Hawk Talk: From Stanley Cup Final media day

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Hawk Talk: From Stanley Cup Final media day

Thursday, May 27, 2010
8:45 PM

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

CHICAGO Its unlike anything seen before on the hockey side of the United Center, the NHLs media elite all concentrated in one spot on the west side of Chicago, gathered for the 2010 Stanley Cup media day.

Many players enjoyed their own private interview space, up on risers and sitting at tables that looked like the NHLs answer to gear cases packed and unpacked by music roadies. Less prominent stars shared tables in the middle of the roomcase in point, Chicagos bruiser table of Adam Burish, Brent Sopel and Ben Eager.

The Blackhawks strolled out in matching, numbered black pullovers for their session at 1:15 p.m., while Philadelphia hit the tables in crossing-guard orange hoodies at 3. Here are some highlights from the days chatter:

Stan Bowman, Blackhawks GM
On acquiring Marian Hossa: More than anything, he played a style that we were trying to instill in some of our younger guys, which is he plays both ends of the ice. Weve seen that in the playoffs. Hes contributed offensively, but when you watch the game closely, you notice that he does all those little things so well. It has rubbed off on some of our younger players Im sure Joel Quenneville would agree that its not always easy to get your most skilled players to play as hard as Marian does away from the puck and coming back in his own end. So we knew if we ever had a chance to get a player like Marian, we would rally have to make a hard push.

Dustin Byfuglien, Blackhawks forward
Id like to lace em up right now and get going.

I think we match up with Philadelphia very well.

Laughing about his newfound fame: Yep, I just woke up one day and decided to go to work and become famous.

On his weight, a curious emphasis during his session: People are going to ask until Im done playing. Its kind of funny to hear all of the different numbers. Im going to let you guys keep guessing.

Marian Hossa, Blackhawks forward
When you look around at all this here today, you see everything being put under a microscope. But its still the same game.

On his goal drought: It makes me angry, but four more wins is whats most important right now.

On Media Day: Its the same thing that happens in the dressing room but now wearing a nice hoodie in comfortable seats.

On coming to the Blackhawks: When Chicago called me on the first day and talked to my agent, I had a really good feeling. I was looking to make one team my home, so I said to my agent, I think this is it.

On Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville: Q played the game and understands players. He keeps the dressing room loose, and not every coach does that. He is fired up before each game, but he never loses control. He looks pretty relaxed to me all of the time.

On taking pride in being a two-way player: I like to be speedy. Thats my game. When I have a chance to catch a player from behind, I like to steal those pucks.

Ian Laperriere, Flyers center
On the serious facial injury he suffered blocking a Paul Martin shot in Game 5 of the quarterfinals: It bruised my brain. But I was lucky. It bruised the front of my brain, which doesnt do anything. Thats the one place you want to get hit.

On his decision to adapt his game from sheer scoring: Guys who were way more talented didnt want to change. Theyre doing something else now. Not to sound arrogant, but Im 36 and still playing.
Chris Pronger, Flyers defenseman
Youre only as good as your last game. As fast as you can get a pat on the back you can get a pat on the bumand a push out the door.

If were just happy to be here, maybe we should go home.

The key to winning? Its knowing in the locker room you can win every game you go after.

At the end of the day, its just a hockey game. Youve gotta go out and find a way to win.

Im not ever done learning in this game. When youre done learning, you should probably get out of the game.

On similarities between Chicago and Philadelphia: Both teams play with an edge and play fast, without sacrificing defense.

On being the underdogs: The people who arent picking us, theres a reason theyre there and were here The pundits havent been kind to us to begin with.
On Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville, who coached him with the St. Louis Blues: Right from the get-go he wanted to mentor me. Hes a guy who played with a good stick. He helped my game enormously. Hes a defensemans defenseman.

Dismissing the challenge Byfuglien creates: I can go down the list of guys in this league who are pretty big.

On how to stop a player of Dustin Byfugliens size: Do you honestly think Im gonna tell you?

Patrick Sharp, Blackhawks forward
On when his game face for Saturday gets fixed on: Pretty much when this interview is over.

On the Blackhawks bad old days: It wasnt as bad as people are making it out to be.

Jonathan Toews, Blackhawks center
Its felt like the longest week ever waiting for this game on Saturday night. But were looking forward to it. Well be ready for it. Were just trying to save our energy for now and not get too jacked up.

The entire hockey world is watching this. These are the type of games you love to play in. Its a fun thing to be a part of.

We've got an entire city behind us. We feel like this is the year for us, and we're going to throw everything we can at Philadelphia."

Win those small battles and you might win the war. Thats what well focus on. Nothing to get excited about.

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

Blackhawks mailbag: Trade rumors abound

Blackhawks mailbag: Trade rumors abound

We interrupt this mid-January Blackhawks mailbag for an important announcement:

We are reaching that time of the season when trade rumors abound. There will be names galore, some that could make sense, some that will make absolutely no sense. Unfortunately, the latter will get as much attention in some circles as the former. That's the way this time of year goes.

One more note: On any name that's bandied about right now, check where his team is in the standings. If it's close to reaching a postseason spot, tap the brakes until things shake out a little more. I know, kids, I know: patience is not a virtue for many people, let alone Twitter. It'll all be OK.

With all that said onto the mailbag which, as you can imagine, asks a few trade-centric questions.

I agree on not trading the first-round draft pick. The Blackhawks have done that in the past but, with the draft in Chicago this summer, they’re going to want to hold onto that as well as a good amount of draft picks. This is their showcase.

I agreed with Jamal Mayers on CSN's latest podcast that the Blackhawks will likely look for someone with no term left on his contract past this season. I know there's been mention of guys with several years and big cap hits remaining on their deals, but how do the Blackhawks do that, especially with Artemi Panarin's new contract also kicking in next season? They'd have to get rid of a big contract and most of their big contracts also have no movement clauses.

Piggybacking off the last question, I do believe the Blackhawks have to do something to bolster their forward depth. They need someone who has some experience but won't cost them a lot (easy for me to say). Who that guy is right now, I'm not sure (don't worry, I'll be doing one of these in February, too). I wouldn't go for a Jarome Iginla or Shane Doan, as much as I like both of those guys. The Blackhawks don't have the forward depth to take a chance on a player who, while he may have been great several years ago, may not have much left now.

I've got three thoughts on this one.

First, the Dallas Stars fall into the above-mentioned category regarding potential playoffs. Despite a slew of injuries and inconsistent play, the Stars are 11th in the Western Conference but are just two points out of a playoff spot.

Second, Sharp has struggled with his health this season, as concussions have led to two lengthy absences.

Third, and this is my biggest question: Can you go home again? The Blackhawks have brought back Cup winners a few times, from Kris Versteeg to Andrew Ladd to Brian Campbell. Versteeg’s return here was up and down, Campbell's has been OK (there have been a few healthy scratches in there) and Ladd's didn’t work at all. Yes, six years passed from when Ladd left to when he returned; a lot changes over six years. But the bottom line is the attempt to rekindle line magic between Ladd and Jonathan Toews failed. Just wonder if this would go the same way.

We talked to Jonathan Toews on Tuesday morning and he said the back is not the issue. I don't believe it's another injury. The problem is, I don't know what the problem is. Toews has snapped out of these slumps before but this one seems to be lingering. I'm sure the confidence is shaken; how can it not be? We're all human, and even the best question themselves at times. I still think Toews will find the offense again but I don't think his current performances have anything to do with an injury.

Let's address Toews’ faceoff percentage first: it's fine. For the season, he's winning 57.5 percent of his faceoffs, good for sixth in the NHL. Outside of that awful Washington game, he's been around 50 percent or better in recent games.

Regarding Kruger, it's tough to say. The Blackhawks are looking for more balance and more scoring, and if those two categories don't improve the changes will continue regardless of who's in the lineup. Does coach Joel Quenneville go back to the third line that was working before Kruger was hurt (when he was with Dennis Rasmussen and Richard Panik)? He could. Just depends on how the Blackhawks are trending when Kruger does return.

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They could. Whether or not they do, I'm not sure yet. The Blackhawks did that with Brandon Saad back in the spring of 2012 once the Saginaw Spirit’s season ended. He played in two postseason games. My opinion, if the Blackhawks did it with anyone it would be DeBrincat. Even if he doesn't play, it’s a good chance to be around and practice with the team.

I know what you're referring to and all that article said was Vanek could be a possibility. As of Wednesday, the Red Wings are 14th in the Eastern Conference with 46 points. Sounds like they’re out of it, until you see they’re only four points from eighth place. As I said above, some of these teams are going to want to see where they are in a few weeks. As for cost, I wouldn't give up much past a pick, maybe two, but not high ones.

As of now, according to Cap Friendly, Hartman is eligible for the expansion draft. As far as the likelihood that Las Vegas takes him, it’s possible. It depends on what Vegas wants and needs. The Blackhawks, like everyone else, will lose one (and only one) player. Will Vegas want defensemen? Will they want a two-way player? But absolutely, Hartman would be available.

I'm guessing I've had a few of those and, to my recollection, I didn't dislike them. Honestly, I'm not as much of a wine aficionado as I've led the Twitter world to believe. Pinot noirs aren't my favorite (pretty light), love Malbecs, most French and Italian wines and you really have to talk me into a Chardonnay (I do like the ones that are out of steel drums now; just not a fan of the oak taste). Cheers!

Which current Blackhawks would Jeremy Roenick like to play with?

Which current Blackhawks would Jeremy Roenick like to play with?

Is there anyone who wouldn't want to play with Patrick Kane?

Jeremy Roenick joined In The Loop on Wednesday to discuss which current Blackhawks he would like to play with, and naturally, the reigning MVP topped his list.

"He would be my No. 1 choice," Roenick said. "There's no question about it."

But Roenick said there are two more Blackhawks he would like to lace them up with.

"I wouldn't mind playing with (Artemi) Panarin also," he said. "I would love to play with Jonathan Toews. I think I'd play well with all three of them."

Roenick also gave high praise to coach Joel Quenneville, saying he is one of the best coaches in all of sports. Roenick even compared Quenneville to "the Bill Belichick of hockey."

See what else the Roenick had to say in the video above.