Monday, May 13, 2013
Hawks excited for series vs. rival Wings
By Scott Powers
The Blackhawks were 4-0 against the Red Wings during the regular season.
CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Monday he isn't worried about his team raising its level of play against longtime rival Detroit Red Wings in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
"We found when we play Detroit and teams in our division the intensity is right in place, the motivation's in place," said Quenneville, whose Hawks take on Detroit in Game 1 at 7 p.m. Wednesday. "Whether it's the tradition, the animosity from the fans all the way to the players, it's a special history there. I think we want to make sure we take care of our own business and knowing that it's a strong hockey team that plays with a purpose and we're going to have to be at our best, but let's welcome it and let's look forward to it."
The top-seeded Blackhawks advanced to the Western Conference semifinals by defeating the Minnesota Wild in five games. The Red Wings, the No. 7 seed, upset the Anaheim Ducks, the No. 2, in seven games to advance.
The Blackhawks-Red Wings' rivalry dates back to 1926. They've played nearly 800 times in the regular season and playoffs throughout their histories.
To add to the drama this time around, the 2013 season will mark the final one the Blackhawks and Red Wings play in the Western Conference together. The Red Wings will move to the Eastern Conference beginning next season.
"This is going to be the last time they're in our division," Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell said. "Hopefully we can come out on top."
The teams last met in the playoffs in the 2009 Western Conference final, which the Red Wings won in five games. The Blackhawks own an 8-7 advantage in playoff series.
The Blackhawks knows it's a playoff matchup fans on both sides have been wanting for some time.
"It's always been a good rivalry," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "We know that, especially in the regular season. We haven't seen them in the playoffs for a few years. It's something that a lot of people seemed to talk about during the season that if it's a potential matchup what would happen. Here we are. We have a great opportunity."
Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith shared a similar feeling.
"It's always exciting to play the Wing in playoffs, even to play them in the regular season," Keith said. "To play them in the playoffs, it's that more exciting."