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.

Which Blackhawks will be participating in 2017 IIHF World Championships?

Which Blackhawks will be participating in 2017 IIHF World Championships?

The Blackhawks' season ended much sooner than expected after being swept in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs by the Nashville Predators.

But for some players, their hockey season may not be finished yet.

The IIHF World Championships begin May 5, and an early postseason exit gives several Blackhawks an opportunity to play in the tournament.

With the National Hockey League saying it will not participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics, players may be more inclined to join given the uncertainty of when they'll be able to represent their countries again — if ever, for some.

Here's an update on which Blackhawks players could be participating:

— Patrick Kane said Saturday he's taking the weekend to mull over Team USA's offer, and will make a final decision in the next "day or two."

— Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Jonathan Toews each declined their invites from Team Canada, electing to use a lengthy offseason to recharge and focus on training for the 2017-18 NHL season.

— Corey Crawford and Nick Schmaltz said they have not been contacted by their respective countries, but both said they would consider going if they are.

— Artemi Panarin has reportedly already accepted Team Russia's offer to play.

— Niklas Hjalmarsson said he's "thinking about" Team Sweden's offer after the NHL's decision not to attend the 2018 Winter Olympics. "Who knows when I'll ever get a chance to play for my country again, so that might be factor," he said.

— Marcus Kruger said he's talking with Team Sweden officials, and has expressed interest in going.

— Marian Hossa said he informed Team Slovakia that he will not be playing: "Let the young guys play."

— Richard Panik will not be participating either, saying he doesn't want to risk injury as he seeks a new contract.

Jonathan Toews will make 'little changes' to offseason prep

Jonathan Toews will make 'little changes' to offseason prep

Jonathan Toews gave a succinct "no" when asked if he'd consider playing in the World Championships next month in Europe. For the Blackhawks captain, his 2016-17 season wasn't where it needed to be.

So instead of helping Team Canada across the pond, he'll prepare to help the Blackhawks more next season.

Toews will use this offseason in a variety of ways, including taking some time completely off to heal and rest. And while there's a lot of time between now and the Blackhawks' training camp, Toews said competing in the World Championships would take up a good amount of time he'd rather use to be ready for the fall.

"At this point of my career, going through the last couple of years the way things have played out, there are some little changes here and there with how I approach my preparation, especially the last summer being a long offseason and coming in feeling I was as prepared as I could be and still not getting to the level of play I wanted to this season," Toews said on Saturday. "There are some things I have to re-evaluate and think about this offseason. There's no satisfaction there but definitely take a different approach with how I prepare for next season. I didn't get to the level I needed to be to help our team survive a little bit longer in this last series, so I have to be responsible for that as well. Just look back, assess and see what you can do differently."

Toews had a slow start to the season and then missed three weeks with a reported back injury. Much like the rest of the Blackhawks he started heating up in February and finished the regular season with 21 goals. But it was another quiet postseason for him, as Toews had just one goal in the four games against the Nashville Predators, and that was a late-regulation power-play goal in Game 4.

So was Toews dealing with a physical issue? Asked how healthy he was, Toews said, "well, that's kind of one of the things I'm hitting on," but didn't get more specific than that. Coach Joel Quenneville said some of the Blackhawks' key players, "have some issues they're taking care of, but I don't think it's going to be to that extent to where it's long term care." Quenneville also said any health issues had nothing to do with what happened in this series. Toews certainly wasn't using it as an excuse, either. As for the future, Toews said he'll reconfigure his workout, training regimen, whatever necessary to be better next season.

"Just the way the speed of the game has changed the last few years. I've always been the type of player who likes to play heavy and protect the puck in the corners. It seems the strength has been a factor but also the speed in my game that I used to have in my younger years," Toews said. "I have to get back to playing more puck possession, more speed on the rush. That right there is one little thing. But I think the skill part is another thing I'll have to focus on and trying to get back to playing the way I can."