Toews Not Worried About Getting Back At Mitchell
Thursday, 04.29.2010 / 5:08 PM / News
|Despite their history, Jonathan Toews says there are no hard feelings toward Vancouver's Willie Mitchell.|
CHICAGO -- If any Blackhawks player wants revenge when Vancouver comes to town for the Western Conference Semifinals, it's probably Jonathan Toews.
The young center is one of the few Chicago casualties from the on-going feud between the Hawks and Canucks, which started with a brawl in a regular-season game late last season.
Toews missed four games early this season with a concussion after being leveled by Vancouver defenseman Willie Mitchell at center ice. With the Canucks on tap again, Toews is a little torn about the incident -- which Mitchell called him to talk about shortly after it happened. Toews said there are "no hard feelings" toward Mitchell -- who is out indefinitely with his own concussion -- but the Canucks' green and blue still makes Toews see red.
"It was one of those things where you kind of want to get revenge a little bit when you play Vancouver and you play against the player (who) you know put you in that situation," Toews said after Thursday's practice at United Center. "(Mitchell) was just playing his game, but again, you just want to come back and play really well against that team anyways."
In order to do that, Toews said not getting distracted will be paramount for the Hawks.
"It's one of those things where you have to control it and use that energy," he said. "It's easy to get really worked up and emotional, but you have to learn to use it in the right way. You don't want to waste your energy yelling at the refs or barking at one of their players. That's not helping you win."
Buff speaks on lineup change -- One of the most popular interviews inside the Hawks' locker room Thursday was 6-foot-4, 257-pound forward Dustin Byfuglien who is being shifted back to forward after filling in as a defenseman for previously injured Brian Campbell.
Byfuglien didn't speak with reporters Wednesday, when the move was announced. On Thursday, he was surrounded reporters and TV cameras. Byfuglien could be a key player in front of the Vancouver net screening Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo. He also was in the middle of the brouhaha that started the feud between the two teams a year ago.
Byfuglien was asked if he liked being a distraction to the Canucks.
"It's not too bad," he said. "I've got all these cameras in front of me. It's a little nice to be in the picture, but I'm just out there to do my job. (Luongo's) a good goaltender and we're definitely going to have to get pucks to him and get bodies in front of him."
Quenneville not tipping hand -- Byfuglien moving back to forward likely will bump Adam Burish from the active roster and create a need for a defenseman to take Byfuglien's spot on the blue line.
Either Jordan Hendry or Nick Boynton will be tabbed for the role. Hendry played well in the first round, getting his first taste of Stanley Cup Playoff action. Boynton, a veteran, hasn't played in the 2010 playoffs.
"Those are both options," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "I think both guys can play and give us something. They're both viable options."
Injured defenseman Kim Johnsson (upper body) remains unavailable after being injured in mid-March.
Ladd bites his lip -- Reporters peppered Hawks forward Andrew Ladd with questions about his personal battle with Canucks forward Ryan Kesler.
Ladd bested Kesler in a fight this season after Kesler called him a "coward" for what the Canucks' forward thought was a dirty hit. On Thursday, Ladd wasn't going to be suckered into verbal bantering.
"It's a team goal and anything we're trying to do in here trumps whatever personal vendettas," Ladd said. "We're looking to do what we want as a team and that's staying out of the box and playing disciplined hockey."
Ladd did find the verbal exchange this season amusing, but hopes to put it away for the playoffs.
"It was what it was," he said. "It was funny at times, I guess. Like I said, for me, what we're trying to do in here is a lot more important."
Home away from home -- Ladd, from Maple Ridge, BC, grew up a Canucks fan.
So did Brent Seabrook, Troy Brouwer and Colin Fraser -- who also played on the same youth team as Ladd in the Vancouver area. Considering the Hawks' rivalry with the Canucks, it makes return trips interesting for all four and their families.
"Growing up there, I loved them," Ladd said of the Canucks. "They were fun to watch. I have good memories of them going to the (Stanley Cup) Final in 1994 ... but it's just kind of all gone out the window. I'm sure our families are going to take some heat back there, but they're willing to stand tough for us."
Ladd said his family even wears his Blackhawks jersey to General Motors Place in Vancouver.
"They're really brave," he said.
Quotable -- "We love hearing that song, but I don't think any other teams like hearing it. They'll be trying to hear it as few times as possible in this series." -- Ladd talking about the Hawks' goal-celebration song "Chelsea Dagger" by The Fratellis.
Vancouver players already have expressed their disdain for the song.
Author: Brian Hedger | NHL.com Correspondent