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Cup Final blog: Blackhawks-Flyers @NHLdotcom

Hello, Mr. President
06.10.2010 / 1:10 a.m. ET

It will be an extra special trip to Washington D.C. for the Chicago Blackhawks this summer, as they'll get to visit a certain hometown fan at his new address – 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Most know President Barack Obama as a basketball fan, but Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews believes he can turn Obama into a big hockey supporter.

"Word was he was going to come to Game 1, but we didn't hear from him," Toews told "We have to work on him becoming a Blackhawks fan. We'll be there and hopefully we can rub off on him and turn him into a huge Blackhawks fan."

-- Adam Kimelman

Kane's Cup-winning goal Chicago's first since Ab McDonald in 1961
06.10.2010 / 1:08 a.m. ET

Patrick Kane's Stanley Cup-winning goal at 4:10 of overtime in Game 6 Wednesday was the first for the Chicago Blackhawks since Ab McDonald tipped in a rebound of Bobby Hull's shot on Detroit Red Wings goalie Hank Bassen in Game 6 of the 1961 Stanley Cup Final.

McDonald scored the Blackhawks' second goal of Game 6, breaking a tie, and the Blackhawks went on to win 5-1.

The victory ended a 23-year Stanley Cup drought for the Blackhawks and it was the first championship that any Chicago professional team had won since the 1947 Chicago Cardinals captured the NFL title.

McDonald was an unlikely Chicago hero. A promising minor-league player for the Montreal Canadiens, he was put in the unenviable position of replacing rugged winger Bert Olmstead and the fans got on him when they realized he wasn't in that type of player. But McDonald did get his name on the Stanley Cup with the Canadiens in 1958, 1959 and 1960.

McDonald was traded to the Blackhawks on June 8, 1960 and within a year he helped the Blackhawks end the Canadiens' five-year run of Stanley Cup championships. McDonald played on the Blackhawks famed Scooter Line with Stan Mikita and Kenny Wharram and they helped him win his fourth-straight Stanley Cup championship.

McDonald played three more seasons with the Blackhawks before he was traded to the Boston Bruins and then the Red Wings. He was nearing the end of his NHL career when the Pittsburgh Penguins took him in the 1967 Expansion Draft and made him their first captain. He had his best season that year with 22 goals but was traded to the St. Louis Blues at the end of the season.

McDonald proved to be a magnet for the Stanley Cup Finals, playing for the Blues against the victorious Canadiens in 1969 and 1970.

He played three seasons for the Blues and part of another for the Red Wings before joining his hometown Winnipeg Jets in the WHA from 1972-74.

In addition to his four Stanley Cups, McDonald played in five NHL All-Star Games. He was inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame in 1996.

-- John McGourty

Twice as nice for Hawks' pair
06.10.2010 / 1:09 a.m. ET

Celebrating a championship on the Wachovia Center ice is nothing new for Patrick Sharp and Ben Eager.

"I've won two championships and they've both been on this ice," said Sharp. Before last night, he and Eager won the 2005 Calder Cup, beating a team from Chicago – the Wolves, the Atlanta Thrashers' AHL team – in the finals.

"I owe the Flyers a lot," said Sharp. "They've done a heck of a lot for my game as a player, taught me a lot of things, and I'm really thankful they gave me the opportunity to develop in Chicago."

Eager said he and Sharp were talking at the morning skate about having won the Calder Cup at the Wachovia Center, and how nice it would be to have another championship celebration here. "We looked up at the banner in the rafters," Eager told, "and it was about five years ago we won the Calder Cup championship. It's nice to do it again with Sharpie on the squad."

-- Adam Kimelman

Bittersweet feelings
06.10.2010 / 1:07 a.m. ET

Peter Laviolette and Andrew Ladd won a Stanley Cup together in 2006 with the Carolina Hurricanes. Last night, it was Ladd celebrating at his old coach's expense.

Ladd told he and Laviolette shared a brief moment in the handshake line.

"He said he was happy for me," said Ladd. "Just congratulations. He had a big influence on me in 2006. The moments we shared there were unbelievable. He's a great coach and he did a great job with his team."

-- Adam Kimelman

Brouwer wants to make the call
06.09.2010 / 1:45 p.m. ET

Blackhawks wing Troy Brouwer will be searching for a cell phone soon after lifting the Stanley Cup tonight if his team wins at Wachovia Center. He'll be placing a call to a phone number in the Vancouver area and waiting on the other line will be Brouwer's father, Don.

Don Brouwer is home recovering from brain surgery he had to have due to a blood clot that burst roughly a little more than two months ago. Some of Brouwer's family members are here in Philadelphia on the off chance there is a celebration tonight, but dad is not.

"He's sticking at home," Troy Brouwer said this morning. "It's going to be too much stress on his body if they try to fly him out here. He's going to be at home with my sister and her husband and a couple of friends and my uncle. He said if anything good happens tonight he's going to stay up late to make sure I give him a call after the game."

Troy Brouwer is happy to report that his father is doing better after his near-death experience.

-- Dan Rosen

Keep the box closed
06.09.2010 / 12:12 p.m. ET

Ian Laperriere knows the Stanley Cup will be in the Wachovia Center tonight – "It needs to be in the building at one point," the Flyers' veteran forward said. But he's concerned with keeping it right where it is – locked away in its protective trunk.

Just because the Cup is in town, he said, "Doesn't mean its going to be on the ice. We'll do everything we can for the Cup not to be on the ice. We'll do everything we can to have a Game 7, that's for sure."

-- Adam Kimelman

Describing Duncan
06.09.2010 / 10:11 a.m. ET

Duncan Keith is a Norris Trophy finalist and a Conn Smythe Trophy candidate, but that doesn't make him immune from some good-natured ribbing from his teammates.

During yesterday's press conferences, Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews were asked about Keith's personality. While his on-ice abilities can't really be questioned – he leads all defensemen with 14 assists, is second with 16 points and is third among all players with an average of 28:03 of ice time per game – his personality apparently is an open target.

"I remember being traded to Chicago and thinking about how weird Duncan was the first couple of weeks I met him," said Patrick Sharp. "He's definitely a different personality."

"Yeah, he is a different bird," agreed Jonathan Toews with a laugh.

But they also were unanimous in how much Keith means to the squad.

"He's one of the guys that keeps the locker room together," said Sharp. "He's a great player. Everyone knows what he can do on the ice. … We're lucky to have him on and off the ice."

"He focuses all his energy on the right things and he's an old-school guy," added Toews. "He loves the game. You know, plays it smart and simple and hard. He's never been flashy, he's never had the big name. But now I think people are finally realizing what this guy can actually do. We all know it in the locker room."

-- Adam Kimelman

Briere feeling fine
06.08.2010 / 5:25 p.m. ET

Danny Briere is sporting a fresh stitches and a badly bruised right eye, but to paraphrase Herb Brooks, "a cut on the eye is a hell of a long way from the heart."

Briere got caught with a stick under his visor during Game 5, opening a gash which Briere guessed took "8-10 stitches to close." But he said it would take a lot more than that to keep him out of his first Stanley Cup Final.

"Just a little cut to the face," he said. "Have to move on. There's a lot of guys playing with a lot worst injuries in the room. … I don't see it. I won't feel it when I play."

-- Adam Kimelman

Win one for Lappy?
06.08.2010 / 3:25 p.m. ET

Ian Laperriere is a proud veteran of 1,083 NHL regular-season and 66 Stanley Cup playoff games during a 16-season career. He's done a lot in his time, but winning the Stanley Cup, so far, has eluded him. In fact, he's third among all active players in games played without winning hockey's Holy Grail, trailing Roman Hamrlik (1,322) and Owen Nolan (1,265).

However, he's not playing the "Win one for Lappy" card -- and doesn't think his teammates are doing it, either.

"I don't think they go to bed and say, 'Let's win one for Lappy,'" Laperriere said following today's practice. "I think they go to bed saying 'I want to win that thing.'"

Laperriere said he isn't worried about being on any list, and isn't looking to win just to get off of one.

"I don't care about the list. I want to win just because I want to win. I want to be a winner, I want my name on that Cup. So do my teammates."

After all he's gone though this season: blocking two shots with his face, which cost him at least seven teeth, triple-digit stitches, and suffering what was thought to be a season-ending (and potentially career-ending) brain contusion, Laperriere knows what this time means.

"I'm maybe the closest I'm going to be in my career," he said. "I'm going to give everything I can to win it. And not because of the list; because I want to win. It's a dream of mine since I'm a little boy. It's the dream of everyone in this room since they've been little boys."

-- Adam Kimelman

Hawks avoid Pronger Puckgate
06.07.2010 / 1:55 a.m. ET

Sure, it helped that the puck was sliding across the ice right near the Blackhawks as they hopped over the boards to celebrate their 7-4 win in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final on Sunday night.

Still, Hawks forward Ben Eager made sure to collect the puck as a keepsake before Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger could snatch it -- as he did after Chicago wins in Game 1 and Game 2.

"That was Benny who picked it up," Hawks center John Madden said. "I think it was right near us anyway, so he just grabbed it."

­--Brian Hedger

Good times on the concourse
06.06.2010 / 9:55 p.m. ET

Their Blackhawks might be tied 2-2 and thought to have lost momentum in the Stanley Cup Final, but you couldn't tell by walking through United Center's concourses before and during tonight's Game 5.

For instance, you might see some humorous homemade signs -- such as the one that said, "Hey Pronger, you can keep the puck … we'll take the Cup!" 

Or you could wander over to the concession stand and buy a black T-shirt that looks straight out of the 1980s, with the image of Hawks forward Patrick Kane on it underneath the slogan: "Mullet-Mania!"

Truth be told, though, I asked the guy working the booth how the Mullet-Mania shirts were selling and his answer was "Not good."

Actually, his full answer included: "I haven't sold a single one all day."

Maybe UnitedCenter vendors ought to talk with Tim Ryniec, of Downers Grove, Ill. Ryniec and his wife, Ann, are long-time season ticket-holders and have managed to draw a little bit of attention for what's resting atop Tim's head.

He took a mini-replica of the Stanley Cup that was given to Hawks' season ticket-holders several years ago and attached it to the top of a red Hawks ball cap with plastic screws.

"Nobody's tried to take it off yet," he said. "We'd like to drink something out of it, but we're going to have to wait until we win something first to drink out of the Cup."

Ryniec put the mini-Cup atop his lid after the Hawks beat Nashville in the Western Conference Quarterfinal series and has worn it to every home playoff game since - giving Ryniec a 5-2 record wearing the hat to the United Center.

Another head accessory stood out up in the 300 level concourse, as the raucous national anthem happened inside the arena. That's where Mary Pat Sullivan stood holding 6-month-old son Alexander - and a pair of blue headphones they put on him to watch home games.

Mary Pat and her husband, Kirk, are season ticket-holders who live just a few blocks away from the United Center. They walk to games and have already brought young Alexander to several games. He was decked out in a gray Hawks T-shirt and wore a bib that said, "I'm a Little Blackhawks Fan."

They got the idea for the noise-reducing head phones from Kirk's sister - who was watching the Hawks play at Vancouver and noticed a child wearing them sitting in the first row behind the glass.

"After we saw that, we ordered them online," Mary Pat said. "He's already a Blackhawks fan. He loves to watch the games on TV, too."

Maybe soon they can get him one of "Mullet Mania" T-shirts. Or not.

--Brian Hedger

Pronger, Briere close on playoff marks
06.06.2010 / 6:25 p.m. ET

Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger, who enters Game 5 as the top scorer among defensemen in the playoffs with 17 points (4 goals, 13 assists), is one point from equaling the Flyers' playoff record for a defenseman set by Doug Crossman in 1987 (4 goals, 18 points in 26 games).

Additionally, Daniel Briere, second in the League in playoff scoring with 25 points (11 goals), has already collected seven points (5 assists) in the Stanley Cup Final. He's three points from tying the franchise record for postseason scoring set by Brian Propp (12 goals, 28 points) in 1987.

--Mike G. Morreale

Look for more 'In your face' from Hawks tonight
06.06.2010 / 3:34 p.m. ET

It was odd to look over at Adam Burish's locker stall on Sunday morning and not see the loquacious Hawks grinder holding court with reporters.

So his counterpart winger on the Hawks' pesty fourth line, Ben Eager, did the talking instead. Eager and Burish are like the Hawks' version of the Hanson brothers from "Slap Shot," only more skilled. When the Hawks are flying high, the two are trash talking relentlessly, mixing it up in the middle of post-whistle shoving scrums and trying to get on goalies' nerves by coating them in a dual snow spraying after the whistle.

Eager said the Hawks need to get back to brash tacks against the Flyers, and they plan to do it starting with tonight's Game 5 at United Center.
"We haven't played our best game yet," he said. "We know that. We're a team that doesn't like to lose and losing two in a row makes it that much worse. When we play with a chip on our shoulder we're a better team. When we've got confidence, we're better."

-- Brian Hedger

Be careful what you say, Sharpie
06.06.2010 / 3:03 p.m. ET

Out of all his teammates, Duncan Keith probably gets the most ribbing about his missing teeth from Patrick Sharp – who was happy to report on Sunday morning that Keith's ability to speak is improving.

"He's getting a little better," Sharp said. "He's not mumbling as much."

He also said that Keith is eating better, but Sharp couldn't resist another jab about that process – despite a feeling that karma is eventually going to catch up to him.

"It's funny to watch him eat," Sharp said of Keith, who lost seven teeth when hit in the mouth by a puck shot by Patrick Marleau in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final series two weeks ago. "He's got to stick food way into the side of his mouth to chomp down on it. I told him, 'I'm next to get one (in the mouth) because I've been bugging him more than anyone else.' "

-- Brian Hedger

Hartnell's locks OK by Sharp
06.06.2010 / 2:25 p.m. ET

Hawks forward Patrick Sharp was asked if Flyers forward Scott Hartnell's hairstyle is the worst in hockey, which brought about some laughs.

Hartnell's look could be described as "Wooly Mammoth-like," to put it kindly, but Sharp said it's all in the eye of the beholder as to whether it's ugly or cool.

"Worst or best?" Sharp said, laughing. "Depends on what your style preference is. I heard that he did a good thing and donated it to a charity last year, so I don't have a problem with his style if that's what he's going to do."

-- Brian Hedger

Hawks not biting on Laviolette's gamesmanship
06.06.2010 / 1:48 p.m. ET

Philadelphia coach Peter Laviolette's back might be sore from all the pressure that he's trying to shovel on the young Chicago Blackhawks -- particularly emerging rookie star goalie Antti Niemi.

After his Flyers dropped a pair of one-goal games to go down 2-0 in the Cup Final series, Laviolette took aim at Niemi during news conferences before and after the two games in Philly -- both Flyers wins.

He talked about discovering Niemi's weaknesses and exploiting them to the fullest. He talked about the inherent pressure of professional sports on the biggest stages and how "all of a sudden it gets harder to breathe. Things start slipping away."

That comment was likely aimed at not only Niemi, but baby-faced Hawks captain Jonathan Toews and his equally youthful star linemate Patrick Kane -- neither of whom have stood out yet in the series. It's gamesmanship of the highest order, and it'd be pretty clever if not for one small detail.

The Hawks aren't listening to audio clips, watching video clips or reading written accounts of the series. Blame that younger generation and its oft-cited resistance to a little thing called paying attention.

"To be honest with ya, I know this sounds kind of bad, but I have not, like, watched or read anything and just tried to focus on hockey," Toews said. "And when I go away from the rink, whether it's home or the hotel, I just try to forget about all that stuff. And I think the rest of the guys have done a good job of that, as well. None of those comments have really gotten to us, I don't think."

That includes Niemi, who may have another advantage in avoiding such pressure-shoveling tactics.

"He doesn't even understand English that well or even read English that well," Hawks forward Ben Eager said. "I don't think it gets to him. Doesn't let it bother him. We're confident in Niemi and we don't care what he says about our goalie. We've got to get to their goalie."

Hawks forward Patrick Sharp had a slightly different take -- albeit with a sarcastic smile when asked about Laviolette's comments.

"I didn't hear that, but Laviolette is right," he said, smiling. "Niemi is a rookie. That's a pretty good observation."

He added that nothing Laviolette or anybody from the Flyers says should rattle the Hawks -- a team that has thrived on youthful exuberance and downright bravado all season and postseason.

"It doesn't bother us," Sharp said. "There's going to be talk and you heard a lot about the pressure going into the series. You can shift pressure however you want. Inside this locker room, we're a confident group and we believe in each other. It doesn't matter what other people say."

-- Brian Hedger

Kane: 'I've tried to stay away from everything'

06.06.2010 / 10:38 a.m. ET

From Pat Kane's lockerroom media session yesterday:
Asked if he had checked in with his social media connections in the past couple of days, Chicago winger Patrick Kane chuckled and said he's trying to maintain radio (and web) silence.
"I haven't," he said. "I've tried to stay away from everything. But I've heard through different sources that the town is not happy with us now.

"Hopefully, we can turn that around."

-- John Dellapina

Hawks looking for better bounces
06.05.2010 / 6:44 p.m. ET

Hockey players often call it "puck luck," and the Blackhawks are looking for some better version of it to come their way.

After sweeping the Western Conference Finals against San Jose in which nearly every bounce went their way, the Hawks are now tied two games apiece with Philadelphia in the Stanley Cup Finals thanks in no small part to bad "puck luck" beyond their control.

The most recent -- and maybe most obvious -- example was the Flyers' fourth goal in a 5-3 win in Game 4 at the Wachovia Center. Ville Leino skated out in front of the Hawks' goal, which was screened by a number of players, and fired a puck that skipped off the back of Hawks forward Kris Versteeg before floating past goalie Antti Niemi.

Niemi never saw it.

The Flyers also benefited in Game 1 from a goal that ricocheted off Niklas Hjalmarsson’s face in front of the crease and got past Niemi. Needless to say, the Hawks are hoping their luck turns around. In the meantime, they plan to do the only thing they can.

"You have to earn them," Hawks forward Tomas Kopecky said of good puck bounces. "Once you outwork (opponents), you’re going to get those bounces. Last night, I don't think we earned them."

-- Brian Hedger

Same as he's ever been
06.05.2010 / 6:44 p.m. ET

Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger once again is in the middle of almost everything that’s happening in the Stanley Cup Final, from smacking Hawks players parked in front of the net with the shaft of his stick to toying with the media in press conferences.
Do his teammates see any difference in what he’s doing now from what he did during the regular season? In short, no.
"I think he's the same," Flyers forward Ian Laperriere said. "I'm just shocked he's not up there for Defenseman of the Year … It's amazing. It's not like he's a little guy out there who skates and doesn't touch anybody.  He plays 30 minutes and he runs everybody over, and everybody run into his elbows, I should say. But he's amazing. He's one of a kind. And we're lucky to have him on our team."
-- Brian Hedger

Speech time for Toews?
06.05.2010 / 6:44 p.m. ET

Chicago's baby-faced 22-year old captain, Jonathan Toews, is taking considerable heat from local and national media alike because of his personal scoring drought in the Cup Final and for his line's lack of production.
That said, it was Toews who fed Patrick Kane for a pretty breakaway goal in Game 3 that briefly put the Hawks up 3-2 in the third period and it was Toews crashing the net late in Game 4 when Brian Campbell's shot from the point found its way past Michael Leighton to cut the Flyers' lead to 4-3. The Hawks also marvel at the young star's leadership skills, to the point where much older veterans line up to follow his lead. Therefore, it wasn’t too surprising to hear that Toews may fire up the Hawks with some words before Game 5.
"Obviously this is a huge game coming up," Hawks forward Tomas Kopecky said. "I'm pretty sure that Johnny's going to say something before the game. We've got a great group here, great leadership. Not much needs to be said. It has to be done on the ice, and we just have to go out there and execute."

-- Brian Hedger
Classic Pronger twists another question
06.05.2010 / 6:44 p.m. ET

It was like watching the "Monty Python" skit in which a man "buys an argument," and the guy paid to argue just sits there and contradicts everything.
Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger seems to have fun toying with reporters, especially in press conference settings. Saturday’s session at United Center was no exception. Pronger was asked about the Blackhawks splitting up the duo of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane on different lines in the third period of Game 4 and whether he felt the move worked.
That's when the fun began for Pronger.
"Well, it really wasn't working until they got a 5-on-3," he said. "Your observation probably is moot, at best."

Reporter: It's not mine.
Pronger: You just made it.
Reporter: (Joel) Quenneville said it.
Pronger:  There you go. I guess Joel is wrong too.
Reporter: So, you didn't think it was effective at all?
Pronger:  I didn't say that. You did.

-- Brian Hedger

Here we go again
06.05.2010 / 6:44 p.m. ET

It wouldn't be Chicago if the fans in town didn't start to panic at the very sight of adversity when a championship is on the line.
This is the home of the Chicago Cubs, after all -- owners of a World Championship drought that's approaching 102 years in the making. It's also home to the Chicago White Sox, who until 2005's World Series title had a dry spell of their own measuring some 88 years.
Then there are the Blackhawks, who haven’t sipped from Lord Stanley’s Cup since 1961 -- a stretch of 49 long, fruitless years. Panic? Who’s panicking?
"I've tried to stay away from everything (in town)," Hawks forward Patrick Kane said, when asked if he's heard any chirping from Hawks fans about their recent play. "I've heard through different sources that the town's not happy with us right now. Hopefully we can turn that around."

-- Brian Hedger

Leino sets franchise marks
06.04.2010 / 11:44 p.m. ET

With his goal at 6:43 of the third period, Flyers forward Ville Leino set a pair of franchise playoff records.  It marked Leino's seventh goal and 16th point of the 2010 playoffs, moving past Mel Bridgman (six goals in 1976) and Brian Propp (5-10--15 in 1980) in those respective categories.

His 16 points are the most by a rookie in one postseason since Jeremy Roenick tallied 18 points for Chicago in 1990.

-- Greg Inglis

"Boxcar" Hospodar talks Flyers hockey
06.03.2010 / 8:50 p.m. ET

Eddie "Boxcar" Hospodar acquired 1,314 penalty minutes in 450 regular season games over his career with the New York Rangers, Hartford Whalers, Philadelphia Flyers, Minnesota North Stars and Buffalo Sabres.

He was an obvious fan favorite in his three seasons with Philadelphia and likes what he sees during this year's Cup run. caught up with Hospodar, who retired in 1988, outside Wachovia Center during the Flyers' block party that took place three hours before puck drop.

"No one is going to doubt the run that they're on and especially with the ups and downs they've had in the regular season," Hospodar said. "You know, (former Flyers coach) Freddie Shero used to tell us that once you get into the playoffs, it's a new game and that's what's happening with these Flyers."

Hospodar was enjoying interacting with the fans outside Wachovia Center, stopping for pictures and discussing his days as the prototype Broad Street Bully.

"It's just a blue-collar town as we like to say," Hospodar said. "Nothing is too fancy and that's evident in the gritty way the Flyers play and how they force it. I really think that the Flyers fans in playoff games do give them a home ice advantage."

Hospodar, a native of Bowling Green, Ohio, especially enjoys the singing of "God Bless America" before every critical Flyers' home game.

"There's nothing better than it," he said. "I tell people that come here to watch Kate (Smith) and to watch Lauren Hart -- the old and now the new, come together. It's one of the truly great anthems. It's a worthy song for our country and there's a lot of pride in that too. That's a Philadelphia tradition."

--Mike G. Morreale

Obama talks hockey in Pittsburgh speech
06.02.2010 / 7:00 p.m. ET

The Chicago Blackhawks were not far from the mind of U.S. President Barack Obama, a Chicago native, in remarks he made Wednesday at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh...

"It is great to be back at Carnegie Mellon, and in the beautiful city of Pittsburgh," Obama said. "I love visiting a good sports town. Last year, I stole Dan Rooney to serve as my ambassador to Ireland. To make it up, I invited both the Steelers and the Penguins to the White House to celebrate their championships.

"Seeing how the Blackhawks are headed to Philly tonight with a 2-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Finals, I'm just glad that we're on this side of the state.

"I noticed a couple of people said they were rooting for the Blackhawks, which tells me something about the rivalry between Pittsburgh and Philly."

--Mike G. Morreale

Lappy's mom in the house
06.02.2010 / 5:59 p.m. ET

Flyers penalty-killing specialist Ian Laperriere told the media this morning that his mother, Fransene, will be in attendance to witness her first playoff game.

Think Mrs. Lappy won't be shutting her eyes on more than one occasion when her son sprawls out to block a shot? Oddly enough, Laperriere has just one hit and zero blocks over the first two games of this best-of-7 series that the Flyers trail, 2-0.

He's hoping to be a lot more involved in Game 3 on Wednesday at Wachovia Center.

"I always can be more physical. That's one thing I take great pride in it and made a career out of it," Laperriere said. "Sometimes that first game wasn't a physical game, there were more ups and downs and that's not my game at all. Personally, I think I can be more physical. Look at season we had, there were plenty of ups and downs and, really, I believe that at the end of the day, it made us a stronger team mentally. Hopefully, it'll help us get a win tonight."

--Mike G. Morreale

Burish: Watch out, Mom
06.02.2010 / 1:15 PM ET

Adam Burish is eagerly anticipating being part of the opposition when the Chicago Blackhawks face the Philadelphia Flyers tonight in front of their wild fans at the Wachovia Center.

With the Blackhawks halfway towards winning their first Stanley Cup in 49 years, family members will be in attendance tonight, including Burish's mother. He gave her some friendly advice.

"I told my mom, 'Watch what you wear and don't spill a beer on anyone,'" Burish said after the team skated this morning.
Asked if he thinks his mother will need a beer or two to calm her nerves, Burish responded, "Nah, she'll probably be too nervous."

Burish vividly remembers when the Blackhawks visited Philadelphia for a regular-season game back on March 13. He's expecting an even crazier atmosphere tonight as the Flyers attempt to get back into this series.
"You could notice it during warm-ups … probably the nastiest signs I saw all year, other than maybe Vancouver in the playoffs," Burish said. "The fans got mean signs. I think it's funny. It's loud. The fans have an attitude, just like the players do. It makes it fun as an opposing team to come in here. You want a crazy building … you want a building that's alive."

For those Flyers' fans who think they have the ability to get into Burish's head, think again. He loves it.

"It just gives you energy … it gets you excited a little bit," Burish said. "You want to have that response as a player. As an opposing player, if they want to boo you or if they want to chant some guy's name or they make a sign that says, 'I Hate Your Mom, Adam,' that's fine. You kind of want to shut them up."

He also admitted there's been some chirping back and forth, but nothing that would get him into trouble.

"A few times I have in the last couple of years, but I stay away from that," Burish said. "I don't want to have to write a check at the end of a game."

As for the sea of Orange that's expected tonight? He likes that, too.

"The thing I'm kind of looking forward to, after just seeing it on TV, is the all-orange crowd … that's cool," Burish said. "In the last two years we've been in the playoffs we were in Calgary and they had their all red, but we haven't played in a whiteout or anything like that. I'm looking forward to this. It should be fun."

Other notes from the morning skate:

-- Andrew Ladd will not play tonight due to an undisclosed injury. He skated this morning, but is still not cleared to play. Ladd suffered the injury during Game 4 against San Jose last round.

-- Despite the lack of offensive production from Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Dustin Byfuglien, the Blackhawks' captain refuses to become frustrated. Of course, having a 2-0 series leads helps.

"You look at the big picture and how we've done in previous series, and it's always about who you're matched up against and who you're competing against," Toews said. "You don't want to let them get the best of you -- you want to win the small battles. I think as a team, we've won most of those little battles, which helped us win those games. As a line, we know we've got to keep getting better, but we're going to break through. The easy thing is to get frustrated, so we're not going to do that."

-- Brian Compton

Ladd out for Game 3
6.2.2010 / 12:50 p.m. ET

Coach Joel Quenneville said Blackhawks forward Andrew Ladd will remain out of the lineup for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final with an undisclosed injury.

Ladd was injured during Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals against the San Jose Sharks and has yet to play during the Cup Final. Before the series against the Flyers started, Quenneville said he expected Ladd to return at some point, but that hasn't been the case.

Tomas Kopecky has filled in nicely on Ladd's line with Kris Versteeg and Dave Bolland. Kopecky scored the winner in Game 1 was very active during Game 2.

Before Game 2, Ladd skated on his own before the Blackhawks practiced. On Wednesday, Ladd skated on the team's "fifth line" at Wachovia Center with Bryan Bickell and Colin Fraser.

-- Dave Lozo

Hossa talks 3-for-3 before Game 3
6.2.2010 / 12:54 p.m. ET

If you thought Marian Hossa could finally relax a little bit after scoring his first goal in eight games on Monday, you were sorely mistaken.

On Wednesday, it was time to answer more questions about being the first player in League history to reach the Stanley Cup Final three times in three years with three separate teams.

"I try not to think about," Hossa said. "I just try to take it step by step."

-- Dave Lozo

Pronger stole the puck -- round up the usual suspects
6.1.2010 / 6:50 p.m. ET

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger and Chicago Blackhawks forward Ben Eager had words after the Blackhawks defeated the Flyers 2-1 in Game 2 Monday night in Chicago -- with Eager scoring the game-winning goal.

Eager explained after the game that Pronger had picked up the final puck used in both Games 1 and 2, a perk that usually goes to the winning team, if it wants it. So he spoke to Pronger before leaving the ice and got the earful of expletives he fully expected and invited. At Tuesday's off-day media availability, Eager made light of the matter, but the media wanted to press the issue with Philadelphia Flyers coach Peter Laviolette.

Laviolette clearly regards the matter as one of the most insignificant of his coaching career. He could hardly even get through his answer without breaking into laughter:

Q. On Pronger taking the game puck?

COACH LAVIOLETTE: I'm not even sure. I found out about it today. I read about it. I think it's kind of comical. If Chris Pronger wants the puck, then he can have it, as far as I'm concerned. I don't have any problems with that. I don't know what the big deal is. You would think that would be it but someone saw a story they thought worth pursuing.

Q. Does that give the Hawks incentive?

COACH LAVIOLETTE: What is it you're going to do? The Hawks? What added incentive do they have now? They're mad? They're angry? It's the playoffs. We're going to show up. We're going to compete like hell tomorrow night. I promise you that. I don't know what else they're going to do, because we stole their puck. I think it's funny, just like you guys are laughing right now, I think it's kind of comical. 'Prongs' wants the puck, take it. Wait, there could be more to the story!

Q. Is it a big deal?

COACH LAVIOLETTE: I didn't know it happened. I read it today on the website. I had no idea it happened. You guys are bringing it up. OK, one last try for the folks at home.

Q. My point is ...

COACH LAVIOLETTE: We didn't talk about it. I said in the meeting there were some things we talked about. That did not come up. We did not talk about who is going to steal the puck in Game 3. None of that.

-- John McGourty

Hawks not worried about top guns
6.1.2010 / 6:20 p.m. ET

Despite a lack of offensive production from Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Dustin Byfuglien, the Chicago Blackhawks aren't the least bit concerned.

It's hard to be, considering they've arrived in Philadelphia with a 2-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Final following a pair of one-goal victories against the Flyers at the UnitedCenter.

The trio of Toews, Kane and Byfuglien has combined for one point and a minus-7 rating. Fortunately for the Blackhawks, others have stepped up. And they feel it's only a matter of time before the top guns get going.

"We're not worried about Jonny, Patrick and Dustin … they've had a great playoffs so far, a great season," Chicago forward Patrick Sharp said on Tuesday afternoon at the Wachovia Center, which will host Game 3 tomorrow night. "They do so much more for us than put pucks in the net. It doesn't concern us. We've said all playoffs long we don't care who scores the goals as long as we're getting the wins. I think we have four lines that can contribute offensively, and that's the reason why we're here."

Chicago's depth played a huge role in Games 1 and 2. Ben Eager scored what proved to be the game-winner last night on a gorgeous wrister from the right circle -- one that we're used to seeing from the top line. But so far, the Blackhawks have had to rely on other players, and it's worked out just fine.

"We've got some depth in our lineup," coach Joel Quenneville said. "When we make up lines, we feel a lot of guys can play with anybody. I think we have a lot of interchangeable parts. We've got a lot of high-end players that can make plays and have patience with the puck. Some guys maybe have a little bit more of a skill level than others, but I think they're all able to score. We feel all four lines can score."

Toews and Byfuglien may not have scored in either of the first two games, but Quenneville believes progress has been made. Neither was on the bench when Eager's shot beat Flyers goalie Michael Leighton at 17:37 of the second period.

"Two-thirds of that line was on the ice when we scored the winning goal," Quenneville explained. "We'll look at that as a positive. They had some threats around the net. Some nights, they don't go in. I thought they were more effective and useful than they were in the first game. It's a trend throughout playoffs. It's not always the top line that gets it done as far as scoring."

One other note from today:

-- Andrew Ladd continues to be day-to-day with an undisclosed injury. Quenneville did not give an update today, other than to say he will be evaluated again tomorrow. Ladd suffered the injury during Game 4 against San Jose.

-- Brian Compton

Quenneville's Philadelphia memories
6.1.2010 / 6:15 p.m. ET

Joel Quenneville played 13 seasons in the NHL (1978-91), and his trips with Toronto, the Colorado Rockies, New Jersey, Hartford and Washington often took him to the Spectrum, the original home of the Philadelphia Flyers.

Especially in the early days, when the Flyers still had Broad Street Bullies-era players like Bobby Clarke, Bill Barber, Bob Kelly, Don Saleski and Moose Dupont around, as well as tough guys like Paul Holmgren, Jack McIlhargey, and Behn Wilson, it wasn't the most fun stop on the NHL schedule.

"Back in the day, there were a lot of nights that were long nights," Quenneville said.

"I used to play in here when it was no fun back in the day. With Toronto or Colorado or whatever the teams I was on, they had tough teams and it was one of those nights when you knew you could be in for a long night."

Obviously those days have long since passed, but the Flyers remain a tough team -- especially at home -- and Quenneville knows what's facing his players going into Game 3 on Wednesday.

"Tomorrow we expect a very competitive game," he said. "I think discipline is something we stress going into every game no matter where we're at in the playoffs. Tomorrow is going to be the toughest challenge we've had all playoffs."

-- Adam Kimelman

Gagne a willing host for Final
6.1.2010 / 3:45 p.m. ET

Philadelphia is the kind of sports town that enjoys chewing up and spitting out its star athletes -- from Phillies slugger Dick Allen to Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, with former Flyers center Eric Lindros in the middle.

Flyers forward Simon Gagne currently holds the title of longest-tenured Philadelphia athlete, at 11 years. He's seen a lot in his time, but after watching local fans get excited by a pair of World Series, a Super Bowl and an NBA Finals during his time in one of North America's toughest sports towns, now he gets to see what it looks like for a Stanley Cup Final.

Until now, all he's seen are pictures from the parades in 1974 and '75 that decorate the Flyers' practice site.

"I think it's going to be fun," he said. "We're glad that we're back home now. Sure, we aren't happy with the way things went in Chicago, we're down 2-0. But the good thing is the next game is in Philly. We're a confident group in our building, we know our fans are going to be crazy about this game, we know its going to be loud.

"Tomorrow is going to be the biggest game for us this season. We're going to be ready, we think our fans are going to be ready and we're going to try to get the energy from them."

-- Adam Kimelman

JVR discusses scratch
05.31.2010 / 8:03 p.m.

James van Riemsdyk wasn't sure this morning that he would be out of the lineup for Game 2. He was told, it seems, after he spoke to the media Monday morning.

But, he spoke about the possibility of being out of the lineup, a hypothetical that became reality when he was scratched by coach Peter Laviolette to make room for the return of Daniel Carcillo, who made his return after a three-game stint in street clothes.

Van Riemsdyk spoke Monday morning about the intense competition for roster spots and ice time on a team that is as healthy as it has been all season.

"Obviously, whenever someone is out, that obviously isn’t what you want to have happen," van Riemsdyk said. "Everyone wants to be playing at this time of year. I mean, it's the most exciting time of the year and you want to do what you can to help. Like you said, that healthy competition is good and just pushes the guys to be better out there."

Despite the fact that he was the odd man out when Carcillo returned, van Riemsdyk said he was happy for Carcillo in his return and insisted that he would be a good soldier if he was a healthy scratch as a result.

"Danny’s a great team guy and he has been great when he was out," van Riemsdyk said. "He's been working hard in practice and still supporting the guys and stuff. That says a lot about the guys in this room. Everyone is putting the team before their own personal agendas and when guys do that, it usually leads to good things."

--Shawn P. Roarke

Carcillo and Bartulis in; van Riemsdyk and Parent out
05.31.2010 / 8:00 p.m. ET

As was reported earlier in the day, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette has made a couple of significant line changes for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Forward Daniel Carcillo and defenseman Oskars Bartulis will each be making their Cup Final debut on Monday for Philadelphia, which trails this best-of-7 series, 1-0.

Carcillo will replace rookie James van Riemsdyk and Bartulis will fill in for Ryan Parent.

"Daniel brings what he brings best," Flyers forward Ian Laperriere said. "He brings intensity, but he's got more than that. He has the skill to show the hockey world that he can be a player too, and he's going to bring that intensity."

Carcillo, a healthy scratch the last three games, has 2 goals and 6 points in 15 playoff matches this spring. He connected for the overtime winner in Game 3 against the New Jersey Devils on April 18 in Philadelphia.

"I just worked hard every day in practice, and did my extra work, and knew that this would be a long series, and hoped that I would get a chance to get back in," Carcillo said. "I'm fortunate that that's happened."

Bartulis, meanwhile, will be making his third playoff appearance and first since Game 2 against New Jersey on April 16. He has no points and a minus-1 rating. The 23-year-old rookie had 8 assists and 9 points in 53 regular-season games for the Flyers this season.

"If you are put in for the Final, you don't think about conditioning, you play the game," said Bartulis, who has been practicing with the team each day. "Do your best. We need to play better defensively and not give them as much time."

Here's what Philadelphia's lineup looked like in warm-ups:



For the Hawks:




--Mike G. Morreale

Parent might be replaced by Bartulis
05.31.2010 / 2:00 p.m. ET

Ryan Parent had a rough Stanley Cup Final debut Saturday night.

As a result, he might be out of the lineup on Monday for Game 2 against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center. was reporting on Monday morning that Parent could be replaced along the blue line by Oskars Bartulis.

Parent's first shift of Game 1, seven minutes into the contest, ended 41 seconds later after he watched Troy Brouwer fire home a 1-timer to tie the game at 1-all. A turnover by Parent started the scoring play and, apparently, was egregious enough to preclude him from playing in the rest of the game.

Flyers coach Peter Laviolette never called his number again, leaving Parent stapled to the end of the bench for the rest of the game.

“It was a tough play,” Parent told “I just corrected it, shook it off. Nothing was really said. It was early in the game and it was one of the first goals, but things like that happen.”

And, despite the frustration of not playing again in the game, Parent tried to take his first Final appearance in stride.

“It’s not being said that I had one bad shift and was being benched, so to speak,” Parent said. “I just play certain situations and that situation wasn’t called upon in the rest of the game.”

He says he has learned from the Game 1 experience and will be better in Game 2, if he gets the chance to play more. He believes he will be better in his career, as well, as he deals with the disappointment of Saturday night.

“Everybody has done it in their career and it is something you have to be able to do to move forward,” he said. “Playing on a team like this, I’m lucky to have four or five guys ahead of me able to play the way that they did and play well.”

--Mike G. Morreale and Shawn P. Roarke

Hawks focus on staying out of the box
05.31.2010 / 1:53 p.m. ET

After a second Stanley Cup Playoff game in which the Hawks didn't get a single power play, Hawks fans are murmuring about a conspiracy theory against Chicago.

The Hawks themselves see it differently.

"We've had a couple of games now where we haven't drawn a penalty, and maybe some of that's on us," forward Adam Burish said. "Maybe some of it's us not putting ourselves in spots where we can draw 'em or getting pucks behind their 'D.' A lot of times that's where you see 'em (called), like hooking penalties."

Burish said the Hawks did talk about it some during the game, but ultimately decided it was up to them to stay out of the box and keep the game even.

"Maybe there were some calls that were there that didn't get called, and maybe there was none there. Who knows?," Burish said. "I just think on our side, we took some that we shouldn't have taken. We talked about that yesterday, about if we're going to take a penalty, let's make sure it counts. Make it a good one -- not a slashing or hooking in the offensive zone or something careless."

-- Brian Hedger

Brouwer's dad gets lift from his son's play
05.31.2010 / 1:53 p.m. ET

The recovery process is still going well for Don Brouwer, father of Hawks' forward Troy Brouwer, as he watches the Hawks play for the Cup from his room at a Vancouver-area rehabilitation center.

Don Brouwer had a blood clot in his brain near the end of the regular season and hasn't been home since. Troy said his dad is still a couple weeks away from that step, but watching his son score twice in Friday night's 6-5 Hawks win against Philadelphia in the Cup Final brightened his day. Don watched the game with family and friends, and then imparted some fatherly wisdom via phone Saturday.

"He just said, 'You played a great game and keep going,' " Troy said. "He mentioned a couple of things on Philly, mostly about Pronger -- how big and good with the stick he is. He also said it's a team I can use my big body against in front of the net. Things like that. He knows what he's (talking about)."

 -- Brian Hedger

Hendry, Hawks 'D' looking to avenge rough night
05.31.2010 / 1:53 p.m. ET

Goalies aren't the only ones who don't get a good night's sleep after a lot of pucks wind up in the back of the net.

Defensemen catch their share of guilt, too, and Friday's goal-filled Game 1 of the Cup Final was no exception.

"As a defenseman you never want to be scored on, and you do take it personally," Hawks defenseman Jordan Hendry said. "Your main goal is to not get scored on and get the forwards the puck. Any time you get five goals scored on you, you're not happy as a D-corps. Hopefully we straighten some things out and get better in this next game."

-- Brian Hedger

Hawks hoping 'pond hockey' is over
05.31.2010 / 1:53 p.m. ET

It might have been exciting for people watching Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Friday night, with 5 combined goals in the first period and 11 for the game.

It was something else for the players who actually had to keep pace with each other in such a frenetic 6-5 Chicago win in a scorefest. Hawks forward Adam Burish, for one, isn't rooting for another wild one.

"That was a lot to handle on the bench," he said. "That was a lot of emotional swings. I was beat after the game, just emotionally spent. It was crazy. That was pretty much as close to a pond hockey game as I've seen, but I think both teams will be a little better, especially defensively. I don't think fans will see 11 goals tonight."

-- Brian Hedger

Burish recalls Laperriere fight
05.31.2010 / 12:45 p.m. ET

Adam Burish remembers his first full season in the NHL. It was 2007-08 with the Blackhawks, and the 24-year-old Burish was a scrapper looking to establish himself in the League. He was given that chance in a game against the Colorado Avalanche when he dropped the gloves with Ian Laperriere.

Burish recalled the story Monday morning.

"I remember my first year in the League," Burish said. "Marty Lapointe came up to me and he said, 'This Ian Laperriere was asking about you.' I was wondering, 'What's this guy's story?' And Marty says, 'I don't know. Ask him. When you're on the ice, ask him. He'll fight you. He doesn't care.' So we fought. After the game, he came up and found me in the hallway and gave me a pat on the back and said, "Way to go, kid. You're doing a nice job." Ever since then I thought, 'What a guy.' I've got a lot of respect for what he does."

You'll have to excuse Laperriere if he doesn't have such fond feelings for Burish at the moment.

During Game 1, Burish drilled Flyers defenseman Lukas Krajicek into the boards with a hit that was deemed legal by the referees but rubbed a few Flyers the wrong way. Laperriere was asked Monday if fans could expect any retribution against Burish in Game 2.

"You got to suck it up. There's always next year," Laperriere said, although he was quick to add, "I'm not saying I'm going to do anything next year. It's the playoffs. You just can't worry about last game because it might cost you two minutes or four minutes and you might lose the game with penalties.

"I didn't see the hit. We talked about it at dinner last night. The League should take care of that."

Flyers coach Peter Laviolette saw the hit and said he thought it was from behind.

-- Dave Lozo

Michael Leighton will start Game 2

05.30.2010 / 7:09 p.m. ET

Philadelphia Flyers coach Peter Laviolette will give goalie Michael Leighton another chance.

Laviolette informed the media on Sunday evening that Leighton would, indeed, be the starter for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday at United Center. The Blackhawks lead the best-of-7, 1-0.

Leighton was pulled in favor of Brian Boucher in the second period of Game 1 after allowing 5 goals on 20 shots in a 6-5 loss. Following the Flyers practice at United Center on Sunday, Laviolette still hadn't determined his starter for Game 2.

The Flyers public relations department issued a text message, via Laviolette, that Leighton would return.

"If I am (the starter), I'm just going to kind of approach it the same way I did the last game, just keep doing what I've been doing and try not to think about what happened (Saturday)," Leighton said. "I wasn't nervous (on Saturday). That wasn't the reason I played that way. Maybe it was that we had a couple of days off, and it just took us a little while to get into the game. We just didn't play our game. We're going to regroup and have a good (Monday night)."

Leighton admitted he and goalie coach Jeff Reese looked at plenty of film of Game 1.

"Jeff Reese went over some video (Sunday) morning," Leighton said. "He showed me some positives and negatives. We went over something and said, all right, we have to change this a little bit or watch this and watch that."

Leighton is 6-1 with a 1.96 goals-against average and .930 save percentage with a League-leading 3 shutouts in 9 appearances in the playoffs this spring. Boucher had stopped 11 of 12 shots in relief of Leighton in Game 1, sparking a debate over whether or not Laviolette would switch keepers for Game 2.

"For the most part, we know we're going to play better defensively in our zone (on Monday)," Leighton continued. "A couple of times we had four guys in front of our net and they had one guy come in and get a clear shot and that's not our game. We know we're a better defensive team than that. We're definitely going to show it next game."

-- Mike G. Morreale

Hawks fans soaking in the excitement from here to Toronto
05.29.2010 / 7:46 p.m. ET

The old radio sat on the dining room table in Jeff Anthofer's boyhood home in Brockville, Ont., looking like something straight out of World War II.

On it Anthofer spent many hours with the AM dial tuned just so in an effort to pick up Blackhawks night broadcasts in the late 1960s. His hero was, and still is, the great goaltender Tony Esposito - whose Hawks sweater he wore proudly on Saturday afternoon with his son, Michael, wearing Dustin "Big Buff" Byfuglien's No.33.

The pair live in Toronto, where they both go against the grain by rooting for NHL teams other than the hometown Maple Leafs. Michael is more of an Ottawa Senators, but the Hawks are quickly growing on him. Meanwhile, Jeff lives and dies with every Hawks game.

Watching the Hawks finish off San Jose in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals last weekend, he was inspired to bring his son to Chicago for the Stanley Cup Finals series opener.

"After the second the empty-netter went in on Sunday night, I was at my sister's place," said Jeff, who's been bitterly disappointed three times before in the Cup Final. "I was crying, of course. The next day I got home and we got online and ordered the tickets."

The logic behind the impromptu road trip was simple and just a bit nostalgic.

"That's why we came," Jeff said. "I wanted to feel the atmosphere. I wanted to walk down Madison (Ave.) and be around the rink. I wanted to be in a place surrounded by other Hawks fans."

He and his son took in a late lunch at the W. Madison location of the infamous Chicago burger joint "The Billy Goat Tavern," -- where they were also interviewed by a local ABC-TV crew. Their last trip to the city was three years ago to catch a Hawks game and a Bears game -- needless to say, this trip is much more exciting so far.

The Hawks weren't very good for that first sojourn to the Madhouse on Madison and they say eight rows up from the glass along one of the blue lines. Saturday night, they're all the way up in the 300 level -- but the don't care.

"It's been incredible," Michael said. "It was all (my dad's) idea. I'm just happy to be along for the ride."

A Chicago-area dad, Ron Kaplan, also came up with a cool plan to watch the Cup Final opener with his son, Bill, and two of Bill's friends. Ron, of Glen Ellyn, decided to give his son's friend, Joe Griffiths, a cool birthday present by purchasing a suite to watch Game 1 along with him, Bill and Dan Saccotelli.

"They're all my sons," Ron said.

Griffiths said he was "speechless" when Ron Kaplan called him and told him they were all going to the game.

"We all love the Blackhawks," said Griffiths, who turned 23 today. "This is awesome being here. We went to 16 games in the regular season, and that's pretty good for not being season-ticket holders."

--Brian Hedger

Blackhawks hockey a father and son tradition
05.29.2010 / 7:41 p.m. ET

The old radio sat on the dining room table in Jeff Anthofer's boyhood home in Brockville, Ont., and looked like something straight out of World War II.

On it Anthofer spent many hours with the AM dial tuned just so in an effort to pick up Blackhawks night broadcasts in the late 1960s. His hero was, and still is, the great goaltender Tony Esposito – whose Hawks sweater he wore proudly on Saturday afternoon with his son, Michael, wearing Dustin "Big Buff" Byfuglien's No. 33.

The pair live in Toronto, where they both go against the grain by rooting for NHL teams other than the hometown Maple Leafs. Michael is more of a Ottawa Senators, but the Hawks are quickly growing on him. Meanwhile, Jeff lives and dies with every Hawks game.

Watching the Hawks finish off San Jose in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals last weekend, he was inspired to bring his son to Chicago for the Stanley Cup Finals series opener.

"After the second the empty-netter went in on Sunday night, I was at my sister's place," said Jeff, who's been bitterly disappointed three times before in the Cup Finals. "I was crying, of course. The next day I got home and we got online and ordered the tickets."

The logic behind the impromptu road trip was simple and just a bit nostalgic.

"That's why we came," Jeff said. "I wanted to feel the atmosphere. I wanted to walk down Madison (Ave.) and be around the rink. I wanted to be in a place surrounded by other Hawks fans."

He and his son took in a late lunch at the W. Madison location of the infamous Chicago burger joint "The Billy Goat Tavern," – where they were also interviewed by a local ABC TV crew. Their last trip to the city was three years ago to catch a Hawks game and a Bears game, but needless to say this trip is much more exciting so far.

The Hawks weren't very good for that first sojourn to the Madhouse on Madison and they say eight rows up from the glass along one of the blue lines. Saturday night, they're all the way up in the 300 level – but don't care.

"It's been incredible," Michael said. "It was all (my dad's) idea. I'm just happy to be along for the ride."

Chicago-area dad, Ron Kaplan, also came up with a cool plan to watch the Cup Finals opener with his son, Bill, and two of Bill's friends. Ron, of Glen Ellyn, decided to give his son's friend, Joe Griffiths, a cool birthday present by purchasing a suite to watch Game 1 along with he, Bill and Dan Saccotelli.

"They're all my sons," Ron said.

Griffiths said he was "speechless" when Ron Kaplan called him and told him they were all going to the game.
"We all love the Blackhawks," said Griffiths, who turned 23 today. "This is awesome being here. We went to 16 games in the regular season, and that's pretty good for not being season-ticket holders."

-- Brian Hedger

Flyers fans feeling confident in Chi-town
05.29.2010 / 7:33 p.m. ET

While the United Center will be packed, wall-to-wall, with Chicago Blackhawks fans, there's reason to believe the Philadelphia Flyers will be well represented.

In fact, some fans of the orange and black are even from nearby Chicago.

"I can't believe they came back and beat Boston, let alone beat New Jersey," said Jack Gambro of Yorkville, Ill. "We already beat (Chicago) this year so we know we can take it. I say the Flyers, 3-0, in Game 1 and if the we don't sweep the series, we'll take it in five."

Gambro's father, John, was forced to purchase tickets for his son after a promise he made in December. It was a promise he never thought would actually occur.

"The Flyers were 13th in Conference at the time," John Gambro said. "We live in Chicago and we're Flyer fans. Jack asked me that, if the flyers made it to the Cup Final against the Blackhawks, would I take him to a game. Geez, they were 13th in the Conference. Two days ago, I finally surfed the internet trying to find tickets and spent $1,000 to get here so, let's go Flyers."

Rui Fidalgo from Seattle, Wash., who wore a Mike Richards No. 18 jersey, flew in on Friday. He feels this is the year the Flyers will raise the Cup.

"There's been a lot conversation about Chicago beating us but they never met a defense like we have in the playoffs," Ridalgo said. "They spend 25 minutes or more on the ice -- that's significant ice time. With the season we had and playoffs we've experienced, they (Chicago fans) better give us credit.

"I'm really stoked; it's two American teams going at it. I like the Flyers in six games and to finish them off on home ice."

--Mike G. Morreale

Keith, Kane agree Cup trumps Olympic gold
05.29.2010 / 7:10 p.m. ET

Duncan Keith knows what winning Olympic gold feels like. Patrick Kane got so close he could almost taste it -- and was unabashedly devastated to have come up a goal short in the 2010 Olympic gold medal game.

But the Chicago Blackhawks teammates agree that, as fiercely as they pursued golden glory for their respective countries in Vancouver in February, lifting a silver chalice in Chicago or Philadelphia in June would be even sweeter.

Keith, who was a stalwart on the loaded Canadian defense at the Olympics, said that having watched countless NHL champions hoist the Stanley Cup on television growing up on the Canadian prairie left him with no doubt about his ultimate hockey prize.

"Yeah, seeing that lifted over their heads, you watched that so many times growing up as a kid," Keith said. "For me, that’s going to be bigger."

Kane, who took the shot for Team USA that produced the rebound Zach Parise swept home with 24 seconds left to send that gold medal game into overtime, said that the sheer amount of time one spends with his NHL teammates makes winning a Stanley Cup a more special achievement.

"I obviously had an opportunity to do a special thing at the Olympics and kind of let it slip," Kane said. "But the Stanley Cup? For me I would say I would rather win that with a group of guys that you've been around for three years. The Olympics you're with a team for two or three weeks.

"It would have been nice to win for our country. But as far as for a team, I would say it's better to win a Stanley Cup."

-- John Dellapina

Extra-curricular motivation to win the Cup

05.29.2010 / 5:10 p.m. ET

Having won two Stanley Cups with the New Jersey Devils, Hawks center John Madden is more than willing to dole out advice to his younger teammates about what it takes.

Then again, he also knows what often makes young players tick. He also knows that nerves can do bad things to people in big situations. That’s why he keeps it loose by reminding them of the payoff that comes with winning the Cup.

"If he thinks the guys are nervous, then he tells us how sweet the parties are when you win," Hawks forward Adam Burish said. "That's what he talks about a lot, and that gets us fired up to experience a fun party like a Stanley Cup Party."

--Brian Hedger
Mutual admiration society
05.29.2010 / 5:09 p.m. ET

Flyers tough guy Ian Laperriere played a long time in the Western Conference and singled out Hawks grind line winger Adam Burish as a guy that he admires after watching the younger version of himself carve out his own niche in the League.

"I've got a lot of respect for that kid," Laperriere said. "He's all out, all the time. He'll block whatever with his face if he has to, and he’ll do anything for his team. I've got a lot of respect for a guy like that."

The feeling goes both ways, yet Burish's favorite Laperriere story is about fighting him.

"He was one of the early fights in my career," Burish said. "I thought it was pretty cool that I fought Ian Laperriere. That was pretty neat to me. He's been in so many fights. I came to the bench and a coach was like, 'Hey, good job. You know how many fights that guy's been in? And this is only one of your first few? Way to go! Way to hang in there!' So, for me it was exciting that I got to fight a guy like that, because I have a lot of respect for him."

Not just for his fighting ability, either. Laperriere is willing to sacrifice his body to stop pucks, as well. He even took a puck off the top of his right eye in the quarterfinals against New Jersey and lost vision for 10 minutes with a brain contusion and concussion.

"He does a heck of a job," Burish said. "For him to be playing after what he went through early on in the playoffs, it's awesome."

--Brian Hedger

Hawks heading to the hotel again
05.29.2010 / 2:11 PM ET

Whether it gives them that comfy feeling of the road while at home, is merely a superstition or just a good way to nap, the Blackhawks are once again checking into a hotel today to rest up for tonight's Cup Final opener at United Center.

They also decided to do this before Game 3 of the conference finals against San Jose and won that game 3-2 in overtime.

"We tried it in the San Jose series, so we'll see how it goes," Quenneville said.

That news should be a welcome relief to Kris Versteeg. He said that he enjoyed the plush bedding at the hotel the Hawks used the last time, citing the $400-a-night price tag as evidence of great accommodations.

Whether or not the togetherness of the hotel actually has an effect on how they play, the Hawks record between road and home in the Playoffs is starkly different. Before they used the home hotel trick against San Jose, the Hawks were 7-1 on the road and just 3-3 at United Center.

They didn't use the hotel for Game 4 against San Jose, opting to stay at their homes the night before the afternoon game.
"It's mainly for guys that have kids," Hawks center Dave Bolland said. "For me it's nothing. When I get home (I'm) out cold either way. I don't have any kids, but for them it'll be a nice nap."

-- Brian Hedger

Boucher saw Hawks rise firsthand
05.29.2010 / 2:10 p.m. ET

Philadelphia goalie Brian Boucher had a short stint with the Chicago Blackhawks, appearing in 15 games with the Blackhawks during the 2006-07 season. The Hawks were not very good that year and Boucher one just 1 of his 15 appearances, putting up an .884 save percentage and a 3.26 goals-against average   

But, despite the struggles, Brian Boucher was impressed with the young foundation on that team, a bed rock that was bolstered with the arrival of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane the year after Boucher departed. He says he is not surprised that Hawks have found their way to the Stanley Cup Final in such short order.

“The one year I was here, the training camp was unbelievable; I think we went 8-0 or something like that,” Boucher said. “This was before Kane and Toews were here, but Duncan Keith was here, Brent Seabrook. They had guys like (Dave) Bolland, (Troy) Brouwer, (Dustin) Byfuglien. These guys were all in camp.

“I was impressed with all those guys. Their work ethic was tremendous. You could tell they were all good players and then they end up getting Kane and Toews a year later and they have good pieces like Sharp, who is a good player. So, you could tell they had this in the making. I’m not really surprised they are in this position, to be quite honest with you. Obviously, adding Kane and Toews just put them over the top.

While everybody wants to talk about those two dynamic forwards, Boucher was not there for their arrival. So, instead, he focuses on defensemen Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook as the real bright lights during his tenure.

“I was always impressed with Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook,” he said. “They were playing a ton of minutes even in Year 2 or Year 3 for them. The team wasn’t all that good and it’s a lot of pressure on D men to play those kind of minutes – those shutdown minutes, those power-play minutes. You can just tell they had the demeanor to be top-flight defensemen.’’

--Shawn P. Roarke

Ladd officially out, Kopecky in for Hawks
05.29.2010 / 1:04 PM ET

It was possibly one of the most transparent examples of gamesmanship in the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and it finally came to an end Saturday morning following the Blackhawks morning skate.

Hawks forward Andrew Ladd (upper body injury) will not dress for tonight's Cup Final opener against the Flyers at United Center (8 p.m., NBC, CBC, RDS). Forward Tomas Kopecky will dress in his place, re-entering the active lineup for the first time since the Western Conference Semifinals.

"That's the case tonight, Laddy's not playing," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said, following Chicago's morning skate. "We still expect him to play (in the series) and he's progressing well, but Kopey's in there."

Neither Ladd nor Kopecky met with reporters following the skate.

Ladd was injured against San Jose in the series-clinching game of the Western Conference Finals. He went to hit a Sharks player, and after contact he skated off the ice in pain, with what looked like a possible shoulder injury.

Kopecky has been a healthy scratch since Game 6 against Vancouver. He'll likely join the same third-line checking group that Ladd belonged to, along with center Dave Bolland and winger Kris Versteeg. Before, Kopecky had played on the second line with Patrick Sharp at center and Marian Hossa on the other side.

"He can probably do some things out there that Laddy couldn't do, but it's tough that Laddy's gone," Bolland said. "It's something that we've got to overcome."

Quenneville doesn't anticipate Kopecky's unfamiliarity with Bolland and Versteeg to be an issue.

"He's got some patience, sees the play and sees the ice," Quenneville said. "He can check, as well. That whole group has been pretty effective. They haven't played together, but I still think there are (also) some other options as we go along."

--Brian Hedger

Quenneville says special teams will be key
05.28.2010 / 3:43 PM ET

Entering the playoffs, the Blackhawks' power play was a concern for fans and media – pointing out the team's poor production with the extra skater.

Through three series victories, the Hawks power play is sitting at fifth overall (22.6 percent) among Playoff teams while the stifling penalty kill has carried over from the regular season – sitting third overall in the postseason behind Boston and Philadelphia.

The Flyers' power play is currently ranked eighth in the Playoffs (20.7 percent), while their second-ranked PK has killed of 87 percent of power plays. Hawks coach Joel Quenneville was asked about the special teams in this series, and he said good play on both will be vital.
"You look around this year's playoffs, a lot of nights it is the differential," he said. "I know that we're playing a team that's got good special teams, got some defensemen that excel in both areas. The discipline factor is going to play a part of that as well. We want to make sure that staying out of the box is something that is reinforced."

--Brian Hedger

Niemi not worried about Flyers attacking the crease
05.28.2010 / 3:20 PM ET

Several Eastern Conference teams made opposing goalies uncomfortable in the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs by either crowding the crease or taking runs at goaltenders -- with Philadelphia being one of the more aggressive teams.

Blackhawks goalie Antti Niemi was asked whether he thinks the Flyers will take some runs at him in the Final, even at the risk of drawing a goaltender interference call or two.

"I thought in our games the refs have been OK about that," Niemi said after Friday's practice. "They say that they are looking for that. There were some players on different teams who did that (against us). Nashville liked to do that."

The Predators also gave the Hawks the most trouble of the three teams they've faced in this postseason, but Niemi's ability to rebound from adversity was first showcased in that series. He posted two shutouts in the six games against the Preds, both coming after losses.

--Brian Hedger

Kopecky planning to sub for injured Ladd in Game 1
05.28.2010 / 2:10 PM ET

During Thursday's Media Day at United Center, injured Blackhawks forward Andrew Ladd said he expected to play in the Stanley Cup Finals against Philadelphia and was shooting for the series opener on Saturday night.

Ladd, who was hurt delivering a hit against San Jose in the Western Conference Finals clincher, said the plan was to test himself during Friday's workout. That didn't happen, though, as winger Tomas Kopecky skated with Ladd's third-line mates -- Dave Bolland and Kris Versteeg.

Ladd hasn't practiced with the Hawks since the injury, while Kopecky has practiced with that line for three straight practices. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was asked about Ladd after Friday's workout and still maintained that he is "day to day" and has not been officially ruled out for the opener.

Kopecky, who hasn't suited up since Game 6 of the conference semifinals at Vancouver, hasn't been told that he's playing by Quenneville but talked like he would be in uniform Saturday night.

"It's been a long 10 days and I've just stayed in shape," said Kopecky, who would be playing in his third Cup Final series after  coming to Chicago from Detroit as a free agent last off-season. "(I've) worked hard, (and) skated almost every day. I don't think there is going to be any rust. (I've) been here before, so I've just got to find a way to help the team."

Kopecky said he's just bided his time as a healthy scratch, waiting for the chance to get back into the active lineup. Kopecky has played in 11 games this post-season, scoring three goals and adding an assist.

"There is no pining," he said. "I didn't play a couple games. I can't control that, but the one thing I can control is my work (ethic) and that's what I did. (I'm) pretty happy right now. This is the third Finals for me, and I'm glad I'm going to be playing tomorrow."

--Brian Hedger

'Dark days' for Hawks still vivid
05.27.2010 / 5:56 PM ET

All the talent on the roster and a consecutive sellout streak of 100 games and counting at the United Center tend to overshadow what for years was a long, lonely period for the Hawks and their most faithful fans.

Owner Bill Wirtz didn't televise most home games, which hurt interest in the team and led to poor attendance figures. The team wasn't much better on the ice, often languishing near the bottom of their division while the rival Detroit Red Wings ascended to greatness – leading that city to adopt the phrase "Hockeytown."

It ate at Hawks fans that their once proud organization was seemingly in shambles.

After Wirtz's son, Rocky, took over control of the team, things changed quickly. He handed the marketing reigns over to John McDonough, who'd helped build the Cubs into a marketing giant. Home games were suddenly televised, and the front office started assembling this talented young roster.

The "dark days" are still fresh in the Hawks' memories, though.
"There was certainly a lot of times when you were wondering, 'What's going on with this team and this organization?'" said Hawks defenseman Duncan Keith, who was one of the top young players brought in to change things. "But, I think when you're young and you're just playing hockey and enjoying being in the NHL, you don't really get into all that sort of thing – about how many people are in the building and that sort of thing. When it did change, it was fun to be a part of, and it's a privilege to be a part of this team now."
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville remembers the Hawks' down times from a different angle -- as coach of the St. Louis Blues.
"I can recall not too long ago coaching St. Louis, where you come in here 4,000 or 5,000 people in the building," Quenneville said. "It was a grim evening, where almost you felt like they were supporting the visiting team.  Things changed quickly.  It's an amazing transformation.  But you have to give Rocky a lot of credit that he changed things from the way things used to be.  Along with John, I think that we're the beneficiaries today."

--Brian Hedger

Hawks revealing nothing new about Johnsson
05.27.2010 / 5:32 PM ET

The guy Hawks GM Stan Bowman brought in mid-season to be a veteran presence on the blue line is still nowhere to be seen with the Hawks.

Kim Johnsson remains sidelined with a concussion that he suffered at Philadelphia in the only meeting between the two teams in the regular season. Johnsson hasn't played since and also hasn't been with the team – which isn't giving updates as to his whereabouts.

Chicago sent young defenseman Cam Barker to Minnesota in exchange for Johnsson, who was hoped to be paired with Brent Sopel down the stretch as the team's third defensive pair and help with blocking shots on the penalty kill.

Chicago's WMVP-AM 1000 on Thursday morning even held a contest for listeners to try and locate Johnsson. Bowman was asked about him during Thursday's media session and wasn't revealing anything new.

"We don't really talk about injuries," Bowman said. "We haven't done that.  It's not a good time to start now.  When guys are injured, they're not available to play.  That's that."

Filling in for Johnsson has been young defenseman Jordan Hendry, who has a minus-4 rating in 12 playoff games. Veteran Nick Boynton is also available, but has not dressed yet in the postseason.

Johnsson really could have added to the Hawks' depth on the back end.

"Unfortunately, that's a part of the game, though," Bowman said. "We see it night after night. Guys go down with different injuries.  It's unfortunate, but it's part of hockey.  You deal with it and you move on with the guys that are healthy."

--Brian Hedger

Ladd shooting for Saturday return
05.27.2010 / 3:56 PM ET

Thursday's off day for the Blackhawks meant a third straight day without practice for injured forward Andrew Ladd, who appeared to hurt his shoulder in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals against San Jose this past Sunday.

Hawks coach Joel Quenneville lists Ladd as day to day, but the gritty checking line winger was available to talk during Thursday's Media Day. He said the shoulder is starting to improve and that he's hoping to suit up for Saturday night's Stanley Cup Finals series opener against Philadelphia at the United Center.

"I'm feeling better, but we're still just taking it day by day," said Ladd, who has played in all 16 of the Hawks' playoff games so far, with two goals and an assist. "I expect to play at some point. I'm shooting for Saturday. We're going to see how the shoulder's feeling tomorrow, see if I can get back on the ice. If not then we'll just go from there."

If Ladd cannot go on Saturday night, then Tomas Kopecky is expected to get the start alongside Kris Versteeg and center Dave Bolland on Chicago's third line.

"It's tough timing, especially happening in the Western Conference Finals," Ladd said. "You want to be a part of that. At the same time it's better than it happening later on. The guys did a great job of getting us to this point and it'd be nice to get in there and help contribute more."

--Brian Hedger

Ladd still not practicing
05.26.2010 / 6:20 PM ET

Chicago forward Andrew Ladd, one of just three Blackhawks to win a Stanley Cup, did not skate with the team for the second straight practice session on Wednesday after incurring an injury in Sunday's series-clinching win over San Jose in the Western Conference Finals.

Ladd appeared to injure either his shoulder or arm delivering a hit and might have to miss the opener of the Stanley Cup Finals against Philadelphia on Saturday (8 p.m. NBC, CBC, RDS) at UnitedCenter. Hawks coach Joel Quenneville pronounced Ladd "day to day" and expects him to play at some point against the Flyers.

In the meantime, forward Tomas Kopecky continues to be the guy most likely to dress in place of Ladd.

"As far as Kopey goes, I thought today he was very effective," Quenneville said. "I thought his game really picked up going into the Playoffs and he's really played well in these Playoffs. There's a lot of options that we can have as go along here, but at the same time (Kopecky) is practicing (in Ladd's spot) right now."

--Brian Hedger

'Hawkeytown' living up to its past
05.26.2010 / 6:20 PM ET

When Jonathan Toews arrived in Chicago, the Blackhawks by far one of the least attractive sports draws in the city.

Still, the history between the city and the Hawks is long and storied. Talk to sports fans who were alive in the 1950s, '60s and '70s, and they will likely tell you the Hawks were every bit as popular as the Bears, who dominate the sports market now. Toews, though, has seen firsthand what people told him when he became a Blackhawk in 2006.

Now that the Hawks are four wins away from winning the city's first Stanley Cup since 1961, the city is abuzz with Hawks fever -- right down to the fountain outside DaleyPlaza being dyed red.

"A lot of people said, this is a hockey town," Toews said. "You might not see it yet, but the fans are incredible. As soon as you guys start doing well as a team, it's going to be the most fun you've had in your life or in your career. It's tough to imagine it would be this good this fast. The support we've had from our fans is incredible. Making a Cup run is something special to share with your teammates, but I couldn't imagine it being any better playing for another team. It's been awesome so far."

--Brian Hedger

Toews welcomes challenge Richards presents
05.26.2010 / 6:20 PM ET

Much of the talk around the Blackhawks' locker room so far has been about the comparison between young, star captains Jonathan Toews for the Hawks and Mike Richards for the Flyers.

Chicago will most likely pit center Dave Bolland against Richards for the bulk of matchups, but Toews hopes to get a few chances to stop his counterpart.

"It's a test to yourself and to your team when you're out there against the best players, and in those key moments of the game," he said. "That's what it's all about. That's what you dream about as a kid. It's all about finding what you've really got inside of yourself when you're out there against players like Mike Richards when it really matters."

--Brian Hedger

Hawks not sweating the down time
05.25.2010 / 6:55 PM ET

Considering the way the Hawks looked in series-opening losses at home against Nashville in the quarterfinals and Vancouver in the conference semifinals, some are concerned about the near weeklong wait until the Stanley Cup Finals begin on Saturday night at United Center.
The Hawks are not worried about it, however. Philadelphia will also have a long wait to play, plus the Flyers have to start on the road. Also, the Hawks are playing some of their best hockey since the Playoffs started.
"I don't think it's going to change that much," said Chicago center John Madden, who won two Stanley Cups with New Jersey. "It's the same for them, pretty much. We've got an extra day. That's just excuses. I'm not thinking, 'Wow, I've got four days off. What am I going to be like on Saturday?' It's the Stanley Cup Finals, so you'd better be ready to go."

-- Brian Hedger

Kane, Van Riemsdyk will put friendship on hold

05.25.2010 / 6:40 PM ET

Had the ping pong ball landed differently in the 2007 NHL Draft, Hawks star Patrick Kane might be wearing a Flyers sweater in this Cup Finals series.
The Hawks were the fifth team in the bottom five eligible for the lottery that year, holding the worst odds of getting the top pick. Philly had the best odds. Still, Chicago won it and Kane went to the Hawks.
The Flyers selected forward James Van Riemsdyk after Kane, which made them the first American duo to be picked No.1 and No.2 overall in the same draft. They also were good friends after playing together for a year in the U.S. National Team Development Program located in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Now, here they are facing each other for the Stanley Cup.
"We've become pretty close," Kane said. "I know when we played Philly this year, I went out to eat with him the night before the game and got to hang out with him a bit -- but probably none of that will be happening in this series."
Kane said that he does sometimes wonder what their careers would've been like had he gone to the Flyers and Van Riemsdyk to the Hawks or another team.
"Somehow (Chicago) got the top overall pick," he said. "Sometimes luck works out that way for you. It seemed like Philly was going to have the No.1 pick that year, and not to say that I knew I was going #1, but you always wonder what things would have been like. But it turned out good for both of us."

-- Brian Hedger

Hawks loss to Flyers during season a painful memory
05.25.2010 / 5:21 PM ET

The Hawks and Flyers met just once during the regular season in early March at Philly's Wachovia Center, with the home team just edging Chicago 3-2 on a goal by Chris Pronger with just three ticks left on the clock in regulation.
It was a weird game, with all five goals coming in the third period and Chicago blowing a 2-1 lead with 7:09 left to play.
"It was a game that might have been the most frustrating loss all year long," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "Giving up the lead late and then giving up a goal to beat us without getting it to overtime with a couple of seconds on the clock was a tough pill to swallow at the time."
It also cost the Hawks at least a point by not getting the game into overtime – which they could have used in the Western Conference standings. Chicago finished one point behind San Jose in the race for  the top playoff spot and held all the tie-breakers.
"We might have been thinking, 'Geeze, we could have used that point for home-ice advantage in the last series," said Quenneville, whose Hawks posted a sterling 7-1 road record and 5-3 home record in the playoffs. "It turned out OK. I'm glad we didn't have it in hindsight."

-- Brian Hedger

Kopecky time for Hawks?

05.25.2010 / 5:06 PM ET

Tomas Kopecky, whom Chicago signed away from Detroit in the off-season, hasn't played since Troy Brouwer replaced him in the active lineup for Game 6 of the conference semifinals at Vancouver.  Now, with forward Andrew Ladd "day to day" after an undisclosed injury that happened on Sunday, Kopecky might get the call for the Stanley Cup Finals opener on Saturday.
Quenneville said he feels confident either way.
"We've got some guys who give us some options," he said. "(Kopecky) is another big body who can skate and handle the puck. Whether we have to make an adjustment or not, we still think the depth of our team is something we can use to help us along the way."

-- Brian Hedger

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