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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Wild Kingdom

I was hoping for a great bounce back game, and I guess I got what I was looking for, kind of. It was a strong defensive game and the Hawks finally held a team to under 30 shots. All good signs. It could have easily been 1-0 after the first, but Backstrom stoned Toews on the wrap around. Goals were scored by Brouwer, Keith, and Jake the Snake on the open net. Sorry for the short recap but I have to sleep at some point.

The Good
Turco rebounded very well from that complete mess from Friday night. That is a very good sign. The goal he gave up was sort of a fluke, so no harm done. A shutout would have been really nice, but what can you do?

Ryan Potulny was called up from Rockford and made his debut, after an injury to Dave Bolland. I'm not entirely sure what is going on with Bolland, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it's a deflated ego. Potulny played with Skille and Pisani, so at least he had one talented winger with him.

The PK, lead by Turco, did their job effectively. The Wild powerplay was 0-3, and you can't ask for any better than that.

The Bad
I have really gone easy on Hjalmarsson, but he's really been a guy without a partner. He looks like his head is spinning and overmatched quite a bit. I sure hope he settles down once Campbell is back, because I really feel bad for him playing with Boynton and Cullimore. Not exactly Norris Trophy partners.

The Ugly
John Scott...he is, indeed, ugly, and plays equally as impressive. That is all.

Here are the video highlights:

Saturday, October 30, 2010

We have a Bleeder!

Game number one without Boss 81, and their first chance to wear those alternate jerseys I love, but that's the only thing that looked good. Two open nets missed in the first minute of the game, and it seemed like it was going to be a good game. Well, it was partially good, but only for the Oilers. Ugly, ugly, and embarrassing.

The Good
Toews had a typical Captain Serious goal. Nothing pretty but accurate and to the point, and Kane finally decided to make an appearance with 10 seconds left in the first. Maybe that stick to the nose woke him up, but I swear I saw him crying when he was on the bench getting his nose looked at. Either way, the two guys that need to pick up Boss 81's slack are finally showing a faint pulse.

Dowell, and Sharpie scored but they were futile attempt to make it a game. It was nice to see Sharpie add to his league leading goal total. At least someone is having an excellent season.

The powerplay had a typical game, and it's hit or REALLY miss with them. They scored two PP goals and looked good doing it, but the back to back powerplays in the second period turned into a critical turning point. You HAVE to score on a 5 on 3. If you don't, you might as well not come out for the third period, and the Hawks basically didn't. Game over early in the second period.

It was nice to see Stalberg playing with some talent, and he did nothing to make me think he didn't belong there. Now if was can get Skille some help, we might have something.

The Bad
Bolly? Anyone? Anyone? 9:45 of playing time means he was either hurt or Quenneville is finally fed up with the Invisible Man. The only person that played less was Bryan Bickell.

I'd like to hear an explanation as to why green rookie Ben Smith is skating on the third line, while the Hawk that showed the most spark is still rotting like a Halloween pumpkin on the forth line. Skille was once again skating around like he was on the way to the crapper with explosive diarrhea. He drew a penalty with his speed, had several excellent chances, and has been attempting to hit everything that wears another jersey. He was second on the team with 6 shots on net, only behind Captain Serious. Really? Have we lost all common sense? Stop with this crap, already. The team is struggling and one of the players that's been showing heart is stuck banished to Siberian, with no help.

It looked bad from the outside, but the Goaltenders got absolutely zero help. Turco let the first soft one in, and after that, he couldn't do anything right. Marty The Midget had so little help that I'm pretty damn sure I saw Duncan Keith actually throw the puck in his own net. He tries to kick a rebound out and it goes right to a wide open player, fifteen feet from the open net. Anyone out there accounting players in their own zone or do we just expect them to always miss the net? Corey Crawford didn't fare much better than Turco, either. Bad luck and pathetic defense really didn't make his night end very well for either of the netminders.

The Ugly
Holy balls, that first period turned from bad to shitstorm in about two minutes. That was the worst display of defense I've seen in recent memory. Accurate words escape me, to explain that Shanghai Fire Drill. The only saving grace was the Kane goal. You can blame the ref for the 4th goal but if you have your head up and you're looking at your passing lanes, you don't make that pass. It's about time Moustachio put a shock collar on Keith and let'er rip every time he attempts another stupid pointless fancy pass.

Jassen Cullimore finally looked like, well, Jassen Cullimore on that 5th Edmonton goal. Excellent job tying up your guy's stick, sucker. Great job welcoming your backup goalie into the game. Quenneville looked none too happy after that goal, and he shouldn't have, because the Hawks looked like dog shit soup.

Tomas Kopecky was a -5 on the night, and that's just brutal. Call it bad luck, because he wasn't directly responsible for all 5 goals, but he may have needed to take a seat for a while. Brouwer and Boynton were -3

Really the whole game was ugly. Like Brent Sopel Ugly.

Here are the video highlights:

Thursday, October 28, 2010

We're as Doomed as Doomed Can Be, You Know!

Well, Coach Moustachio announced after practice today that Boss 81 will miss a "couple of weeks, but "does not require surgery". so, we can now queue up the Doom and Gloom throughout the interweb.

What does this mean? Granted, Hossa was is number 4 goal scorer in the league at the time of the injury, with 7. So, no one will replace him, and this will be a "Boss-by-Committee". They have no choice but to promote one of the kids to bring a little offense, so maybe Morin (who is currently hurt), Pirri, Brophey, or Makarov takes the I-90 express from Rockford. This will be a prime chance for Skille and Stalberg to make themselves seen as well, even though they couldn't really do more than they have with the time they have been given. Finally, Toews and Kane absolutely need to get out of their funk, and Dave Bolland needs to decide that he wants to play this wonderful game called hockey.

EDIT - I added the video. Also, Pick-to-Click Vik was skating with Captain Serious and Shooter this morning, while Kaner was skating in the Abyss that is Kopecky and Brouwer. Good luck with all that.


We Three Kings

"Gentlemen, THIS is how it's done, take note, Kaner"

Last night's game was far from a dominating game, but the Hawks played a very good team, and held them to one goal. The new lines looked a little off, but in all fairness, Hossa left somewhere in the middle of the second and the lines were jumbled up for the remainder of the night. We'll take what we can get, here.

The Good
Definitely more good than bad, here. Sharpie's goal was the exclamation point on the night. He blew around Scuderi, who was directly responsible for two of the three goals, with a little shake-n-bake and powered hard to the net. Bernier hardly stood a chance once Shooter turned the corner, because "that's what he do!". At least someone is continuing to stay hot, because Bolland sucked all the momentum out of Hossa, so much so that Hossa has apparently contracted leprosy. Thanks Bolly, you're a peach. The Jake Dowell goal surprised everyone on the ice, in the stands, in the booth, and watching on TV. Of course he needed help from an opposing stick, but goals don't have to be pretty, they just need to go in the net. Congrats to Jake the Snake on his first goal of the year, you're now tied with Dave Bolland in goals AND assists, despite probably playing half the time.

The Stalberg goal was a great play on his end and a horrible play by Bernier and Scuderi. Stalberg drove right past Scuderi and hard to the net looking for a juicy 24 oz. rebound where Bernier was glad to serve one up. Nice to see Pick-to-Click Vik get another goal as a result of hard work, I'm starting to look like I know a thing or two, again. He's getting the hang of things, so watch out. To bad the reward for his hard work was a nice seat on the bench watching Moustachio play musical chairs with the lines, sans Stalberg, for most of the third. Explain to me, again, what scoring a great "hustle" goal and skating like your hair is on fire gets you? Right, the bench, got it.

The Powerplay in the second period was dominant, even though they didn't score. The Kings tried everything they could to get the puck out and the Hawks just kept throwing it back in. They really deserved to score, just to show the dominance, but it was not to be.

It was nice to see John Scott NOT on the ice for the first time this season. Jordan Hendry took his place and did nothing to hurt his case for more time on the third D pairing. Maybe Moustachio chased him away with a torch, but I'm perfectly fine not seeing John Scott again until maybe the Calgary or Vancouver games on November 19th. Until then, there is no team that we need to throw a John Scott at for his "physical play". And by physical play, I'm talking about being generally slow, ugly, and limited in any sort of Hockey skill. Let the Jordan Hendry campaign kick into high gear.

Marty Turco's play was nothing short of spectacular. One fluke goal, aside, Turco was great. He faced 34 shots and had to be frustrating the Kings with his acrobatic stops. In this day and age of butterfly goalies that use as little movement as possible to keep the puck out of the net, an acrobatic goalie that does things like stacking the pads is stressful. But you have to realize that is Marty's style and always has been. He's not conventional, but that's part of what makes him good. You can't predict what he'll do, so its hard to scout his tendencies.

Lastly, Fernando Pisani CAN contribute offensively, would you look at that?

The Bad
Just a reminder Dave Bolland...the season started 3 weeks ago. Just sayin, Yo. The Justin Williams goal was a complete debacle, as he somehow blazed past all-world speedracer Duncan Keith, and got to a funky dump in, which he one timed with surgical accuracy over Turco's shoulder. All Marty really had to do was stand there and absorb the shot, but somehow he went into the butterfly and got sniped. Williams did what he had to do perfectly and I give him credit for that, but it looked ugly as sin.

The other bad part was the King's pressure in the latter end of the second. I'm going to blame that on the fact that Hossa was out and the lines were a mess, but the Hawks couldn't throw the puck out of their own zone. Luckily, Turco was solid and no harm was done, but it was a tense few minutes of pressure, and is concerning.

The Ugly
The lines really never got a chance to gel, and the pressure was spotty, so lets give it a few games. Really the ugly would be the Hossa situation. No one is really clear at what point Hossa went to the dressing room, but he never returned. Moustachio said he'd be re-evaluated with an upper body injury, which is about as specific as telling someone that Las Vegas is West. Let's hope it's nothing too serious.

I'm not so sure I'm comfortable with HJAL-marsson and Cullimore as the second defensive pairing. If you would have told me, in the preseason, that Jassen Cullimore was going to replace Brian Campbell while he's hurt, I would have told you that you were high on the crack pipe. I guess they say when you're given lemons, make lemonade, but this is some scary sour lemonade. Rumor has it that Campbell is skating and on schedule to be back soon, thank GOD.

Here are the video highlights:

I would just love to leave you with this picture. It really says a thousand words:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Stick and Move - The Midweek Report

We've had a nice little Blackhawks break there, which all of us could use to recharge. Considering they had played the most games in the NHL to date, Saturday, it was a much needed one for the Hawks, as well. There are a few dribs and drabs of news worth sharing, before this latest set of five games in seven days. Looks like I'm going to be spending considerable time relegated to the couch, fast forwarding through "Binny's Beverage Depot" commercials.

-Evan "Nick" Brophey was sent back Rockford without so much as a "thank you". While this doesn't come as a surprise, because TomoKop is back, you'd think they could have maybe sat a Jake "The Snake" Dowell for a game to see what else this guy has in his bag of tricks. He DID win 4 out of 5 faceoffs the other night, but what do I know? Right?

-The latest Hawks buzz is the set of new lines that were unveiled at practice yesterday. Get a load of this:

Sharp - Toews - Skille
Brouwer - Kopecky - Hossa
Stalberg -Bolland - Kane
Pisani - Dowell - Bickell

I'm not really sure what to think of this, just yet. Skille can certainly get a boost from more serious playing time, especially with some of the greatest playmakers in the NHL. Brouwer hasn't done anything to make me believe that he needs to be playing that high, and Kopecky's faceoff percentage is a paltry 36%. Maybe consistent time in the middle will improve said faceoffs, and open up the ice for Hossa and Brouwer. Brouwer skating around with the puck in open ice; just what nightmares are made of. The third line is the biggest "WTF" of the whole lineup. My best guess is that the speed of Stalberg, and the playmaking of Kane is going to be called upon to jumpstart The Invisible man in the middle. Has to be a bit of an ego knock on Kane, because that's a considerable drop in talented line mates. As far as the forth line goes, this is where Pisani and Bickell belong, unless Moustachio wantedto allocate them to watch from the comfortable confines of the press box. Anyhow, this should make for an interesting game tonight.

-The Hawks face the talented Kings tonight at the UC. Even though they won't see Drew Doughty, tonight, the Kings have PLENTY of talent, and two very strong young goalies. Doughty's name has pretty much been engraved on the Norris Trophy since Keith won it, in June. The league has done nothing but toss off to the name Drew Doughty ever since.

That is all, go forth and be merry...

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Ever Popular "Ex-Girlfriend" Report

Whether people admit it or not, everyone secretly likes to see their ex fail, after they exit stage left. It's human nature. Show me a person that doesn't and I'll show you a liar. So, from time to time I'll be putting together a little piece with the status of former Hawks that are now elsewhere. I'll do all the leg work, to make it easy on you, aaaaaaand here we go:

The Stats
Andrew Ladd 8 Games 3-5-8 +2 2PIM
Dustin Byfuglien 8 Games 2-4-6 -5 21PIM (17 in the Capitals game alone)
Ben Eager 8 Games 1-1-2 +1 29PIM (14 in the Lightning game alone)
Kris Versteeg 7 Games 1-1-2 -4 11PIM
Brent Sopel 8 Games 0-1-1 +2 4PIM
John Madden 7 Games 1-0-1 -4 0PIM
Adam Burish 7 Games 1-0-1 +3 17PIM
Colin Fraser 6 Games 0-1-1 -1 9PIM

First of all, I think I remember stating that Ladd is the one player who's exit hurts the most. Eight points in eight games for a dreadful Atlanta Thrashers club, seems pretty important doesn't it? Fluff has looked well on the score sheet, but his Defense (-5) and self control have been suspect, as you will see below. Versteeg has done absolutely nothing skating with the top line in Toronto. Not so easy when you can't hide behind two other lines of talent, is it, Steeger? On to the goaltenders:

Antti Niemi 4games 4.49 GAA 1-3-0 .854
Antero Niittymaki 4games 1.80 GAA 2-0-1 .932 (included for comparison)

Second, I think I remember saying Niemi would be lucky to beat out Niittymaki for the starting job, when the starting job was his to have, here. How's that head to head looking, Forehead? For shits and giggles how are the current Hawks looking?

Marty Turco 7 Games 2.65 GAA 4-2-1 .921
Corey Crawford 3 Games 3.03 GAA 1-2-0 .912

And to leave no stoned unturned, Cristobal Huet is doing very well for his Siberian Snow Dog team (I know it's a Swiss National Team, save the angry emails and comments). I love this picture of him. It looks like an Indy Car fire suit with all that advertising on it, and that logo looks strangely like the Canadiens logo. Deja Vu all over again, Cristo:

Cristobal Huet 11 Games 2.28 GAA .936

How about a little video eye candy for the easily entertained? Here are a few little tidbits of the guys we HAD to have:

Big Fluff exhibiting his stellar defensive prowess and getting turned around like a top at a two year old's birthday party

Big Fluff scoring and showing how excited he is to be in Atlanta. I love this celebration. Brings back memories of the celebrations of last years playoffs, doesn't it? Actually, it reminds me of the Droopy The Dog.
"You know what? I'm happy"

Big Fluff runs Caps goalie Neuvirth and gets a game misconduct. Can someone explain to him that it's not the playoffs yet and that he probably won't be partaking in them when they finally arrive?

Antti Niemi getting drilled like a bowling ball. Top Cheese, Gentlemen

Niemi getting pulled after giving up 3 goals on 5 shots, in just over 8 minutes. Check out the top cheese by Iginla. How's that west coast Defense treating you now, Antti?

EDIT - It was pointed out that I left out Versteeg and Burish. It's obvious how anyone could leave Steeger out, with his grand total of 2 points, and Burish has been equally exciting, but this video of him apologizing for screwing up in some fan's NHL11 game is PRICELESS!


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Give It Away, Give It Away, Give It Away Now

"If you're not down with that, I've got two words for ya"

The Good
With Kopecky out for the night, Evan Brophey was called up, and didn't do a bad job. Moustachio shuffled up the lines a bit, and the line of Kane/Toews/Sharp was skating like their hair was on fire. Clearly, this line is something they need to keep trying to work with. It's too good to split up. The problem is that it leaves Hossa with absolutely no one as a line mate, while Kopecky is out.

Corey Crawford didn't play bad at all for sitting the ten days prior. Two of the goals were deflections that he didn't have mush of a chance on, and the first one was a rebound that was kicked right out to a wide open streaking Columbus forward. He made some very nice saved, especially the one he made with his right leg, late in the third, when the D left a wide open forward.

Jassen Cullimore has been making me look like a fool ever since he was called up, and I'm fine with that. I wear the jackass hat well. He's obviously, not Keith or Seabrook, but he hasn't been a liability at all, like his partner John Scott, and he's done what he's been asked of.

Skille and Stalberg were AGAIN sparks of talent. Skille had an other breakaway, and Stalberg had a great steal on the forecheck that resulted in a quality change right out in front of Mason. Keep it up boys, because you are forcing Stache's hand.

The Bad
Dave Bolland, Paging Mr. David Bolland. Your party is waiting for you at the customer service desk. Bolland has stunk so bad lately that it's rubbing off on people. He played with Hossa and Brouwer, and neither guy had a very good game. We can just act like Bolly isn't invisible and just generally sucking, or Moustachio can sit Davey for a game, to knock something loose. This is getting very old.

You can throw the Pisani and Bickell combo into that annoying category as well. They are earning less and less ice time, which could be used by players that are willing and able to get the puck to the net. Bad, Bad, Bad!

The Ugly
Very clear on this one. The careless boarding penalty by Brouwer, right after you've just given up a goal, in the last minute of the second period. From beginning to end, this was the demise of the Hawks. The just weren't the same team after this play. Thanks Troy, that's not the kick in the ass the needed.

Here are the video highlights:

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Blues-berry Turnover

Pictures ARE worth 1000 words

Momma said there'd be days like this, there'd be days like this my Momma said. This was an ugly game from the outset, and quite frankly, I'm surprised the Hawks didn't lose worse. It could have easily been a 7-2 game with all the defensive zone tunrovers. Although there was action, the Hawks were clearly being physically manhandled. They can't win them all, and they were lucky to have a chance in this one. Some days you just don't have it, and no one in an indianhead sweater really had it.

The Good
Essentially, they had two powerplay goals. Sharpie unleashed a laser for the first one and Seabrook's wasn't officially a PPG, but it was scored the second the powerplay ended. Two out of three is nothing to sneeze at, but the third, and most important powerplay of the game, was a complete Las Vegas bust-a-thon. They couldn't even get the puck cleanly past the red line and ran around like a mite team. The forth line once again showed the energy and spunk they have been asked for, but when they are barely cracking 10 mins of playing time a game, you're not going to get much. Boss 81 didn't show up on the score sheet, but he continues to be dominant.

The Bad
The Amber Alert on Dave Bolland continues. It's been so long since Bolly has done something significant that I'm running out of clever sarcastic comments. Wherever Bolland has run off to, might be where Toews and Kane could start searching for their scoring touch because they are slowly disappearing into a pitiful slump.

The defensive turnovers where nothing short of painfully embarrassing, and frustrating. Each time a Hawks defenseman put the puck on the tape of a defender, I scared the hell out of my dog screaming at the TV. Jesus, take an icing if you're having that much of a problem. There could have been a dozen defensive zone turnovers in the first period alone. To make matters worse, the Blues pushed the Hawks around all night, like a bunch of ragdolls. There may have been 15 solid highlight hits against, and I couldn't recollect a single solid hit by the Hawks. Coach Moustachio must have been livid, and if he wasn't, it's because he's already dead, and being propped up like Weekend at Bernie's.

David Perron is absolutely killing the Hawks; plain and simple. Talk about a one trick pony. He has four goals all season, and all four against the Hawks. He made Nick Boynton a human turnstyle on his second goal. Boynton actually looked helpless and overmatched on both Perron goals. Not the kind of player that should be seeing damn near 27 minutes like he did the other night. Brian Campbell, please hurry back.

I'm not feeling Moustachio's second powerplay line of Bickell/Brouwer/Hossa with Bolland and Seabrook on the point. Even though Seabrook scored, I fully believe it was a fluke. Bolland has been ineffective (if not invisible), Bickell can't handle the puck for shit, and Brouwer hasn't really done much special without Kane and Sharp to point him the right direction. How about throwing Skille and/or Stalberg out there? Can it really hurt? At least they throw themselves around with reckless abandon, and their speed could prove crucial. There is NO way Bickell should step foot on a powerplay, and Brouwer is marginal, at best.

If someone can tell me where this physical play that John Scott was supposed to bring is, then speak up. He traipsed around, until his fight, trying as hard as he could to not to hit anyone on the other team. That fight was a joke, with Scott just beating the side of Winchester's helmet, which is always productive. It was a snoozefest. Jake Dowell is nothing close to an enforcer, and he didn't do any worse. Something needs to change, and John Scott is wasting too much valuable ice time and he is regressing.

The Ugly
Where do we start? The ugliest is obviously that calamity of a game winning goal. It may or may not have hit Cullimore, then it looked like it was going to be redirected in front by Backes and Turco just misplayed it. Shanghai fire drill, and bad luck all around.

The Hawks had a prime chance in the third with Boss 81 feeding Toews, who ended up wide open in the slot, with only Halak to beat. Toews pretty much just handed the puck to Halak without even getting a shot off. This is a prime chance to tie the game with the puck on your captain's stick and he muffed it.

Duncan Keith had the absolute worst game I've seen him play in years. Maybe all this heavy ice time is getting to him, because he was clearly not the reigning Norris Trophy winner, last night. He probably turned over the puck half a dozen times in his own zone, in the first period alone. Highly uncharacteristic of the usual steady and reliable, Keith. He's been turning the puck over quite a bit this season, but last night was simply WAY too much. Moustachio needs to find out a way to knock Keith out of this funk and shake things up, because it's going to give me an ulcer. Maybe another puck to the grill is in order, and we can get him some Kanye West diamond teeth.

Here are the video highlights:

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Extra Time for a Threesome

I can't really say I wish I was at this game, because after the first half of the first period, it was like watching your mother get a Brazilian Wax. The Hawks got their two points, so we'll take it. As a goaltender, I absolutely hate shootouts. They don't always reflect how the rest of the game went, but I get that they are exciting for fans (gag,wretch,vomit). This should be brief, because there isn't much to rant about. Onward...

The Good
Boss 81 once again dominated the ice, but his scoring streak came to an end. Canucks fans can yap about Sedin and his MVP from last year, but that guy doesn't scare me, or anyone on the Hawks for that matter. Marian Hossa is ten times more dangerous, and could exceed my prediction of roughly 45 goal, at this pace. That's something I would love to be wrong about.

The Rodney Dangerfields of this team were two of the best players on the ice all night. Victor Stalberg and Jack Skille absolutely deserve more playing time. I don't give a shit what The Great Moustachio has to do, but they cannot be ignored any longer. They average far less time than any other line and yet they contribute more of a spark than that utterly painful line of Bickell/Bolland/Pisani. Stalberg has scored for two straight games, and Skille was taking the puck HARD to the net all night. What more does this line have to do? Skille was rewarded for his hard nosed play by getting the least amount of ice time, of any Hawk.

All three Hawks scored in the shootout, so you can't ask for more than that. Even though two of the three goals were fairly lucky. And to think, Boss 81 didn't even get a shot. That's a lethal shootout lineup. Not many teams in this league have options like this.

Marty the Midget looked even more cool calm and collected in net, and deserved a shutout. How many whacks are you seriously going to let them have at your goalie, guys? I never get enough of his aggressiveness and composure. I'm very happy to see him settling in. Where are all those dopey Turco haters now? Not so quick to open your yaps now, are ya? How's that Antti Niemi looking in Cali? Not all that impressive, with his .879 save percentage. I'll still take our Midget, thank you.

The Bad
Davey Bolland, I know you're out there, I can hear you breathing. The search team is being briefed and they are on their way. SIT HIM, PLEASE! Wake his ass up, with a healthy scratch. That line itself needs to be demoted to #4, for at least a game. Now, Fernando Pisani and Bryan Bickell don't exactly drip talent, but let's get this season rolling, gentlemen. I'm starting to think that we should call this line Fence, because there is no O in their game and they have to take a penalty to see Pisani do anything worthwhile.

The powerplay really looked ineffective, but it's one game. You can't score on every one. Bad? Yes, but hardly worrisome. The penalty kill let up the PP goal to Sedin.

John Scott and Jassen Cullimore were back to using their fat asses to warm the bench(snore), while Nick Boynton had the second most ice time, to Dunc. Yes, I said NICK BOYNTON. Culli, and Scott had around 9 minutes each, and at least Scott was back on defense, where he looks least awkward.

The Ugly
Really, there wasn't much ugly. The Refs weren't exactly stellar last night. There were a few more times when the Hawks deserved powerplays, but once again, it didn't end up costing them.

Here are the video highlights:

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hoss the Boss

"I must break you"

My interest in this game was quickly being sucked out of me, until the men among boys, Shooter and Hoss, decided they had had enough of these pesky St. Louis Blues. An OT thriller was in store, and another memorable comeback. Here is a little visual description of the Blackhawks comeback, and eventual win:

The Good
For a good majority of the game, it was dull and boring. The Bickell vs. Backes fight was a little spark of excitement, that I felt was going to open up more scuffles; I was clearly wrong. Sharpie netted his 3rd game winning goal in a row, and Hossa damn near got himself a hat trick. The Jedi don't use the force; they use the Hoss. All men are created equal; Equally inferior to the Hoss.

Knock the soft goal all you want, but Turco's outlet pass to Hossa started the comeback. Down 1-0 or 2-0 there was a comeback needed, and Turco helped make something happen. He quickly got the puck to the stick of the man with the plan. Besides the outlet passes, Turco is looking more and more calm and comfortable in the net. I fully admit that ANY time the puck was thrown at Niemi or Huet, I held my breath for a second. None of that with Marty the Midget. He's confident, almost to the point of arrogance, but that's something an NHL netminder needs.

Jassen Cullimore made me look like an asshole by nicely controlling the puck to feed Kaner, who then fed Shooter for the game winner. Atta boy, Culli, make me look bad all season if it means you'll make more plays like that. Halak played a great game for the most part. The guy is good, and St Louis will win many more games because of his play.

The Bad
The David Bolland Amber Alert is back up. He was last seen getting into this van:

The Blues shut down the Hawks for a good period of the game, so much so that they couldn't even connect on a solid pass. Somewhere along the line, Hossa decided that he had had enough, though, and we know how that goes.

I'm beginning to think Fernando Pisani needs to take over the role of John Scott, because he's only shown me that he is a worthwhile penalty killer. Other than that, he's really invisible. There is too much talent waiting to play on this team to leave Fernando Pisani out there for thirteen and a half minutes. You want to use him as a primary PK guy, then sit Scott, dress the two headed Skille/Stalberg monster, and just let Pisani wait for the Hawks to take a penalty. Now that may be hard without Scott's baby Huey act, but Nick Boynton will be sure to deliver. It's an involuntary reaction.

The Ugly (and in this case I REALLY mean ugly)

This John Scott circus needs to end. Two minutes and twenty nine seconds of fucking ice time? Seriously? He ate up Victor Stalberg's spot to play TWO MINUTES AND TWENTY NINE SECONDS? Not only that, but he got himself thrown in the box with a dumb ass cross checking penalty. I'm never going to claim he's an excellent defenseman, but when he plays forward he looks like baby Huey. He's lost and just taking random liberties with opponents. After all the BS, he doesn't do the one thing he was brought here for; TO FIGHT! In theory, his presence was and is a good idea, but if you're going to jackhammer his big ass into the lineup, you're wasting valuable playing time, and having to double shift other players to make up for the fact that he has now warmed the bench for 96% of the last two games. You can try and tell me Scott was a better choice than Skille Saturday, or Stalberg yesterday, and I'll tell you're that you're out of your fucking mind. Mr. Stache? PLEASE end this charade and relegate Scott back to sideshow freak. You can occasionally let him out of his cage to chew on Matt Cooke, Sean Avery, or Cam Janssen, but this is a waste of an important spot. ENOUGH!

Here are the video highlights for you:

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Leddy Don't You Lose My Number

"Hey, Dude, how do you get to Rockford, and can I stay at your pad?"

In a bit of a surprise, at least at this point in the season, Nick Leddy was sent to Rockford. I'm not sure what this will say for tomorrow night's game, because I'm going to have an aneurysm, if I have to watch the three headed Frankenstein monster of Boynton, Scott, Cullimore with their average skating speed of a three toed sloth and their collective empty craniums. I can only hope this mean's Brian Connelly is going to be making a visit to the UC in the near future. I can't say Leddy doesn't need some seasoning, but Cullimore isn't a fraction of the player Leddy is. I assume we'll be seeing a bit more Jordan Hendry as well. Joy.

Where the Buffalo Roam

Not the way you'd like to win them all, but it was a great comeback. Playing from behind is becoming taxing on my blood pressure. Even the flurry at the end of the game had us all on the edge of our seats. The Hawks were completely outplayed in the first period and were lucky to only be down 2-1. Marty Turco had his screw-ups, but they were minimal, as most goalie screw-ups end up in the net. The officiating was fucking abysmal. Usually you have to account for miscalculations by the officials, but the waved off goal by Duncan Keith was a complete joke, but more on that later...

The Good
The Amber Alert on local expressways for David Bolland can finally be lifted, at least until tomorrow. His play wasn't exactly noteworthy for the most part, but his breakaway 4 on 4 goal with a defender all over his back, makes for kudos, and a pardon for the rest of his sleepwalking. Hoss showed YET AGAIN, why he's a man among boys. He's good, he's worth every dollar, and HOW YA LIKE HIM NOW, DETROIT-BURGH? Sharpie needs to be wearing asbestos drawers, because he is hotter than dog shit in a skillet. He just finds the net, and this is exactly why he's still in Chicago and people like Versteeg, Ladd, and Fluff-lien are gone in the great salary purge of 2010. Kaner shrugged off his "illness" to lead the rush for the first goal nad feed Shooter for wide open net. Thank you, rookie of the year, for not playing the shooter or the pass, but just standing there and admiring two of the best players in the league DO WHAT WE DO.

The Bad
Where do you begin? The lines? The decision to sit Jack Skille for John Scott and Jassen Cullimore? The first period Shanghai Fire Drill? Nick Boynton's second game in a row with a doucheworthy penalty in the critical moments of the 3rd period? They need to be thankful that they can find the net at opportune times, and former Hawk Patrick Lalime treated the puck like it was radioactive all game. Make excuses, and conjure up any delusion you want, but Jassen Cullimore for ANY ONE on this roster is a joke. If you don't feel Jordan Hendry is the guy for the night, I get it. But, mucking up the lines with Nick Boynton, John Scott, and Jassen Cullimore is just mind boggling. Yeah, yeah, yeah, everyone was looking for retaliation against Hammer, and luckily Buffalo showed that they are, in fact, a professional team by not retaliating, but are you really going to waste 3 spots with a three headed monster of cement heads with cement boots? Jack Skille has been one of the most physical players on the team, and he's rewarded with a seat in the press box? Cullimore was directly responsible for two major gaffes on the same play, which lead to the Sabres taking the lead. Frankenmore acted like the puck was on fire, while Turco was trying to hand it off, which lead to them turning over the biscuit, and then for good measure let McCormick stand in front of Turco, and do a little Boot Scootin Boogie before putting the puck in the net. SENT HIM BACK TO ROCKHELL, AND END THIS CRUEL JOKE! Nick Boynton showed his knack for the dramatic, with a lazy ass hooking penalty while already down one man and up by only one goal in the last 2 minutes of the game. Slick one, Nick. That's two games in a row and it's wearing thin.

The Ugly
Any of the above could be considered ugly, if the four stooges in stripes didn't completely sodomize the Hawks, dirty prison shower style. The Goal that was disallowed was a complete joke. From beginning to end. Tomas Kopecky went hard to net for a rebound, was crosschecked into Lalime, and had a good 7 seconds to get up and vacate the premises before Keith fired the puck in the net. The stupid ass Buffalo defender, Steve Montador, then played grab ass in the crease with his goalie like a couple of clowns. Duncan Keith fires the puck in the net and it's waved off, without a Blackhawk within 10 feet of the net. REALLY NOW? We're covering for people who interfere with their own netminders? Fucking JOKE! We can laugh about it now, because the Hawks pulled it out, but how many times do teams actually get a second chance? Not often. Luckily, it'll only ever be a footnote in the records of the 2010/11 season.

Here are the video highlights:

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Train Kept a Rollin

Now that's more like it. The Hawks came out fast and hard, and never really let up that's what she said). Quenneville came out with an interesting lineup, dressing 7 defensemen and only 11 forwards. Toews skated between the Hossa and Kopecky. Sharpie skated with Bickell and Brouwer. Bolland skates with Pisani and a host of other forwards that double shifted, such as Hossa, John Scott (who played all of 2:30), and I think I saw Brouwer and Bickell out there a few times, as well. Dowell skated with Stalberg and Skille again. On defense, there was Keith/Seabrook, Leddy/Boynton, and in a curious callup, Jassen Cullimore skated with Jordan Hendry. I will never suggest that Cullimore plays for this club as I think he's pretty much worthless, but I guess the price is right. Off we go...

The Good
Collectively, the whole team played well, with their second hottest hand out of the lineup with the flu. Sharpie showed that when given the chance, he's the man. Stalberg finally got a goal, fighting through two Columbus players and chipping a shot above Mason's glove. One would have expected the Defense to be all over the place, and maybe some Rick Nash trickery, but there was nothing of the sort. The Hawks had a shorthanded goal, which was really a momentum killer for Columbus.

The Bad
Even though I think he played an admirable game Marty was a little shaky at times. Columbus hit at least 3 posts, and that first goal was hilarious. Being a goalie myself, I've had quite a few goals like that scored on me, but talk about bad luck. The last goal looked like Marty was just screwing around. The thing that concerns me is the number of pucks squirting through him and the number of pucks that are beating him and getting the post. Nothing to really be alarmed about just yet, but something Stephane Waite needs to work on with him.

The Ugly
Columbus in general. The effort was just pathetic. They allowed the Hawks to control the action all night, in their own home opener with 40 shots on net. Steve Mason was hung out to dry, and no one seemed to care. No one looked motivated out there, and even Rick Nash was looking like a bender.

Here are the video highlights:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Get to the Chopa!

That could have been one of the most boring games I've watched in a long time, and poor Corey Crawford can't catch a break. That game had such long periods of nothingness happening; so much so that I was literally falling asleep. Anyway, this will be brief, but here we go:

The Good
Kaner is simply on fire. He's ripping off shots nightly like the legit NHL sniper he is, and they are finding the net. Only Hossa, who assisted on the Toews goal, has been hotter. It is was nice to see Captain Serious finally net one, after a 3 game slump. The Powerplay hasn't been AS BAD, lately. They are the definition of hot and cold, though. One minute the powerplay is absolutely dominating, and the next, they can't get across the center line. The bottom four D-men didn't play all that bad, which is relieving.

The Bad
The goal that Sullivan scored in the first was a complete breakdown. The play turned out to be a 4 on 3, with Bolland heading to the bench because of a broken twig. Noted sniper, and former Blackhawk, Stevie Sullivan ripped a shot over Crawford in the first. That's that NHL snipers do; use mismatches, and find open spaces. Other than that, they were playing against a backup goalie in his NHL debut. You have to create more traffic at the net.

The Ugly
Once again this is obvious. The Hawks were 26 seconds from OT, after Nick Boynton's delay of game penalty, and they breakdown to leave Joel Ward open. That folks is the game. Not to mention that at the end of this very important kill the D-men you have out there are Nick Leddy and Jordan Fucking Hendry. Seriously? That's a matchup from hell. Neither of those two are what you would call stellar in their own end. Well it cost them, and they lost.

Here are the video highlights:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hammer takes a Wiz to Drop a Duece

In one of the least surprising moves, the NHL handed Hammer a two game suspension for his hit on Jason Pominville, Monday night. From the second the whistle blew, after Pominville went down, everyone was thinking, "that's going to be a suspension". Now, I'm certainly not implying that I think it was a dirty hit, because it wasn't. Pominville looked at Hammer TWICE as he was skating in. Pominville knew he was coming. This was not a blindside hit, and it wasn't from behind. The way that their bodies came together, Hammer's shoulder was perfect height to bounce Pominville's head into the glass. Unfortunate for everyone involved. Nick tried to time the puck getting to Pominville and guessed wrong. I admire his aggressiveness, and willingness to make a meaningful play. He did what players do thousands of times in a professional sports season, misjudged and made a mistake. He was in no way, trying to be malicious. The refs did the right thing, because if Hammer EVER came back on the ice Monday, some Buffalo forth line rubberhead would play martyr and Nick would probably end up on the IR instead of the suspended list. The league will make their point, and it will be an interesting game on Saturday, when the Sabres come into the UC for the rematch. I hope John Scott will be putting the foil on, because he is on ready five with Merlin. Something WILL happen, it's just a matter of when. Boynton, Hendry, Leddy and Scott as your bottom four on "D". This should be entertaining.

The NHL handed don't another decision, Tuesday, as they suspended New York Islander, and former Blackhawk, James Wisniewski the same 2 games for an "obscene gesture" he made towards New York Ranger notorious twit, Sean Avery. Wizzer simulated a well known oral act while having a verbal joust with Avery between whistles. I guess the league is trying to make people think it's some kind of wholesome Disney Channel content, because I can't say the punishment fits the "crime". It's a JOKE! Anyone who has been to ANY sporting event, whether it be pro or beer league, knows that the players yell, scream, and taunt with the most colorful of language and gestures. Now, no one will accuse Wizzer of being the brightest star in the sky, but he was doing what every other player does. IN FACT, his gesture is no doubt less obscene than the verbal spatter that is unleashed from the second they hit the ice, until the second they hit the locker room. Calling out opponents wives, mothers, fathers, and whoever else, is a regular occurrence. Wizzer just chose to use his hand to embellish it. Nick Boynton received the same suspension for his "throat slitting" gesture, which looked more like the Joey Gladstone "cut-it-out" gesture from Full house, and I fully believe WAS NOT a gesture that was meant to simulate throat slitting of any sort. It's a the same gesture that people use daily to mean "stop", "end", or "no more", not "I'm going to slit your throat until you cease to exist". Hammer sends a guy out on a stretcher and Wizzer tells a guy to blow him. Both get two games. It's just not the same level of infraction. Players hoot, holler, gyrate, and simulate hundreds of random acts play after play, in every sport. Shuffle the deck all you'd like, but it's just not equal. Oh right, the victim Sean Avery, was the same guy that, in an interview a few years ago, inferred then Calgary Flame Dion Phanuef of bedding his "sloppy seconds" in a locker room interview when referring to Avery's ex, and then Phaneuf girlfriend Elisha Cuthbert. Yeah, Sean, everyone want's you follow your act. Talk about a blacklist guys should run from. Anyway, my point is that this is a joke. Accuse Wizzer of being a dope, and he is, but the most he should be forced to do is issue a press statement that he was inappropriate, and is sorry. The league had young, hot, scantily clad girls (whom I LOVE to watch, BTW) skating around between whistles "cleaning the ice", and the league is worried about their wholesome image?

How is this for wholesome?

Tell me what comes to mind when you see this! Hypocrites?

How dare you Wizzer....(cue eyeroll)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Buffalo Wild Wings

What's that poking me in the back of the head?

So, we're three minutes into Monday's game in Buffalo, and the Hawks are down 2-0. The season is still very young, but you have to feel this is a the lowest point in the last year for this team. Do they wrap it up and allow Corey Crawford to be pulled from his season debut, or do they pull the tail out from between their legs and show some heart. Lucky for all of us, they chose the second, and the Hawks are all evened up at 1-1-1.

The Good
This is going to be much easier than the other night. First of all, Chuck Norris is now wearing his Marian Hossa-nator jammies, underoos, and is going to be Hossa for Halloween. He is far and away the best Blackhawk, at this point of the season. The guy is a STUD! He does what he does, when he wants. Corey Crawford overcame a HUGE deficit, and what could be described as bad luck and butterflies, to settle in and get the first Hawks win of the season. If I hear or read ANYONE even suggest Crawford needs to be the starter, I'm hunting them down and forcing them drink a pitcher of chocolate laxatives. Its just a stupid thought, and you need to be punished for even entertaining it. The forth line was mixed and matched half the time with the third, as Skille/Stalberg got the promotion they deserved and Brouwer/Pisani got the DEMOTION they deserved. Unfortunately, there was nowhere to move poor Jake Dowell. The Hawks actually scored a powerplay goal, as Kaner took a nice feed from Duncan Keith and did what NHL snipers do, beat Miller with a well placed shot. The Hawks did not yield a powerplay goal, including a kill on Hammer's 5 minute major. Lastly, Nick Leddy actually played like a grown ass man, instead of a 19 year old kid. He has work to do, but he's progressing. He scored his first NHL goal off a Buffalo skate, but it's a goal nonetheless. Here's to you, kid...

The Bad
Pretty obvious, as the start was just utterly awful. Poor Corey Crawford had a combination of bad luck and poor support. The casual idiot would have blamed Crawford for both of those goals, but after a closer look, Eddie Olczyk pointed out that the first goal went off Keith's glove. Shitty luck at its worst. For 90% of the game, the Hawks dominated. No use harping on the generally bad, because there really wasn't much after the first three minutes.

The Ugly

I'm officially thoroughly baffled with this Dave Bolland at the point on the powerplay fascination, bullshit. This has yielded nothing but mishandled pucks and facepalm after facepalm. Luckily last night, Sharpie was playing the point on the first unit, but sure enough, the second unit gets trotted out, and there is Bolland at the point. I'm pretty sure that when he was told to step out there, he looked at Quenneville and said, "ME? REALLY?". I'm BEGGING "Q" to cut this embarrassment of an experiment out. ANYONE but Bolland, PLEASE!

Lastly, the play that could have been a positive moment for Hawks fans, but ended in a player being carted out, and will probably follow with a suspension. The Hjalmarsson hit on Pominville. I truly applaud his effort, and it's not like Pominville didn't see him coming, but it's a borderline play. You're not going to get the benefit of the doubt on a borderline play, when the opposing player gets carried out strapped to a stretcher. I don't fault Hammer for trying to make something happen. It's unfortunate for both ends. Hammer's luck, thus far, can best be described as SHITTY. I sincerely hope Pominville is alright.

Here are your video highlights:

Monday, October 11, 2010

Big Marshmallow Fluff

Sure is sunny and dry here in Atlanta

In the reoccurring chronicles of former Blackhawks that we're "doomed without", this video popped up via Puck Daddy, on Yahoo. The Big Fluff shows his stellar defensive prowess by doing absolutely nothing and letting last year's league leading goal scorer, Steve Stamkos, redirect a goal off...the Big Fluff, and into the net. The same Fluff that was so necessary to the Hawks. The Fluff that broke everyone's hearts when he was traded. The same Fluff that had a couple of hundred thousand people wasting money on #33 jerseys and shirts, even though anyone with a brain knew he was one of the first to go. The same Fluff that no one in Atlanta knows what to do with. Check out his use of that big body to push people around and clear out the crease in front of his goalie:

Steve Stamkos is 6'1" and weighs 188lbs. Dustin Fluff-lien is 6'4" and weighs 265 lbs. Three inches and almost 80 pounds!!! Fluff may not be able to skate with him, or stop him one-on-one (and he shouldn't), but if there is one thing Fluff should be able to do, it's manhandle him in front of the net. First, he lazily skates back for the puck and plays it with one hand, which results in a turnover, THEN he lets one of the leagues most dangerous goal scorers skate all alone in front of his goalie. Someone please tell me where, in the book of hockey defense, it says this is a good idea. This is just one more example of why he's just an average player that was in the right place at the right time. A flash in the pan. On the Atlanta Thrashers, he's John Scott; with a crazy fro.

Remember, Fernando Pisani once led the league in playoff goals with 14 (which was four less than his regular season total), and now he practically begged for a job, taking the league minimum, to play with the Blackhawks. Does the beginning of that sound strikingly familiar? Something like 17 goals in the entire regular season, last year, and 11 in the playoffs? I hope you enjoyed last spring, Dustin, because you're lined up for tee time NEXT April.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Evil Empire is Alive

Well, that wasn't so hot. Imagine Luke Skywalker missing that shot that blew up the first death star. That's kind of what happened last night. After all the hoopla of the banner raising, the Evil Empire beat the Hawks in front of their own, delirious, full house. Maybe that banner is bad luck, and we need to take it down. I will fully admit that I sat there with an ear to ear grin watching that ceremony. It was something special, and the only thing better would have been if I was there, and of course, a STINKING WIN! The videos from the ceremony are on the Hawks site, and broken into roughly 5 different parts, so I'm not going to post them all here. That crap is over and done, so the team needs to focus on the current situations.

The Good

The forth line, or as I like to call them, SDS. Plain and simple, they were the Hawks strongest and most consistent players. So when your fourth line grinders are your best trio, things are deplorable. Stalberg showed some serious speed, but still can't get to the net, with the puck that is. Dowell has made everyone forget the name Colin Fraser, after only two games. He's has shown that he belongs in the NHL, and has had several very good scoring chances, along with throwing his body around like a maniac. Jack Skille has been a man on a mission, as well, with several very nice hits and the speed that made the Hawks select him in the first round the year before Toews. I honestly think Quenneville needs to play them more. They have earned it. It can't hurt at this point, because they've shown they aren't a liability. This isn't the Burish/Fraser/Eager line of years past, and that's a good thing.

Seabrook snuck in on the power play and put a nice feed from Hoss in the net to tie the game in the first. Seabs had a much better second game, that much is for sure. Chuck Norris is still wearing his Hossa pajamas, as he rolls out of bed this morning. Turco didn't have a terrible night, but that last goal was really awful and, obviously, costly. Brandon Pirri made his Hawks debut, with Sharpie out nursing the unspecific "upper body injury", and didn't completely suck, so that's promising. He might want to do something about those frightening eyebrows, though. YIKES! Bickell had his second goal in as many games, and I actually saw him look like a big boy and carry the puck. There is no way this sham lasts. It's like a Jesus, Santa Claus, or the Easter Bunny; a figment of our imaginations. Bickell is not leading this team in goals for much longer, and if he does, there is cause for extreme panic.

The Bad

Once again, Hjalmarsson was out there for all 3 Detoilet goals. The difference is that they had him out there with Nick Boynton. I'm certainly not blaming the goals on Hammer, but something isn't clicking. At the rate things are going, he's going to be personally chauffeuring Campbell to his rehab treatments. He's two games into the season, and already a -4. That's something to be concerned about. John Scott didn't exactly light the world on fire, either. He turned the puck over in his own zone a couple of time, and BADLY I might add. We all saw him trip over the blue line, like some "c league" bender, and allow Filppula around him, and eventually score the game winning goal. Of course, he was left to cover for the "phenom" Nick Leddy most of the night, but I just don't see why Scott is seeing so much time. Leddy was where he belonged last night, but he needs a solid partner. Not "dump in the pants" Scott. In Leddy's defense, Hammer was out there with Scott when the game winning goal was scored. I think Boynton would play well with Leddy, but that leaves no one for Hammer. This Campbell thing is really just fouling everything up, and is the basis for a good deal of this poor play. Bad chemistry. There isn't a solid #3 man to play to Hammer's #4. As a result, Hammer is having to play #3 to a bunch of #5's and #6's.

The Ugly

The powerplay. After that Hossa to Seabrook goal, the PP looked exactly like that; Pee Pee. It sucked! Jesus Christ on a cracker, I'm tired of this Dave Bolland experiment at the point on the PP. Can we please put it to rest? It's atrocious. Simply embarrassing. Since when is Dave Fucking Bolland the puck control artist extraordinaire? That's right, he's NOT! He's a 3rd line shut down center. Quit acting like he's some kind of worthy PP quarterback. I can understand replacing Bolland with Hossa, because he can control the puck. In fact, he's one of the leagues BEST at controlling he puck, but with Hoss at the point, who plays with Kane and Toews? I guess Kopecky or Bickell could just create havoc in front of the net, because someone has to. I really never saw Osgood struggling with traffic in front of the net. By the end of the game, Coach "Q" was throwing Boynton, Pisani, Brouwer, Dowell and a host of others out there on the powerplay. Talk about an act of desperation. When you feel that Nick Boynton or Fernando Pisani are the answers to your PP problem, you're really reaching the bottom of the barrel. I think "Q" actually pulled some drunken beer bellied slug out of the crowd, to try on the powerplay, because it couldn't have been much worse.

The second Detoilet goal wasn't exactly something to write home about. Purposely banked of the back boards and Mr. "Assault and Battery" Todd Bertuzzi somehow poked it through Turco. Davie Bolland almost kept it out of the net, but the damage was done.

The easiest of the ugly was the last goal. Soft, to say the least, and a complete culsterfuck from the blue line in. Scott falling, Hammer's desperation because of it, and Turco misplaying it. Horrible timing. You do realize that 2 goals by Filppula is almost 20% of his goal total for the ENTIRE last season, right? He looked like an allstar last night. Unfortunately, Turco had a bad night, but he's still better than the alternative of Huet and Niemi, no matter what kind of bullshit you try to feed me. I'll take an aggressive, confident goaltender over those two fragile rubberheads any day. You can watch the carnage below, because it's a buzzkill after that banner ceremony.

The Highlights.

Friday, October 8, 2010

That John Denver is Full of Sh*t

A funny thing happened this morning as I walked up Madison street. The sun was rising over the lake. Imagine that; the sun is going to rise today, after the Hawks lost their season opener, and, as it turns out, the Rocky Mountains ARE a bit rockier than we'd hoped. Of course, I'm speaking of the 4-3 overtime loss late last night to the Avalanche. Opening on the road, against what could be one of the fastest teams in the conference wasn't going to be easy. The Hawks battled back from a 3-1 deficit to tie up the game in the 3rd period and eventually lose on a shot that snuck through Turco and dribbled in. Where does one start? I'm going to get the bad out of the way first, and end on a high note, because it's not all gloom and doom.

Natually, losing your opener is never "good", but they played a team that is very talented, and certainly faster. That can't be said about many other teams in the NHL, because the Hawks are a young, quick team, themselves. It's nothing to be worried about. The first issue I need to address, or in this person's case get undressed, is Nick Friggin Leddy. On the north side of the center line he looks like an NHL defensman, but south of that line, he's not even a bad stand-in. It's painful to watch, at times. The first goal was a direct result of Leddy not being able to take a pass that was in his feet. Stewart then blazed by Leddy, as he mentally pouted because it was a difficult pass, undressed Hjalmarsson, and sat Turco on his ass with a pretty move. Grantite, Hjalmarsson sent over a pass that was perfect for a right handed shot, but you have to know how to coral a less than perfect feed, in the NHL. Leddy is very talented, but he's green as goose shit, and looks confused and overmatched on the back end. He should be a #5 guy, at this point in his career. Talk about trial by fire. I really believe that Brian Connelly would have been a better selection to log NHL minutes, because he's played against professionals. Hammer is going to have a LONG 4 or 5 weeks if Leddy is going to continue to be his partner, until Soupy gets back. Hammer was a team worst -3 last night, but it's not all his fault, when he's basically alone in his own zone. Goal #2 he was out there with Keith, who let Duchene keep his stick on the ice and redirect Foote's pass into the net, and Goal #3 Leddy and Hammer just stood there and watched Stastny pick up a loose puck and fire it through Turco. Sloppy, to say the least. The powerplay looked relatively good , but the penalty kill took a few steps back. As far as the rest go:
-Stalberg looked uninspired

-Brouwer was up-and-down

-Kane looked a little tentative, and maybe a tad rusty

-Seabrook looked slow at times, and must have wind burn from those fast little bastards skating by him.

-Scott just IS slow, all of the time, and he skates like he had a load in his pants.

-I was shocked to see Pisani playing with Shooter and Kane early on. That's CLEARLY not where he belongs. Lets end that experiment real soon.

-Skille was back in the lineup, but really didn't do anything of note. Unless, of course, you consider a hooking penalty something of note.

Now for the good, or at least the "not bad". First is the subject I'm going to have to debate 400 times in the coming months; Marty the Midget. I have no problem with his performance last night, and I promise you 3 or 4 of those high shots would have beaten Niemi and certainly would have beaten Huet. More specifically this save. Marty looked quick and confident in net. He single handedly kept the Hawks in the game, in that first period. He might like one or two of those goals back, but what goalie doesn't want a few back. I'm going to write a note that says "It's not Marty's fault", and tack it to the forehead of any douche that tries to blame these things on him. The team gave up 41 shots! That's 16 more than they AVERAGED last year. If they only yielded 25 shots, the Hawks win that game 3-1. If it weren't for Marty, they would have lost that game 7-3. I'm moving on before this gives me a migraine.
-Shooter was the Hawks best player with a goal and an assist.

-In typical Hossa style, he played a great game with a pretty redirection.

-Bickell had an excellent goal, but he still carries the puck like my 2 year old. He passes and shoots like a big boy, but if he tries carrying the puck, someone needs to just take it away from him, because it's brutal.

-Kopecky seemed to be everywhere, and didn't disappoint. Looks like he took a few lessons from the big fluff on how to annoy opponents, and I thoroughly enjoy watching him do it. It literally makes me laugh out loud.

-Keith was average.

-Jake Dowell showed some flashes of talent especially with that nice drive to the net.

-They were only credited with two shots in OT, but they pretty much dominated it.

Here are the highlights, have a look for yourselves:

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Carnac the Magnificent : 2010/11 Blackhawks Predictions

The day of reckoning is finally here. Opening night in the NHL, and the first Blackhawks title defense in almost half a century. All summer long, whether it was the dopey bandwagon fans or the idiot interweb wise asses with their "haterade", not many people have given the team a chance to repeat. Lets face it, repeating in ANY sport is difficult, and with roughly 30% of your roster playing elsewhere this year, it will be a battle. Since every other person with a keyboard or a 3G phone is giving their prediction, I figure that I'd be the odd asshole out, if I didn't give mine. So without further ado, drumroll please...

The answer is: 45-28-9...45-28-9
The question is: What will the Blackhawks record be on April 11th, 2011?
The view is that the team had an excellent year last year, but there will be many more periods of struggling this season. They open up without the person that was their best powerplay quarterback, Brian Campbell. There will be chemistry problems, and more lineup shifting than we're accustomed to, but Quenneville will find a way to make things work. Making the playoffs is the goal, and they will do that easily.

The answer is: 69 minus 10...69 minus 10
The question is: How many games will Marty Turco start?
The view is that Turco is the old, and by old I do still mean younger than me, mule that "Q" will ride into the sunset. Age or injuries aside, that's what Marty the Midget is use to. He took his benching last year in stride, but he knew he was leaving. He didn't sign a one year deal at a highly discounted rate here to watch Corey Crawford eat up minutes, and because Turco the anti-Huet, Crawford will be required to play less.

The answer is: 33-20-6...33...20...and 6
The question is: What will Marty the Midget's record, at season's end?
The view is that Marty is the man, and there is no need to crowbar Corey Crawford in there. Marty will be fine, and he will set the regular season assist record for Blackhawks goaltenders.

The answer is: Shooter's McDreamy understudy, The Swedish Rocket
The question is: Who is Carnac's pick as biggest surprise Blackhawk player?
The view is that there is a new gunfighter in town ,and his name is Victor Stalberg. By gunfighter I don't mean sniper, although I have a sneaking suspicion that he'll score quite a few. I mean resident panty dropper. Once the puck bunnies get a load of this guy, Sharpie's woman can finally breathe a sigh of relief. On the ice, he has all the tools to be a solid power forward, he just needs to apply himself. He had a slow preseason, but showed flashes of blazing speed and soft hands. I'm sticking by my pre-preseason pick.

The answer is: Big Hoss, and Patrick the Pimp
The question is: Who will lead the team in goals, and points?
The view is that Hossa has looked, far and away, the most dominant Hawk since February of last season. When he has the puck, it doesn't leave his stick until he wants someone else to have it. Chuck Norris will be wearing a Marian Hossa costume for Halloween. The Hoss, not to be confused with the Hoff, will probably eclipse 40 goals, and could net somewhere in the high 40's. Not a bold prediction, I know, but a safe one. Kaner will lead the team in points, because he is simply a point producing dynamo, as well as a drunken bar slut magnet. The only thing that will slow him down is the women hanging on his pant legs. When Kaner is done beating the women off with his Stanley Cup ring wearing pimp hand, he'll be a scoring and passing machine. Look for 35 goals and 60 assists. He's improved his goal scoring every year, and not even hot tubs full of champagne and Wrigleyville hussies can slow him down.

The answer is: Drew "Dont You" Doughty
The question is: Who will unseat Keith as the Norris Trophy winner?
The view is that the NHL has been hyping Doughty since the day after Keith won it. If it were up to me, Keith would get a 5 year lease of it, but the league is pushing younger stars to bring in the youth. It's quite amusing that at 27, anyone would be considered old, but Keith will continue to be a candidate for years to come. Keith would gladly let Doughty borrow it for a year while he wins another cup, I'm sure.

The answer is: Vancouver CaFucks
The question is: Who is Carnac's pick to win the Western Conference?
The view is that I hope I'm proven wrong, but I see the CaFucks finally making a move to the next level. They stocked up on defense and Luongo doesn't have to deal with the Big Fluff this year. Tomax and Xamot are a fierce ginger duo with some crazy telepathic powers. The LA Kings are also going to make a run, but they are a few years away. The popular pick is Detoilet, but they are another year older, and more fragile, and I refuse to believe that they defy nature. I hope I'm proven wrong, and the Hawks repeat, but it's a competitive league.

The answer is: Philly Cheesesteaks and Pittsburgh Black Lung
The question is: What teams will be teams to beat in the East?
The view is that the two Pennsylvania teams are powerhouses. Philly's defense got BETTER, if you can imagine that, and Pittsburgh is an offensive juggernaut. If Philly can figure out their goaltending sitiation, they'll be just fine. War-shing-ton and Bawston will have something to say, but the road to the Eastern Conf is Route 76, and it goes from Philly to Pittsburgh. With the Capitals goaltending situation, they are better playing without one and putting an extra defenseman out there. Boston has some promise, and a talented young goalie, but I still don't see a great deal of offense from them.

There you have it. Those are my random predictions. If anyone wants my opinion on other subjects, feel free to email them to me at PuckinHostile@gmail.com.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Morin sent to Rockford

It looks like the Jeremy Morin experiment has been put on hold temporarily, as the Hawks sent him to the Icehogs, Monday. This comes as a slight surprise, but not something I'd call a shocking development. All the shenanigans aside, he's a very talented kid with a bright future at West Madison St, but he is also very young, and can clean up his game a little bit. He should absolutely smoke the competition in Rockford. If he has the chip on his shoulder that we all think he does, he will use this to inspire some serious carnage. Of course, this will all be temporary, and I'm sure he knows this. Although, I am disappointed that I won't get to see the Morin/Sharp/Kane line just yet, but there is still plenty of time.

As the roster stands, it's at 24, with Campbell going to the IR for a few weeks. So, technically, they don't have to make any more cuts. I don't care what plate of bullshit you try to feed me, but Jassen Cullimore does not belong on this team. He's T-E-R-R-I-B-L-E, and a marginal AHL player. How he's snuck through these cuts is beyond me. As much as I disliked Sopel, he was a hell of a penalty killer and took more shots than Jenna Jameson.

Now that the roster has been set, I have to say that there is some serious talent playing in Rockford. It might be worth getting out and seeing an Icehogs game this year.

EDIT - The Hawks placed Ryan Potulny and Jassen Cullimore on waivers, which could send them to Rockford or give them their outright release.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Once, Twice, Three Times a Leddy

What a weekend, here in Chicago. The Cubs and Sox were finally taken out back, like Old Yeller, to be put out of their misery, and our glorious 3-0 Bears finally showed their true form. All those people who booked their tickets to Dallas for the Super Bowl, last week, can now shut their naive cake holes, and enjoy their shoe leather sammiches. The best part of the weekend was, of course, the REAL Hawks showing they still have a little spunk by taking down Pittsburgh on Friday and St. Louis last night. The wins were not without a price though, as Brian Campbell was sent off with a knee injury and it was disclosed that he will be out about 5 weeks. Concerning? Yes! Devastating? Hardly! Last year, when Soupy went down, they struggled not only on the powerplay, but playing solid hockey in general. There was no one to really take his role, and the Hawks struggled for a brief period because of it. This year is another story. The team has a plethora of young defensive talent waiting for a chance. As Quenneville showed last night, they are going to slide Nick Leddy in the spot held by Campbell. This is not without problems, as Leddy is only 19, a bit on the smallish side, and not quite as flashy as #51. BUT, he is out of that Campbell "mold". He moves the puck and likes to have it on his stick. My honest feeling is that Connelly would work much better in that slot, and peppering in Leddy would be the smarter thing to do. Less pressure on the kid. We'll see how it shakes out, and I hope Hjalmarsson is ready to earn that money, because he's going to have to cover up for Leddy's play on the back end. They may be throwing him to the wolves a bit premature, but only time will tell ho he handles it. Leddy looked comfortable last night, but I'll get to that in a bit.

There you have the highlights from the Pittsburgh game, Friday. The Penguins really didn't dress the big dogs, and it showed. Hossa put on a one man show, with two dominating goals, and Pisani, Kane and Kopecky all added tallys as well. Crawford was serviceable in net, and showed he'll be just fine as Turco's backup. The big news was the Campbell injury.

Th same opponent lineup issue was the case for Sunday's affair with those pesky mutts, the Blues. No Halak or Oshie for St. Louis, and it showed. This was my first live look at the children of 2010. The lines for the night were Kopecky/Toews/Hossa, Morin/Sharpie/Kane, Pisani/Bolland/Bickell, and Brouwer/Dowell/Stalberg on O-ffense. Defensively, Keith and his hetero lifemate Seabrook were together, with Hjalmarsson and Leddy paired up, and the cement boots line of Nick Boynton and John Scott were together. That is still a VERY solid lineup, without Skille and Campbell. Keith's blast off the faceoff, right after the Blues received a double minor for High Sticking, was tipped in by Kopecky about 4 seconds into the PP, and the Hawks went on a roll. A few minutes later, Stalberg made a beautiful blind backhand pass to Troy Brouwer, who roofed it. The third goal was a bit of a chlamydia goal as it was a dribbler off Hossa, after Morin made a nice move into the slot, and let a falling (or stumbling) shot go. The Kane/Toews/Kopecky goal looked like there might be a little chemistry there, as they gave it a little "tick-tac-toe" and Toews finished with a little "how's your father". Turco played pretty solid but the second St. Louis goal was a direct result of his confidence, or OVER-confidence, as a puckhandler. He turned it over to a guy standing 4 feet from him, who fed it in front, as Turco was floundering, and it snuck in past him. I'll still take a few of those, as long as they don't cost any games. That gaffe aside, he is still an amazing puckhandler, and he has something we haven't seen in a while, which is confidence. There is no doubt that when Marty Turco is in net, that is HIS crease. He would slash his own children if they got too close. He has some marbles, which I could never have said for Huet or Niemi, and as much as I loved Khabby, his marbles were in question, too. Come to find out his marbles were probably floating in a Vodka Martini, like a pair of olives. Back to the subject at hand, Here are the highlights of the game:

Now for my take on the situation. The first three lines are packed with talent, and if they go to battle like they did tonight, all four lines can put the puck in the net without question. That line of Kane, Sharpie and Morin should have defensemen wetting themselves, because that is some BLAZING talent in your grill. For the record, I DID say Sharpie would be the #2 center, and Bolland #3 didn't I? The defense is where there may be some questions. Hammer-son is going to be relied upon like a rape crisis counselor on a girls gone wild tour, to keep the second and third pairings from literally running around like the three stooges. Scott and Boynton have their moments, but let's hope they aren't out there, together, against anyone with talent, because it'll be ugly. They are both slow, and if they can't get their hands on a quick guy, they'll get eaten up. I fully understand why Scott is here, and we haven't had a cementhead like him since Bob Probert or Stu Grimson, but the leash need to be short with him. "Q" needs to keep in mind just what he has to offer, and keep him fresh for when asshats like Matt Cooke, Cam Janssen, or Dan Carcillo come sniffing around, like the douches they are. I read that the Hawks have 9 games to return Morin and/or Leddy to the juniors, and it's an option for Leddy, but I really see him playing in Rockford, eventually. I think those two are far past a year in the juniors. Keep two things in mind while watching Nick Leddy and Jeremy Morin; The Hawks got Leddy for Cam Barker, and Morin (with others) for Byfuglien, Sopel, Eager and Aliu. Both players will outscore and outplay the slugs they were traded for, before their careers are over. Mark my words.

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