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Experience, star power define Blackhawks as a Cup favorite

by Dan Rosen / Chicago Blackhawks

Everything that could have gone right for the Chicago Blackhawks did during the regular season.

If the path stays clear in the Stanley Cup Playoffs -- meaning no debilitating injuries or hiccups in goal -- there's every reason to believe the Blackhawks can become the first Presidents' Trophy winner to win the Stanley Cup since the Detroit Red Wings in 2008.

Just look at the items necessary to win the Stanley Cup, a checklist that has been proven time and again, and it's obvious Chicago has the ingredients of a champion.

Experience? Check.

Nine of Chicago's regular 18 skaters played on the 2010 Cup-winning team. Ray Emery and Daniel Carcillo also have played in a Stanley Cup Final.

Goaltending? Check.

The combination of Corey Crawford and Ray Emery gave the Blackhawks a chance to win almost every game during the regular season -- and they came close to doing just that.

Star power? Check.

Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane had MVP-caliber seasons. Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp appear healthy. All four can light it up on any given night.

Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook have had their most consistent seasons since the Blackhawks won the Cup in 2010.

Depth scoring? Check.

Brandon Saad has fit right in as a top-six wing. Dave Bolland can score and usually does in bigger games (37 points in 49 career playoff games). Viktor Stalberg, Bryan Bickell and Andrew Shaw combined for almost 30 goals in the regular season.

Defense? Check.

The Blackhawks were the best defensive team in the NHL this season and have seven reliable blueliners for six spots.

Strong penalty killing? Check.

It's nearly impossible to win the Stanley Cup without excellent penalty killing, and the Blackhawks have had one of the top units in the NHL all season. Chicago also was one of the better teams at staying out of the penalty box.

Elite coaching? Check.

Joel Quenneville has won the Cup twice, once each as a coach and an assistant coach. He also has more than 650 NHL victories.

History suggests the above ingredients are the basis for a recipe of success. The Blackhawks will prove that true again in 2013.

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