By Adam Hoge –
Standing in front of his locker after Friday’s morning skate, center Dave Bolland confidently said Vancouver is the Blackhawks’ second-biggest rival behind Detroit.
Considering what the teams had to say about one another seven hours before tonight’s game, there’s little doubt that is true.
“There is that dislike and that hatred,” Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa said Friday. “It’s one of those games that you want to do whatever it takes to win.”
The latest controvery stems from Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault accusing Joel Quenneville of running up the score in the Blackhawks’ 7-1 win at Vancouver Nov. 20. After the game he took exception to Quenneville using Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews on a 5-on-3 power play in the third period.
Friday, he refused to back off from that accusation.
“Come on. Be serious here. Let’s go,” he said when told Quenneville claimed that the Kane-Toews line was simply the next one set to go on the ice. “Toews and Kane. 6-0 going into the 3rd. What are you thinking? Let’s be serious.”
Obviously, the Blackhawks don’t agree with Vigneault on this one.
“I think I was doing the opposite initially of what I got accused of. We’ll leave it at that,” Quenneville said.
“You’re not just going to bench Toews’ line and not play them for the rest of the game,” Blackhawks forward Troy Brouwer added.
It appears as if Vigneault might be alone on this one. Even one of his own players disagrees with him.
“If I was in their situation I’d be doing the same thing. If we were up 5-1 on these guys I would love to bury them too,” Bieksa said.
In fairness, Vigneault said the Blackhawks had every right to do what they did. He just doesn’t have to like it.
“Everybody’s got their way of doing things,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with what they did. It’s within the rules and they do things their way and we do things ours.”
Kesler Gets Testy With A Reporter
Everyone knows Canucks’ center Ryan Kesler is not a fan favorite in Chicago. He showed why when he went at it with TSN reporter Farhan Lalji Friday. Here’s the audio of that exchange:
Turco Back In Net
As for the game, Marty Turco is back in net after four games off and he admitted that his preparation has changed while sitting on the bench.
“Sometimes when you haven’t played for a week or so or longer, you just do some game stuff or just work on some mechanics because you have some extra time,” Turco said.
Both teams come into tonight’s game riding a three-game winning streak. The Blackhaws have 30 points on the season, while Vancouver has 29.
It’s safe to say there will be some fireworks at the United Center tonight.