Blackhawks

Blackhawks able to get some rest as they await next opponent

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Blackhawks able to get some rest as they await next opponent

The Blackhawks weren't able to do a whole lot at the start of Game 6 of their opening-round playoff series against the Nashville Predators, down by two goals just over eight minutes into game against a team that was fighting to stay above water.

But as Saturday's contest went on, the Predators weren't the only team playing a desperate game, and ultimately were unable to keep the Blackhawks from sending them packing.  

"To go out against a team like that and win four games, especially that last one, you know it's the toughest one," Jonathan Toews said following his team's 4-3 win. "So that confidence and that excitement has to get us ready and excited."

The Blackhawks could let out a slight sigh of relief knowing they made it past Round 1, but in the upcoming days, they'll face another huge challenge as they take on either the Minnesota Wild or St. Louis Blues.

[WATCH: Duncan Keith sends Blackhawks to second round with late goal]

So while Game 6 wasn't a do-or-die situation for Chicago, the Blackhawks felt extra motivation and their own sense of desperation to close things out as quickly as possible in order to have a few days of rest before their upcoming series kicks off. 

"It's important," Patrick Kane said when asked about how crucial an early series win is. "I think we're happy with winning here tonight. We knew we had a great opportunity in front of our home crowd to seize that moment and seize that opportunity. So it's a good thing we took advantage of it."

The Blackhawks also had the opportunity to end the Predators' series during Game 5 in Nashville after taking a 3-1 series lead following their big triple-overtime win in Game 4.

[MORE: Blackhawks rally to beat Predators, advance to second round]

And after missing that opportunity once, they weren't ready to do it again. Especially in front of a home crowd. 

"We learned from our mistakes in Game 5," Toews said. "It was going to take our best game of the series to push these guys out and I think we saw that in the last two periods."

After getting dominated through the first few minutes of Saturday's game, the Blackhawks managed to tie things up by the end of the first period before a goal from Duncan Keith solidified the win toward the end of the third period.

And like the other five games in the series, the Blackhawks and Predators looked pretty evenly matched a majority of the time. But it was Chicago that found ways to capitalize when it mattered most, and that's what pushed them through the first round in such a highly-competitive division.

"That says how tough our division and our conference is," head coach Joel Quenneville said. "You had Nashville all year, first in the league overall for a big stretch. Had some injury problems, but they're a good hockey team. We saw first-hand that they're deep. Hopefully we can get some excitement off of this win knowing we still have to be better moving forward."

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The Blackhawks were happy to get the series over with without having to board another flight to Nashville. Now they'll have some extra time off before facing Minnesota or St. Louis, who could be playing as late as Wednesday if their series goes a full seven games.

Now the Blackhawks will focus and regroup as they wait to find out who their next-round opponent is.

"We'll watch and see what happens," Kane said. "Either opponent is going to be tough for us because of how tough the Central Division has been, the style both teams play. So we'll see what happens and adjust our game the way Joel tells us to for our next opponent."

Hawks Talk Podcast: 1-on-1 with Blackhawks No. 3 overall pick Kirby Dach

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AP

Hawks Talk Podcast: 1-on-1 with Blackhawks No. 3 overall pick Kirby Dach

After being introduced to the media, Blackhawks third-overall pick Kirby Dach sits down with Charlie Roumeliotis to talk about what it's like to join the historic Original Six franchise, why he wears the number 77 and how he plans on breaking camp in the NHL this fall.

0:35 – Kirby Dach joins the podcast

0:55 – Dach on the history of the Blackhawks

1:25 – His conversations with Kane and Toews

1:40 – The whirlwind after the draft process

2:10 – His meetings with the Blackhawks at the combine

2:50 – What draft day was like

3:23 – On his competitive nature

3:40 – How much hockey does he watch?

4:20 – How his game translates to playoff hockey

4:50 – Why he wears No. 77

5:10 – Will he wear 77 in the NHL?

5:30 – His offseason plans

6:10 – His goal of making the NHL right away

6:25 – Winning the Cup would be…

Listen to the entire podcast here or in the embedded player below.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast

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'Winning to me is everything': Kirby Dach wants to play big role in helping Blackhawks win more Stanley Cups

'Winning to me is everything': Kirby Dach wants to play big role in helping Blackhawks win more Stanley Cups

Three days after he became the sixth player in franchise history to be taken third overall, the Blackhawks welcomed Kirby Dach to Chicago on Monday for the first time to show him around his new organization. He was given a tour of Fifth Third Arena, the Blackhawks locker room and plans to explore the city over the next few days.

"It's been crazy," Dach said of the last 72 hours. "After hearing my name called, I didn't hear anything or remember anything. I had to watch the video over a couple times to remember what happened, I kind of just blacked out in the moment and enjoyed it. I flew home two days ago and flew here [Sunday] and it's been awesome. The facility here is first class and I can't wait to get started in a couple weeks in [development] camp."

It's an exciting day for the organization and the city of Chicago because the Blackhawks are adding an elite prospect during a time where they're retooling for a chance to win another Stanley Cup.

"This is an important day for us for a couple reasons," GM Stan Bowman said. "I've had a chance to get to know Kirby over the last few months and I think as you guys get a chance to talk to him and hear from him, you're going to find out that he's really committed to being the best he can be and to making the Blackhawks an elite team.

"The other thing is we talk about what makes a player important in today's NHL. People say you've got to have a high skill level and being able to create offense is important. Other people are going to say you look at the way the playoffs were played and skill's great but you've got to have size and competitiveness. So that's the more important attribute. When you look at the game that Kirby brings to Chicago, he's got a little bit of everything. He's got the skill to play with the high-skill players. He can make plays that can wow you. He's also got the competitiveness to show that he wants it more than anyone else. I think we've got a special player here and as you'll see we're excited for what's to come."

Dach, who's a 6-foot-4, 198-pound center, is the kind of player you build around and he's already joining a group that features three-time Stanley Cup champions Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Jonathan Toews. He already received phone calls from Kane and Toews welcoming him to the franchise.

"Growing up as a kid in Canada, you're always watching hockey," Dach said. "And when they were winning Stanley Cups all the time in Chicago here — with the three in the six years — Toews and Kane, Keith and Seabrook, were a big part of that. And to be in a dressing room with those guys now is pretty surreal, and those are the moments you dream of as a kid. To have it come true, you have to take a step back and realize that."

While he may have looked up to them as a kid, Dach is now part of the group and wants to play a large role on a team that wins not just one more championship but several.

"Winning to me is everything," Dach said. "There's a saying, 'You gotta hate to lose before you like to win.' And I hate to lose so anything I do I always have to win no matter what it is. It's something that drives me and the ultimate goal in hockey is to win the Stanley Cup and I'm going to work as hard as I can and push myself to every limit to get there because that's what I want to do.

"Obviously Chicago's had a couple runs here in the past where they've been able to do that and I want to be a part of those runs and be a key member of those teams."

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