VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- It was a long work day in every possible sense. The Chicago Blackhawks' frontline players spent a lot of time on the ice in a Game 1, and they spent a lot of that time getting bumped and bruised by a decidedly physical Vancouver Canucks squad.
This philosophy will not change, because this philosophy is a big hit with the President's trophy winners.
"It's a long series," Canucks center Ryan Kesler said after his team's practice Thursday. "We're trying to wear them down and not intimidate them, but (have them) know we're coming. Every time we can hit them, we're going to hit them. That goes a long way in a series."
That was an accurate assessment of the 2-0 victory in Game 1, anyway, with the Canucks posting 47 hits -- a whopping 20 in the first period alone to set a grinding tone. The Hawks totaled just 21 hits themselves.
It has set up a prevailing dynamic for the remainder of the series: The Canucks gambling that their superior depth will allow them to bear down consistently while perhaps goading a thinner Hawks squad into expending too much energy to answer.
"It's not so much about them, it's more about us," Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa said. "We have four lines we can play against anybody we feel. We have six 'D' we can play against anyone. So when you're rolling the lines, everybody's fresh. You throw your body around and do whatever you can to help out. We're hoping to sustain it over the course of the series, and it'll be tough to beat us if we do."
It must be a calculated risk, though. One extraneous attempt at a bone-jarring check could lead to a momentum-shifting score.
"Obviously, you have to be smart about it," Canucks winger Alexandre Burrows said. "You gotta respect different layers on the ice, there are different spots on the ice when you have to hold the middle a little bit more instead of going and finishing your hit. At the same time, it's nice to see that emotion and physical play."