'Hawks still know how to walk the walk

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:31 PM ET

If there’s one thing that the Chicago Blackhawks will never lose, no matter what happens in their Western Conference quarterfinal series with Vancouver, it’s the unwavering confidence that comes with being a champion.

They’ve been there, won that.

“I think our experience is worth a lot,” said defenceman Brian Campbell, whose team will need all of it to get past the top-seeded Canucks. “You learn in years past how hard it is, what it takes to win and how bad you want it. Especially if you’ve had a chance to win before.

“I know how bad I want it in here. You’ll do anything to get to that level again.”

Good, bad or even ugly, there isn’t much the defending Stanley Cup winners haven’t seen before. Even though the series has been more bad and ugly than good so far, the 'Hawks remain as steadfast and determined as they were last June.

“Over the last couple of seasons there have been a lot of situations, whether it’s playoffs or regular season, and we’ve usually responded well,” said Patrick Sharp, who’s careful to draw from the past, not live in it.

“I turned the page on last season as quickly as I could. It was a great experience, something I’ll always remember, I’ll have a special bond with every one of those guys on that team, but thinking about last year won’t do us any good right now.”

Even though Chicago looks weaker than they did last year and Vancouver looks stronger, the 'Hawks don’t feel they’re anybody’s underdogs.

“I hope nobody’s counting us out,” said Campbell. “If they have, that’s their decision. In here, until you stick a nail in us, we’re going to keep fighting.”

Blame games

The way the 'Hawks see it, it’s their fault they’re trailing in the series, not Vancouver’s.

“There’s a lot of players who were here last year who know what it takes to get back to the level we were at,” said forward Patrick Kane, who scored the Cup winning goal in last year’s final. “In the first two games all of us can tell we didn’t play to the level we wanted to and we still could have stolen one of them. There’s more in the tank, we know we’ve got better results ahead of us.

“I don’t think our best players have been living up to par, that’s for sure. We’ve got better in us. We need to come out and lead the way for our team. I think for all of us, five of us, six of us or 20 of us, all of us know we’ve got better.”

Jonathan Toews is accepting his share of the responsibility for Chicago’s deficit. He says it’s a big share.

“When things are going well your star players are going to get a lot of credit and when things aren’t going so well they’re the ones who are going to take the heat,” he said. “That’s the whole thing with being a star player, it’s not easy when you’re team’s not doing so well, you’re the one who’s going to take the blame. It’s absolutely fair.”

Dare to compare

Raffi Torres went to the Stanley Cup finals before, on a team he considers much weaker than the one he’s on now. So if the 2006 Edmonton Oilers can make it, surely the 2011 Canucks can.

“We definitely have a better team here than we did in Edmonton,” said Torres. “It’s just a matter of coming together quick and everybody doing what they have to do in order to move on.”

ROBERT.TYCHKOWSKI@Sunmedia.ca


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