Not much animosity in Hawks-Kings series

Despite this being the second consecutive Western Conference finals showdown between the Blackhawks and the Los Angeles Kings, you don't get the sense that the two teams have that out-and-out hatred for one another.

What's up with that?

"I don't know," Hawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "These are two teams that definitely measure up to each other in a lot of ways. I think they're a team that's in a lot of ways comparable to ours."

But where's the animosity?

Oh, it's there, according to Patrick Sharp.

"There is certainly respect on both sides for what each team can do," Sharp said. "There's bad blood, for sure, but there's also respect."

"That kind of escalates as a series goes along," Toews added. "So maybe you don't see it quite clearly in Game 1. But between whistles and during the play, I think there's going to be a lot of physical play - a lot of stuff going on."

In praise of Hossa:

Ask any of his teammates, and they'll go on and on lauding the all-around play of Marian Hossa, who ranks sixth in the league with a team-high 13 points.

But it's not just his teammates who think highly of the ageless forward.

"With Kane and Toews, they kind of get the spotlight and he enjoys kind of going under the radar a little bit," said Kings captain Dustin Brown, who was on the wrong end of a collision with Big Hoss in Game 1.

"Players on this team understand he's very, very underrated. I don't even want to say underrated; he just goes under the radar because of those other two. But he's one guy that can make a lot of plays.

"He's solid on his skates, and you just have to get touches on him when you can because if you don't then he'll play a very open game, and I think everyone around the league has seen what he can do when he's able to skate."

Chipping in:

One of the biggest hockey fans you'll find is golfer Craig Stadler, the defending champion of the Encompass Championship at North Shore Country Club.

Stadler, who was in Glenview on Monday, was a Kings fan in the Wayne Gretzky days, but now his allegiance lies with his hometown Colorado Avalanche, with whom he's season-ticket holder.

Stadler on Monday offered up his take on the Western Conference finals.

"They've got a pretty resilient team," he said of the Kings. "But the Blackhawks are just good. They show it every night. Never a down night, which is incredible."

He said it:

"That was in my age group. A lot of our players didn't know who all those guys walking around in blue-and-gold tights were. That's what happens in the playoffs."

- Kings coach Darryl Sutter on staying at a hotel in Rosemont last year that was host to a Star Trek convention

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