Hawks happy after 3-1-2 road trip
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It wasn't quite the circus road trip, but it was close.
Despite losing 2-0 to the Phoenix Coyotes on Friday, the Blackhawks finished their road trip with a 3-1-2 record, capturing 8 of a possible 12 points.
They went 6-1 on their seven-game circus trip in November.
"A very positive road trip," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said after the loss to the Coyotes. "I think that we did a lot of good things and got a point every game (until Friday). This is the one game where our start wasn't as efficient as the other five, but at the same time we like what we accomplished.
"For the most part we put ourselves in a decent spot going into the break and I think the guys that are going we are rooting for them. And the guys that get the break, get yourselves ready."
It was a lethargic effort by the Hawks against the Coyotes. They fell behind 1-0 a minute into the game when Keith Yandle scored on a power play after Brandon Bollig took a bad tripping penalty. Bollig didn't play again until the second period.
"It was a disappointing game," Quenneville said. "We battled back and they made some saves on us in the latter half of the game. We can't start like that. though. We put ourselves in a hole right off the bat."
The Hawks found ways to get points on the trip even in those games where they weren't at their best.
"It was pretty solid," captain Jonathan Toews said. "We wanted to finish better than we did, but I think we played some great hockey knowing the break was coming up and we wanted to play really well on this road trip. I think we did pretty well at that. Guys can go their own way and enjoy the break, come back refreshed."
Goalie Corey Crawford, who had maybe the best trip, felt it was important to get some momentum back after a sloppy few weeks.
"It was really important," Crawford said. "I think before getting two weeks off you always want to go into a trip with a little momentum, gain some points before you have a long break like that. We are going to try and get some rest and be ready for when we start up again."
That won't be until Feb. 23 for practice.
For now it's on to the Olympic break for the Hawks, who will be keeping their fingers crossed that none of the 10 players they have going to Sochi gets hurt.
The Hawks are 35-11-14 and tied for first place with St. Louis in the Central Division with 84 points. The Blues, who beat Winnipeg 4-3 on Saturday in a shootout, have three games in hand.
Quenneville is confident everyone will come back from Russia healthy. His only concern is wear and tear.
"We are happy for the guys and I think it's a great accomplishment," Quenneville said. "We will be rooting for them. I just think that the concern is how they are going to come back and how they are going to feel when they get back to the team and the lineup. We will keep an eye on that going to the stretch here."
Toews is ready for the experience to begin.
"I love our chances and it's really exciting just to get over there with the team, to compare the experience to what it was like in Vancouver and the pressure repeated," said Toews, a key piece for Team Canada. "All that thrown in together, I think it's going to be amazing, and to go over there with a couple teammates (in Patrick Sharp and Duncan Keith).
"I will have the chance to play against a lot of teammates as well, and I'm just looking forward to every opportunity. It's going to be a great trip."
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