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Blackhawks Insider: Bowman on the "Rat Pack," Carcillo

by Adam Kempenaar / Chicago Blackhawks

This is a transcribed excerpt from VP/GM Stan Bowman's interview on the Blackhawks Insider podcast, which can be heard here.

Insider: On the play of the Bickell-Bolland-Frolik line... The Blackhawks haven't lost in regulation when those three play together, going back to the 2011 Western Conference Quarterfinals against Vancouver...

Bowman: That’s an interesting stat... I think we’ve noticed that line going back to last year. That was the one thing we talked about over the summer that was pretty much etched in stone, that those three would at least start the year together for that reason -- because they play an important role in our defensive strategy matching up, but in the process they’ve actually generated a fair amount of offense as well. I think they've been a spark in a lot of our games because they do play an important role by going against good players, so you have a tendency to notice them...

Then on top of that, when they get chances like they tend to -- I mean, Frolik, he’s probably been our most consistent performer all year; he hasn’t had the results, he’s missed a lot of breakaways, but he’s gotten a lot of chances. And you throw Bickell into that mix, Bryan shows us the potential to be a real special player because he’s got the size, he’s got good speed, he can really shoot the puck and he likes to play physical. When you do that against good players, it can really irritate them because they don’t like to get hit that much. And on top of that, he’s got the ability to make plays and put the puck in the net. So I think those three seem to complement one another and it’s one of those things that’s very important to a team to have a line that you’re comfortable playing at any time in any situation. When the game’s on the line you never have to double-clutch, you can just put them out there, and I think Joel feels the same way.

Insider: On his satisfaction with the team that has only one regulation loss through the first eight games...

Bowman: We are happy with our start so far. I think there are always ways we can get better. I think our power play has been a disappointment to date, but I wouldn’t say it’s been terrible. There are moments when it looks dominant. We haven’t found the consistency that we’ve had in the past. Fortunately our penalty killing has been very strong all year long. The biggest thing I’ve noticed if you look at the first eight games, we’ve had consistency in our lineup and our lines, and I think that’s a lot of times, an overlooked stat. But you look around the league and we’re fortunate that we’ve been able to do it, and I hope we can keep it this way as long as we can. A lot of teams are suffering multiple injuries per night and they’re really shorthanded. It puts your depth to test, but it also just causes a disruption amongst your core players because they get moved around and they have different linemates. We’ve had pretty consistent linemates for the first month of the season here and I think that helps.

Certainly the consistency of our efforts has been there, and you also have to look at our goaltending. I think the one thing as a coach and as a manager, your goalie has to give you a chance every night to win and Corey [Crawford] has done that. Ray [Emery] played well as well in the one game he was in. Knowing Corey will keep us in every game, we’re always going to be there. Whether we’re down by a goal or up by a goal or tied, we’re always in the game and I think that’s been one of the keys to the first month.

Insider: On the contributions of a calmer, disciplined Daniel Carcillo...

Daniel Carcillo

Bowman: He's really helped our team because he’s proven he can play with good players, which is I think is crucial for what we’re trying to do. You can’t have everybody be the same. You can’t have everybody being a skilled player. I think sometimes you can have too much skill, which might sound funny, but even in a power play situation, when you have five guys looking to make the great pass, somebody's got to go to the net and kind of get those dirty goals or screen the goalie, and I think on that line Daniel he understands what to he’s supposed to do. He does have some skill level that was maybe underrated or overlooked. He's got a pretty good head for the game. He knows where to go.

The one challenge with playing with guys like Hossa and Kane for some players is if they don’t think the game well enough, even if they are aggressive and want to go to the net, they’re always kind of in-between, and I think Daniel can read off those guys and know where he’s supposed to go. And that’s something that you can’t really teach. You can maybe make slight improvements, but you either think the game that way or you don’t, and he does.  I like the fact that he’s played the way he has. He can certainly play a rugged game and if guys are going to start taking liberties, I’m certain he’ll be the first guy there to stand up for his teammates. But we don’t want him to go out there just looking for things like that. I think he’s a much more effective player when he’s doing what he’s been doing the first few games here.

To hear the entire 20-minute interview with Stan's answers to fan questions, listen to the podcast here.

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