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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Three Weddings and a Funeral

Goodnight, Irene.

The Chicago Blackhawks were on the verge of becoming the only the fourth team in NHL history to come back from an 0-3 deficit, and at this point, there is no reason for fans to be greedy or cocky. No one expected anything from this team after the average regular season they had. Granted, 97 points is nothing to sneeze at, but it wasn't pretty or inspiring, whatsoever. YET, here they were, after battling back from the dead, they made us notice them again, and earned our trust back. The cherry on top would make all Hawks fans rabid, once again. We're all still out here, and we're still breathing. Did Vancouver "sweep the leg" with the Torres hit? The story was played out last night.

The Hawks looked like a team that has been through a long emotional series, in the first period. There were jitters, mistakes, and finally a goal against on a great Vancouver play. The stats said that the Hawks outshot Vancouver 12-8, but I just don't buy it. The second period looked much like the first, with the Hawks seemingly giving up many more chances against, and the Canucks having the edge in physical play. None of the fire burned, but they were going to be tired for the third. The only good thing is that they were within one goal. The third followed suit to the first two period, as the Canucks pretty much dominated. Again, the stats said that the Hawks held the edge, but that's just not how the actual action was. The Hawks caught a break with about two minutes left in the third, and scored a shorthander to send us to a second overtime game in a row. The Hawks had their chances in OT and couldn't cash in. In the end, costly turnover in their own zone sent the Hawks home for the summer. Hey, they made it one more game than I had expected. Nothing to be disappointed about here. Canucks, as much as I LOATHE you, this is what was suppose to happen, and it was suppose to be MUCH easier.

I want to get sentimental for a second and thank all the fans that take the time to come real my silly recaps and rants. I hope that I made you all smile a few times, and I've learned a lot, this year. I can't wait to start next season's recaps, already.

The Good
  • Crawford was his usual cool, calm and collected self, despite the onslaught of Canucks chances. He had a slight cross up on the second period powerplay, but he bailed the Hawks players out many more times. He's been completely unflappable. The three save flurry with about 6 minutes left in the third was as clutch as clutch can be. I was SURE they were going to score on that one. Whatever salary he commands this summer, is WELL deserved. Tell me he doesn't and I will show you THIS PLAY, over and over.
  • The fourth line of Pisani/Kruger/Johnson was actually the best Hawks line of the first two periods, which is not what you're looking for. For the first time all year, Kruger LOOKED like and NHLer.
  • It took the Hawks 58 minutes, and a powerplay against, for El Capitan to find his scoring touch. He singlehandedly took the puck through three Vancouver defenders and to the net, and then threw it to Boss 81. Boss chucked it at Borat, and Tazer picked up the rebound, while on his knees, and put it into the net to tie up the game and put it into overtime. Even when he's struggling to put the puck in the net, he's still got balls of steel. Game 7, Shorthanded, on the road, down 1-0 with under two minutes remaining. That's clutch, people.

The Bad
  • The Canucks were out to hit all people in red, and opened up the scoring with almost 3 minutes in, as they caught the Blackhawks in a bad change. Kesler made a great move around Deuce and fed Burrows, who had a MONSTER game, for a back door goal that saw Leddy getting a little too deep in his own end. Not how you open up a game 7 on the road.
  • The Hawks got away with several bad turnovers, in the first period, but none really bit them in the ass. They were definitely playing with fire and it was getting HOT! They were out hit, and the Canucks also blocked more shots.
  • I STILL dislike this first PK pairing of Deuce and Stromboli. The second pairing was Soupie and Hammer, which makes me think that Seabrook still isn't 100%, because his big body needs to be out there on the PK.
  • As much as Kane tried to avoid ANY contact at all, he got blasted with a high check in the third, and he just laid down on the ice like a slug. This all led to the final Deuce penalty, late in a 1-0 game. You're a money man, Kaner, it's time you did a "Kesler" and hustle your ass off the rink, or get in the fucking play. Instead, he pouted like a 10 year old, and almost cost his team a goal. If you're not getting a whistle for becoming a grasshopper on the Canuck's windshield, recognize that and adapt. Your legs are feeling that drunken past summer, now, aren't they? It looked like he was going to cry, while he was on the bench getting attended to.

The Ugly
  • The Hawks got their first powerplay in the second half of the second period and it was TERRIBLE. They gave up at least two solid shorthanded chances against, and none of their own.
  • The Hawks were out shot 15-6 in the second and things were going from bad to worse. Blame it on the long changes or whatever you'd like, but it was a ROUGH period, and the Hawks LOOKED tired.
  • With under twenty seconds gone in the third, Hossa's misguided pass led to a Burrows breakaway back the other way, similar to the Stalberg pass a few weeks ago that led to the Hawks losing a game. Deuce had to pull Burrows down for a penalty shot. You can't fault Deuce for that, at all. Crow shut the door, and the game was still 1-0 for the moment.
  • Other than that game tying goal, did ANYONE notice the Cash Money Millionaires out there? This is a HUGE game, and maybe you don't score, but you HAVE to create chances.
  • PAT! PLEASE? Shut the FUCK UP with your "Where's Daniel", and "Where's Henrik?". Seven games of that shit is making me want to blaze my remote through the TV. You're better than that, for fuck's sakes.
  • The Hawks had a prime powerplay chance in the overtime, and managed a nice chance, but never settled in the Canuck's zone, like they wanted. In the end, that was probably the death of them. Game on the stick of your leading goal scorer, in OT, on the powerplay, with no one near him, and he shot it right into Bobby Lu's gut.
  • AAAAAAAND it all ended on a lazy Stromboli turnover, in his own zone, to Alex Burrows, who took a few strides and blew it past Crow. Season over, thanks for playing. He had plenty of options, but Burrows made a nice play to grab the puck out of mid air, throw it to his stick and finish.

Here are the video highlights for your viewing pleasure:

Monday, April 25, 2011

You Hear That, Mr. Anderson? That is the Sound of Inevitability

"Throw your tens up, and keep'em right there"

I can't say I'm disappointed that we're still alive and breathing. Before game one I said that the Canucks would win in six games, and I sincerely did't want to go down that way. The Hawks were living on borrowed time, at this point, and had nothing to lose. To add to the chaos, it was announced that Borat wasn't starting for Vancouver. HUGE news for the Hawks, but that didn't stick. More on that later. Lets roll, Boys!

The first period didn't open up like the Hawks would want, with Vancouver opening up a 1-0 lead just a few moments in, but the Hawks answered in the last quarter of the period to tie it up. Unfortunately, the Canucks turned another Blackhawks turnover into a goal, and went into the first break up 2-1. The second period was a little more tame, as the Hawks tied up the game, but that was about it. The Hawks failed on SEVERAL powerplays, which usually has a way of eating them up. The third would tell the tale. The third period yielded a goal each way with the Canucks scoring just under a minute into the period, and the Hawks scoring on a penalty shot. If the Hawks were going down, it was going to be in overtime. On to OT! The Hawks showed that they weren't going down easy, and with the help of a few posts and lucky plays, they won it with about four and a half minutes left in OT. On to Vancouver for game 7!!!!!

The Good
  • The game didn't even start and the Hawks had GREAT news. Brent Seabrook would be back in the lineup and Bobby Lu would be on the bench. Those could be two huge developments for the Blackhawks, that could swing the game heavily in their direction. Bobby Lu couldn't get far enough away from the Hawks, when Cory Schneider broke his wishbone, and Borat was brought in, sore bunghole and all.
  • One Trick Bick "did what he does", and opened up the Hawks scoring, after Davey Bolland absolutely railroaded Dan Hamhuis, straight up the gullet, behind the net. The hit resulted in Hammy panicking, rushing a pass, which ended up five feet in front of the net on Bickell's stick. 1-1 and they were even again.
  • El Capitan undressed Andrew Alberts in a QUITE embarrassing manner, but Cory Schneider bailed Alberts out. Would have been a goal of the year candidate, had he scored, but, alas, it was not to be.
  • Bolly tied up the game, in the second, off a turnover by puckhandler extraordinaire Cory Schneider. The turnover was forced by Stalberg, and picked off by Kaner, who fed Bolland for a taste of the back of the cage. Two huge Canucks turnovers behind their own net, and two huge Hawks goals as a result of tenacious Hawks forechecking.
  • Frodo the Magnificent made his biggest play as a Blackhawk with four minutes into the third period. He got a step on the Kevin Bieksa and drew a tripping penalty that resulted in a penalty shot. Frodo not only beat Schneider on the penalty shot, but the resulting save attempt hurt Schneider's pride, or broke his twig-n-berries. Back in comes Borat.
  • It took about 88 plus games for Bickell to use that big body to separate someone from the puck, and Douchebag Bieksa was the lucky recipient. Couldn't have happened to a better guy. How is that jaw treating you now, Fucktard?
  • Ben Smith put the Hawks into game 7 after picking up a Hammer rebound and backhanding it up and over an ice humping Borat. The play was set up by a Boss 81 dump off to Hammer, after fighting through three Vancouver defenders on his back and various appendages. Game 7, here we come!!!!
  • Anyone who wants to mention the name Antti Niemi can now officially swipe Corey Crawford's taint, with one long swipe of the tongue. He's been the Hawks best player, most night, and he's singlehandedly squashed any and all talk of Marty Turco, or any other goalie, for that matter. The guy is a legitimate stud and has ice water in his veins. Unlike last year, there isn't a time where I doubted Crawford's abilities.
  • The Hawks consistently face raped the Canucks, at the dots, for the night. The only Canucks player to go positive was Ryan Kesler, and that wasn't by much (51%). Bolly had a rough night, going 8-21 (38%), but everything else he did made up for it.

The Bad
  • This one started with a puck in the back of the Hawks net, a couple of minutes in. Daniel Sedin banked one off and Hawks defender's stick and then off Crow, from behind the net. The whole play starting with Hammer throwing it up the middle of the ice, which is apparently a stellar idea. If you're a Canuck forward. We all saw the result. 1-0, Canucks.
  • Opening up the penalty kill with Deuce and Stromboli isn't one Dr. Linebender's best ideas, but it worked out in the end. Let's hope we don't see that combo in game 7.
  • As stupid of a play as it was, the Big Show choke slam on Burrows was hilarious. If you didn't laugh at that, you have NO sense of humor. Luckily, he got away with it, but it inspired Burrows to have his best game of the series, and probably of his playoff life. Momentum, young Big Show; Momentum. After that WWE style move, Big Show didn't see the ice again, and we're all grateful. Fifty nine seconds of glory, and not playing Show the rest of the game was Dr. Linebender's best move of the game.
  • Inside two minutes left in the first and Burrows made up for the Big Show choke slam, by cashing on a Stromboli turn over right in front of Crow. Stromboli half whiffed on a clearing pass and it landed right on Burrow's stick. He just snapped it into the net from about 15 feet out. That took the life out of the UC crowd, and Crow needed to make that one. There wasn't anything extraordinary about that shot.
  • Fifty eight seconds into the third and the old Hawks reared their ugly heads by giving up a 4-on-4 goal that was an odd man break. Tazer couldn't get back in enough time, and the Nucks were knocking on the door of round two.
  • The technical difficulties really sucked, but listening to Pat Foley do his radio call brought back memories. Pat Foley on Hawks radio was priceless.
  • When Schneider went out with an injury, we all thought that the injured Borat would be a soft target. Unfortunately, they could only throw a measly 2 shots at him in the third period. That made it WAY too easy on him. Makes you wonder if he really had a "tight back" or if he was TOLD that he had one; if you catch my drift. Saving 12 out of 13, hurt, and cold in relief is not too bad.
  • The Ginger Twins? Combined minus 4, for a grand total of minus 13 in the Hawks wins. I gotta tell you, guys, as CLUTCH it gets!

The Ugly
  • How many times has has the glass come loose in the UC? Have we not learned the art of putting up and taking down a rink? It's to a point where it's embarrassing.
  • I need someone to explain to me how Troy Brouwer can be "slew footed" in plain sight, and not draw a call, but immediately be called for a chintzy high sticking call. The Hawks killed the powerplay thanks to some luck, but it was some complete horseshit!
  • The Hawks MIGHT be the worst team in the league with the two man advantage. I can't really tell you WHY, but they SUCK at it. It's times like that when you wish you could decline a powerplay. Completely unacceptable!

Here are the video highlights for your viewing pleasure:

Friday, April 22, 2011

Strike Hard, Strike Fast, No Mercy!

Hello, Hangman. We meet again! This will be the reoccurring theme for whatever games the Hawks have left against the Canucks. Like I said before, I CERTAINLY don't expect a comeback, but it sure would be nice against this traveling douchebag circus from the Vancouver Clown College. The Hawks need to concentrate on keeping up the speed and intensity they had Tuesday night, and ride the wave. If Tuesday was the last Blackhawks home game of the season, we should all be at peace with it. For whom the bell tolls.

I'm not really sure what happened, or when it happened, but the Hawks came out like defending that Cup was actually important to them. They spotted themselves a 3-0 lead roughly halfway through the first. Could we have asked for more? Apparently the answer is YES! The Hawks weren't AS dominant in the second, but two more goals put the Hawks up 5-0 after the first 40 minutes of the game. The last twenty was purely ceremonial, because the Hawks were on lockdown and the Canucks were, well, just trying to save a little face. In the end, The Hawks got their statement shutout, and the Canucks were left wondering what the hell just happened. Looks like Trent Walker will get to see another game in Chicago. Who's the big winner? Deuce is the big winner! A toast to you, shit talkers!

The Good
  • Boss 81, there you are! We've missed you, old friend! He opened up the scoring by rushing right up the gut of the ice, on the powerplay, and the Canucks defenders backed up somewhere into the third row of the seats. How you could give Boss that much room is beyond me. Morons! Skate, snipe, 1-0 Hawks! Say thank you, Boss.
  • In what seemed like a bizarre replay of game four, Twenty four seconds later, Deuce AGAIN put a huge goal past Borat, before he was done licking his wounds from the Hossa goal. Hawks fans couldn't have had a bigger smile on their faces. Nothing pretty about it, as there was traffic in front and Deuce just blew it by Bobby Lu, who looked dumbfounded. Whats that tickle in your throat, big guy? Could it be a choke?
  • For the first time all season, Deuce actually faked a shot and went around a defender. It took 87 games, but he eventually figured it out. That didn't result in a scoring chance, but shortly thereafter Deuce took a pass back and turned it into a prime powerplay chance, which turned it into a Kaner tip, and a 3-0 lead. This was like Christmas in April, and the Canucks were in desperation mode. How is your franchise goalie looking now, Canucklefucks? SO FUNNY!
  • Soupie, yes BRIAN CAMPBELL, finally showed that a Chicago Blackawk could hit someone when he blasted Daniel Sedin in the neutral zone. WHERE has this team been all year, and more specifically the previous 3 games? Initiating contact, and being aggressive. I'm shocked, but I REALLY like it. The message finally got through.
  • It could have EASILY been 4-0 with time left in the first, because of a Sharpie break-a-way that Bobby Lu actually stopped. That would have ended Borat's night early for the second game in a row, but he saved his ass, for the moment. Sharpie also missed one in the third on Schneider. Thank god THAT didn't kill the Hawks.
  • The hits just kept on coming in the second period, as Boss 81 took a long break-a-way pass from dep in his own zone and ended Borat's night. See ya, Franchise boy!
  • Deuce has been absolutely ON FIRE! He continued to be the norris trophy horse that we've all missed, from last year. He scored his second goal of the game to welcome Corey Schneider to the game. Again, nothing special, just traffic in front, and a nicely placed shot. His name might be Corey, but he is NO Crow!
  • Just is case anyone was wondering, Kevin Bieksa and Alex Edler are a couple of degenerate pieces of trash. Keepin it classy, I see, Vancouver. All I'm going to say, is that karma is a bitch, and you'll get what you deserve. They are in the same category as Avery, Ott, Cooke, Gilles, and Torres. I'd like the NHL officials to tell me what happened to the original Elbowing penalty that Edler was going to get. The ref had his hand in the air for a delayed penalty, and all that happened was that T-Brouw got a slaching penalty. Good job dropping the ball again, NHL. We're owed a suspension. An elbow to the head is not a hockey play.
The Bad
  • Sixteen seconds into the game and Daniel Sedin flails to the ice like a little girl to draw a crosschecking penalty, on Soupie. He deserved the little poke to the back of the head that Deuce gave him for playing it up. Little fairy, Bitch.
  • HOW Raffi Bananaphone is still allowed to run around and injure Ben Smith just astounds me. Someone needs to end that guy's series. He is a spineless cretin that needs a taste of his own medicine. Cheapshot artist goes knee to knee like that, and he should have his ugly fucking head taken off. If the NHL wasn't such a bunch of wishy-washy gutless morons, he would have been sitting in the pressbox and not injuring Hawks.
  • If Crawford bunghole wasn't puckered up with a two on one coming his way, and Big Show being the "one", it should have been. When Big Show makes a nice defensive play on you, you're having a BAD night.
The Ugly
  • The Creepy Gingers were combined -2, which is a -9 in the past two games. That's CLUTCH!
Here are the video highlights for your viewing pleasure:

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

We're Not Dead Yet!

Where is One Trick Bick, and what have you done with him?

Dead Man Walking! That's what this Blackhawks team was, going into this game. Vancouver had pretty much done whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted, while sharing the ice with the Blackhawks. Should we have expected any less from a team that didn't EARN their spot, but were instead, GIVEN it. No, we shouldn't. The series was 0-3 and the the Hawks were in SERIOUS danger of being swept at home, to end their Stanley Cup defense. Top make things even MORE interesting, Brent Seabrook was sitting, thanks to Raffi Bananaphone's blind sided, not playing the puck, "hockey play". Thank you NHL Wheel of Shame. Would the hangman spare the Hawks a painful death at home? OH WOULD HE!

The first period started like everyone would hope, with a highlight reel goal, but that excitement was short lived with a Vancouver powerplay goal. When all was said and done, the Hawks outshot the Nucks 13-7, which was not too bad if they could have managed another goal. Ask and ye shall receive. The Hawks opened up a whole truck load of whoop ass in the second. They scored 4 goals on 13 MORE shots, and only gave up 6 shots. Nothing makes Chicago fans happier than beating Detroit and embarrassing the Nucks netminder. The embarrassment was final when Borat was pulled in the third period, after the 6th goal, and the cherry on top was the last powerplay goal. No complaining here about a total jail rape, like this one.

Last nights game was a beautiful thing, and we should relish it. The Hawks buzzed around the UC like a Stanley Cup champ, and showed a little pride. NOW, Let's not all jump on the last train to Clarksville, and start proclaiming some Herculean comeback. This is STILL the same inconsistent Blackhawks, and they are STILL the Presidents Trophy winning Vancouver Canucks. Yes, I'll agree that there is now a slight glimmer of hope, where there wasn't 24 hours prior, but we ALL need to keep it on an even keel, and take each period, one at a time. The minute the Hawks and their fans start puffing out their chests and beating it like King Kong, is the minute overconfidence betrays them. Last I checked, Seven goals in a game still only equals one win, so this intensity needs to be kept up for three more. Unfortunately, nothing I've seen from this Hawks team makes me think they can keep it up at this pace. Who knows? Maybe this Raffi Bananaphone ordeal was the jolt they needed to make them want it. It would make for a beautiful story, but don't run to your bookie just yet.

The Good
  • Where was THAT Edie Bickell and the New Bohemians all season? He turned Kevin Bieksa, who is as much a ballbag as a solid defender, around like a top and tucked it in around Borat's toe, in highlight fashion. If you asked me which Hawk would score a highlight reel goal to open the game, Bickell would have been right before John Scott.
  • Brian Campbell cashed in on his second great chance of the second period, taking a pass from Kaner and beating Bobby Lu on his glove side, like "it ain't no thang". A few minutes prior, he had cleanly beat Sweaty Bobby Lu, but hit the post.
  • Seventeen seconds later Deuce made up for the previously bad powerplay, taking a feed from Frodo, and putting it past Bobby Lu's bad flipper, while Bickell was blasting his bad breath in Bobo's face.
  • After his goal Deuce looked like a completely different man. He was hungry for the puck and was as aggressive as we've seen him all year. It was REALLY nice to see the REAL Deuce make an appearance, as brief as it may be.
  • As bad Bolland was in the first few shifts, he made up for it with the Hawks fourth goal of the game in the second period. Frodo used his speed to beat the Vancouver defenders and the puck squirted out to a wide open Bolly, who made it look easy, beating Bobo stick side this time.
  • Goal number 4 of the second period was ANOTHER great play by Bolly, who poked a loose puck ahead and sent Frodo in on a break-a-way. Frodo gathered the puck in, eventually, and beat Borat once again. Oh the JOY this brought.
  • The Cash Money Millionaires even jumped into the action on a powerplay in the third period, as Kaner fed Sharpie back door and it was 6-1. It was a gang bang and EVERYONE wanted to throw their junk in the action. Bobby Lu exited stage left soon thereafter. Beat it, you Sweaty Bitch.
  • Sharpies second powerplay goal of the game was on a 4-on-3 after the Canucks turned into a bunch of little pouting little girls, and started with the low class cheap shots. That's one thing I can say about the Hawks. When they were getting beat, they NEVER turned into a bunch of meathead thugs. I guess once a thug, always a scumbag thug, and Torres is on the right team.
  • As much as I cursed the Hawks management for throwing Bolland out there, after just unscrambling his coconut, I have to eat crow. He was THE difference in the game. I don't know HOW he could be, after sitting for over a month, but he was the X-Factor. In my defense, though, for 90% of the season, Dave Bolland was Invisi-Bolly, and not "The Rat". Whoever lit this flame under his ass needs a raise and a promotion. These are things I love to be wrong about, but no one could have predicted this outcome. It was all pipe dreams and speculation.
  • The Gingers, Tomax and Xamot, were a combined -7. I LOVE IT!
The Bad
  • As fast as Bolly took his first penalty back, the Hawks were digging the puck out of their own net. You really can't fault Crawford on the double deflection off Johnson AND Campbell. It was literally a pinball goal, and the Hawks tilted. Some cobwebs up there, Davey? That's NOT the contribution we were looking for, from Bolly, but he made up for it BIG TIME later in the game.
  • No sooner does the Bolland penalty end on the goal, and Deuce takes a bad penalty on Sissy Torres. I'm glad we need our best skater to take a stupid penalty on that complete waste of space. Isn't there anyone else that can go after him? Don't answer that.
  • The Hawks spent the first 45 seconds of their first powerplay in what looked like a Wimbledon tennis match, as Deuce sent two TERRIBLE passes the length of the rink and the Canucks sent them back.
  • Big Show was a plus 1, with one shot on net and two stupid 10 minute misconducts. He just looks like a big stupid animal out there, because no one even wants to entertain his shenanigans. He dropped his gloves and tried to get Tanner Glass to dance, but there wasn't a soul on the ice looking to fight him. CSN didn't show what went down with Torres, late in the game, but HE obviously didn't want to taste the fist of Big Show, either. I guess that's respect, in some weird way.
  • After all the anticipated Vancouver douchebag thugery, Daniel Sedin slipped in behind Stromboli after a faceoff, and redirected an Ehrhoff pass past Crow. Who gives a shit at this point? Take it.
The Ugly
  • Did someone threaten Kane's life if he touched the puck? He avoided it at all costs, in that first period, and parts of the second. Something was amiss, because he usually WANTS the puck on his stick.
  • Kevin Bieksa is really just a big bully. He wants nothing to do with someone his own size, but he's more than happy to drop the gloves with the fighting enigma that is Viktor Stalberg. You beat up on a 3rd line speedster with pillow fists, AFTER he laid you out. Congrats, you're a big man!
Here are the video highlights for your viewing pleasure:

Monday, April 18, 2011

Bring Out Yer Dead!

Hey there, Vince Vaughn. Can you make the Sedin's heads bleed, please?
Roenick is available and willing, I'm sure.

Two down and two to go. Sunday night was game three of the opening round of the playoffs and the Hawks went in down two games to none. The good part for the Hawks was that they were at home. As unsuccessful as they were in the first two tilts, they were also going to have to make some changes. Would it make a difference in their play, and could the UC crowd help power them past a better team? These are all questions that would be answered after game 3. Either they were going to make a series of this, or they were going to be on the verge of a sweep against, and some time on the golf course.

The first period was BY FAR the best period of the series, for the Hawks. They came out looking dangerous and committed. They ended up out shooting the Nucks 16-10 with the help of 4 powerplays, BUT only netted a 1-0 lead going into the first break. The second period was in the Canucks favor thanks to a bad Hawks penalty. The won the period two one, but the score was still tied 2-2. Another critical third period on the way. As we've seen all year, the Hawks couldn't hold it together for the third period and walked out of the UC with a 3-2 loss and an 0-3 series deficit. This playoff beard won't make it to the end of the week.

The Good
  • The Hawks opened up MUCH batter than the previous two games with several big chances heading the other way. This is the first time in the series that they have even resembled a playoff team, but couldn't plunge the knife deep into the wound.
  • Dr. Linebender had some interesting combinations last night. The lines were as follows: Kane-Toews-Smith, Stalberg-Frolik-Hossa, Sharp-Kruger-Brouwer, Pisani-Dowell-Scott at forward, and Keith-Leddy, Hjalmarsson-Seabrook, Campoli-Campbell on Defense.
  • Four seconds in to their first powerplay, Deuce took a clean faceoff win from El Capitan, took one stride in, and put a well placed laser past Bobby Lu, to send the UC crowd into a FRENZY. THAT is what your captain and alternate captain should be doing.
  • Cashing in on a Raffi Torres absolute douchebag cheap shot, Sharpie took a feed from Toews and deposited it past Borat. That's a way to make them pay, on what should have been a 5 minute powerplay.
  • Brent Seabrook is a complete stud, period. The way he was lit up by Torres for two shifts in a row, and how he powered through it, needs to be pointed out. That's toughness and leadership. Fuck anyone who thinks otherwise.
  • Toews, Snake, and Sharpie were all positive at the circles. Even Frodo was 50%. Not that it mattered.

The Bad
  • Well, when I said changes, I CERTAINLY never intended to see Big Show, but we got him. With injuries to Ryan Johnson, Tomas Kopecky, and Bryan Bickell, I guess we had no choice. He played with Dog, and Snake for most of the game. That line does absolutely nothing for me. I don't care how much Steve and Pat want to play it up, it's a BRUTAL line. The most comical thing I saw all night was Big Show 1:12 of POWERPLAY time. That's not a typo, folks. Now, Buff was overrated, but Show is not, nor will he EVER be, Dustin Byfuglien. So, lets cut that silly shit out right now, Dr. Linebender. That just insults my hockey knowledge.
  • About 15 seconds into a stupid Big Show penalty, Christian Ehrhoff blasts an open point shot past Crow. Glad we had Scott out there to swing the momentum in Vancouver's direction. His physical presence was priceless. Aside from that, Crow really had a great look at that shot, but sometimes the easy ones sneak by, I suppose.
  • Fifty four seconds after the powerplay goal, the Nucks Alex Edler made Nick Leddy LOOK like a 20 year old rookie, carried the puck towards the net and dished it off to Daniel Sedin, who whacked away like Paul Bunyan, and got it past Crow.
  • Mikael Samuelsson put the Nucks up, midway through the third, off a 3rd rebound shot. Vancouver took advantage of a bad match up with Smith/Kruger/Pisani out on the ice, even though Kruger went for a change before the goal was scored.
  • I'm so fed up with Pat Foley always saying "Where's Daniel" when Henrik has the puck and vice versa. We get it, Pat, seriously. That was old 2 games ago.

The Ugly

Here are the video highlights for your viewing, or vomitting pleasure:

Special thanks to my friend Pete for the titles of the last two recaps.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Les Miserables

Here is was. All that talk about "well they lost the first came to the Canucks the last two years too", can be put to rest. Excuses are like assholes, everyone has them. Yes, the game was closer; Yes, they actually scored; Yes, they actually looked like they could compete. BUT, they also showed that the sloppiness wasn't just from first first game playoff jitters. This team is just not that good. Good teams like the Canucks will jump on mistakes and make the Hawks pay, and that's what top notch teams are suppose to do, to 8th place teams. I still stand by my prediction of Canucks in 6, because the Hawks CAN fall into 2 wins. Four? Absolutely not, and if you truly believe that, you need to be medicated.

The first period seemed to start similar to game 1, but after the first Canucks goal, the Hawks settled things down. Unfortunately, they couldn't score themselves, and went into the second down 1-0. The Canucks made sure they didn't waste any time in the second putting a goal in very early, and a goal in VERY late, but the Hawks were finally able to get one of their own. Down two, going into the third. THIS is a sad and familiar story. The third period had more action and more scoring. The Hawks scored 2 goals, and the Canucks iced the game with one of their own. All things considered, the Hawks showed potential late in the game.

The Good
  • Boss 81 had a few chances in the first half of the game, but couldn't finish. It's kind of hard to get a shot off, when you're carrying Dan Hamhuis as a backpack, I'd imagine.
  • FINALLY, the Blackhawks put one in past Bobby Lu, and the line of Marcus Kruger, Ben Smith and Bryan Bickell were the unlikely group to do it. Bickell chipped the puck in and threw a low, bad angle shot at Luongo and he didn't control it. Smith was sitting in front of the net wide open and picked up the puck for an easy tap in. We'll take it. After going down 0-2, they could have easily packed it in.
  • A second Blackhawks player scored his first Playoff goal brought the game back within one goal. Viktor Stalberg, scored his first just minutes into the third. Not only that, but previously invisible and healthy scratched Marcus Kruger collected his second "plus" of the night (at that point).
  • Ben Smith was an absolute BEAST all night, and scored his second goal of the game off a Frodo shot that Bobby Lu kicked right out in front of his net. Smitty said thank you, and put it in the back of the net. Opportunities, guys. Unfortunately, he was STILL a minus 1 on the night. That back end needs to be improved.
  • Believe it or not, the Hawks actually dominated in the faceoff circles; except for Frodo (33%). I didn't think there were worse faceoff men than Kopecky, but Stan Bowman needed to prove me wrong. When Bad Flipper Brouwer is taking over your faceoffs, you're bad. He's a good little winger, but lets cut this center shit out, pronto! Otherwise, El Capitan (61%), Brouwer (80$), Freddy Kruger, Johnson, Sharpie (All 100%), were as good as can be asked.
  • Strombli was Plus 3 on the night, and I have NO idea how.

The Bad
  • Superb start to the game as Deuce and Seabs gave up a CLEAR 2-on-0, but it got better than that. The two players you ask? The Ginger Twins. How do you let TWO people, THAT dangerous, in on your rookie goalie? Once again, Crow bailed them out, and I'm going to say it right now. After this season he DESERVES to be overpaid, because NO ONE has had his back.
  • Jannik Hansen bit the Hawks in the ass again, with the first goal of the game. Nick Leddy and Ben Smith got hypnotized by Daniel Sedin's creepy ginger mug as he controlled the puck behind the net. They allowed Hansen sneak in and be fed for the goal by Sedin. Looked like not a single thing had changed from game one.
  • Niklas Hjalmarsson has been getting his dick beat into the glass for two straight games. He HAS to be hurting, because he has absorbed some HUGE checks, and I'm convinced that he is going to spontaneously combust before the series is over.
  • Thirty seconds into the second period, Duece and Seabs let Daniel Sedin stand all alone in front of Crow and tip and Ehrhoff shot past him. Here they were down 2 again, and not even close to competing. How do you let one of the most dangerous scorers in the league stand inches front of your goaltender, and there isn't a defender within 5 feet of him? Really...I'm asking.
  • Seabrook turned the puck over TWICE in his own zone on the same play while the Hawks were on the powerplay. Really pathetic when a player can beat you 1-on-2 TWICE!

The Ugly
  • Just when we all thought the Hawks had the momentum and with thirteen seconds left in the second period, the Hawks gave up an AWFUL redirection to put themselves down 3-1. You just CAN'T be giving up ugly goals like that, in the playoffs. Help a Crawford out, guys.
  • The fourth Nucks goal is one Crow NEEDS back. Dan Sedin is a legit NHL sniper, but his defense was in decent position. Sedin weaved in, and snapped it past Crow on a long one.
  • Of all the goals and great plays made in this game Kaner and Soupie are the only big money guys that even drew points. Secondary assists at that. Listen to this lineup of allstars: Smitty, Frodo, Bick, Pick-to-Click Vik, and Crow. You have to get SOME production from the Cash Money Millionaires.

Here are the video highlights for your viewing pleasure:

Friday, April 15, 2011

Rockford Express

In what is pretty much a standard Blackhawks move, the team recalled 11 players from Rockford, over the past few days. This really has nothing to do with current roster situation. It's more of an "experience" builder for the young players, and it allows for more practice dummies to play against. Last season, they did the same thing with the likes of players like Crawford, Bickell and Dowell. If they need the help, the players are already with the team, but there is a VERY small possibility of them ever playing. Anyhow, the players are Forwards Jeff Taffe, Rob Klinkhammer, Jeremy Morin and Brandon Pirri; Defensemen Garnet Exelby, Jassen Cullimore, Brian Connelly, Shawn Lalonde and Ryan Stanton; and Goalies Hannu Toivonen, and Alec Richards. Here is the info on each player:

  • Taffe, 30, appeared in one game with the Blackhawks this season, logging 4:05 of ice time on Feb. 12 at Phoenix, in his first year with the organization. The Hastings, Minnesota, native paced Rockford and shared eighth in the AHL with a career-high 30 goals and led the IceHogs with 67 points (30G, 37A) in 74 regular-season tilts. Taffe has registered 21 goals and 23 assists in 175 career regular-season NHL contests over parts of seven seasons with the Blackhawks, Phoenix Coyotes (2002-04, 2005, 2006-07), New York Rangers (2005), Pittsburgh Penguins (2007-09) and Florida Panthers (2009-10).
  • Klinkhammer, 24, made his National Hockey League debut on Dec. 8, registering one shot and a +1 plus/minus rating against the Dallas Stars at the United Center. The Lethbridge, Alberta, native paced Rockford with a +14 rating, ranked fourth with a career-high 17 goals that included 16 markers at even-stregth, and finished third with a career-best 46 points in 76 regular-season tilts with the IceHogs.
  • Morin, 19, posted three points (2G, A) and a +2 plus/minus rating in nine regular-season contests with the Blackhawks this year in his professional debut. The Auburn, New York, native added 12 points (8G, 4A) in 22 AHL games with Rockford and was a member of Team USA’s bronze medal-winning squad at the 2011 World Junior Championships in Buffalo.
  • Pirri, 20, made his NHL debut on Oct. 9 in the Blackhawks 2010-11 home opener at the United Center. Chicago’s second selection (59th overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, the Toronto native ranked third on the IceHogs, and shared eighth among AHL rookies, with 31 assists and finished fourth on Rockford with 43 points in his first professional campaign.
  • Exelby, 29, registered 13 points (3G, 10A) and ranked second among club defensemen with a +7 plus/minus rating in 77 AHL contests with Rockford while serving as the captain of the IceHogs. The Ste. Anne, Manitoba, native is a veteran of 408 career National Hockey League regular-season games, racking up 43 assists, 50 points and 584 penalty minutes with the Atlanta Thrashers (2002-09) and Toronto Maple Leafs (2009-10).
  • Cullimore, 38, recorded eight assists and eight penalty minutes in 36 regular-season games with the Blackhawks this season, and nine points (2G, 7A) in 41 AHL contests with Rockford. The Simcoe, Ontario, native is a veteran of 812 career National Hockey League regular-season games, racking up 85 assists, 111 points and 704 penalty minutes with the Vancouver Canucks (1994-96), Montreal Canadiens, (1996-98), Tampa Bay Lightning (1998-2004), Blackhawks (2005-07, 2010-11) and Florida Panthers (2007-09). Cullimore has also notched four points (G, 3A) in 35 career postseason contests, which includes helping Tampa Bay capture the 2004 Stanley Cup.
  • Connelly, 24, ranked sixth among American Hockey League defensemen, and second on the IceHogs overall, with a career-high 52 points, pacing the club with 41 assists in 80 regular-season tilts. The Bloomington, Minnesota, native, who was honored as the IceHogs Rookie of the Year during the 2009-10 season, also represented Rockford at the 2011 AHL All-Star Game.
  • Lalonde, 21, ranked second among team blueliners, and shared fifth among AHL rookie defensemen, with 32 points (5G, 27A) in 73 regular-season tilts in his first full professional campaign. Chicago’s second selection (68th overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, the Ottawa native ranked sixth on the IceHogs and second among defensemen with 142 shots on goal.
  • Stanton, 21, paced IceHogs defensemen with a +9 plus/minus rating and registered 17 points (3G, 14A) in 76 regular-season AHL tilts. A native of St. Albert, Alberta, Stanton shared second among Rockford blueliners with 76 penalty minutes in his first full professional season.
  • Toivonen, 26, dressed for one game with the Blackhawks this season but did not appear in the contest. The Kalvola, Finland, native led Rockford with a career-high 21 wins (21-16-6) and posted a team-best .907 save percentage in 49 appearances between the pipes. Originally acquired by the Blackhawks on March 1, 2010, in a trade with the St. Louis Blues, Toivonen has appeared in 61 career NHL contests with Boston (2005-07) and St. Louis (2007-08), registering an 18-24-10 record with a 3.37 goals against average and an .890 save percentage.
  • Richards, 23, led Rockford netminders with two shutouts and a 2.89 GAA in 44 appearances in his first full professional campaign. The Robbinsdale, Minnesota, native posted a 17-21-2 mark between the pipes for the IceHogs.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Smoldering Decay - Game 1

It began last night. Sixteen wins to go, to repeat as Stanley Cup champs. There isn't going to be an easy series along the way, either. At this point, it is what it is. We have to forget the previous 82 games, and hope for growth and maturity. The road goes through Vancouver, IN Vancouver. Not only that, but the Presidents Trophy winning Canucks. Can the Hawks finally play consistent? Can they hold a lead? We were one game closer to those answers last night.

The first period was a complete embarrassment and an insult to Blackhawks fans. The Hawks were out hit, out played, out shot, out glassed and out scored. Quite frankly, they were lucky that they only went into the second down 2-0. It could only get better from there, right? The second period WAS better, as the Hawks out shot the Nucks 15-13, but came away with no goals. The Hawks were put to task on something they didn't do well all year, which was chase a two goal deficit in the third period. We should all know how that has worked out. With the help of some posts, the Hawks were shut out. But HEY, this is how the Nuck series started the last two times, right? These are two completely different teams. COMPLETELY!

The Good
  • The Hawks finally started to generate some pressure in the second half of the second period. Couple of posts, a couple of nice Bobby Lu saves, but no goals. That was the story of the rest of the game.
  • GREAT poke check by Crow on Kevin Bieksa, who was sneaking out of the penalty box. That would have been the nail in the coffin.
  • Yes, I'm a goalie, but the fact remains that if Crawford hadn't played well, the game would have been 4-0 in the first. Neither of the goals were his fault.

The Bad
  • It was clear early that the Canucks were out to run Crow and rattle him. Not only were they out to rattle Crow, but they were blasting anything or anyone that moved. Natural reaction would be to return some hits. Last night was not natural, and the Hawks looked like a bunch of soft cream puffs.
  • The Nucks struck early with a Chris Higgins deflection of a Kevin Bieksa point shot. This was an inevitable result, the way the Hawks were turning it over in their own zone and getting pummeled.
  • The Nucks took a 2-0 lead on a Jannick Hansen break-a-way. Deuce not only got his lazy ass pocket picked while trying to dial in some defenders shin pads, but then stood there waving at Crow to come get it (thanks for the effort, Deuce). Hansen beat Hossa and then Crawford for the two nil lead. I cannot emphasize ENOUGH what a poppycock idea Deuce had, thinking Crow could jump out to the god damn BLUE LINE, to bail his ass out. I sympathized with Crow when he raised his arms up, as if to say, "What the fuck, man?!". Giving up on the play and pouting because you were a stupid in the offensive end is BUSH LEAGUE.
  • Hey Kaner? A two and a half foot high pass on a 2-on-1 isn't going to get the fucking job done. You might as well just fire it at the net and hope for a rebound. Instead? Not...even...a...shot! Just to make sure we saw it the first time around, he gave us a repeat performance in the second period. I love encores. There is that Stanley Cup experience kicking in.
  • All year we were hearing abut this hitting juggernaut that is Troy Brouwer. Lets get one thing straight...In reality, he is just the tallest midget. He has the most hits on this team because there isn't a SOUL on this roster that can hit, other than Brent Seabrook. Welcome to reality Blackhawk nation and don't say I didn't try to warn you.
  • Duncan, Duncan, Duncan... you get out skated on a shorthanded 3-on-2 against, and then you turn it back over when the break fell apart. Blackhawk leadership is looking good, guys! At least Sharpie LOOKED like he cared.
  • Just blame that missed break-a-way pass to Hoss on the shoulder, Brouw. That's the "go to" move. Can't hit anyone, can't possibly getting 100% on his shots, and can't pass either because he's hurt. Well what good has THAT provided?
  • Hoss turns it over HIGH in the zone on the powerplay, which turns into a huge 2-on-1 in his own end. Crow once again had to bail his teammates out.
  • For the first time in recent memory, Ryan Johnson was mushroom stamped at the faceoff dots, only winning 33%. Frodo was his usual 33%, El Capitan was 53%, and Snake was 43%.
  • Dr. Linebender didn't know WHAT to do with his matchups last night. It was a Shanghai Fire Drill throughout the first period and just continued. With Ryan Johnson, Tomas Kopecky and Troy Brouwer ailing, this is going to get even more interesting. Don't say I didn't point out their lack of depth before, but it's about to become VERY apparent.

The Ugly
  • Well, Well, Well. I guess strutting into the arena with your chest puffed up, and Stanley Cup rings on your ding dongs doesn't do much to intimidate the team with the best record in the NHL, does it?
  • Thanks for killing off that last powerplay for Vancouver, Brouwer. Welcome back, dumb shit. Sit your injured upper body, and your big soft dopey ass in the fucking press box.
  • The scariest part of this whole game is that Ryan Kesler, and the Ginger Twins had nothing to do with the scoring. WHEN the primary scorers get hot, there will be blood.

Here are the video highlights for your viewing pleasure:

Monday, April 11, 2011

Death Row Pardon

And just like that, the Blackhawks fell ass backwards into a playoff spot. I have mixed feelings about this, and here is why.

First and foremost, I am a realist. Most blindly oblivious fans, are just happy with simply making the playoffs, like the Hawks are magically going to stop blowing third period leads, and like they are going to magically start playing consistent. Reality doesn't work like that, folks, and fans who think that it does, annoy the hell out of me. Fans SHOULD be critical of their teams, and SHOULD expect better, especially ones of teams that have played as flaky as THIS one. Things are NOT suddenly kosher in the Blackhawk world, because they have GLARING issues, and they are facing the team with the best record in the entire LEAGUE. Yes, I know, the Hawks have traditionally embarrassed Bobby Lu and his Canucklefuck friends, but this is is a different year and the Nucks are much improved team. The Nucks are running on all 12 cylinders, and the Hawks on 4 and a half. For all of you still drunk on the Dallas Stars choking on their own vomit, let me remind you all what happened just previous to that, YESTERDAY AFTERNOON:

The Hawks played their arch nemesis.
In, clearly, the biggest game of the year.
At home.
With their fans behind them.
With their fate and playoff lives in their hands.
After having beat the same team soundly two days earlier.
With two important opposing players out.

That's not a poem, that's the reality of what we all witnessed. There hasn't been a nationally televised Blackhawk disappointment like that since the Winter Classic. This should tell you that this team either didn't want it bad enough, OR just plain AREN'T THAT GOOD. You can't tell me that Dave Bolland was the missing link, either, and if you try, I will tell you why you are wrong. Even when Bolly was hot, the Hawks were not THAT much better. And PLEASE lets not forget that Bolly was in the midst of a cold streak when he was blazed in the back of the cranium, with that Kubina elbow. Back to the same old Invisi-Bolly.

Yesterday, Quenneville kept trotting out the old nag line of Pisani/Dowell/Bickell, to the tune of a combined -9, because they didn't have anything else, and the first two lines were running on the fumes of fumes. Since when do we see Quenneville let a line go even -2 without being benched or switched around? We DON'T, but what were the other choices? The Blackhawks have 2 solid FULL lines, and that's not going to get you through the grind of uphill battles they will face in each and every round. Much like the Bears last season, this fall backwards into the playoffs, will give the management excuses to not make the needed changes. There will always be that excuse, "Well, we DID make the playoffs". Hong Kong Phooey on that load of bull dung. Do you hear that lame ass garbage in Detroit? They have made the playoffs 20 straight years. That is BARE MINIMUM, and a given. The Bowman clan was brought into town for that very reason, so a regression shouldn't be tolerated. In reality, the Blackhawks made it to TWO in a row, and choked on the third. The third being the STANLEY CUP DEFENSE, mind you. It is time Chicago fans demand consistent excellence of our team, not be complacent with a team that is a "C-minus" student, just barely squirting into the playoffs. I don't have the confidence in Stan Bowman to hold each and every person accountable for underachieving, and it's up to HIM to earn that confidence. Why is it asking too much to expect and demand a top 4 conference finish? The answer, it's NOT!

NOW, on the flip side, I'm by no means saying I wish them ill. I'll be rooting for them each and every step, but if they fall flat on their faces, and they will; I don't want anyone being shocked and appalled. Two and a half solid lines, and a hot goalie CAN take you far in the playoffs. Montreal proved that last year, but they ran out of gas. If you think last year was nerve racking, just wait. There is your daily does of Puckin Reality...

Here is your 2011 First Round Playoff Schedule

  • Wed, April 13 at Vancouver, 9:00 CBC (HD), VERSUS
  • Fri, April 15 at Vancouver, 9:00 CBC (HD), VERSUS
  • Sun, April 17 at Chicago, 7:00 CBC (HD), VERSUS
  • Tue, April 19 at Chicago, 7:00 CBC (HD), VERSUS
  • *Thurs, April 21 at Vancouver, 9:00 CBC (HD), VERSUS
  • *Sun, April 24 at Chicago, 7:00 CBC (HD)
  • *Tues, April 26 at Vancouver, TBD CBC (HD)
-Times are CST *if needed


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Minnesota Dreaming

This is the day. 81 games done with, and the Hawks have left their fate in their hands. The Hawks need at least a point, and a Dallas loss (preferably in regulation) later, to ensure that they will take the 8th spot. Based on this game, the Hawks could face, Anaheim, San Jose, or Vancouver. They can thank the schedule makes for give Dallas softy games, at the end of the season. How bad do the Hawks want it, and can they go 5-1 against the Evil Empire this year? Maybe Ty Conklin is right and the league will tell them to roll over and play dead. Somehow I doubt that.

The first period was entertaining and exciting, with each team getting a solid chance, but the shots were 10-10 and the score was 0-0. A storybook ending is in order. The second period was a bit of a different story. The Hawks went up and it seemed like they would roll, but an unfortunate missed pass led to a Detroit goal and was followed up by another one on a personnel mismatch. As a result, the Hawks went into the 3rd period down 2-1. At least they didn't have a lead to blow. The third period turned into a shootout. Each team scored 2 goals, and the Hawks failed to cash in on a late powerplay. Looks like their fate rests in the hands of Minny. Lets hope Madden, Havlat, and Barker still like their former teammates.

The Good
  • For the first time all year, we saw the Hawks defenders actually knock someone on their ass for whacking away at Crawford. Deuce, Seabs, AND El Capitan put Tomas Holmstrom on his wallet, which sent a message of urgency. Only took 81 games, guys.
  • Michael Frolik opened up the Hawks scoring after a great forecheck by Kaner, who stole the puck from Brad Stuart, and fed it to Frodo, who ripped it past Opie Howard's glove. The part that should not be overlooked, is Ben Smith causing havoc in front of Howard.
  • Pierre McGuires lover, Pavel Datsyuk, was caught out of position on the Hawks second goal of the game. Seabs snuck in and took a pass across the Wings zone, and unleashed a cannon on net. TomoKop provided the screen, and it was 3-2.
  • Deuce pulled his head out of his ass long enough to pick up a loose puck in front of the Wings net and backhand it in. The first line once again came up big. Hossa was huge controlling the puck off the faceoff, and it ended up in the net.
  • Faceoffs weren't an issue with everyone but Frodo (44%) going over 50%.
  • The Hawks had no penalties against, so they have that going for them.

The Bad
  • Pick-to-Click Vik had a beautiful assist on a goal, just too bad it was a Detroit goal. He could have done ANYTHING but what he actually did, but he fed Holmstrom who skated straight up the ice and beat Crow. All he had to do, is eat it, in the corner. Momentum shift activate.
  • Couple of minutes later, Pavel Datsyuk victimized Stromboli and Leddy, who were floundering in their own zone. Cleary out muscled the Hawks defenders, and kept the puck moving. Bad matchup, bad goal, bad coaching.
  • The Hawks were the lucky recipients of some pretty lax officiating in the second. There at least two instances that the Hawks should have gotten penalties, and didn't. The high stick on Keith, and an interference call later. That could have put the Hawks in an even deeper hole.
  • Detroit took a 3-1 lead on a sloppy play, 2 minutes into the 3rd period. Crawford was caught well out of position and the puck was poked into the crease. Drew Miller rushed the crease and pushed it into the net. Leddy, Stromboli, and Dog Pisani were all in bad position on the play. WHY is that group of people out there together? 4th line and 3rd "D" pair. What would you expect?
  • The fourth goal, by Former Hawk Dan Cleary was also a result of bad personnel. Bickell-Dowell-Pisani-Hammer? WHY? That line shouldn't have seen a SHIFT in the 3rd. Deuce was the only competent person on the ice, and it showed. The Hawks did their best to give this one away, and Detroit was taking. Did I mention that the Dowell line was collectively -9 on the afternoon?
  • The Hawks had the game in their hands, with a LATE failed powerplay. You absolutely have to score at that point, and they spend a majority of it chasing the puck in their own zone.
  • Todd Bertuzzi, plus 2, 2 assists, and NO poetic justice.

The Ugly
  • Have I mentioned my hatred for Pierre McGuire? "Are we going to chase some cats, Spike? Are we? Are we? Are we?"
  • Someone needs to explain to me why Ben Smith was sit on the bench in favor of Stalberg late in the 3rd. Smith did nothing to deserve shifts off, and Stalberg did EVERYTHING to.
  • What a better way to finish the season, than Deuce with the puck in front of the net with 4 seconds, and doesn't even get a shot off. That was a brief encapsulation of the entire season, in one quick moment.

Here are the video highlights for your viewing pleasure:

Friday, April 8, 2011

Detroit Rock City

Game number 81 against the scum of the earth, and playoff seatings on the line. This is the situation the Blackhawks NEVER want to be in. In a tight race, at the mercy of the Wings. Not only that, but they are at the mercy of the Wings AGAIN Sunday.

Quenneville couldn't ask for more from his team than what they did in the first period. They went up in their first shift and kept lighting the lamp to the tune of a 3-0 first period lead. Color me shocked, because I NEVER thought this team had it in them. Outshooting the division leaders 13-5 in their rink and leading 3-0. The Second was much more even, as you'd expect. A goal either way, but The Hawks maintained the edge in play, and went into the third frame with a 4-1 Hawks lead. Detroit scored a very late ridiculous goal and the Hawks went home a 4-2 winner. To be continued on Sunday...

The Good
  • I'm not sure I can remember the last time the Hawks jumped out to a lead, like they did here. Seabs took a needle threading pass from Sharpie, and put the Hawks up TWENTY SEVEN seconds in. You don't see Pavel Datsyuk give it up in his own end like that...EVER. Who is this team and what have you done with our average NHL club?
  • Hey Marcus Kruger, see that Ben Smith guy? How about doing some of THAT? Kaner set up the play, by stripping Valtteri Filppula cleanly, 15 feet in front of his own net. Smith picked up the puck, turned to his forehand, and roofed it off the crossbar and in.
  • I could really get to like this new found offensive power. Brian Campbell snuck in from his point, while Todd Bertuzzi was too busy talking to his parole officer or eying up some local trailer tramp. Soupie took the pass, threw a little dangle sauce at Opie Howard, and tucked it in behind him. That is how you start an NHL hockey game, folks!
  • I could count, on one hand, the amount of time the Blackhawks had a swagger like they did in this game's first period. They were physical, fast, and confident both with and without the puck.
  • Crawford capped a superb first period with a huge stop on Filppula, who had turned it on and gotten past Deuce. Nice whiff, Mister Number Two.
  • Ben Smith's first in game interview sounded EXACTLY like the Ebby Calvin 'Nuke' LaLoosh interview from Bull Durham. Here is to you, Ben Smith, Congrats!
  • Boss 81 bit the hand that fed him once again, and took a long Seabrook pass that went off Brad Stuart's stick and squirted behind him, and was in on a powerplay Break-a-way. Opie Howard was probably mumbling under his breath at that point, and Hoss beat him LIKE A BOSS.
  • I love the game I saw from Ben Smith. In the most important game of the season, he played like a big boy, all night. He wasn't intimidated, and he was noticeable. I hope the kid can keep this up, because we haven't had a lot to look forward to, this season.
  • The Hawks were very good at the faceoff dots, again. Everyone, but Frodo was over 60%. That's what you're looking for in a big game.

The Bad
  • We all knew it was going to end sometime and the shutout ended with about 20 seconds left in the second period. Drew Miller snuck between Soupie and Ryan Johnson, and redirected a pass past Crow, who had ZERO chance at getting a piece of it.
  • Stalberg and Johnson were each -2 on the night, take THAT for what it's worth.

The Ugly
  • You hate to see this with ANY player, but Pick-to-Click Vik smoked a shot off TomoKop's ear, as he was hanging out in front of the Detroit net, and he went rushing off the ice. Lets hope that it's nothing serious, and just precautionary.
  • The Hawks can't have a game without some completely dumb shit play happening. That happened with 1:20 left to play, when Tomas Homlstrom backhanded the puck through the cease, and Hammer tipped it into his own net. Allow me to roll my eyes.

Here are the video highlights for your viewing pleasure:

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Conklin Conspiracies

Yes this is actually the REAL Ty Conklin

Last night was just one of those nights when something controversial happened, and left me with endless amounts of ammo. St. Louis BACKUP goaltender Ty Conklin opened his mouth after the game, regarding this particular play:

NOW, Ty Conklin eluded to the fact that "The League" wants the Blackhawks in the playoffs SO bad that the war room purposely didn't overturn this goal. This is his EXACT quote from the post game interview (click the quote to see the source):

"They called it a goal on the ice, which is fine, that's understandable, but the reason we have video replay is to get the right call. They're probably going to make it into the playoffs anyways, but do we really have to make it that obvious that the league wants them in? They're going to get in anyways."

Now, if anyone could sound like a sore loser with sour grapes, it is Ty Conklin. It was ruled a goal on the ice, and because HIS glove was over the puck, it could not be determined that the call on the ice was incorrect. The Blackhawks themselves have been victim of this very scenario, so his conspiracy theory holds no water. This is all coming from a career backup goalie, that NO ONE wanted to give their starting job to. He was discarded in Edmonton, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Detroit, and couldn't beat out Chris Mason OR Jaroslav Halak in St. Louis. They had Conklin in such high regard that he was on waivers as recent as February 26th. Sounds like a guy with some "mommy/daddy" issues in the league. Regardless, he sounds like Dan Ellis crying about a Linus Omark shootout spin-o-rama. Have some class, my man, you're a professional. You win some, and you lose some, so don't blame it on some grand conspiracy. If there was a conspiracy to have the Blackhawks maintain their position, they wouldn't be blowing third period leads and getting late game penalties called against them.

All this aside, the fine fellow sarcastic Twatters of the interweb devised a hash tag for the "situation" (and I don't mean the Jersey Shore assclown). Being the smart ass that I am, I joined in. Enjoy some of the highlights if you will, and Ty Conklin; have Tito hand you a tissue, or TJ Oshie for that matter:

  • @jasoncrouleau - Pangea and the Theory of Evolution #conklinconspiracies
  • @hattrot - 2012 #ConklinConspiracies
  • @hattrot - amelia earhart's whereabouts #ConklinConspiracies
  • @hattrot - the bermuda triangle #ConklinConspiracies
  • @vesecky - Tupac is still alive and making records #ConklinConspiracies
  • @hattrot - the world is flat. #ConklinConspiracies
  • @jasoncrouleau - The Earth revolves around the Sun #conklinconspiracies
  • @hattrot - steve bartman's "catch" #ConklinConspiracies
  • @hattrot - crop circles #ConklinConspiracies
  • @PuckinHostile - The Holocaust never happened. #ConklinConspiracies
  • @PuckinHostile - Jesus Christ, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny are all real. #ConklinConspiracies
  • @HockeySavants - The Dollar Menu is fake #ConklinConspiracies
  • @blinkfink182 - I know when Detox and Duke Nukem Forever will be released #ConklinConspiracies
  • @blinkfink182 - The Earth is 5000 years old #ConklinConspiracies
  • @blinkfink182 - The government invented crack and distributed it to hold back the black community #ConklinConspiracies
  • @blinkfink182 - Soylent Green is most definitely NOT people #ConklinConspiracies
  • @blinkfink182 - 9/11 was an inside job #ConklinConspiracies
  • @blinkfink182 - The moon landing was fake #ConklinConspiracies
  • @blinkfink182 - The government killed JFK #ConklinConspiracies
  • @PuckinHostile - There was a shooter on the grassy knoll. #ConklinConspiracies
  • @blinkfink182 - Obama was born in Kenya #ConklinConspiracies
  • @blinkfink182 - The moon landing was fake #ConklinConspiracies
  • @hattrot - Elvis is still alive.. #ConklinConspiracies

Good Ol, Blues Brothers Boys Band

Isn't it just lovely to be at the mercy of the of the Asshat St. Louis Blues? Three games remaining and all three are against hated division rivals, who would love nothing but to play spoiler. Not only that, but two teams that have been thorns in the Blackhawks side since the old Norris division days. As fans, we can't complain too much, because they weren't even suppose to be in this position. It's really no ones fault, but their own. Anyway, let me step down off my soap box, and get to the game at hand.

The first period started off in GRAND fashion, with the Blues scoring before most of the UC had parked their asses in their seats. The rest of the period the Hawks held the advantage, but didn't manage to tie up the game, which has been all too familiar lately. The second period started off pretty bad with a St. Louis goal, but the Hawks answered with three of their own and the momentum going into the third. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the Hawks are the WORST third period team in the league, because they blew ANOTHER third period lead, and were forced into another OT game. Not how you want to win, but an exciting one. Hawks

The Good
  • Well, the Hawks took 28 minutes to finally score a goal, and even THAT was within question. Sharpie flipped a puck in front, off a rebound, and it went off Hoss's skate, the post, then Hoss's stick and then barely over the line. That was a lot of work for an "almost", or a "barely". After the game Ty Conklin cried like a little bitch with a skinned knee about this one, but I'll have a whole blog dedicated to that later.
  • With Stromboli and Seabs jumping into the play, TomoKop picked up a loose puck in the crease, and deposited it past Conklin. This merely brought the Hawks back to even, but it gave the Hawks a much needed jolt in the ass.
  • The comeback was complete with Nick Leddy's goal on a feed from Deuce and a gaggle of fourth line players in front of the net. That's more like it. You weren't crying about this one, were you TY?
  • The Hawks out shot the Blues 28-10 through two periods but they only led by one. The worst thing that could have happened was that period ending. The Hawks ended up outshooting the Blues 39-24.
  • Ben Smith didn't exactly light the UC on fire, but he didn't look out of place. He can't really do much worse than Brouwer has done lately, so hell, on with the experiment. He actually showed a little patience. At least he didn't play like his name was Marcus Kruger.
  • El Capitan was pretty invisible all night but made his presence known in OT. He took a long feed from Deuce, immediately following Crow's big face save on the back end, and turned it into the game winner. I'm not sure what the St. Louis D-men were thinking, letting him skate freely, but I'd like to thank him.
  • No real complaints in the faceoff department, with Toews, Johnson and Dowell all going over 50% and Frodo being the dog of the night, at 30%.
The Bad
  • Ty Conklin AGAIN? What do the Hawks have to do to get away from this guy?
  • Oh...my...god! SEVENTEEN seconds into the game and the Hawks yield a GOD AWFUL goal. Great job leading the way, Hoss! Turning it over into the high slot, moments into the affair, works perfectly!
  • Just over a minute into the second period, The Blues scored on the powerplay as TJ Oshie got in behind the Blackhawk defense and came in on a partial break-a-way. Mental mistakes have just been eating the Blackhawks up, and a late change by Hammer led to this break. 79 games weren't enough to learn how to change better?
  • And while we're talking about 79 games of changes, seven men on the ice?
The Ugly
  • For a team that is notoriously good on the powerplay, the Blackhawks are deplorable on the 5-on-3. It's almost embarrassingly painful to watch. It's like watching a High School football player try to score on his prom date, because he might never get the chance again. Forcing and Fumbling.
  • Watching TJ Oshie crying like a little girl on the bench with his sore paw was HILARIOUS. If he's not made a mockery of for that one, there is no poetic justice. Simply because I crack up laughing every time I watch it, here you go:

  • How's that Marcus Kruger working out for you, StanBo? You remember HIM, don't you? Maybe if he was here all year like you had "planned", he would have become great friends with John Scott, while sitting in the Press Box. Kind of like the movie "Twins"
  • Chris Stewart absolutely BEASTED Mr. Norris trophy and his silly little step brother Nick Leddy, with his third period goal, to tie the game up at 3. If you get out hustled like that, you deserve a smack in the puss. Christ, Deuce, move your ass into his way, and I know the view is really good from that angle, but Nick Leddy needs to stop gazing lovingly into Deuce's eyes, and DO SOMETHING!
Here are the video highlights for your viewing pleasure:

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Pepé Le Pew

As the season begins to draw to a close, the games we all thought were going to be blowoffs are the complete opposite. Each game is very important to the Hawks chances, which is really a disappointment. If anyone told you that the Hawks would be fighting for the 8th spot with 4 games remaining, you might have been smacked in the face, yet, here they sit. I can't say they really deserve to be in the playoffs, with the way they've played. Then again, I predicted a 45-28-9 record, which would be good for 99 points, and if the Hawks win out, that will be their record. Who would have thought the rest of the conference would have virtually the same record, through?

The Hawks didn't exactly look like they energized in the first period. The were badly out shot in the first three quarters of the frame, but managed to make up some of the deficit and finish with 9, to Montreal's 12, and no scoring either way. The second period was much more in the Hawks favor, as they out shot the Habs 13-12, and each team scored one goal. Twenty four shots is still too many shots against through two periods. The third period was ALL Hawks, but they couldn't solve Price. They out shot the Habs 20-9, but the game still went to OT. A failed OT penalty kill did the Hawks in, and they walked away with an OT loss.

The Good
  • The Hawks first powerplay of the game was a direct result of a Pik-to-Click Vik pesky forecheck on PK Subban. Subban coughed it up and eventually had to interfere with El Capitan. Stalberg gets overlooked for his hustle far too often.
  • Gee! Kane gets some space in the middle of the ice about 20 feet out, and what happens? HE SCORES! Go figure. I wasn't screaming all night about that or anything.
  • Soupie's second period shot off the post was DEAFENINGLY loud. My ears were ringing for minutes after that one.
  • The Hawks powerplay, late in the Third, resulted in 7 shots on net, but no goals. It's amazing that as below average as the powerplay has been, they are still second in the league.
  • Seven shots on net for One Trick Bick and I can't recall any of them.
  • Corey Crawford is the only reason the game wasn't out of hand early. He made huge saves all game long, and deserved a better fate.

The Bad
  • In the first ten minutes of the game, there was a furious pace back and forth, but the Hawks were still out shot 8-3. The new lines of Stalberg-Toews-Hossa, Kane-Kruger-Brouwer, Kopecky-Frolik-Johnson, and Pisani-Dowell-Bickell showed a slight bit of flash, but not much. The new second line was definitely the best of the four. By the third period the lines were completely different. Go Figure.
  • I'm getting VERY tired of Kane skating himself nicely into the zone and then completely out of the play. In games where you're not getting shots on net, you HAVE to take open shots, between the dots, from 15 feet. Or just skate it harmlessly away and turn it over. Just to make sure he keeps making questionable plays, he skated the puck around the net TWICE and failed to get a shot off within 3 feet of the cage. It might not be a perfect angle, but as Gretzky once said, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take". Of course right after I jot all this down, he does exactly what I've been screaming at the TV about all night.
  • Good choice on first intermission interviews, the guy that played the least. "So, Ryan, how were those 2 minutes and 19 seconds you played? Was the view from the bench as good as it seems? Did you actually break a sweat? Is your ass sore from sitting so long?" Brilliant.
  • Cammalleri banked a shot off Seabrook from about 20 feet out, while no one on the ice notice that he was WIDE open. Mr. Kruger? That was your man. Just thought I'd point that out for you. Maybe that had something to do with why he only played about seven minutes.
  • Toews, Johnson and Kopecky all did well in the faceoff circles. Dowell, and Frolik, not so much.

The Ugly
  • Say goodbye to Troy Brouwer. That was a separated shoulder at the very least. We won't see him the rest of the season.
  • Late game, offensive zone penalty, Tomas Kopecky. Shocking, I know.
  • You can only let PK Subban fire at your goalie so many times before he finally hits the net, and he did. The guy has a howitzer for a shot, and that wasn't Crow's fault at all. Game over.

Here are the video highlights for your viewing pleasure:

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Shooting Blanks

Tonight the Hawks hosted the Tampa Bay Lighting and it was another game you would think they could win. The Lightning were playing their backup netminder, and were missing Ryan Malone. They certainly have talent with Lecavalier, St. Louis, and Stamkos, but the Hawks were suppose to be playing with some urgency. So much for that theory. More like urgently heading for tee time.

The game opened up with a very boring first period. Even though the Hawks outshot the Lightning 7-4, the Lightning scored the lone goal of the period on a powerplay tally. The second was more of the same for both squads. The Hawks outshot the Lightning 11-4 in the the period, but still went into the second intermission down 1-0. And in what was probably the most BORING game of the year, the Hawks didn't manage to score in the third either, with Tampa scoring an empty netter.

I'm quickly losing interest in this uninspiring trip to Vanillatown. For a while the big dogs were carrying this team, but with the loss of Sharpie, this team has sunk to the depths of mediocrity. It is, what it is, I guess. Just don't make plans for another June parade, or a second round playoff appearance.

The Good
  • I am really becoming a fan of Ryan Johnson, and I was one of his most harsh critics, at the time of the signing. He is a hustler that does all the little things very well. On the second period kill of Frolik's four minute high sticking infraction, he dove head first to clear the puck out of the zone and then followed it up by drawing a penalty against St. Louis. Those are HUGE plays. Not to be overshadowed, night after night he has also been the team leader in faceoff wins as well. He's won my admiration, and he's played Jake Dowell out of a job.
  • I mentioned 3 games ago, about how Stalberg was unfairly removed from the first line, and replaced with Brouwer. The second period rolled around, and guess who was back, helping cause chances? Pick-to-Click Vik. Why we needed to endure this needless flip-flopping is beyond me. Yes, Bickell scored a lame game tying goal, but that was by fault of his own. Garon virtually threw that puck in his own net.
  • Faceoffs weren't all to bad. Johnson was his normally freakish 70%, and the rest of the normal centers were around 50%. Nothing to complain about here.

The Bad
  • An early Hammer delay game penalty resulted in a quick, as in 8 seconds, Vinny Lecavalier tap in powerplay goal, with Seabs getting outmuscled in front of the net.
  • The second period slashing call on Ryan Johnson was atrocious. He made a great play to get back and interrupt the shot. That was in no way an infraction.

The Ugly
  • Steve Downie is in the same category as Matt Cooke, Steve Ott, and Steve Avery. A card carrying member of the Douche Bag Club of America. Seabrook, probably a little charged up by a big hit from Stamkos a few moments earlier, laid out Downie like a crash test dummy, with the stress on DUMMY. Of course, he took exception to the hit, first trying to initiate a fight, and finally spearing Seabrook in the gut. Props to Seabs for not reacting, because most people would have gone bananas.
  • Well, it's all the obvious here. Can't do much when you can't score any goals. With Lecavalier out for most of the game, Ryan Malone out altogether and playing a rusty netminder, the Hawks still can't manage a single goal. Oh the playoffs are going to be fun; and short

Here are the video highlights for your viewing pleasure:

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