05/16/2009 8:10 PM -
From ChicagoBlackhawks.com: (link)
Their battle to earn home-ice advantage over the Calgary Flames stretched until the last games of the regular season. As Chicago struggled with dispatching those Flames in the Western Conference Quarterfinals, its looming opponent in Vancouver sat at home with feet up after a first-round sweep of the St. Louis Blues.
But after ousting the Canucks in six, making theirs the only Stanley Cup Playoff Semifinal series to stop short of the max, suddenly the Blackhawks were left to kick back and rest their weary legs, as they watched the Detroit Red Wings go seven games before disposing of Anaheim.
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville chuckled at his own response to the question posed after his team eliminated the Canucks on Monday, in which he said he didn't much care who his team faced in the next round "as long as the series goes seven and has four or five overtime periods."
Quenneville acknowledged what most around the team have, that an Anaheim win would have put Chicago in the advantageous position of having home ice for the conference final. But even though the Blackhawks will start on the road against Detroit, the team is spouting the usual things you'd expect them to, having cruised into the third round for the first time in 14 seasons.
"We're happy we're in the (Western) finals, but we're not content by any means," Quenneville said, preaching similar themes as he has since taking over the Blackhawks in October. "Each one of these wins has been just a step on the path, and we have places to go from here."
The blitzkrieg runs of the Ducks would have been the more familiar matchup for the Blackhawks, as Anaheim mirrors somewhat the aggression of the Calgary and Vancouver squads they have already vanquished. Instead, the Hawks end up facing the more methodical style of Detroit, which won the first four games of the season series prior to Chicago's home-and-home sweep to end the season, when the men from Motor City were resting up for the playoffs.
But the coaching staff and players skating through a lighthearted Wednesday workout didn't feel like their next opponent would force any real changes on their end.
"We have our style, and you could argue we're playing as well as anyone right now," said defenseman Brian Campbell, acknowledging the three other semifinals that took seven games to complete. "There doesn't seem to be any reason not to stick with what's gotten us here."
"We're deep and can afford to go all-out, every line," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "Whether we're facing the Wings or the Ducks, that's not going to change."
Author: Brett Ballantini | NHL.com Correspondent