Saturday afternoon quotes from Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville…
Q. On pressure.
QUENNEVILLE: I don’t look at it as pressure. I think it’s been fun. We’ve been in a real interesting situation the last two games. As series progress, and as in-series progress as well, the games get tougher and faster and more important. I thought as the series has gone on here, we’ve gotten better and better, and we’re looking to play our best tomorrow.
Q. Both teams have success in elimination games. Does one team have an advantage?
QUENNEVILLE: I’m excited we’re home. I’m really excited we’re playing Game 7. It’s a good opportunity. We got momentum, so let’s go. It’s one game, but there’s a lot at stake. I’m sure the guys are going to have a lot of fun with it.
Q. What do you remember about Game 7 against Detroit last year?
QUENNEVILLE: I thought it was a tremendous game. I thought we had a great start. They had a good third period. Seabs coming down Main Street to score a big goal for us. It was a heck of a game.
Q. You’ve been involved in lots of great series. This has been a pretty special one. Are you able to appreciate it at all in the middle?
QUENNEVILLE: I think it’s good hockey. I mean, we know that we got to be good, we got to be on our toes, a lot of things we got to be aware of. It’s a good challenge for us. It’s a good test. There’s a lot of good hockey players. You know, the quality of the hockey has been fun to watch and fun to be a part of. A lot at stake at the same time.
Q. (No microphone.)
QUENNEVILLE: The start will be definitely important. We’ve seen a lot of lead changes in games, as the series has gone on, as well. It’s tough to forecast, but I would expect a real fast pace. Both teams can score. Both teams can check. Both teams are dangerous. I would expect probably a progression from Games 5 and 6 at that pace.
Q. What has it meant to have a more effective power play this season in the playoffs than maybe last year?
QUENNEVILLE: Well, power plays are important. I think it helps your offense. It helps the offensive guys, a little bit more patience in the scoring areas, that added time to make an extra play is the difference sometimes to sustaining puck possession and playing in your own end. I mean, you always like your power play to be good. Sometimes whether it’s goalies or the other team’s checking like a mechanism, that can slow it down. That always changes. It’s tough to count on that to get the job done game in, game out.
Q. Funny how it works out, final month of the season you were chasing St. Louis and Colorado for home ice, in the first round even. Here you are in the Conference Finals with Game 7 on your home ice and hopefully in the Stanley Cup Finals.
QUENNEVILLE: We had some breaks there the way it worked out. Some teams had it. In the first round there were a lot of upsets. But then again, you look at the league, it’s so close anyway. But, hey, we’re excited about being there, for sure. You know, let’s go.
Q. Over the past four or five seasons, you have been able to do some things that are pretty rare in the NHL. Last year coming back 3-1. Now you’re in this situation. What is it about this team that you can stare that in the face and not blink?
QUENNEVILLE: Competitive guys. They find a way. They overcome a lot of different challenges. I mean, they want to win. Last night’s a good example. Game 5, same situation. Down in third periods, it doesn’t look good. They don’t change their approach. We know we have some guys that can make plays and have some ability to score. It’s always there, as well. But we’re playing a real good team that has a lot of similar attributes to what we do. But I commend the guys for what they’ve done, what they’ve accomplished, how they handled big situations.
Q. You seem comfortable shortening your bench at this time of the year. This time of year is it pulling out all the stops and using fewer forwards?
QUENNEVILLE: I still think we use them all. Certain lines don’t get as much ice time as the top lines. We’ve been a four-line team all year. There have been a couple instances, in the St. Louis series, they were going three lines. Sometimes if you want matchups you got to be down to three. It’s mostly a four-line team. We’ll see.
Q. With regard to rising to the challenge, you do have a tendency to play with fire, late goals, overtime. Most teams only have so many comebacks in them. Do you feel with this particular team you can just do it?
QUENNEVILLE: Are you sure you’re talking just about our team (laughter)? L.A.’s done it quite a bit here. I know we’re in a situation that, hey, last year we put ourselves in a tough spot. We’ve been behind in a lot of these series lately. To me it’s a seven-game series. It gets sorted out at the end. We try to find a way to get better as we go along in series, better as we go along in games. That’s what we look forward to tomorrow.
Q. How much is that tactical adjustment or just becoming more familiar with your opponents?
QUENNEVILLE: I think players get better. I think they get a little bit more accustomed to tendencies and habits. The competitiveness sometimes comes out at the end. Purpose is always a part of what we’re talking about here as an individual and as a team. Some things, you make tweaks here and there. But at the end of the day, the players are the ones that sort it out. They’re the ones that got to get the job done.
Q. Shots on goal, does the quantity matter?
QUENNEVILLE: We’ll definitely take a pair of timely goals like that, a situation like that. It was quite a third period as far as action, unpredictability. I still thought we had some offensive zone time. They blocked a lot of shots. It wasn’t like we were defending the whole period. They got some momentum in that building for a stretch there, as well. It was an exciting third period. I still thought we had zone time.
MORE: Saturday quotes from Kings coach Darryl SUtter can be found here.