2010 Stanley Cup Finals, Game 3: Blackhawks not worried about Wachovia atmosphere

Wachovia.jpgOne of the more interesting questions asked of the Blackhawks today
before tonight’s game concerned their preparation and readiness for the
raucous and sometimes violent Flyers crowd that will be out in full
force. It was a great question, and certainly topical considering the
game tonight is in Philadelphia, but one I just don’t think applies to
the Chicago Blackhawks.

Would it apply to the Dallas Stars or the Tampa Bay Lightning?
Certainly, but if there is one team in the NHL that should be prepared
for the noise that will be prevalent in tonight’s game it’s the Chicago
Blackhawks.

Forget the fact that until three years ago, United Center could have
been considered an abandoned building. Now that the Hawks are great
again — and the ownership is actually embracing it’s fans instead of
ignoring them — the Blackhawks have built one of the loudest and most
passionate fanbases in the NHL. One could argue that the Blackhawks fans
are on the exact same level as the crowds in Montreal, San Jose,
Washington and yes — Philadelphia.

Patrick Sharp, who has spent time here in Philadelphia, is looking
forward to seeing how the home crowd will act now that the Flyers are in
the Cup finals. He certainly agrees that the fans here in Philly are
more passionate than most.

“I’m not sure how they’re going to treat us,” said Sharp. “In the
Playoff atmosphere I know I was on the Flyers side before. It’s a great
atmosphere. Every building has great fans when the puck goes in the
net or something happens out on the ice. These Philly fans, they watch
every play. They can get on top of the opposing teams players as well.

“I think it’s going to be a fun atmosphere. We’re all looking
forward to it, and we want to play our best.”

One reason that the Hawks aren’t all that worried about the
atmosphere here, and they acted a bit nonchalant about the whole thing
honestly, is that the team has been so good on the road.

If the Blackhawks win tonight, they’ll break the NHL for consecutive
road wins in the playoffs. After losing on the road in Nashville in
round one, the Hawks have rattled off seven straight victories on the
road.

That includes five straight between Vancouver and San Jose, two of
the rowdiest crowds around. I’d say they know exactly what it takes to
not only win on the road but win in the most hostile environments in the
league. Perhaps that’s because they’re so used to the atmosphere at
home, but Jonathan Toews attributes their road success to how close the
team is on the road.

“When you’re on the road, you spend more time as a team. We’re
together. For us that’s where we want to be. That’s where we’re in our
comfort zone.”

There’s stories circulating as well that one reason for how close the
team is on the road are the nightly Super Mario Kart tournaments. While
I don’t know about the particular team-building methods that Mario Kart
possesses, there’s no doubt that this is a very close-knit team.
Patrick Sharp agrees.

“I think we get along so well off the ice as a team. We enjoy each
other’s company. We like being out on the road together. It’s nice to
have a road-winning streak, but it doesn’t mean much at end of the day.
We have to hopefully win two more on the road.”

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    Watch angry Quenneville bolt out of press conference (Video)

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    Chicago had a disallowed goal in its 2-0 home loss to San Jose on Tuesday night, when Brandon Mashinter‘s tally was wiped out after Dennis Rasmussen was judged to have interfered with Martin Jones.

    It marked the second disallowed goal the ‘Hawks have had in a week and, for head coach Joel Quenneville, it appeared to be a breaking point.

    “It’s gone to a different level,” Quenneville said. “I don’t know the rules anymore or something’s changed because my understanding, played a lot of hockey, that, I don’t know.

    “I think everybody has an interpretation of what’s a good goal and what’s a bad goal, but I can’t believe it.”

    And with that, Coach Q stormed off.

    We all should’ve seen this coming, really.

    Last Thursday, the ‘Hawks had another disallowed goal in an eventual win over Arizona, a call that sent Quenneville into histrionics on the bench.

    NHL on NBCSN: Rangers, Penguins renew acquaintances on Rivalry Night

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    Tonight, there’s a big Metropolitan Division showdown at Consol as the Pittsburgh Penguins host the New York Rangers. You can catch the game on NBCSN (8 p.m. ET), or watch live online with NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

    CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

    Some relevant linkage for tonight’s affair:

    Rangers ‘are doing a lot of good things’

    ‘I wonder if that’s Crosby, what happens?’ — AV upset after McDonagh concussed by Simmonds

    Malkin (lower body) to miss rest of week

    Crosby, Karlsson and Trocheck are NHL’s three stars of the week

     

     

    PHT Morning Skate: It’s not like they robbed a bank

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    PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

    Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley seems pretty chill about healthy-scratching Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau and Lance Bouma. That goes for Monahan and Gaudreau in particular, noting that they’re “great kids.”

    Besides … it’s not like they robbed a bank. (NHL.com)

    Uh oh, did Nazem Kadri make the throat-slashing gesture to Mark Giordano? See for yourself in the video above. (Puck Daddy)

    What should the New York Islanders do with unrestricted free agent Kyle Okposo, who’s enjoying a productive contract year? (The Hockey News)

    What a playoff berth would mean to the Florida Panthers. (Sportsnet)

    Checking in with various teams as the trade deadline looms. (NHL Numbers)

    On the Canucks using those Pavel Bure-era jerseys. (Greatest Hockey Legends)

    Despite tough fight, Stars hand Wild their sixth straight loss

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    The Minnesota Wild put together the kind of effort that would beat a lot of NHL teams on Tuesday. Unfortunately for that beleaguered group, it wasn’t enough to edge the Dallas Stars.

    Despite generating 40 shots on goal and generating 1-0 and 2-1 leads, the Wild lost to the Stars 4-3 in overtime. With that, they’ve lost six straight games.

    (The view doesn’t get much prettier if you pull away a little further, either, as Minnesota’s only won once in the last month, going 1-9-2 in their last 12.)

    Ultimately, the Stars’ big guns were too powerful. Tyler Seguin generated two assists and so did Jamie Benn, who set up John Klingberg‘s overtime game-winning goal.

    Again, the effort sure seemed to be there for the Wild, even if they’re far beyond the point of accepting moral victories.

    As frustrating as this must be, Minnesota’s not that far from a playoff spot. Still, it has to sting to see “Close, but not good enough” as a prevailing theme as of late.