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Blackhawks Players Winter Classic Postgame

Thursday, 01.01.2009 / 8:36 PM / Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic 2009

By NHL Public Relations

Q.  Patrick, you said you were really excited to play the Red Wings on national TV, it was a chance to show that the organization just to show how far you guys have come.  How disappointed are you guys that you didn't walk away with a win?
   
PATRICK SHARP:  It was pretty disappointing.  I think it was a great opportunity for us as an organization to show how far we've come as players to show everyone the strides that we've taken as a team.  It's unfortunate that the game ended the way it did, but they're defending Stanley Cup champions for a reason.  And there's a reason why they won that game.  So it's a learning   it's a lesson that we can easily learn from the way the game went out there and we've got to keep getting better for the future.

Q.  Jonathan, can you still appreciate this event even though it ended the way it did?
   
JONATHAN TOEWS:  I mean, it's hard to right now.  Like Patrick said, I think it's definitely a tough pill to swallow.  It's so exciting, everything leading up to that game, the National Anthem, the fireworks, the whole at months fear in the building, I think it's unbelievable.  And we wanted to do it for ourselves but most of all we wanted to do it for the fans and everybody that supported this team for so many years.  And it was a pretty big game.  It goes beyond just the players that are out there playing on the ice.  So I think, like I said, it's disappointing that we couldn't come out with a win.  I think it was a pretty sinking feeling in the locker room.  I don't think going into this game today there was   we were definitely not thinking about losing.  That was not on our minds at all.  And like Sharp said, they're a heck of a team.  You've got to give them credit for what they did, and we can learn from this.

Q.  Jonathan, on that vein, three days ago, you know that if you win these two games this week with everyone watching, that you're tied with the Wings.  And now instead it's eight points.  Does it feel like maybe Big Brother wanted to deliver a message over there this week?
   
JONATHAN TOEWS:  I think last year we talked about the wins and the way we played against Detroit and how we kind of snuck up on them a few times.  I don't think we can do that anymore.  I think they definitely sent a message, a couple of nights ago.  And they stepped up and played the same pace and the same type of game.  It's tough that we came out with the lead and they just kept coming at us.  They're so consistent.  They've got four lines of guys that play the right way.  And, like I said, they just kept coming.  And they were tough to play against all over the rink.  So it's a tough one, and like I said you've got to give them credit as well.

Q.  Patrick, how energized were you guys by the crowd in the first period?  And I would say ten minutes per period, really.  And second, did it play like a normal game even with the elements and the new ice?  Did it feel like just a normal game?
   
PATRICK SHARP:  Yeah, I think so.  Before the game everybody was kind of looking around and trying to take the atmosphere and get accustomed to it.  But certainly the energy level was high to start.  Everybody was pumped up.  The pregame festivities were very exciting and we came out and played the way we wanted to, to start the game.  The second part of your question, I think it had an NHL game like atmosphere.  I think the NHL did a heck of a job promoting the game and put together a facility that was pretty similar to everything we've been playing in all year.  So the ice wasn't a factor.  It was a great experience, and it was just like a regular NHL game.

Q.  Patrick, the game the other night, notwithstanding, you’ve got two goal leads on this team.  Obviously the Wings are difficult to play when you're behind.  Are they as difficult to play when you're leading them?  What's been happening in the games?  Is it them just turning up a notch, you guys sagging back?  What's been the key with those two goal leads that you haven't been able to hold onto?
   
PATRICK SHARP:  I think there's a lot of issues there.  It's tough for us to sit up here and talk about how good the Wings are, but they're the best team in the League, I personally think.  So having said that, we're not going to lay down for them.  We're not going to give up.  We're going to continue to try to get better.  We've had two goal leads in three of the four games we played against them and they managed to keep coming and fight back.  There's lessons to be learned there.  We're going to try not to make excuses but we are a young team and we're trying to learn in those tough games how to win them.  So we'll go from here.

Q.  Jonathan, you said a couple of weeks ago that a lot of the guys on the team hadn't played on such a big stage, and you were going to try not to think about that.  Do you think it had an impact on this game at all?
   
JONATHAN TOEWS:  You know, I don't think so.  I think it goes both ways.  Yeah, we're excited to come out there.  We're fine in the first period, but after a while, I think like Sharp said, I think the environment and the ice and everything was pretty standard.  So none of that stuff took away from it.  So once you're out there, you're focused, ready to go and you just go out there and try to do a job the way you normally do on any other night, whether it's at home or on the road.  So I think everyone was excited to play in that game, so everyone stepped it up for sure.  But we had a great effort in the first period.  We tried our best to keep it going.  But Detroit is such a consistent team that they don't get rattled when they get down a few goals, and they kept coming at us and they played a veteran like game.  So I don't think anything like that had an effect on us.
     

Q.  Patrick, this is a two part question.  The first is:  What were your thoughts while watching the Classic last year in Buffalo, and what were you thinking when you finally got out on the ice this year?
   
PATRICK KANE:  It was a cool feeling.  I think you go out and you see 45,000 fans screaming and yelling.  It's a really cool feeling.  I think just sitting on the bench and looking at the whole crowd, the whole atmosphere, it was really unreal.  It was like it wasn't really happening.  It's one of those things really fun to be a part of.  And just looking around, it was a really good feeling.

Q.  Can you just talk about the disappointment of the loss and sort of what changed after the first period when they came on so strong?
   
PATRICK KANE:  They're the best in the world.  That's what they proved tonight.  I think they're a team that can just take over when they want to.  They have so much experience and so many great players that just seems like they can go on whenever they want and take over.  You see with games like, they beat the Sharks 6 0 this year, they beat us 4 0 the other night, and then they took it to us when we were up there.  So we got to learn how to play against them.  We're a young team and we have to learn how to play in those games, but that's why they're the best in the world.
   
Q.    Pat, number one, how are you feeling?  And were these last two games a reality check for you guys?  Came in flying and then the Wings obviously, there they were again, the veteran, the leaders, the Stanley Cup champs.  Was it a reality check?
   
PATRICK KANE Yeah.  First part of the question, I think I haven't had too many injuries in my career.  So I've got to kind of learn how to play through the pain and through these kind of things it wasn't really a fun thing to deal with, but at the same time I guess you've got to learn.  That's why hockey, it's a tough game.  And it's something for me to learn, I guess it was a different challenge for me.  But I guess I have to fight through those things as time goes on.  You're never going to be completely healthy in this game.  So it was tough out there for me today, but the second part of the question, I guess you win 9 in a row and you come in against the Wings and pretty much handled us with ease except for the first period there, I think they scored five straight after it was 3 1.  So that's why they're the best in the world and seems like they continue to keep proving that to everyone in the league.  So they've got a lot of great players.  They're not fun to play against.  They have the puck the whole game.  And very, very hard game to play in sometimes.  So it was a fun atmosphere.  Awesome being at Wrigley in Chicago.  I thought it was a great event, everything was great, including the ice.  The ice was pretty good tonight.  Not too many complaints.  Overall it was a fun day, and just have to learn how to win those games, I guess.

Q.  Patrick, if you look at the big picture, how important do you think these kinds of events are for doing what the NHL needs to do to reach out to fans, to sell itself?
   
PATRICK KANE:  I think it's great.  I think to bring these kind of games into cities where the attendance is struggling, and I think it will definitely help the attendance a bit.  And you see the fans out there.  They're all into it.  They all seem to be excited with the game and everything.  After 3-1 the place seemed to be rocking.  And the National Anthem was unbelievable today, too.  So things like that are really fun to watch.  And just looking around.  You're playing a hockey game on a baseball field.  It's a different experience.  It's probably a once in a lifetime thing for some of us.  And I definitely cherished it.  If I could ever play in a game like that again I'd definitely love to.  It was really cool being out there.

Q.  Patrick, just to be specific, which ankle is it and how much is it affecting you?  75 percent?  60?  50?
   
PATRICK KANE:  It's my left shoulder.  Who told you it was the ankle?

Q.  There you go.  That's why I asked.  (Laughter).  Where are you at physically?  Are you close to 100 percent or how much is it affecting you?
   
PATRICK KANE:  I mean, it was one of those games you can't really pass up to play in.  Once in a lifetime experience to play in one of these games.  Maybe, who knows.  I wanted to get out there with all the atmosphere.  Just being out there for practice and seeing the rink.  You feel like you're skating on an open field.  So something you really can't pass up.

Q.  Do you guys worry about the way the Red Wings have been able to handle you; do you guys worry about them getting into your head, becoming a little psychological?
   
PATRICK KANE:  You know what, it starts with confidence.  Last year we were 5 3 against them.  I think this year we started out is it 0 3 now?  O 3 1.  They seem to have our number this year.  I don't know, they're a great team.  And we played them well last year.  Things change, I guess.  Hopefully it's one of those things where we can get them back in the playoffs or something like that.  They can have what they want now, but they're a great team.  I think you look at their players over there, you see guys like Datsyuk, Hossa, Zetterberg, you see how they can just take over the game.  They're fun to watch.