Quenneville not looking past first round

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Wednesday getting into the playoffs will be a fight for all teams this season, and he won't place any playoff expectations on his team.

Since winning the Stanley Cup in 2010, the Blackhawks have endured back-to-back first-round playoff exits in 2011 and 2012.

"I want to get into the playoffs, and then worry about (getting past the first round) because this year's playoff run is going to be challenging for everybody," Quenneville said after Wednesday's morning skate at the United Center. "The 15 teams all feel like they can make it; they're capable of making it.

"I think it's going to be an amazing race. Let's make sure we're there first and then we'll worry about the next one. We like our team, and we think we're capable of getting in and doing what we have to do."

Quenneville believes the Blackhawks experienced the good with the bad last season. He's hopeful now they can be more consistent.

"When you look at our season last year, we had a couple really good stretches, and we had a disastrous stretch and coming off a tough ending in the playoffs as well," Quenneville said. "There's some positive things in our lineup. That consistency is something we'd like to put together. I think we added a couple defensemen that have some accountability and experience as well.

"I think our size and our strength is something we'll need. I think the depth overall of the organization; the younger kids are advanced with the year down in Rockford. We're going need those guys as well. I think overall we should be improved in all areas and aspects of our games."

Quenneville believes the team's continuity, especially of its leaders, could be another strength in the 48-game regular season.

"Well, we got some guys who have been together," Quenneville said. "We had a young team early on there. These guys are up in their fourth and fifth and sixth years here. They're a big part of the team.

"These guys have grown and reestablished what the Hawks mean to Chicago. They've done a great job with that. I think everybody's got to absorb some of that and everybody's aware of that. We're all part of it. There' something special to be done here, and we want to take advantage of it."