Kane relishes playing on big stage
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The entire hockey world was watching the Blackhawks and Red Wings on Wednesday night in their Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals, which is just how Patrick Kane liked it.
"This is the biggest game this time of year, Game 7, the second round, no other games on TV, no other games pretty much around the world that are going to be played," Kane said. "It's really exciting to be a hockey player in a game like this.
"If you can't get excited for this one you're not going to be able to get up for any hockey game."
It was Kane's second Game 7. He was part of the 2011 team that lost 2-1 in overtime at Vancouver after the Hawks rallied from a 0-3 hole.
Kane did have a big Game 6 against the Canucks on 2009 when he scored a hat trick against Roberto Luongo in a series-clinching win for the Hawks.
"You look back on those games," Kane said. "We've kind of had some big games in the past for myself and this team in this kind of situation so you kind of look back on those memories and what happened in those games to use it to your advantage to either help you or try to get a little momentum."
Kane remembered vividly the Game 6 against the Canucks.
"That was just a crazy day in general for me," he said. "I woke up late and missed a meeting, saw a big accident on the way home from practice and had a funny feeling coming to the rink that day that something was going to happen, and it did."
Toews fan club:
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock never passes up an opportunity to gush over Jonathan Toews, who he coached in the 2010 Olympics when Canada won the gold medal and the Hawks captain was named the tournament's most valuable forward.
"Lots of you people did a lot of talking about Jonathan Toews at the start of the series," Babcock said. "I just know that those kind of people just come, they just do. That's just the way it is."
Toews took a lot of criticism, mostly from Detroit writers, for his performance in Game 4 when he took three straight penalties and didn't score for the ninth straight game.
Toews got his first goal of the playoffs in Game 5 and had 2 assists in Game 6, both Hawks wins.
"I think scoring certainly helped him," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "Throughout the series he's been playing well. He may have had some frustration with those three straight penalties, but one thing about Johnny, you get a lot of consistency in his play. He's the ultimate competitor."
All about goaltending:
The way Tuesday's Game 7 between Los Angeles and San Jose played out, it came down to a battle between Kings goalie Jonathan Quick and the Sharks' Antti Niemi.
Joel Quenneville believes that's how most Game 7s are decided.
"You can talk about playoff games and the first thing that's always mentioned is goaltending," Quenneville said. "Game 7 is no different. We talk about the importance of making big saves, timely saves and the importance of the confidence you get from it.
"I think (Tuesday's) game, if you look at any Game 7, you can almost change the name of the game from hockey to call it goalie."
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock saw it differently.
"The 19 other guys, they kind of think they're involved too," Babcock said. "So let's not get too carried away."
It wasn't the first time there was a concert the night before the Hawks played. But because it was the Rolling Stones, several Hawks were asked about the ice conditions at the United Center on Wednesday, the morning after the Stones played the venue.
"The ice was fine," Joel Quenneville said.
"Actually, the ice has been pretty good throughout the playoffs," Patrick Kane said. "That's good for us as a fast-skating team.
"When it's hot out is when it's toughest, but both teams have to play on it."
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