Blackhawks

Hawk Talk: From Stanley Cup Final media day

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Hawk Talk: From Stanley Cup Final media day

Thursday, May 27, 2010
8:45 PM

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

CHICAGO Its unlike anything seen before on the hockey side of the United Center, the NHLs media elite all concentrated in one spot on the west side of Chicago, gathered for the 2010 Stanley Cup media day.

Many players enjoyed their own private interview space, up on risers and sitting at tables that looked like the NHLs answer to gear cases packed and unpacked by music roadies. Less prominent stars shared tables in the middle of the roomcase in point, Chicagos bruiser table of Adam Burish, Brent Sopel and Ben Eager.

The Blackhawks strolled out in matching, numbered black pullovers for their session at 1:15 p.m., while Philadelphia hit the tables in crossing-guard orange hoodies at 3. Here are some highlights from the days chatter:

Stan Bowman, Blackhawks GM
On acquiring Marian Hossa: More than anything, he played a style that we were trying to instill in some of our younger guys, which is he plays both ends of the ice. Weve seen that in the playoffs. Hes contributed offensively, but when you watch the game closely, you notice that he does all those little things so well. It has rubbed off on some of our younger players Im sure Joel Quenneville would agree that its not always easy to get your most skilled players to play as hard as Marian does away from the puck and coming back in his own end. So we knew if we ever had a chance to get a player like Marian, we would rally have to make a hard push.

Dustin Byfuglien, Blackhawks forward
Id like to lace em up right now and get going.

I think we match up with Philadelphia very well.

Laughing about his newfound fame: Yep, I just woke up one day and decided to go to work and become famous.

On his weight, a curious emphasis during his session: People are going to ask until Im done playing. Its kind of funny to hear all of the different numbers. Im going to let you guys keep guessing.

Marian Hossa, Blackhawks forward
When you look around at all this here today, you see everything being put under a microscope. But its still the same game.

On his goal drought: It makes me angry, but four more wins is whats most important right now.

On Media Day: Its the same thing that happens in the dressing room but now wearing a nice hoodie in comfortable seats.

On coming to the Blackhawks: When Chicago called me on the first day and talked to my agent, I had a really good feeling. I was looking to make one team my home, so I said to my agent, I think this is it.

On Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville: Q played the game and understands players. He keeps the dressing room loose, and not every coach does that. He is fired up before each game, but he never loses control. He looks pretty relaxed to me all of the time.

On taking pride in being a two-way player: I like to be speedy. Thats my game. When I have a chance to catch a player from behind, I like to steal those pucks.

Ian Laperriere, Flyers center
On the serious facial injury he suffered blocking a Paul Martin shot in Game 5 of the quarterfinals: It bruised my brain. But I was lucky. It bruised the front of my brain, which doesnt do anything. Thats the one place you want to get hit.

On his decision to adapt his game from sheer scoring: Guys who were way more talented didnt want to change. Theyre doing something else now. Not to sound arrogant, but Im 36 and still playing.
Chris Pronger, Flyers defenseman
Youre only as good as your last game. As fast as you can get a pat on the back you can get a pat on the bumand a push out the door.

If were just happy to be here, maybe we should go home.

The key to winning? Its knowing in the locker room you can win every game you go after.

At the end of the day, its just a hockey game. Youve gotta go out and find a way to win.

Im not ever done learning in this game. When youre done learning, you should probably get out of the game.

On similarities between Chicago and Philadelphia: Both teams play with an edge and play fast, without sacrificing defense.

On being the underdogs: The people who arent picking us, theres a reason theyre there and were here The pundits havent been kind to us to begin with.
On Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville, who coached him with the St. Louis Blues: Right from the get-go he wanted to mentor me. Hes a guy who played with a good stick. He helped my game enormously. Hes a defensemans defenseman.

Dismissing the challenge Byfuglien creates: I can go down the list of guys in this league who are pretty big.

On how to stop a player of Dustin Byfugliens size: Do you honestly think Im gonna tell you?

Patrick Sharp, Blackhawks forward
On when his game face for Saturday gets fixed on: Pretty much when this interview is over.

On the Blackhawks bad old days: It wasnt as bad as people are making it out to be.

Jonathan Toews, Blackhawks center
Its felt like the longest week ever waiting for this game on Saturday night. But were looking forward to it. Well be ready for it. Were just trying to save our energy for now and not get too jacked up.

The entire hockey world is watching this. These are the type of games you love to play in. Its a fun thing to be a part of.

We've got an entire city behind us. We feel like this is the year for us, and we're going to throw everything we can at Philadelphia."

Win those small battles and you might win the war. Thats what well focus on. Nothing to get excited about.

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

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

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."

Anthony Duclair regrets not making most of opportunity with Blackhawks

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USA TODAY

Anthony Duclair regrets not making most of opportunity with Blackhawks

Anthony Duclair knew what kind of opportunity he had in front of him when he was traded to the Blackhawks in January. The first day he stepped into the locker room, he admitted he was a little "star-struck."

But the marriage didn't last very long. 

After recording only two goals and eight assists in 23 games, the Blackhawks chose to move on from the restricted free agent by not extending a qualifying offer. Duclair later latched on with the Columbus Blue Jackets on a one-year, $650,000 "prove-it" deal.

"I wasn't surprised," Duclair said before Saturday's game against his former team. "I knew that I didn't perform as well as I did when I was there. I think I was there for only 20 games and didn't live up to the standards. As soon as I didn't hear anything from my agent I sort of got the message. But it was time to move on."

Duclair made no excuses for what went wrong in Chicago and accepted responsibility for not taking advantage of his opportunity, even though a leg injury sidelined him for the final month that prevented him from giving the Blackhawks a larger sample size.

"I just didn't perform well," he said. "It's going to be one of my regrets, to get that opportunity in Chicago and not perform in the way I did. It was something I had to look in the mirror this summer and move on obviously, but at the same time whenever a team comes next I think I'm going to take that opportunity and run away with it."

It's obvious that Duclair's got the potential to be an effective offensive player in the NHL. But we've only seen that in flashes, which is a large reason why it didn't work out in Chicago and why, entering his fifth season in the league, he still finds himself trying to play for a long-term contract.

"Just being more consistent," Duclair said. "Thats comes up a lot and my agents talks to a couple GMs around the league and it's something I'm trying to work on. It's not something you can work on in the summer, it's more preparing mentally and physically and that's what I've been trying to do."

So far, so good in Columbus.

Duclair has two goals and two assists through six games and is averaging 15:22 of ice time playing in a top-six role, on track to shatter his previous career high in that category (14:23) when he did so as a sophomore in 2015-16 with Arizona. He even made headlines on Thursday after scoring a highlight-reel goal against the Philadelphia Flyers, saying his "phone blew up quite a bit."

How he scored it is what stood out and his perspective after it is encouraging for his overall growth, as well.

"I've already put it behind me to be honest with you," Duclair said. "I'm just focused on Chicago now. I want to be consistent throughout every shift. Look at that goal, [it was] second and third efforts. That's what I want to bring to the table every shift, especially with the guys I'm playing right now. I just want to be having the puck whenever you can and being big on the forecheck."