Hawks rookies excited for playoff debut

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Hawks rookies excited for playoff debut

GLENDALE, Ariz. Andrew Shaw couldnt get any more excited about his first postseason game tonight. He thought about it last night before he went to bed, thought about it again when he woke up in the morning.

So, it was a restless nights sleep for the rookie?

No, I got lots of sleep. I wanted to go to bed at 10 last night, thats how tired I was, the Blackhawks forward said. So no nap for me today.

As excited as he and Brandon Bollig are to make their NHL playoff debuts tonight against the Phoenix Coyotes, it hasnt stopped them from getting their rest and going through their usual routines. And the way the rookies are handling the pomp and circumstance around the postseason should bode well for how they handle the games themselves.

Obviously Im pretty hyped up to keep going, but you have to take it as another game, said Bollig, who will be trying to make sure no one takes advantage of Jonathan Toews in his first game back from a concussion. You just want to keep your mind ready and stay well rested.

The energy and aggressiveness the two have brought the Blackhawks was pivotal down the regular-season stretch. Now, as they go into the playoffs, they want to keep that exuberance but avoid getting overzealous.

The first series, in particular, it can be physical with a lot of intensity. We want to make sure discipline is key, coach Joel Quenneville said. Thats our concentration no matter who we play. Careless, needless penalties can change things and turn games a certain way, so dont do it. We want to be hard to play against, go into the tough areas, and we dont want to take away from their strengths. But find that line and stay as close to it without pushing it.

Shaw said hes talked to some of the Blackhawks veterans, and understands what its going to take.

They say its a lot more energetic game and thats my game. They say everyone steps up now, he said. Its that much more exciting and physical out there. Im excited to get started.

Bill Dineen, father of Blackhawks assistant coach Kevin Dineen, passes away

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USA TODAY

Bill Dineen, father of Blackhawks assistant coach Kevin Dineen, passes away

Bill Dineen, former AHL and NHL coach and father of Blackhawks assistant coach Kevin Dineen, passed away on Saturday morning. He was 84.

Kevin Dineen was not at the Blackhawks’ practice on Saturday. Coach Joel Quenneville called Bill Dineen “a tremendous man.”

“Everyone who had the privilege to meet Bill and be around him loved the guy. He was probably one of the most liked people you’d ever want to meet. Great family man; the kids are just like the dad,” Quenneville said following Saturday’s practice. “We had a good time with him on the dad’s trip last time. Seeing him at that stage and being around hockey again, it was fun to be there.”

Bill Dineen played for the Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings. He later was a head coach, mostly in the AHL. He was named the AHL’s outstanding coach twice and led the Adirondack Red Wings to the Calder Cup in 1986 and 1989. He also had an NHL coaching stint with the Philadelphia Flyers from 1992 to 1993, during which he coached Kevin.

AHL president David Andrews released a statement regarding Dineen’s passing.

“During his time as a player and coach, and in the values he instilled in his family, Bill Dineen created a legacy of greatness in the American Hockey League that still resonates today. Our deepest condolences go out to the entire Dineen family at this time.”

Brent Seabrook could return, but Jonathan Toews will miss ninth straight when Blackhawks play Stars

Brent Seabrook could return, but Jonathan Toews will miss ninth straight when Blackhawks play Stars

Brent Seabrook came onto the ice on Saturday morning, a welcome sight for a Blackhawks team that has dealt with a few injuries lately.

And while Seabrook's return seems imminent, Jonathan Toews’ status remains very much up in the air.

Seabrook (upper body) practiced on Saturday and could be available on Sunday when the Blackhawks host the Dallas Stars at the United Center. Toews (back) did not skate and will miss his ninth consecutive game. Corey Crawford (appendectomy) will also be out, with Scott Darling getting his fifth consecutive start.

Coach Joel Quenneville said he’ll see how Seabrook feels on Sunday morning before making a decision.

The defenseman said he felt good following Saturday’s practice.

“The lungs at the end were burning a little bit with Kitch,” said Seabrook, referring to assistant coach Mike Kitchen. “But just trying to get ready to roll.”

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Seabrook hasn’t missed many games in recent years — he played 81 of 82 games in 2015-16, all 82 in each of the two seasons prior to that and 47 of 48 in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season.

“It’s tough. You want to be out there and want to be playing. It’s tough not being out there with your teammates and helping them out and battling with them so I think we did a great job (Friday) night,” Seabrook said. “Had a great game, had a chance for two points in overtime there but got one, which is huge for our group. I think it’s good.”

As for Toews, Quenneville had hoped the captain would be skating by this weekend. He said following Saturday’s practice that Toews could skate on Sunday. Whether or not Toews accompanies the Blackhawks on their upcoming trip to New York depends on what happens on Sunday.

“If he skates tomorrow, we’ll have a better sense of that,” Quenneville said. “We have to do what’s right, long-term, and make sure he’s 100 percent and ready to go.”

Quenneville said he saw Crawford, who had his appendectomy on Dec. 2, Saturday at the rink.

“He’s doing all right,” Quenneville said. “Being away and then getting back on the ice, it’ll take some time to get him back to square one. He’s excited about getting back into equipment soon.”

Marian Hossa and Richard Panik did not practice on Saturday but were just taking rest days. Both are expected to play vs. the Stars.