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Posted On Wednesday, 04.13.2011 / 4:33 PM

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

Heard around the rooms

Here are some quotes from both dressing rooms after each morning skate prior to Game 1:

BLACKHAWKS

Patrick Sharp: "The thing about the Vancouver Canucks is if you shut down the Sedins you've got a whole bunch of other problems to worry about it."

Brent Seabrook: "You definitely have to be aware of where (the Sedins) are at. You don't want to have me and Duncan (Keith) on a 2-on-1 leading the rush. You have to keep it in the back of your head, keep looking for them and watching for them, making sure you're always in good position."

Troy Brouwer: "Any guy wants to come back earlier than they should, especially at this time of the year, but you've got to make sure your body can handle the stress that may be brought on it. You have to be able to protect yourself in case you get in a tough situation."

Patrick Kane: "You'd always want Bollie (Dave Bolland) back, but one of the reason they were so successful is because of Duncs and Seabs, too. Those two guys are really are the shutdown pair and they seem to shutdown anyone they play against."

CANUCKS

Henrik Sedin: "We have a lot of respect for those guys, they are the Stanley Cup champs and that's the team to beat for us. Other than that we've done a great job all year to just focus on the next game and play our game. That's not going to change too much for us."

Kevin Bieksa: "It's a new year and two different teams in my mind. They're a lot different than they were last year and the year before. I think it's no secret that a lot of their bottom-six guys that were key guys in antagonizing us are gone and they've had some new, younger guys step up. And, we're a much different team in here. We've got some different guys that came in and plugged holes, but mentally we're a lot different, too."

Daniel Sedin: "Our motivation is just to win the whole thing, so for us it doesn't matter who we're playing. We know through 82 games we were the best team and we have to bring the same effort and style of play into the postseason."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Wednesday, 04.13.2011 / 4:25 PM

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

Johnson had a feeling

VANCOUVER, B.C. -- After a 4-3 loss on home ice to the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday afternoon some felt the Blackhawks season was over, but not center Ryan Johnson.

Johnson had the feeling a meeting with his former mates, the Vancouver Canucks, was a certainty this spring. Prior to joining the Canucks, the Thunder Bay, Ont., native spent three seasons with the St. Louis Blues.

In his first season with the Canucks, the 2008-09 season, Johnson and his new teammates swept the Blues in their first-round matchup.

In the offseason Johnson joined the Blackhawks as a free agent after spending two injury-plagued seasons with the Canucks.

"I had a feeling about a month ago that this was going to happen," Johnson said. "I just had that feeling. When I came to Vancouver from St. Louis, I had this feeling I was going to play St. Louis in the first round, and it happened.

"I've kind of been preparing for it the last few weeks. Obviously it is an emotional deal coming back to a place where you played and against friends."

It wasn't until around 8:30 p.m. ET when the final buzzer sounded on the Dallas Stars and Minnesota Wild game in St. Paul, Minn., which the Stars lost 5-3 to the Wild.

The Stars' loss of course paved the way for the Blackhawks to sneak in as the eighth seed in the Western Conference.

"It was a long day, early game for us, it felt like the season was over and then things turned around in the afternoon and we’re back in it," forward Patrick Sharp said. "It's a great feeling, a great accomplishment to be in the playoffs -- we're excited about it and can't wait to get it started."

With Game 1 now just hours away, Sharp admits it's time to make use of this second opportunity.

"We're focused on what we need to do," he said. "We got to play a good, patient game here to start things off. It's going to be loud, it's going to be fast, and we're excited about it."

In Johnson's mind this is what the playoffs are all about.

"It's exciting. I think it's a great thing for these two teams to meet for a third time and the fans love it," he said. "There should be a lot of energy and it should be a blast."

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.13.2011 / 3:42 PM

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

Luongo takes mornings off

VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Canucks starting goaltender Roberto Luongo is up to his old tricks again electing not to speak with the media after morning skates on game day.

Taking game days off from dealing with the media is nothing new with Luongo, the Canucks starter did it at times during the 2010 playoffs including when he was inundated with questions regarding former Blackhawks forward Dustin Byfuglien.

"I'm a goalie and I want to be focused on stopping the puck on game days and that's pretty much it," he said after Tuesday's practice. "I know tons of goalies that don't do interviews on game days during the season so for me it's nothing but trying to put my whole focus on playing the game."

Luongo enters the playoffs riding his best goals-against average (.928) and save percentage (2.11) since joining the Canucks prior to the 2006-07 season. The 32-year-old is coming off a season in which the Canucks coaching staff closely monitored his games started and his teammates notice the difference.

"The calmness he shows on the ice, moving from side-to-side and rebounds are not there anymore," said captain Henrik Sedin. "He's a totally different guy from last year so it's fun to watch and he's saved us a lot of times."

As far as not speaking to the media on game days, Chicago Blackhawks veteran back-up Marty Turco had a good laugh. The Dallas Stars' 1994 fifth-round pick recalled not talking to the media on game days during his rookie season.

"I did it my first year," recalled Turco. "When I was young and new, but it wasn't my choice, but I did it. Whatever (Luongo) thinks. Someone told me I wasn't allowed to talk so I wasn't allowed to talk. I knew why, but I was young and it was not my choice at that point."

Turco has a career 21-26 record in the playoffs with four shutouts, a 2.17 GAA and a .914 save percentage all while playing with the Dallas Stars.

"Everything's always to be determined later," Turco continued. "You do what you think you got to do."
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Posted On Wednesday, 04.13.2011 / 2:49 PM

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

This was no rookie mistake

VANCOUVER -- Canucks rookie Cody Hodgson spent the morning before his first NHL playoff game working out off the ice while most of his veteran teammates were on the ice at Rogers Arena going through a typical morning skate.

What's this again? A rookie not skating the morning of Game 1? How dare he?

"It was an optional skate and I was just making sure everything is good for tonight so I'm ready to go," Hodgson said.

Yeah, but he had to catch some serious heat from his teammates, right? They couldn't possibly like the fact that this kid, all of 21 years old, didn't join them in the pre-game workout.

Not true.

"I talked to them (Tuesday) and made sure it was alright in playoff time, and I got a unanimous yes from every single person I asked," Hodgson said. "The guys I asked all said the same thing, 'Do what you need to do for playoffs.' "

Canucks coach Alain Vigneault certainly didn't mind that Hodgson chose to workout off the ice. Heck, Vigneault wasn't even on the ice Wednesday morning.

"For me, optionals are optionals," Vigneault said. "I'm just not a believer in morning skates. The twins usually don't go out. A player's job is to do what he believes is going to get him ready for that game at night. The players decide what is best for them and I respect that."

It's not as if Hodgson was lounging on the couch watching NHL Network. He was sweating as he spoke in front of his stall inside the Canucks' dressing room because he had just finished his rigorous dry land workout.

Hodgson has battled back issues in his short career and he said he has a routine that will allow him to loosen up and get ready for the game. His usual gameday routine does not include pregame skates.

"I just do a long workout before and with the pregame skates it can be a little much," he said. "I just take it the way I do everyday and I will be ready tonight. Obviously I worked hard the last couple of weeks preparing for this and I'm feeling ready already."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Quote of the Day

The groove of being behind a bench is going to be interesting at first, but thank God we have a few exhibition games to get rid of those cobwebs. Overall the excitement of it all and the freshness and coming back refreshed, all those things are going to be assets. If [the players] come ready to give their best effort in practice and games, good things are going to happen. I'm always looking for results. It's not always on the scoreboard. It's winning and building something.

— Bryan Trottier on making his return to coaching as an assistant with the Sabres