Hawks hoping to get last laugh against Burish, Sharks

Hawks hoping to get last laugh against Burish, Sharks
February 5, 2013, 4:45 pm
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SAN JOSE, Calif. – Dave Bolland laughed at the suggestion he and the Blackhawks wear earplugs to block the chirps they’ll likely hear from former teammate Adam Burish later tonight.

“We just tune him out now; we’re used to it,” Bolland said with a smile. “We don’t even listen to him anymore.”

Perhaps not. But there’s no chance they can ignore the team Burish now calls his.

Bolland will play tonight and Corey Crawford will start when the Blackhawks face the San Jose Sharks tonight at HP Pavilion. It’s a meeting of the best in the West, with the Blackhawks topping the conference by a slim one-point margin over the Sharks, who suffered their first regulation loss Monday night in Anaheim.

For Burish, it’s another meeting against his old team, albeit in another new uniform. After two seasons with the Stars, Burish signed a four-year deal with the Sharks this offseason. Burish is acclimated to his new surroundings, and is once again looking forward to seeing his old teammates.

“It’ll be a fun game; I’m sure a lot of people are looking forward to it,” said Burish, who knows the Blackhawks’ tendencies as much as anyone. “Playing against the ‘Hawks, you have to be careful of making it a racehorse game. You do that, it’s tough to play them. You have to play disciplined, be careful where you’re putting pucks. It’ll have a more playoff-intensity kind of feel than any game we’ve played so far.”

Patrick Kane also looked forward to seeing Burish.

“He’s one of those guys that you laugh at on the ice, especially with what we’ve all been through with him the few years we were together,” Kane said. “We become really good friends, so you just laugh at what he says on the ice. But I’m happy for him; he got a great deal here in San Jose. I know he’s with some of his buddies, so good for him. But we’ll try to knock all that out with a win tonight and hopefully have something to say to him after.”

It won’t be easy. Much like the Blackhawks, the Sharks came storming out of the gates in this lockout-shortened season. Between Antti Niemi’s goaltending and their big guns’ scoring, the Sharks have been formidable. They’ve allowed just 16 goals in their first nine games, and are a strong 5-0-1 at HP Pavilion already this season.

“We were ready when the season started,” Niemi said. “We’ve been able to score a lot of goals and we’ve been very good in our own zone throughout he year.”

The Blackhawks will have their hands full against the Sharks and their comedic ex-teammate. They’re hoping they have the last laugh.

“We just have to play our game, try to get chances, try to put pucks at the net. The past couple of games we haven’t scored many goals either; it seems like defenses are tightening up,” Kane said. “But these games are always fun. San Jose, Chicago, both teams are good this year and obviously want to prove something to the world.”