Dominate, win, repeat: Hawks stars must stay hot

Dominate, win, repeat: Hawks stars must stay hot

Friday, April 22, 2011
Posted: 9:21 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

Jonathan Toews was rolling off teammates names that broke through their scoring silence in Game 5, Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa among them.

Ive got to feel like theyre coming for me as well, he said with a smile. Im just waiting for the right moment here.

Indeed, the Blackhawks top guns couldnt have picked a better time to get going; and the ones who havent quite revved it up seem to be inching their foot toward the gas pedal.

We always hear it, especially at this time of the season: a teams best players have to perform as such. In Game 5, the Blackhawks best were just that. Kane was deflecting a Duncan Keith shot for his first goal of the postseason.

WATCH: Luongo shaves playoff beard

Hossa was teeing it up from the ladies tees, as Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault put it, for his first goal of these playoffs and driving goaltender Roberto Luongo from the game with his second.

It was Keith putting up career numbers in honor of fallen partner Brent Seabrook and Toews doing everything but scoring. The captain joked about his inability to put the puck in the net thus far this postseason, but even the casual Game 5 observer can see hes close. Save a collar hook by Daniel Sedin, Toews probably does get his first Thursday night.

It was an across-the-board performance on a night when the Blackhawks needed it. They seized control early. And while they quickly had a multi-goal lead they played throughout like a team trying to gain separation in a one-goal affair: relentless, cohesive and determined.

Now the Blackhawks need a repeat in Game 6. Their confidence is building and their stars postseason games are budding. Theyve outscored Vancouver 12-2 in these last two games. The Canucks say theyre still in control, and according to the best-of-seven tote board, they are, 3-2. But their grip is slipping. And considering they had the golden chance to eliminate the Blackhawks in front of their home fans, their Game 5 performance was perplexing.

Brian Campbell spelled it out before the Blackhawks flew to Vancouver for Game 5 on Wednesday. Maybe if you win the next one you feel stronger about yourselves. At that time the Canucks were up 3-1 and this wasnt a series yet.

Thanks to the Blackhawks best playing their best, it is now.

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

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Blackhawks Convention Opening Ceremonies

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AP

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Blackhawks Convention Opening Ceremonies

On the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast, we're live at the 2017 Blackhawks Convention. 

Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp join David Kaplan and Pat Boyle to talk about returning to Chicago. 

Later Boyle, CSN Blackhawks Insider Tracey Myers, Chris Kuc and Sam Panayotovich discuss the huge roster changes this offseason. 

Listen to the STL Pod below. 

Don Granato thrilled to be working with 'calm' Q again

Don Granato thrilled to be working with 'calm' Q again

For Don Granato, working with coach Joel Quenneville again was a chance he couldn’t refuse. Granato was a young coach with the Worcester IceCats, the St. Louis affiliate when Quenneville was the Blues’ head coach, and Granato learned plenty.

“The presence,” Granato said of Quenneville. “He has a really good presence, a calming influence.”

Wait. Quenneville calm?

“Without a doubt, calming,” Granato said. “It was almost like, ‘Hey, we’re in it together.’ And again, that’s the calm behind the scenes. He helps players and in that case he helped me perform as well as I could at that point. I think he’s good at that, because he’s a people person. That’s what I remember most. It’s more of a feel.”

Granato, who general manager Stan Bowman called “a great communicator,” is happy to be back in the Quenneville coaching fold this season. Granato will be watching the games from upstairs and will bring another voice to a Blackhawks group that is looking to take a fresh approach after a second first-round loss. Assistant coach Kevin Dineen said having another perspective will help.

“I’m looking forward to having Donny here,” Dineen said. “I like to talk. I sit there and talk through things. When you have someone working with you on a specific area of the game you can have those debates. It’s the same thing with players but you’re teaching. With another coach a good, healthy voice like that with Donny’s experience can be great for us.”

Where Granato will help most – and where that calm he learned from Quenneville could be most critical – is with the Blackhawks’ younger players. He’s worked with several already through the USA Hockey National Team Development Program, including John Hayden and Nick Schmaltz, both of whom appreciated Granato’s tutelage.

“It’s so obvious he knows the game so well. I think coaches who know the game well and know how to teach the game well are hard to come by,” Hayden said. “It goes back to what I’ve said about meeting the coaching staff and the rest of the players. You feel comfortable in that regard. With coaching changes that process happens all over again, but I was fortunate to spend two years in the World Juniors with coach Granato, who did an incredible job with coaching and development.”

[MORE: Who goes where? Quenneville already plotting options] 

Granato will have a voice with the Blackhawks and will especially have an impact with their young players. The impact Quenneville made on him is still being felt.

“When he left St. Louis, he and my brother [Tony] coached together in Colorado. So the connection stayed. And I’ve always tried as a head coach to play the system that Joel played. So I’ve always tracked and watched the Hawks and the Avalanche and whoever Joel was playing,” Granato said. “That was fun, that’s the impact he had on me, from not only a presence, but the tactics, as well.