Blackhawks Notes: A Tale Of Team Unity and The Return Of The Wiz

Jim NeveauAnalyst IDecember 11, 2008

Before I begin this edition of Blackhawks Notes, let me make a public apology to Cristobal Huet.

In previous articles, I have criticized the Frenchman for not living up to his contract, and that his play was affecting the team in a negative fashion. His performance against Ottawa on Wednesday night showed me a lot of grit and determination on the penalty kill, and against Phoenix on Sunday, he displayed an ability to play the game hard, regardless of how far ahead his team is.

That being said, I want to apologize to "Huey" for the ill mojo I was putting out there into the cosmos. If he continues to play like this, I will make sure to quickly point it out in the interest of fairness.

Now, we can get on to the rest of the column.

With Little Fanfare, These Hawks Show True Class

After the Blackhawks defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs in the midst of their grueling circus trip, they were scheduled to take an early flight home to spend time with their families for Thanksgiving. Dale Tallon was not going to make that trip with them.

Dale was going back to his hometown of Gravenhurst, Ontario to attend the funeral of his father, Stanley. He died peacefully in his sleep on Nov. 21, and Dale was obviously devastated.

In a show of solidarity that should be getting a lot more national press than it has been, the Blackhawks took a team vote and voted unanimously to cancel their charter flight back to Chicago and instead attend the wake of Dale's father.

The team personnel on the trip with the team also should get a huge pat on the back, because they not only had to book a new flight for the team on that Sunday night, but they had to get a bunch of hotel rooms, and a place for the team to practice, and all of this in a very limited amount of time, and they did it beautifully.

Adam Burish, who went on the injured reserve on Wednesday, stated perfectly the sense of loyalty that the team feels towards its general manager.

"It was a no-brainer that we were going to be there for Dale and his family," Burish said. "Every guy in this locker room would say he's a guy they'd do anything for. He comes in here and he's always positive. He treats everybody here like his sons or part of his family, so to show up to his father's funeral for him and his wife and their two daughters, it was a thing most people would do for him and something that needed to be done and we were happy to do it".

If there was any doubt that the players on this club are really a team, it was erased by this gesture. I wish that the national media would focus more on this kind of thing as opposed to stuff like the Sean Avery incident or what latest thing Terrell Owens said. Hockey is a true team sport, and that is why people love it so much.

Do You Want Fries With That?

So, I'm totally moving to Canada. Reasons are forthcoming after this story.

The Blackhawks were riding on the team buses from the wake of Dale's father, and the team was hungry. Now, with all of the hoop-jumping the personnel had to do after the team's decision, they were unable to line up a team meal for the players. So what is a bus full of players to do when hunger attacks?

McDonald's anyone?

The players stopped at a small-town McDonald's, decked out in full suits, and they went to town.

According to Patrick Kane, "The bus stopped, everyone got off and I think everyone definitely took advantage of the situation and pigged themselves out".

Burish said that the players who ate the most food included Patrick Sharp, Brent Seabrook, and James Wisniewski.

"I know Sharpie and Seas, we couldn't get them out of there," Burish said. "They wanted more Big Macs. Every time they could get another Big Mac in them they did. "Wiz," too. French fries galore over there."

Another funny aspect to the story is the contents of the Happy Meals in this Canadian city. Apparently, the toys in the Happy Meals were hockey cards, and Toews and Kane both had cards in the meals! I wish I would have grown up in Canada! I'll take a Toews card over a Hot Wheels car any day!

Personnel Notes:

James Wisniewski has been loaned on long-term injury exemption to the Rockford Ice Hogs to further his progression toward getting on the ice for the Blackhawks. Coming off an ACL injury, Wiz has been anxiously awaiting his chance to get back on the ice.

"Wiz" found his way into the lineup this evening in the Rockford game against Iowa, and he managed two shots on goal. Jack Skille scored a goal and picked up eight shots in the Hogs' 2-1 victory.

Also, the Hawks sent down Pascal Pelletier after he played on Wednesday against the Senators. He had an assist and two penalty minutes in tonight's contest.

Next Hawks Telecast

The Blackhawks' next game will be Friday night against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center in Denver. It will start at 8pm, and will be televised on Comcast SportsNet Plus.


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