A little R&R could put Blackhawks back on top

A little R&R could put Blackhawks back on top
April 30, 2011, 1:14 am
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Friday, April 29, 2011
Posted: 8:14 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

There will be no long postseason for the Chicago Blackhawks this spring. There will be no Stanley Cup celebration parade, no entire summer spent making appearances and no Cup hangover.

No, this summer the Blackhawks will have time to rest, recover and be get fully ready to go when the fall rolls around again. Theyll be hungry again, something that the Blackhawks say may have been missing when they started the 2010-11 campaign.

Its good in some ways, Patrick Kane said of the longer break. We want to keep playing but we had two months off after the big parade (last season). It really wasn't much time. I think for everyone, nice to have that summer.

Between parades, conventions and other Cup-related appearances, the Blackhawks had little down time last summer. And remember several top players were also at the Olympics. Thats a lot of winning and a lot of games.

So its no surprise that the Blackhawks energy levels werent at top speed in October. Their motivation had to be less, too, considering they had won everything a few months before that.

Coach Joel Quenneville expects the drive, energy and motivation will be there this fall.

We should all expect more from each other, he said. We talk about being in that playoff race from Game 1 to 82; it definitely takes a little bit out of your team. We would expect the excitement level to be there from the beginning (next season). Starts are critical.

And the Blackhawks didnt have a good one in 2010. So then they were fighting at the end, extending themselves to get to the playoffs. And despite their valiant effort to get to a Game 7 against the No. 1 seed Vancouver Canucks, the Blackhawks looked gassed by the end of that series.

I think we'll be able to see next year that rest definitely helped us, Jonathan Toews said. It does so much for you physically but most of all just being away from the game a little really helps you to get hungry and play well.

The Blackhawks will get a lot of things back this summer: their energy and their health being top among them. They should also have that hunger to go for another Cup run.

The message (at locker clean-out) was more or less that all 82 games matter. We were in that group of 4-6-8 teams fighting for a spot all year, and that's taxing on a team, Patrick Sharp said. The message is to come back next year excited to play hockey.

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