Blackhawks

Hawk Talk: Quotes from the Dressing Room

Hawk Talk: Quotes from the Dressing Room

Sunday, Apr. 4, 2010

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com
Blackhawks goalie Antti Niemi:

On not wanting to give the title belt up to new holder Troy Brouwer: It fits me best!

The guy with the least grasp of English best summarizes the last week best: Everybodys enjoying more about the game.

Laughing off his 1st career NHL assist (and only his second as a pro: That wasnt much of an assist. I just saw Kaner dropping into the middle.

On whats different in his game now compared with earlier in the season: Its a big deal that Ive gotten to continue playing after a couple of bad games.

Refusing to acknowledge hes the man in the crease for the Blackhawks: Well see how it goes.

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville:

On Niemi: He doesnt get disturbed or disrupted. Hes quiet and low-key. Those traits make him comfortable in the net.

Coach gets big laughs in response to several questions about naming Niemi official starter: Right now hes going good. Hes likely going again Tuesday.

On his teams recent transformation: A week ago, you would call our play not very good. Or terrible.

Blackhawks defenseman Dustin Byfuglien:

Asked whether meeting the goal of a division title is a big deal: I guess so.

On his late tally, his 17th this season but first as a defenseman: Blue line scoring takes a lot of the pressure off of the forwards.

A couple of losses never hurts a good team. It sets you back to ground zero and you can start over again.

Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane:

On beating Kiprusoff with a tasty, highlight-reel goal in the second period: That one felt really good. He said this with a big, cheese-eating grin.

Id rather not score if we win, as opposed to just putting up big scoring numbers and not winning.

On his recent scoring slump: Its a goofy game. Part of my job for the team is to produce offensively, and its good to be able to do that today.
Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp:

Getting back to playing the right way is more important than winning the division.

NHL Draft Profile: D Quinn Hughes

NHL Draft Profile: D Quinn Hughes

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Quinn Hughes

Position: Defenseman
Height: 5-foot-10
Weight: 170 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report:

"He's got the puck skills, is a good skater, and is a guy with some high-end offensive talent. He wants to get right in there and play where it's hard and where you get rewarded. When he gets that puck on his stick, he wants to bury it."

NHL player comparable: Torey Krug/Kris Letang

Fit for Blackhawks:

It's no secret the Blackhawks are looking to restock their pipeline with some high-end defensemen. Henri Jokiharju and Ian Mitchell are on the way. But the former isn't a lock to be a full-time NHLer this season and the latter will continue playing in college for the 2018-19 season.

Hughes, who shined at Michigan and the IIHF World Championship with Team USA, would have the best chance of the three to crack the Blackhawks lineup first. The problem is, he likely won't be available at No. 8, so if Hughes is the guy they're locked in on, they'd need to trade up to grab him. 

If they did that, Hughes would give the Blackhawks a third blue line prospect they can get excited about. He's a left-handed shot, which evens out the balance in the system, and he would become a prime candidate to eventually replace Duncan Keith as the team's No. 1 defenseman.

NHL Draft Profile: F Oliver Wahlstrom

NHL Draft Profile: F Oliver Wahlstrom

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Oliver Wahlstrom

Position: Right wing
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 205 pounds
Shoots: Right

Scouting report:

"Wahlstrom already has an NHL-caliber shot with a quick release and the ability to create space for himself and linemates. He's most known for his goal-scoring ability and elite shot, and can hit a one-timer as good or better than many professional players."

NHL player comparable: Phil Kessel

Fit for Blackhawks:

The Blackhawks would probably prefer to take a defenseman at No. 8, but because four of them might go inside the Top 7, the best available player on the board is likely to be a forward. And there's a decent chance that could be Wahlstrom.

Wahlstrom would immediately become Chicago's top prospect, and a player that has the potential to slide into the top six when he reaches the NHL — whenever that may be.

He's committed to college for the 2018-19 season, so it's doubtful he would join the team until at least 2019-20, but Blackhawks vice president of amateur scouting Mark Kelley said in our draft preview edition of the Hawks Talk Podcast that it wouldn't deter them from picking him. 

And it shouldn't, because you don't want to waste a player of his caliber's entry-level years developing in the minors if he's not ready yet.

"I think the way we would evaluate it is, we project them, we try to get a timeline on when we think they might be NHL ready," Kelley said. "But we're also looking for where they are in their development curve and want their ceiling is. I think in some players, you have to be a little bit more patient for them to reach their ceiling. That doesn't necessarily mean that players can't exceed their development curve, I think we saw that with Alex DeBrincat last year."