BOSTON — The comparisons with this Blackhawks Stanley Cup team and the 2010 champs are everywhere.
Bryan Bickell is Dustin Byfuglien.
Johnny Oduya is Brian Campbell.
Andrew Shaw is Kris Versteeg
Marcus Kruger is John Madden.
And Michal Rozsival is Brent Sopel.
“Very nice comparables when you go back to the impact Buff had in a couple of series and Bicks in a couple of series,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “Our back end we feel is a big improvement from the last couple years to this season. The depth of our defense has really been one of our significant areas of improvement as a team, and we think that depth has really helped us as we progress throughout the whole year.
“Adding a guy like Rozsival, Johnny Oduya at the end of last year, everybody playing significant minutes. I think that balance has really helped stabilize our team. I think the balance of our team gives us that depth that you look for because you don’t look for one group or one guy to get the production done for you, the job done. It looks like everybody is contributing, and that’s what teams are all about.”
The Hawks never looked back since starting the season 21-0-3.
“It’s been a fun year,” Quenneville said. “Our start to the season was one of those things that we didn’t expect anything like that to go on for that length. I think had a lot of confidence as we’ve grown all year long.
“So it was a real fun year as far as meeting all our goals, going into the playoffs on a good note.”
Hawks defenseman Duncan Keith has averaged well over 30 minutes a game in the Stanley Cup Final.
“All year we’ve managed our minutes of our top guys through the regular season,” Joel Quenneville said. “As the playoffs progressed here, I think he’s picking up a lot more minutes.
“He’s one of those guys, he’s a workhorse and he doesn’t get fatigued or tired in the course of a game. He can play significant minutes without the wear and tear. Not that big of a guy that can normally get exposed to. He just rolls with it and he wants more, and I think he’s been very effective.”
Glad he stayed:
After the Hawks won the 2010 Stanley Cup, defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson received a four-year, $14 million offer sheet from San Jose.
The Hawks matched it and Hjalmarsson is glad they did.
“There were a lot of guys that left after that season, and a lot of good players, too, that have key roles in the team where they’re playing,” Hjalmarsson said. “I thought it was going to be tough to maybe get as far as we did that year, but I think (general manager) Stan (Bowman) has been doing a great job to find new players, and this year everything has been going pretty good.”
Heat is on:
With the temperatures in the mid-90s on Monday in Boston, there was a lot of concern over the condition of the ice.
“The ice is bad for both teams,” Andrew Shaw said. “They’ve got to play on it as well. It’s obviously going to be choppy, but it’s going to be choppy for both teams.”
Bruins coach Claude Julien agreed.
“Those are the conditions that you have to play in this time of year,” Julien said. “Everybody’s been through it and the two team and going through the same conditions.”
The Hawks did Sunday night just what they did in Philadelphia four years ago and had the veterans tell the kids stories about what it was like to play for the Stanley Cup.
Brandon Saad and Andrew Shaw were all ears.
“Some of the guys who have been through it told us stories about what it was like, how to deal with it, and it helped out a lot,” Saad said. “There was a lot said, but basically stay calm and treat it like any other game. It’s easy to think about the end result but you can’t do that. You’ve got to enjoy the process.”
This is the biggest moment of Shaw’s career.
“It’s obviously in the back of your mind,” Shaw said. “There were some great words said and it’s huge motivation. When we ended it everyone was excited and ready to play, but Boston is a great team and they’re going to play their best game of the whole season. Their backs are against the wall, and that’s when teams are most dangerous.”
There are eight Hawks remaining from the 2010 Stanley Cup team.
“I think it’s very beneficial,” Joel Quenneville said of Sunday’s team chat. “Back in 2010 we were in the same situation. Johnny Madden had been there and (Marian) Hossa had been there, and it was nice listening to those guys that had been in that situation. I think it prepares the guys with the right frame of mind.”Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.