Pre-series comments from Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman

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.”

For additional Kings-Blackhawks coverage, be sure to check out the links below.

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