Breaking News Bar
updated: 1/21/2011 9:29 PM

Games against Red Wings, Flyers will show where Blackhawks stand

Success - Article sent! close

There is no easing back into the grind for the Blackhawks after five days off.

Not with games this weekend against the Red Wings and Flyers, two of the powerhouse teams in the NHL.

"It's going to be a really good test for our team," Hawks winger Marian Hossa said. "It's going to show us where we're at. It won't be easy, but we just have to find the level of our game."

The defending Stanley Cup champion Hawks believe they are still one of the league's elite teams as well, and now is the time to show it.

"We'd like to prove we should be higher in the standings," winger Patrick Kane said.

The Hawks had some momentum before their five-day hiatus, going 4-0-1 in their five games.

"I think guys are using this time away from the rink to their advantage," captain Jonathan Toews said. "It's been a nice little break this week and we'll come back fine this weekend."

The Red Wings and Flyers have been the NHL's top two offensive teams much of the season, so the Hawks will need to be at their best defensively.

"We have to be aware of some of their star players. These guys can really make you look silly sometimes, especially Detroit," Toews said.

The Hawks are 1-1 against the Red Wings this season, but today's game will be the first at Joe Louis Arena.

"The last time we played Detroit (on Dec. 17) we found a way to win against them, but we all know it's a different game when it's in that building," Toews said. "We have to play a smart road game if we want to come out on top."

Pace setters:

After five days off, finding the pace necessary to have against a team like Detroit is a concern for Hawks coach Joel Quenneville, who ramped up the tempo of practices Thursday and Friday.

"Might have been our two best of the year," Quenneville said.

If the Hawks aren't up to speed right away, the Red Wings and Flyers will make them pay.

"We can't go into games thinking we'll catch up during games," Quenneville said. "All of a sudden the pace is going to be too fast, just absorbing what's going to be coming our way. We have to be ready to set the pace and try to dictate as much as we can.

"The first 10 minutes in Detroit are going to be important for us. We can't anticipate that we're going to catch up in the middle of the game."

Corey, of course:

Having started 17 of the last 23 games before this week's break in the schedule, rookie goalie Corey Crawford didn't mind a few days off.

"I was tired, but I wasn't exhausted or anything to the point I needed days off," said Crawford, who starts again today in Detroit. "But it's still nice to get a week without any games. We've played a lot of games."