CHICAGO | Eddie Olczyk has seen practically everything in three decades of hockey as a player, NHL head coach and now Blackhawks and NBC color analyst.
Brother Rice alum Olczyk knows a physical team when he sees one. He was asked if the Boston Bruins might rank in the top 5 percent of physical teams he has witnessed.
“I would say so, just because of the (Zdeno) Chara factor,” he said. “Dennis Seidenberg is a sneaky physical player. (Johnny) Boychuk, (Adam) McQuaid. Then you go up front and you have some big boys in (Milan) Lucic, (Nathan) Horton, (Shawn) Thornton. They have some guys who will throw their weight around.
“That would probably be more than fair saying they’re in the top 5 percent of physical teams that also have the skill set to be in the Stanley Cup Final.”
Can the Hawks’ trademark speed always find a way around the Bruins’ big brutes?
“You have to (counter physicality),” Olczyk said. “You just can’t go speed vs. physical. At some point if you’re the speed team, at some point you’re going to slow down because of the physical part of it. So you have to be more than a one-pitch pitcher and the Blackhawks have proven that to this point that they are.”
Quenneville thrilled for Toews’ Selke Trophy honors: Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said Hawks captain Jonathan Toews’ capturing the Frank J. Selke Trophy as top NHL defensive forward was well-deserved.
“I thought Johnny had a real solid year when I look offensively what his production was like,” Quenneville said, “but defensively keeps scoring chances for and against. He had one of those years that the numbers jumped off the charts. Playing against top lines shift in, shift out, that says a lot.
“I think his awareness on both sides of the puck makes him the type of player that he is. (The award) really was well-earned and well-deserved.”
The man for all minutes: Defenseman Duncan Keith, the leading minutes man for years for the Hawks, was the only Chicago player who logged more than 40 minutes in Game 1.
“His conditioning level is very high end,” Quenneville said. “You've been around a lot of hockey players. I think he's one of those different levels, elite status as far as his conditioning. He can sustain big minutes, long shifts, doesn't show the wear and tear over the course, whether it's recovery for another shift or for a long, big-minute game.
“Whether it's in his genes or whatever, he's got a nice makeup and doesn't get fatigued in the course of a game.”
The pluses and minuses of the Hawks: Top Hawks with plus ratings going into Game 2 were Niklas Hjalmarrson (10), Johnny Oduya (nine), Marian Hossa (eight), and Keith, Bryan Bickell and Michal Rozsival (seven apiece).
Worst minus rating was Nick Leddy (five). Among other regulars, Brent Seabrook and Brandon Saad were minus-two, while Dave Bolland was minus-one.