Savard not surprised that Hawks forced Game 7

Savard not surprised that Hawks forced Game 7

Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Posted: 10:05 a.m.

CSNChicago.com

Blackhawks Hall-of-Famer Denis Savard called into "The Dan Patrick Show" on Tuesday to talk about decisive Game 7 between the Blackhawks and Canucks.

Was he surprised that the Blackhawks were able to force a Game 7?

"Well, only four times it has happened in the history of hockey, so obviously the Hawks would be the fourth team to do it if they win tonight. The odds are pretty slim, so yeah I'm surprised in a sense. But, this group of kids know what it takes to win so in that sense I'm not surprised because they have lots of character and they've been there."

On Luongo not starting Game 6

"(Canucks coach) Alain Vigneault, his staff and upper management made that decision to go with Rory Schneider. Part of it too, and I know for a fact, that Vancouver has always loved the kid Schneider in goal for them and he's played this year 25 games or so and played very well for them. So, I wasn't surprised."

How tough is it to repeat as Stanley Cup champions?

"It's very tough to repeat as we know. I mean in hockey there is so much parity, you look at the series that's going on now, I'm not surprised how tough it is to repeat. Obviously you get off your summer routine because you get done so late. Then there are lots of people that want you that summer and a lot of things go on. So, your training is a little bit off compared to if you get beat in the first round."
Watch "The Dan Patrick Show" Monday-Friday from 8:00-11:00 a.m. on Comcast SportsNet.

Blackhawks fire assistant coach Mike Kitchen

Blackhawks fire assistant coach Mike Kitchen

When Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman addressed the media on Saturday, he said that there would be change. That started on Monday when assistant coach Mike Kitchen was fired.

The move came five days after the Blackhawks were swept out of the first round by the Nashville Predators. Bowman said in a statement that, “we believe this decision is best for our organization moving forward. Mike had an impact on two different Stanley Cup championship teams during his tenure in Chicago. We appreciate his many contributions and wish he and his family success in the future.”

Kitchen has been a member of coach Joel Quenneville’s staff since 2010. The two go back to their playing days, however, when they were teammates with the Colorado Rockies and also the New Jersey Devils. Kitchen was Quenneville’s assistant when the two were with the St. Louis Blues and when Quenneville was fired as Blues coach midway through the 2003-04 season, Kitchen was promoted to head coach.

As part of the Blackhawks’ staff Kitchen’s focus on special teams, mainly the penalty kill. That kill finished the regular season 24th overall in the league, although that has to come with an asterisk. The penalty kill started the 2016-17 season so poorly that it was never going to get too far out of the basement. It did get stronger as the season wore on, and it was fourth overall during the Blackhawks’ short stay in the playoffs.

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.