Big Buff's blueline homecoming, Coyote comparables and more
Because necessity truly is the mother of invention, the Chicago Blackhawks are fortunate to have one big mother.
How big is
Big Buff, as he is familiarly known in Chicago, currently plays the right side on the second Blackhawks defense pair with
Byfuglien always had been a defenseman, at least until former Blackhawks coach
Anyway, the Blackhawks found themselves a little short on the back end, what with hits on their defensemen filling NHL vice-president
Missing three of his top six defenseman, coach
"A nice little discovery, although he's been discovered before on the back end," Quenneville said prior to the Phoenix game. "But I really like the way he has some poise, some patience with the puck. His defensive zone coverage is something we're going to have to work our way around. I like his size, his shot. His gap (control) is not bad. (He has a) decent stick."
The homecoming has been relatively smooth. When asked if playing defense is like riding a bicycle, Byfuglien replied, "I guess in a way it is. But when you haven't ridden a bicycle in a little while, you feel a little wobbly in the beginning. (But) it doesn't take too long before you feel comfortable again and just let it go. The big thing was trying to remember what guys do. Who's who and everything. The timing definitely was a little different."
Of course, the timing on Seabrook's return also was fortuitous. He slipped back into the top pair with
That answered the first question about Seabrook.
The second question, yet unresolved, is: how will his Olympic experience affect him?
For most players, questions about the Olympics flick at the issue of fatigue. That was not Seabrook's case. After one period in the opener against Norway, the Team Canada coaches basically dropped Seabrook into the role of seventh defenseman and promoted
"Duncan and Brent might have been expecting to play a little bit more than they did (together)," said Blackhawks captain
"When you play for Team Canada ... it's just an honor to be on that team and in the locker room with those guys," says Seabrook, cruising the high road. "I was very happy with any role I was put into. I loved the experience. I loved being there. (As for being the seventh defenseman), I would think it would make you work harder, if anything. Prove that you can play."
Because Anaheim general manager
Quenneville's answer: "(The length of suspension) shouldn't be so discretionary as far as the criteria. (First you decide) what's a suspendable hit. Define that. Once you've got that, you know that this particular hit is of that variety -- five games or 10 games, six and 12, four and eight. The (NHL) already is under so much scrutiny for what is a suspendable offense. Then they put themselves into such a predicament for what is the (correct) number of games. If they could define all that, it would make it easier on themselves."
"Kesler is one of those players who has an impact at the most important times of games," Phoenix coach
There have been several analogies to explain the Coyotes stunning season. (
Those are fiction. There is a comparable, however, in fact: the 1995-96 Florida Panthers. (Minus the rats.)
The Panthers shocked talented Pittsburgh in the semis and reached the Stanley Cup Final before being swept by Colorado. The similarities include terrific goaltending (
Jovanovski says the self-confidence levels of the two teams is on the same plane. "Same sort of thing," he said. "Except this (Coyotes) team has more talent."