Will Hawks meet Red Wings in playoffs?
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If the playoffs started on Thursday, the Blackhawks would have drawn Central Division rival Detroit in the first round.
The Red Wings were eighth in the Western Conference before hosting San Jose on Thursday night and battling with Dallas, Columbus, Phoenix and Edmonton for that final playoff spot.
To a man, the Hawks insist they're not paying attention to possible first-round opponents.
"It changes every day," Jonathan Toews said. "If it ended today we would play Detroit, but the season is not over yet. We're not going to worry about that."
"It's way too early to forecast that," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "Things can change quickly. There are four-five teams that can still get in. I just look at the eight teams that are in the playoffs right now (and) they all think they are good enough to win."
The Red Wings will be at the United Center on Friday night for the last meeting between the two teams as division rivals. Detroit is moving to the Eastern Conference next season as part of the NHL's realignment and will play the Hawks only twice.
"I still think (the rivalry) will always be in place," Quenneville said. "Those games will be more exciting as you go along knowing they're only coming in here once a year. It's been a special rivalry throughout the years, and I still think it will be recaptured quickly when we do play them."
The fans certainly will miss the games with the Red Wings.
"Obviously it's a huge rivalry and the fans enjoy it," Corey Crawford said. "That's the tough thing about it, but I think the new divisions make sense. Detroit changes time zones every time they fly. I know the fans love our games, but it's something that had to change."
Bolland nears a return:
Center Dave Bolland practice Thursday but won't play Friday because of a foot injury.
"Hopefully he can play on the weekend there," Joel Quenneville said. "He's really progressed the last few days."
The Hawks play at St. Louis on Sunday and Quenneville is hoping to have Bolland back for that game.
"I want to rush back; I want to play," Bolland said. "It's no fun sitting out. Sitting at home watching on TV, I don't even put the games on because you want to be in there with the guys having fun. For me, it's just sure making sure I'm healthy."
Granting a wish:
Barrington's James Ensign had a day he'll never forget on Thursday.
Ensign, who is battling leukemia, is part of the Make-A-Wish program and his wish was to skate with the Blackhawks. Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Jamal Mayers and Brandon Bollig all took time to help Ensign with his skills and Corey Crawford took a few shots from the 9-year-old.
Ensign wore a Kane 88 jersey but insisted his favorite player is Toews.
"That's all right, I'll let it slide," Toews joked. "I didn't recognize him with the helmet on, but that was my little buddy from the other night who I walked out to the blue line for the anthem. He was all smiles and pretty happy."
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