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Toews: We're at ease and ready for Game 5

by Dan Rosen /
CHICAGO -- The Blackhawks were loose this morning, and why shouldn't they be? They're up 3-1 in this Western Conference Semifinal round series against Vancouver and can close out the Canucks in front of what should be a raucous crowd at United Center Sunday night (8 p.m. ET, VERSUS, CBC, RDS).

At one point toward the end of the media's time in the dressing room, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were chirping one another about their new looks.

Kane said Toews, with his lamb-chop beard, looks like Wolverine. Toews looks at Kane, with his growing mullet and the lines shaven into the side of his head, and laughs. He calls him "Joe Dirt" and wonders how his agent lets him walk around like that.

All Kane said is that he went to the barber and asked for the Billy Ray Cyrus look with some Vanilla Ice mixed in. He said he might keep the mullet for next year and added, "I'm shooting for (Jaromir) Jagr status."

Yeah, it was pretty loose in that room, but that doesn't mean these guys have forgotten about the task at hand tonight. A team facing elimination is always a difficult team to beat, and the Hawks expect nothing but the Canucks best Sunday night.

That being said, they'd also like to plant the seed of doubt early. Toews touched on that and a few other topics during a portion of his chat with the media. Here is what he had to say:

Q: Watching San Jose clinch last night, does it make it more important for you guys to do it tonight?

: "Yeah, it would be big for us. We're not looking ahead by any means. We haven't done that all series. Even the situation we're in it's far from over. We have to go out there and earn everything we can get tonight. Obviously we want to do it on home ice. We've had a good string of games here and it's something we want to build off and be even better tonight."

Q: You know the Canucks are reeling, so does it make your start that much more important?

Toews: "Of course. If we let them get a great start it gives them confidence that they can get things going again and start playing the way they can as a team. We obviously want to take that away from them tonight. We know we can play even better than we have and that's the attitude we have to come with tonight."

Q: How important has it been to capitalize on their mistakes, especially on the power play?

Toews: "It's been huge. You know, we have worked hard for those opportunities and sometimes even if you don't score it gives you momentum. Some of those power play goals we know have been a big part of the wins we've had, but we also know we have to find other ways tonight as well if we want to pull it off."

Q: How impressive has it been to watch some of your teammates like (Dustin) Byfuglien and (Brian) Campbell not respond to the Canucks considering it is human nature to want to get up and give a whack back?

Toews: "We all really care about each other in this locker room and we know sometimes when somebody comes at you and gives you a shot the thing you want to do is give it right back, but you want to do that for selfish reasons, for your own personal revenge. We're all thinking about each other in this locker room and what's important to everyone else and what we need to do to win as a team. So far we have done enough, but we know it's going to have to go to another step tonight if we want to close out the series."

: Isn't there a natural inclination to be loose when you've won three straight and you're up 3-1?

Toews: "It's all about making sure we're ready for a great start tonight and making sure we're ready to play in front of our home crowd. We played great on the road and found a way to win over there, but we have to make sure it's clear in this locker room that our three wins don't really matter. We want this one the most and this is the most important one so it's gotta be our best effort tonight."

Q: Does it surprise you that Detroit is out of the picture?

Toews: "It is tough to imagine that it happened so quick. Seeing them go to seven games…I think a lot of people might have underestimated what type of team Phoenix was, but obviously seeing a series like that you might think they were a little more vulnerable this year. Still, they're a heck of a team and it's surprising to see them go out in five games."

Q: Did you watch that Sharks-Red Wings game last night from an analytical perspective to see what you might face in the next round?

Toews: "Yeah, a little bit, but I only watched the first half of the game so I didn't know what happened until this morning. It's easy to think about that and we've done it before, such as fantasizing about who we might play in the first or the second round and what could work to our advantage, but that will come when it comes, if it does. We'll work on that tonight."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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