Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman: 'We have to go out there and earn it'

Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman: 'We have to go out there and earn it'

General manager Stan Bowman talked in late January of the Blackhawks' season at that point. It was pretty good, but he figured it was only a matter of time before veterans and youth gelled and it led to bigger and better things. 

Well, here we are, with the Blackhawks earning the No. 1 seed in the West and home ice through the western portion of the playoffs. The work Bowman and the Blackhawks have done up to this point has worked.

Now to see how it comes together in the postseason.

Bowman talked to the media on Thursday morning prior to the Blackhawks hosting the Nashville Predators in Game 1 of their first-round series. Bowman said he was as optimistic about this team as he has previous ones.

"We've put ourselves in a good position but none of that really matters at this point. We've got to get out there and earn it, starting tonight," Bowman said. "I like the way our team looks. I think that we've shown we can play really good hockey when we play together as a team. And you have to get out there and do it."

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The biggest question entering this season was how the Blackhawks' rookies would adapt, and how long it would take. When Bowman talked in January, they were playing pretty well. They became even bigger players in the Blackhawks' success after that. Still, the stage is that much bigger now, and the inexperience factor at this one could loom large. But Bowman thinks the rookies can handle it.

"They are technically still rookies. But they've played, most of them have played all year in the NHL. They have not been through a playoff run here in Chicago but they've all been through big runs. Nick Schmaltz won the national championship last year. He was part of a team that did something special in pressure moments. It's not like these guys have never played in pressure situations, so you have to give them a chance to do that," Bowman said. "You have to be an NHL playoff rookie at some point and I think they'll get through it fine."

These Blackhawks are a mix of veterans who have been here a few times and rookies who haven't. Through most of the season, however, the number of NHL years accrued usually didn't matter: everyone on the team contributed at some point. Bowman believes it can continue in the playoffs but the task gets that much tougher.

"We don't take anything for granted," Bowman said. "We had a very good regular season. I'm proud of what we accomplished. But now we start over. And everyone starts with a clean slate."

Anton Forsberg to tribute Avicii with new mask

Anton Forsberg to tribute Avicii with new mask

Goaltender masks are often a place for artistic expression and tribute. Blackhawks goalie Anton Forsberg is adding his own touching tribute this season.

The 25-year-old Swedish goalie chose to tribute Avicii with an image of the musician on his goalie mask. Avicii, a fellow Swede, died by suicide in April.

David Gunnarsson, a professional mask artist, did the art for Forsberg's mask and posted it on Instagram.

View this post on Instagram

Today we have the honor to present Anton Forsberg´s new Blackhawks mask for the coming season😊🥅. Anton knew what he wanted on his new mask, he wanted to pay tribute to the Swedish DJ legend Tim Bergling❤️, a.k.a Avicii, who recently passed away. Just as Anton I am also a big admirer of his music and person and family🙏🏻❤️. It was a huge honor for me to paint and create this painting together with Anton in honor to Avicii´s family, they were also the first to see this painting❤️. The rest of the mask is painted in an old school and clean style, and on the other side of the mask Anton`s best friend pop up and makes him company in the net. @antonforsbeerg @nhlblackhawks @nhl @daveart

A post shared by David Gunnarsson (@daveart) on

According to Tracey Myers of, Forsberg asked Avicii's parents for permission before going ahead with it.

"I've always listened to his music and have been a big fan of it," Forsberg said. "For me, there was no hesitation putting him on the mask."

Forsberg wore last season's mask in his preseason debut in Detroit on Thursday so he hasn't shown off the new gear just yet. That may need to wait for the regular season.

Hawks Talk Podcast: Blackhawks training camp twist, Boqvist in?


Hawks Talk Podcast: Blackhawks training camp twist, Boqvist in?

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle and Charlie Roumeliotis talk about Joel Quenneville leaving the door open for No. 8 overall pick Adam Boqvist to start the season with the Blackhawks. What are the chances he and Henri Jokiharju both make the team?

The guys also discuss Corey Crawford's status and what to make of his abbreviated on-ice session after six straight days of skating, Connor Murphy's injury that could sideline him until December, how the line of Brandon Saad, Nick Schmaltz and Patrick Kane will work and the new 1-3-1 power play structure.

They also weigh in on which position battles they're looking forward to tracking during the back half of training camp.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below, and be sure to subscribe, rate us and write a review!