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.

Comfortable Kero: Quick hits from Blackhawks-Penguins

usatsi_9979827.jpg
USA TODAY

Comfortable Kero: Quick hits from Blackhawks-Penguins

PITTSBURGH – Well, that looked more familiar, didn’t it?

The Blackhawks put talk into action on Wednesday night, storming out to an early lead and never letting up in a 5-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. They’re sitting in a good spot right now, sporting a nine-point lead over the Minnesota Wild – yes the Wild still has that game in hand – and, with five games remaining, they once again played the complete game they’d been missing.

The schedule doesn’t let up, so let’s get to the notables.

What Worked: The Blackhawks’ first period. If there’s such thing as a statement 20 minutes, the Blackhawks made it in Pittsburgh. If the Penguins made a bad pass, the Blackhawks turned it into an opportunity and, a few times, a goal. The Blackhawks had a similarly sharp first period against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday. On Wednesday, however, they didn’t lose any steam later.

What Didn’t Work: The power play. Yeah, you really have to reach to find something that didn’t work for the Blackhawks in this one. Their power play, however, didn’t do much. Their best chance on it was a Jonathan Toews shot on their second power play; that shot was blocked before it got to Marc-Andre Fleury. Their third power play, which came on a phantom tripping call on Conor Sheary, was their quietest of the night.

Star of the game: Tanner Kero. The kid’s been alright at second-line center, and he did a little bit of everything on Wednesday night. Kero had five shots on goal, the secondary assist on Artemi Panarin’s early goal and added a breakaway goal of his own early in the third period. He also won five of 11 faceoffs. Centering Patrick Kane and Panarin could be daunting but in his short time there, Kero’s handling it very well.

He Said It: “It’s a nice opportunity that he’s taken advantage of in a short amount of time. You get a little more defensive responsibility. The upside with him is we wanted him to get better offensively as well, so it’s been a good couple of games.” Coach Joel Quenneville on Kero.

By the Numbers: 

850 – Career coaching victories for Quenneville.

524 – Career goals for Marian Hossa, who scored his 25th of the season late in the first period.

39 – Time, in seconds, in which the Blackhawks scored two goals late in the first period (Marcus Kruger at 19:05 and Marian Hossa at 19:44).

6 – Consecutive victories for the Blackhawks over the Penguins. They’ve outscored the Penguins 20-8 over that span.
 

Big first period paces Blackhawks over Penguins

3-29_panarin_kero_kane.jpg
AP

Big first period paces Blackhawks over Penguins

PITTSBURGH – There are certain trends through which the Blackhawks tend to go sometimes. They can be so-so against teams on the bubble or out of the postseason. But face a playoff-bound team and the Blackhawks usually come with a top-notch game.

Exhibit A on that came on Wednesday.

Artemi Panarin and Patrick Kane each had two-point nights, and Marian Hossa scored his 25th of the season as the Blackhawks beat the Penguins 5-1 on Wednesday night. The Blackhawks snapped a three-game winless streak and now have a nine-point lead over the Minnesota Wild in the West.

Corey Crawford stopped 31 of 32 shots. Richard Panik scored his 22nd goal of the season. Bryan Rust had the Penguins' lone goal at 5:46 of the third.

The Penguins, much like the Blackhawks, entered this one with 103 points. The Penguins were without several injured players, including Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Trevor Daley. Still, it's the Penguins, and you can never take them lightly.

[Buy Blackhawks tickets right here]

The Blackhawks got the early lead, then really pounced in the final five-plus minutes of the first period. The Blackhawks got stellar set-up passes from Patrick Kane, Ryan Hartman and Nick Schmaltz and finishes to accompany them. Two of their goals (Marcus Kruger and Hossa) came in the final minute of the first period for that 4-0 lead.

The Penguins had the first six shots of the third but the Blackhawks would score on their first of the period when Tanner Kero, taking the turnover from Justin Schultz, finished on a breakaway.