Comments from Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville in advance of the Western Conference Final with the LA Kings…
Q. How much has your team had to get past a couple things last round, how much does that toughness mean?
“I’m sure it gave us a real big boost obviously coming back at Game 4, and winning Game 5. Certainly felt we had a little bit of momentum. You come back and win the next two, huge wins, tight spots, very competitive games, as well. I thought we progressed in these playoffs. First round, we got up to speed Games 3 and 4. I thought the last five games in that series were the way we have to play to be successful. Have more confidence in the wins as well. We know we’ve got to be better, but we’re excited where we’re at today.”
Q. The Kings’ physicality, talk about that.
“We’ll see. I think we want to make sure that we’re disciplined and we want to make sure when we’re hitting or counter-hitting, we go to the hard areas, make sure when we get pucks in behind them, hopefully spend some time in their end. We expect a hard forecheck and hard game against us. We want to do what we can physically as well.”
Q. Regarding Jonathan Quick…
“Well, he’s had a special couple years in the playoffs. He’s a different kind of goalie the way he moves so quick in the crease or even above it. Traffic is something we talked about. Pucks at the net, second opportunities are the ones you’re going to beat them with. We’ll see. You work as you go along with him. I know a lot of our talk going into tomorrow’s game is that we have to find a way to make sure that he doesn’t see pucks and make it hard on him in that area.”
Q. Reminder to the guys of elevating at all, Quick is so good.
“No matter who we’re facing, we always pre-scout, go over the goalie a little more thoroughly in the playoffs. You watch them play. There’s certain situations where you got to do special things to beat him because he’s so effective in certain areas. We’ll talk about those. It’s easier said than done.”
Q. Series with Detroit got a lot of praise for the style of game it was, the attractiveness of the game. Can you do the same thing, play that same game against these guys?
“I don’t know. I watched that first-round series with St. Louis. Out of all the series, that probably was the most exciting and competitive to watch, first-round series. You might not think that’s pretty hockey, but it’s intense. I didn’t watch it. We expect a hard and fast series. I think I’m not really measuring the entertainment value, but I expect it will be entertaining.”
Q. (No microphone.)
“Well, they had him two years in a row and had some pretty competitive series. This series was a little bit more in the closeness of it. They’ve got some guys that can score, they have some play-makers, got some guys with size on their lines that can make some plays as well. They make you play a hard game. It’s something that we got a lot of respect for what they accomplished last year. They did something very unusual the way they went through those rounds being up 3-0. They’re back to where they wanted to get to.
“We’re excited about where we’re at today. They’re capable in a lot of ways, but they got all four lines probably thinking they can score. We look at our group here, we got four lines that we think can help us.”
Q. You talked about the process of the playoffs. Are you happy with the way this series has progressed for your team?
“There’s always processes. When you look back, there’s steps you have to overcome. There’s definitely some big hurdles. You reflect back being down on the ropes, Detroit, 3-1. That was a huge obstacle to overcome. We gained a lot of momentum after that. We’re excited about the challenge right now. But right now, we’re in a place going into the playoffs probably a little bit of pressure on us, knowing the regular-season expectations, and now we should be excited and confident where we’re at.”
For additional Kings-Blackhawks coverage, be sure to check out the links below.
Word Association – Six Kings take on four Blackhawks
Pre-series comments from Chicago GM Stan Bowman
Sutter’s raw quotes – Kings v Blackhawks preview
Colin Fraser on returning ‘home’ to Chicago
Kings officially saying goodbye to two prospects this week
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