EDMONTON - SAN JOSE — The Chicago Blackhawks, with more time on their hands than they know what to do with, decided to visit The Rock before the Western Conference final starts to roll on Sunday.
The Hawks headed straight to San Jose after eliminating Vancouver, and with five full days between series, cancelled practice on Friday and scheduled a field trip to Alcatraz instead.
“We tried to break it up a little bit,” said head coach Joel Quenneville. “We had a lot of days between the first and the second rounds and we really didn’t like the way we began that series. So getting away from the rink today is probably a good exercise for everybody.”
Asked which one of his teammates he’d like to leave behind if Alcatraz was still open for business, John Madden said Patrick Sharp, as a gesture of good will to the inmates.
“I’d leave Sharpie there,” he grinned. “He’s the best looking guy on the team. Might as well leave them something nice.”
Those are the Hawks for you, having more fun on and off the ice than any other team in the league.
“I had a lot of years in Jersey and they were really serious, real serious,” said Madden. “It weighs on you every day when you’re thinking hockey, hockey, hockey. Keeping it light and coming with your best effort is the way to go.”
For the record, Sharp would leave pesky teammate Adam Burish behind.
“He wouldn’t last very long. They’d probably put him in solitary and he’d find a way to entertain himself.”
HEATLEY HAS LAST LAUGH ...
Dany Heatley’s holdout worked out almost perfectly. He’s in one of the best cities in the NHL, playing for one of the best franchises. He's one hour away from Pebble Beach, eight wins away from a Stanley Cup.
Needless to say he’s not exactly kicking himself over saying no to Edmonton.
“I love coming to the rink every day,” he said after the Sharks skate on Friday. “It’s a good group of guys. Our fans are the best in the league. The energy they give us ... playing in front of them is fun. We’re playing in front of a sold our crowd every night. Playing with these guys, it’s been a lot of fun.
“I enjoy it down here, no question.”
IN ONE EAR ...
The Sharks have a full week between games, which allowed Todd McLellan to spend time with his family, but he admits his head was a million miles away.
“Your mind is always wandering. My wife probably has 100 things that I have to get done and she’s told me about 50 of them and I don’t remember any of them.”