Comments from Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman in advance of the Western Conference Final vs the LA Kings…
Q. As far as the way your team was able to come back against Detroit, what did that say, the mental aspect?
STAN BOWMAN: Well, it shows we have a resilient group here. We’ve known that all along. It’s nice to be able to prove it. We didn’t face a lot of adversity this year. Obviously we had the great start. We lost a few games here and there. It’s tough when you face your biggest hurdle at a critical moment in the playoffs when it’s do or die. I think at that point, you need your experienced guys to come through.
In addition to that, I think our coaches deserve a lot of credit. Joel has been in a lot of situations in his career, and he understands how to get the team going. You can’t panic. You have to have confidence in your ability. I think we did that. It wasn’t easy. Obviously they were all close games.
But I guess ‘proud’ would be the word. We know what these guys can do. We still have a lot of work left to do. We know when we’re tested, we can rise to the challenge.
Q. What move has Joel made in these playoffs that has impressed you, that made the biggest difference?
STAN BOWMAN: I don’t know if there’s one specific move. There’s always little adjustments you make, line combinations, matchups against the other team. We faced some pretty good players here back in the first round. Obviously we had good matchups, a good plan to be able to accomplish that. I think more so just finding smaller adjustments, maybe within games, game to game, things you notice on the other team. Our penalty killing has been strong, been that way all year. Got the power-play going briefly there a couple games, gave us a boost. Hopefully we can get that going again.
Q. Regarding Corey Crawford…
STAN BOWMAN: Corey has been great. Really consistent efforts every night. That’s what we’ve seen all year long for us, having our team confident, knowing that he’s going to be there. It’s almost something we don’t think about anymore. We know we’re going to get a great effort from Corey, we’re going to be in every game. That gives you confidence that you’re going to be able to sort of play the way you want to play. You
don’t have to change your style.
He was rock solid throughout both series, I think. The consistency of his performance, we expect that to keep going.
Q. (No microphone.)
STAN BOWMAN: I think when we set out to start this season, that’s what we shoot for. I think that’s why you play the game, you want to win the Stanley Cup. That’s sort of your overall goal. You have to set goals along the way. We said starting off we wanted to win our division. Once we had that wrapped up, we wanted to win the President’s Trophy.
The only thing we’re worried right now is the game tomorrow against L.A. It’s I guess a catch phrase, but you do take it one game at a time. We saw last round that you can’t get ahead of yourself either way, when you get ahead or fall behind, just focus on the next game.
Q. In your position, how much do you get to enjoy the moment?
STAN BOWMAN: This is what we play for. The playoffs are exciting for everybody. We have a job to do. We’ve been planning for that all along. It’s something we’re accustomed to. I think we’ve got some plans in place, we got an idea where we’re going to go with things. We’re just focused on the
games just like the coaches are.
We understand that you have a job to do when the season ends. But we’re not focused on the season ending; we’re looking at trying to keep things going.
Q. On Jamal Meyers…
STAN BOWMAN: Well, the reason we brought Jamal in two years ago was we have a lot of people who have been with him in the past, knew what type of things he would bring to the table. We experienced it last year. That’s the reason we brought him back.
At this point in his career, he doesn’t maybe play the role he did on the ice earlier in his career, but that still doesn’t mean he can’t have a big impact on our team. You need that experience. You need guys like that to try to help the younger players, teach them what it’s like at critical moments.
We really are a team, whether the guys suit up every night or if they’re just helping prepare the other guys and being ready if they’re called upon. I know they all want to get in there. I know we have some good players that aren’t playing right now. We look at that as a strength. It means we’re prepared and we have a lot of depth there if we need to use it.
Q. As you advance, do your plans change based on how far you go?
STAN BOWMAN: No. Similar to a couple years ago when we knew we were going to make some changes. I think if you look back, really every team, they always have some new faces every year. When there’s changes made, I don’t think anybody brings the exact same roster back.
It’s a puzzle you have to put together. You don’t have all the information yet. You can’t have just one plan. You have a few different things that you’re working on.
We’re all prepared. We understand what we want to do. Like I said, we don’t really want to get sidetracked with that. We spend time thinking about it, but we’re really here to talk about the games. I think that’s what everyone is excited about. There’s plenty of time to talk in the off-season on the other stuff.
Q. How much do you think the competition helped Corey this year?
STAN BOWMAN: The competition is always good. The other thing, it allowed Corey to not have to wear himself out. We had a nice balance in terms of how many games they’re able to play. Obviously he’s got the workload right now. But I think he still is relatively fresh. Ray was dynamic for us, as well. There were a lot of stretches this year, whether it was during the streak or even after that streak, where Ray carried us
and won some games by himself.
All those things help put us in the position we’re at today. We had home ice in Game 7, something you want. You have to earn that earlier in the year by the way you play. Having Corey and Ray as a good tandem I think helped get there.
Q. Question about Hossa…
STAN BOWMAN: “Marian is such an important player because of all the different things he does. If you look at his constrictions, they’re not limited to scoring goals. He kills penalties. He’s probably our most responsible winger in terms of tough situations. Joel trusts to put him on
the ice. He can shut down offensive players on the other team and he can also score goals and make plays.
When you add all that up, his contribution is huge. I think we’ve also seen the way he plays sort of rub off on some of our younger players, the two-way game he has. When you’re practicing with a guy like that every day for a couple years, you understand how to play the game the right way.
All those things have been instrumental in getting our team game to where it is now.”
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