UNIONDALE, N.Y. - After playing in what might have been the game of their lives on Sunday for the Olympic gold medal, Blackhawks stars Duncan Keith, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Brent Seabrook now face the challenge of jumping back into the routine of the NHL season.
"I want to play good and I want to play hard," Keith said Tuesday prior to facing the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum. "We all want to play as best we can every night and I don't think that changes.
"It's good to get the season going again, get back in the swing of things and move forward. For me there's not going to be a sense of not trying to play as good or play as hard because we played in the Olympics two days ago."
Toews, who was named the most outstanding forward of the Olympic tournament ahead of such stars as Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Teemu Selanne and Marian Hossa, was looking forward to getting back to the Hawks and continuing the quest of the Stanley Cup.
"For those of us who have been playing the last few weeks we'll just jump right back and keep playing the way we have," Toews said. "We're all feeling pretty confident off of what we accomplished out in Vancouver.
"I'm still running on fume a little bit from the other night. The excitement that you feel after winning a game like that is great and I'm still enjoying it, but I want to keep playing hockey, too. When you're on a high like this you want to keep it going as long as possible."
Kane was ready to put the overtime loss to Canada behind him and start scoring goals again for the Hawks.
"It's a great team to play for in Chicago," Kane said. "We want to look forward to the last 20 games and go into the playoffs on a strong high and with a lot of confidence."
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville planned to watch the minutes for his Olympians, not only Tuesday but also Wednesday against Edmonton at the United Center as well.
"It's a fun opportunity with everyone reunited and we'll try to get off to a strong start in the second half of the year here," Quenneville said.
Duncan Keith brought his gold medal to New York, but that's all the information he was giving on its whereabouts.
"It's top secret; I don't want anybody trying to get at it," Keith joked. "I have it with me, but that's as much information I'll give you."
DirecTV and Versus
According to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, there is hope for those Hawks fans with DirecTV who haven't been able to see those games televised by Versus this season because of the ongoing dispute between the two sides.
"I believe it will (be) worked out and we will be back in the 16 million homes that we were on in the DirecTV Universe once they work this out," Bettman said Tuesday on the "Mully and Hanley" show on WSCR 670-AM. "I am hopeful that the sides will work this out in advance of the playoffs."
Around the rinks
• The Dallas Stars wisely took Steve Ott out of play this summer as an unrestricted free agent by signing the rugged forward to a four-year, $11.8 million contract extension.
• Sunday's Olympic gold medal game seen by 16.6 million people on Canadian television - almost half the country's population - was shown on nine networks and broadcast in eight languages.
• According to research by The Hockey News, only 32 of the 135 NHL players participating in the 2006 Olympics missed five or more games due to injury after the Games.
• The Flyers announced Tuesday that goalie Ray Emery needed hip surgery and would miss the rest of the season.
Five rule changes the NHL should at least consider after watching the Olympics.
1. No TV timeouts
Like this is ever going to happen, but the games were quick and had a better flow.
2. No-touch icing
How many races for the puck are there anyway?
3. Better shootouts
In the Olympics, after the first three shooters the coach was allowed to use his best guys again.
4. Ten-minute overtime
Would it take that much longer to play an additional five minutes of OT before going to a shootout?
5. Three points wins
Teams got 3 points for a regulation win in Vancouver and 2 for winning in OT, which puts more value on a victory in regulation.