Joel Quenneville doesn’t want to change much in Hawks’ last four games
BY ADAM L. JAHNS firstname.lastname@example.org April 20, 2013 11:26PM
Updated: May 22, 2013 7:09AM
There aren’t many opportunities remaining to do so — four actually — but Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said sitting certain players for preservation purposes remains a real option.
It’s something he’s done in past seasons.
“We’ll definitely visit that,” Quenneville said before playing the Phoenix Coyotes at the United Center on Saturday.
That said, Quenneville would prefer not change too much over the next week with games against the Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames and St. Louis Blues.
Quenneville, of course, wants his team to enter the playoffs with some momentum. After consecutive first-round exits, it’s pretty important.
“We don’t usually make changes for the sake of making changes,” he said. “We usually change them because we don’t like things or the way we’re looking. It’s tough to forecast that, but hopefully we don’t have to make too many alterations.”
His players — including ones like winger Marian Hossa, who could use some rest if needed — are in line with Quenneville’s thinking.
“I believe if we finish strong hockey games, feel good about ourselves going into the playoffs, I think that’s most important,” Hossa said. “I definitely believe that how we finish that’s going to get you started before the playoffs start.”
How does Hossa feel right now?
“Good,” he said. “We’ve got a bunch of bruises, those type of things, but I feel pretty healthy, so that’s good.”
Barring a complete collapse, the Presidents’ Trophy belongs to the Hawks. And regardless of the stigma that now accompanies it because of the many failures of past winners, it’s something they want.
“We’d like to win that,” Quenneville said.
It’s something Quenneville is keeping tabs on too. It’s basically a two-horse race with the Sidney Crosby-less Pittsburgh Penguins, and before puck drop Saturday they had a four-point advantage. It would be the Hawks’ first Presidents’ Trophy since the 1990-91 season.
“Pittsburgh won again today, so we’ll do what we can do,” Quenneville said. “We’re looking to play that game we’re playing. We’re looking to win that game and we’re not looking any further.”
Corey’s story, again
Quenneville said the plan from the start was to start goalie Corey Crawford in consecutive days, calling it “something going into it we forecasted.”
In other words, he didn’t really consider turning to Carter Hutton, who is here with Ray Emery ailing.
“It’s good for [Crawford] to get back-to-back games,” Quenneville said. “Going down the stretch here, with Ray not playing, we’re looking for him to do what he has to do and be solid in net.”
Winger Patrick Sharp (upper-body), defenseman Michal Rozsival (lower) and Emery (lower) were all scratched again against the Coyotes.
But they’ll make the trip to Western Canada.
“Everybody is going,” Quenneville said.