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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."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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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."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Monday, 04.25.2011 / 6:23 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCQF: Vancouver-Chicago Live Blog

Kopecky travels with Blackhawks

CHICAGO – Injured forward Tomas Kopecky traveled with the Chicago Blackhawks to Vancouver on Monday afternoon as the defending Stanley Cup champions prepare to play Tuesday night's Game 7 of a Western Conference Quarterfinal series.

Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said Kopecky is "progressing" from an upper-body injury sustained in the first game of the series and the team will know more about his availability to play on Tuesday.

Kopecky, who didn’t score and logged one shot in Game 1, played 81 regular-season games and scored 15 goals with 27 assists and 42 points.

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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."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl



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Posted On Sunday, 04.24.2011 / 1:20 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCQF: Vancouver-Chicago Live Blog

Campoli fitting right into Hawks room

Defenseman Chris Campoli has only been with the Blackhawks since March 1 after being traded by the Ottawa Senators, but it hasn't taken him long to adjust to the culture in the defending Stanley Cup champions locker room.

He has also blended in perfectly with Chicago's assortment of puck-moving blueliners.

Campoli will be a restricted free agent this off-season, but on Saturday after practice he showed how much he enjoys being part of the Blackhawks. Chicago's locker room has big Blackhawks logo sewn into the carpeting that nobody is allowed to step on without drawing a verbal scolding from a player or media relations staff member.

For the playoffs, it's even blocked off with red strap markers. A reporter forgot the protocol in the crowded room and Campoli stopped his interview to loudly chastise him.

"I'm totally a Blackhawk," Campoli said on Sunday morning. "I yelled at a reporter yesterday for stepping on the logo. I think I'm officially a Blackhawk after that … but I feel totally part of this team. They've welcomed me with open arms. The guys have been great. Joel's been great. The organization's first class. I couldn't ask for a better city to play in, and I'm proud to say I represent."
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 6:55 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCQF: Vancouver-Chicago Live Blog

Hamhuis happy for Preds after Game 5 win

Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis was playing in the United Center last season for the Nashville Predators when they lost a gut-wrenching Game 5 to the Hawks in overtime.

In fact, Hamhuis was injured on a hit from behind by Marian Hossa with time running down in the third period. Hossa got a boarding major, but the Hawks tied the game shorthanded with 13.6 seconds left in regulation -- and then Hossa won it in overtime.

Until Friday night's overtime win against the Anaheim Ducks, the Predators had never won a Game 5 in the playoffs -- which Hamhuis was glad to see from afar, now with Vancouver.

"They have a great group of guys over there and it's an organization that on paper seems to do so much with a lower grade payroll," Hamhuis said. 'It's great to see that they're having success and got over that hump in that Game 5 victory."

As for his own series, Hamhuis said it would be sweet to oust the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks on Sunday in Game 6 – the Canucks lead the series 3-2.

"I think for everybody in here it would be," Hamhuis said. "This is (Vancouver's) third crack at them. It was a tough series for us last year (with Nashville). We thought we should've won. So, a lot of guys would like to shake hands with them victoriously."
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 6:51 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCQF: Vancouver-Chicago Live Blog

Luongo enjoys hostile Hawks crowd

Despite having had some of his worst performances in the United Center, Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo still maintains that he likes playing here. The last time he was here, for Game 4 of this series, the Hawks put six goals on him in a 7-2 win and Luongo was pulled early in the third period.

Two years ago he gave up seven goals in a 7-5 loss in Game 6 that ended that Western Conference Semifinal series. Still, he says bring it on to Hawks fans.

"I love it," Luongo said of the hostile crowd. "I've always said I like to play in this building. It's fun. I love it when the crowd yells at me, even when I got pulled (in Game 4). That's what's fun about playing hockey, being part of environments like that. You can't always have people on your side. When they're against you, I kind of enjoy it a little bit more."
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 6:49 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCQF: Vancouver-Chicago Live Blog

Bieksa says lay off Sedin twins

The Canucks' star twin forwards -- Henrik and Daniel Sedin -- have just one goal (by Daniel), no assists and a combined minus-9 rating in the past two games. Still, defenseman Kevin Bieksa said the twins get far too much criticism when things go wrong for Vancouver.

If you're looking for blame for the Canucks only scoring two goals in the past two games, Bieksa said to look at the team as a whole.

"They're our top guys and they're expected to perform offensively for us, but one of our strengths all year has been our secondary scoring," he said. "I don't think you can really look at (the Sedins) and blame them for the lack of goals. Defensively we have to step up and score a few more and our second and third lines have to get pucks on the net, too. You can't blame two guys."
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 6:47 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCQF: Vancouver-Chicago Live Blog

Scott brings physical, comedic presence for Hawks

If Brent Seabrook is able to play in Game 6 for Chicago, that means Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville will have an interesting decision on his hands regarding 6-foot-8, 258-pound enforcer John Scott -- who's actually had a larger role in this series than most would've expected.

Since Seabrook was hurt with a hit by Raffi Torres in Game 3, Scott has played and provided a physical presence for the Hawks in a pair of blowout wins -- games in which play got chippy.

"They have a couple guys that like to finish their hits and stir it up kind of, and with him on the ice it seems like everything quiets down," Hawks forward Bryan Bickell said of Scott. "I wouldn't want to have a guy coming at me, who's 6-8 and starting to stir up stuff, so I think it's good to have his presence on the ice."

Troy Brouwer agreed and said this kind of hard-hitting series is tailor-made for Scott.

"When he's on the ice, his stature might be a little intimidating or guys don't want to be around him, but he's in the mix," Brouwer said. "He's getting hits on the Sedins. He got hit by Torres last game pretty hard and he likes that kind of stuff. He's in there and battling, having fun."

Scott has been a healthy scratch for much of the regular season, but always seems to have a smile on his face off the ice -- not to mention some golden quips to fill up reporters' notebooks.

"It's funny, because for such a big guy and such a big body he's such a great guy, such a nice guy and brings that laughter and evenness that we need right now," Brouwer said. "Having him around and even having him on the ice has been a big impact, I think."

Would Brouwer go so far as to say he's this team's version of Adam Burish, who always had a gaggle of reporters crowded around his locker stall because of his clever remarks?

"No, I don't think (Scott's) quite as witty with the beak, but he's always keeping us laughing, keeping us on our toes and having some fun," Brouwer said, laughing. "Didn't matter if we were struggling during the season or in the playoffs, he was always there for that comic relief, I guess.”
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 6:47 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCQF: Vancouver-Chicago Live Blog

Middle of the ice sure to be a factor

The Canucks say they've gotten too spread out on defense and allowed the Hawks far too much space to operate in both the neutral zone and the slot area between the circles in the offensive zone.

Hawks forward Patrick Kane said as much after Chicago's Saturday practice.

“They were stepping up a lot on us in the first couple games and making some big hits," Kane said. "Sometimes you make some adjustments on some different things and you try to find more pucks in the middle without them stepping up. The past couple games, their gap hasn’t been as good as the first three. You get more time and space, with the talent on our team you should be able to make plays."

To be sure, the Canucks are ready to make their own adjustment and clog up that middle area of the ice.

"Obviously, we’re aware of the situation," Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said. "It's pretty easy to pick up on TV with our loose gap and everything. We’ll put something in place and see if we can do a better job of shutting down their offensive potential.”

Defenseman Kevin Bieksa said it's a major area of concern that needs to be addressed.

"The past two games we haven’t done a good job there," he said of the neutral zone and center of the ice. "We’re getting a little bit too spread out and that’s allowing them to attack us with a lot of speed. It’s tough to hold the line and defend when you have guys flying in at ya from two zones away. We’re definitely going to make that adjustment."
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Quote of the Day

A piece of scar tissue breaks off, pinches the nerve, and every time you move your leg it's almost like having a root canal in your stomach and groin.

— Detroit Red Wings center Stephen Weiss on his sports hernia surgery