NHL Blog Beat – April 12, 2012.

Previewing the Blackhawks-Coyotes series, Scotty Wazz’s opening round predictions, praise for NBC’s coverage of the opening games of the 2012 playoffs, an open letter to Chris Stewart, Panthers ignore their critics,  examining the Joe Sacco extension, reviewing Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk’s end-of-season comments, and the state of the Leafs forwards.

THE SPORTS BANK: Ed Cmar with a detailed previews of the Phoenix Coyotes- Chicago Blackhawks series and predicts one of them will win in six. Which one? Go read the preview and find out!

THE STRANGEST ONE OF ALL: Scotty Wazz with his “quick and dirty playoff picks” for the opening round, which isn’t as naughty as it sounds.

PUCK THE MEDIA: Steve Lepore has a favorable review of NBC’s opening coverage of the 2012 playoffs.

Can Chris Stewart rediscover his scoring touch for the playoffs?

ST. LOUIS GAME TIME: Andy Portico with an open letter to Blues forward Chris Stewart, reminding Stewart he used to be an offensive presence, and wants him to regain his scoring touch for the playoffs.

RED LIGHT DISTRICT HOCKEY BLOG: Bill Whitehead reports the Florida Panthers are ignoring their critics. Can’t say I blame them. Some critics have been bitchy by pointing out the Panthers, who struggled late in the season, “backed into the playoffs”. Y’know, I can think of fourteen NHL teams who’d love to be in the Panthers position right now.

MILE HIGH HOCKEY: David Driscoll-Carignan offers up his take on the Avalanche re-signing head coach Joe Sacco to a two year extension.

DEFENDING BIG D: Brandon Worley reviews the season-ending press conference of Dallas Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk.

HOCKEY ANALYSIS: David Johnson looks at the state of the Toronto Maple Leafs, starting with the forwards.