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May 16, 2009
DETROIT, MICHIGAN: Practice Day
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Joel Quenneville.
Q. We were talking a little bit earlier with some of the Wings and Mike about the youthful exuberance of your team. Dan Cleary said it could be very dangerous, they're playing with a lot of confidence. Can you talk about the comparison of the youth versus experience in this series and who it might favor.
JOEL QUENNEVILLE: Well, I'm not going to predict favoritism. Certainly we liked the experience we gained in the first two rounds. We didn't know how we were going to handle the playoffs for a first time for a lot of the guys. I thought we were on-the-job training every day, gaining experience, preparing in different situations in games, coming out of games, trying to find out how to close out a series. I thought both times we handled those assignments very well.
But I just think as we go into games, the excitement and enthusiasm on our team has been real. We're getting a lot of good contributions from across the board whether they're young guys or older guys. The guys are excited about this challenge and this opportunity. Should make for a great series.
Q. Talk about how much you've seen your team's confidence grow.
JOEL QUENNEVILLE: We had two really good tests. We really got challenged in the Calgary series. We lost a lot of momentum, losing Games 3 and 4. Recaptured it at 4. Found a way to win Game 6 in the Vancouver series. I wouldn't recommend that recipe for winning a series, being down in every single game and coming back.
I think the thing we found is we can score goals, we can be a threat, we can put pressure on the other team. But I think starts are important against Detroit.
But I think we've learned a lot of things. Each and every guy is contributing in their way. We're getting a good rotation in our lines. But certainly we know we have to be our best going forward.
Q. Joel, everybody notices Kane and Toews. One of the guys that was really big for you against Vancouver was Dave Bolland. Talk a little bit about how he's playing, what he brings to the team.
JOEL QUENNEVILLE: I think Bolly has had one of those quietly efficient years where he gets usually the top assignment defensively, and offensively a lot of nights they can't outscore him. That whole line plays well together with Havlat and Ladd. I think they're all complementary in the checking role they have, but at the same time they can all make plays. A lot of times they're making that line play defense.
But Bolly has real good vision, kills penalties, power-play for us. I think he might be a little underappreciated offensively. But he does have some real high-end skill. But he's a real competitor, as well. So he's been effective for us all year, quietly goes about his business, but he's an been important player for us.
Q. How nice is it that an original six team is going to determine the Western Conference champion?
JOEL QUENNEVILLE: It's exciting for us. I know we've progressed from where we were a few years ago to today. It's exciting for everybody associated with the Blackhawks organization. The fans are really excited about what's taking place and what's going to happen. I think it's great for the league, two teams that played in the Winter Classic. That was a special day for all of us. We were fortunate to be a part of that.
We had a pretty good competitive six-game series this year where things were changing back and forth in a lot of games, a lot of scoring. I'm not going to predict how the game is going to be played out, but it certainly is exciting for the people involved. I think for people that like watching hockey, it will be like that, as well.
Q. One of the big story lines here has been Pavel Datsyuk and not scoring at the same pace in the playoffs as he did during the regular season. Do you anticipate being able to keep him handled, and what is the key to doing that, keeping him sort of a little bit on the sidelines like he's been so far?
JOEL QUENNEVILLE: He's a tremendous player. Good players like that eventually are going to score and they're going to get their opportunities. I think Anaheim did a nice job of limiting the number of chances he did have. But he certainly is going to get scoring chances, be it off the power-play or five-on-five.
There's more than one Pavel Datsyuk on their team we have to be concerned with. I think we did a reasonable job on a couple of the top matchups in our last two series. This team has more guys to be concerned with. I think you might not stop 'em or slow 'em down, but I think you want to contain them the best you can. There's a lot of weapons offensively that I don't think we just got to be worried about one guy, but minimizing the quality or the quantity of their chances is what we'll try to do.
Q. Scotty Bowman, how much of an asset can he be considering the time he spent here, his familiarity with them?
JOEL QUENNEVILLE: Scotty has been great. He's been around the whole staff in the playoffs. He's excited about this time of the year and this opportunity and challenge. The one thing with Scotty, he's always thinking about something. Being around us, he's got, you know, whether it's the team, the travel, the referees, the game, the coaches, faceoffs, Scotty is always thinking about something. I think having him around, knowing the organization as well as he did, Detroit I'm talking about, I think can only help.
Q. Joel, three of the four teams that are left standing, the guys coaching those teams weren't on the job at the start of the season. Is that the nature of the beast in the coaching profession?
JOEL QUENNEVILLE: It's a crazy business. My situation, it's never a good feeling on the other side. I was very fortunate to come into a great opportunity here in Chicago. But job security in the NHL coaching fraternity is not strong. But I think as coaches, I think we all know basically the lifeline or the job security that's in place when we basically take an opportunity.
So it's a tough part about our job. But certainly, you know, things change quickly. I don't want to say that's a recipe for winning in the playoffs. Hopefully we don't think that's the reason for the success going forward with teams. We'd like a little more security than that as coaches.
Q. What has this run done for the City of Chicago? Obviously there are two historic baseball teams there, as well. Do you feel you're the talk of the town right now?
JOEL QUENNEVILLE: It's certainly fun being part of it, being around the city, the recognition, the attention, the excitement from the fans. The building the last few home games had has been off the charts. Nothing more thrilling than our last Game 6 against Vancouver. Lots of unpredictability in the game but the crowd just erupted, from the national anthems to the people. There's a lot of excitement, a lot of enthusiasm. We've recaptured a lot of the Hawks' tradition from years past. But it's been great for the city. But it's been fun for Blackhawks fans.
Q. You've faced this team quite a lot in the playoffs in your career. Haven't had a lot of success, as a lot of coaches haven't. How frustrating has that been for you to try to get by this team? What are the challenges to beating this team?
JOEL QUENNEVILLE: Well, they're a great team. I think it's one of the reasons why they played so many rounds over the years. Their depth, their strength, their high-end skill, their balance, their experience.
So I think we have to be our best. Whether you gain some experience from last year in the playoffs, I mean, we didn't represent our team very well against them. I think they played great against us. Different teams, different situations. But at the end of the day, we have a lot of respect for what they're capable of. And they've been familiar with this environment at this stage, being in the third round and fourth rounds, that we've got to overcome some hurdles ourselves.
I think the organization deserves a lot of credit from top to bottom. The way they prepare is certainly part of it. I think we have to know that we've got to respect them. But the bottom line is it's what we do that's going to make us effective.
Q. Can you talk about your power-play. You scored five goals in the last two games against Vancouver. Also facing Ozzie, since he's only started one of the games against you this year.
JOEL QUENNEVILLE: I think some guys have played against Ozzie in the past. I don't think we want to change our approach, playing against Osgood, whether we're going against Luongo or Kiprusoff. I think the same thing is if we're going to score goals, we've played against some of the best. We want to make sure in order to be effective, you need traffic, you need bodies. We want to make sure we do that, get a lot of pucks at the net, create some havoc in front of them. We find all goalies if they're able to see the puck, they're going to stop it.
I think that familiarity is something that will be on the job, but at the same time I think we want to approach him like he's any of the other goalies we have in the playoffs. Certainly scoring against this team will be a challenge. But we don't want to change what made us score in the prior rounds.
Our power-play got hot here in the playoffs in a tough stretch at the end of the year. But we're going against a group here where special teams is going to be vital and critical to winning hockey games.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
Questions for Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.
Q. Patrick, can you talk about how much you think it helped you two to just be thrown out there on the ice right away as teenagers and how much maybe last year and this year learning on the job helped you get to this point.
PATRICK KANE: Yeah, I think, you know, last year as rookies, I think we were thrown out a lot more in situations like if we made a mistake or something like that, we were kind of put right back on the ice. Here this year, it's, you know, not kind of the same thing where if we make a mistake, we might be sat a few shifts, which is the way it should be with a great team like we have. We obviously have a lot of depth that can fill in through that. Just learning throughout the experience of the last few years has been great and in the playoffs here as well.
Q. Could you talk about what this run has done for the city, the buzz, if you are constantly stopped in the streets.
JONATHAN TOEWS: It's taken things up to another level, for sure. Over the two years we've been in Chicago, we've seen a lot of changes I think as far as the fans coming back and the support, even in the building as well. But I think the Winter Classic was one thing this year. That obviously gave us as players a lot of exposure in the city and even beyond that. Like I said, it's kind of gone to a whole new level.
As far as being recognized and having people support us, behind us in Chicago, it's been pretty cool.
Q. Pat, can you talk about the prospects of going toe-to-toe with a defenseman the caliber of Nicklas Lidstrom, and game in, game out, going up against those guys, quality and experience that they have.
PATRICK KANE: Yeah, they've obviously been here before. I remember one of my first times against them last year, you know, maybe one of my first games actually, I was going down on a rush, tried to chip it by him, knocked it out of the air. Later in the shift, kind of the same thing, tried to chip it by him again, and he knocked it out of the air again, against Lidstrom. He's a great defenseman. He's not a guy that's going to hammer you, but he's always in great position and obviously one of the best in the league with how many Norrises he won, so it's going to be tough against those guys. It's a challenge for us, but we can look forward to it, too.
Q. Talk about the confidence level growing as each playoff game goes by.
JONATHAN TOEWS: I don't know, I mean, now it's a new team and a new challenge. You know, obviously the first round going into that series against Calgary, a lot of us didn't know what to expect. You know, you get the first couple games under your belt, and you learn as you go and you get more confidence as you go along.
I think it's the same thing now. Obviously, it kind of feels like we're starting over again against a new team. I mean, we know what they're about, who their best players are. But we know at the same time they're going to elevate their game and it's going to be quite a bit different than it was playing against them in the regular season.
So it's a new challenge, a lot of new things come around. So, you know, we know it's only going to get tougher, too, especially at this point in the Conference Finals. It's another new experience. I think we're ready for that.
Q. The last time that the Blackhawks were in the Conference Finals was against Detroit back in 1995. I know you were maybe six and seven. Can you talk about what it means to take Chicago back to that point in the playoffs and also the experience that this team has had year in and year out in the playoffs and how you can counter that.
PATRICK KANE: Yeah, well, I mean, obviously Detroit has been there before plenty of times. But for us, I think it's exciting for the fans that have been here since then and since that point. But just to be a part of it, just to be a part of kind of the resurgence of the franchise the past couple years, how fun it's been to be a part of it, to see a team and a franchise grow from, you know, whether it's a fan standpoint, getting better as a team, or the marketing standpoint, too, how much we've grown there, too.
It's been a helluva ride. It's been really enjoyable. I don't think you could have predicted it to be any better.
Q. Darren Helm was talking this morning about his memories of playing with you at the World Juniors. What do you recall about him from that tournament?
JONATHAN TOEWS: Yeah, from what I've seen of him in the past couple series, he hasn't changed much. Obviously, his skills have improved. I think everyone knows him as a great skater. I think it's fun to watch him take off. You know, he was the same player back then and was an energy guy for us. You know, I think we played against each other a couple times I think when we were really young. I think I was like 10 and he was 11 back in Winnipeg.
You know, it's kind of cool to see him come this far and find a way to be successful and make a difference on a team like Detroit in the post-season. So it will be a lot of fun to go up against him tomorrow.
Q. Can you talk about your power-play the last couple games, five power-play goals. Not only that, but also what are you going to have to do to slow down the Red Wings? They scored seven out of 17 chances in their four wins against you early in the season.
PATRICK KANE: Yeah, well, for our power-play, you know, obviously you look at our power-play, I mean, we've got two pretty good units. If one unit's not really going, the other one seems to be going. I remember last time there in Game 6, you know, the other unit was so hot, we were kind of hoping we could get on the ice every once in a while, that they would score only once and we could get out there.
I think that's what's so great about our power-play and why it's working right now. Obviously, Detroit, we've got to try to match their power-play in this series. I mean, they have so many skilled players and so many different looks that they can give you, it's really fun to watch but definitely hard to defend. We got to watch that.
Q. It was only three years ago that you were drafted and, Pat, two for you. Has all this happened faster than you guys had anticipated?
JONATHAN TOEWS: Yeah, I think it does happy pretty fast. You know, last year you're up against players that you've watched for so many years. So, I mean, there's an eye-opener there I think in your rookie season. You know, even coming into this year, there was a lot of expectations. We knew we had a young team and the ability to make the playoffs. Everyone wants to make a difference and be part of that team that, you know, I think for a while people were talking was going to be the team to bring hockey back in Chicago and make it relevant again.
But, you know, for us to be so young, you know, I think our future's bright obviously, but to make it to this point is really exciting because, you know, you know it's somewhere down the road, but you don't know when. When it happens and you have success right away, I think it's really exciting.
But we've come this far and we have a great opportunity in front of us. We're happy about how hard we worked and how well we've done. But we know there's a lot to come, and if we take advantage of the opportunity, there's no reason why we can't go any further.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Patrick and Jonathan.
Questions for Brian and Brent.
Q. Brent, can you talk about the potential of seeing Pavel Datsyuk? He hasn't been putting up the numbers in the playoffs that he did during the regular season.
BRENT SEABROOK: I think it's going to be tough. I think he's one of the best players in the league and he has been over the last couple years. Maybe he's not putting up the points that he was during the regular season, but he's still getting to the net, still getting lots of chances, and that definitely creates room for other players.
I think that it's going to be a fun challenge, but very a very tough one. I'm just looking forward to it.
Q. Brian, this is a team that can legitimately throw two lines at you guys that have superstars on those lines. How much of a challenge is that for the rest of the defensemen to be playing against those superstar players with regularity?
BRIAN CAMPBELL: Yeah, it's definitely a challenge, it always is. You know, I think it helps that we've played them six times this year. You get kind of used to it. I think it takes a while to get used to playing against Detroit a bit. I know a lot of these guys have obviously played against them all over the years quite a bit.
You know, we're going to have to bear down. It's five-man units. If we play, you know, going on the offense and coming back hard, we'll be fine. We got a lot of talent that hopefully they can worry about, as well.
Q. Brian, given the use of John and Pat and the fact this is your first year with the club, are you surprised at all that you guys have made it this far so quickly?
BRIAN CAMPBELL: If you had asked me that last summer, or even in September, yes. If you had asked me that end of November, early December, no. There's been a lot of growth with the hockey club. You know, I think Joel came in and set some standards of what we need to achieve. You know, as you go along, those stakes go up and you expect more from yourself and from your teammates. The goals get bigger.
So, you know, we feel we deserve to be here. And, you know, we're looking forward to the challenge.
Q. Brian, you just mentioned that Joel kind of set standards for you. Is that the difference he's made with this team? Since he's come in, how has it been different for you guys?
BRIAN CAMPBELL: I think there's accountability. I think it's fun when you have a goal and you can go after a goal, whether it's during the season you're going after, you know, 8 points out of 10, or if you're going on a long road trip, I think he challenged us a lot over the course of the year. That's fun, to be able to go after something. It's such a long season, you need those sorts of things to get you revved up at some points during the season.
So for him, you know, I think he did a good job with us, then rewarded us when we did come up with those points. So I think that's good for a young team. It shows that he's going to stick up for us and help us out.
But, you know, I don't know if Brent wants to add on that.
BRENT SEABROOK: I agree with what Soupy said. He came in, and I thought he was great. He let us have a lot of fun and definitely didn't take that part of the game out. At times he gave us a shot and made us get back down to business. I think that's also good for a young team that's maybe running away a little bit. He kept us pretty tight and had us on a short leash.
Q. Brent, talk about how the Red Wings are different than the last couple teams you faced and why they're a different challenge as a unit.
BRENT SEABROOK: I think, you know, playing Calgary and Vancouver, I think they had, you know, pretty good lines, like a top line I think we definitely had to worry about more. You know, they both had, you know, unbelievable goalies that we had to try and get to early in games, early in the series. And I think, you know, that part of it's not going to change much with Osgood.
But I think the fact that they have, you know, three, four solid lines that can score and that can do it, I think we're all going to, you know, have to definitely bear down on the defensive side. All our forwards are going to have to be coming back and helping us out. Like Soupy said, all the five-man units are going to definitely have to work together on the defensive side of the puck.
BRIAN CAMPBELL: For me, yeah, I think obviously a lot of what Brent says. They like to have the puck. They like to have puck control. I probably would say in the first two series, we probably had possession of the puck more than the other teams that we faced. So I think that's going to be a big battle throughout this series 'cause, you know, I think both of us play pretty good possession games.
Obviously Detroit is really good at faceoffs. We're going to have to, you know, step that up in our game, and that's obviously not just the centerman. I know the stat looks at the centerman and they see that. But it's wingers and defensemen helping out as much as they can on faceoffs to get that puck. So I think if we can keep it out of their hands as much as we can, you know, we're going to be doing some good things.
Q. What is it like in Chicago right now, just the buzz that's been generated by this run you guys are on?
BRIAN CAMPBELL: It's great. You know, you can see me smiling now. It brings a smile to your face when you have 22,000, it changes from 500 to 600, whatever they are allowed to announce; walking around the streets there's signs; radio stations are talking about it, TV. You know, it's a huge buzz.
In my mind we're bigger than, you know, the Cubs right now. If you can be bigger than the Cubs or the White Sox at any given time, then, you know, you're doing something right.
You know, it's a big event right now to go to a game and to watch a game. I know I've only been in Chicago a short time, but, you know, I can feel the buzz. I think in the locker room we're a pretty excited group of guys. I think we try to stay even-keeled as much as possible, but it's fun coming into the rink every day and being around the guys. We're very close. We stick up for each other. We go to battle.
You know, I want to win for the next guy sitting beside me at all times. They're working hard, too. So it's not a few single guys out there doing it, guys scoring the goals. It's different guys on different nights. I think, you know, Chicago, you know, it's not the Blackhawks, it's Chicago's team. They feel a part of it. A happy family that way.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, guys.
End of FastScripts