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.

What we learned about Blackhawks during five-game road trip

What we learned about Blackhawks during five-game road trip

"Every game now is a playoff game, pretty much. We've got to approach it like it's life or death."

Those were the words of Drake Caggiula and that was the mindset for the Blackhawks going into their five-game road trip in Western Canada, which was easily their most important swing of the season to date, given the circumstances: All five teams were ahead of them in the Western Conference standings, the Blackhawks were knocking on the door of a playoff spot and they had a chance to prove themselves ahead of the Feb. 24 trade deadline.

The Blackhawks finished the trip with a 1-4-0 record, picking up only two out of a possible 10 points. They ended the weekend sitting six points out of the final wildcard spot with two games in hand but four teams to jump. It's not impossible to get back in the race, but the cards are certainly stacked against them.

So what did we learn about this team?

The easy narrative would be to say the Blackhawks shrunk in games that had playoff-type implications, but that‘s just not true. They simply failed to capitalize on their opportunities, and they had plenty of them.

In Game 1 against Winnipeg, the Blackhawks held a 2-0 lead before allowing a shorthanded goal in the second period that was the first of five unanswered for the Jets, who went on to win 5-2. The Blackhawks went 0-for-3 on the power play and were outscored (1-0), outshot (3-2) and out-chanced (4-2) during those three opportunities. That was their downfall.

In Game 2 against Edmonton, the Blackhawks held a pair of one-goal leads — 2-1 in the first period and 3-2 in the second period — but couldn’t close the deal despite the Oilers playing without the NHL's best player in Connor McDavid. Again, a huge missed opportunity that was there for the taking.

In Game 3 against Vancouver, the Blackhawks peppered a season-high 49 shots on goal on Jacob Markstrom, 25 of which came from high-danger areas, but couldn't crack the code. It was one of their most dominating performances of the season from start to finish and yet they weren't rewarded for it. 

In Game 4 against Calgary, the market quickly corrected itself when the Blackhawks scored a season-high eight goals on 28 shots in an 8-4 win over the Flames. It’s the exact response they were looking for, with all four lines contributing on the scoresheet.

In Game 5 against Winnipeg, the Blackhawks scored the first goal, then fell behind 2-1 before evening things up at 2-2 in the final minute of the second period. The game was up for grabs. But the Jets scored 1:36 into the third period after a shot from the point deflected off Alex DeBrincat’s stick and in, and it turned out to be the game-winning goal.

Look, there are no moral victories at this time of year. An ugly win beats the heck out of a pretty loss.

If the power play doesn't go 0-for-14, we might be having a different discussion because it had a chance to change the complexion of each game except the last one — because, well, there were no penalties called on either side, which was the first time that's happened in an NHL game this season.

But the Blackhawks have no margin for error and they're learning that the hard way.

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3 Takeaways: Blackhawks have hole to climb out of after road trip

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USA TODAY

3 Takeaways: Blackhawks have hole to climb out of after road trip

Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist, but the Blackhawks lost 3-2 to the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday to close out their five-game road trip. Here are three takeaways:

Bad trip

After losing in Winnipeg, the Blackhawks finished their five-game road trip with a 1-4-0 record. They began the trip last Sunday in Winnipeg with a 5-2 loss. 

Sunday's game against the Jets had flashes of good, but it was mostly strong plays from the go-to guys like Kane and Jonathan Toews. All three Jets' goals came from deflections off shots from the point. Overall, the effort and productivity paled in comparison to the lone victory of the trip, Saturday's 8-4 win over the Flames in Calgary on Saturday. 

The Blackhawks, six points out of the second wild card spot, will return home and face the New York Rangers at the United Center on Wednesday. They have 23 regular season games remaining. 

Kane keeps climbing 

With a two-point outing in Winnipeg, Kane tied former Blackhawk Steve Larmer for 87th on the NHL all-time points list with 1,012. 

"Showtime" set up Ryan Carpenter for the first goal of the game at 15:44 of the first period by backhanding a pass towards the front of the net for the crashing Carpenter to bury.

Kane scored with less than a minute remaining in the second period to tie it 2-2 off a three-way passing play with Jonathan Toews and Dominik Kubalik. Kane has 27 points (seven goals, 20 assists) in his past 18 games. 

With the primary assist on Kane's goal, Toews earned his sixth point (two goals, four assists) of the road trip. 

0.0

Sunday's Blackhawks-Jets game was the only NHL contest this season to have zero penalties. This was good news for Toews, who had five minor penalties over the prior four games. 

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