Vowing to acquit themselves after losing three of five playoff games to the Red Wings and fighting to stay alive in the series, the Blackhawks organized a team swim in the Detroit River prior to Game 6 in the Motor City, which many are crediting with their resurgence in Monday night’s thrilling 4-3 win.
At the suggestion of Coach Joel Quenneville, the swim was intended to be both a team bonding experience and mental refresher.
“When I was patrolling west of the blue line for the Hartford Whalers and needed a picker-upper, I’d take a dip into the Napaug Reservoir,” Quenneville, a former defenseman, said of his time with the former NHL team. “Worked better than a half- dozen shots of Jaeger.”
“I tell you I was ready to go 30 shifts after that swim,” declared 38-year-old veteran Jamal Mayers. “Too bad I was scratched like usual.”
With temperatures hovering near 50 degrees in a steady drizzle, forward Viktor Stalberg, a native of Gothenburg, Sweden mused, “Yes, this reminds me so much of how I spent my youth in winter in my homeland. I only I wished the water temperature was 15 or 16 Centigrade cooler.”
Having spent most of the playoffs in Quenneville’s doghouse, Stalberg wasn’t impressed.
“My body temperature is 104 degrees and I smell like a Coho salmon.”