CHICAGO (AP) Adam Burish doesn’t agree with those who say the Chicago Blackhawks are intimidated or cowering from the Calgary Flames’ aggressive play.
“They had to play more physical and more tough and they did that,” Chicago’s rough right winger said Friday. “But it was nothing out of the ordinary.”
After losing two tight games in Chicago, the Flames regrouped for a pair of victories on home ice at the Pengrowth Saddledome. Now comes a crucial Game 5 back at the United Center on Saturday night.
Since the Blackhawks are a younger team making the franchise’s first playoff appearance in seven years, Calgary’s approach has been to get tough to test the inexperienced Blackhawks for physical and mental weaknesses.
“People want to say because we’re young, we don’t know how to handle the physical play, but all our guys are still healthy and our guys feel pretty good,” Burish said. “It’s a non-issue.”
Flames star Jarome Iginla said Friday that Calgary’s physical play was, for one thing, a way to slow the Blackhawks down physically.
“We don’t play as open or end-to-end,” he said. “When we are having success, we need to play physical, aggressive and get in your face. … When we’ve let up and let them skate, they can skate and make things happen. We got to stay on that body.”
Burish broke a stick with a high check on the shoulder of the Flames’ Renee Bourque – his former Blackhawks and University of Wisconsin teammate – at the end of a very “chippy” Game 3 that featured plenty of after-the-whistle confrontations and trash talking.
After the NHL told the teams before Game 4 it wanted to limit the extracurricular activities and the jabbering, there seemed to be less of it Wednesday night.
“You still have to challenge them,” Burish said. “You can’t give a guy like Jarome Iginla a free pass.”
Burish said he and Bourque are still friends, despite the confrontation.
“What happens on the ice, that’s it. Done. If he were to cross check me that way, I’d be ticked off as heck on the ice. I’d want to go after him, but once the game is on for me, that’s my job, that’s my business,” Burish said. “We’ll get together when we’re back in Madison at some of our old hangouts.”
Bourque missed the Flames’ 6-4 victory in Game 4 after apparently aggravating an ankle injury in Game 3.
Calgary coach Mike Keenan wouldn’t give an update on Bourque or Craig Conroy, who left Game 4 with an injury. He did say Daymond Langkow, injured late in Game 4 when he blocked a shot, was expected to play. All skated in practice Friday.
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville doesn’t plan to replace goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin with Cristobal Huet even though the Flames scored 10 goals in the two games in Calgary – one an empty-netter.
Khabibulin has had success against the Flames and was in goal for Tampa Bay when it won the Stanley Cup against Calgary. Some sloppy defensive play by the Blackhawks has made his job even tougher.
“We need to be better and not give them point-blank shots they’ve had and take care of rebounds,” Chicago defenseman Brian Campbell.