Quennville Challenges The Kings With Kane And Saad’s Speed

The Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville spoke to the media Wednesday afternoon before tonight’s game against the Los Angeles Kings. The Blackhawks have a 1-0 series lead.

Q. No Shaw tonight. Is that kind of what we were talking about yesterday, giving him a few more days?

COACH QUENNEVILLE: Yeah, it was along those lines. We want to make sure the way he plays, we want him more than ready. A few more days and a couple more practices, we’ll get him up to speed.

He wanted to play today, but we felt it was in everybody’s best interest to shoot for Saturday.

Q. (On pulling the goalie.)

COACH QUENNEVILLE: No, it’s something I think we’ve been pretty consistent with as far as the timeline and when we look at pulling in our goalie. I think Patrick changed the way you looked at it this year. It was very successful for their team.

It does give you something to think about. There is some times when you can pull them with the power play. Pulled him the other day with a 4-1 lead against them. It’s not a bad look, not a bad option at that time. I don’t mind pulling a goalie on a power play late.

Generally we’ve got a pretty consistent number in our mind that we generally like to pull them. It’s sometime under two minutes, and it’s usually in the offensive zone that gives you that pull. Coming out of our end, we’re probably looking under two.

I don’t want to say it’s etched in stone, but it certainly gives you something to think about when you look around the league when they pull them, how early they’re pulling them.

In the playoffs, you got nothing to lose when you’re down a couple. Trying it is not a bad thing.

Q. You’ve put Saad and Kane together before. How do they complement each other on the line?

COACH QUENNEVILLE: They both got speed, skill, patience with the puck, play recognition. They’re a threat off the rush. In zone, they utilize all five guys pretty well, four guys. Just gives us some balance on lines.

We’ll see how that plays out.

Q. The way things are going right now, when Shaw does come back, is that going to be a difficult decision to decide whose spot he takes?

COACH QUENNEVILLE: We love tough decisions and we look forward to it.

Q. When Brent Seabrook was out of the lineup earlier in the playoffs, what did you miss most? Is there an explanation, offensively he’s producing more numbers? What are you seeing out of him?

COACH QUENNEVILLE: He’s involved in the attack. His shot has been excellent. Patience with the puck in the offensive blueline. Sometimes you seem to have stretches when they’re going in for you.

We lose him for three games, we’re down 2-0, Brooksy comes in, helped us big, filled a big void in our lineup. His leadership, quality of ice, important minutes in all situations, PK, PP. Brooksy came in. He’s one of those guys in the past where he had assignments, played against top lines, played important minutes.

He hasn’t gotten much of that here, but I thought he filled that need for us. Came back in Minnesota, played some important games for us as well. You got an extra defenseman in your lineup that can play like that in your lineup, gives you some real good depth organizationally. We’ll see how that plays out.

Q. Are you expecting a different test from the Kings given they’ve had more rest?

COACH QUENNEVILLE: Yeah, we expect a dangerous team. It’s one thing, when they face adversity, they always seem to rise to that challenge. They’re a great road team. We expect them to come out extremely hard. One game in six days, I’m sure they’re going to come out and really push the pace.

We expect to be doing the same thing knowing everybody should be ready. Let’s be aware what they’re going to try to do, but let’s make sure we’re the ones trying to set the tone.

Q. Talk about their style of play. Is their offense a little underrated at all?

COACH QUENNEVILLE: Yes, I think it is. I think both teams are kind of comparable how they play without the puck and with the puck. I think both teams try to attack off the rush. In the zone they have guys that have patience, play with recognition. They have active D’s. There’s a lot of similarities on the teams.

But, you know, they’re dangerous off the rush and in zone, probably more so than we’ve seen so far.

Q. This is your first 7 p.m. start in almost a month.

COACH QUENNEVILLE: You play about 80 of them all year along.

Q. How much of a challenge has the schedule been for the playoffs?

COACH QUENNEVILLE: It really is different. One thing as you go along here, we try to change things up as much as you can so the routine doesn’t get boring or monotonous, try to fluctuate it as best you can. Change up either meetings or practice times, the routine. It makes it a little easier when you do get different game times, different settings, days in between.

It’s something that we’ve had a little bit of experience with the last few years. I think it helps us as you go along here.

Q. Drew Doughty plays nearly half a game. What do you have to be aware of when he’s off the ice?

COACH QUENNEVILLE: He’s a tremendous player. He’s one of those defensemen, he can defend so well, just that quick transition he can turn it into offense and it becomes a great scoring chance, an odd-man break. His patience holding the offensive blueline is as good as there is in the game.

You like to have him where he’s in his own zone as opposed to your zone because he can do a lot of things. He’s a good defender, as well. But hopefully that’s where we can have him spend more time than our end.

Q. What kind of luxury is it to have Hjalmarsson and Oduya against that top line against the Kings, that top line? Freeing up Duncan and Brent to do other things.

COACH QUENNEVILLE: They get a lot of that assignment and that role. Defensively they’re as good a pair as there is in the game as far as defending and keeping the quality or the quantity off the rush in zone away from the net. They work well together.

They got a little bit of a rapport of their movement, be it exiting our zone. I think they’ve developed a little bit more offense over the course of this year, which against top lines can help your team.

But it’s more so because of how they defend. I think we get that pair, you’re comfortable with them against top lines.