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Monday, January 31, 2011

Puckin Hostile Mid-Season Blackhawks Report

Normally, I just do a season ending Blackhawks report card, but since I've been hot on the Hawks tail this year and have some down time with the All-Star break, I figured that I'd put together a mid-season one, as well. We're all well aware that the team has been vastly underachieving, compared to most expectations. I, like most everyone else, expected much more at this point in the season. Sure, there were major changes made in the offseason, but none of them were ones that I would call blockbusters. I've weighed them more than a few times, and the quality of players traded is virtually a wash. The only real player to breakout is Dustin Byfuglien, and there was no way he was going to get that amount ice time on this team. Not playing with Keith, Seabrook, Campbell, and Hjalmarsson. They might not score as much as he has, but they are all more complete players. I've read it many places, and just what IF "this" is the team we really have? A 4th to 8th place team. Disappointing, to say the least, but there is a reason only one of 30 teams can win the Stanley Cup and repeating is so rare. This is going to be an extremely rough ride for the next 32 games, and I really hope I'm not writing a season wrap-up in early April.

The Valedictorians
    Patrick Sharp ~ A ~ What more could we ask for from Shooter? He's near the top of the league in quite a few categories, he's leading the powerplay that is right at the top of the NHL, and he's providing guidance and a great example for the younger players. If he season ends as it has started he'll shatter all previous career highs. He's on a pace for roughly 50 goals and 90 points. That's nothing to sneeze at, but that minus 10 +/- needs to be a bit better. He has been worth every cent of that $3.9 million, and we are all thankful that he wasn't part of Operation Cabbage Crunch last summer. Add to all of this an AllStar MVP trophy, and Shooter is having himself an exceptional season. Couldn't happen to a cooler guy. Maybe married life has done him some good, this season. If that's the case, we need to get the rest of these guys married by April!

    Corey Crawford ~ A ~ Surprise of the season, well if you weren't THIS GUY, who was calling for more Corey Crawford two seasons ago!!!! Yes, Corey was slated to be the backup to Khabby, and could have done it, but, in one of his few head scratching moves, Dale Tallon has some brilliant plan to bring Christobal Huet in, and because he must have had a big fat Wirtz wallet, he signed some unknown Finnish kid named Antti Niemi. There is your vote of confidence, Mr. Crawley. I'm VERY happy to see Corey bounce back and rally from the SHIT treatment he got, and play as well as he has. The irony in this is that Corey is a restricted free agent just like Niemi was last year. Fun timee, eh? At least they are going to have some money to spend, and Turco will be off the books, as well.

    Bryan Bickell ~ A ~ Who would have thought that the surprise of the season would be a close race between Mr. Crawley and One Trick Bick? 12 goals, 14 assists, and a plus 11 is pretty remarkable in 47 games for a player with such a limited skillset. He ranks sixth among all rookies, in scoring. He is also third on the team, and second in the league among rookies, with 117 hits. Bick has slid into the position formerly held by Andrew Ladd, and has done an admirable job. Let's just hope he just "keeps on, keepin on".

    Brian Campbell ~ A ~ Another player in the surprise category is Brian Campbell, although his salary clearly indicates we should expect this of him every year. He began the season on IR, and the team struggled mightily, much like the end of the season and first round of the playoffs last year. Something about Carrothead makes this team run better. He's DEFINITELY still overpaid, but his importance to this team has been proven now twice. He's been a freakish plus 23 since coming back. Along with Hammer, Soupie is quietly holding down the second pairing while the Duncan Seabrook circus continues to make people scratch their heads.

    Jassen Cullimore ~ A ~ Some might be a little left aghast by my grade for Cullisnore, but I based this not on his play compared to other players, but what we would have expected from him. No one could have predicted that he would have been the most solid 3rd line d-man this year. Now, part of this is because Quenneville was half retarded for the first third of the season, and had Hendry playing every position but the one he's good at, but Culli played his position well. Unless a sniper takes out half the defensive core, we won't see him again, but he deserves some kudos.

    Jonathan Toews ~ A minus ~ Captain Serious has certainly has his struggles, and started yet another season slowly. He's has, though, provided the leadership that a captain should, even when he wasn't scoring. While Hoss and Kaner were out with injuries he held things together, for what could have been a disastrous part of the schedule. He really does need to more consistently put the puck in the net, and he's taken a few really bad penalties, but I'd be frustrated sometimes too if I was the captain of this team.

    Troy Brouwer ~ B ~ The Hawks are getting, pretty much, what you'd expect out of Brouwer. He's on pace for 45/50 points, and could crack the 30 goal mark, with a solid last 32 games. Now keep in mind this is all while skating a majority of the seaon with two of the top playmakers in the entire NHL, so take that for what it's worth. The place where he is really excelling is hits. He is 5th in the league with 165. This is where he needed to make up for the loss of Byfuglien, and has. Can't complain too much about what they have been able to get out of him, but he needs to learn to bury the puck into an open net.

    Brent Seabrook ~ B ~ One of three hawks to have played all 50 games thus far, and is on pace to have best offensive season, yet. His career high was 32 points and he's sitting at 26 now, so he's on his way to a career year, even though that is not his job on the team. The problem, as with quite a few Hawks, is his plus/minus. He's usually around +20 and this year he is sitting at -6. That just won't work for this team. This team counts on him and Keith to be the examples, and play in all the critical minutes. His increased time on the powerplay hasn't translated into many more points, but his even strength production has been better. Don't ask me how that's happened. He's sitting behind Brouwer, on the team, with 147 hits, and that leads the league for defensemen.

    Jake Dowell ~ B plus ~ Jake the Snake has been another pleasant surprise. No one expected much out of him in the first place, but he has exceeded my expectations to replace Colin Fraser. Not that much had to really be done to replace him, but Dowell has played center on the second, third and forth lines at different points in the season, and has not looked that out of place. He's on pace for a 30 point season and lead the team with 8 fighting majors. Fraser is currently riding a 2 goal and 1 assist season for edmonton, so take that for what it's worth. This is one position where there was a considerable upgrade in talent and production. His plus 9 shows that he is not a liability to the team, no matter where he's played.

    Jack Skille ~ B plus ~ I guess this was the year Jack Skille finally decided that he wanted to be an NHL player, rather than an AHL footnote. His raw talent was never the issue. but there have always been big questions about his head, and whether it would translate into an NHL player. The answer is yes. He's been one of the unsung heroes of the season, and has done just about everything asked of him. He's spend a majority of the season on the forth line, which has made me mental with frustration, but there isn't really any other place for him at this point. Skille, Dowell, and Stalberg have created one of the best forth lines in recent memory. Of course Burish, Fraser, and Eager were fan favs, but this years line is dangerous in many ways, and frighteningly fast. Skillington isn't a huge guy, but the way he throws his body around like a crash test dummy is fun to watch. He is currently fourth on the team with 89 hits, which is phenomenal, considering he only gets and average of 11 minutes and 16 shifts per game.

The Passable
    Jordan Hendry ~ B ~ Poor Jordan. All season long, EVERYONE has been calling for him to play more on the back end, and Quenneville has done nothing of the sort. Throwing him out there for 5 minutes a game at forward with the Big Slow isn't going to do any good. He CAN play forward, but I CAN bake Lasagna...with instructions and someone guiding me along. Just to show that not ALL fans are idiots, once Q but him back on D with Leddy, he immediately took to it, and played well. You can't fault the last of solid play on Hendry. Fault the fact that he was a square peg being forced in a round hole. To Hendry's credit, he has taken it like a man, and eaten his humble pie with a smile. I hope his second half is a little easier than the first.

    Patrick Kane ~ B minus ~ Kaner is on pace for roughly 70 points, and that's not too shabby, but for Kaner that's on the low side. He HAS lost 9 games to injury, so that will shave a few points off the top, but he should be around 85 points this year. Unless he gets shot out of a cannon in the second half, that's not going to happen. He's also played quite a few games in which he was CLEARLY still not 100%, and for those games, he was virtually invisible. He absolutely cannot play hide-n-seek the second half, because the team is going to count on his playmaking to carry them if they plan to make a serious run in the playoffs.

    Niklas Hjalmarsson ~ B minus ~ Some might consider this season a bit of a disappointment for Hammer, based on the salary they were forced to pay for him, but I really don't see it that way. Sure his offensive numbers are WAY down, but that's not the reason he is where he is. He is there to do the dirty work for Brian Campbell, while Campbell prances around the ice doing his best Bobby Orr impression. Hammer was put there to eat puck after puck, and smile about it. A much better version of Brent Sopel. He has done exactly that. The problem is that 6 points in 48 games is bad for ANYONE, even Brent Sopel. He needs to be a bit more involved in the offensive end. Last year he had 2 goals and 15 assists, and you would expect something like 20 points this season. Defensively, he's been a horse, with his plus 6. He has 100 blocked shots, which is good for 15th in the entire league, and he takes most of them with a mild grimace, and carries on with his day. I was down on this kid at the beginning of his career, but he has shown some serious guts and grit.

    Fernando Pisani ~ B minus ~ I was baffled by the signing of Fernandog in the offseason, but I couldn't argue with the economics of his deal. League minimum for a player that has some serious playoff experience, and is known as a shutdown line kind of player and penalty killer. He has done what you would imagine he would do here, and that is not poop his pants. He has played solid in his own zone and thrown in a couple of goals. You'd really like to see more scoring from him, but he is what he is. 7 goals and 13 points is about what you'll get, at this time in the season, but his plus 3 tells you that he hasn't been a huge liability.

    Tomas Kopecky ~ C plus ~ TomoKop is a peculiar case. He is one of those guys you either love or hate. There isn't much middle ground in the game of Kopecky. He has already tied or broken all of his previous offensive season highs, except for penalty minutes, which he's sure to break in his next game or two. He has always been an even or minus player in the +/- category, and that still holds true. He is getting top six ice time, and he's getting a good deal of powerplay time. The problem IS that they, and by they I mean Quenneville, are asking too much of him. The main issue here is, no matter how they dress him up, he's never going to be a good NHL center. He has been one of the WORSE face-off men in the entire LEAGUE for the last two years, and he isn't exactly doing a Bolland style shutdown in his own end. He's an winger that has a bit of that Sean Avery "annoying" factor, along with a slight knack for putting the puck in the net. On his best day's he's an average second liner, and on his worst days he shouldn't even be playing on the forth line. The problem with that is we never know what we're going to get. He's the Magic 8-Ball of this team.

    Viktor Stalberg ~ C plus ~ My boy, Pik-to-Click Vik. I've gone to bat for him a number of times this season, and so far, he's generally made me look like a dolt. He started off lukewarm, and went to hot, and then the concussion hit. Work on the street from bitter Leafs fans is that once he gets a bad headshot, he becomes a real meatball, fast. So far, that's been the exact situation. He has BLAZING speed and has a nose for the net, but has been a combination of snake bitten and just tuned out. I'm still certain that he can be a better player than Versteeg, but his productivity just isn't there. He can't blame the line he's been on because, he has played with the top line for a number of games, and not much changed. The jury is still out, but he needs to get hot.

    Duncan Keith ~ C ~ This is NOT the Duncan Keith we've all grown to love. Who are you, and what have you done with the man we use to know? He's had flashes of the old Dunc, but he's also had flashes of the new Nick Boynton. Yes, that's a very bad thing. He is only on pace to possibly crack the 50 point plateau, which is down from almost 70, last season. The bigger concern is his -4, as compared to +21 last year. That's being on the ice for FAR too many goals against. He's even been taken off the first powerplay unit, in favor of Seabrook and Sharpie, which has payed off greatly. His shooting percentage has been atrocious, at 2.9%, and that's because he has been firing pucks into defenders shin guards rather than goalies and nets, all season long. It's like he is a one trick pony, and can't adjust to fake a shot, and skate around a defender. This is hard to believe from a Norris trophy winner, who has been a model defender for most of his career. If this doesn't drastically change, he is going to be one of the big reasons the Hawks won't make it past round one.

    Marian Hossa ~ C ~ This year is the year Marian Hossa hasn't been able to stay healthy. Last year we knew we would be starting the season without him, and when he joined the team, he hit the ground running. This season he has had flashed of the dominant Boss, and games where he didn't look like he was feeling 100%. He's missed 16 games, so his 27 points put him on pace for around 50, which is quite low for Hossa standards. He is, on average, a point per game guy, and needs to find that stroke again. He's in the prime of his career and can't be dropping off.

    Marty Turco ~ C ~ I was one of the biggest Marty supporters when the Hawks signed him last summer, and he has kind of made me look like a fool. He's a good goalie, but maybe he is really in the sunset of his career. I thought his aggressiveness and leadership were exactly what this team needed, and it has really caused nothing but chaos. No one knows quite what to do with him when he gets a hold of the puck, and unlike Tim Thomas, his unorthodox style has his defense on their heels. He has put on a happy face, a lot like he did last year in Dallas, but he CAN'T be happy to be sitting on the bench. At this point, you would almost wish that Philly had signed him, because the Hawks might not have been practically shut out by Bobrovsky the Builder, a week ago. I like Marty a lot, but I'm sorry to say, that he's really going to be begging for a job next season. We got him at a bargain, so it is really no skin off our teeth, but he might be looking at making even less as a backup somewhere next year. Nice knowing you, Marty.

    Jeremy Morin ~ Incomplete ~ I wish we had a little more to go on with Morin, but since the Hawks were forced to put Leddy's contract into motion, it looks like they are going to let Morin marinade in Rockberia for the season. I'm not really opposed to this, because there really isn't a spot for him, right now. He is not going to fit in with the Bolland Brigade, and the top 2 lines look pretty set. The only person I can see Morin replacing, in the near future is Kopecky, but not this year. He is a very talented player, and will be a very good Blackhawk someday. Just be patient.

    Nick Leddy ~ Incomplete ~ We saw a brief glimpse of the person called Nick Leddy in the first few games of the season, and he was clearly over matched. He was sent off to Rockberia, and the World Junior Championships for a little character building, and came back a little more seasoned than before. We really don't know what we have yet, in the former Minnesota Mr. Hockey, but all signs point to a future top 4 guy. He still has a while to go, but there is a lot of promise.

The Class Clowns
    John Scott ~ C Minus ~ Big Show, is the Big Show. Nothing more, and not like there could be much less. He's a big lug that has cement fists. He's not going to score goals, set people up, or play great on the defensive end, he's just going to...exist. He would really be owed a big fat "F" if it weren't for the fights, because a time or two, he brought out some emotion from the fans. The thing he needs to learn, is just WHEN he should be fighting. In the beginning he would fight when provoked, and later on it just because a sideshow act. No meaning or point. When I finally had enough was the staged fight with Cam Janssen from St. Louis. This isn't the WWE. The last couple of times he's played, he provided nothing to the team. He played in the Philly game and didn't fight at all, when Jake the Snake and One Trick Bick fought, while Scott just skated around looking more stupid that usual. He's not even first on the TEAM in fighting majors. He has a LONG way to go, if he expects to end up in the same category as Tie Domi, or Bob Probert. Quite frankly, I don't see the skills to do it.

    Dave Bolland ~ D plus ~ Now we have the other side of the coin, which is disappointment of the year. Invisi-Bolly. Yes, I know he has gotten hot recently, but for the first half of the season, he was DREADFUL! He has 5 goals in his last 7 games, and all that work has his total to just 10 goals. He's still third on the team in faceoff percentage, behind a guy that isn't even a center, Pat Sharp. The only thing he's done well, is shutdown opponent's money lines, and maintain a plus 6 while doing that. Yes, he's only 24, and he's coming off a year where he had major back problems, but he's making $3.375 million a year. To earn that, you need to put the puck in the net and make some plays on the plus end of the ice.

    Nick Boynton ~ D ~ Well, Well, Well. Mr. Dick Boynton. He has surely made himself into the whipping boy of this team, and not without good reason. Asinine penalties, epic brain farts, and even badly timed fights have plagued his season enough to get him a very special seat up in the press box. After playing so well in the finals last season, everyone, including me, thought that he could certainly hold down the 3rd d-man pairing for the season, right? WRONG! It was his position to lose, and he did just that. As much as Quenneville wanted to keep Jordan Hendry in his near west side shallow grave, the failure of Boynton to play solid, at best, has made Q swallow his pride. Not only Hendry, but the circus that is Dick Boynton and his poor play has forced the hand of the Hawks to start Nick Leddy's contract time clock a tickin. So, not only has Boynton's poor play affected his time and the team chemistry, but it's cost the team an extra affordable year on Leddy's rookie deal. Thanks Nick, you're a real peach.

    Ryan Johnson ~ Incomplete ~ This guy drives me absolutely mental. I still don't know why he's here, desecrating the number of the great Wayne Presley. Everyone is going on and on about his penalty kill expertise, but he doesn't kill penalties. They ramble on about his faceoff skills, but the last time he played, it was at wing. I don't get it. There was a reason he was sitting at home playing scrabble, when the Hawks called. I'm sure he was as surprised as we were, with this one. The funniest part is that they can't even send the guy down while he steals money from this team in the press box, yet they have to play Salary Cap Shuffle with Nick Leddy, to save a few bucks. StanBo, what are we missing?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

All-Star Weekend notes and thoughts

Skills Comp

-The smoke intro thing looked pretty bad ass.

-I’m not sure what song they played for the Hawks guys, but it sucked.

-That goalie skating thing was some of the dumbest shit I've seen in a long time.

-The backwards skating contest is going to get someone killed, cut that dumb shit out.

-Sharp beat Toews BADLY in his first accuracy matchup. Toews didn't hear the whistle so there was a do-over, which Toews won.

Fastest Skater
Duncan Keith
Kris LeTang Winner

Michael Grebner Winner
Taylor Hall

Tim Thomas
Cam Ward Winner

Martin St Louis Winner
Ryan Kesler
Steve Stamkos winner
Mike Green
Matt Duchene Winner
Marc Staal

Taylor Hall
Michael Grabner Winner

Breakaway Challenge
Pk subban had a couple of good ideas but didn’t cleanly pull off any moves
Evgeni Dadonov was lame.
Corey Perry had a nice lacrosse move and hit the crossbar
Anze kopitar was fairly lame as well
Alex Ovechkin was a shade of two years ago and had one decent move, but won
Louis Erikson circled the net and really had nothing else.

Accuracy Challenge
Brad Richards
Ryan Kesler Winner
Logan Coture
Patrick Sharp
Jonathan Toews Winner under protest
Phil Kessel
Rick Nash Winner
Patrick Kane Winner
Eric Staal
Dan Sedin Winner
Martin Havlat

Dan Sedin Winner
Pat Kane

Skills Challenge Relay
Just one huge clusterfuck, and I couldn't care less about this stupid circus

Fastest shot
Shea Weber and Chara went to the finals, and Chara won. Buff took third and showed well.

All Star Game

-Well, At least Duncan Keith is being consistent with his play in tipping the first goal into his own net.

-Right after his first All-Star breakaway, Sharpie fed Paul Stasny for a pretty 2-on-1 goal.

-Sharpie had his second assist on Claude Giroux’s goal, that put Team Staal up 4-0.

-Kaner made a great feed to Dustin Byfuglien for the second Team Lidstrom goal.

-Jonathan Toews picked up a fancy pants turnover by Kris LeTang and fed Louis Eriksson for a wide open back door goal.

-Giroux returned the favor in the second period as he took a turnover and fed Sharpie for a one timer. Goal and 2 assists for Sharpie, and that just about cemented the MVP, even though he didn't do much after the first few mins of the second.

-The jerseys looked surprisingly nice. I'd buy one.

Friday, January 28, 2011

NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft and Dodgeball Tournament

Well, It was certainly an entertaining draft and here is how it shook out:

St. Louis
2-Steve Stamkos
4-Duncan Keith
6-Henrick Sedin
8-Shea Weber
10-Tim Thomas
12-Dan Briere
14-Dustin Byfuglien
16-Jonathan Toews
18-Marc-Andre Fleury
20-Jonas Hiller
22-Brad Richards
24-Keith Yandle
26-Brent Burns
28-Martin Havlat
30-Anze Kopitar
32-Matt Duchene (I love this kid's attitude)
34-Louis Eriksson
36-Phil Kessel

1-Cam Ward
3-Alex Ovechkin
5-Daniel Sedin
7-Zdeno Chara
9-Rick Nash
11-Henrik Lundqvist
13-Marc Staal
15-Patrick Sharp
17-Dan Boyle
19-Carey Price
21-Jeff Skinner
23-Kris LeTang
25-Claude Giroux
27-Erik Karlsson
29-Corey Perry
31-Patrick Elias
33-David Backes
35-Paul Stastny

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wild Things

Here we are at game 50 of the season, and things still aren't right. The Wild came into town with a triumvirate of ex-Hawks in Havlat, Madden and Barker, and they left happy campers. The Hawks were going to have to do this one without Boss 81, who wasn't feeling well, and with an achy Captain Serious. So much for having an easy game going into the break, Fellas. The first period was a total end to end shootout, with a number of great scoring chances favoring the Hawks as they lead 2-1. The second period looked like a completely different game, as the Wild scored once early, and once late to go into the third up 3-2. In the Third, the Hawks gave up another softy and failed to score themselves, as the Wild came away with a 4-2 win.

The Good
  • I don't care what anyone says, those alternate jerseys are really sharp looking.
  • Luckily, the powerplay has been so freakishly good this year (even with Kopecky playing on the first unit last night) that Cam Barker's penalty cost the Wild their quick 1-0 lead. Kaner hit Sharpie at his familiar powerplay watering hole, the back door, and Sharpie buried it. Could someone please show Brouwer that? Just a couple minutes into the game and it was 1-1 already.
  • I still have a soft spot for Marty Havlat and John Madden, and I was almost happy to see Havy score. I'd love to still have Havlat wearing #24 rather than the cementhead that's wearing it now.
The Bad
  • Don't you just love watching the Hawks give up a goal before a majority of the fans have their asses their seats? 1:47 in and Havlat eventually snapped a failed Seabrook clearing attempt over Mr. Crawley's glove. That's just how we drew it up, didn't we?
  • Speaking of Seabrook, I'm going to have to denounce you as my favorite Blackhawk for fear that I'm jinxing you. Minus 3 on the night with 2 penalty minutes is the closing minutes of the third? Not your best performance.
  • Brouwer, when you have an open net, just quickly backhand it in, please? Some time this year maybe? Thank god he eventually learned his lesson and hit the open net on his forehand a few minutes later. Could have used that first one, as it turns out though, eh T-Brouw? Just to be consistent he wasn't able to hit an open net in the third period either. If he would have just hit the open net when he had it, he would have had a hat trick. How many more gaping nets do you want, Troy? At least Bolly hits the open net when he has it.
  • For the second time in the game the Hawks gave up an early goal at the start of a period at the beginning of the second, as Mr. Crawley let in a major softy. I blame Dick Boynton.
  • I have to give the Wild credit on their third goal. Crawdaddy had no chance, and the Wild made Toews, Kane, Brouwer, Keith and Seabrook look like they were inexperienced rookies. Tape, to tape, to tape, and in the back of net.
  • I really cannot explain what Corey Crawford was doing on that forth Wild goal. He flopped down and rolled around on his ass, like he was making snow angels. That's a move I would have expected to see out of Turco. He just wasn't on his game, and hasn't been for the last two. Two of the goals last night were highly questionable and that would have been enough to keep the Hawks in the game. I think it might be time for Turco to play a couple of games behind the more solid defensive core, and give Mr. Crawley some time to sharpen up his game. I think we're witnessing a little burnout from the young man, and maybe this All-Star break is just what he needs.
  • Anyone know if Dave Bolland suited up for the game? Anyone? I didn't think so. I may have to "Brett Favre" Invisi-Bolly, with a few more of these performances.
The Ugly
  • DICK BOYNTON! You're HAUNTING this fanbase with your asinine penalties, and ugly mug. You sit out 10 games because you're just a complete and utter moron; and in what was probably your second shift of the game you take a completely unnecessary penalty at the wrong end of the ice. Interfering with the Goalie? What in the WORLD is Dick Boynton doing down at that end in the first place? Get off my team, you ugly bastard!
  • Just WHAT happened to that fast and furious Hawks pace that we saw in the early first period? When you out shoot a team 33-22, you should win that game every time.
  • The Hawks really got screwed on the waved off goal, because the refs were VERY quick on the whistle. The puck was almost completely across the line when the net started to come off, and you'd think that was WHY the ref was blowing the whistle. Luck just wasn't on their side this night, but with the Keith post, and the half-a-dozen other open nets and such, they had their chances.
Here are the video highlights for your viewing pleasure:

Monday, January 24, 2011

Tell Us How You Really Feel, Marty.

Matt McClure of the Second City Hockey posted this up on his Facebook, and I couldn't pass it up. As much as I think Crawford deserves to be the starting netminder, I love Marty Turco's attitude and demeanor. This made me laugh out loud hysterically, because it was on national TV. STELLAR! Marty, I have to shake your hand someday, because clearly we both feel that Pierre McGuire is a witless windbag. Cheers to you, Marty Turco!!!!!!


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Phoning It In For Philly

This is exactly what I was afraid of. The Hawks looked like they used up all fire and emotion Saturday, and really phoned one in this morning. The first period was painfully uneventful, and ended 0-0. The scoring was opened up early in the second as the Flyers stuffed a loose goalmouth puck into the net about a minute in. That had the Flyers going up 1-0 into the third period. That is where everything fell apart and the Hawks gave up 3 goals, to lose the game 4-1. Not the showing you wanted to have on national TV, because they really looked flat. This was the first game I was actually able to attend this season, and I can tell you that the crowd was almost asleep. Blame it on whatever you'd like, but everyone was looking forward to the Bears game, which ended up being a huge disappointment, as well. Way to show America what a great sports town Chicago is, Guys. A double "shit the bed" for Chi-Town.

The Good
  • Obviously, the Hossa penalty shot was a pretty play. The crowd showed a little life, but VERY little. Half the place had left a few minutes early when the Flyers went up 3-0.
  • I loved to see douchebag brothers Hartnell and Carcillo get their teeth pounded in, because they really ARE completely and utter ball bags. Carcillo really got the best of Dowell
The Bad
  • Philly had the majority of the good scoring chances all game long. The Hawks couldn't seem to get anything to the net, and it hurt them considerably.
  • The Powerplay looked tame and awful. Again, not a good time to look uninterested, and ineffective.
  • I'm not sure exactly how many shots the Flyers blocked, but EVERY time the Hawks shot it seemed to be into the shin guards of a Flyer, or wide of the net.
  • The second goal wasn't exactly something o beauty, either. Mr. Crawley over pursued the play and got caught a bit too far out of the net. Zherdev recognized this and wrapped it around to the other post from behind the net. Campbell got tangled up with Crawford, and the puck was in the net before they could recover. Not looking good on that one, Corey.
  • The third Philly goal ended the game. Yes, I know there was plenty of time left, but the Hawks were done. After that goal, I watched half the UC get up, put their jackets on, and walk out.
  • Pierre McGuire is a total penis.
The Ugly
  • Can we end this embarrassing John Scott saga? What did he provide in this game? The Hawks got into two fights and neither involved Scott. Furthermore, absolutely NO ONE on the Flyers were wetting their jocks when he was on the ice. He's a fucking sideshow freak, and he's wasting valuable ice time. Be done with him, he's a big joke and it's not working! Skillington could wander around the ice and do nothing for 5 minutes a game.
  • That first Flyers goal was a complete mess. Crawford easily had time to get his ass up off the ice but continued to lay there. I was screaming, "Get up, Get u, Get up, Get up, Get up!". I didn't get my wish. Why in the hell was Jeff Carter allowed to stand there and pitchfork the puck over and over and over? Hammer? Kopecky? Anyone? Crosscheck him into next month!
Here are the video highlights for your viewing pleasure:


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Clip Those Wings

The Hawks got a much needed week off to refresh themselves and gear up for the second half of the season, but they have two very tough games this weekend. The first of which was an afternoon tilt with the hated Red Wings. Things looked lie they weren't going to end well, when the Red Wings went up 1-0 early in the first, but the Hawks answered with a powerplay goal to end the first tied 1-1. The Hawks turned on the jets in the second with two more goals and looked like they were in good shape, going into the third. They added a 4th goal in the third and went home a 4-1 winner. Great start for the weekend, but I hope they didn't use it all up against the wings. HUGE game at the UC on Sunday.

The Good
  • Invisi-Bolly is officially going into the closet. He has been on a TEAR, lately, and he deserves to lose the nickname.
  • Mr. Crawly quietly had himself an excellent game. He's stepping up against very solid competition. At this point last year, the goaltending position was in a complete state of chaos, and it's nice to have the situation settled at this point. The one goal he gave up was a bit of a tweener, but we'll take those in a 4-1 game. Stopping 36 out of 37 in Detroit is a great game.
  • You cannot possibly ask for anymore than this powerplay is doing. Even the second group is scoring and I can't even explain why they are working. That is not a group I'd even briefly entertain putting out there, on the powerplay. The first powerplay goal was beautiful. Tick-Tac-Toe, and Bolly ends up with a wide open net.
  • I'm not going to even suggest the penalty kill is fixed, but they killed off two successfully. Baby steps.
  • TomoKop has finally come back from Uselessville. If he played this well against the rest of the league he'd be spectacular, but that's FAR too much to ask for. He wouldn't be TomoKop if he wasn't marginally idiotic for a majority of the games.
  • The Brouwer goal was just the icing on the cake. Good night, Irene. Nice coverage, Detroit.
The Bad
  • Toews and Kane really had a 2-0 early in the first and Howard made the stop. I was sure that Toews would dish it off to Kaner, but I'm sure he caught Lidstrom out of the corner of his eye, and didn't want to chance it.
  • I'm not sure what Fernandog was thinking dumping the puck into the middle of the ice in his own zone, but he owes Mr. Crawley an apology.
The Ugly
  • The really only ugly part of this game was the 20 shots they gave up in the third period. Kind of took their foot off the gas, didn't they?
Here are the video highlights for your viewing pleasure:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Blackhawk Beats

Rather than spend the 6 days the Hawks have off dissecting every little piece of their puzzle, I'd rather have a little fun. People who are close to me know that I'm no fan of the Hawks goal song, "Chelsea Daggar". I never liked it, because I feel there are much more appropriate songs that the Blackhawks could beat into our heads until we become nauseous. I get the appeal of "Daggar", but the song itself is incredibly annoying and cartoonish. It doesn't strike fear into opponents, it just aggravates them, much like it aggravates me. And that "dance" the people do along with it, really makes me want to throw blunt heavy objects at them. It's not even that I don't like that kind of music, because I DO like some of it. It's THAT particular song. Even the song they play when the Hawks come out on the ice, Ted Nugent's "Stranglehold", could be laid to rest for some better choices, but it's not BAD by any stretch of the imagination.

So anyway, there are a few songs I'd like to throw out there for your enjoyment, as suggestions. I realize I'm a metal guy, but these are songs that can pump people up. If I'm running or coaching a team, I want people pumped up, not have them dancing around like a 2 year old child watching their favorite Dora or Barney episodes, and I personally know what that looks like. Cute for a 2 year old, but not tough at all. In FACT, if I was an opponent I'd want to smash every Hawks player, face first, into the boards after hearing "Daggar".

So, off we go on our little journey. The first song I think would make a very appropriate goal song is "Madhouse" by Anthrax. The tie in of the "Madhouse on Madison" and the fact that the cofounder of the band, Drummer Charlie Benante, lives in Chicago are enough to make me feel that they have to use this song somehow. Give a listen, and imagine it:

Not too bad right? That could even be used for the entrance theme, too. On to my next suggestion, and it comes from the same band, Anthrax. The song is called "Indians". The obvious connections are the Indian theme and Benante, again. This could be an entrance theme, as well:

Moving on, the next song is a CLASSIC Metallica song. Before all you angry Ke$ha worshiping people roll your eyes, give it a chance. I give you "Seek and Destroy" by Metallica:

That song is nothing, if not bad ass. Period. The beginning is a perfect entrance theme. Metal legends at the top of their game, with one of their best songs. Even the lyrics are inspiring to go out and beat some opponent tail. The next song is from a band I hold close to my heart, Disturbed. Born and raised on the south side of Chicago, they are big Blackhawks fans, especially the Drummer Mike Wengren. I give you "Conflict" from Disturbed:

Another VERY appropriate song, that would send the crowd and players into a frenzy. The next song fits along with the fact that the Hawks are one of the youngest teams in the NHL. "Crazy Babies" from the legend, Ozzy Osbourne:

Again, that's a great entrance theme for the guys to come out to. Moving on, the next song would have been a great goal song for Boss 81, in my opinion. "Miracle Man" also from Ozzy Osbourne:

Imagine, if you will, Boss 81 scores one of his "I'm Marian Hossa and you can't stop me" goals, and that comes blaring over the PA. If that doesn't make you crazy and give you chills, you're in a coma, and nothing will.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Third Period Delight

I promised a recap tomorrow but since we're all on a roll, I figured I'd wrap it up tonight. The Hawks started off on a bad note in the first period giving up two powerplay goals, and scoring one goal of their own. The Shots were only 8-6 in that period. The second had slightly less action but a highlight Dave Bolland goal. The Third period went ALL Hawks. They outshot the Preds 18-5 in the period and scored 4 goals to finish off a productive third period. A very nice way to go into a six day break.

The Good
  • So, One Trick Bick has been proving me wrong with his play, lately. A few minutes after the Preds got their first goal, Bickell made a steal deep in the preds zone and muscled to the net. Once he was free of the defender he fed Invisi-Bolly for an easy tap in goal. That play was ALL Bickell there.
  • I love watching Boss 81 get serious and absolutely dominate everyone else on the ice. I just wish I was seeing him do it more. When he decides he wants to be the man there is nothing people can do to stop him.
  • I might have to retire the nickname Invisi-Bolly with that highlight reel goal he scored. He took a pass at the blue line, waited for Ryan Suter to crossover, and toe-dragged the puck around Suter, and then beat Lindback 5-hole. At no point can I say anything but the fact that that goal was a BEA-U-TY. Looks like he's finally found his stride. This deserves a special showing:

  • We've been waiting all night for a powerplay chance that the Hawks could jump on, and it happened on the goal by Troy Brouwer. Brouwer mucked it up in front of the net, picked up the Lindback rebound and stuffed it in.
  • Forty seconds after the Brouwer powerplay goal he skated through the slot area, and took a Bickell like wrister that ended up going in. For the first time in the game, the Hawks held a lead.
  • All those times I cursed Brian Campbell the last two years, can officially be put to rest. He showed, once again, how important he is to the scoring of this team singlehandedly setting up One Trick Bick, right in front of the net, and Bickell buried it. The shift before, Campbell was hit hard in the corner and had a hard time getting off the ice. Anyone who knows anything was holding their breath on that one, because if he goes down, the Hawks are in trouble.
  • A little cherry on top of the game was Jonny B Goode's 100th career goal. He just skated up the right side, uncontested, and buried a wrist shot past Lindback. Congrats, Captain Serious.
The Bad
  • Sixteen seconds into the game and the Hawks are already on the penalty kill. We've seen this story before, and the Hawks putrid penalty kill yielded another PP goal. Not like Turco played that really, either. More fuel for the "burn Marty down" campaign.
  • Deja Vu all over again with the second Preds goal, as Campbell blocked the original shot by Shea Weber, and Marty Turco went down early, leaving a dribbling for JP Dumont to put into the net. Penaltykill Suckasaurus Majora. At this rate there is going to be a burning cross waiting for Turco in his lawn when he gets home.
  • Just last night we saw the Hawks lose a faceoff deep in their own zone and it quickly ended up past Crawford, and the same thing happened to Turco in this game. Former Hawk JP Dumont got his second goal of the game one timing it off the faceof, right through Turco.
The Ugly
  • The Hawks took WAY too many pointless penalties in the first two periods. It's obvious frustration, but this has to change, because they can't kill a penalty to save their lives.
Here are the rest of the video highlights for your viewing pleasure:

Finish Him!

The first period had a good deal of physical play last night, and the Hawks scored the only goal on a powerplay. The second ended with the Hawks up 2-0 and pretty much outplaying the Preds, getting 23 shots to the Preds 12. On their way to a big win right? Yeah, think again. If you watched the first half of the third, you might have turned it off figuring that the Hawks would win. Well, right after Jordan Hendry got planted on his ass, the Preds showed signs of life and turned the game around scoring two goals to put the game into overtime. Epic choke. The OT wasn't without chances, but the Hawks couldn't cash in. The good thing is that the Hawks got a point out of the game, but the bad thing is that the Hawks threw away another point.

The Good
  • You really don't normally notice it, but watching the game without the audio because of the technical difficulties for the first five or six minutes really makes you have to pay much closer attention.
  • It never fails. Just when I'm thinking to myself, "God DAMN, Kopecky sucks on the powerplay", he picks up the puck and scores a pretty nice powerplay goal. Shea Weber left a fat ass rebound after blocking a pass and TomoKop actually looked like a talented NHL forward for the first time in quite a while.
  • Pick-To-Click Vik FINALLY scored a goal and it was of the bizarre nature, for sure. He was behind the net and banked it off Rinne's back side and into the net. He can't get a goal straight on, but he can apparently do the trick shot. As a Goalie, those ones make me cringe, but as a fan, I had to laugh.
The Bad
  • Eddie and Pat pointed out before the game how well Leddy and Hendry have been playing. My question to them is, if the Hawks have such a great front office and coaching staff, how does it take 40 games to figure out that Hendry and Leddy are better than Boynton and Cullimore? We're not talking quantum physics here. I don't care what they want to claim; It makes me seriously question the whole team's ability to evaluate talent.
  • One Trick Bick had a prime chance on a back door one timer, about halfway through the second to put the Hawks up 3-0, and send the Preds into oblivion and shot it right into Rinne's bread basket. Bet you want that one back, don't you, Bick?
  • Late in the second Sharpie had a wide open change on the powerplay, and he tried to make some dumb ass pass. In no situation was that a good idea. Jam the damn thing in the net and quit trying to be so fucking cute. Kaner threads a pass through to you and you act like you've never seen a puck or where it goes. I'll bet you'd like that one back too, wouldn't you, Fancy Pants?
The Ugly
  • At 10:14 of the third is where the wheels and the Hawks wagon started to wobble. The combo of Leddy, Hendry and Brouwer somehow let the Preds forward slide in between them, take a pass, and score. The momentum was gone after that. The game is 60 mins, guys, not 49. The way Pat and Edzo were talking before that, the Hawks had already won.
  • Just under three minutes later the wheels just plain fell off. Shea Weber got lucky with Corey Crawford getting handcuffed, and the "domination" was gone. It's sad that one softy by Crawford could lose the game for the Hawks like that. I have no fucking clue what Toews, Pat and Eddie were bitching about on that faceoff. Pat and Eddie rambled on and on, and on about it without having any clue what they were questioning. That had to be the most bizarre exchange I've ever heard, because Eddie was just making things up to talk about. Preds won the faceoff, Weber out it on net, and Crawford screwed up. Honestly, shut up, guys. You're creating imaginary excuses, and it's embarrassing.
  • Sharpie had the game on his stick once again in OT, and he stuffed it right into Rinne's pads. That's at least three solid chances they squandered. Roof the puck, Sharpie. For the love of god ROOF IT!
  • One last thing...Hey, Hawks?

The Shootout
  • Toews was stopped by Rinne
  • Goc was able to beat Crawford
  • Kaner was beaten by Rinne's glove
  • Crawford shut the door on Erat
  • Sharpie made it a hat trick of missed chances on Rinne.
Here are the video highlights for your viewing pleasure:

Thursday, January 13, 2011


The Hawks came out slow and even took an early penalty but they scored on two of their first four shots, to lead 2-0 going into the second. The Hawks added on another goal in the second to take a 3-0 lead into the third period. In the third, the Hawks held things together and put a forth goal in to hold the shutout for Crawdaddy. and a 4-0 win.

The Good
  • Even though the Hawks were pretty much dominated early, Brouwer scored a bad rebound goal on the 3rd shot of the game. Budaj would like a restart after that one.
  • When InvisiBolly scores a goal on you, you're having a bad night. Forty seconds after Brouwer scored, Bolland picked up a rebound on the back door, and couldn't miss. Two goals on four shots, Peter? That's a whole lotta suck.
  • Brouwer has finally been consistently throwing that big body of his around and it's made a huge difference on how teams treat his line mates.
  • I'm not sure what Bolland had for breakfast, but he needs to repeat. He gathered in a pass and put it right on Fernandog's stick, who needed to just be present for the goal. The Avalanche defense looked either tired or uninspired, I haven't decided which.
  • I feel much more comfortable with Leddy and Hendry out there behind the forth line more than I ever did with Cullimore and Boynton. The speed alone gives me the warm fuzzies.
  • On the second wide open goal of the night, Jack Skillington put the rebound of a Brent Seabrook shot into the net. The original shot was actually going wide, but Budaj wanted to make the play, and it burned him.
  • I couldn't be happier for Corey Crawford and his second consecutive shutout. He deserves the attention it's bringing him.
  • Call me a pig all you'd like, but the guy that is picking the talent for the intermission puck shoot deserves a handshake. Some of the most attractive women to wear the Hawks logo.
The Bad
  • Hey, Bolly! You're behind the net, on your forehand, and no one is pressuring you. So you force yourself to your backhand and make a bad pass to the wrong team. See where I'm going with this? You had an excellent game otherwise, so I'll lay off.
  • Pat Foley has been REALLY having issues with any player that has an "8" on their back. He's called Hossa Kane, Dowell Kane, and Kane Hossa.
The Ugly
  • The only thing worse than the Hawks penalty kill is the Avs powerplay. OOOFA!
Here are the video highlights for your viewing pleasure:

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

All-Starpalooza Snubs and Flubs

"Patty Cake, Patty Cake"

Yesterday it was announced that Tomax and Xamot (Patricks Kane and Sharp for those that aren't up on their 80's G.I. Joe characters) were selected to the All-Star Extravaganza and Pig Roast. Sharp CERTAINLY deserves to be there, but I could go either way with Kane. He's been hurt and not necessarily All-Star worthy. I'm a hometown guy, but I can assure you there are at least half a dozen guys that have played more consistent hockey that should be out there, and if I wanted to be a real Debbie Downer I would further point out how Duncan Keith should be watching it home on TV too, but he was actually voted in by the fans. I guess if it keeps the axis of evil, Datsyuk and Zetterberg, out I'm copacetic.

Whenever something like this comes about there will always be debate about selections and snubs. This is no different. I have one major gripe, and two snubs.

Now, you could make cases for Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Stastny, Suter, and a few others, but really, the list could go on forever. My major gripe is with the selection of Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury from the Pens, and I'll tell you why. For at least the first quarter of the season, Fleury wasn't even the starting Goalie on his own team. Veteran Brent Johnson would have been listed as the #1 netminder, and Fleury couldn't stop a beach ball rolled at him. Tomas Vokoun, of the Florida Panthers, should have easily beat him out. Fleury's stats aren't even all that spectacular either, but I guess the small market teams have to suffer somehow. Apparently, once you get your Stanley Cup gold jacket you're given all the special considerations.

The snub really isn't on the radar, but it has to do with the rookie selections, for whatever silly horseshoe throwing competition they have planned. There are two Blackhawks rookies that deserve a look; One-Trick-Bick, and CrawDaddy. Bickell has fairly quietly put together a very impressive first half. He's 4th in the league overall, 5th in goals, 5th in assists, and 1st in shooting percentage. If that doesn't warrant a rookie selection, I don't know what does. CrawDaddy is in the same boat. He's right behind Philly's Sergei Bobrovsky in just about every rookie goaltender category and first overall in GAA. Unfortunately, the fab 4 took up the quota of All-Star slots for the Hawks, and I don't think goaltenders can be included in this complicated rookie jarts tossing competition.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Deserted Island

They are just milking the hell out of this Stanley Cup ordeal. I'm as happy as the next guy about last year, and I realize it was technically for the 50th anniversary of the '61 team, but these memorial celebrations are getting slightly out of hand. On the other hand, I suppose you have to have some kind of big ordeal to get people out to watch the Islanders. On to the game...

The Hawks absolutely owned the first period. They didn't exactly light up the scoreboard, but they had a serious advantage in shots, and puck possession time, but led after the first twenty 1-0. The Hawks came out fast in the second and took a quick 3-0 lead and finished the second up 5-0. The Third period was pretty much a snoozefest as the Hawks clearly took their foot off the gas, and almost ruined Corey Crawford's shutout, but he stood tall and held things in check.

The Good
  • It's only took a few minutes and 2 powerplays for Shooter to take a pass in his favorite place, the back door, and deposit it just over the Islander goal line. At that point the Hawks were absolutely making the Isles look like a bad AHL team.
  • "Give-n-a-go, Go-n-a-Give" Pat Foley, you're awesome.
  • Fourth Line, Energy Line, I don't care what you call them, but I love everything about them, except the amount of playing time they get.
  • Boss 81 was left wide open in the slot for the Hawks second goal, and Kopecky hit him. The Islanders are just awful. They kept handing it over to the Hawks, and what did they expect would happen? Boss was a +3 on the night, now lets see a little more of that against an NHL team.
  • Aaaaaaand the Hawks made the Isles pay again on a Kaner one timer goal, off a great feed from Captain Serious. Again, this was like watching the Hawks play a bad AHL team.
  • Invisi-Bolly even made an appearance last night, and looked like a professional, with a nice top cheese roofer, from Boss 81.
  • I feel like this is just the Hawks picking on the retarded kid, with Hammer's goal in the final minute of the second. It closed out the scoring, and seriously, it was painful to watch the Isles play.
  • CrawDaddy finally got his well deserved shutout, and he really DOES deserve it.
The Bad
  • Nick Leddy finally had his first major goof as he let Michael Grabner by him and in on Crawford. Luckily CrawDaddy was up to the job and made a great save. Welcome to the show, Kiddo. Grabner had another shorthanded breakaway in the second and couldn't even get a flipping shot off. Horrible.
  • The Hawks really tried to hand the Islanders a goal on their third period powerplay, but, again, they really sucked.
  • Leddy and Hendry AGAIN had a major gaffe leaving Bailey wide open in front of the net. CrawDaddy bailed them out again. I realize you're up 5-0 and everything, but shit guys, show some effort for your goalie. Speaking for CrawDaddy, you're welcome gentlemen...

  • Zenon Konopka is a complete ballbag. Real tough when you just got shutout 5-0 aren't you?
The Ugly
  • The only thing Ugly in this game was the Islanders. They had their chances, but they are really a bad team.
Here are the video highlights for your viewing pleasure:

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Friday Snorefest

This is urgency? I don't see it. The Hawks came out very flat in the first period last night. If you missed the first period, you didn't miss much. The period ended with the Hawks getting outshot and tied 0-0. The second started with the Sens getting a powerplay goal and the Hawks coming right back with a goal of their own. The rest of the second was a little more eventful, but both teams went into the locker room tied at 1. The Hawks scored about halfway through the third but couldn't hold the lead, AGAIN, and they couldn't score in OT either. So, they had to pull out a win in the Shootout.

The Good
  • Shooter has just been on fire, and it continues. It started with Brian Campbell putting a great pass right onto the tape of the Sharpie, and he redirected it perfectly.
  • Nice to see Invisi-Bolly make an appearance and actually get a nice pass off to Fernandog. Elliott just make an incredible save.
  • Kaners goal in the third was a total gift. First, it's turned over at the blue line and then defenseman Chris Phillips just allowed Kaner to set up his shot. Thank you Mr. Bad D-man.
  • Once again, CrawDaddy had a quiet but solid game. I'll take it.
The Bad
  • The adventures of Duncan Seabrook continued once again. One of such adventures led to a 2-on-0. Swell! Just SWELL!
  • Hello penalty kill! Don't like you very much do we? Apparently not, because the Hawks have gone from bad to simply inferior.
The Ugly
  • Getting out shot by the Sens 11-8 is not a good thing. Starting a very important weekend series where they MUST take two points, and they come out of the box looking like they are in slow motion.
  • Great job holding the lead, guys. If Crawford had held onto that puck, the Hawks would have been able to change their forwards to more solid defensive players, but instead they took an icing call and couldn't change their players. We all know what happened after that. For my money, Toews, Hossa, and maybe Kaner are out there in that last shift, but we had the Invisi-line of Bolly, Bickell and Fernandog.
  • Jonny B Goode went 5-hole on Elliott
  • Kovalev missed the cage on CrawDaddy
  • Kaner sniped Elliott glove side
  • Alfredsson hit the post and was denied.
Here are the video highlights for your viewing pleasure:

Friday, January 7, 2011

Your Hands Build Me Up When I'm Sinking

As expected, The Blackhawks announced today that Nick Leddy will be joining the team for tonight's game in Ottawa. As I mentioned the other day, I'm not sure I really agree with this, for a number of reasons. First of all, who will he play with? Quenneville is not breaking up Keith and Seabrook, or Soupie and Hammer. So, your remaining choices to flank Leddy are Dick Boynton, Jordan Hendry and Big Show Scott. I can't say I trust ANY of those three clowns to tutor the young Jedi. Boynton is brainless, Hendry is still green himself, and Big Show isn't anything more than a hired pair of fists. At least when Cullisnore was out there, you had one guy you could rely on to play solid positionally. I would have been semi-comfortable with Leddy taking his cues from Cullisnore. They are really hanging a lot of responsibility on Leddy's head because if he screws up, like most 19 year olds do, there is no one to really cover his butt. As much as I like Jordan Hendry, he isn't an established NHL defenseman, and won't be able to consistently watch #8's back.

Lets be realistic now, anyone that thinks Nick Leddy will show up and magically change the flim/flam attitude of this team, they have been huffing too many exhaust fumes. The only thing this will bring on is disarray on the back end. For roughly 35 games, this team has played with the same 7 1/2 defensemen, and now one that has played 36 out of 42 games is vacationing in Rock-beria and the new one has a total of 5 NHL games experience under his belt. If Leddy was moistening the boxers of the team management, he wouldn't have been playing for Rock-beria or the World Juniors in the first place, and remember, he was a -7 with the Ice Hogs before he shipped off to the WJC's.

The last concern is his contract. Once he plays his tenth NHL game, he's considered a rookie and his contract goes into effect. If they don't plan on sticking with him, is this worth burning up his rookie year to play on with 3 average-to-bad players, and get his lumps handed to him? I guess that's why we're not NHL GM's. I hope he lights the world on fire and never looks back, but common sense has a strange way of showing up in times like these.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Material Never Stops Coming

"Yeah, Dude, I found this great place to troll for tail and they have most of their teeth, I'll just tell them you're my Dad"

Just when I thought I'd have time to let my blood pressure settle in, the Hawks brass announce another bonehead move. Jassen Cullimore has be assigned to Rock-beria. The one Defenseman that has actually been consistent, other than Brian Campbell, and they send him packing. Stan-bo...buddy...PAL, what is THIS? Cullisnore is not the reason they can't kill penalties, he's not the reason the team doesn't give a shit, and he's not the reason you're currently an embarrassment. He HAS, though, been more than anyone expected, and done what he's been asked to do. I was one of the most harsh critics of Mr. Cullisnore going into the season, but he's done nothing but carry Nick Boynton's stupid ass on his back and play solid defense for 40 games. He's never going to out skate people or score goals, but he is big, physical, and can still plant a guy into the third row of seats. I don't get it, and it makes NO sense.

Where do they go from here?
  • Feed us Nick Boynton and Jordan Hendry as a third pairing? That's not Batman and Robin, there. More like the Batdope and Boy Blunder.
  • Put John Scott back on the blue line with Hendry or Boynton? Please don't do that to us! PLEASE, we BEG of you!
  • Go young and bring up Leddy, Lalonde, or Connolly?
  • Trade or pick up someone off waivers?
I really don't know. Just when you think it makes sense, Jake Dowell and Jack Skille are losing playing time to the great Ryan Johnson and John Scott. I'll die an early death with Hendry and Boynton playing together, or if I have to watch John Scott attempt to play defense. The Hawks have no one to mentor the young guys on that third line, so they'd just get eaten alive until they caught on. The last option really doesn't make sense either, because the waiver wire isn't exactly overflowing with hidden gems, and they can't afford to trade anything away. Please show me what great secret you have hidden in your back pocket.

EDIT - Apparently Nick Leddy is expected to called up for Friday's game. I cringe at who he'll be playing with.

In separate news last week, Twenty year old Hawks 2009 draft pick, and silver medal winning Canadian Junior team member Dylan Olsen signed an entry level deal with the Hawks and will be assigned to Rock-beria as well. The deal is worth $2.305 million over 3 years, at a cap hit of about $768,000. This is a move for the future, because he's not ready for the big boys, yet.

The Stars at Night, Are Big and Bright

""Just like old times in the shower, man"

Coach Q was worried about this team and this game, coming in, and it looks like there was good reason. The Hawks gave up a quick first period 2-0 lead even though they out shot the Stars. The second period was off to a fairly bland and uneventful start until the Hawks scored a weak goal and lit a flame. They scored just over 2 minutes later and later missed a penalty shot, which led to a tie score going into the third period. The third, again, ended up being a huge disappointment, and the Hawks blew another prime chance.

I hate to always be the critical one, well actually I don't, but there isn't much more "time" to figure this out. We are now over half way through the season, and they have been mediocre at best. They've given away game after game, and chance after chance. IF they make the playoffs, and I assume they will, it's going to be a quick exit. If you can't be in the top HALF of the league in penalty killing, you're doomed.

The Good
  • Just when I'm scoffing silently at Fernandog's weak wrister, it's ends up going off Lehtonen's glove and dribbling into the net. God Awful. It's not like it was a One Trick Bick snipe or anything. Thank your lucky stars on that one, because that was a gift, Dog.
  • Speaking of gifts; Just a few minutes later TomoKop out-muscled three Dallas players to poke his own rebound in the net, after Lehtonen gave up a juicy rebound, and Kaner dished a nice pass. At least Kaner can pass, because in just about every other category, he's been USELESS!
  • Is Robidas really that worried about Big Show in front of the net? If he is, he's short on active brain cells. The guy can barely crack the five minute mark in playing time and you feel the need to blatantly cross check him right in front of the ref?
  • Like Eddie pointed out, I was late to finally see SOMEONE hit Burish. I know they are friends, but you can't let him just run around like an asshole doing whatever he pleases all night. He gets off on being a pest, so it was time to smack him like a bad puppy. Atta boy, Seabrook. You can still smack your buddies around a little. It's hockey, not ballroom dancing.
  • You wouldn't see Dick Boynton leading the rush up the middle of the ice and drawing a high sticking penalty the way Hendry did. Just Saying.
  • The Empty netter is irrelevant at that point and really not Toews fault. He put it where he should have and Eriksson got lucky.
The Bad
  • Hossa got a breakaway in the first few minutes of the game on a great pass off the stick of Jonny B Goode. Another chance squandered.
  • Good Ol Tomo-Kop at it again. Two and a half minutes in and he gets a hooking call which...wait for it...ended up in the back of the net. The Hawks Penalty Kill is simply terrible. TERRIBLE!
  • This game got ugly early, with two powerplay goals against in the first eight minutes. I just can't see this team going anywhere with a PK team this bad, and have I mentioned how bad it is?
  • When Eddie says, "The good thing is that it's only 2-0", you know they've played an atrocious period. Toews was CLEARLY disgusted between periods, as he should be.
  • Pick-To-Click Vik did everything he needed to on the penalty shot, after he was hauled down on a partial breakaway. To hit three posts in one shot is extremely rare, but entertaining to watch. That's just BAD luck, and he deserved that one.
  • The Penalty Kill once AGAIN failed Corey Crawford, making that three powerplay goals against, and Mike Ribeiro's second of the game. That's embarrassing. Utterly EMBARRASSING!
  • For the second game in a row, the Hawks missed a wide open net in a critical point, and this one cost them the game. Sharpie was tied up, but they NEEDED that goal.
  • I'm not sure what One Trick Bick was doing when he decided to pass it off Hammers foot from behind his own net and putting it right on the stick of the Dallas forward, but it looked like something you'd see in a bad Men's League game.
The Ugly
  • Once again Jake the Snake and Skillington were sitting. Wrap it up with a pretty little bow all you want, but it's bad. This is going to make me mental, which is entertaining for all of you, but it's going to lead to an aneurysm.
  • I'm not sure I saw Ryan Johnson in the second half of the game at all. So, tell me again why he's playing and Dowell isn't? Someone? Four minutes and thirteen seconds, and ZERO on the penalty kill. That's what the great Ryan Johnson played. The faceoff artist. The penalty killer extraordinaire. Not like they needed him when they gave up THREE POWERPLAY GOALS! I've about had it with Quenneville's lousy games. It's to a point where common sense is nowhere to be found. It took almost 40 games to figure out that Jordan Hendry is probably a better option than Nick Boynton? Joel needs to spend some time on the internet because we've been pulling out hair out, well those of us WITH hair, for about 30 games.
  • Of everything, the biggest "WTF" of the night has to be the fact that Big Show had 55 seconds of powerplay time. Really? That's ALMOST a full shift. What is THAT sloth going to do on the powerplay? Positionally, he's lost. He has a below average shot, and he can't move. WHAT IS THIS? Viktor Stalberg has been snake bitten, but I will promise you that he has more value to the powerplay than JOHN SCOTT! AYE CARUMBA, AND JIMINY CHRISTMAS ON A CRACKER!
Because most players wearing a Blackhawks uniform at this point completely disgust me, I leave you with this...serenity now, serenity now:
Here are the flippin video highlights for your viewing pleasure:

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Kings Ransom

Not exactly the way you want to welcome your Captain back, but CrawDaddy held the Hawk in the game and the score to 1-1 after the first period. Not an ideal performance against a very dangerous Kings team. The Hawks pretty much dominated the second, but gave up a late breakaway goal to tie it up at twos for the third. The Hawks got a little luck in the third period, and held on to a 4-3 lead. Just something about the Hawks that the Kings can't solve. Too bad the Hawks can't play them 6 more times.

The Good
  • CrawDaddy was the man of the game and showed why he's taken over as the #1 guy in net with that last glove save. He's confident and extremely solid.
  • It was a matter of time before Boss 81 put a puck in the net and where better than on the powerplay? Boss was the hot hand for the first half of the game, putting one off the post in the second, as well.
  • Sharpie's powerplay goal looked EASY. They toyed around with the Kings defense and looked like a dominant squad. Can't argue with #1 in the league.
  • Thank god we were spared Nick Boynton for a second straight contest. I was so tired of his bonehead plays. And John Scott...JOHN SCOTT! I don't miss the big show ONE BIT. In fact I forgot he was even on the team until they showed Wesgarth's ugly face, in the third.
  • That second Sharpie goal was pure determination. He wanted to go to the net and wasn't going to be stopped. Huge goal, and huge effort from a team captain. Kopecky did his best to get in the way, and could have really fouled it up, if Sharpie wasn't in such a zone.
  • About midway through the third period was the first time all year that I saw the Hawks look like sharks that smelled blood. That is how they played all last season, and I'd forgotten what it looked like.
  • How that Toews goal got in the net, is beyond me. I have no words for that. I don't think the Kings could have thrown it in their own net any better. One big WTF moment.
  • I giggled to myself when Invisi-Bolly was pushing a broken stick around, during a third period powerplay, so that it was in the passing lane of the Kings players. Slick move, kid. Kudos for that one.
The Bad
  • I thought Tyler Kennedy was pug ugly, but what a work of art that Ryan Smyth is. OOFAA!! Schnoz-a-saurus.
  • Even though it's a good thing, its for bad reasons, but Kaner being demoted to what is really the 3rd line is well deserved. His pass to Sharpie on the second period powerplay goal was very nice, but he clearly doesn't have that overdrive gear. What's better? Half a Kaner, or no Kaner? I'm beginning to think no Kaner is. He's not a player that plays through injury well.
  • Wow, that Ryan Smyth goal was blown coverage of EPIC proportions. Long changes my ass, Eddie. A competent defenseman needs to account for all players and be sure he's the deepest man. The bench should have been shouting like a bunch of maniacs, as well.
  • Kaner and Bolly on a 2-on-1, and guess who can't gather it in for a shot? If you had Bolland, you're wanted in the winners circle.
The Ugly
  • I'd still like someone to explain to me why Jake Dowell was sitting in the press box in street clothes. One...Good...Reason, please. Why hasn't Invisi-Bolly been sat down for a game? Snake is playing better, and more consistent than Bolly.
  • Duncan, Duncan, Duncan. WHY do we have to keep having these chats? FIRST, you oddly back hand pass the puck to Seabrook who is standing in your own crease. Of course that never makes it out of the zone. Then, you backhand it over the glass and take a bad penalty. After Toews then takes his bad high sticking penalty while killing your stupid penalty, you're down 5-on-3 with arguably two of your best penalty killers in the box. The Kings score on the Toews penalty, and guess where this all started? You guessed it, Norris Trophy winning D-Man.
Here are the video highlights for your viewing pleasure:

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