Being ahead 3-1 in a best-of-seven series may sound like you’re in the driver’s seat to finish things off, but the Chicago Blackhawks aren’t taking anything for granted.
‘Hawks forward Patrick Kane says his team is preparing as if it’s not Game 5 but as something more dire as Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune shares.
“We’re treating it like it’s a Game 7 mentality and you have to win,” Kane says. “That’s the way you have to go about these games. I’m sure the crowd will be rocking. People will be fired up in Chicago. It should be an exciting game.”
Coach Joel Quenneville told reporters something a bit less desperate at the morning skate presser.
“I think it’s an important game for us,” he said. “I think we want to make sure we establish a good start here and try to dictate pace and try to play with the tempo we had in three of the four games.”
“Can’t look any further forward than today’s game where we want to play our best.”
If Chicago plays their best tonight, they’ll be posing with the Clarence Campbell Bowl and shaking hands with Bill Daly at the conclusion of the game.
It wouldn’t be a regular season game without a Columbus Blue Jackets injury, right?
OK, the Blue Jackets hope that 2015-16 looks different from the medically challenged mess of last season, but at least one player is banged up tonight.
Alexander Wennberg suffered an upper-body injury and won’t return on Friday, as the team noted.
There’s no word yet regarding how serious the issue might be. It looks like he might have suffered an injury thanks to a Chris Kreider check:
Naturally, the Blue Jackets must hope that this doesn’t begin another trend.
In slightly less interesting Los Angeles Kings news than the latest in the Mike Richards fiasco, the team handed Peter Budaj a one-year, two-way deal on Friday.
The veteran goalie’s contract pays $575K on the NHL level and $100K in the AHL (though it’s $150K guaranteed), according to Hockey’s Cap.
At the moment, it sounds like Budaj will be third on the Kings’ goalie depth chart. That says as much about how things have been going lately for Los Angeles than Budaj’s work on a PTO.
As noted above, one of the more significant moves in Budaj’s favor came when the New York Islanders claimed Jean-Francois Berube off of waivers this week.
The Kings actually waived Budaj before signing him, so this has to be a relief to a goalie with a fairly robust resume as a backup.
All apologies to Budaj, but it’s probably true that the Kings would prefer not to see him at the NHL level very often in 2015-16.