they were getting a top defenseman back in Barker, who was the third pick in the 2004 draft behind Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin."
And check out the final "Talking Point" from ProHockeyTalk's Joe Yerdon, in which he doesn't lavish praise on one of the Wild's stars.
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