Antoine Vermette has been through the career ups and downs and went through both again over the last week.
Acquired to help the Blackhawks through the end of the regular season and playoffs, Vermette sat in Games 1 and 2, which the Blackhawks split with the Nashville Predators. Back for Game 3, however, Vermette is hoping to get his game going and start contributing.
Vermette will also play tonight when the Blackhawks host the Predators in Game 4 of their first-round series. For Vermette, who centered Bryan Bickell and Patrick Sharp on Sunday and looks to do the same tonight, playing at this time of year has been worth the wait.
“It’s different and in a good way,” Vermette said of playoff pace. “It’s fun, it’s intense, it’s physical and every play counts.”
Coach Joel Quenneville was happy with Vermette’s return.
“I think he did a good job catching up to Game 3,” he said. “Pace is a challenge and I thought he did well.”
Sitting the first two games of this series wasn’t fun. It was certainly an unexpected turn of events, given the fact that Vermette was brought in to bolster the Blackhawks’ depth at center and the team gave up quite a bit to get him. Vermette said he tried to maintain the right attitude throughout.
“It’s not the ideal situation, I’m not going to lie. As a competitor you want to be out there and make a difference but you have to deal with it. That’s the attitude you bring,” Vermette said. “How you conduct yourself is going to help your situation, your team, everything. I’ve been through situations throughout my career. It’s up and downs and how you manage to go through it. I believe a good attitude is gong to take you a long way. It’s been working for me since is started playing.”
Vermette is also working out the kinks with faceoffs. He’s had several games in which his winning percentage is well below 50 percent. Coach Joel Quenneville said Vermette has talked with Blackhawks development coach Yanic Perreault.
The Blackhawks will go with this lineup as long as it wins. Vermette has stayed positive through the ups and downs, be it elsewhere or here.
“Your attitude is one thing you can control,” he said. “Being positive and having good energy around the guys, that’s the way to do it. That’s the approach.”