Blackhawks-Flames Preview

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CALGARY, Alberta (AP) The lasting image of Calgary's Game 3 win was a violent one.

In the closing moments, Chicago's Adam Burish broke his stick on Rene Bourque's shoulder and an irate Jarome Iginla wanted a piece of Burish in the ensuing melee in front of the Blackhawks' bench.

So while the Flames try to even their series at two games apiece Wednesday night, they're also aware that tempers are going to be even shorter - in a series that was already full of trash talk.

Iginla said it was the hit on Bourque, and not anything else, that set him off.

"There wasn't any one thing as far as verbal that got to me," the Flames captain insisted. "I can take that. Verbal abuse is nothing. Trash talking is fine."

Flames head coach Mike Keenan said Tuesday he addressed the trash talking with Iginla, whose father is Nigerian.

"I talked to Jarome about it today and he's fine with it as long as its not racial, he doesn't care," Keenan explained. "The league will certainly deal with it if it becomes more than what it is."

Chicago star Patrick Kane practiced Tuesday after sitting out Game 3 with what the Blackhawks said was the flu.

There were questions over whether Kane had the flu or was suffering from the thunderous check Bourque dealt him in Game 2 in Chicago. Kane wasn't enlightening reporters, either.

"I had a funeral to go back to in Chicago. The goldfish that I had since I was 10 years old died so I had go back and say my prayers and flush him down the toilet," Kane said. "I just bought a turtle."

Keenan insisted Monday that Burish injured Bourque with a "blatant" cross-check to the face, although replays showed the stick broke over Bourque's chest and shoulder. Bourque was not made available to the media Tuesday to clarify his status.

"I don't think I crossed the line," Burish said. "I did what needed to be done. It's playoff hockey. It's the same reason they're hitting our guys and they come at me and the same reason I'm going at them.

"Mike Keenan called it a cross-check to the head. It wasn't too close to the head. I think he was wrong."

Burish and Bourque were Blackhawks teammates last year before Bourque's trade to Calgary. They also played together at Wisconsin.

"I'm still going to hopefully have a beer with him after the season is done, but he's not my friend on the ice," Burish said.

As for getting under Iginla's skin, it's long been a point of debate - even with Iginla himself - that he plays better when he's angry.

"They're trying to come after Jarome and if they think that's going to work, that's what they're going to keep doing," Craig Conroy said. "But on the other hand, Jarome gets fired up and we feel he plays better when he's on the edge like that."

So the stage is set for an acrimonious Game 4.

"It's going to be a blast, it's going to be mean, it's going to be nasty and that's what I love," Burish said.


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