Chicago Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews (19) flies over Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick (32) during the second period in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals in the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs in Chicago on Sunday, May 18, 2014. The Blackhawks won 3-1. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) ORG XMIT: CXA118
Updated: June 23, 2014 1:25PM
It was one of those “crotch-grab’’ moments for Joel Quenneville, but the Blackhawks coach refrained from any indecent gestures. Instead, he just let the referees have it the old-fashioned way after they nullified Jonathan Toews’ second-period goal because of goaltender interference: A lot of expletives and a lot of steam, but nothing that will cost him $25,000.
Quenneville learns well, and so does his team — a big reason why the Hawks shook off not only that tough break that would have given them a 2-0 lead, but also the tying goal by the Kings a minute later to win 3-1 in workmanlike fashion in Game 1 of the Western Conference final.
“It’s just the way our team is,” said forward Brandon Saad, who had a goal and an assist. “We have a lot of character guys, and regardless if it’s a goal or a game we lost, we can always bounce back and stick to our game plan. It’s frustrating at the time, but I think it’s just sticking with our game plan because you can’t change it.”
The Hawks know from experience that they must move on and that no matter how much they feel like they got ripped off, they’re well-suited to handle a bad break. In Game 7 against the Red Wings last year, Niklas Hjalmarsson had an apparent tiebreaking goal with 1:49 left in regulation nullified by a weird penalty away from the play. Less than four minutes into overtime, Brent Seabrook scored to win the series.
“That’s what it was all about — just trying to forget about it, not get too worked up about a call that didn’t go our way,” Toews said. “To add insult to injury, they came right back to score to tie it up. That’s where we did a good job of just forgetting about what happened, moving on, focusing on our game, not getting away from them.”
Toews appeared to give the Hawks a 2-0 lead 3:32 into the second period when he drove hard to the right side of the goal against Kings goalie Jonathan Quick and the puck went off defenseman Slava Voynov’s skate and into the net as Toews slid across the crease and into Quick.
The NHL can take it from there: “It was determined Toews’ initial shot did not enter the net,” the league said in a written explanation. “The referee’s original call on the ice was ‘good goal’ but a discussion between the on-ice officials resulted in a “no goal” decision because Toews made incidental contact with Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick before the puck crossed the goal line. This is not a reviewable play therefore the decision on the ice stands — no goal and no penalty.”
Quenneville didn’t appear to agree.
“No comment,” he said.
But by then, everybody knew how he felt about it.
“Oh, yeah, we notice [Quenneville’s reaction], for sure,” Bryan Bickell said. “We’re frustrated at the same time, but he shows it a little more. It does kind of suck when you see a goal you think goes in and it doesn’t count. I’m sure you’ve seen over the years that he does get fired up. We kind of laugh at it now and let that go and move on to the next game.”