Pahlsson resident greybeard

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:54 AM ET

CHICAGO -- The fact Samuel Pahlsson has played the most playoff games among the Chicago Blackhawks is no shocker.

That he's one of the oldest players on the team took him by surprise.

That he's the only forward to have turned 30 floored him.

"I still get carded, so that's good," said the youthful looking centre. "I still look like one of the boys."

Paulsson celebrated his 31st birthday mid-season, while still with the Anaheim Ducks. Chicago acquired him at the trade deadline in the hopes he'd add some playoff experience to the young Blackhawks.

Looking around the dressing room, it's in stark contrast to Anaheim.

"It just makes me feel older," he said with a laugh. "I came from one of the older teams, and I was somewhere in the middle, I think. Here, I'm the oldest guy. I'll have a terrible playoff beard, so I might fit in well with this group."

Last week, he and his wife, Johanna, celebrated the birth of their second child, Henry.

Starting with tonight's series-opener against the Flames, Pahlsson will be counted on to help guide a crew of fresh-faced youngsters.

Which means imparting the wisdom gained from a pair of long Stanley Cup runs -- he and the Ducks lost to New Jersey in the 2003 finals and won the title two years ago.

His advice to those around him consists of being prepared for the magnitude of the moment but not forgetting to enjoy the experience.

"The big thing is to realize how big everything out there is. Every shift, everything you do, can make a difference in a series," he said when asked what his advice to the youngsters around him is. Everybody knows that, but they have to keep on top of it all the time.

"But don't think too much about everything or try to make sure everything is perfect. That's not how it works. Just play, do your thing."

It worked very well for Pahlsson in the past.

The checking centre, who was traded from Colorado to Boston in the deal that brought Ray Bourque to the Avalanche, came to the fore in his first NHL playoff series back in 2003. When the Ducks bowed out in the seventh game of the final series, he had made a name for himself in a third-line role and chipped in a couple of goals and six points.

And when the Ducks won the championship, Pahlsson was even given consideration for the Conn Smythe Trophy.

Now, he's a seasoned vet with wisdom to share.

"I think you learn something every year and every time you're in the playoffs. You learn what you do and what you have to do to be effective," he said. "I think that's what playoff experience really is."

Pahlsson's job won't just be to provide leadership. He's the centre on the third-line and will be leaned on to keep Calgary's top scorers in check.

At least, that's the expectation Pahlsson has from head coach Joel Quenneville.

"He's not talked to me about it, but it's what I expect will be the assignment given to me," he said.


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