CHICAGO -- Size is a nice characteristic to have in hockey, but the Chicago Blackhawks have proven it's not everything.
The Blackhawks have emphasized speed and skill over size, and they've been successful, winning two of the past five Stanley Cup championships (2010 and 2013).
Chicago is preparing for its fifth Western Conference Final in the past seven seasons and is considered by some as the favorite to defeat the bigger Anaheim Ducks; Game 1 is Sunday at Honda Center (3 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports). That probably wouldn't have happened a decade ago, when giant men on skates clogged the ice surface, but the NHL and game have changed.
Being small isn't a detriment anymore for guys with great hands and the ability to skate fast.
"I would say if it was like the early 2000s or late '90s, it seemed like it was a bigger man's game and it would be tough for guys [my] size to end up even making the NHL," said 5-foot-11, 177-pound right wing Patrick Kane, who leads the Blackhawks with 13 points in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.