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Blackhawks rest, wait for NHL conference finals to get under way

The Canadian Press
By:
The Hockey News
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Blackhawks rest, wait for NHL conference finals to get under way

The Canadian Press
By:

CHICAGO - On a night off, Brent Seabrook and some of his Chicago Blackhawks' teammates made their way back to the United Centre. It was time for relaxation and music, not hockey. Bruce Springsteen was in town.

Seabrook was asked to compare the decibel levels between the The Boss' performance on Tuesday night and the Blackhawks' series-clinching victory over Vancouver in the same building a night earlier.

"I think it was louder for Game 6, to be honest," Seabrook said Wednesday. "He put on a great show last night, but I liked the show we put on the other night."

Chicago's 7-5 victory that featured a hat trick from Patrick Kane was still ringing in some ears Wednesday as the Blackhawks took a second day off from skating and worked out in the weight room.

They still don't know whom they'll meet in the Western Conference finals because Anaheim sent the semifinals to a Game 7 on Thursday by beating Detroit 2-1 on Tuesday night.

"I'm not rooting for anybody," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. Then he added this: "Last night I might have been. I was rooting for Game 7."

The Blackhawks wouldn't mind if the Ducks or the Red Wings are tired from banging each other around and making the long Michigan-to-California-and-back trips in the series.

But the Blackhawks don't have a preference on who they play. At least they weren't saying.

Chicago was 3-1 against the Ducks this season and 2-4 against the Red Wings, including two losses in shootouts and another outdoors in the Winter Classic at Wrigley Field.

The Blackhawks won the final two meetings against longtime rival Detroit on the final two days of the regular season when some top players rested.

Chicago would have home ice against Anaheim but not against Detroit.

"It's a great thing to have an extra couple of days to get ready," Chicago's Jonathan Toews said. "Let them beat each other up in Game 7 and see what happens."

For Kane, the past two days have been frenetic since his first career hat trick helped the Blackhawks make the conference finals for the first time since 1995.

After Monday's game, he found nearly 70 phone messages waiting for him. And there have been numerous interview requests for the 20-year-old, who was last year's rookie of the year.

"I've had to say 'No' a couple of times," Kane said. "Pretty crazy."

Kane missed one game in the opening-round series against Calgary when he wasn't feeling well, but has eight goals and four assists in his first 11 playoff games.

"For us at the beginning of the season, I'd be lying to you if I thought we'd be here right now," Kane said. "Either team next series it is obviously going to be a pretty fun series and going to be a huge series.

"We feel we can win against any team we play. It's good to have that confidence."

Kane and the 21-year-old captain Jonathan Toews have become the faces of a franchise that has turned itself around quickly after missing the postseason for most of the previous decade.

The Blackhawks are popular again in their own city because they're winning. Everywhere they go, people are noticing.

"I think we're all embracing it. We're having fun with it," said Seabrook, a standout defenseman. "Go out to dinner or at the concert last night a bunch of people recognize you. That was pretty neat."

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Blackhawks rest, wait for NHL conference finals to get under way