Plenty of on-ice competition between Toews, Kesler
Before the Western Conference finals began, Ryan Kesler had the quote of the day when he said he and Jonathan Toews probably wouldn't be hugging after faceoffs.
The two certainly haven't done that and there's been plenty of talking, poking, pushing and after-the-whistle confrontations between the two.
"He hasn't changed much as far as his style of game; I think everyone knows that," Toews said before Game 4 at the United Center on Saturday.
Kesler, who came to Vancouver in the off-season, has been quiet on the scoresheet (no goals or assists) but certainly not quiet on the ice.
"He's out there trying to create offense, but for the most part trying to disrupt and upset some of our top players," Toews said. "We've just got to find a way to get around that, and sometimes when you have one player on others so much it opens up room for other guys."
Toews and Kesler certainly know each other well, having faced off for three straight postseasons (2009-11) when Kesler was with the Canucks.
So is there genuine hatred between Toews and Kesler?
"I guess on the ice it probably is (hatred)," Toews said. "I think it's just good competition. You go up a player like that, it's a challenge for yourself to see what you've got. He does a good job being tough on draws, being tough on letting you get to the net or letting you get open for pucks."
Back in the saddle:
Antoine Vermette and Teuvo Teravainen, after sitting out Game 3 in favor of Kris Versteeg and Joakim Nordstrom, were back in the lineup for Game 4 at the United Center on Saturday.
Vermette, who has never shied away from the media in his brief tenure with the Hawks, voiced his displeasure Friday over not playing. He met with three reporters before Game 4 and said: "It's not easy (to watch). But we've got to move on and that's behind us. I've got to be ready for tonight."
Vermette averaged 20.3 goals over his past four full 82-game seasons, but he has just 1 as a Blackhawk in 29 games. He was asked if he's been frustrated with that part of his game.
"No, obviously you'd like to get more in that department," Vermette said. "No, I like my game; I'm playing well. I had a strong game I thought last game, the chances are there and we (the third line) generated some good looks."
After a Game 2 that was the longest in franchise history, some of the Hawks in Game 3 didn't have the jump fans are used to seeing. Asked if he felt better heading into Game 4, Jonathan Toews said he "definitely" did when he woke up, but that's no indication of how he'd feel when the puck dropped eight hours later.
"When game time comes around, whether you feel really good or not so good at all, it doesn't matter," Toews said. "You've got to find ways to trick your body into just going out there and performing.
"It wasn't an easy game the other night, but I think it's the same for both teams. At the end of the day, you've just got to adapt and prepare the best you can and when you get out on the ice you don't make any excuses."
The Hawks won 51 percent of their faceoffs in Game 3, but only because Jonathan Toews won 21 of 27 (78 percent). His teammates won just 14 of 41 (34 percent). … Brad Richards came into Game 4 on a three-game points streak (1G, 2A). … The Ducks came into the Western Conference finals having converted on 31 percent of their power plays. In three games vs. the Hawks, they were 1-for-7 (14 percent).