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DETROIT — Could the confines of Joe Louis Arena be considered friendly? Not necessarily, and especially not in a rivalry.
But prior to Monday’s Game 3 of a Western Conference semifinals, Chicago coach Joel Quenneville put stock into the games that the Blackhawks and Red Wings — one of the league’s notable rivalries — have played in one of the NHL’s oldest arenas.
“When you get to Detroit, you’ve got to be excited, and you’ve got to play well,” the fifth-year coach said. “It’s always a tough building, in the past, to pick up points, and you have to play your best.
“That’s the pace we have to expect of each other, from start to finish. They’ve got lively boards. The ice is good. You’ve got to play well.”
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Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane noted the history at Joe Louis Arena, and also noted the quality of ice, which could get hampered with the increase in warm days.
“I think they have some of the best ice in the league, which carries us because of how fast we are and how skilled we are up front,” Kane said.
While the Red Wings are 36-40 all-time in playoff games against the Blackhawks, the Red Wings are 24-14 in home playoff games against the Blackhawks, and Detroit coach Mike Babcock wouldn’t overestimate the mystique of his home building.
“You get to come home and play where you play,” Babcock said. “Now it’s a best-of-five. The series starts all over here. I imagine you have to up the ante to win here [Monday]. We’re excited to play at home.”
DIFFERENT STRIPES: Officiating has become a point of contention during this year’s NHL playoffs — members of the Washington Capitals took exception to the officiating after their first-round loss to the New York Rangers, while Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick earned a game misconduct after vehemently arguing a goalie interference call after a 2-1 overtime loss in Game 3 of a Western Conference semifinals Saturday in San Jose.
Chicago captain Jonathan Toews joined the chorus of displeasure after the Blackhawks’ 4-1 loss Sunday to Detroit in Game 2.
“There’s a lot of clutch and grab, lot of interference, and if they’re going to let that go, that’s something we need to know,” Toews told the Chicago Sun-Times. “It’s just tough to understand sometimes why we get roughing and hooking penalties. That doesn’t go both ways.”
Quenneville wasn’t going to take on the springtime, leaguewide trend of criticizing the calls that have been made in the second-round series.
“I’m not complaining about the officials,” the Blackhawks coach said. “That was a game where they [Detroit] were much better than us, and it had nothing to do with officiating.”
MESSIER AWARD: On Monday, Toews was named one of three finalists for the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award.
Toews joins Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson and Los Angeles captain Dustin Brown as this year’s finalists for the award, first given after the 2006-2007 season and named after Messier, a former Edmonton and New York Rangers captain.
The honor is given to “the player who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice during the regular season.”
Team personnel, NHL personnel, and fans vote on the award.