Physical play again a topic of conversation
“Hits” are a highly subjective statistic, though by the records kept in Game 1 on Saturday, the Chicago Blackhawks played in perhaps their most physical game of the postseason. Is physicality even quantifiable? There are nuances to “physicality” and “toughness” that go beyond numbers tabulated in a scoresheet. In any regard, it’s a topic that shouldn’t come as a major surprise due to the heavy style of play that has evolved into a part of the Kings’ identity.
The 44 hits registered by Los Angeles were the most hits weathered by Chicago in a playoff game this year, though again, it’s a subjective statistic lacking in a universal application from arena to arena. For example, in Game 4 of the Blackhawks’ first round series against Minnesota, Chicago was credited with 10 hits in the game, which sounds absurdly low. Three nights earlier, the Kings were credited with 29 hits in the first period of Game 3 of their first round series against St, Louis. So be wary of any “hit” calculations.
Statistics weren’t necessarily needed to signify that Game 1 was physical – perhaps the most physical game the Blackhawks had played in the playoffs. On Sunday morning, Joel Quenneville and Jonathan Toews were asked about the game’s physicality, as well as the hit in with under a minute remaining by Dustin Brown depicted in the video below. It was one of eight hits credited to Brown in the 2-1 loss.
Joel Quenneville, on Game 1’s physicality and whether emotions could “escalate quickly”:
“I think you want to make sure you’re playing hard within the whistles. We want to be smart with the physicality, make sure we bring it. We expect a hard forechecking game. We want to make sure
we’re smart and disciplined and staying out of the box is priority.”
Jonathan Toews, on whether he expects a “nastier” Game 2:
“For sure. We know it’s going to be a physical series. That’s what we expect from them. They’re a team that wants to win. They’re willing to do whatever it takes. We have to be the same way. For the most part we want to be smart and stay out of the stuff after the whistle. That gets nothing done for us. We’ll continue doing that.”
Toews, on Dustin Brown’s hit with under a minute remaining in the game:
“We know that he’s going to be looking for stuff like that. Just got to be aware of it. I think they were maybe a little frustrated we were moving the puck around the outside without even two minutes left to go in the game, just trying to kill time on the power play. I kind of expect him to do something like that. We have to be aware of what they’re going to try and be physical on us.”
-Quotes courtesy of NHL Public Relations and ASAP Sports