It’s 13 games into the season for the Blackhawks, and coach Joel Quenneville hasn’t had to tinker with his lines at all.
That’s what being unbeaten in regulation will do for a team.
Why change anything when everything is working?
“I think guys like playing with guys they are familiar with,” Quenneville said. “We feel when things are going well there’s no need to change. Hopefully that can continue, but we know that’s easier said than done. “
Jonathan Toews said the versatility of the lines has been a key in keeping things as they are.
“We’ve hardly change the lines at all this year compared to how much we normally do,” Toews said.
“It’s almost been expected around here that when things are kind of stagnant line changes are part of it to kind of change things up, especially during a game.”
Toews thinks the ability to roll four lines has been a vital part of the early success.
“We’re back to the point where we can throw any line out there, top to bottom, against the other team’s top line and we have confidence that line can go out there and do the job,” Toews said.
“Every single guy takes responsibility that he can go out there and do the job, whether it’s power play, penalty kill, 5-on-5, checking or scoring.
“There’s not really a reliance on just one or two lines. With the skill we have that’s what makes us a dangerous team; that we can rely on so many different guys to go out and do things.”
Patrick Kane believes that a little tinkering here and there never hurts.
‘Sometimes it’s good to play with different guys and keep it fresh, which is something Joel has always done,” Kane said. “I don’t think guys have a problem with it.”
Bryan Bickell’s huge hit on Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf helped turn the momentum in Tuesday’s game to the Hawks.
Bickell was jumped by Brad Staubitz, who earned the extra penalties for instigating. The Hawks were trailing 1-0 at the time but scored on the ensuing power play when Nick Leddy found the back of the net. Brandon Saad quickly added a second goal and the Hawks led 2-1.
“I thought he had a real impact on the game,” Joel Quenneville said of Bickell. “Whether that was the turning point, it got us going a little bit and gave us some life and momentum in the game.
“He’s a big-bodied guy and he’s got some speed to his game and a decent set of hands. He’s an effective player when he plays physical like that.”
The United Center ice couldn’t have been much worse Tuesday night.
“We had maybe a record number of guys having to get their skates done,” Joel Quenneville said. “I don’t know what it was.”
Shaw doing fine:
Joel Quenneville has no problems with the way Andrew Shaw is performing as third-line center.
“He’s done a nice job,” Quenneville said. “I think he has progressed as we’ve gone along here. He’s learning defensively where to be in the responsible areas.
“I think offensively he protects the puck well and wants it. Around the net he has some creativity and along with both wingers (Bryan Bickell and Viktor Stalberg) gives us some size and speed on the outside.
“They’ve had some good rushing attacks and some good zone time as well. Shaw, around the net, that’s some of the strength to his game, too.
“He’s got some quick routes and quick hands and he likes to get to the front of the net as well. That line has worked well together and they all bring something different.”Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.