Despite Jonathan Toews' stoic reputation, Patrick Sharp says the vibe inside the Blackhawks locker room typically isn't as serious as people may think.
Both he and Toews were joined by defenseman Michal Rozsival during Saturday's "Inside the Blackhawks Locker Room" panel at the Blackhawks Convention, and all three gave their own take on the value of calling that dressing room their home.
"It's kind of our sanctuary. Maybe a small example of that is when people step on the Blackhawks logo," Toews said as he took a stab at the infamous Justin Beiber photo. "That's our room, that our space. Boys will be boys, we get to just be ourselves and hang out. I think that's what it really means to be part of a team, when you just get to hang out in a locker room."
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Rozsival walked in as the new guy last season, and little did he know he was entering into a room full of pranksters and Mario Kart enthusiasts. But it didn't take long for him to feel like a member of the Blackhawks family.
"Hockey players have tendencies to welcome each other. Because there's so many trades and stuff, I walked in, it was an Original Six team, I didn't know what to expect, but they made me feel really comfortable right away," he said. "Except Sharp, who said he hated playing against me."
Sharp, of course, had an answer for that one:
"Just remember he played for Phoenix and they beat us out in the playoffs the year before."
But all jokes aside, each player is taught to treat the locker room and team logo with respect and dignity from Day 1 of their Blackhawks career.
"We have the best sweater, the best logo in the NHL," Toews said. "You have that respect for the logo on the floor in the locker room. You don't drop the jersey, you have respect for it. We all know it's a privilege to play here in Chicago for an Original Six team and we take those little details pretty seriously."
"We play for the logo and we respect the organization and everything that logo means," Sharp added. "We don't want anyone stepping on the logo."
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Fans see the team's magic happen on the ice, but for the Blackhawks, that all begins behind closed doors inside the place they call home each season.
"The guys all get along so well off the ice, and when you learn how to talk to each other, you have that chemistry as friends," Toews said. "You figure out all the little things (inside the locker room) and how to play together."