Blackhawks Experiencing a Very Physical Series

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By Paul M. Banks

There’s one aspect of the game of hockey that makes the athletic achievements of the players all the more impressive: Most of the time, hockey players must perform their tasks aware that a giant Russian or Canadian man is speeding towards them on skates with the intent to kill them. Well, not literally kill them, but hockey is an extremely physical game and the seek-and-destroy physicality often takes on an added dimension during the emotionally charged Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Hawks best-of-seven series with the Calgary Flames got off to a happy start (they won 3-2 in OT) but also a very physical one. As the Hawks continue battling against one of their former coaches in Mike Keenan, expect an emotionally charged series against a bench boss nicknamed “Iron Mike” (yes, just like “Da Coach” Ditka) due to his tough, hard-line attitude. And he instills these values into his players. Star right wing and captain Jarome Iginla concurred:

“We do pride ourselves on that side of it and enjoy that physical contact and the battles and it seems that they do too. So it’ll be a fun series. I think it will get more physical, they’re a young team and they compete hard, we like to play that way too,” Iginla said.

As you watch this series, expect more checks than a heavy spending consumer with maxed out credit and no cash flow. I asked Hawks captain Jonathan Toews if there was more cross-checking, fore-checking and general physicality in this game than during their regular season meetings.

“I think so, for sure. I think it’s just the way it is in the playoffs, doesn’t matter who you play, they want to separate you from the puck and play with extra energy, they did that tonight and so did we, and I still think its something we can improve upon,” Toews responded. I posed a similar question to Hawks coach Joel Quenneville.

“I think we’re both respectful for what the opposition can do be it off-the-rush or with the puck offensively, so recognizing that you got to selective when you hit, you don’t want to go chase or run out of position because then you’re vulnerable. I just thought there were some good hits and you think you just gotta play the score and the time and you gotta be respectful to special teams and drawing yourself out of position,” Quenneville answered.

Comments

  1. Exciting times ahead!

  2. Ghost in the Machine says

    That OT goal caught me off guard, but I’ll take it! I think I rewound it and rewatched it 11 times.

  3. paulmbanks says

    3 sec short of the record- yeah that caught everybody off guard. the atmosphere in Chicago was incredible. the UC was electric. it’s electric boogie woogie woogie

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