What’s two more days when you’ve been waiting for 49 years, right?
The only two-day break in the finals schedule saw both teams taking the day off the ice. The Blackhawks will practice on Tuesday before heading to Philadelphia, where Lord Stanley himself will be in the building for Wednesday night’s game. And there will be only one team that can win it that night.
“We like the response to our biggest game [Sunday] night,” Joel Quenneville said on Monday morning. “I know ... there's the expectations of the challenge of facing losing two games in a row, how are we going to respond ... It was exactly how you would expect it or want it.”
“I don't think we want to change off of those levels. We're going on the road. We don't want to change our approach, [we want to] play the same way. Same emotion. One shift at a time. Fine tune it and don't look at the big picture. Look at the small picture.”
Easier said than done when the Cup is in the building, and of course the Hawks are facing a resilient Philadelphia Flyers team.
No one knows for sure if it was the line changes or just a better work ethic that made the difference in Game 5, but Quenneville isn’t taking any chances. He’ll stick with the same group.
“Status quo would probably be the best way to go into the next game,” he said.
Quenneville addressed Marian Hossa and his third consecutive chance at a Cup and just like last year, Hossa’s team is up 3-2.
“Obviously, he's got to be chomping at the bit, excited like we all are,” Quenenville said. “I would say he might be the -- one of the better guys as far as managing his emotions going into the game, having been there and done that.
After Game 5, Hossa sounded like he knew exactly what the Hawks needed to do to bring home victory.
“Having been in that situation, especially last year, the momentum in the first shift next game, first goal [is] going to be so important to get the momentum like [Sunday].”
After his Red Wings team blitzed Pittsburgh 5-0 in Game 5 last year, the Penguins came back to win consecutive 2-1 affairs and take the Cup. Nothing is guaranteed for Chicago come Wednesday.
“We know it's going to be the toughest game to close it,” Hossa said.
And the sweetest feeling if they do.
Joel Quenneville is asked often about senior advisor Scotty Bowman’s role with the team.“We always talk strategy with Scotty,” Quenneville said. “He always has some good ideas. Things sometimes you don't think about. I'll sit with him on the plane -- I sat with him on the plane coming back from Philly. I'll sit with him [Tuesday]. He's always visiting with good ideas, good suggestions.”
Queneneville, not known for one-liners at press briefings, was asked if the Hawks might have a team function with the extra day between games.“We already took them to Alcatraz. Could have locked them up for a couple of days,” he quipped.