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NHL WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS: BLACKHAWKS v DUCKS


May 16, 2015


Francois Beauchemin

Cam Fowler


ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA: Practice Day

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Obviously Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, biggest stars in the league.  What makes them special and different from, say, other top forwards that you go against throughout the year?  What separates them, what makes them different?
FRANCOIS BEAUCHEMIN:¬† It's especially how fast they do things.¬† They're both really quick players and great puck‑handling skills.¬† You give them an inch, they'll make you pay.¬† They want that puck on their stick to make plays.
Toews is obviously a great shooter.  Plays hard around the net.
Really want to be tight on those guys, not give them any time and space.  You always talk about time and space against the best players.  Especially those two, you have to be doing that.

Q.  Maybe they're not the traditional duo, play on separate lines.  Does that make it more challenging because they play apart from each other rather than with each other most of the time?
CAM FOWLER:  Yeah, I mean, I think it makes it unique.  I think they have the ability if they're down a goal or something, if they're pressing in the third period, they can put them together, they can work together.
But, yeah, it's a little unique in that way that they don't play together.  They bring some different challenges for the first line and the second line.
They have a little different skill set.¬† Kaner is more of a puck‑position guy, creates a lot of time and space for his teammates. ¬†Toews has similar skills, but he's more of a grit kind of player, working in front of the net.
Bring some different challenges for our group.

Q.  Francois, I think it's fair to say it's a physical, pounding kind of game.  You don't want to take too many penalties against a team like the Blackhawks.  What is it like to straddle that line, not take too many penalties?
FRANCOIS BEAUCHEMIN:  It's all going to be playing hard, control.  Make sure we're physical with our sticks down.  Don't take those retaliation penalties.
I thought we did a great job against Winnipeg.  I'd say probably four of the five games against Calgary we did well at that.  The one game we lost, we took eight minors in Game3.
When we stay out of the box, play hard, five‑on‑five, be physical, it just grinds that team down.
It's hard playing against these guys.  We do it in practice every day, playing in the D zone.  When they get the puck on the boards, you have to battle hard with them to get it away from them.

Q.  Very physical practice.  Is that how you always practice or is it because of such a long layoff?
CAM FOWLER:  That's pretty much the norm of what we've been doing, especially since the playoffs have started.  We have a good formula that we've been kind of going by.  Today was another part of that.
I think the big reason why we've had some success is because how we've been practicing has carried over into the games.  That's really important, especially when you have six, seven days off.
It might be easy to kind of sit back and relax for a second.  The good thing about our group is we continue to push each other in practice.  Our guys have been competing all week.  Today was another good sign of that.  That just means that we're getting prepared, getting ready for a good challenge on Sunday.

Q.  Francois, watching the rest of the defense corps change, I think you two are the only ones that have been here for a year or two.  What is it like watching it evolve, the younger players?
FRANCOIS BEAUCHEMIN:  It's been great watching the younger guys improve the last couple years.  You can tell even at 23 and under, they're really mature the way they handle themselves, the way they work hard, the way they prepare for the games.
There's a time to joke around and have fun, but there's a time to get serious and get ready for the game.  They really know that fine line between that.
Like I said before, they have to keep up with me.  I try to work hard.  I try to keep up with them, so...
It's kind of the way we've been playing the last couple years.  Try to lead by example.  Again, they lead by example in their way, as well.

Q.  Cam, let's talk about your individual game for just a moment.  Talk about previous playoff seasons and experiences versus this year and what you might be working on individually to take your game to the next step.
CAM FOWLER:  Yeah, I think if you look back at my game, even, say, my second or third season, I think if you compare that to now, I think I've made, you know, some pretty good strides in the right direction.
A lot of that is the coaching that I've had, and since Yawns has been here this year, we've been working hard to try to complete my game overall.
I'm not the most physical or aggressive player just by nature, but there's things I can do better, times that I can be stronger and harder in my own zone.  That's something that Yawns has really helped me with.
I think the more experience you have in playoffs, the more comfortable you get with situations and reading when your team might need you to be a little more offensive or picking times where we're trying to protect the lead and it's time to buckle down in the defensive zone.
Just reading those situations, figuring out what my team needs me to do at those moments is something I'm trying to get more comfortable with, just play with confidence and help the team the best I can.

Q.  Why has it worked so well with you and Simon?
CAM FOWLER:  That's a good question.  I think we complement each other pretty well.  The good thing about us as a group, or as a pair, is I think we're able to skate with some of the other top lines and match their speed.  Des is such a good skater, especially for how big he is, and he plays a pretty heavy, physical game.  He has the ability to go and jump up in the rush.  If I read that, it's obviously time for me to sit back and vice versa.
I think we're just able to read off each other pretty well.  We also have a good relationship off the ice, which helps out a lot, too.  We talk about situations we see on the ice and figure things out along the way.
I've really enjoyed playing with him and hopefully we can continue to have some success together.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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