Practice pays off with shootout win
October, 25, 2011
By Jesse Rogers
CHICAGO -- Apparently it just took a little focus and extra work to fix the Chicago Blackhawks' shootout woes.
After going 0-2 in shootouts in the first seven games of the season, coach Joel Quenneville decided to make it a priority. He opened practice on Monday with a shootout drill and had his players do some homework watching tendencies of Anaheim Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller.
The result? Two of their three shooters -- Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane -- scored and the Hawks won 3-2 on Tuesday.
“We studied the shootout, we studied the goalie today, and it obviously paid off,” Kane said. “I tried to do something different. I knew he is an opposite-hand goalie so I knew his stick wouldn’t be there when I came across. It worked out, I guess.”
Toews and Kane are the Hawks’ best shots in the shootout and after each opened the season 0-for-2, there was some cause for concern.
“We changed our format. We obviously went second which was an easy decision, maybe a little bit more of a batting order,” Quenneville said. “It was definitely a point of emphasis going into [Monday] and [Tuesday’s] game. We have to do something a little bit different if it does occur and be ready for it.”
They were ready and took advantage of the extra focus. Dave Bolland missed but Toews and Kane did not. Quenneville was asked why it was such an easy decision to go second.
“Because we didn’t win going first,” he deadpanned.