Quenneville, Blackhawks could have used breather

May, 23, 2009
CHICAGO -- When Brian Rafalski cut Chicago's lead to 3-2 with 2:50 left in the second period, your humble hockey writer turned to the writer next to him, fellow ESPN.com writer Wayne Drehs, and said Hawks head coach Joel Quenneville should really take a timeout to calm his young squad down.

He didn't, which surprised me, and the Wings tied it less than two minutes later.

"I was kicking myself in the butt for not calling timeout at 3-2," Quenneville said after the game. "So we dodged a bullet there."

No Datsyuk

Wings coach Mike Babcock downplayed the impact of not having Hart Trophy candidate Pavel Datsyuk in the lineup Friday night. The star center is day-to-day with a foot injury.

"No, I mean, the bottom line is at this time of year, whoever puts on the sweater has to be good for you," Babcock said. "I thought we got good minutes out of our guys tonight. It's one of those things, he's not available right now."

Big goal

Patrick Sharp said he's never had a bigger moment than his overtime winner Friday night.

"Not professionally," he said. "That was pretty exciting to be in the building. I mean, I got one in double overtime once in the minors, and in college. But to do it in front of our home fans, I think the building was pretty electric all night long. I don't think the fans were too happy with the three-goal letdown. But it was pretty loud when that puck went in and it was a great feeling."

Right now, Sharp said his young team is just enjoying the ride.

"It's been a lot of fun," he said. "I mean, the whole playoffs, all three series have been a lot of fun. I think that all the talk, for lack of experience that our team has, has gone out the window. I think we're kind of learning as we go and really enjoying the ride. Great atmosphere with the Detroit/Chicago rivalry. It's really grown over the years. The fans are having fun with that. It's been a lot of fun. A lot of ups, a lot of downs, but we expect that in the playoffs."

Pierre LeBrun

ESPN Senior Writer



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