Blackhawks’ Michael Kostka also part of reunion night
BY MARK LAZERUS Staff Reporter October 20, 2013 12:14AM
Brandon Pirri (right) is congratulated by Brent Seabrook after scoring in the second period. | Andrew A. Nelles/AP
Updated: November 21, 2013 7:03AM
Six reporters surrounded defenseman Michael Kostka as he tried to compare the experiences of playing for both the Blackhawks and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“The fans there are crazy and the media’s insane,” said Kostka, a Toronto native who played for the Leafs as a rookie last season. “There’d probably be about 40 more of you in here if we were in Toronto. But here, obviously the fans are great. The anthem here is one of the most special things in hockey. They’re both crazy, but in their own way.”
Kostka scored his first career goal to give the Hawks a 2-1 lead.
“Everything’s kind of come full circle.’’ Kostka said. ‘‘It was pretty sweet after almost 40 games to get that first one, and even a little sweeter for it to happen against Toronto.”
It was Kostka’s second game in the lineup, and his second reunion game. Against the Tampa Bay Lightning, he went up against several teammates from the Norfolk Admirals that won the AHL’s Calder Cup in 2012.
“When you’ve played for as many teams as I have, you have a lot of friends in a lot of places,” Kostka said. “It’s exciting. I always do enjoy going up against old friends and old teammates, and trying to stick it to them.”
Coach Joel Quenneville said he doesn’t believe his team’s early scoring woes and third-period lapses can be chalked up to a Stanley Cup hangover or from the mental fatigue of a short offseason.
“I’m not buying that one; it’s not happening, Quenneville said. ‘‘We’re ready to play. They’re young guys. They’re fresh. And they want to play, so I think that’s where we’re at.”
Quenneville said the Hawks have “had a pretty good start.”
“Discounting a couple third periods, we’ve been pretty consistent, pretty effective and we played the right way. The preparation the guys had over the summer was in the right place.”
Brandon Pirri was in the lineup for the second straight game, with Ben Smith again a healthy scratch. Michal Rozsival and Sheldon Brookbank also were scratched.