Pre-Game 4 comments from Chicago Blackhawks coach and players

Chicago Blackhawks iconComments from Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville and several Chicago players in advance of tonight’s Game 4 vs. the LA Kings…

Q. Will we see Brookbank back tonight?

QUENNEVILLE: Brooksy is playing. He’s been excited to play every game we’ve played in the playoffs. You have to commend him. He’s practiced very well. It’s a great opportunity for him. But you got to commend him on how his attitude has been throughout these entire playoffs knowing he hasn’t gotten a chance yet to play.

Q. In your experience, when a guy hasn’t played in five or six weeks, do they come out too hot or rusty?

QUENNEVILLE: I can probably evaluate his performance by how he’s been practicing. I’m excited about what he can bring to our team.

Q. What are the Kings doing to shut down time and space?

QUENNEVILLE: Basically in all three rounds, checking has been tight. Not a lot of room for top guys. Not a lot of quality scoring chances with the teams we’re playing, and our chances as well. I mean, the playoffs, not a lot of room. Teams check well. Teams are well-prepared for what they’re trying to prevent. Time and space is limited, especially in the scoring area. You’re playing against top guys that know how to defend. It’s not a real high exchange of chances either way. You look at the three series, the top guys really haven’t been productive. Doesn’t mean necessarily their play has been poor.

Q. How will you miss Dunk the most don’t?

QUENNEVILLE: I like his competitiveness and leadership. Certainly brings a lot of good qualities to our team in all situations. The quality of ice time he consumes, how efficient he is at it. You’re missing minutes. We’ll share those across the board. But we know we got him coming back.

Q. Knowing how many minutes Duncan plays, five-on-five, where do you need to make adjustments within the six who are there?

QUENNEVILLE: Well, I think throughout most of the season, the entire six played meaningful minutes game in, game out. As we went along, Dunk’s minutes progressed come playoff time. I think everybody is going to get a few more minutes each. Brooksy can absorb some minutes, as well. It’s a situation where I think the way the game is being played will dictate how much ice time. But we expect probably a pretty balanced group of six back there.

Q. How did Duncan take the news?

QUENNEVILLE: I spoke to him. He’s where he’s at. He’s dealing with it. We’ve all dealt with it and we’re moving forward.

Q. Since he’s so instrumental in getting you into your offense, that was an issue in Game 3, are you forced to lean on Johnny and Nick?

QUENNEVILLE: We’re way more efficient when our whole D is active, be it off the rush, off the point. We had too much standing still, being forwards, defense, the gaps in between. I think they’ll be more closer together as a group. But certainly you want our D to be active.

Q. Do you just plug guys into the system or does their skill set not allow you to do everything that Duncan can do?

QUENNEVILLE: I don’t think we want to be Duncan. You got to play your own game, play within your limitations, know we have the structure of our team game. We all have a rhyme or reason how we play without the puck. Everybody has different skill sets. You know, play within what your strengths are, you should be fine.

Q. All year long you talked about the luxury you had of difficult decisions. You can’t make a run like this without this happening, right?

QUENNEVILLE: We’ve been fortunate. Sometimes they make decisions for you, how things evolve. Had to tell Brooksy a couple times, Be patient, there’s going to be an opportunity. It could be the most critical time come the playoffs. I have to commend him on his patience and his approach, knowing that he deserves to be playing. Nice to see him get a chance.

Q. Can you discuss Marian Hossa’s play and is it at the level you want?

QUENNEVILLE: Offensively you like production from him, but at the same time, the way he checks with his backside pressure, complements our team game. I just think the consistency of how he plays really is how we want our team to play without the puck. Offensively we’d like to see more production from everyone. But, you know, like I said before, the top guys, there’s not a lot of room.

Q. Your thoughts on Keith’s suspension?

MICHAL ROZSIVAL: Big loss for us. But it is what it is. We all have to go out and step up our game and be a little better. We’ll see what the defensive pairing will be for tonight. That’s a big loss, but you have to deal with it. That’s the way it is.

Q. (Believe the question was about Brookbank being ready.)

ROZSIVAL: He’s a professional. I know he has been skating hard, keeping himself ready. He’s a steady guy. He showed it during the regular season. I don’t worry about him not being ready. I think if he’s in, we’ll be fine with him in the lineup.

Q. Thoughts on Keith’s suspension?

MARIAN HOSSA: Well, we all know Dunks, he’s one of our top defensemen. He’s on the ice the most minutes for our D. We’re definitely going to miss him for this coming up game. But somebody else going to have more ice time. So we just have to find a way without him. Definitely it’s a big loss. But, you know, we were missing some part of the season some key guys and we find a way to win. It’s unfortunate what happened. He got suspended one game. But we’ll find a way to win without him.

Q. (No microphone.)

HOSSA: For sure, you know, this is sometimes part of the playoffs. You miss guys maybe for a suspension, you miss guys because of some injury. That happens. Now we just have to go out there and find a way to win without the key guys.

Q. (No microphone.)

ROZSIVAL: Yeah, same thing. Been doing pretty well during the course of the season with the D. Didn’t have to go through any adversity through the season, have been pretty healthy. Hopefully it stays continue. Missing Dunks, like Marian said, he’s a big part of the team, playing a lot of minutes, power play, penalty killing. It’s part of it, whether it’s injury or something like that happens. It just happens. I guess if we get through this, it’s going to make us stronger.

Q. After Game 3, your teammates were saying you didn’t match the Kings’ intensity. Making that adjustment for tonight, is it strictly a mindset in terms of bringing proper energy or the necessary energy this evening?

HOSSA: I think the key is the first period. In their building, even before, some guys, they come up so hard. We were talking about it, but for whatever reason they still come up hard. They were faster, better in the first period. We just want to make sure we play better in the first and create better position for the second and third. Tonight we have to be much better in the start of the game.

Q. Is there a sense of urgency at all in this game or not because you know you still have two games at home?

HOSSA: Definitely it’s a huge difference. We know what this game means for us. We could get ourselves to the great position coming back home. You know, this is a huge game. Obviously every game is huge, but this really makes a difference how the series is going to go. We need to be ready. We need to bring our best, put the best effort. We need to not worry about the result, but if you bring the best, I’m sure the result will be there.

Q. How difficult has it been for you to find open scoring areas for yourself?

HOSSA: They’re a great defensive team. You’re not going to find too much open area. You have to really work for it. You have to get open, come to the spot, go back to the open ice again. You have to really find a way because they’re a great defensive team and it’s not easy out there. There’s not much room. You have to keep fighting.

Q. Viktor, you talked about Duncan yesterday. Hearing the suspension, were you surprised? How do you press on without him?

VIKTOR STALBERG: Yeah, you know, it’s unfortunate that happens. But it’s part of the game. They made a decision. We’ll respect that. Do our best without him here tonight. It’s a big loss for us. I’m sure other guys will step up and be able to fill his minutes without a problem.

Q. Viktor, can you talk about your post-season. Didn’t start out the way you want it to, now coming on.

STALBERG: To be honest, I’m not really disappointed how it’s been. I think it started out pretty good. I thought our line was effective the first series. It was a big part of us winning that series. Whatever happened after that, happened. Put it behind you, try to go on and play our game. I feel like we’ve been playing well this series, as well. Just don’t seem to get our bounces around the net. Do everything you can to keep working hard. At the end of the day, hopefully you work hard enough and it’s going to start going in at some point. Can’t look at the numbers too much. I think as a group we’ve been playing well. Look to keep improving as we go along.

Q. Bryan, this is the first with Duncan being out. How confident are you top to bottom?

BRYAN BICKELL: It’s been like that the whole season. You know, if someone comes out, someone steps in. I know Dunks missing this one game, there will be big minutes spread around our D. Last game wasn’t our best game. We just need to bounce back and bring it tonight.

Q. In the last game, obviously it was tough getting some space to operate. Talk about the importance of that.

BICKELL: We need to stick to our game plan. I know the first half of the game we were doing the opposite of what we wanted to do. Then the third, we realized the situation we were in, then we picked up our game. We kept it simple. We were going to the net for second and third opportunities. We need to bring that at the start of the game today.

Q. Bryan, the D men have been pretty aggressive moving forward to create scoring chances. Will that change at all with Duncan out tonight?

BICKELL: No, I don’t think so. I know it’s good for the forwards to see the pressure on the blueline, keep offensive chances going. For the D jumping in the rush, it helps us forwards, gives more opportunities to get more scoring opportunities off that. But, you know, I don’t think it’s going to change.

Q. Viktor, Hjalmarsson was talking yesterday about how the forwards let the defense down, there wasn’t enough coming back and helping. That’s a big part of the team game you play. With Duncan out, does that make it even more difficult?

STALBERG: As forwards, we need to help out no matter who is playing back there. With Dunks out, we have to take more responsibility. Last game, it’s not the way we wanted to play. We didn’t have enough speed. No one was really helping each other out, supporting the puck. Kind of led to us standing still. That’s not how we’re going to be successful. Simple as that. We’re a speed team that’s going to generate offense by skating and using our feet. Didn’t do it last game. We’ll be back here tonight doing that.

Q. Somewhere in the back of your head are you thinking, Everyone is watching now, this is where we can make an impact?

STALBERG: Yeah, I think people are watching you all year. Certainly there’s more eyes on you at this point of the year. You try not to think too much about it. It’s about winning right now and doing everything you can for the team. Whatever happens, we’ll take care of that. Right now it’s about this group, this team, winning right now.

BICKELL: I concur (laughter).

Q. Speaking of that, your dad told one columnist that you started figure skating at five, that he has a picture of you in a tutu somewhere. Can you confirm that that picture exists?

BICKELL: Yes, yes. I did start figure skating. It was more can skating, we call it. I think my parents, they wanted to teach me how to skate first, then learn hockey. But, yeah, there’s a picture floating around somewhere. He says it’s on the wall. It’s not on the wall. He’s making that up. It was all in good fun. You know, it is what it is.

We also have full comments up from the LA Kings morning skate as well. See the links below.

RELATED CONTENT:

Full comments from Darryl Sutter – Thursday morning skate

Thursday morning stake – Sutter’s probable lines for Game 4 vs Chicago

Game 4 morning skate – Jarret Stoll on line changes and taking advantage of Keith’s suspension

Game 4 morning skate – Justin Williams on lines, injuries and playoffs

Game 4 morning skate – Greene on Muzzin’s development and Carter’s mumbles

2013 NHL Awards – selections submitted for 2013 regular season honors

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