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Trying to stay calm with Cup on the line

6/24/2013

BOSTON -- Chicago Blackhawks rookie forward Brandon Saad had a nap scheduled between the team's morning skate and Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals against the Boston Bruins on Monday.

Whether he'd actually fall asleep, Saad wasn't sure.

With the Stanley Cup headed for TD Garden on Monday night and the Blackhawks just win away from them hoisting it, Saad and his teammates were in a battle Monday afternoon with their nerves leading into Game 6.

"It's amazing," Saad said after the morning skate. "Trying to keep my nerves down and be excited about it. It's going to be a lot of fun. ... [This afternoon will be] pretty routine. Get a meal in me. Take a nap, or try to take a nap and stay relaxed. It's going to be an exciting one.

"[I didn't sleep Sunday night] as good as usually, but I think it was the best I could, and we're all looking forward to it."

Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw was feeling something similar. Shaw thought handling his emotions would be easier once the game arrived.

"There's obviously going to be nerves," Shaw said. "You can't focus on that. Focus on the game. We know they're a great team. They're going to play their best game of the postseason. You know their backs are against the wall. That's when teams are most dangerous. We got to focus on each shift, in and out, just keep moving forward.

"[The nerves] kind of settle when that puck drops. You're not thinking ahead. You're just playing the game. You're just thinking I'm here now and try to keep pushing it and working for each other."

In hopes of relaxing everyone, a number of the Blackhawks who played on the 2010 Stanley Cup team shared their experiences with their teammates on Sunday night.

"[They said] just to stay calm and live in the moment," Saad said. "Enjoy the process. It's not every year, you might not ever be here again. Lay it all on the line and play your best."

Shaw said, "There were obviously some great words said. We ended it off everyone was excited, ready to get the game started."

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville remembered his players sharing similar stories prior to winning the Stanley Cup in 2010.

"I think it's very beneficial," Quenneville said. "We look back, back in 2010, we were in the same situation. Johnny Madden had been there, and [Marian] Hossa had been there, and it was nice listening to those guys that had been in that situation.

"I think it prepares the guys with the right frame of mind. And between [Sunday] and [Monday's] game and [Monday,] and basically it's about the approach. You want to make sure you have confidence going into [Monday's] game, but let's make sure the energy is going to be in the right place. Let's make sure there's a purpose with it. But at the end of the day, we all dream about this challenge and this opportunity, and let's go take advantage of it."