Hawk Talk: Quotes from the Dressing Room

Hawk Talk: Quotes from the Dressing Room

Sunday, Apr. 4, 2010

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com
Blackhawks goalie Antti Niemi:

On not wanting to give the title belt up to new holder Troy Brouwer: It fits me best!

The guy with the least grasp of English best summarizes the last week best: Everybodys enjoying more about the game.

Laughing off his 1st career NHL assist (and only his second as a pro: That wasnt much of an assist. I just saw Kaner dropping into the middle.

On whats different in his game now compared with earlier in the season: Its a big deal that Ive gotten to continue playing after a couple of bad games.

Refusing to acknowledge hes the man in the crease for the Blackhawks: Well see how it goes.

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville:

On Niemi: He doesnt get disturbed or disrupted. Hes quiet and low-key. Those traits make him comfortable in the net.

Coach gets big laughs in response to several questions about naming Niemi official starter: Right now hes going good. Hes likely going again Tuesday.

On his teams recent transformation: A week ago, you would call our play not very good. Or terrible.

Blackhawks defenseman Dustin Byfuglien:

Asked whether meeting the goal of a division title is a big deal: I guess so.

On his late tally, his 17th this season but first as a defenseman: Blue line scoring takes a lot of the pressure off of the forwards.

A couple of losses never hurts a good team. It sets you back to ground zero and you can start over again.

Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane:

On beating Kiprusoff with a tasty, highlight-reel goal in the second period: That one felt really good. He said this with a big, cheese-eating grin.

Id rather not score if we win, as opposed to just putting up big scoring numbers and not winning.

On his recent scoring slump: Its a goofy game. Part of my job for the team is to produce offensively, and its good to be able to do that today.
Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp:

Getting back to playing the right way is more important than winning the division.

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Five Things from Blackhawks-Avalanche: Great night for the rookies

Five Things from Blackhawks-Avalanche: Great night for the rookies

DENVER – Well, that was a wild one, wasn’t it?

We’ll spare you the gory-to-glorious details (most of which are in the game story, anyway). So instead, let’s just get to the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ 6-4 victory over Colorado.

1. Great night for the rookies. The Blackhawks’ newest players were their most prolific players on Tuesday night. Vinnie Hinostroza had two goals. Tanner Kero did too, and added an assist. Nick Schmaltz had a goal and an assist. All of these experiences are great learning curves for the Blackhawks’ youth, and coach Joel Quenneville likes how they’re progressing, not just with scoring but with their overall games. “That’s the part that’ll make them better players and us a better team is playing the right way defensively, being responsible, putting the puck in good areas and going hard to the net.”

2. Top line still too quiet. Line changes were made but the results remained the same, especially for the Blackhawks’ top trio. Ryan Hartman and Richard Panik were up there with Jonathan Toews in this one, but still nada. The three had a combined three shots for the game. Many of you have asked if Toews is still dealing with that back injury. On Tuesday morning he said, “no, it’s been really good, actually.” Still, there’s something up with a top line that, regardless of combination, just can’t get anything going.

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3. Terrible second period. The Blackhawks came out of the first in great shape and with a 2-1 lead. But things got messy in the second period. Be it the inability to clear or get the puck deep in the Avs’ zone, the Blackhawks made mistakes. The Avs capitalized, scoring three goals in the second including two in a 63-second span. Outside of Tanner Kero’s goal, the Blackhawks had a forgettable second period. The Avalanche outscored them 3-1 and outshot them 8-4 in the second.

4. Faceoffs lost. The Blackhawks did not do well in this department, winning just 23 percent of their faceoffs. It didn’t cost them the game but they certainly need better nights than they got on Tuesday.

5. Corey Crawford gets through it. Crawford was stellar prior to his appendectomy but hasn’t been at that level since. Quenneville said he considered pulling Crawford during this one but decided to keep him in. Quenneville’s still happy with his goaltending – again, the Blackhawks aren’t where they are right now without it this season. But he said Crawford could be better than he was on Tuesday.