VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Where was Jonathan Toews Thursday night?
The Blackhawks captain was mostly on the bench in the 5-3 loss to the Canucks in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals.
Toews played only 13:46 - just a bit over three minutes in the third period - and was minus-2 with 8 losses in 11 faceoffs. Toews didn't practice Wednesday, fueling speculation he was either sick or hurting.
"That's the way it goes sometimes," Toews said of his lack of playing time. "Sometimes guys play well and get a lot of ice time, and other times you don't. You have to be ready for anything.
"I made some mistakes and took a penalty in the first period."
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville jumbled his line combinations as the game went on and got results.
There was little bad blood in what was a relatively tame series opener.
Most Hawks fans probably don't even know who Shane O'Brien is, but that could change.
O'Brien might become one of the bigger villains as the series goes on, at least based on some of the things he was saying prior to Game 1.
O'Brien certainly wasn't about to give any credit to Adam Burish in the role he plays as agitator for the Hawks.
"Burish, he doesn't really bother anyone," O'Brien told the Vancouver Province. "I wouldn't even say he's an agitator. He thinks he's an agitator, and he puts on that role that he's an agitator, but I think we're mentally tough enough that we won't let him get into our head.
"He's going to be in guys' faces and yapping. He's going to talk all series, but we'll just let him talk. We'll let our play do our talking."
The Canucks targeted Burish early in Game 1. Rick Rypien hit Burish from behind into the boards and got only two minutes for boarding instead of what should have been a major penalty.
Burish had some choice words for Alex Burrows leading up to Game 1. It was Burrows who pulled Duncan Keith's hair during a fight on March 29 at the United Center.
"If I was him, I'd be pretty embarrassed I did something like that," Burish said. "It was so stupid of him to pull somebody's hair. Who pulls somebody's hair?"