It shouldn’t take Blackhawks fans long to embrace Daniel Carcillo — even the ones who questioned general manager Stan Bowman’s wisdom for signing the controversial winger as a free agent last month.
Carcillo took a positive step in establishing himself as a fan favorite Monday when he was asked at his introductory news conference at the United Center what he thought of the Vancouver Canucks, the Hawks’ most hated rival.
“I watched that (playoff) series and I’m actually pretty excited to play them because there’s a few guys there that played a little bit outside their shoes, and I think I can keep most of those guys in check when we play them this year,” Carcillo said.
Here’s the best part: Carcillo then named names, listing Maxim Lapierre, Raffi Torres and Tanner Glass, not caring in the least if he breached sports etiquette.
“Lapierre, Glass and Torres,” Carcillo said. “Lapierre’s at the top of the list.
“Those names are always on my list, any team I’m on.”
So what if Torres and Glass are no longer with the Canucks, Carcillo’s point was that he felt those three players took liberties with the Hawks in the playoffs, no doubt remembering Torres’ head shot on Brent Seabrook. And from the sound of it, those are not the things Carcillo will let happen this season.
The guy nicknamed “Car Bomb” certainly brings with him baggage in the form of a history of reckless and undisciplined play, but he is exactly the kind of personality the Hawks have needed in their dressing room.
Carcillo plays on the edge of the rule book, yes, occasionally crossing the line, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing in the brutal world of the NHL. Carcillo plays on the edge of the rules even more than Adam Burish and Ben Eager did, and the Hawks won a Stanley Cup in 2010 with them in the lineup.
Carcillo said the whole league knew the Hawks missed the grit they had in 2010 that Burish, Eager, Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien provided.
“I think after the team won the Stanley Cup they lost some of their grit, and I think everybody realized that,” Carcillo said. “Stan has brought me in and brought Jamal (Mayers) in and brought Steve (Montador) in to get that back and to get that attitude and swagger back they had when they won the Cup that year.
“This team has always had that attitude and swagger to it. It’s going to be exciting to bring that back. The biggest thing that me and Stan have talked about is just to get that attitude back and that push back and that (bleep) you attitude, you know what I mean?”
Carcillo brings with him a two-game suspension to start the season for an incident in the playoffs while he was playing for Philadelphia against Boston, where he abused an official.
“The way I play, I’m bound to miss a few games every year,” Carcillo said. “It comes with the territory. I’m not going to say I like being suspended, and I don’t like the pay cuts or missing the game, but the way I play it’s tough to stay out of the principal’s office.”
Bowman stressed again that Carcillo wasn’t signed to strictly be a fourth line shift disturber.
“Daniel can play a physical game, but he has a lot of talent as well,” Bowman said.
“Everybody always talks about that I can fight, that I’m tough and I can hit, but I pride myself in my game as well,” Carcillo said. “I never want to be that fourth line guy, and that’s kind of what I turned into last year and what they wanted (me) to be.
“I had a really, really hard time with it. It’s tough for me to do my job if I’m on the ice for two minutes because you’re not into the game and you don’t get into the opponent’s head and they don’t have to worry about you. I’m at my best when they’re worrying about me and not worrying about the game.”
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