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Posted On Thursday, 04.28.2011 / 3:53 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2011 WCSF: Vancouver-Nashville Live Blog

Trotz learns why opponent matters

Barry Trotz has been in this game for a long time and has been the coach of the Nashville Predators since they were born in 1997. But, this week, for the first time in his NHL career, he had to refocus his team on the next opponent in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Trotz found out that it isn't so easy to do, especially when you finish a series early and wind up waiting to find out who you're going to play next.

"Our first practice back after taking a day off we didn't know who we were going to play and I didn't like our practice, I didn't like our focus because we had no focus, we had no opponent," he said Thursday morning. "Our mentality changed once we found out who we were playing. We found out it was Vancouver and our mentality as a team changed right away.

"So, I learned something the other day on a little bit about the playoffs. You need an opponent to be focused, and we didn't have that. Once we did we were a changed team. Now we're looking forward to the challenge."

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.26.2011 / 4:47 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2011 WCQF: Vancouver-Chicago Live Blog

It's all on you Vancouver

VANCOUVER, B.C. -- The Blackhawks have believed since Game 1 that the pressure is all on the Canucks, and they're not about to change their tune now.

"We're confident and we're having a lot of fun, but nothing changes coming into this game," captain Jonathan Toews said. "We still feel the pressure is on them. They're the ones that had a 3-0 lead and they're trying to close us out. We're just putting the pressure on them and nothing has changed in that way."

Added Viktor Stalberg: "Really we have nothing to lose. The pressure is on them. This city is not going to be happy if they lose four straight to us. It's going to be fun for us. We can go in with no pressure, just try to play our game and have fun with it."

Patrick Kane said he can sense that the city of Vancouver is on tilt heading into Game 7.

"It's a big hockey city and they were expected to do well this year," Kane said. "They were in a good position after Game 3."

Toews thinks he knows what the Canucks have to do to have a chance to win tonight.

"If they want to beat us they're going to have to play their best game of the series," he said. "We know we're going to bring our best game."

"I certainly think we have momentum going into the game," added coach Joel Quenneville. "We were talking in Game 4 about just getting the momentum changed in our direction and see where it takes us. I think it's taken us to a pretty remarkable place."

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.26.2011 / 4:31 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2011 WCQF: Vancouver-Chicago Live Blog

Kane on Canucks: 'They take some stupid penalties'

VANCOUVER, B.C. -- When asked about the comments Vancouver GM Mike Gillis made Monday about the officiating in this series and how the Canucks aren't getting a fair shake, most of the Blackhawks shrugged their shoulders and danced around the issue.

But, Patrick Kane and coach Joel Quenneville attacked Gillis' remarks head on.

"I think maybe him doing that takes the pressure off his players a bit and puts the emphasis on something else," Kane said Tuesday morning. "I mean, the way they play is pretty physical and sometimes they take some stupid penalties. I don't think you can really complain about many calls to be honest with you."

Quenneville pulled a Gillis and cited the facts.

"My only comment to that is I just look at our regular season we were the second fewest penalized team all year long," he said. "That's my defense."

Technically he's not accurate since the Hawks were actually third in total penalties and penalty minutes during the regular season, but they were second in total times shorthanded whereas the Canucks were 24th. Vancouver was also 18th in total penalties and 13th in penalty minutes.

So, what Quenneville is saying is that the trend in this series -- Chicago has had 27 power plays to Vancouver's 16 -- is right on par with what happened for the two squads in the regular season.

Nevertheless, Kane understood why Gillis stepped out in front of the cameras and made his remarks Monday.

"It might be a good move by him to try to get the emphasis on something else and maybe the League or the refs start thinking about it," He said. "But, I don't think it's really going to matter tonight. I think it's going to be a fair game."

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Posted On Sunday, 04.24.2011 / 2:15 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2011 WCQF: Vancouver-Chicago Live Blog

Is it Game 6 or Game 7?

CHICAGO -- Henrik Sedin is still trying to keep the mood light around his club, so in response to a question that referenced the Penguins-Lightning series, Vancouver's captain had this to say to a group of reporters Sunday morning at the team hotel:

"I can't believe a team could lose 8-2 in the playoffs."

He was kidding, of course. After all, then Canucks lost to Chicago, 7-2, in Game 4.

But, Sedin's attitude in the morning spoke to how the Canucks are feeling. Despite getting blitzed by a combined 12-2 in Games 4 and 5, they are still in control of this series up 3-2. Only one team Sunday night can skate into the second round.

That being said, Vancouver is prepared to treat Game 6 like it's Game 7 just so it can feel the same pressure to win as the Blackhawks.

"We haven't done that in the last two games and tonight it's time," Henrik said. "We have to treat this as a Game 7 and play a lot better."

It's fair to say that even with one more mulligan still left in their bag, if the Canucks lose Game 6, then Game 7 Tuesday in Vancouver could be ugly, too.

"We know in this League if you're not on top of your game it's going to be like this," Sedin said. "We haven't had guys doing the things we're supposed to do and if you don't do that it's going to get out of hand. We've seen that in other series than ours, too."

Just as the Blackhawks are inspired by what the Flyers were able to do after falling into a 3-0 hole last year, the Canucks have to be aware of why the Bruins let them back in it.

"The last couple of games we've been out of the game halfway through the first period," Henrik said. "(A good start) is huge for us. Even if they score first we have to stick to our gameplan. We can't start looking for goals. We're going to have to keep this game tight and if you have to win it in the last minute, that's fine with us."

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Posted On Thursday, 04.21.2011 / 4:30 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2011 WCQF: Vancouver-Chicago Live Blog

Cooking up the pressure on Canucks

VANCOUVER, B.C. -- The Blackhawks insist that nothing is different about their predicament save for the confidence they now have after putting up a seven-spot on Vancouver in Game 4.

Pressure?

Please, that's all on the Canucks right now.

"We're the ones that were down 3-0 and just kind of squeaked into the playoffs, so I don't think anybody has really put pressure on us to win a series let alone with the Stanley Cup," Patrick Kane said Thursday morning. "We'll see what happens, but whether it's the media, the fans in Vancouver or just the city in general, a lot of pressure is on the Canucks tonight, for them to close it out here at home in Game 5."

It's a believable argument, one the Blackhawks plan to use to their advantage.

They played a pressure-free game on Tuesday and it worked. Why not just do it again?

"We're just taking trying to stay alive obviously, but the way we played and being able to score the amount of goals we did in the last game gave us confidence that we can come in here and put some pressure on the Canucks and see what happens," Hawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "Obviously there is pressure on them. They want to win here at home and we'll give our best effort to stop that."

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Posted On Thursday, 04.21.2011 / 4:22 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2011 WCQF: Vancouver-Chicago Live Blog

Power play discrepancy bothers Canucks

VANCOUVER, B.C. -- After four games the Canucks are wondering if the officials are being harsher on them than the Blackhawks.

Vancouver has been awarded only 10 power plays in the series while Chicago has been given 19. The Blackhawks had 14 power plays in the two games at United Center while the Canucks had only six.

The penalty minutes are skewed due to the four 10-minute misconducts the Canucks took in Tuesday's 7-2 loss, but the Canucks still have 87 compared to the Blackhawks' 51.

Both Daniel Sedin and Ryan Kesler were asked what more the Canucks can do to draw more power play opportunities?

"I honestly don't know," Sedin said. "I don't think we can do much more. We're skating well, moving our feet and it's just a matter of getting those calls."

Kesler was similarly miffed.

"Good question," he said. "I don't know. I can't answer that. I don't know."

It should be noted that the Blackhawks had five power plays and the Canucks' 57 penalty minutes in the third period of Game 4, which was a blowout after 40 minutes. Vancouver's parade to the penalty box, including four 10-minute misconducts, was more a result of the score than anything else.

Still, they gave up a pair of power play goals in the period and have yielded four in the series.

"We need to stay out of the box," Sedin said. "They have a good power play so that is going to be key tonight. The crowd is going to be into it so we have to stay calm, play relaxed and have fun out there."

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.19.2011 / 2:15 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2011 WCQF: Vancouver-Chicago Live Blog

Toews staying loose with pressure off

CHICAGO -- Jonathan Toews was smiling Tuesday morning, even cracking a small laugh at one point.

You'd think being in a 0-3 hole against the Canucks and facing elimination in Game 4 Tuesday night at United Center would have the Blackhawks leader, known in these circles as 'Captain Serious' in a sour mood -- but that clearly was not the case.

He was as loose as I've seen him in the series, maybe as loose as I've seen him since spending two summer days with him in his hometown of Winnipeg during his Stanley Cup celebration.

"You've gotta be (loose), I guess," Toews told NHL.com. "What are you going to do? Just go out there and play your best hockey tonight and you've got nothing to lose. Just do your best, nothing more to say."

Toews expects the Blackhawks to follow his lead and play a pressure-free game.

"That's what we're going to do," he said. "We can play loose. We're not feeling sorry for ourselves. We're going to go out there and play. We're men. We're professionals in here and we care about each other in the locker room. From Day One every guy, we've all gotten along, we all like each other, and when you think about it that way it makes you want to go play harder for each other. We've got a lot of pride in this locker room and we know that's a good team across the way there. We've just got to find a way to win one."

Toews compared the Blackhawks situation to the predicament Philadelphia was in down 0-3 against Boston last season. The Flyers came back to win the series, becoming just the third team in NHL history to do it.

"The way they got into the playoffs, they're kind of like us with the last day of the year," Toews said. "That's our dream right now, is to win tonight and we'll go from there."

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.19.2011 / 11:25 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2011 WCQF: Vancouver-Chicago Live Blog

One more chance to fix the problem

CHICAGO -- Third periods have been an issue for the Chicago Blackhawks all season long and nothing has changed in this series against the Canucks.

The Blackhawks and Canucks each have two goals in the third period through three games, but the Canucks were able to hold the Blackhawks back in Game 1 and outscore them in Game 3. The Hawks needed to play their best period of the series in the third period of Game 3, but they wound up playing one of their worst.

They were 0-for-2 on the power play and managed only seven shots on goal. Mikael Samuelsson scored a goal off a rebound from the slot 6:54 into the period and that was enough for the Canucks to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the series.

"It was 2-2 going into the third and we've got to fight to get that goal," Patrick Sharp said. "Giving one up and chasing from behind is not the answer we're looking for. Every game presents different situations, but we'd like to be better in the third period, that's for sure."

Fourteen times this season the Blackhawks entered the third period tied or with a lead only to come away with no points. If they forced even half of those games into overtime, they would have at least opened the playoffs at home as the fourth seed.

The Hawks are still searching for answers for their third period woes.

"If I knew we would have found a solution to that already," captain Jonathan Toews said. "It's just been a re-occurring theme where maybe it's something that snowballs on us, we put added pressure on ourselves to make plays and we end up making mistakes off of them."

Patrick Kane said the Blackhawks sometimes fall into the habit of feeling good after the second period.

"And we start playing a little bit differently (in the third) to kind of force and get another goal," he said, "But, I think the biggest part of our game that we want to get going is to play a full 60 minutes and keep it the same way. If we play like we did in the first period (Sunday) throughout the whole night we should be successful."

Toews said the Hawks can't be worried about the trends that have dogged them all season. Not now at least.

"We've got one more game to go out there and play our best hockey, keep ourselves alive in this series," Toews said. "We can't be focused on things like that."

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Posted On Monday, 04.18.2011 / 12:47 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2011 WCQF: Vancouver-Chicago Live Blog

Canucks won't change on our account

CHICAGO -- We in the media might call the answers boring, perhaps unworthy for our valuable (at least that's what we think) notebooks and recorders.

That doesn't mean the Vancouver Canucks are going to stop giving us those one-shift-at-a-time, one-day-at-a-time, one-win-at-a-time quotes following every media availability, be it after a practice or a game.

After being with the Canucks for five days and three playoff games, I've begun to think that they actually believe what they're saying, that these unhelpful answers actually mean something to this team and are not used as answers to questions they just don't want to deal with.

"The only position we're in is that we're going to get ready for our next game," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said following Sunday's 3-2 win at United Center. "We've taken it all year long on a one-game basis. We're playing a great hockey team, the Stanley Cup champions. We're going to practice (Monday) and get ready for the next game."

Maybe it's a sports psychology thing -- I don't know -- but the fact is that the Canucks don't just preach this stuff, they act on it. They really do live in the moment and refuse to think about anything else, past or future.

What happened last season against Chicago? Please, not an issue or a concern.

What they did in Games 1 and 2 at home? History that doesn't matter now.

What could potentially happen Tuesday in Game 4 now that they have a 3-0 lead in the series? Let's just wait until we get to Tuesday, OK.

"I think they've got some great guys over there -- they're battlers and they're going to battle to the end," Canucks captain Henrik Sedin said. "The players they have, their winners. It's going to be a tough battle here come next game."

That's the other thing about the Canucks -- they do not hesitate to heap praise on the Blackhawks, calling them the champs and a great team with every opportunity they get.

Not once have the Canucks given Chicago any fuel with an off-color or controversial comment. With no ammo, the Hawks haven't been able to fire back, either with their words in the dressing room or with their play on the ice.

"We've got one more to go and we know it's going to be a tough one, the hardest one so far," Roberto Luongo said, preaching the company line. "These guys are the Stanley Cup champions and they're definitely not going to quit. It's going to be even harder on Tuesday and we've got to be ready."

They will be. They just won't tell you how they do it.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Sunday, 04.17.2011 / 2:33 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2011 WCQF: Vancouver-Chicago Live Blog

Canucks ready to deal with Scott

CHICAGO -- Finding out that Chicago will use John Scott in Game 3 raised more than just a few eyebrows inside Vancouver's dressing room.

"It's interesting," Canucks forward Tanner Glass said. "I'm sure they think he's going to bring something to the lineup that may have been lacking. It's a different look, but we're focused on what we do in here and our process."

Kevin Bieksa chirped Scott a little when he said that the best way to beat him is to just skate around him and score a goal.

"When a guy 6-8 challenges you, (a guy) that can't skate? Well, usually you say 'No,' and then you go around him and score," Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa said. "That's what usually you do. There are other 6-8 guys in the League. Why doesn't he go challenge those guys to fight?"

Bieksa also said the Canucks won't change a thing despite knowing Scott will play.

"We're going to be physical regardless," he said. "Our whole gameplan is to initiate, not retaliate. We've done a good job of it so far and I don't see it changing tonight."

None of the Canucks plan on fighting Scott.

"I remember him fighting Alex Bolduc," Glass said, "and it didn't end so well for Alex."

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