Blackhawks' Game of Chess on the Bench

In Game 3, Blackhawks caught changing lines as Flyers scored winning goal

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    PHILADELPHIA - JUNE 02: Claude Giroux #28 of the Philadelphia Flyers scores a goal against Antti Niemi #31 of the Chicago Blackhawks in overtime to win the game 4-3 in Game Three of the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Wachovia Center on June 2, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

    He's not Bobby Fischer. But with the way he changes his mind, Blackhawks Coach Joel Quenneville might as well be a grand champion chess player.

    "Sometimes you mix and match.  Sometimes the guy is missing a skate or he needs a blow or something. He's too tired to go," Quenneville explained before Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals. "You can mix your lines up as best you can."

    He said the team likes the rotation they can have with their lines.

    Considering Ben Eager was inserted onto the top line with Jonathan Toews and Dustin Byfuglien and wound up scoring in Game 2, who can complain?

    Quenneville can change his lines again in Game 4, but not necessarily to get Big Buff away from Chris Pronger. But that's tough considering Pronger leads the Flyers in ice time averaging 29:06 a game.

    "He's out there half the game," Quenneville explained. "So that's easier said than done."

    Besides, Quenneville doesn't want to start over coaching or get too cute with the match ups. Claude Giroux scored the game winning goal in overtime of Game 3, catching the Blackhawks in a line change.

    Flyers Left Wing Scott Hartnell thinks it hurts Chicago.

    "I think it takes the flow out of their game, you know, when they are taking their best players off the ice to put their checking line out against Richie’s line or Danny B's line, I think it gives us the advantage," he said.

    Quenneville is willing to take that chance and take the bullet for it too.

    "Sometimes you're going to be vulnerable to a tough change. Sometimes there's too many men. Sometimes a guy gets a late change coming off the bench as well... I'll take the hit for it," the coach said.

    Blackhawks Left Wing Kris Versteeg says the Blackhawk players have gotten used to Coach Q's dizzying style.

    "You got to keep your head up on the bench and see who's going out there for their team. And when sometimes you don’t know who’s out there you have to rely on a linemate to tell you who's out."

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