The Hype, The Quotes, The Bad English: Stanley Cup Media Day From Chicago

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Ville Leino, Unheralded Midseason Acquisition, And His Importance To Flyers

Ville Leino was picked up by the Philadelphia back in February, and at the time it was seen as a dump by a Detroit Red Wings team that was ready to get Johan Franzen back in the lineup. And although our Flyers blog, Broad Street Hockey, classified Leino as a "low risk, high reward" type acquisition, nobody knew at the time that he'd become such a  major player in the Flyers plans come playoff time.

Paul Holmgren talked about the importance of the Leino pickup at Cup Final media day on Thursday.

We thought our scouting staff at the time really thought that Ville could bring an offensive mind?set if he got the opportunity to play with like players. You know, we got a chance to play with Danny Briere or Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, guys that have offensive instincts like Ville, he could help us.

Unfortunately for Ville, he had to work his way into the coach's good graces before he got a chance to play. He spent a lot of time as a healthy scratch for our team initially. To Ville's credit, he never made waves. He showed up at the rink with a positive attitude, and he worked hard off the ice and on the ice to be ready for his opportunity. Up to this point, he seizes that opportunity. So it's encouraging to see.


Flyers' Laviolette: 'Our Greatest Strength Is... Each Other'

The Flyers have been through a lot this year, and according to their head coach, Peter Laviolette, they're only stronger because of it. Here's some of what he told the media on Thursday:

It seems like our team has had to have galvanizing moments since about Christmas time. On the ice there's always been something. When there was a setback, whether it was a couple of games or five games, it seemed devastating at the time, because we were very far down in the standings.

I think through all the trials and tribulations we went through, we've become a very strong team. It's actually probably our greatest strength right now are the guys in the room and what they believe in and their belief in each other.

I think it's not necessarily because there's been so many ? there's been so many times when we've been down and out and we fought back and we pushed back. It's not really about one moment that's turned us around. I think it's just about a series of events that's made us really strong and allowed us to be here in this opportunity. I don't think we'll be overwhelmed by it. I think we've been through too much.


Blackhawks Players Talk About The Atmosphere On Media Day

Media day can be a pretty crazy feeling for players. There are a ton of people around from a ton of different media outlets, and each player has a different perspective on things given their history. Some have been to the Cup Final before, but most haven't. Here's what some of the Blackhawks said about the atmosphere on Thursday...

Marian Hossa, who's been to the Final in three straight years:

Obviously, it's very interesting being three times with three different teams. It is a really interesting situation. Really unique. I really hope so. This is the time, definitely want to win this time, and being in the Finals, definitely want to touch the trophy. The truth is, this is the third time doing this type of interview. So could get easily used to it. But I want to make sure we're in a better finish this time.

Jonathan Toews:

Well, this is it. Obviously this is the big show. It's gotten bigger and bigger every series. You can tell. The series against Vancouver, playing a Canadian team there's always going to be a lot of media attention in Canada. This is the ultimate thing. The entire hockey world is watching this. These are the type of games you love to play in. It's a fun thing to be a part of.

Patrick Kane:

Right now it's setting in, to be honest with you. It almost feels like it's back at the All Star game in Montreal, when everyone had their little podium and a lot of media outlets around, too. So it's a huge deal. Seems like it's bigger than the Olympics to me right now, to be honest with you. It's going to be a long series. It's not just one game.

And we look at our team, we're really excited about the guys we have. It's going to be exciting. How could it not be? The city's on fire. You walk around Chicago and everyone's rooting for the Blackhawks, everyone's expecting good things. So hopefully we can give it to them.


Patrick Kane Tries To Tell Media He Hasn't Studied Flyers Yet

Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final is a little over 48 hours away, but according to Patrick Kane, the Chicago Blackhawks have yet to study the Philadelphia Flyers. Here's what he told the media at United Center on Thursday:

To be honest with you, we haven't studied too much of them yet. But we're going to do different things, whether it's power play, penalty kill. I know [Patrick Sharp] will love nothing more than to win this series, especially against his own team guys like Eager, too. It's not just him. But I'm sure it's anyone. Even a guy like Leighton on their team, I know he was drafted by Chicago. And I'm sure he'd love to win against us.

So I haven't been in that situation where I've had to play against my former team. But I'm sure it's something, every time you do, you want to beat them.

"We haven't studied too much of them yet." Yeah, sure, Patrick.


Peter Laviolette On Dustin Byfuglien: 'Not Looking Forward To It'

A reporter just asked Philadelphia coach Peter Laviolette if he's looking forward to seeing Chicago forward Dustin Byfuglien go head to head with Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger for seven games.

Laviolette simply responded, "I don't know if I'm looking forward to it," laughed, and then said, "but it's certainly something that's going to have to happen."


A Few Photos From Stanley Cup Final Media Day

The following photos come via Schuyler Baehman on Twitter. He's Director of Communications at the NHL and he's taken a few nice shots at United Center today.



One of the booths where players sit during media availability. This one, clearly, belongs to Jeff Carter.


The NHL Network set.


Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman On The Growth Of Patrick Kane

At Stanley Cup Final media day on Thursday, Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman talked about the emergence of Patrick Kane and what it's meant to the Chicago team as they prepare to play in their first Cup Final since 1992.

You know, I remember back when Patrick was drafted. He was from Buffalo, obviously I grew up in Buffalo. I didn't know him, though. I met him once prior to us drafting him. My father knew the family a little bit. I remember he came to training camp in September of that year. And as the camp wore on, internally we knew he was going to be on our team.

So we started thinking he was only 18 years old at the time. We were trying to decide what do we want to do. Because it's not an easy thing for a kid of that age to be in a big city like Chicago.

So some different ideas were tossed around. I remember we went to him in early October, and we asked him about the living situation. His answer to us was interesting. He said I'm just trying to make the team here. I don't even want to talk about. I'll live in a hotel all year if I have to. I want to play in the NHL. At the time he wasn't-- he was concerned about maybe getting sent back to Junior. So he didn't even want to talk about it.

Then the season began, and at that point it was actually just-- it was an idea, because he had been in the hotel for six weeks at that point. I said why don't you come over, maybe stay at my place for a bit, have a couple of home?cooked meals. And so he agreed to that, and we were into the season by that point.

So he seemed to enjoy it. I have two little boys. He was living in the basement. He was an unassuming little kid, just trying to make the team and stay in the NHL. There was still talk, even when the season began, are they going to keep him past the ten?game mark or are they going to send him back?

He was so focused on staying in the NHL. We knew he wasn't going anywhere. We wanted to kind of keep that away from him. We let him think about that, and before you knew it, it was the end of October. I think he was the Rookie of the Month that year. He had a great start to his career.

So it just kind of took off from there. He was comfortable. I remember talking to him and his parents along the way, and they just wanted to allow him to focus on hockey and not have to worry about what it's like to be living on your own. That was how it all materialized. It was a great experience for him and for me to get to know him. He's a special player. He's a great kid. I know him very well. And he's played a big part in getting our team to where we're at.


Joel Quenneville Talks About Rocky Wirtz And The Transformation Of Hockey In Chicago

Since Rocky Wirtz has taken over for his late father as owner of the Chicago Blackhawks, the team has gone from a basement dweller in every sense of the term to the cusp of a Stanley Cup. It's taken just three years, too. 'Hawks coach Joel Quenneville spoke with the media about what Wirtz has done with the franchise, transforming it into a respected Original Six club once again.

Rocky has done an amazing thing here in Chicago. ... I think the greatest move right off the bat was hiring John McDonough as far as getting the way the things have been changed as far as getting the TV back on. Where all the road games are being televised. The focus of the Blackhawks in the community, the excitement that's coming to a Blackhawks game. I can recall not too long ago coaching St. Louis where you come in here 4 or 5,000 people in the building.

It was a grim evening where almost you felt like they were supporting the visiting team. Things changed quickly. It's an amazing transformation. But you have to give Rocky a lot of credit that he changed things from the way things used to be. Along with John, I think that we're the beneficiaries today.

For more on the Blackhawks and the Stanley Cup Final, check out Second City Hockey.


Patrick Kane Asks Female Reporter About Mullet Quality

Patrick Kane's mullet is pretty amazing. So amazing, in fact, that the Blackhawks are selling shirts with a mullet theme. When he was inevitably asked the question at Thursday's media day, "What do the ladies think of your mullet?," he was baffled. Luckily, there was a lady amongst the throng of reporters.

From CSN Philly's Sarah Baicker on Twitter (several tweets have been mashed together here):

OK, Patrick Kane just made me blush. Kane was asked how the ladies liked his mullet. He said he wasn't sure. Then he stops, looks at me and says, "Tell me what YOU think of it." And I was like, "Oh, uh, it's... OK?" That mullet, I will say, is darn near Jagr-esque. If he keeps it a few more weeks... who knows.

Mullet mania has officially reached the Stanley Cup Final.


Andrew Ladd Listed As Day-To-Day, Hopes To Play Saturday

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville updated the media on the condition of forward Andrew Ladd on Thursday at Cup Final media day, saying that Ladd is listed as day-to-day.

Ladd spoke with the NHL Network as well, telling them the same news. He hasn't skated just yet but hopes to hit the ice on Friday, and if so, he'll be in the lineup for Game 1. Ladd left the ice early in Game 4 against the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference Finals.

Quenneville said earlier this week that Ladd would play in the series. That's still likely, and the only question remains when exactly he'll play.


Watch Live: Stanley Cup Final Media Day From Chicago

NHL Network is providing pretty awesome live coverage of today's Stanley Cup Final media day. The Blackhawks are currently meeting with the media, while the Flyers will show up in the room at United Center at 4 PM Eastern.

To watch the guys talk -- or, in some cases, watch them look miserable -- to the media, check the feed below.

Feed is down. Media day has wrapped up. Relive our coverage in this StoryStream, however.

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