"The first two games were pretty darn physical. Is there another level it can go to? I'm sure there is. Let's go ahead and do it," said second-year Chicago right winger Adam Burish on Monday morning at Pengrowth Saddledome, in advance of Monday night's Game 3 (9:30 p.m. ET, VERSUS, TSN) of this Western Conference Quarterfinal series against the Flames.
"This is what it's about — tough hockey. Usually you see series come down to who's willing to get dirty and ugly, who's willing to win those battles — score an ugly goal and get a bloody nose on the way to the net.
"You play against somebody this many times in a row, you generally get some bad blood," added Burish, the 26-year-old from Madison, Wisc. "Every game, guys are going to get a little more angry, frustrated with each other. You get kind of sick of seeing the same guy across from you every night, continuing to yell at you the same way. It's like when your mother keeps yelling at you. You get sick of it, and you want to yell back at her."
The Blackhawks, with the likes of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, are touted across the NHL for their collection of fine young talent and offensive prowess. But they also have an enviable assortment of grit and toughness, with the likes of Burish, center Dave Bolland and Ben Eager up front, and Dustin Byfuglien and Matt Walker on the back end.
The 'Hawks lead this best-of-7 series 2-0 after a pair of victories at Chicago's United Center. Game 4 is slated for Wednesday night in Calgary.
"Those are the type of guys who are effective in their ways," said Chicago coach Joel Quenneville, "coming up with loose pucks, being physical, being strong on the puck, getting to the front of the net.
"Those are the little things that usually add up into big victories at the end of the night. I may be a bit out of line, but I think people underestimate our team in that area."
Byfuglien leads all skaters in this series with 14 hits over the first two games.
"We're not going to let our guys get beat up," he said. "For the most part, everyone can hold their own in here, and we're not afraid to get dirty. That's what the team needs."
Chicago may be without 70-point man Patrick Kane for Game 3. Kane, who was slammed into the boards in Game 1 by Calgary's Rene Bourque, did not take the morning skate with his teammates Monday.
"Game-time decision," said Quenneville. "He's resting right now."
Quenneville said rookie center Colin Fraser would fill in for Kane if he were unable to answer the bell.
In the meantime, the 'Hawks' rabble-rousers will take delight in their roles.
"You want to walk a fine line. You want to play on the edge, but you don't want to cross the edge and put your team in a tough situation," said Burish, who hasn't found his way to the penalty box yet this series. "It's a fine line you've got to walk, but I want to have my feet just over that edge. I want to be teetering on the edge of getting a penalty, but I want to stay on the safe side."
Burish already has a shiner, courtesy of an errant stick, as a battle scar from this series against the Flames.
"A little scrum at the end of the first period in Game 1," he grinned. "I think it looks good. I think it's cool."