Chicago Blackhawks

Blackhawks, Canucks set to renew hostilities

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Blackhawks, Canucks set to renew hostilities

Sunday, April 10, 2011
Posted: 8:22 p.m. Updated: 10:26 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

Joel Quennevilles excitement was palpable even through a conference call.

His Chicago Blackhawks had squandered their chance to get into the playoffs earlier Sunday, but the Minnesota Wild got them back in with their 5-3 victory over the Dallas Stars later that night.

Ive never been more excited about a hockey game that Ive never participated in, in my life. I was celebrating like a 5-year-old at a birthday party, Quenneville said a few hours after the Blackhawks claimed the No. 8 seed and a Western Conference quarterfinal matchup with the No. 1 Vancouver Canucks. Its unbelievable. Im shocked, surprised. I cant express my jubilation and excitement.

In the true spirit of this Blackhawks season, even their qualifying for the playoffs wasnt easy. But they got in and now face a Vancouver squad that was head and shoulders above the rest in the West this season.

Games 1 and 2 will be Wednesday and Friday night in Vancouver, 9 p.m. CST starts on both. Games 3 and 4 are April 17 and 19 at the United Center, with 7 p.m. starts. All first-round games will be televised on Comcast SportsNet.

Quenneville, whose Blackhawks went 2-2-0 vs. Vancouver this season and eliminated them the past two postseasons, said his team has to take advantage of this opportunity.

I know that playing against Vancouver we have to be special. The enthusiasm of making the playoffs is something we need to take going forward, Quenneville said. Anything can happen. We saw last year what happened with Philly at the end of (the regular season). All the teams are comparable, probably even. Lets go find out.

Most of the Blackhawks were probably watching this afternoon, too, when Minnesota helped them. Patrick Sharp told NHL Network on Sunday night said he, Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith and Marty Turco talked about watching the game together but we werent in the best of moods after the Detroit loss.

Sharp was nevertheless thrilled at the outcome.

Im pretty relieved, thats the least I can say, Sharp told NHL Network. Its pretty exciting. You knew Minnesota came ready to play from the first shift and we had a chance.

Now the Blackhawks have another chance. Despite the Blackhawks recent postseason success against the Canucks, this wont be easy. Vancouver rose to the top of the West and stayed there throughout most of this season, weathering injuries and getting great performances throughout their lineup.

The Blackhawks could be getting some welcome news on the injury front, too. Dave Bolland continues to progress from his concussion, and Quenneville said we hope that hes able to be part of the first round of the playoffs and be a part of them early. Troy Brouwer (right shoulder) will travel for Games 1 and 2.

Nobody would like to play in the Vancouver series more than Brouw, Quenneville said. Were hoping he can be.

The Blackhawks got another chance. Theyre familiar with their opponent and what needs to be done at this time of year. The Wild got them in. Its up to them to move on.

The games were very competitive, very intense and the history of that playoff series against a familiar foe creates whole new level of intensity, Quenneville said. Rivalry becomes part of the culture. Lets respect that. Being smart, being intense, being competitive is what we need to be.

Chicago won the first two meetings, including a 2-1 shootout victory on Oct. 20. But Vancouver got on the board thanks to Roberto Luongo's shutout in a 3-0 win on Dec. 3.

The Blackhawks fired 45 shots at Luongo on Feb. 4, but some questionable calls hurt in a 4-3 loss north of the border.

In the season series, Jonathan Toews continued to bring his best against the Canucks with two goals and an assist. Patrick Kane had a goal and two assists, while Marian Hossa had three assists. Most of the scoring damage was done in one game, however, the Blackhawks' 7-1 massacre in Vancouver on Nov. 20.

Daniel Sedin scored two goals and assisted on three others against the Blackhawks.

Series schedule

DateTimeLocationTVGame 1: Wed., April 13
8:30 Pregame Live
9:00 p.m. puck drop
Postgame Live follows
at Vancouver
CSN-HDGame 2: Fri., April 15
8:30 Pregame Live
9:00 p.m. puck drop
Postgame Live follows
at Vancouver
CSN-HDGame 3: Sun., April 17
6:30 Pregame Live
7:00 p.m. puck drop
Postgame Live follows
CHICAGOCSN-HDGame 4: Tue., April 19
6:30 Pregame Live
7:00 p.m. puck drop
Postgame Live follows
CHICAGOCSN-HDGame 5: Thu., April 21
8:30 Pregame Live
9:00 p.m. puck drop
Postgame Live follows
at Vancouver
CSN-HDGame 6: Sun., April 24
6:00 Pregame Live
6:30 p.m. puck drop
Postgame Live follows
CHICAGOCSN-HDGame 7: Tue., April 26
TBDat Vancouver
CSN-HD
if necessary

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

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' 5-2 win over Blue Jackets in preseason opener

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' 5-2 win over Blue Jackets in preseason opener

Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks' 5-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets in Tuesday's preseason opener:

1. Anton Forsberg sharp in debut.

The former Blue Jackets netminder who was acquired by the Blackhawks in the Artemi Panarin-Brandon Saad offseason deal shined in his first game action with his new club, stopping 38 of 40 shots he faced. Many of them were quality saves, too.

He was a perfect 14-for-14 in the first period, with eight of those coming while Columbus was on the power play, which also included a 5-on-3 stretch. He stood tall and looked comfortable in net, and it's an encouraging sign for the Blackhawks who are hoping he can become a reliable backup goaltender to ease the load off Corey Crawford.

2. Cody Franson, Jan Rutta stand out on defense.

The Blackhawks brought in Franson on a professional tryout agreement, and he didn't waste any time making his presence felt. The 30-year-old defenseman recorded four of the team's nine shots in the opening frame, all of which came on the power play, and the fourth one found the back of the net to open up the scoring. He served as a solid quarterback on the man advantage, and wasn't afraid to utilize his heavy shot.

Rutta was no different. He led all skaters with 23:52 of ice time, and was rewarded with a goal in the second period after his slapshot from the point bounced off the boards, ricocheted off the back of Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo's skate and trickled into the net. The 27-year-old Czech defenseman also registered two blocked shots and had two of the club's seven takeaways.

3. Nick Schmaltz's confidence and game continues to grow.

There is a noticeable difference in Schmaltz's confidence and game this year compared to last year. He looks bigger, faster and more confident with the puck, and his strong showing at training camp translated into the first preseason game.

Serving as the first-line center, Schmaltz led all Chicago forwards with 18:03 of ice time and spent time on both the power play and penalty kill units. He showed off his wicked wrist shot with a goal in the second period to make it 4-0, and displayed his playmaking ability by recording a primary assist on Franson's goal. He was one of four Blackhawks who had multi-point efforts in the win (Franson, Tomas Jurco and Graham Knott).

4. Blackhawks finish strong in faceoff department after rough start.

The Blackhawks ranked second-to-last in faceoff win percentage last year at 47.5, and they appeared to be headed down that path again. They opened the game 0-for-8 at the dot, but ended up finishing strong by winning 37 of the next 60 draws for a win percentage of 61.7. Matthew Highmore, Vinnie Hinostroza, Graham Knott and John Mitchell led the way by combining to go 19 of 25 (76 percent) at the circle.

5. NHL cracking down on several rules.

The league has made it clear about its intentions of laying down the law regarding a few rules and it was evident Tuesday that they won't be messing around. Seventeen penalties were called in the game, including five slashing and two faceoff violations.

Those are the two areas that will be focused on closely, the former in an effort to protect the NHL's stars and the latter to ensure a fair chance for both centers. Prepare for more whistles and power plays early on.

Pat Foley provides health update on Blackhawks analyst Eddie Olczyk

Pat Foley provides health update on Blackhawks analyst Eddie Olczyk

Blackhawks hockey returned to CSN on Tuesday when the team visited the Columbus Blue Jackets for their 2017-18 preseason opener, but a familiar voice was missing from the booth.

That would be analyst Eddie Olczyk, who was diagnosed with colon cancer in August and will take time off while he undergoes treatment.

Pat Foley took some time to provide an update on his broadcast partner before the second period of Tuesday's game after speaking with Olczyk earlier in the day.

Check it out in the video above.