Hawk Talk: From the Dressing Rooms

Hawk Talk: From the Dressing Rooms

Friday, May 7, 2010
7:00 P.M.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

A glimpse inside the dressing rooms after each of the Chicago Blackhawks-Vancouver Canucks semifinal seriesGame 1, May 1, 2010: Canucks 5, Blackhawks 1
Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo

Canucks teammates, noting the massive crowd around their netminder: Is that Tiger Woods, or Lu?

Good or bad, its just one game. Were here to win four games, not one. But its nice to get the first one out of the way.

By no means are we satisfied. Well enjoy tonight, tomorrow we focus & make adjustments and whens next game? on Monday we do it again.

On whether this performance is redemption for last year: At the end of the day, its a new year. We still have a long way to go.
It was nice to see so many shots 17 early. We hadnt played in a week. Saves are my job. My team counts on me to make stops for them.

Vancouver defenseman Christian Ehrhoff

Were not looking to make a statement. We just want to win a game on the road.
Vancouver forward Mason Raymond

Roberto is coming into his own every game now. He wants to get back at the Blackhawks just as much as everyone else does.

Chicago forward Patrick Kane

Seems like the Canucks have gotten a lot better from last year.
To start off at home like that, theres really no excuse. Its not that we were trying to lose Game 1, but it was hard to tell.

Chicago center John Madden

Asked about the Blackawks falling behind in four straight playoff series: Ive only been here for two, so I dont know.

Lots of teams find themselves down after the first game. We made some bad choices.

Noting that it was a mistake to shift to a more open game being down three goals: We made some bad decisions for some reason, and they capitalized. The Canucks are skilled enough to make you pay, and they did tonight.

On what lessons could be learned from the loss: That its just one game?

Chicago forward Kris Versteeg
Thats why its a seven-game series. Its only Game 1. Were fine. We played the way we wanted to except we had a couple lapses.

Game 2, May 3, 2010: Blackhawks 4, Canucks 2
Chicago goalie Antti Niemi

On whether, as Joel Quenneville insists, his demeanor makes him especially dangerous in the playoffs: No, but its a great thing that theres trust from him.

Its not harder to sleep after a loss. Its hard to sleep after any game. It takes a few hours to replay.

Chicago forward Marian Hossa

We cannot start like we did tonight. If we play five-on-five we have a better chance to win.

Chicago forward Patrick Kane

This was a must-win. If you go back to Vancouver down 0-2, youre dead.

Chicago captain Jonathan Toews

On what he said to struggling teammate Kris Versteeg: Nothing. He knows to keep shooting the puck.

We have to stay out of the box and be smart with our sticks after the whistle. Vancouver will be trying to pull us into penalties.

We all felt better as the game went on. We all stuck with it. Weve been down in this building before and found ways to come back.

Its tough for any team on the road to protect a lead when we have the momentum in our favor.

It wasnt the start we wanted. But we kept up the pressure and had the momentum into the third.

Chicago forward Kris Versteeg

Falling behind early was a wake-up. We had to figure it out and kick some ass. Otherwise, were the ones who end up on our butts.

It takes a few games to feel each other out in a series. This was a lot more emotional & rougher than the first game-the first game felt dead

Looking a little bewildered in response to questions about his early struggles: I felt really good out there tonight.

On the game-winner: The puck came to me, and I just shot it as hard as I could.
Chicago forward Patrick Sharp

Clearly these are two teams that dont like each other much. But we have a lot of respect for each other.

We took the day off to regroup, and maybe coming out we were too fired up.
Story of the game, big kills and lucky bounces. We got em. And I almost got em twice with shorties.

Game 3, May 5, 2010: Blackhawks 5, Canucks 2

Chicago center Dave Bolland

On Dustin Byfuglien, laughing in wonder: Hes a big boy. He was hitting hard, using speed, doing everything. Nobody in Vancouver likes him.

We got in Vancouvers faces, but you cant take stupid penalties.

Chicago forward Marian Hossa

On Byfuglien (a.k.a. Hoss to Hoss): He was flying tonight, really using his speed. He was dominating in the corners. That first goal definitely gave him confidence.
Its hard to score on a first shot vs. Luongo, so were taking second and third shots to get ugly goals.

Chicago captain Jonathan Toews
Luongo is such a great goaltender. We know nine out of 10 times hes going to make first stops, so we have to keep digging on him.

When we get leads on Vancouver, theyll try to run us physically. We dont want to play soft against any team.

On Niemi: Hes been there for us every single time weve needed him.

On Byfuglien: Ive battled against him enough times in practice to know that you cant move him.

Chicago goalie Antti Niemi

He said there was some luck to his terrific first period, and as for his strong start, in the middle of the game you dont want to think too much about it.

Niemi didnt think the first period was one of the better sequences of his career, but did acknowledge, You just want to keep doing what youre doing.
Chicago forward Dustin Byfuglien
On his celebration on glass after his second goal: Its just something that popped into my head. I didnt even know the puck went in.

On playing with Toews and Kane: Theyre fun to play with. I get them the puck and let them work with it.

My job is to stay focused and make the Canucks work around me.
On his two-goal night, later amended to a hat trick: Its been awhile since Ive had a goal, and sometimes you work hard and things just happen.

Vancouver is still a good team. Weve still got a lot of work ahead of us.

Brett Ballantini isCSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnikon Twitter for up-to-the-minute Hawksinformation.

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks host Lightning tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks host Lightning tonight on CSN

Watch as the Blackhawks take on the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Blackhawks Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Blackhawks.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Grab the first goal.

The Blackhawks have scored the game's first goal in seven of the last eight games, and of those seven, they've won six of them. Meanwhile, the Lightning have scored the first goal only 17 times in 48 games this season, and are 12-5-1 in those games. They're 9-17-4 when they allow the first goal, so getting out to a lead first will be important against a struggling Lightning team looking for signs of life.

2. Will the floodgates open for Jonathan Toews?

After a four-point game in a 4-2 win over Vancouver, the Blackhawks captain matched his point total over his previous nine games. He's up to 26 points on the season, which is now fifth among Chicago forwards. When Toews has offensive droughts, they usually last longer than they should. But when he gets hot, he gets extremely hot. Perhaps we'll see the floodgates open offensively.

3. A chance for the team lead in scoring.

With an empty-net goal on Sunday, Marian Hossa tied Artem Anisimov for the team-lead with 18 goals. Artemi Panarin is right behind with 17, and Patrick Kane isn't far either at 15. The Blackhawks had four 20-goal scorers last season, and haven't had more than that since the 2013-14 season. They're definitely on pace to hit four, but could they surprass that? Richard Panik, who scored another goal Sunday as well, is fifth with 11 goals while Ryan Hartman has 10. Toews is at eight, but a flurry after a drought could make things interesting.

4. The triplets reunited?

In an effort to jumpstart a struggling offense, Lightning coach Jon Cooper reunited the triplets line of Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat that was so successful during their 2015 playoff run in their latest game, a 5-3 loss to Arizona. It's unclear whether they will begin tonight's game on the same line, but if not, it's worth watching throughout the game whether they do. The Blackhawks have been coming at opponents in waves lately, so Cooper could look to separate the three to distribute the scoring.

5. Take advantage on special teams.

The Lightning have racked up the fifth-most penalty minutes in the league, and own a bottom-10 penalty kill unit at 80.1 percent. The Blackhawks are the second-least penalized team, and have converted on 17.9 percent of their power plays, which sits at 16th. But they haven't scored one on the man advantage in five straight games, going 0-for-9 during that span. Here's a chance to change that.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

- Check out the latest stats and standings to make sure you’re ready for action

- Channel Finder: Make sure you know where to watch

- NBC Sports App FAQ: All your questions answered

- Latest on the Blackhawks: All of the most recent news and notes

- See what Blackhawks fans are talking about before, during and after the game with Blackhawks Pulse

TSN coaches poll: Wild favored to win West over Blackhawks

TSN coaches poll: Wild favored to win West over Blackhawks

The Blackhawks have won three Stanley Cups since 2010, and have eliminated the Minnesota Wild from the playoffs three times from 2013-15.

But it's the Wild that NHL coaches believe will win the Western Conference this season as we approach the trade deadline.

In his annual midseason poll, TSN's Bob McKenzie surveyed 25 of 30 coaches to vote on multiple categories, such as the league's best player and the team most likely to win it all.

[SHOP: Get your Blackhawks gear right here]

According to the survey, 11 coaches predicted the Wild will win the West while the Blackhawks and Sharks tied for second with four votes.

As for winning the Stanley Cup, the Washington Capitals are the favorite, earning 10 votes, followed closely by the reigning champion Pittsburgh Penguins with eight. The Wild and Blackhawks rounded out the poll with three and two votes, respectively.

Joel Quenneville earned one vote as the NHL's best coach, which is three fewer votes than he had last year, despite this year being arguably his most challenging — and best — coaching job since arriving in Chicago, given the youth on the roster.