Breaking News Bar
updated: 6/20/2013 12:16 AM

Coach Q still shuffling the deck

Success - Article sent! close
  • Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa looks for a pass Wednesday as Boston Bruins winger Jaromir Jagr defends in the first period of Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final.

    Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa looks for a pass Wednesday as Boston Bruins winger Jaromir Jagr defends in the first period of Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final.
    Associated Press


BOSTON -- Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville stayed with the same lines for nearly the entire regular season.

Now in the playoffs he is back to playing mad scientist, mixing and matching lines at the drop of a hat.

For Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday night, Quenneville returned to what worked during the Western Conference finals against Los Angeles with a first line of Bryan Bickell, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.

It paid off as Toews and Kane both scored and Bickell had 2 assists in the Hawks' 6-5 win over the Bruins in overtime.

The second line was Michal Handzus between Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp, while Andrew Shaw centered the third line for Brandon Saad and Viktor Stalberg.

Dave Bolland was dropped back to the fourth line between Michael Frolik and Marcus Kruger.

"Every series is different," Quenneville said. "Every matchup is different. We look at production. Sometimes maybe we're looking to ignite. One line can get going."

Quenneville was hoping for Toews, Kane and Bickell to be that line in Game 4.

"We don't really care who scores goals," Quenneville said. "If they can get hot, get on the board offensively, that's what we look for. But they're certainly capable of it.

"They exited the last series on a high note. Getting back together here, hopefully they can continue on."

Kane had 4 goals in the last two games of the Kings series.

"We had some success against L.A., so whatever the combinations are, we always say we have to go find a way to score, find a way to play smart defensively," Toews said. "I think we have confidence together as a line, with Bicksie and Kaner, that we can make things happen."

Ready for anything:

Jamal Mayers skated in Marian Hossa's spot at right wing on the second line with Michal Handzus and Patrick Sharp at Wednesday's morning skate.

Hossa apparently was getting treatment on his upper-body injury.

"I've been ready for six weeks, however long it's been," Mayers said. "Just trying to keep myself ready to go.

"We have a special group in here. We've got guys who really care about each other and guys who want to win. We're right there.

"Obviously people will say what they want, but these are two good teams and there can only be one winner."

Mayers, who is in the last year of his contract, says he has no interest in coaching when he retires.

"Absolutely not," he said. "For one reason: the time commitment away from your family is really not something for me. The time commitment is unbelievable. My focus is playing hockey right now."

Joel Quenneville has nothing but praise for Mayers' professionalism.

"Jammer is one of those guys, he's a great teammate," Quenneville said. "He does everything he can for the guys. He wants to get in the lineup in the worst way."

On faceoffs:

The Hawks were looking to improve upon their faceoff percentage in Game 4. It shouldn't have been too hard to do since they won only 29 percent in Game 3.

"You waste a lot more energy when you're chasing it and playing defense all the time," Jonathan Toews said. "Everyone knows it starts with draws.

"We want to be better on faceoffs. And when we get the puck we want to keep it and make it a little more difficult on them to get it back."

The Bruins use everyone as a five-man unit to make sure they get the puck.

"For the most part, they're using their feet quite a bit," Toews said. "We have to be a little more vigilant, making sure the linesman is aware of that. We can do our part, too, to try to get the edge here and there, and that's part of it.

"It comes down to being more aggressive and competitive in the faceoff dot. We've been a good faceoff team all year and it's something we need to bounce back on. It's a stat you look at, but to us it's obviously more than that, because it means puck possession and that's what we want."

Just noticing?

Bruins center Patrice Bergeron won 62 percent of his faceoffs during the regular season to lead the NHL.

A few of his teammates are finding it funny people are just noticing how good he is at it.

"He's been great my whole career, and I've been playing with him a long time," center David Krejci said. "All of a sudden today, I get asked about him five times. He's been one of the best in the league for a long time."

Bergeron win 24 of 28 draws in Game 3.

"I think it's about bearing down every time you're at the dot, but it's also about talking to your wingers and defensemen to win the battles for you, too," Bergeron said. "They've got good centermen over there, and they take pride in their draws, too.

"It's about finding ways, trying to know their tendencies and adjust and don't just show them one look but a couple different looks, and it's about help."

Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.