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Cup Final blog: Blackhawks-Flyers

Hawks not sweating the down time

05.25.2010 / 6:55 PM ET

Considering the way the Hawks looked in series-opening losses at home against Nashville in the quarterfinals and Vancouver in the conference semifinals, some are concerned about the near weeklong wait until the Stanley Cup Finals begin on Saturday night at United Center.

 

The Hawks are not worried about it, however. Philadelphia will also have a long wait to play, plus the Flyers have to start on the road. Also, the Hawks are playing some of their best hockey since the Playoffs started.

 

"I don't think it's going to change that much," said Chicago center John Madden, who won two Stanley Cups with New Jersey. "It's the same for them, pretty much. We've got an extra day. That's just excuses. I'm not thinking, 'Wow, I've got four days off. What am I going to be like on Saturday?' It's the Stanley Cup Finals, so you'd better be ready to go."

-- Brian Hedger

Kane, Van Riemsdyk will put friendship on hold

05.25.2010 / 6:40 PM ET

Had the ping pong ball landed differently in the 2007 NHL Draft, Hawks star Patrick Kane might be wearing a Flyers sweater in this Cup Finals series.

 

The Hawks were the fifth team in the bottom five eligible for the lottery that year, holding the worst odds of getting the top pick. Philly had the best odds. Still, Chicago won it and Kane went to the Hawks.

 

The Flyers selected forward James Van Riemsdyk after Kane, which made them the first American duo to be picked No.1 and No.2 overall in the same draft. They also were good friends after playing together for a year in the U.S. National Team Development Program located in Ann Arbor, Mich.

 

Now, here they are facing each other for the Stanley Cup.

 

"We've become pretty close," Kane said. "I know when we played Philly this year, I went out to eat with him the night before the game and got to hang out with him a bit -- but probably none of that will be happening in this series."

 

Kane said that he does sometimes wonder what their careers would've been like had he gone to the Flyers and Van Riemsdyk to the Hawks or another team.

 

"Somehow (Chicago) got the top overall pick," he said. "Sometimes luck works out that way for you. It seemed like Philly was going to have the No.1 pick that year, and not to say that I knew I was going #1, but you always wonder what things would have been like. But it turned out good for both of us."

-- Brian Hedger

Hawks loss to Flyers during season a painful memory

05.25.2010 / 5:21 PM ET

The Hawks and Flyers met just once during the regular season in early March at Philly's Wachovia Center, with the home team just edging Chicago 3-2 on a goal by Chris Pronger with just three ticks left on the clock in regulation.

 

It was a weird game, with all five goals coming in the third period and Chicago blowing a 2-1 lead with 7:09 left to play.

 

"It was a game that might have been the most frustrating loss all year long," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "Giving up the lead late and then giving up a goal to beat us without getting it to overtime with a couple of seconds on the clock was a tough pill to swallow at the time."

 

It also cost the Hawks at least a point by not getting the game into overtime – which they could have used in the Western Conference standings. Chicago finished one point behind San Jose in the race for  the top playoff spot and held all the tie-breakers.

 

"We might have been thinking, 'Geeze, we could have used that point for home-ice advantage in the last series," said Quenneville, whose Hawks posted a sterling 7-1 road record and 5-3 home record in the playoffs. "It turned out OK. I'm glad we didn't have it in hindsight."

-- Brian Hedger

Kopecky time for Hawks?

05.25.2010 / 5:06 PM ET

Tomas Kopecky, whom Chicago signed away from Detroit in the off-season, hasn't played since Troy Brouwer replaced him in the active lineup for Game 6 of the conference semifinals at Vancouver.  Now, with forward Andrew Ladd "day to day" after an undisclosed injury that happened on Sunday, Kopecky might get the call for the Stanley Cup Finals opener on Saturday.

 

Quenneville said he feels confident either way.

 

"We've got some guys who give us some options," he said. "(Kopecky) is another big body who can skate and handle the puck. Whether we have to make an adjustment or not, we still think the depth of our team is something we can use to help us along the way."

-- Brian Hedger