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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

More Than a Feeling

Last night the Blackhawks had a TALL task ahead. I predicted before the game that they would be lucky to get a point from this game, because you have to look at the facts. They were playing one of the top Eastern conference teams, on the second night of a back to back, on the road, after playing an emotionally draining OT game the night before. The advantages were heavily against them, and it showed. I blame this one on the schedule makers, but Quenneville needs to find a way to keep these guys motivated or they will be out of gas come playoff time.

The first period was pretty much what we might have expected, with both teams having some chances, but neither scoring. Boston clearly had the advantage, and that couldn't last all game without biting the Hawks in the ass. The second period is where the Hawks started to fall apart. Two bad Bruins goals took any momentum they had and relentlessly pissed all over it. The Bruins extended their lead in the third period, and the Hawks just ran out of time and gas.

The Good
  • Congrats to Mark Recchi on his career point milestone. That is the only nice thing I can say about this game.
The Bad
  • Stromboli was on the ice yet again, along with Soupie, for an opposing breakaway. There are just too many defenders that are getting behind him, bottom line. He needs to get his head out of his tuchus, and make sure he's the deepest man, especially if his partner isn't. It's getting old extremely fast, and I know Crow can't be enjoying these shenanigans. I also noticed him below the opponents hash marks FAR too many times. This isn't gym class hockey, where you can just run all over the place, aimlessly. I've seen puppies and small children with more self restraint.
  • Excuse me, Dog Pisani? Don't shoot it on your own net. Just a small piece of advice. OK? Thanks, signed, Corey Crawford.
  • Patrice Bergeron not only out fought Hossa for the puck along the boards, but he went in one-on-two, shorthanded, and ended up dangling our Norris trophy winning defenseman right onto his wallet. That's a lesson in defense, there, Duncs.
  • It's pretty funny how the announcers repeatedly pointed out T-Brouw's horrendous slump, and yet Quenneville is jamming him down our throat, so he can suck the life out of our two top players. WHY? Stalberg has had some excellent games playing with the wonder twins. I suppose we HAD to break THAT up, because you can't have too much of a good thing, right?
  • The Bruins took a 1-0 lead off a Chara shot that was redirected off Brian Campbell's leg and into the net. Poor Crow can't get ANY help, or even luck. Unfortunately, any wind the Hawks had in their sails was gone after this one. It might as well been 10-0 at that point.
  • The Bruins pounded the nail in the coffin with Nathan Horton's third period goal, after he beat El Capitan and T-Brouw to the net, as the third man in. Were you a little tired guys, because it was a little obvious?
  • The Hawks REPEATEDLY, lightly floated the puck towards Thomas from foolish distances, and he ate every one up. Just because the Bruins scored on one of those doesn't mean the former, and probably future, Vezina winning goaltender on the other end will allow one of those meatball goals.
  • The Hawks were only outshot 34-32 but they looked completely tired and disoriented most of the game.
  • Kruger and Snake were eaten alive at the dots, going a combined 2-13, but the rest of the team had respectable numbers. Kopecky was a surprise once again, going 8 for 10. Color me shocked.
The Ugly
  • The Bruins Thornton should have been called for the knee on knee with Hammer. That was uncalled for, and he could have really jacked up an important player for the Hawks. Maybe he deserved that skate to the forehead, for that one. Karma is a bitch, nutsack. Maybe that's what the Hawks bench was chirping at him about.
  • Just a few minutes after the Chara goal, the Bruins got a 2-0 lead on a seeing eye floater by Johnny Boychuk, that looked like a Gaylord Perry spitball. THAT, folks, is what we call an awful goal, and Crow needs to make that stop. No excuse for that one.
Here are the video highlights for your viewing pleasure:

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Turkey Wings

Here the Hawks were, in Detoilet, playing a beaten up club, with their 3rd string goalie in net. Was this going to be an easy game? I think not. The way they fought back last week against Pittsburgh was really admirable, especially considering the weapons they have on IR and in the press box.

The first period was fast and furious with the Hawks scoring 2 and the Wings 1. Apparently, Defense wasn't on the agenda with 14 shots a side. The Second had no scoring, but 16 shots aside, which AGAIN led to a one goal third period lead. If you've heard this one before, stop me, but guess who surrendered a third period goal to lose another lead? With a little help from the refs, the Hawks were able to score in OT and win a big game.

The Good
  • Three minutes into the game, and El Capitan put the Hawks up 1-0. Troy Brouwer kept the puck in the zone at the blue line, like a boss, and threw the puck at the net. Ronald MacDonald kicked a fat rebound right to Tazer, after he skated right past Ruslan Salei. Way to pay attention to your man, Woosy. After the Tazer roofed the puck, MacDonald looked up as to blame someone else for the rebound. The coverage was absolute dung, man, but that wasn't exactly a blistering shot.
  • Finally, the Hawks powerplay showed some life, with Seabs sneaking in to Sharpie's usually backdoor position (yeah I know half the female Hawks fans are licking their lips at that one) and putting the puck past MacDonald.
  • Crow was outstanding all game. Absolutely HUGE, when the Hawks needed him to be. He was the unsung hero of this game, and he deserves more credit than he'll get. Our little boy is growing up right before our eyes.
  • All the bad defense aside (and you can't claim there was great defense in a game that had 76 shots on net), this was an extremely fun game to watch and was most definitely played with a playoff atmosphere.
  • Boss 81 was far and above the Hawks best player, and had points on two of the three Hawks goals. Consider his balls out on display for the Detoilet fans to behold. He was obviously out to prove something to the Evil Empire, because he stickhandled through and around opponents multiple times. He could have easily had a hat trick, if he would have done ANYTHING but wind up from 15 feet in front of the net on a breakaway. Really Hoss?
  • Hey, Mike Babblecock, thanks for keeping Lidstrom on the bench for that OT game winner.
The Bad
  • Bertuzzi's ass hattery aside, the Hawks need to score on that five minute powerplay. It doesn't help when the refs call a borderline make up penalty like they did, but you need to score nonetheless, rather than give up a 4-on-4 goal.
  • Speaking of the Lidstrom goal, I'm not sure what Bickell and Kruger were doing, but it was clearly ALL wrong. Eddie tried to defend Krugs, but all the Hawks needed to do was stick with each of their men, and they would have been alright. You can't leave a future Hall Of Famer with that much time. He'll find a way to get that puck to the net, and he did just that.
  • As much of an adventure the Blackhawks defenders have been in their own zone at times, they can't hold a candle to Stromboli. Maybe it's as a result of bad habits from playing on that shithole team in Ottawa, but it needs to end YESTERDAY. There are times that he has the attention span of a six month old Labrador. Slow it down a little, Slick. You don't have to be EVERYWHERE on the ice, all at once.
  • Did you really think you were going to get away with kicking that puck in the net, TomoKop? Don't act so surprised, Doofus.
  • I really can't describe what style of defense the Hawks were playing in the third period, but it was clear that they didn't want to chase the puck anywhere and thought Crow didn't get enough work earlier. There are MANY times, where wide open Wings forwards were able to whack away at free pucks within feet of their own net. Seabrook SPECIFICALLY had a chance to plant someone into 1985, but just stood there and watched him whack at the puck.
  • Kopecky skating around in circles, the offensive zone, with the puck on his stick, and his head down is accomplishing NOTHING. Work the puck to an open player, and cycle. You're not Hossa, and you never will be. Accept it.
  • The Hawks got walloped at the faceoff dots. Kruger was 20%, Kopecky was 25%, Toews was 34%, and Ryan Johnson was the lone positive player, with 64%.
The Ugly
  • Todd Bertuzzi proved that he is not only a criminal, but a complete degenerate. After his little "incident", in Vancouver years ago, you'd think he would be a little more cautious with his elbow. Apparently not. When you go ass first and elbow up, against a defender, you're not trying to do anything but hurt a defender. Fuck you, Todd Bertuzzi.
  • The Hawks got really lucky that Hammer didn't get called for a penalty shot, when pulling down Holmstrom on a breakaway.
  • The game tying goal was just pure bad luck. Originally, it looked like Brian Campbell let Dan Cleqary easily direct the puck in, and he DID let Cleary sit there, but it went off Stromboli's skate. Crow had no chance.
Here are the video highlights for your viewing pleasure:

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Duck and Cover - Late Recap

"I love the let you down"

Saturday night the Ducks waddled into town to play the Blackhawks with the hottest top line in the NHL. Bobby Ryan, Ryan Getzlaf, and especially Corey Perry have been torching the league. Lucky for the Hawks, they employ one of the other hot league players, Jonathan Toews. This was not going to be an easy game, and the Hawks knew it.

The opening twenty minutes saw the Blackhawks take a 1-0 lead and held the Quacks to only six shots for the entire frame. Both teams really opened up the ice in the second period, but neither could score. Both teams had twenty shots going into the third period. As has happened MANY times this season, the Hawks couldn't hold a lead and the Ducks scored one goal early, and one late in the period, to take home a 2-1 win. Next to the 3 Detroit games upcoming, this was the Hawks toughest game, and they blew it.

The Good
  • The Hawks opened up that scoring on a goal by Boss 81. the puck was bouncing around along the board, and Frodo put a bad pass off Pick-to-Click Vik's skate and right to Hoss, who blazed it past Emery, with a one timer. Just too bad it was the first and last time the Hawks would put the puck in the net.
  • Crow made a great breakaway save on Bobby Ryan and the follow up rebound by Corey Perry in the second period with Duece and Seabrook defending. This was the second breakaway of the came with only twenty five minutes played. Not a good stat, folks.
  • The Hawks actually did very well in the faceoff dots. TomoKop was 74%, El Capitan was 60%, Snake was 57%, and Kruger was 50%. Frodo didn't win a faceoff all night, but he only took 4.
The Bad
  • Stalberg showed everyone why you can't take too long once you get in the opponents zone with the puck, when a backchecking Ducks player stole the puck off his stick and sent Ryan Getzlaf in on a breakaway.
  • Hoss had an identical chance in the second, to the one that he scored on in the first, and Emery beat him. The fact that Emery has played this well is really amazing, based on his injury history.
  • The Ducks first goal was a 3-on-2 executed to perfection against the Blackhawks top defensive duo. It all started in the Ducks end, when Pat Kane couldn't get the puck to the net and Getzlaf sent it the other way. Ryan hung on to the puck long enough to let Getzlaf clear his defender, and Getzlaf fed Perry with a perfect backhand pass. Crawford had no chance.
  • The game winning goal by Perry was a determined effort by Ryan Getzlaf to out muscle Brent Seabrook, and feed Perry. Perry then turned around in front of Deuce, and fired it over Crow. Game, Set, Match.
  • The Ducks top line outmatched the Hawks top D pair, 2-0, and that was the game. The Offense needs to score more than one goal, no matter what.
The Ugly
  • Corey Perry had 2 goals and could have easily had 4. The guy is just absolutely on a sick streak.

Here are the video highlights for your viewing pleasure:

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Made With Bits of Real Panther, So You Know It's Good

Last night the Hawks were playing the 1st of the final 10 regular season games, against a recently familiar foe, the Florida Sex Panthers. With all the Brian Campbell and Marcus Kruger hoopla going on, in the days leading up to it, this game almost seemed overlooked. Once again, the Hawks would have to face former GM, Player, and Color man Dale Tallon. This was also the first time the Hawks faced their former player, Jack Skille. There is no doubt that the Panthers will use the win earlier in the month and the Tallon/Skille revenge factor as motivation in the game. The drama was abound, and the Hawks HAD to have this win and these two points.

The Blackhawks looked a little sloppy in the first couple of shifts, but tightened up a little later in the period. Even with some decent scoring chances either way, both teams were scoreless in the period. In the second period, the Hawks took a 1-0 lead and were outshooting the Kittens 24-13. In the third period, the clouds parted and the sun shined through, with the Hawks scoring 3 more goals and decidedly shutting out the Sex Panthers 4-0. Exactly what needed to be done.

The Good
  • In the second shift of the game, Pick-to-Click Vik used his speed AGAIN, to drive hard to the net. He was blasted into Tomas Vokoun by Mike Weaver, but he had a couple of steps on the defenders, and drew a penalty. That's exactly what Vik needs to continue doing. He did the same thing, again, in the second and fed Kaner for a nice chance. He also scored a big goal, but I'll expand on that more later.
  • Kruger started on the third line, and second powerplay unit. As would be expected and as I predicted, he wasn't very noticeable. Maybe our new swede is broken!
  • After three pretty bad powerplays, Seabs unleashed a howitzer of a one timer on a feed from Deuce, to put the Blackhawks up 1-0. It was really a matter of time, because the Hawks had an advantage in chances. The new configuration, with Deuce at the point and Seabs on the trigger side, could work nicely.
  • Kaner, El Capitan, and Vik played tic-tac-toe, forty six seconds into the third period, and got the Hawks off and running with a 2-0 lead. It SHOULD look that easy all game. The chemistry between those three is going to be important, if the Hawks expect to do anything but get booted in the first round.
  • Kaner added to the lead, on a hot pass from Deuce. The shot changed speeds after it hist a defender and squirted through Vokoun's 5-hole. Might have been a softy, but Vokoun was pounded like an porn star all game long. The percentages were with the Hawks.
  • Open up the flood gates with a little Czech connection. Boss 81 lead the rush and fed Frodo, who sent the puck back across the ice to Tomokop, who hit a GAPING net, and the Hawks were up 4-0.
  • Crow earned a well deserved shutout, but lets face it, the Hawks SHOULD shut this team out. They are inferior and really should be whipped all over the rink.
The Bad
  • Even with the Seabrook powerplay goal, the Hawks should have had MANY more chances against a team like the Panthers. I'm not sure what happened, but it started before Sharpie got hurt. Again, not a time to go cold, gentlemen.
  • When Tomas Kopecky (3-4, 75%)leads the team in faceoff percentage, and Frodo (7-11, 64%)is right behind him, your team had a rough night at the dots. El Capitan was over 50%, but Kruger, Snake, and Johnson were all under 50%.
The Ugly
  • In a 4-0 shutout, there can't really be much UGLY, so I'll give the team a break. I can't be a "Debbie Downer" every night.

Here are the video highlights for your viewing pleasure:

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Marcus Krüger will Disappoint You All

GREAT, now I have your attention.

The intarweb has been abuzz with talk of newest Blackhawk center, Marcus Krüger, and probably for good reason. This season has been full of terrible let downs for Chicago fans, after winning the Stanley Cup last June, and we all need something to look forward to. The resulting Stanley Cup salary cap purge upset many fans even though we all knew, or should have known, it was coming. The signing of Marty Turco was suppose to lighten the burden of losing Antti Niemi to the turdly Sharks, but Turco has not been the important piece we thought he would be. The Hammer signing, though storied and dramatic, was important but he has been quietly and under the radar. El Capitan started very slow this season, and Deuce has his head firmly jammed up his tuchus for a majority of the year. New guys Stalberg, Skille, Dowell, Johnson, and Leddy have all done serviceable jobs, but didn't quite fill the shoes of their predecessors. Jack Skillington brought us Michael Frolik and Alex Salak, but we have yet to get anything special out of those two, yet. The trade from Stromboli brought us a game winning goal the other night, but he too has been up and down. The only real nice surprises have been the jump in production from Shooter, the 36 points of Bryan Bickell, and the unexpected success of Corey Crawford, which brings me to my initial point:

Marcus Krüger will disappoint you all.

Before I get a hundred nasty twatter messages, and a boatload of angrily typed Facebook comments, hear me out. When Kruger steps out on the ice, tonight, wearing his brand new #16 jersey, he will probably show some flash and talent. What he will NOT do, is become the next Chicago Hockey Messiah, aka Jonathan Toews. He is twenty years old, and has played European style hockey his whole life. It is going to take him time to adjust, and he might even have some awful games before he gets acclimated. This is what young, European, 5th round draft picks do. They take some time to adjust to the NHL. It wouldn't be the NHL if everyone could step right in, at 20, and do it. You're not going to see Toews, or Kane numbers out of him, maybe EVER. He has the tools to become a smaller, David Bolland, and that's not too shabby, folks. We should expect that he will get out muscled in his own zone a bit, but make some smart, and maybe even dazzling, plays in the offensive end. Young, smallish players can usually keep up offensively, but take some time to get use to the bigger and rougher NHL, not to mention the smaller ice surface. He's not going to be able to dance around people like Chris Pronger or Niklas Kronwall, so he's likely to be planted onto his doopa a time or two. Lets face it, if he was best thing since the "Slap Chop", StanBo and Quenneville never would have let him board that plane back to Sweden, in training camp. All this is fine and well, and I think the guy has some solid NHL talent, but lets all set our expectations at a reasonable level, before this bandwagon even gets-a-rollin, cowboys and girls.

Now, you can all now hit delete, on those hate laced messages. Remember, sarcasm; It's alive and well right here. I'll leave you on a slightly better note. Here is Krüger's first Blackhawks interview, this morning. Go Hawks!

Lastly, Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th movies have absolutely nothing to do with each other. In the crossover version, Jason Vorhees was Kruger's enemy, so all this "he should wear #13" jazz is just plain dumb. Come up with something that is actually CLEVER.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tales from the Emergency Room

After the morning skate and press picnic, here are the latest updates on the Blackhawks developments:

  • According to multiple sources, Quenneville says the Hawks HOPE to have Sharp back before the end of the regular season. Note the word HOPE, folks. Don't start planning the ticker tape parade down Washington Street, just yet. Nothing is set in stone, and that is purely an estimate. Though they indicated that it's "not serious", it's still a knee injury, and he's not going to be 100% when he comes back. Remember how Kaner came back early from his injury and took a good two weeks to be able to do anything productive. Best case scenario, the Hawks are without him for the 10 remaining games, with three against DIVISION rival, Detroit. Stellar timing on this one, and thank you, Rosty Klesla, for tripping over your own feet.

  • According to Chris Kuc at the Tribune, The deal to bring Swedish Center Marcus Kruger to Chicago was in motion prior to the loss of Sharpie. The wheels were set in motion when Dave Bolland was injured, by a pointless elbow to the back of the head, resulting in "concussion-like symptoms". He is expected to be in Chicago for tomorrows morning skate. With Bolland and Sharpie out, I wouldn't be surprised to see him make his Blackhawks debut tomorrow night.

  • Brian Campbell skated this morning with the team. He is a game time decision on Wednesday's game against the Panthers. He told reporters that he felt winded, but fine otherwise. That's good news for the powerplay, in time for Saturday's game against the Ducks, at worst.

Anyone for Doomsday?

A developing story is growing legs and running, here, regarding Swedish center Marcus Kruger. In a nutshell, his Swedish Elite League team is reporting that he is en route to Chicago. Here are a couple of links with some information:

Djurgarden's Official team site

The Third Man In, Chris Block article

Matt McClure at Second City Hockey

Puck Daddy on Marcus Kruger

What does this mean for the Chicago Blackhawks? As speculation rises like the filthy, rancid foam of a porta-potty, people are getting anxious. For my money, this means one of two things, and I will give you the bad news first:

  • Patrick Sharp is out for, what could be, the rest of the season.
  • The Hawks have no faith in any of the players in Rockberia, and need some depth for the playoffs.

As much as people will play it off, and wish real hard, I'm expecting the first scenario. Even though Tracy Meyers, at CSN, has reported to seeing Sharp walking with a noticeable limp but no brace, the way Sharpie went off the ice the other night looked more serious than when Jordan Hendry was helped off the ice a few weeks ago. We are all well aware of THAT outcome. All that side, The Hawks don't want to burn a year Jeremy Morin's contract, and he has been hurt. They also don't seem to have a great deal of confidence in ANYONE on the Sloar Hogs, so with Kruger's team being eliminated from their playoffs, I guess this was the best option. The Hawks have a log jam at center, but no one is really jumping to that next level. Bolland has been hurt, Frodo is a winger in a center's costume, Dowell isn't lighting the world on fire lately, and Ryan Johnson isn't really anything other than a third line shutdown guy, at best. Lets be frank, here, Bolland is dealing with a concussion, which can be a very tender thing to deal with. If the Hawks have to get hot for this stretch run without Bolland OR Sharp, things are going to get sticky, and I haven't even mentioned Campbell leaving the Defensive core thin. As things get announced, I will try and pass them on, in the meantime, here are some video highlights featuring Kruger (#32):

Complete with bad Hair Metal music

Monday, March 21, 2011

Road Warriors

"These are not the droids you're looking for"

Last night's game was yet ANOTHER crucial game. It was against a conference rival that is in the playoff race. The Hawks needed to gain 2 points, but yield none to the Yotes, which was no easy task. Sunday, it was announced that Ben Smith had been recalled from Rockberia. This would make sense, because of the roster debacle the other night in Dallas, but then Smith was a healthy scratch for the game, and sent back to Rockberia immediately following the game. That did a whole world of good. ANYWAY, there was a game played last night, and lets get on to it!

The first period was pretty slow paced, to say the least, but the Hawks still managed a 1-0 lead. Unfortunately, they had to start the second period minus one of their most important players, Patrick Sharp. That injury could be a deal breaker, so lets hope it's nothing. The second period was just about as boring and slow as the first period, but this time it was the Yotes that scored in the closing minutes of the period to tie the game up at 1. All the Hawks needed was one late third period power play goal to get the Blackhawks a 2-1 win. It was a solid team win, and something they needed to accomplish.

The Good
  • Due to the rearranged lines, the Hawks looked like they were a little off with their passes, early on in the game, even with the nice chances they had.
  • The Defensive lines were back to something that resembled reasonable. Duece and Seabrook were back together, Hammer played with Kid Leddy, and Scott played with Stromboli, when Scott snuck off the bench and actually touched ice.
  • Deuce took an open pass from Leddy, simply turned, and buried a shoot 5-hole on Bryzgalov, on the powerplay that followed the Sharp injury. After a slow first with few chances, that was a great way to go into the first break.
  • For the second game in a row, Vik Stalberg showed off his blazing speed, by just chipping the puck ahead and putting on the afterburners. Bryzgalov beat him to the puck, but people notice that that kind of play. In the third period he was the recipient of some meaningful playing time with the top line, and was all OVER the rink.
  • The powerplay came up huge once again, on a gorgeous feed from El Capitán to Stromoli. Stromboli one timed the pass into a gaping net. Once again, when the game is on the line El Capitán flexes his enormous coconuts.
  • Frodo just seems to have better and better games, since being acquired in early February. He has been extremely solid on both ends of the ice, making big plays on the back check, forechecking and setting up big plays in the offensive ends. He is certainly not perfect, but for his size, he digs and skates hard.
  • Crawford was nothing, if not spectacular. The only goal he gave up was a shot that was going well wide of the net and hit his own player. NO goalie can be expected to save that. His two huge saves on Ray Whitney were as clutch as you can get. First star of the game, for sure.
  • The faceoff stats weren't all that shabby, as Ryan Johnson won a ridiculous 73% of the ones he took. The Snake won 62%, and El Capitán won 47%. Frolik and Kopecky went a deplorable 1-10, so I guess that evens out Johnson's stats.
  • I hate to say it, but as much as I like Snake, Ryan Johnson is playing too well to only get 9:25 on the ice. In that time he took 11 faceoffs (winning 8), and spent 1:06 killing penalties (which was the most on the team). We're finally seeing this Faceoff Artist and Penalty Killer extraordinaire. Better late, than never, I suppose.
The Bad
  • Like the Hawks need the angel of death visiting them anymore, but sure enough, Shooter went down at the end of the first on a delayed penalty, as "Rusty" Klesla rolled up on his leg.
  • Kaner made bad passes in his zone twice in the matter of a few seconds, which resulted in Crow having to come up with a big stops. Definitely a case of someone trying to do too much, and he needs to knock that shit out.
  • Big Show's TOI = 4:21. WHY are we still doing this? He is bring nothing to the Hawks team dynamic. His job is "sneak out there, don't fuck up, sneak off". Call him a cheap alternative, I don't care, because he has been USELESS.
  • Still no Biz Nasty. One big "BOO", for that.
The Ugly
  • The Yotes tied up the game with 1:17 left in the second on a dump in, that was clearly going wide of the net, which ended up going off Kid Leddy and into the net. Crow just has NO luck.
Here are the video highlights for your viewing pleasure:

Friday, March 18, 2011

Dear Blackhawks Media

I can admit when a man is much smarter, well spoken, and sarcastic than yours truly, which is why I needed to pass this piece on. It is by Sam Fels of the Committed Indian/Second City Hockey/Madhouse Enforcer, with some footnotes from The Fifth Feather. It's a great read, and all involved deserve to be commended. This is a link to the actual article: Dear Blackhawks Media, so please support them, as well. They work their asses off, between porno and drinking binges.

How's it going, guys? Enjoying the sun of Texas and Arizona? I hope you are, I know some of you could probably use the rays. Anyway, we need to talk. There are just some things we have to discuss.

Before I go any further, you should all go read The Fifth Feather's latest post. As usual, they've stated what we're thinking better than we can. It's hard enough that they're so much better looking than we are, but the gap in intelligence is getting really galling. I know all of you read this, for the most part. I've seen enough evidence to prove that. But you should read them too.

Anyway, the point of all this is that we'd like some answers. While you all swallow the propaganda that the Hawks are hurt and up against the cap, it really isn't that way. We really can't ignore the mismanagement of this team any longer. There really isn't any excuse to skate one man short last night, though that had no baring on the result. The Hawks could have had 25 guys dressed, that kind of effort will always result in a paddling. But you see, this isn't the first time Stan Bowman has ignored the options available to him, such as LTIR or just the regular old IR.

Remember Marian Hossa last year? Missed close to the first two months? Wasn't on LTIR? Could have saved quite the dollar had he been. Instead, you all were so quick to bullhorn the geniusness of Stan as he shuttled Jack Skille and others back and forth between Rockford to save a nickel, a dime, possibly a bus pass. Lapped it up, you did. But it didn't make any sense then. Still doesn't now.

Here we are again. Jordan Hendry will almost certainly never play for the Hawks again. He's out until next season when he's UFA, and probably going elsewhere. And yet there he is, taking up a spot. Why? We don't know, and we can't find out. But you can. Maybe you should?

Had Hendry been moved to LTIR, his salary matches up pretty ok with Ben Smith, who could have been called up for a game or two without exceeding the cap. I know, I did the math. Again, the presence of Ben Smith isn't going to win or lose the Hawks any games. But they wouldn't have to go with 17 skaters. We know Dave Bolland won't be back for a bit, he could just be on IR. You could even do it retroactive to his first game missed, which was against the Caps. So he would only have to miss Sunday, which he's going to anyway, and Wednesday at home against Florida which you really shouldn't need him for -- the Sunrise loss notwithstanding. You could carry more. But the Hawks don't. Why? We'd like to know. And maybe at this point putting Hendry on LTIR doesn't save cap space, but it opens up a roster spot, as would just normal IR. We know they have the space.

Or is it because they're so afraid of anything being tacked to next year's cap? If Stan is such a cap expert, which the Hawks are in such a hurry to express to you and have you spread across your pages and airwaves, he can't find his way around being deprived of a few grand instead of the four mildo he was last summer? That can't be the case.

But we're not done. Why is John Scott here? You've never bothered to find out. Sure, there was a brief mention of "physical presence". But why didn't anyone mention the Hawks won a Cup without that last year? Why was it more important this year?

Why do the Hawks have 50 contracts? Why is Marcus Kruger signed when he's in Sweden when we all knew he would be? Why is Brandon Pirri wasting everyone's time in Rockford and possibly stunting his development irrevocably? If they knew Dylan Olsen was going to flunk out of school, why wasn't he sent to junior? Did the Hawks really think he was ready for the AHL? Why are there still seven d-men down there, some who really need top four time not getting it? Why was Jassen Cullimore sent down instead of Nick Boynton, who you then lost anyway? Is Nick Leddy here simply because you couldn't guarantee the minutes in The Rock? What happened with Mark Stuart? Was Atlanta's offer that much better? Probably, but it would have been nice to know. When they dressed Scott and Hendry on the fourth line, why? We never got an answer.

Look, as I said, we know you read this. And we're fine with that. We like to help. But I don't think you're using this in the right way. It feels as though we're just being mined for ideas. That's fine, it must be hard writing a story every day. There are four of us and we don't even do that. But this could be a real tool to help you understand what the real Hawks fans are concerned about and want answers to. We know you don't face the pressure from editors that you would in Toronto or Montreal. We get that. They don't care. But we care. And aren't you here for us, not your editors or bosses? Are you so afraid of the brass? Don't you know we'd be right behind you if your credentials were stripped because you asked the questions we wanted to hear answers to? Look at our numbers, we could cause something of an uproar.

I feel like we can be working together better. We shouldn't be enemies. We know you look down at us at times, and that's fine. Sometimes our behavior warrants that. But our goals are more similar than you might think. I think we can help. Maybe I'm wrong. But try it, and see.




Green Clovers, Yellow Stars

"You were a Dildo when I was here, and you're still a Dildo, Otter"

Someone has stolen me lucky charms! I know, it's a lame attempt at St. Patrick's Day humor. Anyway, on to the task at hand, which is the Blackhawks game last night, against the recently lukewarm Dallas Stars. A day after the Hawks dismantled the Sharks, the Sharks rolled into the Big "D" and took out their frustrations, beating the Stars 6-3. This apparently left a bad taste in the mouths of the Dallas Stars. If you remember, the Hawks lost to the Stars 4-3 in a shootout, back on Feb 11th, when all three Dallas players scored on Turco in the shootout.

Neither team looked especially good in the first period and the Hawks dodged a few bullets, but they still went into the break down 0-1. The Hawks looked even worse in the second period as they let up two bad goals, and could have easily given up two more, chasing their starting netminder from the game in the process. As you would expect in this abortion of a game, the Hawks were as consistent as could be, and slept through the third period, as well, getting whitewashed 5-0. Embarrassing.

The Good
  • Stalberg is just SO damn fast. He blew past the Stars defense like they weren't moving at all, and got a great chance by driving hard to the net. More of that will get him a great deal more playing time, because there is no one on the team with THAT kind of blinding speed. He was also the only Hawk that looked like he cared.
  • Marty Turco's glove save on Stars Buttnutt Steve Ott was a huge save, and could have swung momentum in the Hawks favor. I said COULD HAVE. Odd man breaks, anyone?
  • In a night filled with so much bad, the Hawks actually did very well in the faceoff circles, with all 4 Hawks centermen winning over half of their draws. Obviously, THAT did a whole world of good.
The Bad
  • The Hawks looked out of sorts early in the first, giving up quite a few big chances in the opening 5 minutes, but Crow kept the Stars at bay. Unfortunately, it didn't last.
  • On the Hawks first powerplay, Sharp and Keith got hypnotized by Stephane Robidas loving stare and let Goligoski streak past them. Good thing Robidas couldn't hit him with a manageable pass, because he would have been in on a break-a-way from the red line in.
  • Jake the Snake gave Brandon "Don't Call Me Steven" Segal a few straight lefts to the grizzle, and sent him away bloodied, after their first period fight. Not sure what that was all about, but Snaker got the victory. Unfortunately, as we've seen all year, it was bad timing and swung momentum in favor of the Stars.
  • I'm not sure how sure you lose track of Steve Ott, but THREE Blackhawks did. Hossa, Hammer, and Seabrook all let the Buttnut in on a break-a-way from, stop me if you've heard this, THE RED LINE IN. One break and one near break in the same period means your defense is having issues.
  • Things didn't change in the second period, for our boys in white. Seabrook pinched in the Stars zone and let Ribeiro and Benn in on a 2-on-1 against Keith, and eventually, Crow. Benn took the pass from Ribeiro and one timed it into the virtually wide open net. To add insult to injury, Seabrook knee'd Crow in the side of the head as he was lumbering back into the play.
  • A few minutes later, Crawford's night was brought to a close, as the Stars came in on a 3-on-2 and gave up yet another back door one timer. This time it was Leddy and Keith getting torched, because Kaner decided playing defense wasn't on his agenda last night and jumped on the bench.
  • The odd man breaks just KEPT coming as the Hawks got a powerplay with about six and a half minutes left in the second. This was absolutely brutal to watch. NO team should give up this many odd man breaks. It's just disrespectful to your netminders, because it shows that they aren't lucid enough to care what happens on the back end.
  • Brandon Segal scored the fifth goal of the game for the Stars, off a crossbar rebound that Turco couldn't locate. None of this was Turc182's fault and I don't want to sound like I am coming down on him, but it seems like he completely freezes when he can't find a loose puck, rather than actually LOOK for it. Just a casual observation. Snake, and Stromboli left Segal there to poke it into the net.
The Ugly
  • I can't really explain what Deuce was thinking, when he took a cheap shot at Jamie Benn, who was simply doing a good job of killing a penalty. Of course Buttnut was on the ice and took exception, without any repercussion. It's just one of those nights, when that Dildo gets away with retaliation. Watching him sit on the bench with that smug look on his face, like he had done something worth praise, makes me want to do what Dany Heatley did to him Tuesday night.
  • Turco WAS playing well until he tried to play swordsman and passed the puck right to Jason Williams open hand, who got one of the easiest goals ever. That one will make blooper rolls for years to come. OUCH!
  • At least Mike Ribeiro didn't score, because THAT would require someone's head on a platter.
  • Marian Hossa was -3 on the night, take it for what it's worth.

Here are the video highlights for your viewing pleasure:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Anyone for Fishing?

"Hello my baby, Hello my honey, Hello my ragtime gaaaaaaal"

Last night was a HUGE game for the Hawks against a hot division rival, and two former teammates, in Niemi and Eager. The other sub-plot was Niklas Hjalmarsson was probably looking to show the Sharks what they missed out on. They were going to have to do this one without Bolland, again, and Campbell. Ouchie! The Hawks HAD to gain points and end the losing streak, so someone besides Toews needed to flex their nuts, and someone did. Could the Hawks finally play a clutch game against a good opponent?

The first period was slanted in the Hawks favor but two bad situations left the Sharks up 2-1, but there was plenty to build on. What do you really have to say about a 5 goal second period? They were rolling, and the only question was if Boss could get the hatty and we could see those green hats on the ice. I've personally been to two games where that has happened, and would have loved to see it again. Unfortunately, it was not to be and both teams seemed to coast through the third period. Nevertheless, huge game, and BIG win.

The Good
  • Niemi was just shell shocked after that first Sharks powerplay goal and I loved every second of it. The Blackhawks were throwing pucks at Niemi from every possible angle and he was struggling to control them. Each time he mishandled a puck or looked off-guard, I couldn't help but have a huge smirk on my face. His exit, in the second was the icing on top of the cake.

    "Screw these guys, they are HORRIBLE hosts"

  • The first Stalberg goal was a thing of beauty. Stromboli jumped into the play hit the post. It somehow worked its way back around again, to Stromboli, whose shot popped up in the air. Pick-to-Click Vik smacked out of the air, belt level, right in front of Ben Eager, and into the net. How you like our new forth line, Ben? Don't miss you a bit, you slug!
  • Boss 81 did just what a Boss does, and finally got the powerplay going, early in the second period. He played catch with Sharpie and put it in the net, back door. HUGE goal for momentum, and the place went bananas. A few minutes later, Boss scored his second 5-hole powerplay goal of the game off another feed from Sharpie. Nothing special, he just ate Niemi up. That's what NHL snipers do. He must break you!
  • El Capitán set up his goal, earlier, when he drew his penalty, by forcing a bad pass to Kaner on the play. The next time up the ice Toews faked like he might pass to Kaner and sniped ANOTHER 5-hole goal. Three goals in just about four minutes, all 5-hole. In a side note, a terrible choice by Ben Eager led to the 2-on-1. Thanks for all THAT, Cement Head.
  • Hammer had to throw an extra 10% on his goal, just to toss some salt in the wound. Little shimmy around the defender, to the center of the ice, and let'r rip! Niittymaki was screened by at least 6 players, on the shot. Now they were smiling; and rolling!
  • Less than a minute after Couture's goal, El Capitán pulled his balls out once again, and fed a backhand pass from behind the net to Sharpie, who waited a second for Kaner to clear and then hit him for Kaner's 100th goal of his young career. That brought a close to the 5 goal second period for the Hawks. Well played, Sirs, Well played!
  • Also, slightly overlooked was Shooter's 4 assist period, in the second. Consider HIS brass nuts flexed, as well.
  • I would be letting down all goalies if I didn't point out Crow's glove save at the end of the second. Nice to see him do a little showboating, because after the year he's had, he deserves it. It shouldn't go without mentioning that if you're a goalie, sitting on the ice, and Ryan Clowe is crosschecking you in the neck, you might get a little pissed off. Good for Crow, fighting back. That is a horseshit play, and shame on Edzo for brushing that off.
The Bad
  • Wow do the Hawks know how to start a game off horrible. Two bad penalties and a quick powerplay goal against. That is really a great idea against a team like the Sharks. Three minutes in and they are picking the puck out of the back of their net while sucking wind. Pisani's penalty was his SECOND cross check in that shift. If you don't get it right the first time, you might as well try again, eh Dog? Johnson's was a brutal call, but still, guys. Last of all, they HAVE to get the puck out of the zone. They turned it over at least half a dozen time on those powerplays.
  • All that talk about how Niemi covers low well, and Toews tries shooting 5 hole on his first solid chance. Come on, Cobra Kai!
  • If it isn't one thing, it's another. Joe Thornton scored a nice goal, that was a result of Stromboli and Brouwer dry humping a Sharks forward in the corner. The puck squirted loose and the Hawks were also caught in a bad line change. That is not a good combo when Jover-Rated Thornton is streaking in, all alone, on your netminder.
  • Logan Couture's was a fat rebound by Crow, after Couture got behind Deuce. Whatever.
The Ugly
  • I still LOATHE Pierre Fucking McGuire, and he looks even more stupid with that tan. A big tan penis!
  • John Scott for Brian Campbell. I know they have no choice but I don't have to like it. I have to point out, though, that his pass to Kaner, that drew a penalty, was really pretty nice. Credit where it's due, Big Show. I'd give you a fist bump if I could reach your fist, ya fucking Neanderthal. And you should have pounded Ben Eager.
  • Its ALWAYS nice to see a former player shit the bed when they return to play you. Even though Niemi was chased from the game in the second, Ben Eager, you get the SHIT THE BED award for this game. Just watching Eager whimper away when, Big Show worked him over, made me chuckle with glee, on top of his two defensive gaffes, and his stupid penalty.
Here are the video highlights for your viewing pleasure:

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Capital "D" for Disgusted

St. Patricks Day and my birthday, makes for eventful weekend. A great way to end it, is the Blackhawks on national TV. Last year, was actually at this game and, if you remember, it was the game in which Brian Campbell was injured by Ovechtrick. The Hawks were up 3-0 and lost in overtime. It was the beginning of the "just how important is Soupie" experiment, and we all know how that went. Unfortunately, we got another taste of that today, as Campbell played his last shift in the second, with an apparent leg injury. Also, The Hawks were going to have to go at this one without Dave Bolland because of his foggy head from the elbow in the back of the head earlier in the week.

The Hawks came out with energy and even took a 1-0 lead, in the first, but a bad shorthanded goal took all momentum and swung it in the Caps direction. As a result, the Hawks went into the first intermission down 2-1. The only goal in the second period was from the Hawks, on a horrible goal, but it was about time the Hawks were on the good end of a break. They got another break when they scored within the last minute, to go to overtime. All that went for naught when the Hawks had a major defensive gaffe in their own zone and let the Caps win the game. They got a point, but that is not going to be good enough.

The Good
  • Yeah, Pierre, the rookie goalie that has played a handful of games is so "unflappable". There is a reason 2 other goalies were playing ahead of him. Nick Leddy grabbed the Hawks a 1-0 lead on and pretty basic shot from the point. If I hear "unflappable" again, I'm going to have to find McGuire and beat his ass.
  • TomoKop scored an impossible angle off the "unflappable" goalie, who made a men's league mistake, leaving his post early. It was 2-2 that easily.
  • FINALLY, it's the Hawks that get a break at the end of the game. With the Crow on the bench for the extra attacker, Deuce took what looked like a bad shot wide, but was actually a pass off the back boards, that came out to El Capitan. J-T did what he does, and banked it off the Washington D-man Wiseman and the goalie Holtby. When the going gets tough, Jonny flexes his nuts Cobra Kai style.
The Bad
  • Leave it up to the Hawks to completely destroy momentum by giving up a deplorable shorthanded goal. Sharpie half assed the play at the point, and it squirted past him, which sent Gordon in on a break. Seabrook was almost able to catch up to him, and Crawford had all the room in the world to cut that angle down. He HAS to make that save, on the road, up by one, with momentum, and ON A POWERPLAY.
  • A soft penalty call in the offensive end, results in a powerplay goal, for Washington, in the final minutes of the first. Boss 81 had a chance the clear the zone and rushed it, off balance. Wideman was able to keep it in the zone and few moments later, the Hawks are down 2-1.
  • Seabrook almost cost the Hawks, and provided a shorthanded chance to the Caps, when he decided to pinch in on a 50/50 puck that ended up a 20/80 puck. The Caps brought it in on a 2on1/3on2. Luckily the only shot ended up a bad angle one, that Crow was able to snuff.
  • The play where Chimera ended up in a fight with Seabrook, it was incorrectly stated that his elbow hit Crow in the head. That is what we would commonly call a KNEE, gentlemen. Nonetheless, our most consistent d-man was off the ice for 5 minutes, because there is no one else that can use their size.
  • Just as I'm screaming at my TV to get a whistle, so that Seabrook can get out of the box, Nick Leddy fails to see a forward that is wide open in the slot, and Brooks Laich took his glorious opportunity, and made the Hawks pay.
  • Somewhere, somehow, Brian Campbell disappeared. Lets hope it's nothing serious.
  • WHERE? Just WHERE in the hell were Keith and Campoli on the winning goal? It's four on four, in overtime, and you leave an opposing forward WIDE open in front of you net, with enough time to turn around to his forehand and stuff it in. That's just awesome. Clutch, guys, CLUTCH!
  • There is a reason the Hawks preferred Frodo at wing. He was an anemic 2-9 at the dot, and Dowell wasn't AS bad at 5-12. Johnson and Toews were both over 50% which is fine. Brooks Laich was 7-8 against the Hawks.
The Ugly
  • Holy balls. Those green Caps warm-up jerseys are hideous. Not even quirky, just plain UGLY. They might as well worn plaid kilts.
  • God DAMN, I hate Pierre McGuire!!!
  • Doc Emerick is getting senile in his old age. He called Braden Holtby, Crawford, and later stated that Nick Leddy scored the only Capitals goal. Stupidity is contagious.

Here are the video highlights for your viewing pleasure:

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Lightning Thief

After Tuesday's hiccup, the Hawks traveled across the state of Florida to face the Lightning, and this is a very different team from the Panthers. The Ice Rays have plenty of scoring talent, so the Hawks would need to play much better than they did in the first, Tuesday night. In a bit of a surprise move, Quenneville announced that Corey Crawford would be playing again, so it looks like Quenneville isn't going to leave anything to chance. It was also announced that Brian Campbell and Viktor Stalberg would be replaced by Dog Pisani and Big Show Scott...YIKES.

The Hawks didn't look especially good in the first period, but they didn't look especially bad either. One slight gaffe, and one pretty big Gaffe both ended up in their own net, but they also managed one themselves. Each team had a goal in the middle period to set up yet ANOTHER crucial third period. Can't they set themselves up for ANYTHING easy? The Hawks came back and tied the game on the sheer will of their Captain, and send the game into overtime. The overtime was fast and furious with huge chances either way, but no one could finish the game. This game would be decided by a single shootout goal, by Tampa.

The Good
  • For the first time in weeks, someone other than Brent Seabrook actually hit and opponent on defense, and that was Chris Campoli on Bergenheim. This kid has looked really good.
  • Frodo made two great defensive plays on Vinny Lecavalier, first lifting his stick to steam the puck and then blocking a turnaround shot. You will NEVER gain haters by making smart plays in your own zone, especially as a forward.
  • Kaner continued his hot play, sniping D-wayne Roloson to wake the Hawks bench up. He just circled around and snapped it top shelf.
  • Sharpie finally worked out of his little slump, picking up El Capitán's garbage and bringing the Hawks within one goal. Tazer dug in and took a pass off the skate which Rolly kicked back out, and made a second save on Toews, but Shooter picked up the loose puck on the third rebound and sent it home.
  • In the last two minutes of the second, Stamkos and St. Louis came in on a 2-on-1, and as soon as Stamkos received the pass, Pat Foley said, "open ne-CRAWWWWFORD!!". He clearly felt that puck was going in the net, and I had to laugh at his premature reaction.
  • Leave it up to Edzo to point out a big faceoff win by El Capitán, that ended up in the net. Tazer ended up finishing the play by redirecting a Hammer shot past Roloson. Watching Toews play is a real treat, folks, so cherish it. He is a rare and special player.
  • The Hawks were extremely lucky on the St. Louis chance in OT, because it went off Hossa's stick, then Seabrook's stick and then the crossbar. My stomach literally dropped when I saw it hit Seabrook's stick.

The Bad
  • Kopecky has been relegated to the forth line and leave it up to him to take a bad offensive zone penalty, in one of his few shifts, that the Lightning turned into several good scoring chances.
  • You can't let Stevie Stamkos skate in and take a clean shot on your goalie. He's the league leader in scoring, for christ sakes. Bolland didn't keep his feet moving and Seabrook got caught deciding what he wanted to do. Granted the Hawks weren't grossly out of position, but he is leading the league for a reason. Stamkos just cut to the middle of the ice and snapped it past Crow. Lovely.
  • Deuce and Seabrook must really miss each other because in one of their first shifts together, they got caught holding hands and chasing Stamkos. The puck squirted out and St. Louis sniped Crow. I know Stamkos hurt them earlier, but three guys on his back is a little excessive. Happy medium, maybe?
  • Crow just didn't follow the puck on the third Lightning goal. Hedman took a shot off the skate of Teddy Purcell, who backhanded it into a gaping net. That is just sloppy.
  • Bick had the game on his stick, with an OT breakaway, and you can imagine how that turned out. NOT the guy you want with the game on his stick in OT.
  • For the first time Ryan Johnson was ineffective at the faceoff dot, going 3-9.

The Ugly
  • I know that Bryan Bickell THINKS he is some kind of fleet footed, 180lb sniper, but he needs to start using that big body to plant opponents on their asses. I've seen Sharpie and Kaner hit more people, and that is sad. As I typed that out, Bickell crushed two Lightning players in the same shift, but I still stand by my comment. He was still a -3 on the night.
  • Obviously, Big Show and the Dog are no Soupie and Pick-to-Click Vik. Dog can hold his own, but Big Show is overmatched, so the Hawks were rolling 5 D-men, in all reality. To make matters worse, Bolland wasn't seen again after an elbow to the back of the head by Pavel Kubina, in the first period. Lets hope it isn't a concussion, because then he might be out a while.
  • With three and a half minutes left, in a tie game, Sharpie made a horribly selfish play, trying to stickhandle out of his own zone. It was picked off and sent towards the Hawks net, where there was a wide open Lightning forward. Luckily, Crow snuffed it out.
  • You HAVE to score in the shootout. All three moves were average at best.
  • Bitch about the St.Louis goal all you would like, and for the record I hate everything about shootouts, but he made that same backhand move twice in the All-Star Game skills competition. It's no secret.

The Shootout
  • Lecavalier missed the net.
  • Toews had the door shut by Roloson.
  • Stamkos's spin-o-rama hit the post.
  • Kaner copied Toews and was stopped.
  • St. Louis used a spin-o-rama to beat Crawford.
  • Hossa was stopped by Roloson.

Here are the video highlights for your viewing pleasure:

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Binny's Blasphemy Depot

This may come off as harsh, but it has to be pointed out. This atrocity has gone on long enough, and given the name and tone of my little home, here, who better to bring this up? That was a rehtorical question, for future reference.

Any Blackhawks fan that has even casually watched games for the last few seasons has had Binny's Beverage Depot commercials pounded into their head like something in "A Clockwork Orange" (Google it, if you are too young to get the reference). If you have watched the games religiously, you could almost certainly recite each and every one, word for word. The past few seasons had quirky commercials that even stared the likes of comedic legend Dan Akroyd, and it was great to see him promoting a Chicago based business, but the line has to be drawn somewhere. Which brings me to my latest gripe, and before I get into the specifics, I want you all, especially the ones from outside the Chicago area, to watch these commercials. These are ACTUAL commercials that run, ad nauseum, during Blackhawks games.

If you aren't disturbed by those, you should be, there is something wrong with you. Now, I grew up watching Hockey, and even though I was too young to witness Tony O in his prime, I GREATLY respect what the man did for the Blackhawks and the NHL, in general. He is a league legend and Hall of Famer. Those commercials disturb, and anger me to a degree at which I cannot accurately describe. They are truly blasphemous, and the more they are played, the more offended I get. I have dabbled in marketing and promotions, so bring me quirky and cute, I get that, but nothing about watching Tony Esposito look extremely uncomfortable and senile makes me want to spend my money at this establishment. In fact, it fuels an extreme distaste and anger for the company. He is made up to look like the Crypt Keeper with that empty look in his eyes, and treated like a cheap, senile old man. They are not humorous or even interesting. These ads are a sad, and unfortunate representation of a Blackhawk legend, that make me, and should make any Blackhawks fan, mad each and every time we see them. What are the fans of younger generations suppose to gather from one of the greatest goaltenders in NHL history, by watching these? I am curious to find this out.

Even if you put all that aside, the premise of the commercials do not even make sense the slightest bit of sense. Anyone who vaguely knows hockey, can tell you that a goal horn doesn't signify an incoming shot, in which Tony O should get ready to face. A goal horn means exactly what you would think it means, a goal has been scored, STUPID ASSES! So, are you telling us that he has gone senile and can no longer figure out the difference? What is the other commercial suppose to signify? That Tony Esposito is too cheap, or broke, to buy a nice gift for Rocky Wirtz, or that he doesn't like Rocky enough to buy him something nice? Either scenario is not only disrespectful to Tony, but to Rocky Wirtz. If it were aimed at the late Bill Wirtz, it might be something I could stand behind, but it's not. The irony of this all is the Wirtz family runs one of the largest Liquor distributing companies in the country. How do you think that ties in? The only think I DO like, is the girl with the red hair, but ANYWAY...

For my own sanity, I will take my memories of the great #35 like this, thank you very much:

and Binny's can go pound sand.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

All Good Things Come to an End

After a few quiet days off the Hawks were up for a south Florida match up with Dale Tallon's Panthers. This team wasn't looking real good in the standings, but came out with some attitude. Maybe it was for Tallon, or maybe it was for Skille, but they clearly had an agenda, in that first period, and it held on. They should all take Tomas Vokoun for dinner after that game. It had to end some time, and hopefully the Hawks can start a new streak tomorrow night.

After over 10 games of excellent play, the Blackhawks came out in this game looking a step slow from the get go. Five minutes in, the Hawks were down 1-0. Ten minutes in, they were down 2-0. End of the first period, and they were down 3-0. Not how you start a game against a last place team, on the road. Some changes were made for the second period, and the team everyone is more accustomed to seeing stepped on the ice, bringing the deficit to 3-2. Even though the Hawks were all over Florida in the third, they could not solve Vokoun, and the Panthers held on for a 3-2 win.

The Good
  • El Capitan was the only Hawk that looked like he had any motivation at all in that first period, and it was NOT contagious. He had no help.
  • Just as we were ALL yelling at Soupie to shoot the friggin puck, he circled behind the net, and found Kaner wide open, and Kaner buried it. Big play by two important Hawks.
  • It looked like the Hawks were rolling, once they scored the second goal. A Bickell forecheck sent the puck to Dave Bolland, who fed Boss 81 for a deadly one timer, and only a one goal deficit. The second half of this game was looking better, and better. WAS.
  • I am thoroughly convinced that Marty planned the play where the Panthers almost picked his pocket, with the puck on his stick, in his own corner. He waited for an open pass and SHOULD have given it up to his D-man, but he didn't panic despite the pressure. He felt that pressure and handled it just fine.
  • The change in net, and something said in the locker room must have woken up the sleepy children, because they came out in the second period, scored 2 goals and out shot the Panthers 15-4.
  • The Blackhawks looked like the Harlem Globetrotters against the Washington Generals, in the third period. The Panthers barely even touch the puck, and that's not a figure of speech.
  • Outshooting the Panthers 39-15 sure looked nice, but I'll bet they'd love that first period back, now, eh?
  • Vokoun is a stone wall, and the only reason that team wasn't blown out of that rink, after only playing twenty twenty decent minutes.

The Bad
  • The Panthers came out with some attitude, and laid SEVERAL big hit on the Hawks in the first period. Three goals against and two failed powerplays. Piss poor first period, gentlemen, get your .
  • Bolland feeds Sharpie all alone in front of the net...missed the net. If we could read his lips he would have been saying "FML!"
  • Campbell picks up the puck 10 feet in front of a wide open net, and he shoots over the net.
  • The Hawks sure picked a bad game to go 0-3 on the power play. Stellar timing, indeed.

The Ugly
  • The Hawks looked horribly flat coming out and the Panthers took a 1-0 lead when Nick Leddy failed at getting the puck outside the blue line and Michal Repik send a shot netward. Crow kicked out a fat rebound right onto David Booth's stick, and we all know the end to that sad tale. Goals don't come much easier than that.
  • Ten minutes into the game and the Hawks were CLEARLY struggling when Hammer decided that a good outlet pass would be right to Sergei Samsonov, which would be great, if he was still playing for the Hawks. Samsonov rolled it into the zone and fed Bergfors, who's shot was blocked out to Clay Wilson. Wilson sent a shot in that Hawk Harrelson might say "had eyes", and those eyes found Crow's 5-hole. Two nothing Florida.
  • The Hawks put the cherry on top of a BRUTAL first period, by giving up a soft goal with 6 seconds left. Blackhawk for minute, Marty Reasoner, roofed a wrister on Crow, who was not sharp at all.
  • As one would expect, Marty Turco was the netminder when the Hawks came out for the second period. Crawford was NOT sharp, and needed to be relieved. Turco hadn't played in almost a month, but he looked ready, when called upon, which was RARE.

Random Observations and Annoyances
  • When I hear the term "Veteran Banger", I think of Ron Jeremy. Just saying, Pat.
  • Is it bad that the "Iron Maiden, April 16th" on the boards behind the left net had me jealous and distracted?
  • "Great pickup by our crew". Oh really, Edzo? Isn't that what all those cameras are for?
  • I have to finally say this, and I love Tony Esposito, but those Binny's commercials are absolutely FRIGHTENING! Those places should be burned to the ground for making a mockery of an NHL Legend.

Here are the video highlights for your viewing pleasure:

An Alligator in the Blackhawks Future?

Some of you may know that I have a soft spot for goalies, because I am one. Not because I possess any great skill at the position, but because I have worn the gear for twenty years. So, when the Hawks traded for Michael Frolik and Alexander "The Alligator" Salak, I quickly became fascinated with Salak. This was not solely because he was a netminder, but because of the fact that he is from the Czech Republic, like former Blackhawk and certain Future Hall Of Famer Dominik Hasek, and played quite a few years in Finland under coach Urpo Ylönen, who also coached Miikka Kiprusoff.

If the Hawks chose to re-sign him at the end of the year, and I certainly hope they do, I don't see any reason why he wouldn't be Corey Crawford's backup at the beginning of next season. I now understand why Tallon gave up on Frolik, or at least his reasoning, but I can't figure out what he found so dispensable in Salak. As I pointed out in my initial trade breakdown, he's 24 years old and has done well at every level. Salak is currently playing for Färjestad BK of the Elitserien, or Swedish Elite League, on loan from the Panthers AHL team, the Rochester Americans. Reports are that he was leading all goalies there with 6 shutouts and a .925 save percentage, which is respectable at any level. He already has a full season of North American hockey under his belt with Rochester in the AHL, where he amassed a record of 29-14-0, with a GAA of 2.89, a save percentage of .910, and one shutout. Sometimes I have a feeling about goalies, and I have that feeling about Salak. If he can keep his temper under control, He could be the next Hawks rookie goaltending sensation.

All this being said, I don't want to see Crawford go anywhere, because he seems to have ice water in his veins, and deserves serious consideration for the Calder Trophy this year. I've wanted Crawford in the net for the Hawks for 3 years. Salak is the polar opposite of Crawford, as far as style goes. He relies on his raw athleticism and emotion for success, as opposed to Crawford's basic, position based, level headed style. Neither one of these are bad, in fact I think that combination can be vital, because a team will have to change their focus based on which goaltender they are facing. With the choice of goaltenders the Hawks had in Rockford, this was an enormous pickup, because Toivonen is NOT the back up of the future; He is barely the starter in Rockford.

All that being said, I included a little highlight reel with the trade breakdown on Feb 9th, but here are some more videos to whet your appetite, goaltending fans. Just remember, you heard it here first...


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Eight is Great

The Hawks faced the Leafs in an old Norris Division matchup tonight. I kind of miss seeing the Leafs, and the Hawks just missed seeing former Hawk, Kris Versteeg, since he was traded to Philly a few weeks ago. Nonetheless, the Leafs have been hot, and possibly as hot as the Hawks. Also, plaguing the Hawks was the fact that they didn't get into Toronto until 3AM. It ended up not mattering.

The Blackhawks wasted NO time scoring 65 seconds into the game, and didn't let up with two more goals in the first period. It was the Leafs, not the Hawks that looked tired and flat. Not the team I was expecting to see. As with a majority of the Hawks games the second period started to look very different than the first, with the Leafs scoring a goal, but the Hawks answered with 2 of their own, and took a 5-1 lead into the third period. The Hawks surrendered a couple of third period goals, but pulled out a 5-3 win. Eight in a row looks really nice.

The Good
  • Two games in a row in which the Hawks scored in the first two minutes of the game. Carl Gunnarsson threw the puck right up the middle of the rink to Boss 81 who took a stride in, and fired it at Reimer, and it snuck between his pads. One shot on net, one goal Hawks.
  • Apparently the late flight didn't hurt the Hawks scoring, because four minutes in and T-Brouw led a 2 on 1 in with Michael Frolik. Frolik took the pass, assessed his options, and fired it past Reimer, who was VERY deep in his net.
  • El Capitan jumped into the action, with a little help from Kaner, to extend his scoring streak after he blew by Colby Armstrong and buried a back door goal. With five minutes left in the first, the Hawks were up 3-0.
  • Tomokop put the Hawks up 4-1 in the second, when he found a soft spot to the left of Reimer and snapped a shot past the young goalie. This is the way you'd hope the team would respond to giving up a goal.
  • The Hawks were rolling with around 2 minutes to go in the second. Bolland led a 2 on 1 with One Trick Bick, and Bolland took a high shoot off Reimer and the rebound sat to his right for Bickell to poke into the net. I never get tired of a good rout.
  • If nothing else, all these shootouts give Crow plenty of practice on penalty shots. He made a spectacular save on the penalty shot, as everyone thought Grabovski scored.
  • Nice to see Bickell using that big ass body of his to initiate some contact with Phaneuf, who usually terrorizes people with his aggressiveness.
The Bad
  • All that smoke that Foley was blowing up Nick Leddy's ass in the first went to shit when he decided to try and crowbar a pass over to Deuce, and it was picked off by Lupul. Lupul then raced past Leddy and in on Crawford. Deuce had to cover the pass and Crow ended up too deep in his net. Leddy's turnover in the third led to the Grabovski breakaway and eventual penalty shot.
  • Crow had no chance on the second Leafs goal, in the third. The shot was tipped once and deflected off Seabrook's skate. You can't really prevent that one.
  • T-Brouw looked like he was TRYING to put the puck in his own net, midway through the third. If Crawford didn't bail his sorry ass out, the game could have gone in a much different direction.
  • The last Toronto goal was a pretty weak screen shot. Whatever.
  • Now that he has settled in, I'm left wondering what the hell Dale Tallon was thinking when he traded Michael Frolik for Jack Skille. Frolik reminds me of a more dependable Versteeg, and Skille, well, we know what we got with him.
The Ugly
  • No real ugly here, with a 5 goal outburst on the road.

Here are the video highlights for your viewing pleasure:

Oh, Carolina

It's March, and who would have predicted the Hawks would be in this situation last summer. Struggling each game to continue hanging on to a playoff spot. Not this smart ass. Last night the Hawks were having a rare Eastern Conference tilt with the Carolina Whalers. I actually like this team. I am actually a big fan of Cam Ward, Eric Staal, Jeff Skinner, and Eric Cole, but on this day, they are the enemy. Not to mention, they sat Cam Ward for the night, and that really irked me. Apparently the Hawks aren't good enough to warrant the first stringer, and they roasted the Canes backup.

The Hawks wasted NO time scoring in the first minute of the first period. Both the Hawks and Canes put goals in and the Hawks led 2-1 after the first. Both team had chances quality chances in the second period, but neither team could score. The Hawks opened it up in the third period with three goals, and the Canes got one of their own, but the Hawks finished with a 5-2 win. Seven in a row, and we're still streaking

The Good
  • Fifty five seconds into the game and Corey Stillman decided that standing still in his own end with the puck on his stick was a BRILLIANT idea. Lucky for the Hawks, Sharpie and El Capitan agreed. Tazer hounded Stillman, poked the puck free to Shooter who fed it back to Tazer, and he wasted no time putting it past Peters. THAT is a start.
  • Finally, Bickell has found what happens when you park your big ass in front of the net. Right after Seabrook rifled a shot off the post, the rebound lay loose in front of their goalie, who was still on his dookie, and One-Trick-Bick put it in the net.
  • Who would have thought that the team of Stromboli and Ryan Johnson would hook up for the Hawks 3rd goal. Stromboli walked it into the zone, and dished it off to Johnson, who just banked it off Pitkanen's skate and past Peters.
  • Sixty seven seconds after the Johnson goal, Boss 81 had a "moment" where he decided the puck was going to the net and Bolly picked up the rebound, and put it past Peters. All three Canes defenders looked confused as to where the puck was after the original shot.
  • A few more minutes later, Shooter fed Kane with a pass, and he buried it. As they say on the Bud Light commercials, HERE WE GO!
  • Once again three of four Hawks centers dominated in the faceoff circle. El Capitan, Snake and Johnny were all above 70% and Dowell was a stellar 11 for 12, and schooled Skinner, going 6 for 6. As far as the Canes go, Jokinen and Skinner were a combined 0 for 17. OUCH!
The Bad
  • Someone on the Canes had a chance to absolutely MURDER Nick Leddy, as he stood in his own corner, with the puck on his stick. If I'm a Canes fan, I'm jumping out of my skin with that fly by. Is this Hockey or a Ballet?
  • Sharpie in all alone on the goalie...what happens? If you said he didn't even get a shot off you can collect your winnings. Bad ice, Edzo? Really?
  • How about KANER in all alone? If you put double or nothing on not getting a shot off, you can collect your winnings.
  • If Toews can just lift that puck off the ice three inches on that second period open net powerplay chance, the Hawks are up 3-1. Jay Harrison bailed his goalie out big time.
  • Young Jeff Skinner was able to halt the Hawks momentum with a rebound goal. Joe Corvo worked the puck towards Crow and the rebound squirted out to his right. Stromboli and Campbell both had their backs turned and couldn't keep Skinner from poking it into the net. This is no time to take the foot off the gas, guys.
The Ugly
  • Talk about a Cal Clusterfuck on the Carolina goal. Seabrook really left Hammer hung out to dry, in the Hurricane end, and Hammer coughed it up. The Canes raced back on a 2 on 1, that turned into a 2 on 2. Unfortunately, the puck squirted out to the trailer, their captain, Eric Staal. I'd like to know why none of the forwards were screaming back, to help out. Bick? Hoss? Bolly? Anyone? Anyway, Hammer did an AWESOME job of screening Crow and not blocking the shot. Can we just get a "do-over" on that one? It was all sorts of terrible.
  • The first period could be best described with one word. TURNOVERS.
  • Looks like the old Deuce was back last night. In the first minute of the second Keith kindly turned it over right in front of his own net and the Canes missed, not one, but TWO open nets.

Here are the video highlights for your viewing pleasure:

Thursday, March 3, 2011

We're Going Streaking!!!!!!!

The streaking Hawks had the "luxury" of playing one of the hotter teams in the league after the Flames shutout the Blues 6-0 the other night. The Flames always tend to be pesky and hang around in games. Ex Hawk Rene Bourque always seems to score against his former team, and Jerome Iginla cannot be ignored. Last year, the Hawks had what ended up being be the turning point in their season against these very Flames, so what would shake down last night?

The first period had a playoff atmosphere with the Hawks winning the period 2-1, and there being some quality chances. The second period quickly became a penalty filled affair but the Hawks scored two late goals to take a 4-2 lead into the third period. Of course, we couldn't expect this team to play 6 solid minutes. The third started off heavily favoring the Flames, as they scored an early goal and were out shooting the Hawks 6-0 early on. The Flames brought the game within one goal twice, but couldn't tie it up, and the Hawks walked away with a 6-4 win, and a six game winning streak. This team has picked a good time of year to get hot. The Hawks are doing their best Charlie Sheen impression right now...

The Good
  • Michael Frolik had the first good chance of the game, early, with a partial break-a-way that could have easily drawn a penalty, and later scored his first Blackhawk goal. For his goal, he picked up a loose puck off a Jake the Snake touch pass, and ripped it past Kipper to give the Hawks a 2-0 lead. Nice to see one of the newer Hawks get their first goal with the team. He ended up with three points as he also assisted on the empty netter, with a very unselfish play, giving the puck up to Hoss, for the easy goal. He only had about 10 minutes of playing time, and he managed 3 points. Sign me up for some more of THAT!
  • The Hawks drew first blood with a El Capitán goal on a tick-tack-toe passing play from Kaner all the way across the ice to Sharpie, who fed it across to a wide open Tazer on the back door, and he slammed it home. Makes you wonder what this line could have done if Bolland would have actually attended some games in the first half of the season and Sharpie could have played with the dynamic duo earlier. Shooter might be flirting with 50 goals.
  • T-Brouw came back to the ice, after getting shaken up in the first period, on a mission to knock someone's head off and did so to the Flames Hagman. I can't help but think the league might look into that hit, because it was dangerously close to one of those shoulder/elbow to the head hits the league has been cracking down on. Let's hope not.
  • Brent Seabrook was also a physical presence all night, clearing out the crease a few times, in a brutal manner. I'm glad we will be experiencing similar Brent Seabrook nut flexing for 5 more years. What is it with ball sacks in the league with the last name Jackman?
  • Brian Campbell put the Hawks up by two on a late second period power play as Dave Bolland drew some defenders his way and then dished it off to Soupie for a one timer into an open net. I'm not sure why Kipper was laying on the ice, but if he wants to leave the net a gaping, who are we to argue?
  • El Capitán got into the gang bang once again about a minute and a half after the Campbell powerplay goal, when Frolik absorbed a hit to poke it ahead. Tazer weaved into the middle of the ice and put a snapper through Kiprusoff. Kipper would like that one back, I'm sure.
  • Davey Bolland joined the pajama party after the Hawks had to call a timeout, because the Flames were jamming the puck up the Blackhawk's asses, with the fifth Hawks goal. He found the soft spot in the slot area and one trick Bick fed him for a one timer into the back of the net.
  • The Hawks were excellent in the faceoff category, once again. Ryan Johnson was an insanely cartoonish 11 for 12. That's 92%, Calgary Flames. You should be embarrassed. Tazer was his usual solid 63%, and Dowell rebounded from a bad night last game, to go 5 for 8. Bolly struggled slightly with 35% night, and only 4 for 10 against Brenden Morrison. Mikael Backlund was the Flame that the Hawks victimized the worst, only winning one faceoff all night.
The Bad
  • That first period penalty that Toews was called for, that led to the first Flames goal, was just awful. Capitán barely brushed Kiprusoff, and it cost the Hawks. Crow really never got set and Tanguay blasted the shot past him. A much as I'd like to blame the PK team, Crow should have really stopped that one. C'est la vie.
  • This is under bad because it was totally out of place, but something I NEVER thought I'd see, happened last night. Viktor Stalberg got into a fight. No, that's not a typo, folks. As you can imagine, he didn't exactly do a John Scott impression, but he drew the Flames Giordano into the box for five mins. We will take it.
  • Keith and Leddy looked all sorts of confused on the second Flames goal, and got caught standing around watching, as opposed to DOING. Rene Bourque picked up a rebound and put it in the back of the net. At that point the Flames were out shooting the Hawks 5-0 in the third period. Shanghai fire drill, anyone?
  • The Flames 3rd goal by Iginla was a result of a Babchuk screen in front and some miss-communication between Leddy and Deuce, or really, just a brain cramp by Deuce. Keith looked like he thought Leddy was going to chase Tanguay around the net and he didn't. Honestly, Leddy shouldn't have, anyway, so I'm not really sure why Keith didn't cut him off. It was just a Cal Clusterfuck. I think Crow felt he was interfered with, as well, because he was chirping at the official after the goal, which you rarely see from him.
  • Rene Bourgue scored his second goal of the game and the Flames, their forth, when the Hawks allowed the Flames run a set play on a neutral zone faceoff, and Iginla got in behind Hammer. Iggy took a shot that Crow saved, but the rebound shot out to an open Bourgue, who had a wide open net. Seabs was not expecting the rebound to rocket out like it did, but the Hawks looked foolish, nonetheless.
  • I cannot imagine why Viktor Stalberg only deserves 6:54 of ice time, and I realize that the fighting major factors in, but Vik has done nothing to deserve any less time than his linemates. I guess it's working, so I can't complain too much, but really? John Scott numbers? That's a little silly.
The Ugly
  • Every time Pay Foley says "Campoli" it sounds like he is saying "Cam Foley". I don't know who this Cam Foley guy is, but it is really freaking me out. Pat's long lost relative?
  • Kiprusoff was chased from the game and Henrik Karlsson finished up for the Flames. Kipper really didn't deserve the hook, but I guess Sutter felt he had seen enough.

Here are the video highlights for your viewing pleasure:

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