CHICAGO -- He's on the Dallas Stars now, but Adam Burish has watched his former team get off to a somewhat-rocky start the season after he helped the Chicago Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup.
The Hawks are 15-12-2 heading into their first meeting with Burish and the Stars (16-8-2) on Wednesday and have key injuries to Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane they need to overcome.
Still, Burish remains a Hawks believer.
"To me, just watching the games, it's there," said Burish, who spent four seasons with the Blackhawks before signing with Dallas as a free agent this past summer. "They still have what it takes to win a bunch of games. It won't be long before they're back to where they expect to be and they'll start running again."
"I don't think it's true," he said. "I just think they've played so many games early on. I don't think it has any effect, what happened last year. I just think they have played a lot of games, and that's hard."
Also hard for Burish was heading to the visiting locker room at the United Center. In fact, when he arrived at the building Tuesday, Burish walked right into a Chicago meeting that was about to start and started chatting with his former teammates.
"The guys were like, 'Look at you, coming right into the meeting. Why don't you just stay for the team meeting, too? You want to come shower with us, too?'" said Burish, who has 3 goals while playing on the checking line for the Stars. "It's just fun to see the guys again and I'm anxious to see how I feel (in the game)."
Burish met with a handful of former teammates Tuesday for dinner, during which they talked a lot about the game and traded joking barbs with each other. It's the kind of camaraderie Burish said they all will have for the rest of their lives after winning the Cup together last season.
Burish also has made sure to stay in touch with many of his former Chicago teammates -- including ones that joined him in the summer exodus.
He got a little too close with one former teammate in particular -- getting penalized for running into goalie Antti Niemi during a Stars-Sharks game.
"He dove," Burish said. "I told him right away, too. I said, 'You little rat. You dove.' He said, 'No, I didn't … no I didn't.' I said, 'I'll get ya. I'll run into ya. You'll know when I run into ya.' He dove. It was a cheap play by him."
Burish also couldn't resist needling Dustin Byfuglien when the Thrashers made him one of their alternate captains. Byfuglien, like Burish, was known for being a free spirit and locker room cut-up at times with the Hawks.
"That was funny," Burish said. "I texted him right when I saw it, too. I said, 'Are they on drugs over there or what?' He's like, 'They know what they're doing. They know what they're doing.' Then I saw when he scored the goal right (after) he got the (alternate) captain, he kind of popped his shirt right there by his 'A.'
'I said, 'I don't know what you were doing there. I hope that wasn't showing off the A to everybody,' and he's like, 'Yeah, it was.' But you know what? When you're playing as good as he has, and then he came there with the experience of winning the Cup, it's probably a pretty good fit there."
Kind of like Burish has fit in with the Stars, who are off to a better start than many predicted this season.
"At the start of the year everybody kind of said, 'This is a bad team and should be at the bottom, you guys are no good, you don't have a chance,'" Burish said. "To me, coming in, I saw a lot of good things. I just kind of tried to remind the guys and use as motivation that everybody says, 'You (stink). You guys are no good,' and we've kind of run with that. We've used that for a little fuel and we've been hot lately."
What a surprise -- Hawks forward Rob Klinkhammer had the ultimate surprise for his parents, Gerry and Colleen, when he met them Tuesday afternoon at the airport.
They were flying in from Lethbridge, Alta., to watch him play for the first time as member of the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League. Instead, a phone call from the Blackhawks before they arrived forced a detour to Chicago -- where Klinkhammer will make his NHL debut Wednesday at the United Center.
"It couldn't have worked out any better," said Klinkhammer, 24, who was called up along with forward Jeremy Morin to fill in for injured Hawks Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa and Fernando Pisani. "I was just jumping in my truck (to go to the airport) when I got the call. They said, 'Bring your suit and get your gear, because you're playing tomorrow.' So I got to surprise (my parents) and they were super excited. It doesn't work out any better than that."
Morin back again -- It wasn't nearly as dramatic for Morin to get recalled to Chicago after being sent down Monday and practicing with the IceHogs on Tuesday.
"It's just part of it," Morin said of putting miles on his car going back and forth between Rockford and Chicago three times already this season. "They just told me I was practicing in Rockford and I didn't ask too many questions."