Game 7: Blackhawks look to complete comeback

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Game 7: Blackhawks look to complete comeback

Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Posted: 3:06 p.m.
By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com
VANCOUVER, British Columbia Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault summed it up best in his trip to the podium on Tuesday morning.

Theres really not much else to say is there? he said.

No, there really isnt. Its Game 7, its win or go home, its just all about the game now.

Tomas Kopecky is out and Marcus Kruger andor Fernando Pisani could be in tonight as the Chicago Blackhawks face the Vancouver Canucks one more time in this best-of-seven series.

CHAT with Steve Konroyd, Chris Boden during Game 7 tonight

Other than stating a few roster items updates Kopecky and Bryan Bickell (wrist) are obviously out for the Blackhawks and Roberto Luongo is starting for Vancouver neither coach was tipping his hand as to lines and those who may suit up for injured players.

The Blackhawks looked and sounded like a loose group following this mornings skate. Many players said theyre still not feeling the pressure, despite it being first Game 7 for most.

We have to go with the same mindset tonight as the last three games. Were having fun and pressures on them, Viktor Stalberg said. This city isnt going to be happy if they lose four straight to us. Thats how we feel. Its fun for us. We can go in without pressure and go with it.

Bickells work

The Blackhawks knew Bickell was going to be missing at some point after he had severed ligaments in his wrist during Game 2 of these playoffs. Quenneville said he was happy with what the forward was able to do through the next few games.

WATCH: Hockey Central's Jeremy Roenick and Keith Jones predict Blackhawks will advance

I thought he gave us three solid games and that line was really effective, said Quenneville of the Bickell-Dave Bolland-Michael Frolik combo. We didn't know what to expect when we first put it together but it was a great surprise the first game and they played pretty solid ones after that. But itll give somebody some quality ice time tonight and a good opportunity to play with a couple guys that have been playing well as well.

Official talk

Vancouver GM Mike Gillis was very vocal on Monday regarding the officiating through this series. Gillies pointed to the discrepancy in power plays, which favor the Blackhawks by a good margin.

READ: Bickell has wrist surgery, will miss 6-8 weeks

The Blackhawks talked about it Tuesday.

To be honest I think its a good move by him, Patrick Kane said. You try to get the emphasis on something else and maybe the league or refs start thinking about it but I dont think its going to matter. I think itll be a pretty fair game.
Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

For the Blackhawks defense, change is the new normal

For the Blackhawks defense, change is the new normal

Ulf Samuelsson saw the changes the Blackhawks made this season, his hiring as assistant coach being one of them. Soon he’ll be working with the team’s defensemen, another area that’s had some upheaval.

“I think there’s a lot of opportunity here, some uncertainties and some moving parts that I probably, typically haven’t seen going into a season. So that makes it even more interesting and challenging,” Samuelsson said. “So I’m looking forward to this opportunity to really develop and work with some of the younger players.”

From its immediate coach to its personnel, the Blackhawks’ defense is dealing with plenty of change that will continue when the season begins this fall. The Blackhawks have had some addition (Connor Murphy, Jan Rutta and Jordan Oesterle) but dealing with the subtraction (Niklas Hjalmarsson and Trevor van Riemsdyk) will nevertheless be tough. Coach Joel Quenneville said on Friday that pairings are a work in progress.

“We’re going to see when we’re putting the pairs together, whether we're going to reunite [Duncan Keith] and [Brent Seabrook] or look for some balance,” he said. “There are a lot of options. We’ll look forward to that and sorting it out.”

For Murphy, who was acquired in the deal that sent Hjalmarsson to the Arizona Coyotes, there are no set expectations as to where he fits yet.

“With any team you go into training camp proving where you’re going to be. Everyone has to come in and earn certain positions, especially me being a guy who they’re not as familiar with; I have to show what I can do,” Murphy said. “I definitely want to bring a more physical edge to defending at times and be able to skate well, have a good reach, make smart reads and try to help out with whatever’s needed with that.”

As for young players, the opportunity is there. Gustav Forsling admits he wasn’t happy that fellow Swede and role model Hjalmarsson was traded. But Forsling, who looked strong coming out of camp last September, knows he has to take advantage of the situation.

“Of course, I want to take the next step and play more,” he said. “I want to keep progressing my game and keep developing.”

The same goes for Jordan Oesterle, who the Blackhawks signed to a two-year deal on July 1.

“When I wanted to come here the opportunity was tremendous. Just the chance to come in and try to make the top six is there, it’s a battle with a number of us guys but that’s all you ask for in the situation I’m in,” he said. “Just the amount of opportunity that is in front of me just drives me even more. I want to be here and force their hand to keep me here.”

Again, the Blackhawks could re-address defense once they implement Marian Hossa’s long-term injured reserve after the season begins. General manager Stan Bowman said there’s “no exact plan” right now on how they use that space – “that’s probably going to be dictated by where we’re at when we get to October, how the team’s playing, what areas are strong, what areas we want to add to,” he said.

It remains to be seen on that front. Regardless, from coaching to personnel, much has changed with the Blackhawks defense. 

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.