Proud American Hockey League Affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks

Our Town Or Team
Buy Tickets

IceHogs News

Blackhawks not getting caught up in Cup hype

From (link)

CHICAGO -- Ever since they were kids wielding sticks on the neighborhood streets, on the frozen-over ponds or even on their own, man-made backyard rinks, guys like
Duncan Keith, Patrick Sharp, Jonathan Toews and many others wearing the Indian head on their chest have pretended they were in the Stanley Cup Final.

Win Game 4 Sunday afternoon against San Jose, and in a few days the pretending stops.

"It obviously is a nice spot to be in right now," Keith said Saturday on what could be the final off day of the Western Conference Finals. "We can wrap our head around this. We're in a good spot, but we're not there yet. We're not where we want to be and we haven't done what we want to do yet."

What they want to do right now is, of course, earn the right to play for the Stanley Cup. The Blackhawks wouldn't be wrong to choose that as the big carrot to guide them Sunday at United Center.

However, the feeling coming out of the press conferences with the players and coach Joel Quenneville on Saturday is that the Hawks really don't want to talk about the Stanley Cup Final right now even if everyone else in this town, media included, does.

Yes, Sharp said, getting there is on their minds. Of course, Keith agreed, the motivation behind everything they do is to play for the Cup.

The Hawks, though, have kept the same, take-'em-one-at-a-time approach throughout these playoffs, and the last thing they want to do now is stray away from what is obviously working.

It might be cliché, but who can argue with their success?

"Our focus is in the right place," Quenneville said. "Our guys should be commended how diligent they've been in their approach. I think our concentration is strictly tomorrow and we're not thinking about anything beyond tomorrow's game."

As much as the Sharks will use the Flyers and their historic comeback against Boston earlier this month as motivation that it can happen, the Blackhawks will flip it around for Game 4 and take their cue from what Boston couldn't do.

The Bruins are the Blackhawks' cautionary tale.
"We look at that series as well, use it as motivation in our way and say, 'We want to close it out, we want to be a great team and we want to do it the right way,' " Keith said. "I don't think we want to give these guys any life right now. They haven't had it yet, so there's no point in giving it to them now."

Even with several motivational tools at its disposal, it won't be as simple now for Chicago to keep the same approach, not with everyone in the media already asking questions about the Stanley Cup and with the Windy City being caught up in Hawks' mania.

Signs, placards, flags and posters are spread throughout the city, especially in the downtown area. Bartenders, cab drivers and bellmen are all, without any solicitation, bringing up the Hawks with customers and hotel guests. A couple of reporters covering the series went to a Chicago White Sox game Thursday night and saw nearly as many Sox jerseys, hats and sweatshirts as they did for the Blackhawks.

"It's easy to get caught up in the hype and listen to people tell you how good you are, how good the team's doing," Sharp said.

Even Toews -- Captain Serious himself -- had to stop himself Saturday from looking ahead, from buying into what isn't yet fait accompli.

He was asked what the Hawks would need to improve on if they make it to the Final, and Toews started answering the question before saying, "You know, we're not talking about the Final series yet. I just caught myself there.

"We want to keep playing hockey as long as we can," he added. "If we get there, then, you know, hopefully we save the best for last."
Erase the "if" on Sunday and soon enough they'll stop pretending, stop imagining what all the fuss over the Stanley Cup Final is about.
"We're one win away from a chance to play for the Cup, and just using that as motivation and understanding our position and the opportunity we have should be enough to play the way we should, play a smart game," Keith said. "That's our goal."

Search Archive »

Browse by Month »

January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010

December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
December 0200