DETROIT The young Blackhawks filed out of the locker room on Saturday afternoon as Patrick Kane talked of their impact. Considering their ages and how many of them there are, the rookies have the 23-year-old Kane feeling like the Blackhawks elder statesman.
Theyre awesome. Theyre great for the team and real high-energy guys who bring a lot of enthusiasm, said Kane, whos usually joking around with Jimmy Hayes at the adjacent locker back home. Its fun to have a couple young guys around who appreciate being here and do whatever it takes to play the game. You can see that with a lot of them.
And you can see the impact that energy, that fire has had on the Blackhawks recently. For all the pressure facing the young guys theyve handled it well, from Andrew Shaws strong return to Hayes and Brandon Bolligs presence on that bruising, physical fourth line.
You look at each case, theyve been helping our team, Quenneville said. Theres a lot to play for and there should be incentive across the board; they all should take advantage of great situation. Whether youre getting 8 minutes or 30 minutes, lets take advantage of it.
Dave Bolland, whos had Shaw on his checking line, said, right now its a learning experience but they take a bit (of work) off some of the vets. Theyve been working hard, doing what they do best and I think theyre doing a great job.
The young guys have done well in their latest trial by fire. Games are dwindling and the Blackhawks are in a precarious playoff position, but the rookies arent fazed. Theyve all played by the same mantra: keep it simple, stick to what you know and just bring the energy. And the veterans have appreciated the jolt.
Theyve been great. I know getting called up it can always be a little nerve-wracking, especially for the first time, said Duncan Keith, whos noticed how fellow defenseman Dylan Olsen has improved in his short time here.
Hes gotten better and better. You can see hes getting more confident on and off the ice, Keith said. The more comfortable they are with their surroundings the more confident they are. I look at him, especially, because defenseman is a tough position. He got thrown into the fire and hes played well.
The young guys are going to go through their ups and downs. Shaw, Hayes and Olsen have been called up, sent to Rockford and recalled this season. Theyve been going through some pretty sturdy tests during this stretch run. So far, theyve earned the veterans seal of approval.
Theres some learning and energy mistakes, but hopefully the technical part of our game is consistent, Quenneville said. There are going to be mistakes, for sure, for young guys. You dont mind if theyre doing it at a high pace.