Blackhawks

Five Things: Jonathan Toews with his fifth overtime winner

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Five Things: Jonathan Toews with his fifth overtime winner

GLENDALE, Ariz. — There are times when calls don’t go your way. The Blackhawks were reminded of that on Thursday night with a disallowed goal early.

How you deal with those calls, however, is what ultimately matters. And after fuming, seething and cursing — lots of cursing — the Blackhawks got it together enough to eke out an overtime victory over the Arizona Coyotes. It was a fun one to watch, if you like a lot of goals and a little bit of drama.

Anyway, you all saw it. So before we call it a night, let’s look at Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ 5-4 victory over the Coyotes.

1. An angry Marian Hossa is a great Marian Hossa. Seriously, it takes a lot to tick off Hossa. He’s one of the most affable guys you’ll meet in this business. But he was still angry about his disallowed goal following the game. But during the game Hossa channeled that energy the right way with a great performance. As coach Joel Quenneville said, “We like Hoss, whether he’s scoring or not. But he had a real presence in tonight’s game.”

2. Jonathan Toews with the OT winner. Thursday marked the fifth time that’s been written this season. There’s just something about Toews in overtime. Sure, he gets great opportunities with the open ice. But Toews, in his first game since prior to the All-Star break, has also built up confidence from what he’s done in previous overtimes. Toews’ 3-on-3 goal-scoring prowess had Quenneville joking, “I would’ve liked to have seen him in the All-Star game.”

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3. Michal Rozsival’s first goal was almost the game winner. Seriously, how great of a story would it have been if Rozsival’s goal were the difference? The veteran defenseman had a big smile on his face after scoring his first goal of the season, a 4-on-4 goal off a pass from Artem Anisimov. Alas, it wasn’t the winner, but it was a nice goal for Rozsival nonetheless.

4. Patrick Kane scores his 31st of the season. I used the word kerfuffle to describe the second period, because it was. And lost in the midst of penalties, a redemption goal and other fun, Kane set a new career mark for goals in a season. Who knows with what number he could finish, considering the Blackhawks have 27 regular-season games remaining.

5. An entertaining regular-season game. We’re at that point of the season where games can be a bit draggy, even if teams are just out of the All-Star break. If you wanted to watch some fun hockey, this one didn’t disappoint. Plenty of drama and penalties and goals and ties and angst: You usually have to wait for the postseason for all of that. On Thursday, you saw it in game No. 55 for the Blackhawks.

Hawks Talk Podcast: Crawford's return, Saad's demotion and power play concerns

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USA TODAY

Hawks Talk Podcast: Crawford's return, Saad's demotion and power play concerns

In the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle, Charlie Roumeliotis and Slavko Bekovic provide their thoughts on the Blackhawks’ 3-0-2 start.

They also discuss Brandon Saad’s demotion and whether it could serve as a wake-up call, Corey Crawford’s potential return on Thursday vs. Arizona and what could happen with Anton Forsberg because of it, and address the power play concerns.

The guys wrap up the podcast by making a few bold predictions going forward.

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

10 years with 'Coach Q' anything but ordinary

10 years with 'Coach Q' anything but ordinary

Over the last 10 years, the words “ordinary” and "OK" have taken on a new meaning to Blackhawks players and fans alike. 

That’s “Coach Q” speak. 

A language where “ordinary” means awful and “just OK” means you were a non-factor. The good news is the last 10 seasons under Joel Quenneville have been anything but ordinary at the United Center. 

On Oct. 16th, 2008, the Blackhawks let go of fan-favorite Denis Savard after a 1-2-1 start to the season and named Quenneville as head coach in his place. Quenneville coached the Colorado Avalanche the previous season, but after another disappointing exit in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the two mutually parted ways. He had originally planned to stay away from the bench for at least a season, but the Blackhawks triumvirate of Rocky Wirtz, John McDonough and then-GM Dale Tallon brought Quenneville on as a scout and then handed him the keys to the car shortly after.

“Dale’s obligation is to put together a winning team,” said McDonough at Quenneville’s introductory press conference. “At this point, Joel is the coach of that team.”

It was an emotional day at the Blackhawks offices. Savard – a Blackhawks legend on the ice and a coach the players held in high regard – was let go just as things started to turn upwards for the organization. The end of the 2007-2008 season saw the Blackhawks once again miss out on the playoffs, but the fans began to flock to the United Center once more, and the hype train around the young team built around Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane was gaining steam.

“Moving forward, if we want to be a championship-caliber organization, we have to make tough decisions,” said Tallon. “This was the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make.” 

Savard was 65-66-16 in parts of three seasons as head coach of the Blackhawks. Meanwhile, Quenneville had compiled eight 95+ point seasons behind the bench for the Blues and Avalanche in his 11 years as a head coach.

“We felt the experience and the track record of Joel would be a balance that we needed with a young, inexperienced team,” said Tallon. "Joel brings us a wealth of experience and a winning track record that will have an immediate and lasting impact."

The gamble paid off for the Blackhawks in a major way. Once Quenneville took over, the team got to the sought-after next level. 

They finished the 08-09 season with 104 points, third-most in the NHL’s Western Conference, had a franchise-record setting 9-game win streak in the month of December and returned to the playoffs for the first time since the 2001-2002 season. The “young and inexperienced” Blackhawks took the league by storm, dropping the Calgary Flames in the first round of the playoffs in six games before taking down the rival Canucks in the next round.

They ultimately lost out to the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference Finals, but the bar was now set for the organization. From then on, the Blackhawks were Stanley Cup contenders. 

Quenneville currently ranks 2nd in franchise history with 449 wins, trailing only Billy Reay’s 516. 

But most importantly, Quenneville’s 76 playoff wins rank at the top in the organization’s long and storied history, and those three Stanley Cups that he’s raised over his head were anything but “ordinary.”