11/11/2008 6:15 PM - From chicagoblackhawks.com: (link)
Special teams becoming Hawks' specialty
With the number retirement of Pierre Pilote and Keith Magnuson just a day away, the current Blackhawks took a moment to after practice to talk about their predecessors and the special night ahead.
“When there’s a number retired, it’s always for the right reasons,” said Brent Sopel. “It will be a fun night and it’s a great night to do it against Boston, who’s an Original Six team.”
“It’s nice to have a fellow defenseman get recognized,” said Duncan Keith. “Sometimes defensemen aren’t in the limelight like forwards because we’re not scoring goals like they are. Any time a defenseman gets recognition, we always appreciate that.”
For Jonathan Toews, the night is a chance to reflect on what the future can hold for this current Blackhawks team. Both Pilote and Magnuson were fixtures in postseason play, and Pilote was a member of the Hawks’ last Stanley Cup team in 1961.
“It’s a reminder of what we’re playing for,” Toews said. “The night is special for the players who are playing right now, too. It’s always good to remember the players who were in this locker room before you.”
“These guys are legends,” said Adam Burish. “People think about the Hawks, and those are the guys they think about. When we say we're bringing back hockey in Chicago, we [mean bringing it back] to where those guys were.”
Head Coach Joel Quenneville, who played against Magnuson and is one of only a few people in the Hawks’ locker room old enough to have seen Pilote play, said that the night is special because of what both men meant to Blackhawks hockey.
“They’re two special players,” he said. “[Magnuson and Pilote] are two guys who represented the organization with pride. It should make for a special night.”
“I appreciate the time the organization takes to recognize these guys,” said Burish. “I know when they brought back Hull, Esposito and Mikita last year, that was something you remember. All of the guys on the bench stand and you get the chills. I’m sure it will be the same tomorrow.”
Special teams becoming Hawks’ strength
Though they’re only 13 games into the season, one dramatic change for the Hawks from last season has been special teams play on both ends of the ice.