Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Blackhawks excited to return home
By Scott Powers
CHICAGO -- The road has been extremely kind to the Chicago Blackhawks this season, but their preference is still to be in their own locker room, in their own building and in front of their own fans.
The Blackhawks finally returned to the United Center on Tuesday for a morning skate after their six-game, 13-day road trip and will back before their fans for the first time since Jan. 27 on Tuesday night when they host the Anaheim Ducks.
“It's really nice," said Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane of being home again. “I think two weeks on the road it's nice to be with the guys for a long time, kind of bond especially at the beginning of the season. But it's always nice to come back home. Anyone who tells you different is just lying to you. It's a good feeling to be back. Hopefully, we can get a win in front of the home crowd tonight."
Winning has been what the Blackhawks have done most of the season. They head into Tuesday's game with a 10-0-2 record and a NHL-leading 22 points.
The Blackhawks' record is somewhat surprising since they opened with 10 of their first 12 games on the road. They've won their two home games and have gone 8-0-2 on the road. They completed their latest six-game road trip with a 4-0-2 mark.
“You look at the schedule to start the season after 12 games you're kind of forecasting where you'd like to be, but we're very happy where it all ended up," Quenneville said. “It's always nice to be at the United Center playing in front of our crowd, the excitement of the building and knowing we don't want to change too much in approach to the games and intent to what we accomplish, but let's try to be consistent, play the same way and enjoy what it's like to be here."
Quenneville did say he was mindful of the difficulty of the first home game following an extensive road trip. Despite that, the Blackhawks have had plenty of success in the past five seasons after long trips. After trips of six or more games, the Blackhawks have gone 8-2 in their first game back at the United Center.
“I like the momentum of our team game right now," Quenneville said. “I think the enthusiasm in the locker room is in place. But it's always a tough game first game back after a long Western trip even though we finished in Nashville. But I think being in Nashville for a few days, maybe we can look at that as kind of the end of trip, we're kind of home. But we'll see. But I'm sure our guys will be excited to be at home, and I'm sure the crowd will be, too."
As pleased as the Blackhawks are with their start, Kane said they have to be aware they're only a quarter of the way through the season
“I think one of the things you got to be careful too is it's only 12 games into a season," Kane said. “That's one thing I keep trying to tell myself. It's only 12 games and just keep improving. Try not to be satisfied with what's happened so far for myself personally and the team. We've been winning a lot of games and things have been a lot of fun around here, but can even get better."