Friday, January 20, 2017

Blackhawks at Boston
1-0 Shutout Win Recap

"From Victim To Killer"

by Gatekeeper

The Blackhawks traveled to Bah-stuhn, Friday evening, to face off against the struggling Bruins. There have been screams from the hockey world about the head of coach Claude Julien on a stake, but that is nothing new. He's been getting fired since 2010. That said, the team is a mess. They continue to trot out the rigormortis riddled corpse of Zdeno Chara, and think they can compete against quick teams. Their forwards are getting older, outside of Brad Marchand. Tuukka Rask is a workhorse, and it makes you wonder what the record of this team would look like with, say, Winnipeg's or Dallas' goaltending. It's hard to believe that just a mere 4 years ago, we were fearing for the Blackhawks lives against them.

After a few days off both teams were pretty damn sloppy in the initial twenty minutes. There were countless missed passes, and mishandled pucks that resulted in lots of offsides, icing calls and some good Bruins chances. As is often the case, the Blackhawks goaltender bailed them out once again, and kept the game scoreless as they went into the first intermission. Some late shots by the Hawks made the shot total look ever so slightly more respectable, at 17-6 in favor of Boston. Yeah, SEVENTEEN.

The second period wasn't really any better than the first, action wise. We saw the Hawks come out with some shots very early but then regressed right back to the same team we saw in the first period. In fact, the Bruins seemed to have even more quality chances than they did in the opening frame. The shots were actually 8-8 and that was with a Blackhawks powerplay and a half. Three of those were generated in the final thirty seconds. They would have taken about 1:40 of powerplay time into the third, but the captain took a last second hooking penalty.

It was a god damned miracle the Blackhawks made it to the third period still scoreless, but they did. After spending the first two period vomiting up the puck, like a pageant girl on competition night, the Blackhawks reversed their fortunes and out shot the Bruins 8-5. The most important stat was the goal they scored with under two minutes remaining, to squeak out of Beantown with a probably undeserved, 1-0 win.

The Good
  • The Boston 3rd sweaters are pretty slick. I always loved black and gold, and those are really sharp.
  • After finally getting a good chance to watch Tanner Kero closely, I like his game. He is really responsible in his own end and does a lot of little things well. Unfortunately, this could make him trade bait at the deadline, if they go for a big fish.
  • Scott Darling was great, again, in this game. If not for his first period, the Hawks would have been down at least 2-0. Instead they miraculously came away with a 1-0 shutout win. After playing only once in the previous few weeks, he was sharp as a tack.
  • That said, Tuukka Rask deserved a better fate. He was really good when he needed to be, as well, and one goal against should still earn you a win.
  • With just over a minute and a half remaining the #SteadilyDecliningMarianHossa gave the Blackhawks the lead, and essentially the win. One of his easier NHL goals, the work was done by the Rockford boys, Tanner Kero and #VinnieVidiVici. The play started with Michal Kempny creating a turnover at the Blackhawks blue line, and ended up Hinostroza feeding Kero, who threaded a backhand pass between Adam McQuaid's legs to Marian Hossa. All Hossa had to do was hit the net.
  • Speaking of Michal Kempny, My pick-to-click had a pretty solid night with Brent Seabrook. I'm calling that pairing out right now as the #SpiritOf76pair.
  • I can't really rag on any of the defensemen specifically. Brian Campbell and Trevor van Riemsdyk we just fine.
  • Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews combined for 9 shots on net. The Captain will break through, soon. It's just a matter of time.

The Bad
  • The momentum swing in the Hawks favor wasn't so much their doing, as it was the Bruins losing their confidence as the game went on.
  • I'll go easy on the Blackhawks, tonight, despite their terrible first period.

The Ugly
  • The powerplay was just ass juice for the Blackhawks. They could barely muster up any pressure and when they did, in the second period, Jonathan Toews took a hooking penalty to negate the remainder of the power play. In the third period, they opened up their powerplay by giving up a 2-on-1, that Scott Darling had to bail them out of.

The #Fatrick Stankus Fatsy Stats
  • One place the Blackhawks could have used a little help was the faceoff dots. They only won 20 of 49. Toews won 9 of 14, so it certainly wasn't him getting mushroom stamped.
  • Final score aside, almost the entire team had negative Corsi numbers, thanks to the big Bruins first period.

The Lineblender
Left Wing - Center - Right Wing
Hartman - Toews - Panik
Panarin - Anisimov - Kane
Hinostroza - Kero - Hossa
Rasmussen - Schmaltz - Tootoo

Keith - Hjalmarsson
Kempny - Seabrook
van Riemsdyk - Campbell

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Puckin Hostile Shoutcast
Episode 74

In this 74th Puckin Hostile Shoutcast (the T.J. Oshie episode) Gatekeeper and the Fatrick twins are joined by Columbus Blue Jackets fan and devil music screamer Animal Mother, from The Biscuit Podcast (Not to be confused with Biscuits Podcast).

The dumb asses discuss the following:
-We learn all about Animal Mother, his band Artillery Breath, and his hockey podcast The Biscuit Podcast.
-The upcoming Open Air Festival in Chicago, this summer
-Gate gets more ink
-The #NortonOneLiner is born as well as #PleaseSponsorUs
-Both #Fatricks try their luck at love (not with each other). hilarity ensues.
-The @POTUSHockey account makes parody accounts great again
-CBJ's winning streak comes to a halt at the hand of the red hot Caps, and we talk all about them with our guest
-The NHL announces no 3rd jerseys next season and some goalie equipment restrictions go into effect soon
-The Isles fire their coach.
-Hawks fans turn on Jonathan Toews, like Fatrick on a plate of vegetables.
-Gate the Seabrook fanboi
-Some depth moves and a trip to Rockford for a Hostile scouting mission
-At least one of the Hostile crew will be back in Rockford soon
-Trade talks heating up
-Hawks played some games vs the Sabres, Predators, Hurricanes, Red Wings, Capitals, Wild and Avalanche.
-Listener questions
-And of course, as always, an abundance of extremely inappropriate references and jokes in incredibly bad taste

You can find the episode on iTunes by following this link: iTunes

Get the Shoutcast directly though Soundcloud here:

For all your custom jersey needs visit Black and Tan Sports at:

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Blackhawks vs. Avalanche
Win Recap 6-4

"Children of the Storm"

By Patrick Norton

After a promising four game home win streak, the past two games for the Blackhawks have been nightmares on the road. A blowout loss to the scorching Washington Capitals and nail biting one goal loss to the division leading Minnesota Wild has Hawks fans searching for radical answers. “Is it time to trade Toews? Is Crawford losing an edge? Seabrook should’ve been gone a while ago.” You know, normal bickering of the fanbase in the midst of another decent season. What better way to get on track with a nice victory against the struggling Colorado Avalanche to kick off the annual father’s trip. 

Or… maybe this will be another classic trap game for the Blackhawks where they’re outperformed a full sixty minutes by a below average opponent. Last time these teams met, Calvin Pickard and the Avalanche stole two points in overtime of a 2-1 game. This time, Semyon Varlamov would guard the pipes for the Avalanche while Corey Crawford would get his shot at redemption. 

After cycling through shifts, the fourth line finally got the game underway for the Blackhawks. Grinding in the slot from Desjardins and Rasmussen led to the first tally off of Nick Schmaltz’s stick. It wasn’t long until an iffy penalty call came back to bite the Blackhawks in the behind. Nathan MacKinnon gave Corey Crawford some serious PTSD when stepping up in the circle and sniping one past Crow, similar to the OT goal MacKinnon scored in late December against this same team (eventually credited to Matt Duchene with a redirect). Luckily for Chicago, the fourth line made their way back onto the ice shortly after and regained a one goal lead for the visitors. I’m still not exactly sure if the puck was redirected in, but it has been officially called a Brent Seabrook goal. A slapper from the blue line through traffic allowed Varlamov absolutely no chance for romance with the puck. After one, Blackhawks had a one goal lead, 2-1.

The first half of the second period was eye-gouging worthy due to its boredom. Then, in the matter of sixty-three seconds, the Avalanche took the lead. Out of nowhere, Comeau and Nieto put tallies on the board for the Avalanche, but the period still had ten minutes remaining. Nineteen seconds later, Tanner Kero picked up a loose puck in front of Varlamov and buried it to bring the score to a 3-3 tie. Then, moments later, Michal Kempny lost a step on Duchene and the speedy douche made #KempGod pay. Crawford froze and Duchene put the Avs back in front. The seesaw came to a twenty minute hiatus as second period came to an end with the Blackhawks now trailing the Avalanche, 4-3.

The third period took a few minutes to get off the ground and running. Vinnie Hinostroza ties up the game on a breakaway goal after a beautiful stretch pass from Brent Seabrook. Hinostroza’s ensuing shift included another tally from the youngster, this time off of a fantastic pass to a net crashing Hinostroza from Tanner Kero. After the defense tightened up and Crawford locked down the Avalanche in the third, Kero added an empty net goal from an unselfish pass from The Captain and that’s all she wrote in Colorado. Happy to be back in the win column, once again. Great way to start the father’s trip, but let’s hope they can use this spark to take them into the next few road games. Your final in Denver, Blackhawks 6, Avalanche 4.

The Good 

  • Another good night for the traveling fanbase. As the puck dropped, “Let’s Go Hawks” could be heard crystal clear.
  • Dennis Rasmussen led the fourth line to another solid night. Desjardins - Rasmussen - Schmaltz produced a hard fought first tally for the visitors. Their defense played a major role in shutting down the “big guns” for the Avs and executed it well.
  • Nick Schmaltz had a decent showing. Although it was limiting playing time, while on the ice, he eliminated the speed advantage the Avalanche hold over the Blackhawks. Nice change of pace on the ice letting Jordin Tootoo watch the game with his dad.  
  • Hey! Look! Desjardins goal! Just kidding, Steve Konroyd is just stupid. 
  • God love him! Vinnie Hinostroza using his lightning speed to score a tying third period goal on a breakaway. Somehow, a pass from Seabrook wasn’t intercepted and instead, it sprung the speedster in all alone, past the defense. Then a sweet dish from Tanner Kero to the Italian Stallion gave the Hawks a third period lead.
  • Speaking of Tanner Kero, he sure has made a name for himself in the lineup. He struggled at the dot, but made up for it with three points including two goals. 
  • The bottom six was responsible for all six goals (if you include the assists on the Seabrook goal). Incredible night for the guys that rarely get any credit.
  • Besides a turnover that led to a goal, Seabrook looked pretty good out there. 

The Bad

  • Hot start to the broadcast. It takes fifteen minutes for the puck to drop so we’re left listening to the incoherent takes of Jamal Mayers… but where was Steve Konroyd? See “The Ugly.”
  • Man, this team’s penalty kill has my brain hurting. MacKinnon has a wicked wrister, but come on, be better. They’re still the God forsaken Avalanche. It should be an automatic kill. Inability to clear the puck hurts, but that’s just one of the issues I have with their special teams unit. 
  • After a two goal performance the other night, Patrick Kane forgot to show up to tonight’s game. Not sure if he fell victim to Richard Panik’s alarm clock, but the MVP made little noise on the ice tonight. 
  • Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers. They always lead to goals. Seabrook with another classic Seabrook turnover led to Colorado’s third goal of the game. 
  • Sure, turnovers and defense are to blame for the opportunities given up, but Corey Crawford had a weak showing in net. The Avalanche bullied their way into the crease and Crawford couldn’t fend them off leading to chaos in the crease. You can’t complain too much with the workload this guy has had, but this was far from a good showing for #50.
  • You can’t expect one source of scoring, so it was a pleasant surprise the bottom six had a fantastic night, but the top six disappeared like Derrick Rose. 
  • Sloppy clears, careless passes, and turnovers plagued the possession numbers for the Blackhawks. Neither team could stop the bleeding, so it became a game of “who can hold onto the vulcanized rubber the longest.” I’m too lazy to look up the actual numbers, but even if the Blackhawks led in time of possession, it sure as hell did not seem like it.
  • Quenneville benched the fourth line for the final six minutes of the second period. Why? They’ve produced the most offense in this game? What gives? He kind of made up for it giving them a lot of ice time in the third, but come on, that second period was a tire fire. 

The Ugly

  • Semyon Varlamov is not good and his confidence was shaky. Had the defense played better, the Blackhawks would’ve blown out their Central Division pals. 
  • God F****** Dammit. Why, God? Why? Of course, the game I’m tasked with recapping, Steve Konroyd is in the booth. I actually listened to John Wiedeman and Troy Murray for the second period (I actually enjoy Wiedeman. His words per minute and excitement in his voice keep the game moving and makes it enjoyable).
  • Oh my God. In another instance, Dr. Konroyd diagnosed Artem Anisimov with a non-existent bloody lip. Hey, at least it’s not a death sentence.
  • This game kind of sucked. I don’t care about the scoring or the outcome. It was a lot of back and forth with far too many stoppages after a long day for me. I didn’t connect with this one and it made it difficult to enjoy. This is my attempt at an apology for this lame ass recap.
  • We need bigger nets for #MOARGOALZ.... Not.
  • Pat Boyle literally had to finish Mayer’s sentence in the postgame because he can’t comprehend the english language. Somebody’s sustained too many hits to the head. Hey NHL, CTE is real… Your proof? Jamal Mayer’s speaking ability. 

*I initially titled this a loss recap because I'm so used to it*

Special Assignment
Puckin Hostile Invades Rockford

IceHogs vs. Monsters_TR January 14, 2017_5.jpg

This past Saturday, I took the family out for our first Rock Vegas experience, to see the Icehogs face the Grand Rapids Griffins. The Griffs are the AHL squad of the Detroit Red Wings, so there was some recent familiarity. Before I get into the game itself, I'd like to touch on a few peripheral points. If you're used to the Blackhawks or the Wolves experience, bring down your expectations a bit. This is, by no means, a slam on Rockford or the Icehogs, but the experience and arena are what you would expect in semi-rural Illinois. That said, the atmosphere and BMO Harris Bank Arena are charming. The fans seem friendly and highly invested in this team, even though the on ice product has been pretty awful at times, including this particular game. The arena kind of feels like you are inside a big metal shipping container, the scoreboard is pretty small and dated, and they have a car parked in the corner which makes you feel like you're in a European hockey arena. This is kind off what you should expect, though.

I will say that the Icehogs store was absolutely phenomenal. Especially for an AHL team, their selection of QUALITY merchandise was more than I would have ever expected. Not only this, but they were running a special that made it affordable to outfit the entire family of four in nice Hogs gear for $150. I'm heading out there again on 1/28, against the Iowa Wild, and I have no problem dropping some more money on their sharp swag. Seriously, whoever designs their gear needs to be commended. There is so much gear that the store had to be expanded out into the concourse, because there is double the amount of product that could fit into the store. Joking aside, Rockford is a pretty large city. It's no different than Joliet or Aurora. If you have the time, head out to check out a game. Tickets are super affordable and you don't have to deal with the, sometimes intolerable, snooty hipster Wolves fans. Hawks and Hogs fans are on the same side.

I was able to meet up with our "Rockford Correspondent", Beth, and her family, as well as local sports anchor from WREX, Dan Cohen. Both completely awesome people. I can't speak highly enough about them. Both had birthdays over the weekend, and I hope they had great ones.

Now to the actual reason I made the trip; the game. This might have also been the least exciting part of the evening. The Icehog were on the ass end of a back to back so they started backup Mac "The Truth" Carruth. He was just terrible. I want to like this guy, but he was simply awful. The Griffins went up 3-0 in the first period, and were up 4-0 a minute into the second, which got Carruth the ol hook-a-roo. Granted, his defense did him no favors, whatsoever. Erik Gustafsson had one of the worst defensive turnovers I've ever seen, 10 feet directly in front of his own goalie, just as an Icehog powerplay ended. Red light; goal number 2. Carruth didn't take too kindly to getting the hook, throwing a tantrum at the bench door, slamming his mask to the floor, slamming the door shut and jawing like a lunatic. Not going to get you in the favor of your coach with behavior like that, kid. I personally thought Ted Dent should have given Carruth the hook between periods. He gave up a powerplay goal with under a minute left in the first period, and then proceeded to give up one less than a minute into the second. His fault or not, the team needed the boot in the keister. If you give up three first period goals, including one inside the last minute, you need an intermission shakeup. That one is on Dent.

In came Lars Johans-SON, to finish the game. I have nothing bad to say about Johansson. He looked poised and confident. Unfortunately, I missed it live, but he made an old school Dominik Hasek style partial breakaway two pad stack that gave the Icehog some momentum. They ended up getting two goals in the second period following this play. It's nice to see a small flash of goaltending days gone by. The goal that Johansson gave up wasn't his fault. He made a nice save and the rebound popped out to his right. The defenseman lost track of his man and it left Ben Street with the puck on his stick and a wide open net. Johansson almost got across in enough time to make a big glove save.

Other observations were as follows:
  • The Evan Mosley goal was really bad. It was a long wrist shot from the blue line that Cal Heeter just muffed.
  • Kyle Baun-Baun had a nice 1-on-2 move that Heeter got a piece of, but hit the post, Hetter's back and then dribbled into the net. The move by Baun to cut to the middle and rip off a solid shot was the highlight of that play.
  • The Hogs had some chances in the second and third, but Heeter was generally solid.
  • Tyler Motte's speed was very apparent. He was able to close on defenders, and sometimes around them, before they knew how to daeal with him. It didn't show on the score sheet, but he could have easily had 2 goals.
  • I saw a few flashes of offensive skill from Robin Norell that could blossom into something.
  • Gustav Forsling is clearly the best defenseman on the team. He was out there for all the important ice situations. Dent paired him up with his Finnish older brother Ville Pokka. Pokka didn't really show any brilliance, but he's definitely the second best defenseman after Forsling.
  • I was on the Erik Gustafsson bus last season, but OOOF. Dude was pretty brutal. He's regressing. He was a minus 2 and the second goal rests solely on his shoulders.
  • A player that wasn't really on my radar caught my eye is Jeremy Langlois. He has some really good speed, and provided some forechecking pressure. I have no idea if he has any hands, at all, but he pretty "pesty".
  • Mark McNeill is definitely one of the best forwards on the ice, but had a generally quiet night. The look on his face is constantly that of a puppy smacked with a newspaper for shitting on the carpet that feels shamed. He doesn't look aggressive. I'll be shocked if he's not finishing the season with another organization after the trade deadline.

Check out the highlights of the game Saturday right here:

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Blackhawks vs. Wild
3-2 Loss Recap

"I Don't Like What I See"

by Patrick Stankus

After the embarrassment in the Nation's Capital on Friday night against the Capitals, the Blackhawks returned home to The UC on Sunday to face the Minnesota Wild. With both teams tied atop the Central division, and Western Conference for that matter, tonight was proving to be the highlight match up on the day for the NHL. Too bad for the NHL they were up against the NFL Playoffs, so that meant most national "NHL" experts had their attention spans elsewhere. But enough about Skip Bayless, us hockey fans will be more than happy to enjoy a game of this caliber.

All things considered following that horrendous effort against Washington, the Hawks got off to a decent start. That's something I think we'll all take. Remember folks, its baby steps. The Hawks used the energy from The UC crowd to their advantage, and less than five minutes in, Patrick Kane put the Hawks up 1-0. As the period went on, the Wild started to generate some chances, but Corey Crawford had all the answers. In the end, the Hawks outshot the Wild by a 14-8 margin and took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.

The second period started out very similar for the Hawks. At almost the identical time as in the first period, Patrick Kane scored again to increase the Hawks lead to two. From that point on, it went downhill real quick for the Hawks. Less than a minute later, Anisimov took a tripping penalty, and the Wild wasted no time in cutting the Hawks lead in half. Less than five minutes later, Chris Stewart fired a shot from the circle that beat Crawford to tie the game at two. Credit to the Hawks, they didn't fold, and did fight back as the period wound down. Late in the period, the Hawks had a chance to grab the lead again while on the power play, but couldn't get a puck in the net by the time the horn sounded to end the second period.

In the final twenty minutes the Hawks looked like a shadow of themselves from earlier in the game. The Wild beat the Hawks to loose pucks, out skated them, and wound up getting all the opportunities they wanted. About five minutes in, a loose puck along the boards got past Kane, and found its way to the point. Marco Scandella fired a puck that came off the boards, behind the net, and onto a wide open Jason Pominville's stick, to give the Wild the lead. From then on, the Wild frustrated the Hawks with the trap style play, and never allowed for any sustained pressure. Even with Crawford pulled and a late power play, the Hawks couldn't generate anything and went on to lose the game by the final of 3-2. It doesn't get any easier for the struggling Hawks as they face a quick two game road trip this week in Colorado and Boston.

The Good
  • Patrick Kane was fantastic tonight. He was simply skating circles around the Wild all night. He ended up with two goals and twelve shots in the game.
  • In the second period, Corey Crawford made a huge stop on Mikael Granlund, and generated some momentum for the Hawks. Off the next faceoff, Kane fired a bullet past Dubnyk, and put the Hawks up by two. Amazing how the big save at one end translates to good things at the other end.
  • While the Hawks were guilty of taking their foot off the gas in the second period, the pace of the middle frame as a whole was frantic. 

The Bad
  • Chris Stewart's goal was one Corey Crawford would like to have back. Stewart fired the puck from the left circle and beat Crawford to the short side.
  • Special teams once again were critical for the Hawks in the loss. Tonight the PK yielded a goal to Minnesota on their only power play, while the Hawks power play was 0 for 2. 
  • Marian Hossa had a great chance on a breakaway in the second period, but couldn't convert.
  • The Hawks ended the game with thirty-five shots. Problem is, they had thirty after forty minutes.
  • Corey Crawford was alright in net. He kept the Hawks in the game for the most part. Only one of the three goals allowed, I thought should have been stopped.

The Ugly
  • I hope everyone enjoyed Michal Kempny's turnover, that led to a quality chance for the Wild, as much as I did. I can only imagine the outrage if that had been Rozsival or TVR. Everyone would be out their pitchforks and torches. But its Kempny and he's "still learning the game" so its okay to those people.
  • As much as I'll defend TVR and Rozsival, I really can't do that tonight. They were a complete tire fire in their own end. The icing on the cake may have been the Pominville goal. TVR completely lost Pominville, and left him wide open behind him for an easy goal after the puck caromed off the boards. Stuff like that can't happen. Same goes for Kane when it comes to fumbling a loose puck along the boards.
  • Brian Campbell had 9:03 of ice time tonight, a team low for the defensemen. I don't care how many times he says he's "happy" with his role here, because I don't buy it one bit.
  • Speaking of people being invisible. Nick Schmaltz was invisible in his return to Chicago. He ended up with 8:29 of ice time, only Rasmussen was lower at 7:52.
  • Tonight might have been one of the worst games I've seen Toews play. He didn't record a shot in 20:35 of ice time. I guess the only positive is he was 52% at the dot. Tough times indeed for the Captain.
  • The third period was an absolute shitshow for the Hawks. They only managed five shots in the period and couldn't get any sort of sustained pressure. Frankly it was painful to watch.