After Game 3 loss, Quenneville didn’t rant or rave; he only pointed out flaws
BY MARK Lazerus firstname.lastname@example.org May 7, 2013 11:33PM
BLACKHAWKS 1 1 1 — 3
Minnesota 0 0 0 — 0
First Period—1, HAWKS, Sharp 3 (Handzus, Hossa), 8:48. Penalties—Handzus, HAWKS (interference), 1:06; Carcillo, HAWKS (interference), 10:13; Spurgeon, Min (tripping), 16:42.
Second Period—2, HAWKS, Sharp 4, 1:02. Penalties—Oduya, HAWKS (cross-checking), 4:26; Rozsival, HAWKS (interference), 11:17.
Third Period—3, HAWKS, Bickell 3 (Shaw), 12:46. Penalties—Kane, HAWKS (delay of game), 1:08; Saad, HAWKS (tripping), 3:16; Coyle, Min (cross-checking), 9:45.
Shots on Goal—HAWKS 6-11-7—24. Minnesota 7-6-12—25.
Power-play opportunities—HAWKS 0 of 2; Minnesota 0 of 6.
Goalies—HAWKS, Crawford 3-1-0 (25 shots-25 saves). Minnesota, Harding 1-3-0 (6-5), Kuemper (0:00 second, 18-16).
Referees—Stephen Walkom, Greg Kimmerly. Linesmen—Mark Wheler, Steve Miller.
A—19,378 (17,954). T—2:33.
Updated: June 9, 2013 6:42AM
ST. PAUL, Minn. — You’ve seen Joel Quenneville angry. You’ve seen him on the bench ranting at the refs after a call doesn’t go the Blackhawks’ way or roaring at his players after a particularly lackluster effort. You’ve seen the arms flailing, the eyes flashing, the voice straining.
The Hawks have seen it, too. Plenty of times. That’s what coaches do — they yell, they scream, they convey their message as forcefully as they can.
But Quenneville didn’t scream after the Hawks lost Game 3 on Sunday to a Minnesota Wild team that showed superior effort, hustle and desperation from start to finish. And he didn’t yell throughout Monday’s practice, either. Instead, he calmly pointed out areas that needed improvement — dispassionate and sloppy go hand-in-hand — and sent his players out to work on those things.
That’s how the Hawks knew he was really serious.
“He stated some points that we need to work on to get this team better if we want to move on, and we listened,” Bryan Bickell said. “When he screams and yells, sometimes it’s the same stuff. But when he starts talking like a normal human being, everybody gets their ears open and listens.”
So while Game 3 understandably sent the Twin Cities into a tizzy — think Bulls fans after Game 1 against the Miami Heat — the loss hardly sent waves of panic through the Hawks’ dressing room. If anything, it served as a wake-up call after a relatively pressure-free home stretch of the season and an opportunity to learn lessons that could prove helpful down the road should the Hawks stave off the Wild.
So the 51 hours between Jason Zucker’s overtime goal in Game 3 and the drop of the puck for Tuesday night’s Game 4 were a time to reflect, reassess and respond.
“We never talk about the games right after; we let it sink in for a day,” Viktor Stalberg said. “[Quenneville] wasn’t really happy [during Monday’s practice]. We’ve got to start getting into this series like it’s the playoffs. I don’t think we’ve been playing that desperate. Maybe the second game went a little too easy for us. I don’t think we expected it to be easy, but for some reason, we came out a little flat in the third game here. We’ve got to get better. And that’s what Joel told us.”
Said Quenneville: “Sometimes there’s more technical things you want to change and adjust to, and sometimes you want to make sure the motivation factor [and] the compete level is in order.”
Sure enough, Monday’s practice had more life to it, more intensity, than perhaps any Hawks practice since the start of the season. Goalie Corey Crawford — one of the few Hawks who was on top of his game in Game 3 — got a very unusual, and much deserved, day off. It’s the little messages that get through.
There weren’t any drastic changes for Game 4. No big line shakeup other than Daniel Carcillo in for Brandon Bollig. No fundamental shifts in philosophy — more hitting, sure (Carcillo crunched a Wild player in the corner about five seconds into his first shift), but not at the expense of the Hawks’ puck-possession, fast-paced style.
It was only one loss, after all. Nobody expected the Hawks to go 16-0 and cakewalk their way to the Stanley Cup. There’ll be bumps in the road. They’re in it for the long haul — they hope.
But Quenneville made his point. The effort in Game 3 wasn’t good enough. It won’t be tolerated again.
“You watch the other series, and you see how tough it is on every single play, every single shift and little puck battles everywhere,” Jonathan Toews said. “Nothing is taken for granted. So we’ve got to have that some work ethic, that same hatred for that team that they had for us last game.”