SPORTS

Stanley Cup Stories: Blackhawks shuffle lineup for opener

06/12/2013 02:38 EDT | Updated 08/11/2013 05:12 EDT
Even though the puck has yet to drop on the Stanley Cup final, the Blackhawks-Bruins matchup has already offered plenty of storylines on the eve of Game 1. Here are the top NHL playoff stories from Tuesday:

1. In Chicago, where the series is set to open at the United Center on Wednesday (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 8 p.m. ET), the Blackhawks appear to be making some lineup changes. Marian Hossa joins Patrick Sharp and captain Jonathan Toews on the top line, while Brandon Bollig is expected to replace Viktor Stalberg. Playoff breakout star Bryan Bickell drops to the second line, in what can be considered coach Joel Quenneville's attempt to spread out the Hawks' top scorers against the B's strong defence.

2. Nine months ago, Adam McQuaid's future as an athlete was uncertain because of a medical scare, writes CBCSports.ca's Tim Wharnsby. Now the Boston defenceman is back in the Stanley Cup final. Read more on the underdog who scored the series-clinching goal in the Bruins' sweep of the Penguins in the East final.

3. Nathan Horton is another huge plus for the B's. Literally. As host of Hockey Night in Canada Radio on SiriusXM,Rob Pizzo points out the Bruins winger leads the playoffs with a plus/minus rating of plus-21. Only four other players finished the post-season with plus-20 or higher. Can you figure out which four players accomplished the feat before you click this link? Hint: think between 1983 and 1985.

4.Cast your vote on who you deem the most valuable player of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Boston goalie Tuukka Rask and his Chicago counterpart Corey Crawford are in the mix with some under-the-radar key performers, including the aforementioned Horton and the Blackhawks' Patrick Sharp.

5. While choosing a Conn Smythe winner means analyzing what sets these players apart, it's also worth looking at possible common denominators between the two Original Six teams. Mullets and close calls are a good start.

MORE:cbcSports