Blackhawks

Hawk Talk: From the Dressing Rooms

Hawk Talk: From the Dressing Rooms

Friday, May 7, 2010
7:00 P.M.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

A glimpse inside the dressing rooms after each of the Chicago Blackhawks-Vancouver Canucks semifinal seriesGame 1, May 1, 2010: Canucks 5, Blackhawks 1
Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo

Canucks teammates, noting the massive crowd around their netminder: Is that Tiger Woods, or Lu?

Good or bad, its just one game. Were here to win four games, not one. But its nice to get the first one out of the way.

By no means are we satisfied. Well enjoy tonight, tomorrow we focus & make adjustments and whens next game? on Monday we do it again.

On whether this performance is redemption for last year: At the end of the day, its a new year. We still have a long way to go.
It was nice to see so many shots 17 early. We hadnt played in a week. Saves are my job. My team counts on me to make stops for them.

Vancouver defenseman Christian Ehrhoff

Were not looking to make a statement. We just want to win a game on the road.
Vancouver forward Mason Raymond

Roberto is coming into his own every game now. He wants to get back at the Blackhawks just as much as everyone else does.

Chicago forward Patrick Kane

Seems like the Canucks have gotten a lot better from last year.
To start off at home like that, theres really no excuse. Its not that we were trying to lose Game 1, but it was hard to tell.

Chicago center John Madden

Asked about the Blackawks falling behind in four straight playoff series: Ive only been here for two, so I dont know.

Lots of teams find themselves down after the first game. We made some bad choices.

Noting that it was a mistake to shift to a more open game being down three goals: We made some bad decisions for some reason, and they capitalized. The Canucks are skilled enough to make you pay, and they did tonight.

On what lessons could be learned from the loss: That its just one game?

Chicago forward Kris Versteeg
Thats why its a seven-game series. Its only Game 1. Were fine. We played the way we wanted to except we had a couple lapses.

Game 2, May 3, 2010: Blackhawks 4, Canucks 2
Chicago goalie Antti Niemi

On whether, as Joel Quenneville insists, his demeanor makes him especially dangerous in the playoffs: No, but its a great thing that theres trust from him.

Its not harder to sleep after a loss. Its hard to sleep after any game. It takes a few hours to replay.

Chicago forward Marian Hossa

We cannot start like we did tonight. If we play five-on-five we have a better chance to win.

Chicago forward Patrick Kane

This was a must-win. If you go back to Vancouver down 0-2, youre dead.

Chicago captain Jonathan Toews

On what he said to struggling teammate Kris Versteeg: Nothing. He knows to keep shooting the puck.

We have to stay out of the box and be smart with our sticks after the whistle. Vancouver will be trying to pull us into penalties.

We all felt better as the game went on. We all stuck with it. Weve been down in this building before and found ways to come back.

Its tough for any team on the road to protect a lead when we have the momentum in our favor.

It wasnt the start we wanted. But we kept up the pressure and had the momentum into the third.

Chicago forward Kris Versteeg

Falling behind early was a wake-up. We had to figure it out and kick some ass. Otherwise, were the ones who end up on our butts.

It takes a few games to feel each other out in a series. This was a lot more emotional & rougher than the first game-the first game felt dead

Looking a little bewildered in response to questions about his early struggles: I felt really good out there tonight.

On the game-winner: The puck came to me, and I just shot it as hard as I could.
Chicago forward Patrick Sharp

Clearly these are two teams that dont like each other much. But we have a lot of respect for each other.

We took the day off to regroup, and maybe coming out we were too fired up.
Story of the game, big kills and lucky bounces. We got em. And I almost got em twice with shorties.

Game 3, May 5, 2010: Blackhawks 5, Canucks 2

Chicago center Dave Bolland

On Dustin Byfuglien, laughing in wonder: Hes a big boy. He was hitting hard, using speed, doing everything. Nobody in Vancouver likes him.

We got in Vancouvers faces, but you cant take stupid penalties.

Chicago forward Marian Hossa

On Byfuglien (a.k.a. Hoss to Hoss): He was flying tonight, really using his speed. He was dominating in the corners. That first goal definitely gave him confidence.
Its hard to score on a first shot vs. Luongo, so were taking second and third shots to get ugly goals.

Chicago captain Jonathan Toews
Luongo is such a great goaltender. We know nine out of 10 times hes going to make first stops, so we have to keep digging on him.

When we get leads on Vancouver, theyll try to run us physically. We dont want to play soft against any team.

On Niemi: Hes been there for us every single time weve needed him.

On Byfuglien: Ive battled against him enough times in practice to know that you cant move him.

Chicago goalie Antti Niemi

He said there was some luck to his terrific first period, and as for his strong start, in the middle of the game you dont want to think too much about it.

Niemi didnt think the first period was one of the better sequences of his career, but did acknowledge, You just want to keep doing what youre doing.
Chicago forward Dustin Byfuglien
On his celebration on glass after his second goal: Its just something that popped into my head. I didnt even know the puck went in.

On playing with Toews and Kane: Theyre fun to play with. I get them the puck and let them work with it.

My job is to stay focused and make the Canucks work around me.
On his two-goal night, later amended to a hat trick: Its been awhile since Ive had a goal, and sometimes you work hard and things just happen.

Vancouver is still a good team. Weve still got a lot of work ahead of us.

Brett Ballantini isCSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnikon Twitter for up-to-the-minute Hawksinformation.

Four takeaways: 'Vintage' Corey Crawford steals two points for Blackhawks

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AP

Four takeaways: 'Vintage' Corey Crawford steals two points for Blackhawks

COLUMBUS — Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on Saturday:

1. Corey Crawford steals the show

The Blackhawks had no business winning this game. They were being outshot 28-15 through two periods, committed four penalties and gave up 18 high-danger chances in the game. 

But Crawford bailed out his team like he often has done in the past, and was zoned in from the moment the puck dropped. He finished with 37 saves on 38 shots for a save percentage of .974, picking up his first win since Dec. 17, 2017.

"Yeah, I felt good," Crawford said. "I think everyone was playing hard, rebounds, taking away sticks. That was a great effort by everyone."

"He was standing on his head for us," Patrick Kane said. "As Q would say, that’s a goalie win for us."

Said coach Joel Quenneville: "That was vintage Crow."

2. Tic-tac-toe leads to go-ahead goal

The Blue Jackets were clearly the better team through two periods. The Blackhawks were fortunate to go into second intermission with the game still tied at 1-1.

The next goal was crucial, and they got it thanks to a give-and-go play by Brent Seabrook and Kane, who buried home a wide open net to give the Blackhawks a 2-1 lead with 4:14 left in regulation.

Was Kane expecting Seabrook to pass it back?

"No. Not a chance," Kane said laughing. "That’s his wheelhouse, coming right down there. He scores a lot of goals from that area. Saw it was like a 2-on-2, he was coming late, he jumped in the play on the first goal, did a great job, jumped in the play on that goal. Made a great pass. When I saw it come back, I just tried to stay patient, settle it down and make sure I hit the net, because I knew I had the whole open net."

3. Busy night for PK

The Blackhawks penalty kill was very busy. It was also on it's A-game, partly because their best penalty killer was Crawford.

The Blackhawks spent 6:31 of the first 40 minutes killing penalties, allowing 11 shots total on it. But most importantly, they killed off all four penalties.

"We had some tough clears, but I thought we did some good things," Quenneville said. "We withstood some extended PK zone time there and found a way to keep us in the game. Obviously that next goal was huge and that second period was a big part of them having so much zone time, keeping us in our end. We'll say, hey good job, but Crow was the best penalty killer tonight."

4. Catching up with Kane on Artemi Panarin

Kane and Panarin spent only two seasons together, but they brought Blackhawks fans out of their seats on a nightly basis and it was amazing to watch the instant on-ice chemistry they shared. And most of it was non-verbal, which made it even more impressive. They were always on the same wavelength.

"Sometimes it takes time to build some chemistry but that was one of those things where it was like, I don't want to say instant chemistry, but after one or two preseason games we kind of new that maybe something special was going to happen," Kane told NBC Sports Chicago. "I think he scored in his first game in the NHL, we had a really good game, we had the puck a lot, we sensed that this could be a fun way to play hockey."

Off the ice, Kane said Panarin would use Google translate on his phone to communicate while Kane would try using a Russian accent while saying English words.

The two of them got a chance to hang out for a little bit on Friday and Kane still keeps tabs on his former linemate.

"I always really enjoy watching him," Kane said. "If we have an off night or something, he's a really fun player to watch."

Blackhawks and Blue Jackets both going through own challenges of Artemi Panarin and Brandon Saad trade

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks and Blue Jackets both going through own challenges of Artemi Panarin and Brandon Saad trade

COLUMBUS — The Blackhawks and Blue Jackets blockbuster trade from the 2017 offseason is always a hot topic in Chicago when things aren't going great. It especially is when the two teams square off against each other, like Saturday at Nationwide Arena for the first time this season.

If it wasn't already apparent in Chicago, Artemi Panarin has emerged as a real NHL superstar and is set for a giant payday when he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2019. He set a Blue Jackets record with 82 points in a single season and has nine points (three goals, six assists) through six games this season.

Brandon Saad, on the other hand, had a challenging first year back with the Blackhawks in 2017-18 after netting only 35 points in 82 games and is off to a slow start this year as well with zero goals and two assists through six games. After a demotion to the fourth line, he was close to being a healthy scratch on Thursday, which only magnifies where things are at as the two get ready to clash.

But Saad was never going to be able to replace Panarin's offensive production. Everybody knows that. Yet, the offensive comparisons will always be there as a barometer and that's something Saad doesn't think about, no matter how much fans talk about it.

"I don't think I do it," he said. "We're different players. He's a great player. Fans are going to do whatever comparisons they want, but at the end of the day you've got to be true to yourself and do what you bring to the table. He's a great player around the league. You can see his highlights and his goals, he's definitely a special player. But at the end of the day I've got confidence in my abilities too. We both bring different attributes, but they're going to make comparisons regardless."

A big reason why the Blackhawks reacquired Saad, other than his ability to play a 200-foot game, is because he carries a $6 million cap hit through 2020-21, which is two years more than Panarin at the same cap hit. (It's also important to note that the Blackhawks hoped they were getting a reliable, young backup goaltender in Anton Forsberg, but the injury to Corey Crawford thrust him into a role he wasn't exactly prepared for.)

It's not all rainbows for Columbus right now regarding where things stand with Panarin, who has made it clear he's not ready to sign a long-term extension. All signs point to the 26-year-old winger hitting the market, putting the Blue Jackets in a tricky situation ahead of the trade deadline. The Blackhawks very well could have found themselves in this position, too, had a deal not been made.

Both sides are dealing with their own challenges of the trade. Saad is still a key piece to the Blackhawks' puzzle and they're hoping to get more out of him, for no other reason than the team's overall success.

"You want to have success regardless of who you're playing for, who you're traded for, things like that," Saad said. "Naturally, just as competitors, you want to bring that excitement and you want to have success with the team and personally."