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May 20, 2010

Joel Quenneville


SCHUYLER BAEHMAN: Questions for Coach Quenneville.

Q. I know it's a small change, but it is a change. Talk about going to the hotel tomorrow after morning practice. Was there any consideration to go there tonight?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: I think that, you talk about different scenarios. I think I've been on teams that have done both scenarios, have been in situations where we are at home. All three different scenarios have been tried and explored and considered here as well.
So we'll just try to change it up a little bit, but certainly I think that the focus is that we want to make sure how we play on the ice is what we're talking about.

Q. How have you been able to, like in the first, second, third rounds, seems like your team maintain its composure from all the crazy stuff, especially in games 1 and 2 against San Jose, how have you been able to get them to do that?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: I think we want to make sure that we know the pace has been very fast and very quick. We want to make sure that we have intensity, we have some physical play in our game, and we want to be hard to play against.
At the same time, 'discipline' is a word we stress expressly going into that Vancouver series; it's something that's important in this series. We're respectful of their special teams and their power-play. Initiating is part of what we want to talk about. At the same time, you know, referees are looking for the retaliatory type of penalties.
I just think we want to pressure, we want to be on people quick, make sure we finish checks.

Q. Kris Versteeg kind of an offensive guy playing on a defensive-oriented line, how has that gone for him, do you think?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: He's pretty handy with the puck. I think his thought process with and without it keeps him in the play. I think that line out-complements one another. But I think the one thing they all do is have quickness, they all of decent hands, and can make plays.
I think Steeger offensively has maybe a little bit more finish than maybe you'd think for a checker. At the same time, you know, when you're in that situation, when you're playing against top guys, you do still get opportunities to score and make plays and spend time in the offensive zone. I think that's what makes that line that can be a threat offensively, as well as dependable defensively.

Q. Is the effect that the Olympics had showing on Jonathan Toews right now?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: I think the one thing I admire about Johnny I admire is he just gets better and better with time. I think last year we just saw him grow throughout the season. His game and confidence improved. Same thing in the playoffs. This regular season, same path as last year where he's improving in all aspects of his game.
He did the exact same thing in the Olympics. I think we're seeing the same growth here in the playoffs. He just seems to be rising to each and every challenge out there.
You have to like the consistency in his game, the way he prepares himself, the way he leads, quietly goes about his business, but he's a great competitor. He's really leading our group right now.

Q. You've been adept at getting the matchups you wanted. How is it easier now that you're at home? Brian Campbell said it looks like chaos up front with the line changes.
COACH QUENNEVILLE: Sometimes that chaos can be good. You don't know that. But at the same time, it wasn't easy getting the matchup. Didn't always get it. I think it was challenging. It was maybe a little bit disruptive with their attack game, puck-possession game. But I didn't mind the way we defended off it.
Being at home we'll see the matchups as you go forward. Sometimes the scores dictate how strict you are in matching, how hard you try to get it. So I think play it accordingly, but at the same time, knowing they got some weapons over there that we got to keep on eye on, not just the Thornton line we're talking about.

Q. How do you guard against not getting too excited the situation you're in? The city is going crazy. Is it difficult for the players to do?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: Well, it's all part of the process. It's a long run, and all of a sudden, you don't want to get too far ahead of yourselves. I know there's excitement in the city, which is great. We should all feel fortunate to be a part of it.
It's one game at a time. You don't want to look past tomorrow's game and tomorrow's challenge. You want to play and approach it like we have to win that game. I think having experience in our locker room, guys being through it before certainly helped. Johnny Madden has hosted the last couple of years, Kopey's, last year's playoff run, knowing it was hard to get back to where we got to last year.
But I think that's the short-term view is that you're playing your game, you're playing the periods, you're playing your shifts is how we try to fine tune the objectivity of where we're at and play in the moment and keep the focus in the proper ways.
I think the enthusiasm is great in the city. Enjoy it. At the same time, let's make sure we're in the right place.

Q. Marian Hossa has two goals this post-season. Do you look at that as not a big deal or do you think he's going to have to start putting pucks in the net?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: We expect him to produce. At the same time we like the way he contributes to our team. I think he makes that line rock solid in all aspects of the game. It's one of those lines where a lot of nights can be the differential in territorial play. The production might not be there, but certainly we like the way they create or control the shift.
He plays an important part of our power-play, penalty kill. His minutes are important. You know, top guys eventually in the playoffs, you always talk about sometimes, you know, it's a secondary and third guys that jump out. I still think he's a great threat, a great weapon. I think his productivity is probably waiting to explode. At the same time we like the way he contributes to our team game and his consistency to that.

Q. A lot of your players consider tomorrow night's game a must-win situation for themselves. Do you like them having that mentality?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: Absolutely. We feel we have to be better at home. We want to make sure we take advantage of playing in our own rink, and reestablishing how we had the effectiveness all year long.
But I think we're just fine tuning it where we're looking to win that game. Our guys have been very good in the approach in this series. Our focus of Game 2 was going to be harder than Game 1. We're going to add on to that going into Game 3. That's our mindset. Let's be excited about it.

Q. With the Sharks going with 11 forwards, 7 D, it's almost a matchup you guys wearing out the top forwards on your side, them wearing out the top D on the other side. How do you think they're doing? Also, the role of Hjalmarsson, against your top defensemen, what he's meant to you in the series?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: We like Hammer. We think he's one of those defensemen that quietly goes about his minutes. As our defense absorbs minutes, he takes low 20s, we're comfortable with him against anybody in the league. He's very dependable, reliable. Think Soupy's return really helped. That pair stabilized. You have the defensive end and offensive from that pair.
But, you know, our group has been absorbing minutes, whether you look at the numbers Duncan and Seabrook have been playing. Sopel is coming in with some big minutes as well. We think whether it's equitable or not, we feel the balance of our defense, we're comfortable with the ice time they're getting.
Over the course of the game, I think the taxation of each and every guy has been manageable, and trying to get to their forwards on the other side of it. I just think the matchup is something that we're trying to do. I think with having 11 forwards, it's easy to insert a guy in that one line. I don't think it's something you can really fine tune or focus on too much.

Q. What's been the biggest change from a year ago in terms of preparation? A day off in San Jose, Alcatraz?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: I think we just adapted this year I think more so in what our habits were prior to the first series and the second series, based on the scheduling. We were out there in San Jose. We had a lot of time on our hands. I think getting away from the rink one day was probably healthy for everybody. I think our first game losses in the first last four rounds has been something we tried to do something different, as well.
On a need basis, we just try to keep ourselves on a different schedule knowing we didn't like the time off going into Round 1 or Round 2. But we did have several days there. I think the guys still kept the focus in the right way. They should be the ones commended.

Q. Back to matchups. Most teams like the first line, fourth line matchup. In your case, talk about how fortunate you are to have a Selke winner that can handle it.
COACH QUENNEVILLE: Well, whatever the matchups are, I know we got some guys up front. Anybody can probably play with anybody. You can mix up our forwards. You be comfortable with that line.
We do have a lot of options in games. I think sometimes we can change in the course of games. But certainly every game's different. Sometimes some guys are going better than others and sometimes that can make your decision for you. But, you know, I think the one thing we do have, we're comfortable with most guys against most guys in the league, in the series as well.

Q. The love affair in this city for this team is hitting a crescendo right now. What is it like for you personally in your neighborhood maybe at the supermarket, people coming up to you, encouraging you?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: It's been fun. I think we should all feel fortunate as players, as coaches, as a Blackhawks organization. It's fun to be part of the community and the enjoyment that everybody's having with the Hawks, the enthusiasm that's around there, be it our kids at school or going to a restaurant in town.
Everybody's noticing, everybody's talking about it. It's a fun situation. It's something that on a day like today you want to guard against where everybody is telling you how great you are, knowing that tomorrow is the challenge and the focus that we want to make sure we're all grounded and focused in the right way. Enjoy it, but at the same time let's stay focused.
SCHUYLER BAEHMAN: Thank you very much for your time, coach.

End of FastScripts

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