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Haviland in a special spot

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM



RALEIGH, N.C. — Of the four All-Star coaches, the Blackhawks’ Mike Haviland is the only assistant. Joel Quenneville, Peter Laviolette and Alain Vigneault all are in charge of their respective teams.

But Haviland, who signed an extension with the Hawks during the summer, has long been considered an NHL head coach in the making.

“It’s usually always head guys who come [to the All-Star Game],” Haviland said. “To be a part of this off of last year’s success and to ride the coattails of [Quenneville] a little bit, it’s outstanding.”

As an assistant, Haviland typically isn’t allowed to speak to the media per team policy. But he’s been a head coach before, having success with the Hawks’ American Hockey League affiliate, formerly in Norfolk, Va., and now in Rockford.

The Hawks enjoy playing for Haviland, who had a key role in some of their development. He is highly regarded around the league and definitely aspires to be a head coach.

Haviland said he has learned a lot under Quenneville and values coaching for an organization he considers the best in the NHL.

“I wanted to come and learn the league,” he said. “There is a difference in the leagues with the money and guys’ attitudes. In the minor leagues, you can get away with — I don’t want to say threatening them — but being a little harder on them. Here, it’s a fine line you have to walk. It was good for me to learn that.”

Skills and thrills

One of the highlights of Saturday’s SuperSkills competition, which Team Staal won, occurred when Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews met in the accuracy challenge.

Sharp appeared to win handily, but Toews was given another chance after he claimed he didn’t hear the whistle. Toews won the second time, and Patrick Kane called it “classic Toews.”

“I don’t really feel great about it,” a smiling Toews said. “Everybody is calling me ‘crybaby’ now because they gave me the rematch. Maybe we’ll have to do it again in Chicago and have a rubber match.”



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