Between the Circles
Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews has his sights set on a bigger trophy, but on Friday he made do with winning the Selke Trophy as the NHL's top defensive forward.
Toews edged Boston's Patrice Bergeron by 10 points even though Bergeron had 3 more first-place votes.
Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk was third.
"To be able to go head-to-head with guys like Patrice Bergeron and Pavel Datsyuk in the playoffs, you understand how much they mean to their teams and how much they contribute offensively and defensively," Toews said. "To be talked about in the same sentence and to be compared to those guys is absolutely amazing. It's a special award to win."
It was the second time Toews was nominated for the Selke. The other time was in 2010-11 when he finished second to Datsyuk.
While Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville didn't make it official until after Wednesday's morning skate, rookie left wing Brandon Bollig knew he would be playing in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final against Boston.
Bollig, who found out Tuesday, had plenty of time to let his parents and grandparents know so they could make the four and a half hour drive from St. Charles, Mo.
"I don't think they were planning on coming in, but I'm excited for them to be here," Bollig said.
Bollig hadn't played since Game 3 of the first round against Minnesota, so his inclusion in the lineup was a surprise to many.
But with the Bruins a big and brawny team, Quenneville obviously felt the 6-foot-2, 225-pouns Bollig was needed.
Remember that goal Jaromir Jagr scored in Game 1 of the 1992 Stanley Cup Finals against the Blackhawks?
Jagr does like it was yesterday.
Jagr, then a 20-year-old superstar with Pittsburgh, remembers the clutch goal he scored with 4:55 to play in the series opener when he weaved his way through Brent Sutter, Frantisek Kucera and Igor Kravchuk, then beat goalie Eddie Belfour with a backhander, to make it 4-4 in a game the Penguins once trailed 4-1.
Mario Lemieux scored in the final half-minute to give Pittsburgh the 5-4 win.
Patrick Kane, who snapped out of a slump with a goal in Game 4 after Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville changed lines, will be back with Jonathan Toews and Bryan Bickell for Game 5 on Saturday night.
That's how line rushes were in Saturday's morning skate, although Kane was giving nothing away.
"Like I said before, it might have been coincidence that it worked out that well for us scoring and then them scoring early in the third period, their line," Kane said after the morning skate. "We'll see what happens tonight. Sometimes it switches up. I think that's the advantage of playing with a lot of these guys before in the locker room. You get to know everyone personally and what they're like on the ice, too. Whoever I play with, I'll just try to do my best out there."
LOS ANGELES - Replacing suspended defenseman Duncan Keith was the biggest challenge of Game 4 for the Blackhawks.
Keith was suspended by the NHL for one game for slashing Kings forward Jeff Carter in the mouth in Game 3. He will be eligible to return for Game 5 on Saturday.
"Big loss for us, but you have to deal with it," said Michal Rozsival, one of the defensemen coach Joel Quenneville was looking for to pick up some of the minutes Keith plays.
Sheldon Brookbank was to replace Keith in the lineup in what was his first action since the last game of the season in St. Louis on April 27.
LOS ANGELES -- The Blackhawks are going to have to find a way to beat the Kings in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals on Thursday without defenseman Duncan Keith.
Keith drew a one-game suspension from the NHL on Wednesday for his one-hand chop to the face of Kings forward Jeff Carter in Game 3 on Tuesday.
In suspending Keith, the league pointed out how he was a repeat offender and that Carter was hurt on the play, suffering a 20-stitch cut and losing teeth.
Keith drew a five-game suspension last season for elbowing Vancouver's Daniel Sedin in the head.
Keith was retaliating against Carter for what happened behind the play when the two became engaged at the net and Carter gave Keith a whack in the back with his stick.
All rivalries should end like this, with a seventh and deciding game.
With the Red Wings moving to the Eastern Conference next season as part of the NHL's realignment, this is the last time the Blackhawks and Detroit can meet in the playoffs outside the Stanley Cup Finals.
The two teams have been playing each other regularly since the 1920s as either division or conference rivals.
DETROIT - Bryan Bickell will be an unrestricted free agent after the season, but the big left winger might be earning himself a new contract with strong play in the playoffs.
Bickell took 4 goals into Game 6 here on Monday and has been a physical force for the Blackhawks.
"He's been effective," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "You look back over the last couple playoff years and Bick usually finds a way to make an impact in games. We notice him because he gets in on the forecheck and he gets a big hit or two early in games to set the tone.
Desperate times call for desperate measures.
That's when Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville usually turns to the trio of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp.
Based on Saturday's morning skate, those three will skate together as the Hawks' top line in Game 5 tonight at the United Center.
"For us three we played together a lot my first couple years in the league and just kind of developed some chemistry to where it was pretty instant," Kane said. "I think we just have to remember how to play with one another. We haven't done it in a while. Hopefully we can have a good first couple shifts and get some chemistry back right away.
DETROIT - Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said the team needs more from defenseman Brent Seabrook starting in Game 4 tonight at Joe Louis Arena.
Seabrook played less than 18 minutes in the Hawks' Game 3 loss and was minus-1. He let Gustav Nyquist go around him on Detroit's first goal.
"We're looking for more," Quenneville said after Thursday's morning skate.
"Whether it's a matchup or the way the game is being played, how we're playing, how he's playing, I think reflects that," Quenneville said of Seabrook's reduced ice time in Game 3. "I think our defense has been pretty solid throughout most of the season, but we need everybody to be strong and we have to be comfortable with everybody against anybody."