Blackhawks

Kane: Physical presence would be 'nice'

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Kane: Physical presence would be 'nice'

Thursday, April 28, 2011
Posted: 6:56 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

Patrick Kane sported a shiner around his right eye, one of several colorful souvenirs he probably has after getting knocked around pretty well by the very physical Vancouver Canucks.

So might it be a good idea for the Chicago Blackhawks to get another guy who can give some of that back?

Yeah, I think so, Kane said. Going forward that would be nice to have.

The Blackhawks wont go through a big roster overhaul again this summer. They wont be facing the money crunch that demanded it last summer. But they do need to acquire some grit and mettle again to let the opposition know the Blackhawks are not going to stand for their stars getting beaten up.

See, as much as getting rid of a lot of guys last summer, it was getting rid of the same type of guys that hurt. Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd, Brent Sopel, Kris Versteeg, Ben Eager they muscled their ways into tough areas, crashed nets, won puck battles and defended teammates against physical opponents. They were the abrasive grease that helped the sleek Blackhawks machine and its skill guys running at top speed.

Much of that was gone this season, or at least it wasnt there on a consistent basis. Hats off to guys like Viktor Stalberg and Michael Frolik taking it upon themselves to throw a few licks out there, despite it not really being part of their game. But so many of the Blackhawks skill players had to do it all: get pucks, score and most of all, defend themselves against opponents who were trying to erase them.

I think there's something to that extent. Whether it's team toughness or across the board, we need to be tougher to play against, coach Joel Quenneville said. Whether we address personnel, that's an area we like to make sure we're definitely harder to play against.

Jonathan Toews said that for guys like him and Kane, a summer like this is good to mature physically and be able to play that style more. Sure they could do that, but they have enough on their plates. Just go out and get another guy who can take the physical pressure off the guys who were expected to carry this team to the postseason late in the game.

The Blackhawks put up the good fight against the bruising Canucks and were one goal away from taking a trip to the second round in San Jose. Their top players took their knocks this season in the process and were still getting battered in Game 7. Acquiring a guy who can get in someones face and keep Kanes safe when that happens could be just what the Blackhawks need to get back to long postseasons.

It's always nice to have someone who can fight and be a force on the ice who can also play, Kane said. We had guys who could do it this year, guys like (Bryan Bickell and Troy Brouwer). (John) Scott had a good presence in the series. But it would be nice to get someone, for sure.

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

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.”