Blackhawks

LIVE: Blackhawks trail Canucks 2-0 in 3rd period

444983.jpg

LIVE: Blackhawks trail Canucks 2-0 in 3rd period

Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Posted: 10:43 a.m.

Associated Press

VANCOUVER, British Columbia - The Vancouver Canucks and the Chicago Blackhawks have plenty of recent rich history in their rivalry.

The past three seasons alone have included everything from hair pulling to body slams, name calling to calling out. Most important to any good NHL rivalry, the past two years it ended with Chicago knocking the Canucks out of the playoffs.

With a history like that, you'd think it would be easy to get players talking about each other before their first-round series kicks off Wednesday in Vancouver. Think again.

"You don't really need any more story lines," said Canucks coach Alain Vigneault, who earlier this season accused Chicago counterpart Joel Quenneville of running up the score in a 7-1 November romp.

"Do you want me to do like that Jets coach here: 'it's between me and Quenneville?' No, there's a tremendous amount of story lines because of the history between both of these teams."

For all the bitter history, the focus going into the best-of-seven Western Conference first-round series was how much these two teams have changed since last season.

Chicago went on to win the Stanley Cup after eliminating Vancouver in six games in the second round for a second straight season.

But the Blackhawks were forced to shed 11 players to stay under the salary cap, including several key Canucks' antagonists, and needed help from Minnesota beating Dallas in the final game of the season Sunday just to make it back into the playoffs.

Meanwhile the Canucks, in part because of improvements made after losing again to Chicago, set franchise records for points (117) and wins (54) and became the first team since the 1977-78 Canadiens to lead the league in goals for and against while winning the Presidents' Trophy.

Listening to them talk about each other, you'd think each team was running the other's fan club.

The only disagreement was which team was the favorite.

"We're certainly underdogs in this series," Quenneville said.

Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo didn't sound quite as certain.

"Far as I know they're still Stanley Cup champs," he said.

Maybe so, but these are not the same Blackhawks that hoisted the Cup. Gone are goalie Antti Niemi and forward Andrew Ladd, who was once called a "coward" by Canucks center Ryan Kesler.

Big-bodied forward Dustin Byfuglien, who made life miserable in Luongo's crease, was traded, as was Kris Versteeg, who scored two game-winning goals in the last playoff series.

"They still have (Jonathan) Toews, (Patrick) Kane, (Duncan) Keith, and (Brent) Seabrook," Luongo said. "That's a dangerous team. They know how to win."

Especially in Vancouver, where the Canucks also host Game 2 on Friday before the series shifts to Chicago for Games 3 and 4. The Blackhawks won all three games in Vancouver last postseason, including a conclusive 5-1 victory in Game 6, and have a 5-1 record here the past two playoffs.

"Any mental edge would be thrown out the window the way the years have gone," Kane said. "But you always hope you have a mental edge and hope you are in the back of their minds that what happened wasn't a fluke and could happen again."

The Canucks say they learned from the losses, especially handing Chicago a run of power plays with undisciplined penalties in Games 3 and 4. They made changes to personnel, strengthening their defensive depth and adding grit up front. But the biggest adjustment was to their personality.

Just as they refused to repeat last season's talk about wanting to play Chicago and being eager for redemption, the players, led by former agitators Kesler and Alex Burrows, made a conscious effort to reduce trash talk to opponents and officials, something they learned from the Blackhawks.

"If you learn from the past there's a good chance the future will be different," Vigneault said. "We've proven a lot of things during the regular season and now it's our turn to try and prove it in the playoffs."

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Recapping Joel Quenneville's homecoming and a memorable night of celebration in Chicago

Recapping Joel Quenneville's homecoming and a memorable night of celebration in Chicago

There was a special buzz around the United Center on Tuesday. A different kind of atmosphere than usual. 

The Blackhawks had won five in a row and 11 of their past 15 to climb back into the Western Conference playoff race and have been playing, by far, their best hockey of the season over the last month. The Florida Panthers were also riding a five-game winning streak and had won 12 of their past 16 to move into a top 3 spot in the Atlantic Division.

This was a big matchup in the standings for both teams before the NHL All-Star break and bye week because they each have to sit on this result for nine straight days. That itself was enough for the intensity level to be heightened.

But Tuesday was ultimately a night of celebration in Chicago.

It marked the highly-anticipated return of Joel Quenneville, who was back at the United Center for the first time since being let go on Nov. 6, 2018. He arrived at the arena just after 4 p.m. with a handful of camera crews documenting his every move and had to be directed to the visiting coaches room after nearly forgetting where it was exactly located.

Quenneville caught up with just about everyone you can think of before making his way to the visiting NBA locker room because it was the only area large enough to fit all the media members for his pregame press conference. He spent a majority of the 15 minutes reminiscing about how special his 10-plus year tenure in Chicago was and did so with a huge smile on his face.

"It all brings back a special time in our lives and a special time with the city going through some amazing runs that are so memorable," Quenneville said. "So many people shared it and so many people played a hand in it and were responsible for it. Was very fortunate to have that type of career time here in Chicago and shared by a lot of people and feeling that today."

Before officially welcoming back Quenneville, the Blackhawks honored Patrick Kane with a special pregame ceremony after he became the 90th player in NHL history to record 1,000 points and fourth to do so in franchise history. It was a perfect way to kick off the night, and it set the bar high for the next ovation.

After the first TV timeout, the Blackhawks aired a 60-second video tribute for Quenneville that included some of his best bench reactions and celebrations from their playoff victories and three Stanley Cup runs. It was impossible to encapsulate what he's meant to the organization over a one-minute span, but the more important part was that Blackhawks fans finally got a chance to thank Quenneville for everything he did by giving him a deafening ovation that seemingly never ended.

"That felt unbelievable," Quenneville said. "It was a great feeling. Captured some special moments in the building when the enthusiasm and the excitement and the noise and Kaner’s starting the game off like that, and the building was rocking. It felt like a different game. Had some importance to it. It was special. It was kind of like saying thank you to me and I was thanking them, and it was all good. Felt great. That was certainly a memorable ovation I’m thankful for."

Seeing Quenneville behind the visiting bench was going to be strange for everyone. The fans, the media, the organization. And even the players.

"You just think things are going to stay the same forever and it’s weird when things change and guys go to other teams," Jonathan Toews said. "Coach Q just felt like a staple with this organization, this city as well."

In fitting fashion, the Blackhawks rallied from a 3-0 deficit in the second period by scoring three of the next four goals to make it an exciting finish. But it was the Panthers who prevailed on Q night.

To cap off the memorable evening, Quenneville addressed a large herd of reporters one final time before exiting the arena. But not before making his way to Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Toews and giving each of them hugs to show his love and appreciation for His Guys.

"When I left here, the bitterness that you think you might have leaving from here would have been prevalent," Quenneville said. "But I didn’t have any of that type of feeling. The memories were too special, and recapturing it here immediately, you can have the same sense of why it was like that. And show a lot of appreciation for everyone here. It’s a great place to play, special fans, fun building and great organization. So thanks."

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Blackhawks games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.

3 Takeaways: Joel Quenneville returns to United Center, Patrick Kane honored for 1,000th point

3 Takeaways: Joel Quenneville returns to United Center, Patrick Kane honored for 1,000th point

The Blackhawks lost 4-3 to the Florida Panthers, but welcomed former head coach Joel Quenneville back to Chicago and honored Patrick Kane for capturing his 1,000th NHL point. Here are three takeaways:

Welcome back, "Q"

Quenneville returned to the United Center for the first time since being fired on Nov. 6, 2018. Coach Q now the head coach of the Panthers (third place in the Atlantic Division), received a thunderous ovation during a video tribute from the Hawks organization in the first period. 

"I think that ovation was incredible," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "I think all of us that played for him were all smiles. His ovation might have been bigger than Kaner's, I don't know. Close call. But obviously, the fans showing him lots of respect and love... pretty cool to see."

"Q" guided the Blackhawks through three Stanley Cup championships (2010, 2013, 2015) and helped end a 49-year cup drought in Chicago in 2010. Quenneville returned to face the red-hot Hawks, who had won five-straight games, with his red-hot Panthers, who had also won five straight prior to Tuesday.

"You got to give them a little credit," Quenneville said of Jeremy Colliton's Blackhawks before the game. "They're playing fast, they've got some speed in their lineup. They're quick in all lines. They can score, they're dangerous. 

"I think we've got to be respectful for what their rush game can bring and I think that it was kind of reminiscent when I talk about our team a lot. I say we can always score goals. 

"It's 'try to keep it out of our net' is a priority and we've been scoring a lot of goals and we want to make sure we can get better without the puck, and I think that's been a work in progress for us but it's [a] comparable time in our team's development right now. But we're seeing progress and I think tonight that's going to be a good test of how well we defend."

#PK1K

The Blackhawks held a ceremony before the game to honor Kane for recording his 1,000th NHL point off an assist in Sunday's 5-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets. The ceremony included a video of the superstar winger as a small child saying: “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the greatest show on earth.”

Kane is the 90th player in NHL history to reach the milestone and the youngest US-born player (31 years, 61 days) to record 1,000 points in the show.

On Tuesday, Kane scored with 1:15 remaining in regulation to bring the Blackhawks within one of the Panthers, extending his point streak to 11 games (five goals, 11 assists), but it wouldn't be enough.

Streak snapped

The Hawks' five-game winning streak ended and they remain three points out of a wild card spot. Their next game won't be until Feb. 1 in Arizona with the All-Star break and bye week. 

A horrid second period is what did the Hawks in on Tuesday. Chicago gave up four second-period goals, including a hat trick from Frank Vatrano. 

The Blackhawks did see contributions from Kirby Dach, who scored off a backhand over Sergei Bobrovsky's shoulder. Dach, who turned 19 on Tuesday, ended a 13-game goal drought, making it 3-1 in the second period. Drake Caggiula scored off a redirect on a third-period power play to make it 4-2. Caggiula has five points (three goals, two assists) in his past four games after returning from a concussion on Jan. 9.

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Blackhawks games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.