Blackhawks

Hawk Talk: From Stanley Cup Final media day

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Hawk Talk: From Stanley Cup Final media day

Thursday, May 27, 2010
8:45 PM

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

CHICAGO Its unlike anything seen before on the hockey side of the United Center, the NHLs media elite all concentrated in one spot on the west side of Chicago, gathered for the 2010 Stanley Cup media day.

Many players enjoyed their own private interview space, up on risers and sitting at tables that looked like the NHLs answer to gear cases packed and unpacked by music roadies. Less prominent stars shared tables in the middle of the roomcase in point, Chicagos bruiser table of Adam Burish, Brent Sopel and Ben Eager.

The Blackhawks strolled out in matching, numbered black pullovers for their session at 1:15 p.m., while Philadelphia hit the tables in crossing-guard orange hoodies at 3. Here are some highlights from the days chatter:

Stan Bowman, Blackhawks GM
On acquiring Marian Hossa: More than anything, he played a style that we were trying to instill in some of our younger guys, which is he plays both ends of the ice. Weve seen that in the playoffs. Hes contributed offensively, but when you watch the game closely, you notice that he does all those little things so well. It has rubbed off on some of our younger players Im sure Joel Quenneville would agree that its not always easy to get your most skilled players to play as hard as Marian does away from the puck and coming back in his own end. So we knew if we ever had a chance to get a player like Marian, we would rally have to make a hard push.

Dustin Byfuglien, Blackhawks forward
Id like to lace em up right now and get going.

I think we match up with Philadelphia very well.

Laughing about his newfound fame: Yep, I just woke up one day and decided to go to work and become famous.

On his weight, a curious emphasis during his session: People are going to ask until Im done playing. Its kind of funny to hear all of the different numbers. Im going to let you guys keep guessing.

Marian Hossa, Blackhawks forward
When you look around at all this here today, you see everything being put under a microscope. But its still the same game.

On his goal drought: It makes me angry, but four more wins is whats most important right now.

On Media Day: Its the same thing that happens in the dressing room but now wearing a nice hoodie in comfortable seats.

On coming to the Blackhawks: When Chicago called me on the first day and talked to my agent, I had a really good feeling. I was looking to make one team my home, so I said to my agent, I think this is it.

On Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville: Q played the game and understands players. He keeps the dressing room loose, and not every coach does that. He is fired up before each game, but he never loses control. He looks pretty relaxed to me all of the time.

On taking pride in being a two-way player: I like to be speedy. Thats my game. When I have a chance to catch a player from behind, I like to steal those pucks.

Ian Laperriere, Flyers center
On the serious facial injury he suffered blocking a Paul Martin shot in Game 5 of the quarterfinals: It bruised my brain. But I was lucky. It bruised the front of my brain, which doesnt do anything. Thats the one place you want to get hit.

On his decision to adapt his game from sheer scoring: Guys who were way more talented didnt want to change. Theyre doing something else now. Not to sound arrogant, but Im 36 and still playing.
Chris Pronger, Flyers defenseman
Youre only as good as your last game. As fast as you can get a pat on the back you can get a pat on the bumand a push out the door.

If were just happy to be here, maybe we should go home.

The key to winning? Its knowing in the locker room you can win every game you go after.

At the end of the day, its just a hockey game. Youve gotta go out and find a way to win.

Im not ever done learning in this game. When youre done learning, you should probably get out of the game.

On similarities between Chicago and Philadelphia: Both teams play with an edge and play fast, without sacrificing defense.

On being the underdogs: The people who arent picking us, theres a reason theyre there and were here The pundits havent been kind to us to begin with.
On Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville, who coached him with the St. Louis Blues: Right from the get-go he wanted to mentor me. Hes a guy who played with a good stick. He helped my game enormously. Hes a defensemans defenseman.

Dismissing the challenge Byfuglien creates: I can go down the list of guys in this league who are pretty big.

On how to stop a player of Dustin Byfugliens size: Do you honestly think Im gonna tell you?

Patrick Sharp, Blackhawks forward
On when his game face for Saturday gets fixed on: Pretty much when this interview is over.

On the Blackhawks bad old days: It wasnt as bad as people are making it out to be.

Jonathan Toews, Blackhawks center
Its felt like the longest week ever waiting for this game on Saturday night. But were looking forward to it. Well be ready for it. Were just trying to save our energy for now and not get too jacked up.

The entire hockey world is watching this. These are the type of games you love to play in. Its a fun thing to be a part of.

We've got an entire city behind us. We feel like this is the year for us, and we're going to throw everything we can at Philadelphia."

Win those small battles and you might win the war. Thats what well focus on. Nothing to get excited about.

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should Blackhawks' One Goal be to tank?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should Blackhawks' One Goal be to tank?

On the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast, Danny Parkins (670 The Score), Seth Gruen (Big Ten Unfiltered) and Jason Goch (SB Nation Radio) join Kap on the panel. 

The Blackhawks drop their 8th straight. So should their “One Goal” be to tank?

Plus, Jon Lester isn’t a fan of the new pace of play proposals. Is he right?

Listen to the full SportsTalk Live Podcast right here:

With playoff chances all but over, what can Blackhawks do at trade deadline?

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USA TODAY

With playoff chances all but over, what can Blackhawks do at trade deadline?

After losing their eighth straight game and falling 12 points out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference, the Blackhawks' playoff chances have dipped to a season-low 0.2 percent. It would take a miracle for them to extend their postseason streak to 10 at this point, where getting just one win seems like a monumental task.

The Blackhawks were probably never really going to be buyers before the Feb. 26 trade deadline even if they were still in the hunt, but it's hard to imagine they had plans to be sellers. Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman has reiterated over and over again that he's confident in this group, one that's getting younger and faster.

But now they've reached a territory where they have to consider selling off spare parts simply to coup some draft picks or prospects that they could perhaps retain or use as sweeteners in the offseason.

So which players could the Blackhawks realistically sell?

Let's start with the two players getting rewarded with top-six ice time as of late: Lance Bouma and Tommy Wingels.

These are two players that play with high energy and go to the greasy areas, something that's important in the playoffs when scoring goals becomes more difficult. They can clean up rebounds. Wingels, particularly, likely has more value and it's showing given his recent success on the power play as a net-front presence guy. He also isn't a stranger to the playoffs with 54 games under his belt compared to Bouma's five.

Both of them are pending unrestricted free agents and are making $1 million or fewer, which certainly works in the Blackhawks' favor considering they won't cost much and their cap hits are easy to fit in on any interested team.

Maybe a team would like to take a flyer on Tomas Jurco, who's a restricted free agent at the end of the season, but that would be a move somebody makes as more of a longer term project than strengthening your depth for a playoff run this spring.

On the back end, Michal Kempny and Jan Rutta could be in play for a contender looking to ensure some depth as a sixth or seventh defenseman. Again, each of them are making less than $1 million so it's a low-risk situation for clubs whose Plan A or B fall through and may be interested in at least getting something.

While they don't have much NHL experience, they're both 27 years old and have played the sport long enough to know what they can bring to the table.

Once Feb. 26 passes and potential roster spots open up, expect the Blackhawks to start calling up the kids. 

Matthew Highmore deserves a look after leading the Rockford IceHogs with 20 goals and 32 points. John Hayden has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in 15 games since joining Rockford, and belongs in the NHL. Even Anthony Louis, who's taken a step forward, should get a taste of the action as he continues his development.

Carl Dahlstrom is getting his shot now. Erik Gustafsson is in that process as well. Gustav Forsling had another extended look during the first half of the season before the team decided it would be wise to continue his development in Rockford, where he can play top-pairing minutes.

All of this would give the Blackhawks a better indicator of how they can approach the upcoming offseason, and which young guys they can possibly add into the mix for 2018-19. But first, we have to see how the end of February plays out before making those calls.