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    Join the Hostile crew for this bi-weekly look at the NHL and Blackhawks hockey. Of course, it just wouldn't feel right without plenty of inappropriate jokes and references. Available on iTunes and Soundcloud.

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Puckin Hostile 2017 Blackhawks
Prospect Camp Wrap-up


The Blackhawks wrapped up their annual post draft summer prospect and development camp early Friday afternoon. The organization changed their focus from a large group of free agent try outs, to a majority of Blackhawks draftees with a handful of mostly local free agents. This is actually a good adjustment for a few reasons. First of all, you don't "muddy the water" with a bunch of player that will probably amount to very little, if nothing at all, in the NHL. Second, the Hawks get more time and space to actually focus on their own assets. Last, and sometimes overlooked, you don't have some dumb, desperate free agent trying to make a name for himself by destroying your prized players in the open ice. It doesn't happen often but every once in a while you get a situation like Cam Barker blowing up Teuvo Teravainen and injuring him. No one needs that when the team is in such a state of transition.

Monday through Thursday the two teams of prospects spent most of their time doing drills, and sprinkled in a little 4-vs-4 scrimmaging. This was just enough to give us a little taste of what these players had at a very basic level. It is true that none of these drills can truly gauge what a player will do in the NHL, against actually adult players, but it did give us a good idea of what raw talent they may have.

The Blackhawks trotted out a few of their golden show ponies, as they do every year, and paraded them in front of the media. High former draft picks like Alex Debrincat and Graham Knott were on hand as well as this year's first round pick Henri Jokiharju. Naturally, the mainstream media spend the week leading up to the camp slobbering all over these players, which turned out to be some time wasted, but this is nothing new.

Unfortunately, last year's bell of the ball, Alexandre Fortin, was recovering from recent sports hernia surgery, so he was not available to participate in on ice activities. I, for one, was looking forward to seeing more of him, after he stormed through camp last year like a bat out of hell and earned himself an NHL contract. I guess we'll have to wait until September to see more of him, but word on the street is that he added about 20 pound since last summer. That could be very dangerous to other prospects looking for a shot, if he carries that weight well and it doesn't slow him down.

The question this year was just who would stand out and, possibly, earn themselves a spot with the NHL club this October. Spoiler Alert; none of them did. This is not a bad thing, though. Rarely do players in these camps stand out so vividly that they force the team's hand. This camp is for assessing future talent, which is something everyone should remember. FUTURE TALENT, not current.

Enough of me yammering on, let's get to the players. First of all, I'll give you the bad news...

  • Alex Debrincat - The first thing I have to express strongly is that I do NOT hate Alex Debrincat. I do NOT want him to fail. I do NOT want him to be a bust. I hope this kid develops into a really good top 6 forward someday. SOMEDAY! At this moment in time, Alex Debrincat is not ready to play in the NHL. Period. Make up excuses all you'd like. The reason I have been so adamant about this kid is the relentless media horseshit we've all been fed by the shovel load about his bum slaying stats in the OHL against kids. He does not have the raw skill to step off the OHL ice and into the NHL. That's the bottom line.

    First of all, you're probably all aware that he's a really short player. He might be 5'6"/5'7" and it "reported" to weigh in the area of 160 pounds. You can rattle off names like Martin St. Louis, Jeff Skinner, Tyler Johnson and Tyler Ennis but he's not as fast as ANY of these guys, nor does he had the lower body strength, yet. He needs to improve his foot speed, or he's going to have an incredibly hard time against much bigger NHL adults. We watched him play 1-on-1, 2-on-1, 2-on-2, 3-on-2, 3-on-3, and 4-on-4. In none of those drills did he stand out. In fact, he struggled against any players that had size or knew how to use a proper gap against him. He would get frustrated, lose the puck, and spend the remaining time unsuccessfully trying to get the puck back. He certainly scored a couple of times, but not anything close to the complete domination that we were all told we were going to see.

    "In those drill you're not going to see his true talent for finding soft spots in the defense". This is something else we've all been fed, right? Friday, they played a full 5-on-5 game situation. He was no more noticeable than the free agent invitees. He didn't pull an end to end Teuvo Teravainen play from a few years ago. He didn't hang out in the slot and snipe lasers from the top of the circle. He was AVERAGE. Like it or not, that's the truth. Accept it, or you're going to be sadly disappointed. Unless he miraculously finds top end foot speed in two months, he needs to probably spend most of the next season in Rockford working on separation speed against pro players. Stop slapping unrealistic expectations on 19 year old players who aren't ready. Let him develop and ease him in. You're only setting him up for failure and yourself for immense disappointment. Haven't we learned by now???
  • Graham Knott - I'll be the first to admit that I rarely know much about these prospects the night they are drafted. I need to see them on the ice, in their element, to know what they bring. Knott puzzled me from the first time I saw him, and puzzles me to this day. He is certainly big, which may be what the Hawks saw. As of the last, THREE prospect camps, he has shown only that. He should change his name to Graham Nott. I certainly like big players. Ones that can actually play, though. I really liked John Hayden in prospect camp. Radovan Bondra was great 2 years ago. Matheson Iacopelli, and Beau Starrett had a nice camp this year. I'm completely baffled as to what the Blackhawks saw, or want from Knott, though. He's not even slightly quick. He's not overly strong. He doesn't shoot exceptionally hard or accurately. He doesn't even get his shot off relatively fast. He is big, slow and lumbering. Just a guy. They played him at center in the scrimmage, so maybe they want him to be the next Dennis Rasmussen. Even that is quite a reach. I'd expect a little more out of a player that was drafted 54th overall.

    Maybe he develops into something handy, but at the moment, he's JUST a big dude, which isn't going to earn you an NHL job.

    ...unless you can fight. Then it gets you in the All-Star game.

You can poke your head out from under the covers, because now I'm going to give you the good news (and prove to you that I'm not all doom and gloom)...


  • Dylan Sikura - This kid is something else. Most of us have heard that he had a nice season at Northeastern University in New England, but he delivered the payload, and more. This all from a SIXTH round pick. He came into camp and backed up his reputation from the moment he stepped on the ice, and never let off the gas. He was scoring goals, using his speed, and looking like a high round draft pick. I will be utterly shocked if he doesn't place high for the Hobey Baker this year. The Blackhawks need to sign him to a contract the second his college season ends, too, because he's got the tools to be a valuable player. If you don't believe me, look at this play during the scrimmage from our boy Aaron at Blackhawk Up. Sikura doesn't score on the play, but that is only because of a great effort by Matt Tomkins. The moves and skill are exciting as hell.




  • Collin Delia - OK, Egregious goalie fanboy time. You all know I'm a goalie, and I pay close attention to the position. I'm a goalie geek, and this kind of camp might be the best opportunity for me to see the raw skills of young goalies. This also especially important right now, with the turnover of the depth in the organization. That said, I saw this free agent kid play last summer, and didn't know a damn thing about him. Immediately, I really liked what I saw. He had really compact stance, and a quick glove. He was smooth side to side, and didn't over slide the play. He was calm, and relaxed most of the time. Just a good looking player. He went back and played his Junior year at Merrimack and played very well. These were all reasons I was stoked to hear he was coming back this summer. He did not disappoint me at all, and he actually made me look like I might know something (Thanks Collin, I owe you a $20).

    From the moment he stepped on the ice, he was the best goalie in camp. He looked better and even more composed than last year. His glove looked better and he was very loose. I don't often get excited about goalies in prospect camp, because in a butterfly style world most goalies looks very similar. If the Blackhawks don't scoop him up (and they definitely should) some team will snatch him up and you'll hear his name again. This is a player you take a chance on. I'm standing by my word.




  • Tim Soderlund - Scott Powers gave us a little taste of the Tim Soderlund show before he ever stepped on the ice for the Blackhawks, and Soderlund showed everyone that attended what Scotty was talking about. He is a smallish player, which scares me right out of the chute, but he has something Debrincat doesn't have; speed. Granted, he is a couple of inches taller but not much. Another trait Soderlund has is that he goes hard to the net, no matter who is in his way. He plays the puck tough in the corners and he can dish the puck, as well. He's a well rounded player. Keep your eyes on this guy, because he will be in the mix shortly, until they have to throw him in to get out from under Seabrook's deal.




  • Mathias From - Not a guy that received a lot of mainstream attention, but he reminded me a little of Phillip Danault, even though From is a wing. He has very deceptive speed and whizzed by defensemen more than a couple of times on 1-on-1 drills. The place where is lacks is finishing. In camp and in his stats, you don't see many goals out of him. This doesn't mean he can't turn into a bottom 6 bulldog of a forechecker and speedy defensive specialist. He has the size, at 6'1" 190. He is worth keeping an eye out for.




  • Jack Ramsey - I didn't have anything worth noting last summer with Ramsey, but he definitely gave us all a show this week. He was named the best player on the winning white team, in Friday's scrimmage, and was very noticeable mostly because of his size. Did I mention that he had 2 goals in that scrimmage?

    The first thing, though, that caught my eye was his quick, accurate shot. Monday, In a couple of drills, he sent some laser beam, one timers over the goalie's blockers. This continued the entire week. Now don't get me wrong, Ramsey is a SEVENTH round draft pick (208th overall). He has a combined ONE goal and TEN points in his entire two year, 67 game college career, but he was on fire this week. Might be the best hockey he has played in his entire life. Good for him.




  • Chad Krys - I had heard about his disappointing season this last year, which left him off the USA U-18 roster, so I wasn't expecting much. The only thing I can imagine is that he was injured, because Krys looked like a really nice player in this camp. Not many defensemen stood out, but Krys showed his great skating off the entire week. If he has a bounce back year at Boston University, there could be a lot of attention paid next summer. Luckily the Blackhawks have the option of letting him marinate in college and don't need to rush him along.



  • These are just a few of the highlights, but players like Iacopelli, Will Pelletier, Matthew Highmore, Roy Radke, Henri Jokiharju and Matt Tomkins all had a nice week, as well. Feel free to take a look at my notes below. If you have any more inquiries, please email me at PuckinHostile@gmail.com.

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    Tuesday, July 11, 2017

    Blackhawks Prospect/Development Camp
    Rosters and Schedule Released



    The Blackhawks released their roster and schedule for next week's prospect/development camp, this morning. Here are a few notes to keep in mind:
    • Alexandre Fortin, Fredrik Olofsson and Jakub Galvas are listed as "injured" and are listed for off ice activities only.
    • Only six free agent invitees on the rosters (seven if you include Roy Radke). This is down quite a bit from the past camps.
    • Former Merrimack goalie, and Hostile favorite, Collin Delia is not listed as a free agent but actually is.
    • Two of the seven free agent invitees (Joey Keane, Brogan Rafferty) are from Chicago area (Homer Glen/Dundee).
    • Three of the seven free agent invitees are goalies (Collin Delia, Kyle Keyser, Hayden Lavigne).
    • Rockford's Will Pelletier (24) is the oldest and free agent invitee Joey Keane is the youngest (18 on 7/2).
    • Those hoping to see actual scrimmages any day other than Friday will be disappointed, which means If you plan to go Friday, it'll be a madhouse unless you get there early
    • Unless you are a big fan of drills, Monday through Thursday will be a wasted trip for you. Plan accordingly.
    • This camp has truly gone from a prospect search to a organizational development camp. Less hockey and free agents; more training and prospects from the organization.
    • No Russian prospects are attending

    Check out the group rosters and schedule for the week, below:




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    Tuesday, July 4, 2017

    2017-18 Chicago Blackhawks
    Salary Cap Hits

    This will be a running ticker throughout the season. Roster members are only estimated until the season begins.


    by Gatekeeper
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    Puckin Hostile Shoutcast
    Episode 86


    In this Puckin Hostile Shoutcast Episode 86 (the Teuvo Teravainen memorial episode) Gatekeeper, and Norton are joined by another www.BlackhawkUp.com writer Aaron Goldschmidt for 3 1/2 hours of actual hockey talk.

    But first make sure you let this guy know that one doesn't put ketchup on eggs:


    The topics discussed include:
    -Fatrick doesn't even make it to the starting line, so Norton wears two Fatrick hats
    -We have a hard time finding much we don't all agree on
    -#NoKetchupOnEggs
    -Screw that prima donna Ilya Kovalchuk
    -More on the Blackhawks Panarin and Hjalmarsson trades
    -We completely gloss over the Marcus Kruger trade, just to chafe Fatrick's behind
    -Don't forget the draft
    -Free agency opens with a Blackhawks whimper
    -The rest of the NHL does their free agency thing
    -Listener/Reader 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:
    http://www.facebook.com/BlackAndTanSports
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    Saturday, July 1, 2017

    Chicago Blackhawks
    2017 Free Agent Ticker


    Here is your running ticker of Blackhawks signings or transactions. We will provide a more comprehensive recap after the festivities wrap up.

    Blackhawks Trades

    Blackhawks Free Agent Signings
    • Blackhawks sign wing Patrick Sharp for one year at $800,000, with reported bonuses.
    • Blackhawks sign center/forward Tommy Wingels for one year.
    • Blackhawks sign goalie Jean-Francois Berube for two years at a reported $750,000 per.
    • Blackhawks sign defenseman Jordan Oesterle for two years at a reported $650,000 per.
    • Blackhawks sign center Lance Bouma for one year.
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    Friday, June 23, 2017

    Chicago Blackhawks
    2017 Entry Draft Ticker


    Here is your running ticker of Blackhawks picks and transactions. We will provide a more comprehensive recap after the festivities wrap up.

    Blackhawks Trades
    • The Blackhawks traded defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson to the Arizona Coyotes for defenseman Connor Murphy and Forward Laurent Dauphin.
    • Blackhawks traded Artemi Panarin, Tyler Motte and their 2017 6th-Round pick to Columbus for Wing Brandon Saad, Goalie Anton Forsberg, and their 2018 5th-Round pick
    • Blackhawks acquired a 2017 fourth-round pick (No. 112) from the Vancouver Canucks for a 2017 fifth-round pick (No. 135) and a 2017 sixth-round pick (No. 181)

    Blackhawks Draft Picks

    Player Twitter Accounts

    Special short Post Trades / Post 1st Round Friday night bonus Shoutcast:
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    Puckin Hostile Shoutcast
    Episode 84


    In this Puckin Hostile Shoutcast Episode 84 (the Marian Hossa memorial episode) Gatekeeper, Fatrick, and Norton are joined by long time friend of the site, www.BlackhawkUp.com big dog, and former fellow southwest sider Keith Schultz.

    The topics discussed include:
    -The NHL falling ass backwards into the successful expansion coverage
    -The NHL awards
    -The expansion draft came and went
    -Blackhawks exposed/protected list
    -Marian Hossa will miss the season and is likely retiring
    -#MonsterCarDerby
    -Some big trades throughout the NHL
    -Much Blackhawks speculation
    -Listener/Reader 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:
    http://www.facebook.com/BlackAndTanSports
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    Thursday, June 22, 2017

    Truth and Lies:
    The Marian Hossa Saga

    by Gatekeeper



    The Blackhawks, and the entire NHL, have had a pretty eventful couple of days this week. Unless you are living in "Fatrick's basement terror", you probably expected some Blackhawks moves, but none of us were really ready for what was reported late Tuesday night by Elliotte Friedman, then confirmed by the team early Wednesday morning. As originally reported by John Jaeckel as early as June 10th (but not confirmed by team sources) and followed up shortly thereafter by Jay Zawaski, The team announced that Marian Hossa would miss the entire 2017-18 season to deal with complication relating to a skin disorder that he has been undergoing treatment for. According to the team and their staff, Hossa has been dealing with this disorder for a while, but the treatment can only go on so long before it becomes not only ineffective but detrimental. It was also released that his hockey equipment actually makes the skin condition worse, which was impeding treatment. Anyone who has played a sport that requires this kind of equipment can attest to the fact that it can sometimes rub your skin raw, without any skin disorders.

    Anyhow, I have to be completely honest; I have taken Hossa for granted during his time in Chicago. We all probably have. The guy is a slam dunk Hall of Famer, a crucial ingredient to the three cups, and one of the great gentleman in the game. It is perfectly alright to admit that you took him for granted. He flies under the radar while the flashier players hold the spotlight, but he just does everything well. When I got a Hossa jersey from my wonderful Fiancée this Christmas, I seriously contemplated trading it in for a Crawford or Panarin. As I sat and thought about this conundrum, it occurred to me that what I was contemplating was utter lunacy. Marian Hossa might be one of the most under rated players in Hawks, and maybe NHL, history. I hung onto the jersey, and I'm so grateful that I did. He is arm in arm with Jonathan Toews as the Blackhawks player that I would want my son to model himself after, which is why I was elated that my little guy got a Hossa jersey for his birthday, to go with his Toews one jersey. Hossa is a player that you don't truly miss or appreciate until he's not here. We are all going to find that out in about four months.

    The follow-up around the Assholenet was not unexpected, but stupid nonetheless. Most Blackhawks fans were sentimental and sad. Outside of the Hawks fan base, there were all kinds of conspiracy theorists crying foul. Accusations that the Blackhawks were circumventing the salary cap with Hossa's impending long term injured reserve status. This is a fair point on the surface, until you actually break it down. Hossa is coming off a resurgence where he scored 26 goals, which goes to show that he is still a very effective player in this league. He is a perfect mentor to the new generation of players coming up. He is a great ambassador of the game and franchise. His cap hit is manageable based on his production. More importantly, he will only cost the Blackhawks $1 million in actual dollars for the next four seasons. Finally, the Blackhawks are just a worse team without him. The LTIR is the only advantage, but is that $5 million overage allowance worth losing a player the quality and stature of Marian Hossa?

    Unequivocally NO!

    If I'm Stan Bowman, I want Hossa to stick it out for another season or two, to usher in the next generation. There will be enough turnover and turmoil this summer on the Blackhawks roster. Another loss, especially of this magnitude, is terribly painful.

    That won't stop the snarky Twitter WebMD experts and NHL conspiracy theorists, though.


    The part of this story that a lot of people don't quite understand is that Marian Hossa is not recovering and coming back. He is done playing hockey! This is an unofficial retirement from the NHL. The only reason he won't officially retire is that the Blackhawks cap recapture penalties (roughly $4 million a season) would be crippling. Folks, this is not a "take one season off" thing. We have seen Marian Hossa play his last hockey game. These same sources that had this information also unanimously called it a retirement. When Jay Zawaski flat out asked his "guy" if there was a chance Hossa would return, this is the response he got:


    This is from a source close to the team and Hossa. Believe it, people. The Marian Hossa era is over.
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    Thursday, June 8, 2017

    Blackhawks Sign Czech Defenseman
    More Moves to Come

    by Gatekeeper


    The Blackhawks announced early yesterday morning that they had signed 6'3" 200 lb Czech defenseman Jan Rutta, which had be speculated by John Jaeckel as far back as May 19th. Financial terms to the deal have not yet been announced.

    It appears as though this signing finally signals the exit of noted lightning rod Trevor van Riemsdyk from the Blackhawks. I want to, again, clarify what I have said all along about van Riemsdyk. He's a fine 5-6 defenseman and could even fill in elsewhere, in a pinch. My contention has always been that Joel Quenneville miscast him and set him up to fail, thus making him look a lot worse to the naked eye. In no scenario should Trevor van Riemsdyk have been in the Blackhawks top 4.

    I digress, though; van Riemsdyk looks to be headed to the Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft, which should be a great opportunity for him. If reports are true, the Golden Knights will acquire Marcus Kruger in a trade with the understanding that the Blackhawks will expose van Riemsdyk for the Golden Knights to select in the expansion draft. These moves will save the Blackhawks just under $4 million in cap room, which will still leave them roughly $500K over last year's threshold, not including Rutta's contract.

    As far as Rutta goes, the contract is an entry level contract but, since he's 26 the deal can only be for one year and cannot exceed $925,000. Even though the terms have not been announced, but I would expect them to be in the area of Michal Kempny's incentive laden $700,000 last season.

    Rutta is actually a bigger, slightly older and hopefully better version of van Riemsdyk and retains something that the Blackhawks have coveted for quite a while, which is that he is a right handed shooter. They currently only have Brent Seabrook, the corpse of Michal Rozsival, and van Riemsdyk as righties with any kind of NHL experience. Pending UFA Ville Pokka, Robin Press, and Jake Ryczek are the only right handed defenseman in the entire system, so if the Blackhawks are going to sign some more, I'd bet on some more right handers.

    In other news, There have been no official announcements on the team site, yet, but several outlets have reported that the Blackhawks have also hired former NHL defenseman and AHL Charlotte Checkers coach Ulf Samuelsson to fill Mike Kitchen's vacant spot on the coaching staff. Brian Hedger also tweeted that the Blackhawks are in the process of hiring Wisconsin associate coach Don Granato for an organizational position, as well.
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    Wednesday, June 7, 2017

    Puckin Hostile Shoutcast
    Episode 83


    The team is back in 83rd Puckin Hostile Shoutcast (the Vernon Fiddler episode) Gatekeeper, Fatrick, Bryan, and Norton. The dream team comes back from their month long hiatus on this Slayer day (6/6) firing and slinging insults.

    The topics discussed include:
    -We're back from the old tired graveyard like a fax machine or a 56K modem
    -Gate is back from Cancun, and another great In Flames show
    -Fatrick is back from his catfishing expedition
    -Norton's mouth is running like his hair is on fire
    -TOOL is #BetterThatPearlJam
    -ESPN Dumps almost their entire hockey department
    -Sweden wins the IIHF World Championships
    -Screw Ilya Kovalchuk right in the butt
    -Rockford gets a new head coach
    -Blackhawks trade Scott Darling away
    -Blackhawks sign David "Mein" Kampf
    -Blackhawks targeting other FA college and European players
    -Deal and expansion draft speculation
    -Listener/Reader questions
    -And of course, as always, an abundance of extremely inappropriate references, jag-douchery, 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:
    http://www.facebook.com/BlackAndTanSports
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    Thursday, June 1, 2017

    Report from Hostile Headquarters

    by Gatekeeper


    Greetings, Hostile faithful.

    I just wanted to raise from the (almost) dead and give everyone an update on the site, podcast, and such.

    After our (too short) May hiatus, we're coming back to you this next Tuesday night with Shoutcast episode 83. Please send your questions in to @HawksShoutcast on the Twitterz or PuckinHostile at Gmail. The more the better, because there isn't anything going on in Blackhawks land at the moment. We plan on dragging you all through the summer kicking and screaming with all the usual nonsense and ass-hattery, but we also want to hear from you. If you have a segment idea, let us know. I'd like to do some new things this summer. Do you want to hear more of something? Less of something? Would you like us to reach out to a particular guest? Let us know. We are not above anything, in fact, we are probably beneath just about everyone and everything.

    I'd like to take advantage of the time, this summer, to possibly try and do a remote podcast somewhere with the local Hostile members. We could invite some of the listeners to sit down, chat, and talk Blackhawks. I really think it would be a fun way to meet some of you and put some voices/faces with the names. Mullets Sportsbar in Homer Glen is usually our default spot, but I'm really open to anything reasonable and central. Again, offer your input, because we are absolute dullards.

    For the NHL entry draft, here in Chicago, Fatrick and I will be there for the first night. We might even get the big guy out for day two, but don't hold your breath. We can't afford to lose the readership/listenership. I will hopefully be there for both days, and all 7 rounds. If you're going to be there, let me know. I'd love to shake the hands of our "fives of fans", and personally thank you for your loyalty.

    We will, of course, also be covering all the usual summer Hawks events like the expansion draft, free agency and prospect camp, as per usual. I plan on getting out to personally see the baby Hawks at prospect camp for at least a couple of days.

    Finally, I have been bringing this up on the past few Shoutcasts, but we could really use some help with recaps this next season. Ken Kallembach has offered to jump in and take some, but we can never have enough good people helping out. Even five games taken off our schedules helps.

    Thanks again for your support. If you could do one thing for us, please spread the word. Our traffic and downloads have been growing by leaps and bounds, and it's all because of your continued support. Please, share our site and podcast with your friends and family. Even torture your enemies with Fatrick's inappropriate jokes, or Norton's conversations with his parents.

    That said, We will be in your ears, offending your brain again next Wednesday.

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    Friday, May 12, 2017

    Darnit, The NHL Needz Moar Goalz
    Kill Da Goaleez

    by Gatekeeper


    The entire reason I started this website was to keep track and publish my idiotic rants. Over the last 7 years this as morphed into more of a reporting and news site, but occasionally there are hockey related issues that just grind my fucking gears. Buckle up, Hostile fans, because today is one of those particular days. You can thanks apparent idiot Mark Spector of Sportsnet and his stupid tweet:



    Now, by this point in time, most of you know that I have dressed up as (and attempted to play) goalie for roughly 30 years. Sure, yes, I'm just a short, old, bald beer league goalie and probably a bad-to-mediocre one, at that. I have, though, seen a shot or two in my day (most of them whizzing by me into the net).

    Today, folks, was my tipping point. I have watched media falsely blame goalies for this fake "goal problem" the NHL has claimed. The league and the media have demonized goalies for adapting and developing from pudgy outcasts who couldn't skate, into real actual athletes for long enough. All the while, coaches have created defensive systems to choke the game (and fans) to sleep. Seriously, Watch a goalie from 1985 move out on the ice and then watch one of them move now. It's almost a different sport altogether. The position is certainly completely different, outside of the name. Thanks to goaltending coaches and youth programs that cater specifically to the position, goalies have just caught up to the rest of the players. No longer are the goalies just the fat kids that can't skate who get cast off by the coaches as weird little, barely useful, freaks. Goalies today can skate well, they are certainly the most flexible players on the ice, and have virtually perfected actual styles/methods. Goalies before 1995 had a style called "Just get in front of the puck". Very little of this development has to do with the actual equipment, but lets go over this:

    -The gloves and blockers are probably slightly bigger than the ones used in 1985, but the flex on the lighter composite sticks also allow players to shoot much faster and harder than what is natural. An inch here or there won't add more than a couple goals a year, if that. The gloves are built better and actually flex much better than old gear.
    -The chest and arm pads might be able to use some tweaking on the design but, again, you're not going to change any underlying goal numbers by tweaking the shoulder protection. Once again, players shoot harder and faster than they ever have. If you reduce the padding, you'll have many more goalie injuries.
    -The legs pads are certainly taller, but when you really break them down, they aren't considerably wider. They just hold their form longer, which makes them seem wider. So, great, cut the height down. They addressed the width years ago. It's not going to matter. Nothing changed.
    -The masks are actually more form fitting than a big thick helmet, thus streamlined.
    -The skates are MUCH smaller than the old bozo cowling style skates and, again, streamlined. This hasn't miraculously resulted in any more goals, though.
    -The pants are pants. The league made them tighter and it changed nothing as far as goals per game.
    -The sticks are basically the same size they have always been. Goalies have just learned how to use them more effectively.

    The bottom line is that goalies are just bigger, faster, more flexible, stronger and more well versed in the method of their craft. If they change any of the padding, you won't see a god damn difference whatsoever. There is nothing you can do, outside of eliminating the position altogether and just skating six players, that will give you goal production like the late 80s and early 90s. The game is completely different. Coaches are adding complex systems to choke the speed down, while sucking any creativity whatsoever out of players.

    Think I'm full of it?

    In Chicago alone, and outside of the few upper echelon players, when was the last time you saw a 3rd line forward NOT benched for trying, and failing, with some kind of unique or creative move? Never. If they pull it off, the coach whispers, "nice play, but don't ever pull that shit again". If they fail, which happens more often that not, they get stapled to the bench. There is no room for creativity in this old boys network NHL.


    Just look at the PK Subban saga, for example. Guy is creative, charismatic, and super talented. In every other sport, teams would be begging for a player like that. Instead, he was run out of Montreal for an older, safe, vanilla guy. NHL "experts" like asshole Mike Milbury are calling him a clown for showing some personality; IN WARMUPS! The guy that climbed into the crowd and beat a fan with his own shoe. Seriously? Fuck this league. Fuck the media. And, fuck the "experts". Grow up or you're going to kill this league.


    So, back to my original point. Mark Spector want to chop goalie sticks off, so that they no longer extend out past the blocker. He wants to turn goalie sticks into blunt machetes, with the equivalent hockey effectiveness of a whiffle ball bat.

    No more poke checking.
    No more playing the puck.
    No more playing the paddle down in a scrum or to stop wrap-a-rounds.

    Because Alex Ovechkin hit the shaft of a goalie stick in the playoffs, once. You know what this "solution" also gives goalies? A much more manageable weapon to swing at other players, while trying to protect themselves.

    You think I'm full of shit?

    Try swinging a fairly dense five and half foot stick with one hand at someone. It's not easy. It takes room, a decent wind-up, and possibly two hands to even get the thing around. Still not buying my theory? Take a goalie stick, or even just a five and half foot stick, to a batting cage and try to hit baseballs with it. Good luck!

    Now, cut that stick in half and swing it at a baseball, golf ball or anything, for that matter. Much easier. It's now a legitimate weapon, intended or not. If I'm getting hacked, whacked and run over all game, you bet your ass that my natural reaction will be to protect myself with what I have available. If it means sticking my blocker hand up in someone's face to keep them from injuring me, so be it. Hell, I used to carry a 2 foot section of a hockey stick under my car seat, just in case I needed to defend myself. They make players drop broken sticks on the ice for a reason. That's because it's easier to use as a weapon or projectile. Safety, right?

    Unless you're a goalie.

    I'm not even going to get into the entire physics of a full length goalie stick, but making a simple save of a puck coming in at even 70MPH, with half a stick, would become much, much harder because there is less actual material to absorb the impact.

    You know what this stupid league needs?

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    Thursday, May 11, 2017

    Blackhawks extend some Panik

    by Gatekeeper


    The Blackhawks certainly went out this season with hardly a whimper, but they are making waves in the offseason, thus far. After trading the UFA negotiating rights for Scott Darling, and his subsequent lucrative 4 year extension in Carolina, the Blackhawks signed RW Richard Panik to a 2 year extension, Thursday morning.

    I like to jokingly took credit for Richard Panik's ascension up the Blackhawks depth chart, but even I didn't think he would play this well. He showed some promise the previous year, but this was all in limited ice time. I like a lot of what Panik brings to the Blackhawks. He has some decent size, a little snarl to his game, and can play in that "I won't kill you if I'm in the top 6" role that his predecessor, Andrew Shaw, made famous. That snarl, though, can come along with some bonehead plays, also much like his predecessor. Panik has certainly been prone to some frustrating on ice brain farts, as well. As the season went, he tightened up his play a bit, and finished the season appearing in all 82 regular season games, netting 22 goals, and amassing 44 points after taking a $100K salary cut to stay in Chicago. While he hit that inevitable wall about 2/3rds of the way through the season, he didn't totally disappear. His playoff disappearance can be mostly attributed to Joel Quenneville's obsessive line tinkering which left him dangling on the bottom 6, suddenly.

    Playing devil's advocate, here, Richard Panik has only eclipsed the 44 point mark one other time in his adult life; in the OHL; in 2010; at 18 years old.

    Let us all be reminded that Panik actually took a $100K pay cut to remain in Chicago, last season. I like him on this team for the right price, but I have to question giving a depth guy $2.8 Million for the next 2 seasons, though, when you're so close to cap hell already. He would have been an RFA, and the Blackhawks could have matched any deal. This deal also raises the question of whether the Blackhawks protect him in the upcoming expansion draft, which I have to assume is a definitive "maybe". They will most certainly leave Jordin Tootoo unprotected, and they then need to either sign another forward to expose or leave one of Kruger, Panik or Hartman exposed. If they stay in their current situation, one would believe that Ryan Hartman is protected and Bowman's decision is down to exposing Kruger or Panik. I would guess that player is Marcus Kruger.

    Still many cards left to deal this summer...

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    Tuesday, May 2, 2017

    The Chicago Blackhawks
    Great Goalie Conundrum

    by Gatekeeper


    Last week, the Blackhawks traded the negotiating rights for pending UFA Scott Darling to the Carolina Hurricanes for a third round draft pick. This move looks to have signaled the direction the Blackhawks have chosen in goal, moving forward. Previously, It has been floated that John McDonough's possible lack of faith in Corey Crawford's demeanor off ice might have tipped their hand, potentially leading to the Blackhawks unloading his 3 remaining years at $6 each. This, along with the fact that his contract has a limited no trade clause rather than the full no trade clause most other core players have, made the Corey Crawford trade a very real possibility. The fact that Darling appears to be prepared to test the open market, which would put him far out of the Hawks price range, as a backup. If the Blackhawks unloaded Corey Crawford before or shortly after the draft, they could have fit Darling in at a number most likely lower than Crawford's $6 million. This indicates that Bowman was fairly certain Crawford was going nowhere, and Bowman recovered a pick, rather than lose Darling for nothing.

    I have been one of the the biggest Corey Crawford apologists in the Blackhawks blogosphere, since 07-08 when I saw him shut out the Ducks in Anaheim. I had decided that he was ready to be the next Blackhawks goalie. He would be the backup to starter Nikolai Khabibulin in 08-09, and eventually take over in 09-10. Then began the ever painful Cristobal Huet era, which pushed those hopes down the road. The emergence of a young, cheaper, and waiver exempt Finnish former Zamboni driver named Antti Niemi also put a hold on my foreseen plans. Eventually, Crawford's patience paid off, and he won a couple of Stanley Cups for the beloved Blackhawks. He's never truly gotten the due he deserves, either, in this city. He's been subject to just a bit less undue criticism than Jay Cutler, which is astounding. That said, the facts got the better of me and, even though I'm a big fan, I had already said my goodbyes. I even passed on grabbing a nice Crawford sweater, because it was likely to be irrelevant shortly. The fact that it won't be irrelevant for, at least, one more season is pretty relieving, actually. Sorry, #LemontNativeScottDarling fan club, but Corey Crawford is currently a better goalie. For this, I'm grateful they decided not to go down the road of anointing the still truly unproven prodigal son as starter.

    Let me get this out of the way right off the bat; I like Scott Darling. I like his story. I think he's very strong in a several areas, but Blackhawks fans have been lulled into this callow confidence lately, regarding goalies. This confidence had led to many fantastic fallacies regarding the position in Blackhawks land. This story has happened many times before. The no-name backup has some success in a limited, sheltered role thus winning over the casual fan base and ostracizing the more deserving incumbent, while causing undeserved friction and blame. Did I hit all the check boxes? More often than not, the back-up never reaches the full level of their success they had in that limited sheltered role. Opposing teams do not generally game plan for backup goaltenders, as they focus on the primary starters. Darling has been able to successfully fly under the radar, and do it very well. That said, being an NHL back-up netminder and an NHL starting goaltender are two completely different animals. Once his weaknesses are truly exposed, results will differ. The Darling truthers will be quick to point out the 2015 playoffs against the Nashville Predators. Yes, that was a excellent performance. What these truthers fail to realize is that Darling didn't bail out Corey Crawford. He bailed out the entire god damn Blackhawks team. They were playing very similar to this year's team, and Darling went on a high improbable run. What these truthers also conveniently forget is that Scott Darling lost game five, 5-2, with a very pedestrian 24 save, .857 sv% performance. In game six, Darling gave up 3 goals on 12 shots in the first period and was pulled for Corey Crawford, who subsequently shut out the Preds for the remaining 49 minutes. So, you tell me; who bailed out who? Short memories we have in Meatball Fantasy World.


    Now, I truly don't want this to be a Scott Darling bash-a-palooza. Like I said many times, I like him. His story is amazing. He is a fellow southwest suburban Chicago area guy (via Newport News). He has overcome a potentially career derailing drinking issue. What is not to like? He is the "every man". The big bearded, tattooed guy down the street. He has also earned his shot at the big money and a starting job. I cannot deny any of that. Just not in Chicago. Had Crawford been shipped out in favor of the Meatball Hero, we would be witnessing a somewhat similar scenario to Eddie Belfour getting pushed out the door for Ulf Dahlen/Michal Sykora/Chris Terreri in favor of Jeff Hackett, thus beginning the dark are of Blackhawks seasons. Certainly, that is a little more drastic comparison, but the gravity of the move would be similar, as to how it would affect the Blackhawks going forward.

    On the flip side, Corey Crawford is going to be 33, and had a slight decline in production this year. He has also had a couple of injuries that have had him sidelined for significant time, the past few years. Here are a few facts regarding Chicago's "Hockey Cutler":

    • He is probably no longer the top 5 goalie he was in the recent past but he is still, without a doubt, a top 10 NHL goalie. Deny, fight and argue this all you want, but the stats support these facts and so does the the eye test, for people not wearing rose colored bifocals.
    • His $6 million salary is NOT over inflated. Crawford is tied for 7th in starting goalie salaries (Lundqvist, Bobrovsky, Rask, Rinne, Price, Holtby, tied with Schneider and Miller). Of the combined seven goalies ahead of him, there is one goalie with a single Stanley Cup (Tuukka Rask). Basically, his salary is right where it belongs, based on the market value.
    • Corey Crawford deserved the Conn Smythe trophy in 2015 and, outside of the first round, deserved it for 2013, as well. Just ask his teammates. They make no bones about it, and if anyone knows who the playoff MVP was, they would.
    • Crawford's overall career save percentage is 12th (9th among active goalies). Since 2012-13 he is only behind Price, Rask, Holtby, Bobrovsky and Craig Anderson in overall save percentage.
    • "High danger save percentage is the true measure of a goalie", some will say. OK. Since 2012-13 Corey Crawford's high danger save percentage among starting goalies with over 5000 minutes played is .823, which ranks him 8th out of 56 possible goalies. This is better than Bobrovsky, Fleury, Quick, Miller, Rask, and many others (Rinne's is 3ed worst over this time period). His medium and low danger percentage isn't ranked as high, which is probably why the average meatball watches Crawford and flips out. The guy makes his money in high danger situations, and this is what you're looking for in a starter. Side note: Darling ranks highly in most of these categories, but is also sheltered as a backup, and played 1/4 of the games.

    My point here is only to show you that Corey Crawford is a perfectly fine, top 3rd, starting goalie.

    As far as the depth behind Crawford goes, the Blackhawks are currently simply screwed. The only goalie left in the system that is under contract is 31 year old, world traveler, Jeff Glass. In a pinch, you could probably shelter him enough to be the backup for a few games. Otherwise, Jeff Glass is an average AHL goalie. End of discussion. Behind Glass (pun intended), the Blackhawks have the rights to prospects Ivan Nalimov, Matt Tomkins, and probably the most promising of the bunch, Wouter Peeters. Last year's Rockford goalies, Lars Johansson and Mac Carruth, are both UFAs on July first and Carruth definitely won't be back. That is a sad state of affairs, folks.

    Now, I would be speaking out of turn if I claimed to be an expert on who they should draft, or sign from the lower levels. I'm just a poor basement dwelling blogger with a day job. I am only familiar with a few names the Blackhawks have flirted with. I would be happy to entertain offers to scout goalies, though.


    No?

    Anyhow, The Indy fuel carried Jake Hildebrand and local guy Eric Levine for most of the season, so the Blackhawks could ink one of them to a pro contract. We could very well see more of them in Rockford. Neither had outstanding numbers in Indy, though.

    A name I have been curious about is 22 year old Merrimack junior Collin Delia. He was at Blackhawks prospect camp last summer and rumor has it that will attend again this year. He has decent size at 6'2" 200, moves very well, and is coming off a really solid College season. He was named as the top goalie in the Hockey East conference and I'd love to see him get a shot. This is an older highlight reel of him from 2012:


    If you'd like to check out the NHL draft prospects, in net, here you go:

    North American Goalies
    European Goalies

    As far as pros go, it's anyone guess. Here are a list of NHL UFA goalies with at least one game played (mind you, some of these are way too rich for the Blackhawks' blood, and assuming Darling is off the market by 7/1):
    • Peter Budaj
    • Steve Mason
    • Ryan Miller
    • Brian Elliott
    • Mike Condon
    • Ben Bishop
    • Jonathan Bernier
    • Chad Johnson
    • Anders Nilsson
    • Keith Kinkaid
    • Curtis McElhinney
    • Darcy Kuemper
    • Jean-Francois Berube
    • Jeremy Smith
    • Ondrej Pavelec
    • Jonas Gustavsson
    • Reto Berra
    • Jhonas Enroth
    • Michael Leighton
    • Justin Peters
    • Magnus Hellberg
    • Pheonix Copley

    The bottom line, here, is that Stan Bowman and his staff will need to work overtime this summer to solidify the completely depleted organizational goaltending depth. Stay buckled for a wild ride.
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    Tuesday, April 25, 2017

    Puckin Hostile Shoutcast
    Episode 82


    In this season wrap-up 82nd Puckin Hostile Shoutcast (the Alexandre Fortin episode) Gatekeeper, Fatrick, Bryan, Norton and grisled Shoutcast vet John Jaeckel of Hockey Buzz talk about the Blackhawks embarrassing and disappointing first round playoff exit.


    The topics discussed include:
    -Hawks swept by the Perds in the first round
    -Blackhawks fans were fed a healthy helping of humble pie
    -We all have some harsh realities for the Blackhawks
    -Mike Kitchen fired. How many more shoes will drop?
    -Hawks players seem hesitant to play in the IIHF World Championships.
    -Listener/Reader questions
    -Big thank you to all the readers and listeners as we go on hiatus for a bit, to decompress and prepare for the off season.
    -And of course, as always, an abundance of extremely inappropriate references, jag-douchery, and jokes in incredibly bad taste

    Fatrick doesn't miss a trip to the drive thru:

    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:
    http://www.facebook.com/BlackAndTanSports
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    Friday, April 21, 2017

    Puckin Hostile
    "The Day After"


    (nice 1983 made-for-TV-movie reference that hardly anyone will get, Gate)

    I just wanted to formally throw out my Hostile postmortem, following last night's horribly disappointing sweeping of the Blackhawks.

    Some of you will be disappointed that this is not a formal McPology, though, however.


    It has been almost exactly 7 years that I have been doing this site, and we have grown more than I could have ever imagined. We have "fives" of fans around the world, a moderately successful podcast, and an actual team of slovenly contributors. I literally could not continue this website, though, without the help of my Puckin Band of Brothers:

    Patrick Stankus came on a few years ago, on a whim, and he honestly saved this website. I was at a point where the commitment was simply too much to do alone. I was whittling the content down to weekly wraps and quickly losing steam. I came up with this silly idea for something, not as time consuming, where I could blow off a little steam and have some fun. The Shoutcast was born. #Fatrick was just going to come on as the initial guest, based on our past coach/player relationship (not that kind of relationship, sickos), but episode 1 was so fun that we just kept going. He soon left the site he was writing for and jumped on this Yak Service flight 666. This flight actually got off the ground, and the rest is Hostile history. We all give him a ton of crap, most of it probably deserving, but I simply could not keep this place afloat without him. Behind the scenes he is an enormous (in stature and influence) contributor behind the content we provide. I love the guy like a brother, and I don't think I could ever thank him enough for hanging in here with me.

    Bryan/AtomicFroster was yet another whim. A hilarious fan and #Fatrick nemesis that I decided to surprise #Fatrick with on a Shoutcast episode and he never left; well for good. A career shift has limited his involvement, but he keeps our international numbers up. That silky voiced hoser has dropped some of the best one liners in Shoutcast history. Look no further than "fives of fans" or "Mrs. Slurpee".

    Norton. Our U17 demographic and future brother-in-law of #Fatrick. He won the draft contest to come on for a Shoutcast, last year, and immediately fit right in. We didn't kidnap and brainwash him or anything. We swear! Luckily for us, he could figure out his way around a keyboard, as well. He has been a life saver for #Fatrick and I. Able to jump in at a moments notice and take some of the load off our plates. Unlike the rest of us, he will actually be continuing his education next year, but I'm sure he'll be sniffing around.

    Even, for as much shit as we give him, Derek left his mark on the site. There are still several photoshops still floating around from him, and the source of endless pot shots for #Fatrick when there is a lull in the action.

    This summer will be eventful, fans. The entry draft will be here in Chicago. The expansion draft will cause some drama. There will be organizational moves. We will have some interesting stories to cover. I look forward to the next chapter in the growing "graphic novel" called Puckin Hostile. There will probably be some adjustments for next season. I'd like to take on a couple more contributors, so I can focus on more of the organ-I-zation, as a whole. Provide more media content. Actually introduce myself to my kids, and spend time with my fiancé.

    Anyhow, I want to make sure I thank all the friends of the site, and podcast guests. Without them, we're just a few #FatAndOutOfShape, basement dwelling, loudmouthed bloggers and a skinny silky Canadian. John Jaeckel from Hockey Buzz, Jay Zawaski from the Score 670, Greg Boysen for LetsGoHawk.net, James Neveau from NBC Chicago Sports, Keith/Colin/Mario/Jake/Aaron/Sean and the rest of the crew from Blackhawk Up, Mike "FigSigArts" Figueroa, John and Jacob from Talkin Hawks, William/Animal Mother from The Biscuit podcast, Billy "Fat tits, freckle face" Beck, and The Hockeenight guys (Forklift and CT). The list goes on and on.

    Most importantly, Thank YOU, the fans. We love to hear ourselves talk, but we actually do this for you. From Beth Sweeney in Rockford to Mary Chastain in Oklahoma City. From Berns in South Africa to JMac in Australia to Heloiza in Brasil. Even the Chicago contingent of Wm_J_Lepetomane, ChiBDM, and all the crazies we correspond with on a daily basis, as well as all the various Facebook commenters and Instagram followers

    Before we decompress, and probably take a few weeks to catch up, we want to know what you fans would like to see. Take a minute to let us know what you'd like to read about, or hear about on the Shoutcast. Maybe you have a guest in mind. Maybe you would like us to have more special segments. Maybe you would like to volunteer someone for "Win A Date With Fatrick".


    Alright, no one would even wish that on their worst enemy...
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    NHL PLAYOFFS
    Chicago Blackhawks vs. Nashville Predators
    4-1 Loss & 4-0 Series Sweep Recap

    "Cowboys From Hell"


    By Patrick Norton

    I’ve started and scrapped eight recaps from tonight’s game. I just can’t seem to put the disappointment into words. Obviously, we’re all a little pissed off and it’s deserved. The inevitable blame game has begun through friendly discussions, social media and group texts. When the Predators scored their fourth goal, my brother texted me wondering if I had set up the “juju” that comes out every playoff season ever since the Blackhawks trailed the Red Wings three games to one in 2013. Not even the shrine of pucks, rally towels, bobbleheads, and red paper over the light bulbs could save the demise of the Blackhawks this time around. 

    And that’s when it struck me; I won’t have the chance to watch any playoff hockey with my brother this year. He’s off at school and wasn’t coming home for another two weeks, so typically the deep runs provide the best chances to watch playoff hockey together. Through the series's versus the Ducks and Lightning in ‘15, even the heart wrenching loss to the Kings in ‘14 (in which my brother and I were at Game Seven of the WCF), and to the incredible comeback against Detroit and the eventual 17 seconds Cup win against the Bruins in ‘13, my brother and I have experienced the best of the best in playoff hockey together. That’s what really kills me. It stung against the Blues, but at least the Hawks put up a fight. This time around, you could just tell that it wasn’t happening and from different regions of the US, we both watched as the Blackhawks were swept away.

    And just like that, it’s over. The reunion with Brian Campbell and Johnny Oduya: over. The hope of completing the improbable with a roster full of rookies: over. Recaps for Puckin’ Hostile: over. A lot came to an end when the final whistle blew, but I think the hardest to cope with is what begins and what arises from this pathetic playoff performance. Until October, we’ll hear of the greatest collapse the hockey world has seen in recent memory and we’ll hear fans, analysts and writers questioning the personnel on and off the ice. Sure, there’s blame to go around, but does that mean clear house? Absolutely not, but a few changes might be in order. Luckily for our readers and listeners, Gate, Fatrick, Bryan, myself and Double J himself, John Jaeckel will attempt to sort through the muck and the sour taste left in our mouths by this series with a playoff recap and an offseason preview shoutcast next week. Until then, that’s enough hockey for a while. Don’t ask me who I’m rooting for now because at this point in time, I couldn’t care any less. (Probably New York or Washington, though) I need a hockey detox for a few days. And hey Blackhawks, next year, if we’re going to lose in the playoffs again, can it not be to a team that will never shut up about it again? Like the Flames or Oilers? Thanks.

    Anyways, I really enjoyed bringing my thoughts to a page this season and I cannot thank our listeners and readers enough for the support they’ve thrown our way. How many seventeen year old bloggers can be welcomed by a community with open arms and not be frightened away? Probably not many, but somehow this all worked out. And while the recaps are finished until October, us meatballs aren’t going anywhere (except for me going to Kansas). We’ll all be here, God willing, next season to bring you the same subpar content we always have. And while I think it’s important to thank all of you, none of this happens without the hilarious content my three partners in crime have provided. 

    Bryan, everybody's favorite Canadian, has always been able to provide me with a laugh, whether it be on the shoutcast or in our group messages. Patrick “Fatrick” Stankus and I clicked on day one. Not only do we both live with our parents, but we both have great senses of humor and a similar body shape.

    At last, The Gatekeeper. We connected through Twitter and I happened to come up with the best idea for an offseason fun draft and was able to join a shoutcast. In all honesty, I just followed these guys on Twitter, but had never listened to a shoutcast. I was extremely confused because I couldn’t place a voice with a name. I actually thought Derek was Bryan and Bryan was Derek. I thought it was odd that Fatrick continually made fun of “Derek” because I couldn’t stop laughing at “Derek’s” jokes. It was only in post-recording when Gate told me I had it backwards. That should’ve been the end of my story with Puckin’ Hostile, but early in the season, someone couldn’t recap a game, so I Semborski’d and stepped up to the plate. I thought I swung and missed, but Gate and the rest of the crew credited me with a solid RBI bloop single. A couple of weeks later, I joined on as a full time recapper. Soon after that, I made my second appearance on a shoutcast and soon after that, Derek made his last. Gate helped me through every step of the way and that’s the honest truth.

    I can’t thank these three men enough for what they’ve done this year. It’s been a pleasure being able to write for Puckin’ Hostile and I cannot wait to crack out the classic “Good, Bad, and Ugly” format next year. 

    And while I hope next years results don’t make for another somber series recap, nothing is guaranteed. That is except for one thing… we’ll be right back here next season rested and ready to go. Now have a good night, hold your head up high because we’ve still won three cups in eight years and as always, don’t be a meathead.

    Oh wait… I was supposed to recap the game? Blackhawks lost the Predators, 4-1 and lost the series, 4-0. We were slow, sloppy and out of touch. Can’t put all the blame on the rookies when Keith, Seabrook and Oduya played like they had a 9 am tee time tomorrow morning. And don't deny that just because Keith put a nice jolt into somebody in the third period. After that, they went flat again. Yet, Kempny was decent and deserves more playing time next season and TVR played like he wanted a Game Five. Our forwards continually dumped and chased, which is fine if it works, but it never opened up the middle of the ice because the Hawks couldn’t win any puck battle. Crawford was okay, but when we needed him to stick with it, even when all hope seemed lost, he looked lost in the crease. We scored two powerplay goals and one even strength goal this series. Pekka Rinne would’ve tied for most points had he played for the Blackhawks. Marian Hossa played a more youthful game than almost everybody, including silly mistakes like the overtime turnover in Game Three, but he still played his ass off. Ryan Hartman turned into Andrew Shaw for some reason. Predators fans suck. Artem Anisimov played through his ankle injury and it was quite apparent he wasn’t 100%. Literally the only players you can’t shovel any blame towards would be Scott Darling and Michal Rozsival because they never played. I don’t know, that was tough to watch. I’m interested to see what happens in the coming weeks.



    How about that for a recap?
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    Tuesday, April 18, 2017

    NHL PLAYOFFS
    Blackhawks at Predators
    3-2 OT Loss Recap

    "Aching Pain In My Chest"



    by Patrick Stankus


    Down two game to none, the Blackhawks traveled to Nashville on Monday night for Game 3 of their first round matchup with the Nashville Predators. The Hawks were looking to save their season after two lacklustre games in Chicago last week. Leading up to the game, many had questioned if Scott Darling would get the call in net for the Hawks, but Joel Quenneville quickly answered those questions by saying Crawford would indeed get the nod in net. With the Hawks facing just about a must win situation, it was time to take to the ice in Nashville.

    In the first period, the Hawks actually got off to a decent start, registering six shots in the first half of the period. While the energy was there to start, it started to wane as the period wound down. The Predators eventually found their legs, and let a full on attack of the Hawks net. Luckily for the Hawks, Corey Crawford was on his game to keep the Predators off the board. In the final minutes, the Hawks generated a couple of looks, but couldn't get one past Pekka Rinne, and after twenty minutes the game was scoreless.

    When the second period got underway, came out much like they did to start the game. The difference this time is they were able to solve Pekka Rinne and get on the board first thanks to a Dennis Rasmussen goal. Riding the momentum of Rasmussen's goal, the Hawks were able to add to their lead just past the midway part of the period. Patrick Kane tallied a power play goal to increase the lead to two. With time winding down in the period, the Predators kept coming and coming down the stretch. Corey Crawford was friggin' outstanding and preserved the Hawks lead heading into the second intermission.

    To start the third period, the Hawks seemed to weather the storm for the first couple of minutes. That changed a little after four minutes in as Nashville finally got on the board on a weird bounce off the glass, to cut the Hawks lead in half. As the period went on, the Hawks started to fall in to the "play not to lose" mode, a mode that is notorious for biting you in the ass. That bit in the ass came with extra sting as Filip Forsberg added his second goal to tie the game at two. After seeing Corey Crawford get bumped as the shot approached, Joel Quenneville challenged for goaltender interference, but the call on the ice stood, and we continued with a tie game. Down the stretch, once again, Corey Crawford stood tall in net, and  held the Predators off and sent the game to overtime.

    In the overtime, it was everything you'd expect out of an overtime playoff game. The extra frame featured end to end action and countless chances for both teams. The best stop of the overtime came from Corey Crawford's left pad on Kevin Fiala. In the final minutes of extra time, Marian Hossa turned the puck over at the blueline, and following a perfect dump in, Kevin Fiala deked his way past Corey Crawford to give the Predators a 3-2 win and a 3-0 series lead. Game 4 is set for Thursday night in Nashville.

    The Good
    • For the first time in the series, the Hawks actually showed some life at the start of the game. While they hit a bit of a lull, overall the opening twenty minutes was pretty decent in my opinion.
    • If you had Dennis Rasmussen as the first Hawk to score in this series, please go collect your winnings. Moose broke the Hawks scoreless streak of 141 minutes, in the early moments of the second period, after a great pass from Marcus Kruger.
    • Midway through the second period, Patrick Kane increased the lead to two, and quieted the McCrowd in Nashville and around the fax machine.
    • Corey Crawford was outstanding in net for the Hawks. If you think he was the reason he lost, I'm sorry, but I have to politely say you don't understand hockey. Crawford made 46 saves in the loss. His save on Fiala in overtime with his left pad was fantastic.
    • This was by Patrick Kane's best game of the series. In addition to his goal, he was generating chances and was a force all night.
    • The line of Rasmussen-Kruger-Panik was a beast all night. They generated chances all night long. The only issue was Kruger getting hammered at the dot for a portion of the game.

    The Bad
    • Jonathan Toews was in a battle all night long with P.K. Subban. At one point Subban gave Toews a slew-foot, and Toews returned the favor with a vicious slash.
    • Nick Schmaltz had a chance to make it a three goal game in the third period with a breakaway, but Pekka Rinne made a helluva stop to keep the Predators deficit at two.
    • Late in the third period, Filip Forsberg tied the game at two, on a goal in which Corey Crawford took a little contact outside the crease. Quenneville challenged the play for goalie interference, but the call of a good goal stood, and all hell broke loose on hockey Twitter in Chicago. It appears people forgot to mention the part of the rule where the contact occurred on a rebound. Its a goal people. Read the whole rule. 
    • Artemi Panarin looked completely uninterested tonight. I can't remember a single moment where he dazzled with the puck.
    • Duncan Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson led the way on defense for the Hawks, by both being a -2 on the night.

    The Ugly
    • Johnny Oduya nearly scored a goal from the Hawks defensive zone while on the penalty kill in the first period. Oduya caught Rinne leaving the net early, and the puck took a funny hop off the glass and trickled in front of the net before a diving Rinne poked it just wide. Its in the ugly because the Hawks couldn't even score on this play.
    • Speaking of that penalty kill mentioned above, I have no idea what the hell Marcus Kruger was thinking when he took that penalty. He basically tackled Zolnierczyk for no reason.
    • On the Predators first goal, the Hawks were guilty of standing around, thinking the puck had gone out of play, when in fact, it hit the very top of the glass.
    • Artem Anisimov was an embarrassing 12% at the faceoff dot. You heard me right. 12 fucking percent.
    • It seems as if people have turned their head to the turnover by Marian Hossa that set up the Predators game winning goal, because TVR was on the ice. That turnover by Hossa was one the worst one I've seen by a Hawk since Kris Versteeg was here. I'll do you one better. It was just as bad as the one by Martin Erat in 2010, in which Hossa capitalized on. That is where the game was lost. Those plays cannot happen in overtime.

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    Saturday, April 15, 2017

    NHL PLAYOFFS
    Blackhawks vs Predators
    5-0 Shutout Loss Recap

    "Death Becomes My Light"

    by Gatekeeper


    Leave it up to the Blackhawks to create some drama when it's not needed. After a game one shutout loss, the Nashville Predators gained just a bit more momentum in this opening series. Like I said Thursday night, though, I'm not worried one bit, and neither should any of you. The Blackhawks have often start playoff series slowly. They will recover. Quenneville did a little lineup shifting for this game, which was expected, but nothing significant. Unless you're a huge fan of John Hayden or Jordin Tootoo, that is.

    The first period of game two started almost exactly like game one. The Blackhawks came out with some serious pressure, which resulted in nothing. The Predators turned the play around and scored on one of their first chances, with under five minutes burned. This, once again, gave the Preds some life. This also forced the Blackhawks to claw and scratch back to gain some momentum and pressure. For the period the Preds led in shots 12-7, which cannot continue.

    In what seems to be a pattern, the Blackhawks came out in the second period, put on some pressure, and gave up a goal on one of Nashville's first chances of the period. The Blackhawks then blew another powerplay, and the Preds answered with another goal. This was possibly the most frustrating period possible. If you look at the numbers, the Hawks actually out shot the Preds 14-10, but no one watching felt that.

    The Blackhawks were nothing, if not consistent, in this game. They had chances but, as has been the norm, the Preds turned a single chance into a goal.

    This game was bullshit.

    Screw the shots on net.

    I'm not wasting more time than I need to on this. Allow me to be silly while I attempt to hide my immense frustration...

    Full disclosure, here, I was looking for GIFs for this stupid recap and this one below came up. Absolutely, made me bust into laughter. Thank you, Internet!

    The Good


    The Bad
    • With only thirty seconds gone in the first Viktor Arvidsson got a partial breakaway, but missed the net. Seconds later, #DickFuckingPanik rocketed a snapper off the post.
    • The Blackhawks powerplay was, once again, fuh-king awful. You have to take advantage when you get these advantages and the Blackhawks just pissed away chance after chance.
    • With about six minutes left in the second period, even Quenneville's line blending shit sandwich did no good. Some fourth line plug named Colton Sissons parked his awful, slow ass in the crease and just hacked away at a loose rebound, while Johnny Oduya and Nik Hjalmarsson just let him. Goal, and queue up mass anxiety.
    • I'd go into more detail on the Johansen and Fiala goals, but I'm putting in the same effort the Blackhawks did.

    The Ugly
    • Four minutes into the first period, Ryan Ellis had his long point shot blocked nicely by Panik, but the puck ended up right back on the stick of Ellis. Ellis let a shot go trough the screen of Arvidsson and past Crawford. The Screen definitely affected Crawford's position and view of the shot. Not the best goal given up, but not the worst.
    • Three minutes into the second period Harry Zolnierczyk jumped off the bench on a change, behind the Blackhawks defense and was hit for a breakaway. Zolnierczyk fended off Johnny Oduya and chipped the puck up and over Corey Crawford's glove for a 2-0 Preds lead.
    • Ryan Hartman not only channeled his inner Andrew Shaw, late in the game, by pissing his pants on a clean offensive chance, but he came back on the other end and took a horrible, possibly suspension earning, stick foul on Craig Smith.
    • For the second game in a row, we were left asking, "What the hell are you doing, Duncan Keith?". He was having some serious issues controlling the puck in the offensive zone.
    • Also, for the second game, PK Subban was almost invisible. For all the teeth gnashing over that trade last summer, Shea Weber has been the bigger acquisition. Not only was he invisible but he had a BRUTAL turnover right next to his own net. This is scary if he actually heats up.

    The #Fatrick Stankus Fatsy Stats


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

    Keith - Hjalmarsson
    Oduya - Seabrook
    van Riemsdyk - Campbell


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    Thursday, April 13, 2017

    NHL PLAYOFFS
    Blackhawks vs Predators
    1-0 Shutout Loss Recap

    "Some Pain Will Last"

    by Gatekeeper


    The official chase for the Stanley Cup started Thursday night at the United Center as the paranoid Nashville Predators took the trek north to face the Western Conference Champs. Despite all the tangible statistics indicating that the Blackhawks have owned the Preds all year, a disturbing number of alleged big brain people claimed that the Blackhawks weren't going to make it past seven games in these playoffs. I'll let the series speak for itself before I really let loose, but I cannot imagine how this is even remotely possible. For christ sakes, the Los Angeles Kings, who just missed the playoffs and fired both their coach and GM, led the league in 5vs5 Corsi. You know who else beat both the Blackhawks and Preds? Carolina. Another non playoff team. Montreal was third in the league and lost 2-0 to the Rangers just the other night. Corsi can indicate some useful metrics, but just vomiting out Corsi numbers to predict playoff series outcomes is an asinine practice. The Blackhawks led the Predators in both goals per 60 minutes and goals against per 60 minutes.

    Allow me to redirect, though.

    The Blackhawks came into this series "completely" healthy, which is to say that all expected starters would be available. They were, no doubt, nursing injuries and the top of that list was center Artem Anisimov. Thursday night's game was his first game back after taking a scary spill a month ago and missing a bunch of games. There is no way he went from "barely skating" to "completely healed" in a matter of seven days. We'll see just how effective he is after being on the shelf for a couple of weeks.

    The first period did NOT have a playoff feel to it whatsoever. The Blackhawks opened up a 5-2 shot lead, but a lazy defensive play gave the Preds an early lead. The rest of the period was basically all Predators after that. The shot total leaned pretty considerably in favor of Nashville when the horn sounded, 11-6. I can't say I was worried by either the score or the shot totals.

    Even though the Blackhawks were awarded a powerplay just seconds into the second period, they couldn't tie the game. Their pressure didn't stop there, though. Before the Preds knew what hit them the Blackhawks were holding a 10-2 shot lead just halfway through the period. The Predators were in some serious trouble, for a good majority of the middle frame, and desperately hung on to their one goal lead. When the second horn rang out, the Blackhawks had a 12-4 period shot lead and an 18-15 lead on the night. Again, though, it did not have the aura of a playoff game.

    Not much changed in the third period, as the Blackhawks spent a majority of their time in the Preds end of the ice, peppering Pekka Rinne with shots to the tune of 7-2 in the top half of the period. The Blackhawks even got a late powerplay that they failed to even get a shot on net during. When all was said and done, the Blackhawks were shutout 1-0, even though they out shot the Preds 29-20.

    This is hardly concerning. There is no way that Rinne or the Preds can continue this pace. The Dam will break and it'll flood.

    The Good
    • Corey Crawford wasn't spectacular, but he did give his team plenty of opportunity to win this game. When you lose 1-0, it's never the goalie's fault.
    • That said, broken ol shithip Pekka Rinne played great. The Preds had no business winning this game, yet here we are. Twenty nine saves and the whitewash.
    • Some of the Blackhawks big money players logged some insane ice time. Patrick Kane played 24:23, Artemi Panarin played 21:31, and Jonathan Toews played 20:38.
    • As much as it pains me, I have to give Trevor van Riemsdyk some credit. He firing the puck like Shea Weber and the shots were getting through to the net. I wish I could say as much for the other 5 defensemen, because they were pounding the hell out of opposing shin pads..
    • God damn, I said it last season, but Viktor Arvidsson is a hell of a nice player. Not only did he have the Preds goal, but he had a third period breakaway where he hit the crossbar.

    The Bad
    • Just under eight minutes into the game, three Hawks defenders got caught at their own blue line chasing the puck while Viktor Arvidsson snuck in behind Duncan Keith and tipped a long Filip Forsberg shot past Corey Crawford. This was only the Preds' third shot of the game.
    • Joel Quenneville didn't wait long for the line blender to fire up. He flip-flopped Tanner Kero and Nick Schmaltz about five minutes into the seconds period. Talk about going from the outhouse to the penthouse, and vice versa.

    The Ugly
    • Just a few minutes after the Preds took the league, Ryan Hartman did his best Andrew Shaw impression, taking a weak offensive zone penalty. The Hawks eventually killed the powerplay but as soon as Hartman got out of the box he egregiously turned the puck over deep in the Hawks zone, and nearly cost them another goal. Not a great first playoff period for the kid.
    • My biggest criticism of Duncan Keith is his inability to create clean shooting lanes, and it was blatantly evident in the beginning of this game. So evident that Trevor van Riemsdyk was able to make clear adjustment and made everyone watching wonder, once again, why Keith cannot figure this out.
    • While the powerplay got some pressure in the first period, the Blackhawks were 0-2, and that's the game, Folks.
    • With under a minute remaining in regulation and his goalie on the bench Duncan Keith decided it was better to gently hand the puck over to the Preds instead of try and shoot. This defies any logic, but then again, so did Calle Jarnkrok when he decided to they and force a bad pass instead of just hitting the open net.
    • It looks like Mark Lazarus fired up that stupid #PearlJamCounter again. I swear to imaginary zombie Christ that I will shame him into silence, or until he blocks me, if this continues for 2 more months.

    The #Fatrick Stankus Fatsy Stats
    • I'd love for the Corsi clowns to explain this one to me. The Blackhawks almost doubled up the Preds in 5-on-5 Corsi, 57-33, and 66-36 overall. Oh right, when your numbers don't fit, just shout "SCORE EFFECTS!". Bullshit.
    • The only player on the Blackhawks that had negative Corsi numbers were the makeshift 4th line of John Hayden, Nick Schmaltz, and Jordin Tootoo.
    • Duncan Keith, Nik Hjalmarsson, Artemi Panarin, Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane were all in double digits as far as Corsi goes.

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

    Keith - Hjalmarsson
    Oduya - Seabrook
    van Riemsdyk - Campbell


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