Proud American Hockey League Affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks

Our Town Or Team
Buy Tickets


Hawks rely on shutdown unit to stifle Sharks

05/15/2010 12:51 PM - From (link)

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Having a shut-down checking line to pester the opposition's best scorers is a must during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. But Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville says it's going to take more than just a three-man unit to shut down the Sharks' top line of Dany Heatley, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau.

Luckily for Quenneville, he has three forwards and two defensemen who have already shown they are up to the challenge.

In the second round against the Vancouver Canucks, Quenneville employed pesky forwards
Kris Versteeg, Andrew Ladd and Dave Bolland along with defensemen Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook to control the high-flying Sedin twins. It worked about as well as Quenneville could have hoped. The Sedins had a big Game 1, but could only muster a combined 2 goals and 4 assists in the final five games of the series.

Those five Blackhawks can expect an even bigger test against the Sharks' big three.

"Certainly it's an option," said Quenneville, who of course won't make anything official on Saturday with Sunday's Game 1 less than 24 hours away. "I think they relish that challenge and that opportunity.  I thought they did a nice job against the Sedins.  This matchup in this series is going to be a little bit tougher.

"I think Keith and Seabrook will match up good against that line."

Heatley, Thornton and Marleau have combined for 8 goals and 21 assists in 11 games during the postseason. The trio possesses some different traits than the Sedins. For one, the Sharks' unit has a little more size and strength. Also, while the Sedins were rotating Alex Burrows and Mikael Samuelsson onto their line, whoever you want to consider the third-best forward on the Sharks' top unit was good enough to make Canada's Olympic roster this year.

"Obviously now with Thornton, Marleau and Heatley, it's got some different challenges that we're going to be facing, one of them being their size," Keith said. "But they're all good at protecting the puck.  They all have different things about them that make them great players."

"I think we've just got to play our game," said Seabrook. "Have five guys out there willing to do the job, coming back with good sticks and speed. They're big, they're strong. They can play physical, they can score goals, they can pass the puck.  We just got to try and get in lanes as best we can, try and play them as physical as we can."

What made the Blackhawks' shut-down line so effective against the Canucks wasn't that they just held the Sedins in check. They also contributed some timely goals.

Versteeg scored the game-winner in the pivotal Game 2. Bolland had a pair of goals in the final three games of the series, including a backbreaking shorthanded goal with 45 seconds left in the second period that put the Blackhawks ahead 3-0.

It was quite the offensive outburst from Bolland, who had just six goals in 39 regular-season games. Just don't ask him how he was able to shut down the Sedins and contribute a couple goals.

"Everybody from Vancouver is saying 'I don't know how you did it. What did you do?'" Bolland said. "I don't know what I did. It was fun. It's a bit of an accomplishment to do that to those guys."

One thing's for sure -- Bolland is ready for the bigger challenge in the Western Finals.

"Joe, I think he's the size of those two combined," Bolland said of Thornton, who is about three inches taller and 40 pounds heavier than either Sedin. "He's a bigger guy out there. His body position is really good from playing against him.

"It'll be a challenge, but something that we're looking forward to."

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