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Burish, Eager add 'meat' to Blackhawks' lineup

By Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

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Burish, Eager add 'meat' to Blackhawks' lineup
Adam Burish and Ben Eager added plenty of pounds and punch to the Blackhawks in Game 2, a role they will reprise Wednesday in Game 3.
VANCOUVER -- Defenseman Shane O'Brien talked Tuesday about how the Canucks needed to be tougher against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 of their Western Conference Semifinal series Wednesday (9:30 p.m. ET, VERSUS, CBC, RDS). He cited the crease-crashing work of Chicago's Adam Burish and Ben Eager, both inserted into the lineup for Game 2, as something the Canucks should consider doing themselves.

O'Brien called them the "meat" of the Blackhawks. Burish and Eager didn't have a point between them in Game 2, but they made their impact felt in the Blackhawks' 4-2 comeback victory.

"Whatever approach they want to take, I don't care. If they want to ignore me, if they want to engage with me, if they want to hit me back, if they want to punch me, I don't care, really, what they want to do. I'm going to continue to do what I think is going to help us."
-- Adam Burish

In the morning before Game 2, Burish promised to bother Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo with a snow shower, a promise he delivered on when both he and Eager put on the breaks just outside of Luongo's crease after a whistle.

Eager and Burish also were caught on camera chirping from the bench at Canucks forward Alexandre Burrows before a faceoff.

Wednesday morning, Burish had a chuckle when reporters asked him for his thoughts on the beefy nickname.

"I guess you can say we're meat. I think he's 260 pounds, so we're not that heavy," Burish said of O'Brien, who actually is listed at 230. "I know what he meant. We put a couple of physical guys back in the lineup, some guys that like some confrontation. Great. You want to call (me) meat, I don't care. You can call me handsome if you want, too. That's fine. I think it's no secret us going into the lineup. I think I had 10 warnings from the officials saying don't do this, don't do that."

The Canucks have made it clear they're not going to let the antics of the Blackhawks' pests get under their skin. During the first two games at United Center, the Canucks had numerous opportunities to respond to a late hit or a bumping of Luongo, but decided to turn the other cheek.

Even when Burrows had to endure nearly 20 seconds of chirping from Burish and Eager, he never flinched. But to Burish, that's fine. He's not playing on the edge in an effort to get a reaction from the Canucks. He's doing it because he feels it gives his team a chance to win.

"You can tell when a guy is intentionally ignoring you. They're not deaf," Burish said. "They hear what I'm saying, they see what I'm doing. If I'm going to run one of their D-men or get in Luongo's face, whatever it may be, they can say they're ignoring it. But it's there, they're watching it.

"Whatever approach they want to take, I don't care. If they want to ignore me, if they want to engage with me, if they want to hit me back, if they want to punch me, I don't care, really, what they want to do. I'm going to continue to do what I think is going to help us."

The meat isn't just looking to make an impact with their linguistic skills.

After Luongo came a few feet out of his crease to glove a puck at one point in Game 2, Eager gave him a shot to the head while skating in front of him.

Andrew Ladd, also mentioned among the meat of the Blackhawks by O'Brien but not new to the lineup for Game 2, said he thought Luongo was embellishing a little on that hit.

"He's probably trying to draw penalties just as other guys are," Ladd said. "That's fine."

On Wednesday, O'Brien gave Burish and Eager full marks for doing their jobs in Game 2 and expects the Canucks to not let them become a true distraction.

"Obviously, the fourth line doesn't contribute too much offensively," O'Brien said. "But I think they came in and did what they're supposed to do. They ran around and got on top of (Luongo) a bit. That's what a fourth line is supposed to do come playoff time -- just play with lots of energy. I thought they did a good job. We just can't worry about them too much."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DLozoNHL


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