<
>

Cup hangover? Bruins off to slow start

The Blackhawks know what it feels like to start slowly after winning the Stanley Cup. AP Photo/Elise Amendola

CHICAGO -- Saturday night's marquee match-up in the NHL pits the last two Stanley Cup winners against each other as the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins face each other for the only time this season.

Both teams practiced at the United Center on Friday, and afterwards they deliberated about the "hangover" effect of winning the Cup. The Hawks struggled early last season while Boston is off to a 1-3 start this year.

"People like to talk hangovers and things," Patrick Kane said. "We lost 9 or 10 guys from that team. They haven't lost many and they seem like they've made some improvements."

Even so, a short summer can take its toll on the following season.

"Of course there are effects," Conn Smythe winner Tim Thomas said. "I wouldn't call it a hangover. But talking about it puts it in your conscious thought of mind and gives you an excuse or allows you to think in that way.

"So the battle as a player is to not waste your time thinking in negative directions like that and to think positive, stay in the moment."

After winning the Stanley Cup in 2010 Hawks coach Joel Quenneville called previous winning coaches to gauge what the next season would be like. Bruins coach Claude Julien didn't call Quenneville when he won the Cup in June but they did spend time together.

"I saw him at the draft but I didn't talk to him in that regard," Quenneville said. "We drove back from the draft and talked for a bit in the car."

Julien says the subject may have come up but he was more worried about missing a certain phone call.

"I was trying to get back to my hotel. President Obama was trying to call me and I was running late," Julien said. "That was what I was most nervous about."

Quenneville announced Corey Crawford as Saturday's starter after Ray Emery won his debut Thursday over the Winnipeg Jets, 4-3. Crawford had been nursing an injury during the week causing him to miss practice for two days but he declared himself 100 percent. Now he just has to fight the rust having not played in a game in seven days.

"You always want to try and get back into it as quick as possible when you haven't played in about a week," Crawford said. "We're professionals, just have to find a way to get into it."

Hawks winger Viktor Stalberg could play in the game as he is close to returning from a knee injury suffered in preseason. Ben Smith (concussion) remains out.