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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 6:45 PM

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

Brouwer says Edler elbow incident incidental

As the final seconds of the second period in Game 5 wound down, Blackhawks forward Troy Brouwer chased down Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler from behind right in back of the Vancouver net.

Brouwer got called for slashing on the play while trying to catch Edler, who stuck out his left arm to ward off Brouwer -- with his elbow catching Brouwer right in the face. Edler did not get called for elbowing, and the League did not review the play for a hit to the head.

Brouwer said he talked to an official about it, and was told the elbow wasn't seen.

"The ref that was behind me … had a quick chat with him and his angle was blocked by my body, so it’s tough to see," said Brouwer, who went after Edler, but was intercepted by Maxim Lapierre before eventually fighting Kevin Bieksa. "You know, he called a slash. So, he can see sticks but not elbows, I guess.”

Edler said he wasn't intending to elbow Brouwer.

"I didn't try anything with an elbow," he said after the Canucks practice on Saturday. "I saw that he was coming and tried to cut him off at the net a little bit."
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Posted On Friday, 04.22.2011 / 8:40 PM

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

Hawks not planning to change a thing

While blowing out the Canucks in Games 4 and 5, Chicago has also managed to annoy its arch-enemy to the point where Vancouver players have done a few extracurricular things to strike back physically.

Hamhuis' hit on Bolland was just one of several the Hawks hold in contention from Game 5 – which also included a blatant elbow to the face of Troy Brouwer delivered by Alex Edler at the end of the second period that started a small melee.

Brouwer, who got a hard punch off against Kevin Bieksa in that scrap, was also punched several times by Bieksa while an official held Brouwer down trying to break up the altercation. Toews said the Canucks can expect more of the Hawks' swagger in Game 6 -- and, if necessary, Game 7.

"We're not going out there trying to suck them into anything, but we're playing hard," Toews said. "If you get a lead, sometimes they're going to start doing stuff like that. You can always argue there's a few things you'd like to be called, and when it's not called sometimes it does get out of hand a little bit. It is what it is and it's not going to stop us from playing the way we do."
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Posted On Friday, 04.22.2011 / 8:40 PM

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

Toews says Torres hit was a motivator

Some are now saying this series changed after Canucks forward Raffi Torres was not suspended by the League for the Game 3 hit he put on Brent Seabrook, in which Seabrook was leveled while looking behind him behind the Hawks net.

Seabrook missed Game 4 and Game 5 and is questionable for Game 6. Meanwhile, the Hawks have played inspired hockey in his absence. Did that Torres hit ignite a salvo that awoke a sleeping bear?

"That's what everyone wants to say," Toews said. "We just like to say it was added motivation on top of the fact that we were down 3-0 to probably our biggest rival in the League right now -- especially when we lose a key player like Brent Seabrook. Every single guy in that locker room was reminded at that point that, ‘Hey, we're letting this team get away with too much,' and you know, we had to hold them accountable a little bit. That little extra motivation thrown on top of that, it fueled the fire for sure."
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Posted On Friday, 04.22.2011 / 8:39 PM

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

Hawks not happy with Hamhuis hit

During a sequence in the second period in Game 5 when things started to get rough between the two teams, Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis went high on a hit against Hawks center Dave Bolland and appeared to smash Bolland's head into the glass behind the net.

Bolland, playing just his second game after a severe concussion that kept him out for 17 games, took a penalty on the play and was irate as he headed to the bench -- smashing his stick into pieces. Hawks coach Joel Quenneville didn't know what the fuss was about at first, but got a good look at it on a video replay and agreed with Bolland.

"I was wondering why he was so upset and then I saw the replay and I think coming off his injury, he's got a reason," Quenneville said Friday at O'Hare Airport after the Hawks returned from Vancouver.

Chicago captain Jonathan Toews also thought a penalty should have been called, but took the opportunity on Friday to display his own dry brand of humor when asked about Bolland's reaction.

"He definitely didn't look happy after that," Toews said. "He felt there should've been a call and showed the way he felt … just as long as he doesn't run out of sticks, we'll be all right."
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Posted On Friday, 04.22.2011 / 10:08 AM

By Dhiren Mahiban -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCQF: Vancouver-Chicago Live Blog

Blackhawks exposing Canucks

VANCOUVER -- After going down 0-3 in the series Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said his team wasn’t exposing the Canucks for what they were -- "a beatable team."

Chicago made adjustments, and has now outscored the Canucks 12-2 in the last two games of the series, holding the Canucks' big line of Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin and Alexandre Burrows to just one goal and a collective minus-11 in the two wins.

The defending Stanley Cup champions have all the momentum as the series moves to Chicago for another must-win for the Blackhawks on Sunday.

The Blackhawks appear to have found a couple weaknesses in the armor of the Presidents' Trophy winners. First is Roberto Luongo, the Canucks starting goaltender, who has allowed 10 goals on 40 shots in Game 4 and 5 losses.

On Thursday night Duncan Keith, who played with Luongo on Canada's gold medal winning Olympic team, dropped a hint.

"Take a look at our first goal," Keith told reporters.

Chicago's first goal in Game 5 came at 5:54 of the first period when Marian Hossa beat Luongo glove-side for his first of the playoffs. Hossa picked up his second goal of the night, in similar fashion, at 1:26 of the second period.

The glove-side arm is the one Luongo awkwardly fell on in Game 4 while making a save off of Bryan Bickell with just 25 seconds remaining in the first period. The Canucks maintained that Luongo was 100 percent healthy when he was given the day off from practice on Wednesday in Vancouver.

Additionally, once the Blackhawks have managed to build a lead, there's no looking back. Chicago outscored the Canucks 4-1 through 40 minutes at the United Center on Tuesday and subsequently outshot Vancouver 26-13.

In Game 5 Chicago outscored Vancouver 5-0 through the opening 40 minutes with no push back from Vancouver as rookie goaltender Corey Crawford picked up just his second playoff win and first career post-season shutout.

If the Canucks have any intention of winning this series, and avoiding becoming just the fourth team in playoff history to blow a 3-0 lead, they'll have to use their next two days wisely, make the necessary adjustments and be prepared for Game 6 at the Madhouse on Madison.

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Posted On Thursday, 04.21.2011 / 4:45 PM

By Dhiren Mahiban -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCQF: Vancouver-Chicago Live Blog

Bounce back needed by Canucks

Bouncing back from losses is something the Canucks have managed to do quite well throughout the 2010-11 season, and they'll look to do the same tonight in Game 5 at Rogers Arena.

Canucks starter Roberto Luongo hasn't lost two starts in a row since February 22 and 26 when he did so against the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins.

The 32-year-old was ventilated for six goals on 28 shots in Tuesday's 7-2 loss and his teammates expect Luongo to be in fine form tonight.

"He's like a warrior, he's a competitor, you know he's going to bounce back and play a solid game," said Alexander Burrows. "(Tuesday) night those were good shots, good clean looks that they had at him. We just have to make sure we play better in front of him and it's a team effort."

Luongo opened the series turning aside all 32 Blackhawks shots in Game 1 for his second career playoff shutout, and then turned aside 30 shots in an impressive 3-2 win Game 3.

Luongo along with Alexander Edler and Henrik Sedin, who all had the day-of on Tuesday, were present at the team's optional skate Thursday morning.

"There's no momentum carry over into the next game unless we allow it," said Kevin Bieksa. "We come out with a different mindset, we'll play like we did in the first three games and we should be fine."

The Canucks are 1-1 in Game 5 against the Blackhawks the previous two springs. Last season Vancouver picked up a 4-1 win at the United Center while Chicago had a 4-2 win in Game 5 of the 2009 Western Conference Semi-Finals at what was then known as GM Place.
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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."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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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."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.20.2011 / 6:46 PM

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

Quenneville strikes gold with Bolland line combo

The Blackhawks are saying the return of center Dave Bolland helps balance their forward lines by giving coach Joel Quenneville another center and allowing him to put speedy Michael Frolik back on the wing.

It worked like a charm on Tuesday night in a 7-2 blitzing of the Canucks in Game 4 of the series, as Bolland's line -- he centered Bryan Bickell and Frolik -- combined for 3 goals and 8 points.

"Bolly and Bick always played together and Fro, we like the way he's responsible on both sides of the puck and has some upside offensively," Quenneville said before departing for Vancouver on Wednesday. "We haven't seen a lot of it, but he's capable of being in the right spots around the ice. Collectively it was a real nice unit."

He also was pleased with the other three combinations.

"I liked the lines," Quenneville said. "We had energy on all the lines. All three lines could score and make plays and there was something defensively to the lines, as well. It was one game but it was a big difference."
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Posted On Wednesday, 04.20.2011 / 6:46 PM

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

Hawks thought Bieksa could've drawn instigator

Toward the end of Game 4, with Chicago holding a commanding lead, things started to get a little rough between the Hawks and Canucks.

At one point, Hawks forward Viktor Stalberg leveled Mason Raymond on a forecheck and shortly afterward was in a fight against Vancouver defenseman Kevin Bieksa -- who after the game said Stalberg "speared" Maxim Lapierre and "got what he deserved" in the fight, which was clearly won by Bieksa.

The Hawks thought Bieksa could've been called for an instigator penalty in the fight, but wasn't.

"I was kind of disappointed to see (Bieksa) jump Stalberg like that, but it is what it is," Chicago defenseman Brian Campbell said Wednesday. "I don't know what the calls are anymore, so I'll leave that up to everybody else. I'm confused."
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Quote of the Day

This is a big year for us in a lot of ways. You can see Garth and management really trying to find that solution to get us into the playoffs and consistently have that. The pressure is great. You have to enjoy it. It just means there's a great opportunity ahead of you.

— Islanders captain John Tavares