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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Blackhawks vs. Coyotes - Loss Recap

"I'm On My Way, Home Sweet Home"

"You, sir, sucked tonight"

Tuesday night's tilt with the Phoenix Coyotes is a welcome one for Hawks fans. They had been without a home game in three weeks, and were surly looking for some home cooking. The Blackhawks were coming off a "ho-hum" road trip where they embarrassed hated rivals Vancouver on their home ice, but were blown off the ice in two Alberta games. The Coy-otes were only 4 points behind the Hawks, despite all the ownership turmoil. Goalie Mike Smith was quickly becoming a cult hero in the desert with the usually posse of no namers just keep piling up points, and that's exactly what they did.

Even though the first period was no glorious effort, the Hawks were about even in scoring chances, and shots, but gave Phoenix the lead on a very soft goal. The second period was pretty much the same story, but Coyotes ramped up their defense to more of a Berlin wall style, and managed another fairly weak goal. The third period was just a formality, as the Hawks came out and gave up two goals to put this game far out of their reach. They managed a very late goal, but it was absolutely pointless. Yotes win 4-1 and, apparently, I picked a hell of a game to actually attend.

The Good

  • Car Bomb looked like he had a little attitude to his game early, laying some big hits early, and he had a nice pass to Pat Kane on 3-on-2 in the first period for tip on net, which ended up being one of the Hawks best chances.
  • Pick-to-Click Vik had a real nice chance in the first period, as he hesitated and blew the doors off Ekman-Larsson and drove hard to the net, but it was saved by Smith. PURE speed there, but why-you-no-finish?
  • Pat Kane made a nice move to the net in the closing minutes of the first period that left the Phoenix defender laying flat on his gut but, AGAIN, why-you-no-finish?
  • Everyone but Kaner (30%) was good at the dot.
  • That's really all I can salvage from this mess.

The Bad

  • Nick Leddy had some happy feet, early in the game. He decided to try and be a hero, only to turn the puck over at the Yotes blue line and leave Hammer to defend a 2-on-1 coming back the wrong way. Luckily it never ended up materializing.
  • Frolik must have been the "pick your forward" in Q's doghouse, at least to START the night. He opened up on the 4th line, and looked lost.
  • MegaMayers led a rush into the Coyotes zone in the first period, and made an absolutely terrible pass in Frodo's direction, or at least we can assume it was to Frodo, because he was the only Blackhawk in that area code. Chance averted.
  • The second period opened up horribly for the Hawks. They couldn't even manage to get the puck to the RED LINE, much less into the Phoenix zone. They didn't manage a actual shot on net until, just about, the 10 minute mark.
  • Once the Hawks finally managed some pressure, Hoss led a rush towards the Phoenix net and had a fairly good look, but decided to drop the puck Car Bomb, who was a good 7-10 feet behind him and never got a shot off. Great job passing up good looks, Hoss.
  • In the second period we got the pleasure of watching another Blackhawks circle jerk, literally. They proceeded to cycle the low circle over and over, and over, until they simply just turned it over. The cycle only works when you're working towards actually getting a scoring chance. When they look like they are just doing it because it's the "in thing" and they are just waiting for an opportunity to turn it over, the whole operation really defeats the purpose.
  • Trying to keep up with the line combinations in this one was POINTLESS, because they rarely seemed the same for two consecutive shifts. In the third Q had a line of Kane/Kruger/Hossa out there, and Frolik may have played on 4 different lines over the course of the night. It really didn't matter, because no amount of Quenneville's mad scientist line juggling made a blip on the radar.
  • This was one of the first games where we really saw the Car Bomb Jeckyl/Hyde change during one game. In the third period, he came out of the locker room BRAINLESS. He simply forgot it in the locker room. That's the only explanation. As good as he might have seemed in the first, he was that BAD in the third. He went absolutely apeshit following the Coyotes waved off goal, and negated a potential powerplay with a stupid retaliation penalty. Not to be outdone, he came out the box, and seemed to immediately take a dumb slashing call. That's the stupidity that will either land you back on the 4th line or back in the press box, my man.
  • The Hawks goal was pointless. They deserved to be shut out, at home, the way they played. I've heard blatherings about how it's rough to come home after a 3 week road trip, bla, bla, bla. Didn't we just hear the other night how nice it was going to be to finally play at home? Shut the fuck up; seriously! They had 2 days to get their shit together and make an effort, and they failed miserably. There were very few points where they looked like they should be on the same ice as the Coyotes.
  • Officially, we have a goaltending "concern". I'm not sure how the game looked on TV, but in person, it's obvious that Crawford is fighting the puck. He's not absorbing shots, he's waving at them like Huet use to do. Almost like there is one pesky gnat flying around in front of him. He doesn't look confident at all. I was just writing this off as a wrinkle in the schedule, but it's now officially becoming a "concern".

The Ugly

  • The first Coyotes goal was absolutely ATROCIOUS. Barely five minutes into the game and the Hawks actually had some pressure, but the Coyotes caught the Hawks trying to sneak in a change. Hammer started towards the bench with Leddy and realized that the troops were a headin his way. He got caught trying to take the blue line and was spun in some odd position. Langkow got in behind Hammer and then worked a "tic-tac-toe" with Doan, Whitney between Ron Burgundy and Hammer. This actually really left Langkow in a tight spot to shoot from, to Crawford's left, but he threw it at the net, anyway. Somehow; someway, It ended up in behind Crawford and dribbled in the net. Commencing momentum shift.
  • The second Coyotes goal was another bad one. The Hawks were established in the Phoenix zone, and Leddy tried to take a big shot towards the net, that just happened to blast Stalberg in the foot. Of course, Vik would have been the highest forward/first back but the shot stung him, and he had to try and drag his dead leg back to the bench. This left the Yotes coming back 4-on-2 against Hammer and Leddy. Boedker took it up the right side and dropped it off to Doan at the top of the circle, who just let'r fly. Crawford had a good look, and seemed to just miss it. 2-0 Yotes.
  • Just as I had uttered the words, "As bad as they have played, they are only down 2-0", and merely over a minute into the third, Deuce tried to pull off one of those fancy pants little drop plays to Kaner at the Hawks blue line. Kaner then proceeded to have his pocket picked by Vrbata who sent it behind the Hawks net. It's anyone's guess what Crawford was looking at, but he ended up down on his knees, at the wrong post. Kaner then felt it was better float away from the action, toward the Phoenix end looking for that easy breakout than pick up the now wide open Vrbata. That breakout never happened. All it took was a quick second for Vrbata to grab the puck and backhand it past a lost Crawford. 3-0 Phoenix and the boo birds were heard throughout the UC.
  • The forth Coyote goal looked like a carbon copy of the third. The Hawks failed to get the puck out, and seemed to all get caught chasing the puck around like puppies. Hanzel ended up with the puck behind the net and was probably surprised to see Whitney sitting there, virtually wide open. He was wide open because all Leddy could manage to do is poke at Vrbata like you poke roadkill with a stick to see if it'll move, and cover the invisible guy in front of the net. Of course, Crawford was down at the wrong post YET AGAIN, so once Hanzel fed Whitney, it was a slam dunk. Quenneville pulled Crawford, but it really didn't matter, at this point. 4-0 and the boo birds were not only out, but a third of the crowd picked up their jackets and walked out.
  • 6:41 of ice time for Bryan Bickell. Ouch, man. Very Ouch! There is apparently VERY little room left in that Quenneville doghouse, as of late. If it's a dog eat dog world, Bick is wearing a Milkbone jockstrap.
  • Hammer responded to my thorough ripping by conveniently skating like Bambi on ice, and putting up a -3. Thanks for supporting my argument, kiddo! Keep absorbing those hits. There is a reason that every time the camera is on him, he looks like he's in serious pain. HE IS IN PAIN, from getting his ass beat nightly.
  • I can't wait to listen to three days of "we needed more Ben Smith and John Scott". If you are a person that even entertains that thought, you need to be euthanized, although once they start printing those #28 Smith shirtsies up, I'm certain Jesse Rogers will be the first in line to get one; or outfit his whole wardrobe. Could someone please remind him that this doesn't stand for "Smith".

Here are your video highlights:

Monday, November 28, 2011

Puckin Thanksgiving Gripes and Grudges

With the infamous circus trip over, the Blackhawks can focus on a more normal schedule. The management also has to get back in the swing of things, and gear up for the playoff run. It was pretty clear during the road trip that there are some outstanding issues with this team. Here are a few highlights:
  • Beat writers aside, it's become pretty apparent that the young prophet, Ben Smith, isn't the savior everyone promised. In all fairness to Ben Smith, those are some pretty lofty expectations cast on a guy that has played a total of 15 NHL games. He's just not that kind of player. He's a role guy that could swing from 3rd liner to fill in top 6 guy in a pinch. He had 2 good games in April, and the whole Chicagoland area was suddenly moist with the thought of the sandy haired kid playing for the Hawks. You would have thought he was going to be the next JR the way the media and fans talked him up. If this was the case, John Druce, Chris Kontos, Fernando Pisani, and Sean Bergenheim would be all of fame players with multiple scoring titles. He's never going to be that savior, people. If they let him be Ben Smith, he'll turn into a pretty solid 3rd line shutdown guy, but if everyone casts these delusions of grandeur on him, he's going to crack from the pressure, and end up Tony Salmelainen...or Fernando Pisani.

    Maybe SOME people think that keeping him on the roster as a practice player seems like a good idea, but I'm not one of those knuckleheads! He's not some over-the-hill veteran that can live with sitting in the press box, and collecting free cash. He is a young player that needs to PLAY. If he's not working out, then send him to Rockford, and let him PLAY THERE. Real novel and original idea, I know. Nothing good will come of a 23 year old Ben Smith, watching games. He needs to be out on the ice SOMEWHERE, so the management needs to swallow their pride, and send him down. PERIOD!
  • Car Bomb, Car Bomb, Car Bomb. Oh how we tried to love thee. The Honeymoon is over in Chicago, for Dan Carcillo, it seems. After opening up the season as the newest OTHER team darling, he has fallen from grace. He fell down the depth chart until he hit the bottom, which is sitting with Ben Smith and Sami Lepito in the skybox. We were sold this bill of goods, that stated we were getting a loose cannon forward that was going to hit everything that moves, and maybe somethings that don't move. All we ended up with, is a guy that seems to be afraid to take a bad penalty, and end up in the box. Maybe the the FEAR of going from the penthouse to the doghouse, actually SENT him to the doghouse anyway.

    Where does this story go from here? At the very least, He can be let loose on the 4th line. They out there for limited minutes, and NO ONE can try to tell me he's a worse forward than Big Slow. I take that back, you can TRY, but you'll be sorely mistaken. Let him run around, sans leash, with MegaMayers and whichever other winger is in the Q-House for that particular game. Just assume that he will do something completely mental, at some point, and ride the wave as long as we can. Maybe we can even coax the Dr. Jeckyl Car Bomb back out of the Q-House. Stranger things have happened, but two healthy scratches don't tell a fairy tale.
  • One-Trick-Bick. This mentally challenged young man is one step behind Car Bomb in the Q-House. He is ringing the buzzer and just waiting to be buzzed through. It's pretty obvious that last year's 37 points were somewhat of a fluke. He had only eclipsed that total once since 05-06, in the AHL. He did a good job of laying low, and surprising some goalies with his lazer of a wrist shot. The problem is that is takes him 36 hours to get the shot off, and now that teams have seen him, it's much easier to defend him. Couple that with the fact that he refuses to use his big frame to lay hits, and you have an issue. Well, not you specifically, but the large craniums in the Hawks management. He's barely making the league minimum, so really they can put him anywhere, even the press box, but there is no need to force feed us Bryan Bickell. StanBo can even dangle him out there as trade bait because, no doubt, some team is willing to take a chance on a big 25 year old body.
  • The curious case of Frodo. What more does this guy have to do to start scoring goals? He skated around like a fearless maniac; sometimes too much so. He's been recently shuffled up the lineup to play some top six minutes, but it hasn't pushed him over the edge. I'm hoping to see Quenneville give him a few more games at the top to see what he makes of it. He's only on pace for 28 points and that's just not good enough for a 23 year old with two 40+ point seasons under his belt, already. He's being outscored by Viktor Stalberg, for Christ Sakes! I REALLY like this kid, but if he can't pull it together, then maybe it's time to start dangling him out on the market for a big name. I'd rather not see that, but his age and fairly palatable cap number could be enticing.
  • Hammer Time. I was a strong supporter of StanBo's desire to bring Hjalmarsson back, even after the Sharks pulled their dick move, but he's wearing VERY thin on this guy. He's only 24 and his numbers are declining. Not only that, but it takes an act of god to get him to show a mean streak. It's really hard to play defense in the NHL if you don't have a mean streak, unless you have a plethora of god given talent or you have the mind of a brain surgeon, you're not going to get away with it long. Hammer has neither. Maybe the beating he takes from blocking shots takes THAT much of a toll on him, but my #4 defenseman making $3.5 million a year needs to either be punishing people, or putting up some points. Technically, he should be able to provide some relief on the PP, but the thought of that just brings on fits of laughter. There are kids in Rockford that are more than willing to throw their bodies around, and blocking shots isn't rocket science, folks. While I had no problem with the Hawks letting Niemi walk to keep Hammer, and still don't, he needs to start showing that we are on the better end of that deal. As things stand, that's not so certain.
  • Pick-to-Click Vik is becoming an interesting conundrum. He has been moved up and down the lineup which, in and of itself, could be the issue, and can't seem to lock himself in a spot. When you're put on the ice with two of the best players in the entire NHL, you need to be able to dunk a good portion of the insane chances you'll be given. While 13 points in 21 games is certainly not Bickell bad, the number of chances he's been given could have him over 20 points. There are a few missed open nets and wasted breakaways in there, that don't show up on the stats. I LOVE his speed, but he needs to tighten up. The Hawks don't need 40 goals from him, nor should they expect that, but a solid 20 goal/45 point season isn't too much to ask from all this opportunity.
  • I'm not even wasting time on the Big Slow, it's pointless, and everyone but Quenneville sees it.
  • Completely off topic: "Hey Paul Maurice (Canes) and Bruce Boudreau (Caps)? Happy Thanksgiving, you're fired!"

All this being said, it is certainly not all doom and gloom in the United Center, unless you factor in the chance that the NBA is going to be back to soften up the UC ice, in the very near future.
  • El Capitan is playing like a Captain and MVP
  • Hoss is solidly putting in a great season on both ends of the ice
  • Kaner is putting up some really good numbers during this "#2 center experiment"
  • Shooter is doing all the little things that they've always asked him to do.
  • While the goalies have looked soft at times, they have been fairly solid, generally speaking.
  • Marcus Kruger and MegaMayers have turned out to be very pleasant surprises. Kruger has been played everywhere, and done a very admirable job, while Mayers just puts on his hard hat and grabs his lunch box every night. Nothing fancy, but very effective.
  • Even though Leddy does have his brain farts, the kid is FAST, and to be logging these kind of important minutes, and NOT filling his diaper is a testament to his coconuts. He has even leapfrogged Hammer to become the #3 D-Man. Impressive for a 20 year old kid. ::cough::Toews-n-Kane::cough::

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Blackhawks at Los Angeles - Win Recap

"Straight Outta Compton"

Saturday night's game had the Blackhawks hitting the end of their west coast trip in Los Angeles against the young gun Kings. After coming alive in the third period to come back against the lowly Ducks, they were going to need a lot more to beat the Kings. These Kings are big, fast, and hungry, like the Hawks of 3 years ago. Not only do they have all that talent, but they have two really good young goaltenders to boot. The Kings are just 3 points behind the Hawks in the standings, so anything could happen.

The Blackhawks opened up this game much more confident and much more assertive. They were able to manager 10 shots in the first, scoring on one, and held the Kings to just 6 shots and no goals. The second period yielded goals both ways, but the Hawks were able to gain the lead back. The also outshot the Kings 12-11. Considering the Kings chances, the Hawks did well to keep the puck out of their net, but the Kings had a few bounces go their way, too. Luckily for the Hawks, they were able to hold on to a one goal third period lead, to finish the road trip 3-3.

The Good

  • Just over 3 minutes into the game, Bruno out a wrap around into the net. The play started with Bolly getting pushed into the net by Anze Kopitar, who actually fell down himself. This resulted in Quick not getting over to the far post in enough time to stop Brunette's attempt and goal. 1-0 Hawks
  • The Hawks 4th line averaged about 6'4" and 230lbs for the game. This, of course, was including One-Trick-Bick, Big Slow and MegaMayers.
  • With all the bad happening lately, the good play of Marcus Kruger has been overshadowed. He's been solid, quick, and smart. He's done a good job at most every position he's been played at. It's about time.
  • Tazer put the Hawks back up by one with one of the easiest goals he's had in quite a while. Deuce took a long wrister on net that went off the skate of Vik Stalberg, and off the end boards. Quick had followed the puck before the deflection and was down on the far side of the net. The puck right came back out to El Capitan, who had a GAPING net. 2-1 Hawks.

The Bad

  • Before the game even started, some interesting developments came up. It was announced that Car Bomb was scratched for Big Show at forward. Ben Smith was also scratched for the third straight game, as well.
  • After leading in shots early, the Hawks ran out of gas in the third. I'm sure they are happy to be heading home. The final shot totals were even at 27.
  • The last 5 minutes of the game were a flurry of chances by the Kings, but the Hawks and Crawford stood tall.
  • Mike Richards seems to have carried his Philly doucheness over to LA.

The Ugly

  • I'm not sure what exactly is wrong with Stalberg, but he needs to hit the god damn net. He was in on a 2-on-0 in the middle of the second period with one of the best passers in the entire league, Patrick Kane, and couldn't manage a shot on net. IN FACT, he didn't get a shot off AT ALL.
  • Deuce and Seabrook turnovers eventually led to an awful Kings goal, that tied up the game, in the second period. Both defensemen turned the puck over multiple times in the preceding action, and Corey Crawford completely whiffed on it. That's a perfect time to make that easy save and bail your team out, but he looked like Willie Mays Hayes out there. Tied up at 1-1.
  • Big Slow and his awe inspiring 5:48. I know 20 people that could provide more in that time. Bickell wasn't much better with only 7:33.
  • I'd like to have more to say about the third period, but I spent most of the third period trying to recover from the seizures that the WGN gave me. At least I didn't swallow my tongue or pee my pants, right?

Here are your video highlights:

Friday, November 25, 2011

Blackhawks at Anaheim - Win Recap

"Get Out Alive"

The Hawks were in Anaheim Friday afternoon for a rare matinee game against the Ducks. The Circus trip has not gone like the Hawks wanted, and that name has taken on new meaning. They were only able to gather 2 of 8 possible points, with an opening game win against the Canucks. The Hawks were rejoined by Brent Seabrook, which would be a much needed boost, but they had to put the puck in the net. This was a must win game for the Hawks, if they hope to salvage anything from this trip, and it wasn't coming easy.

The Hawks futility continued in the first period, with the Ducks opening up the game with two quick goals. The Hawks were able to net a couple of goals themselves, but lost the period 3-2, and were outshot 13-9. The second period was batter, but the Hawks still gave up another goal. Even though they out shot the Ducks 17-5, they lost the period 1-0. The Hawks were in for a tough third period, and what a third period it was. The Hawks scored 4 goals and left Anaheim a 6-5 winner, after a huge effort by the away team.

The Good

  • Shooter opened up the Hawks scoring after a failed Ducks powerplay in the first. The Hawks got the puck deep in the Ducks zone and it was dug loose from behind the net to Shooter, who hit the post. The rebound came Toews, who tried to put it towards the net. It ended up on Shooter's stick, and he beat Hiller. 2-1 Ducks.
  • This "Ron Burgundy on the PP" thing seems to really have some legs. The only sustained pressure in the first period, on the powerplay, was from the second group, with Montador at forward. He seems to draw a lot of attention in front of the net. The second powerplay resulted in the second goal of the game for the Hawks. Bruno held the puck down low, waiting for Burgundy to clear the front of the net, and for Bolland to sneak in the back door. Bruno hit Bolly on the stick and he buried it low and hard.
  • While it really didn't show much in the way of results, I like Frolik seeing top 6 minutes. His speed and grit can help those other players, unless you're ESPN's Jesse Rogers, who thinks that a handful of good games 7 months ago by Ben Smith gets you top six minutes, rather than the 2 terrible games and 2 healthy scratches in the last week.
  • Just over a minute into the third period and the Hawks were able to take advantage of a puck with eyes off the stick of Deuce that went off the toe of Tazer and brought the Hawks within one goal. 4-3 Ducks.
  • Twenty eight seconds later Tazer stole the puck from Getzlaf behind the Ducks net and fed Sharpie to tie up the game. Great determination by El Capitan.
  • Shooter put the Hawks up 5-4 off a faceoff win by El Capitan for Hat Trick. Sharpie curled around the circle and snapped a shot past Hiller. Nice to see the Hawks get some bounces their way.
  • Toews whipped out his king kong nuts and grabbed his 5th point of the night, picking up a rebound that snuck between Dan Ellis' legs and jammed it in the net to put the Hawks up 6-4 with 10 minutes to go in the third. Nothing more can be said about the Captain. Tremendous effort.
  • Outshooting a team 42-29 in their home rink is something to be commended for.

The Bad

  • With 7 powerplays the Hawks really should have scored more with the advantage.
  • Just over a minute into the first period the Ducks opened up the scoring after Hammer was destroyed by Corey Perry, and turned the puck over to Bobby Ryan, who just put his head down and took it to the net. Crawford made the fist save, but wasn't able to control the rebound. 1-0 Ducks.
  • A minute later, the Hawks gave up another Ducks goal to Andrew Cogliano after Ron Burgundy tried to play a puck with his glove, and it slipped away right to the Ducks forward, who shoveled it into the net. 2-0 Ducks.
  • The ageless one, Teemu Selanne, put the Ducks up 3-1 on a powerplay. The Ducks worked the puck around the zone long enough for Selanne to find an open spot, and even at 42, he is money. Hang this one on the PK because they couldn't even get a stick on the puck, much less clear the zone.
  • Bobby Ryan scored his second goal of the game against the the Kane line, on their first shot of the second period which came almost half way though the frame. Deuce was stuck down low covering two Ducks forwards, and Ryan just sat on the back door long enough for Sbisa to find him for a tap in. 4-2 Ducks.
  • Corey Perry brought the Ducks back within one goal, with 7 seconds left in the game, and the goalie pulled. The Hawks were just simply tired and couldn't grab a rebound that sat in front of the net for what seems like 4 days. I can overlook this one based on the huge third period the Hawks had.
  • Judging by some of his body language, Corey Crawford is looking a little shaky in net. This is something Stephane Waite needs to address, ASAP. I can speak from experience, and when you're not 100% confident in the net, you might as well not even be out there. You'll always be questioning yourself, and it's hard to stop anything.
  • Two games in a row that Dave Bolland has missed wide open nets on the powerplay.
  • This Kaner at center experiment might have run it's course. He was only 23% in the faceoff circles and he has been under 50% consistently lately. This may be something that gets adjusted, because things need to change, regardless.
  • I'm at a point where I've seen just about enough Niklas Hjalmarsson. He is big enough to be hitting people and just refuses to do it, all while absorbing huge hits from the opposing teams. For the $3+ million a year he's getting, he needs to start doing SOMETHING other than blocking shots. He is not a powerplay guy, provides no offense whatsoever, and is not nearly as physical as the Hawks need from him. Something needs to give.

The Ugly

  • The Hawks first powerplay unit just looks like an enormous sack of dog shit at this point. Just WHY players with that kind of talent can't even get the puck into the offensive zone boggles my mind. The second unit opened up the first powerplay of the second period and did an admirable job. Once the first unit stepped on the ice, all hell broke loose. Deuce tried to get the puck in the zone twice and eventually ended up giving up a shorthanded 2-on-1 when he missed a questionable Bolland pass. Of course Konroyd failed to mention the turnover, and just focused on the following bailout. Hey, all you young defensemen at home, don't turn the puck over on the powerplay, at the opponents blue line, and you wont have to defend shorthanded 2-on-1's. Just a thought.
  • After a strong start to the year, Car Bomb has been virtually invisible. I haven't really seen anything that should get him any less playing time, but something is going on. I suppose that bad penalty he took in the second period doesn't help. Looks like he wore THAT welcome out, quick. Under 7 minutes of TOI tells a story, but I'd like to know just WHAT that story is
  • Speaking of invisible, Bickell, Stalberg, and O'Donnell were barely heard from.

Here are your video highlights:

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Blackhawks at San Jose - Loss Recap

"Zero Gravity"

The circus trip continued Wednesday night in San Jose. Who would have thought that circus trip would have been a good description of the Hawks actual play, rather than just the reason for the road trip. The Hawks used a couple of days off following whippings by the Flames and Oilers to clear their heads, before heading to sunny California. The Sharks were also coming of a break following a pair of 4-1 wins over the Stars and Avs. This game would answer whether the last two losses were merely just a ripple in the schedule, or whether it was time to start really worrying.

At first glance, the Hawks looked a little out of sorts for the opening moments of the first period, but after failing on 2 powerplay chances, they went into the first break still deadlocked at 0-0. The Sharks took a 1-0 lead in the second period, but the Hawks dominated play with 13 more shots, to the Sharks 6. THe Sharks opened up the third period with much more pressure but didn't manage any goals. Unfortunately, the Hawks could solve the Sharks, and wound up leaving San Jose 1-0 losers.

The Good

  • Looks like Quenneville finally came around to pairing up Deuce/Hammer, which is something I've been clamoring for since Seabs got hurt. Unfortunately, he had to pair up Lurch/Leddy, and Frank the Tank/Big Slow. Off topic, with that moustache Montador looks exactly like Ron Burgundy.
  • After a few foggy minutes in the open moments of the first period, the Hawks came back and dominated the frame, outshooting the Sharks 10-5. They outshot the Sharks 34-21 in the game, which is pretty much what you're looking for, from this team, other than the whole "not scoring any goals" thing.
  • On their second period powerplay Bolly, Ron Burgundy, and Krugs had some brilliant backhand and between the legs passes between them, but again, couldn't score.
  • Deuce looked a lot like the Deuce of old, last night. Might have something to do with the more dependable partner. Just a thought. Not like that idea hasn't been thrown around anywhere.
  • Half of the Hawks centers went over 50% in the faceoff circle, with Kane and Bolland at 40% or below.

The Bad

  • Both Bickell and Hossa had breakaways, on bad turnovers, in the first period and neither could beat Niemi.
  • After a Jamie McGinn chance off the post in the second period, he laid the boom on Nick Leddy, who ended up on his young tuchus with his helmet slightly ajar.
  • A lazy penalty in the second period led to the first goal of the game by Jason Demers. The faceoff was cleanly won back to Demers, who let a shot go that was deflected off Tazer's stick and then into the net. Really an unfortunate set of circumstances, and not Crawford's fault.

The Ugly

  • I can't remember seeing an NHL player struggle with handling the puck, like Big Slow does. It's simply baffling. Later in the game, he took exception to a hustling Sharks player by two handing the guy in the ass while he was laying on the ice. What a complete stupid ass. He continues to make awful plays that would get ANY other player benched with no consequences.
  • Holy hot shit sammich, Hammer's offensive play is just AWFUL. You really need more from a guy that's making over $3 million a year. Hey, Dougie Wilson, makes you sort of happy StanBo matched your offer, doesn't it?
  • Dan Boyle had an awful game, turning the puck over multiple times and taking 6 minutes in penalties, the worst of which was a questionable cross check on Bryan Bickell after a good first period chance that will most likely result in a closer look from the Shana-hammer

Here are your video highlights:

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Blackhawks at Edmonton - Loss Recap

"Now Your Nightmare Comes To Life"

"Good Luck, Dude, I really took it in the ass"

Saturday night's game is against had the Blackhawks against the league's new young guns, the Oilers. The Hawks stuck it to the Oilers, at home last Sunday, and they were certain to be looking for revenge. The Hawks, of course, didn't have their best game Friday night. The Hawks were without the services of Brent Seabrook, and Michael Frolik again, both out with injuries. Along with that, Sean O'Donnell and Razor Emery would be in the lineup to help celebrate Pat Kane's birthday.

The Blackhawks first period was something of infamy. The two teams exchanged goals in the first few minutes, and then the wheels fell off the wagon. The Oilers put up 4 more goals, some of them totally embarrassing, to go into the first break up 5-1. The second period was more of the same crap, with the Oilers scoring 3 more goals, and the Hawks finally getting one. The Hawks had given up long ago, though. This should lead to an interesting third period. The Oilers put few more up on the board in the third period to finish 9-2. Enjoy Vegas guys, you really deserve it. Yes, that's sarcasm.

The Good

  • The Hawks were able to answer the Oilers goal, three minutes in to the game on a powerplay. A scrum in front of the net let Shooter pick up a loose puck and fire it past Khabby.
  • Bolly ended the Oilers unanswered goal streak at 6 with a late second period powerplay goal. Nice time to start caring, guys.

The Bad

  • "O'Donnell back in the lineup, didn't make a good pass". Thanks for doing my job for me, Pat.
  • Deuce opened up the game with a -4, and 2 PIM's that resulted in a powerplay goal against, which left him with a -8 in his last four periods play. You think he relies on Seabrook a little?
  • Just to pour salt on the wound, the Hawks had a goal negated by goaltender interference when Car Bomb backed into Khabby's kitchen, which resulted in a Frank the Tank goal.
  • Ben Smith, anyone even realize he was on the ice? I didn't think so. I thought you were hee to rescue us!
  • I said it before, and I'm going to KEEP saying it. Brent Seabrook is more important to this team that people realize. Probably the MOST important and consistent defender this team has.

The Ugly

  • Ales Hemsky opened up the Oilers scoring forty eight seconds into the game, after blowing the doors off Frank the Tank, and coming in one-on-one with Razor. Tank tried to hip check Hemsky and whiffled, leaving Hemsky to race in all alone before everyone was in their seats. Shooter could have dug in and gotten a stick in there, but just coasted back and watched Hemsky eat his goalie alive.
  • In one of the worst goals yet this year, Ryan Jones scored from an impossible angle, to give the Oilers a 2-1 lead. The duo of Deuce and Frank the Tank just isn't working.
  • A few minutes later, Ryan Smyth scored on a great pass from Jordan Eberle. Apparently, Q didn't like the duo on Montador and Deuce either, so he put Lurch out there with Keith. We all saw how that worked. Kruger started off by not getting the puck out, and both Keith and Lurch got caught chasing Eberle, who dished it off to a wide open Smyth on the back door. 3-1 with under 10 mins gone in the game, and that brought an end to Razor's night, well, until the second period.
  • The forth Oilers goal of the game victimized Hammer and Lurch on the powerplay. Taylor Hall picked up a rebound off Crawford's pads and slammed'er home. 4-1 Oilers.
  • Jordan Eberle put the Oilers up 5-1 on yet ANOTHER horrible Duncan Keith decision. He had a chance to keep the puck in the Oilers zone and just turned away, leaving Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to bring the puck up the middle of the ice, and feed Eberle for an easy goal. 5-1 Oilers before the first period is over.
  • The Oilers continued their dominance in the second period with a powerplay goal on a 2 man advantage. They played some fucking bizarre behind the net, tic-tac-toe thing, and it worked. They could have been using pool cues, and ping pong paddles at this point. Whatever. 6-1 Oilers.
  • Halfway through the second the Hawks gave up yet another powerplay goal by Taylor Hall, to watch the Oilers go up 7-1. At this rate, they were easily going to give up a 10 spot.
  • The Oilers put number 8 on the board while the Hawks were killing another stupid fucking penalty on Kane for yapping at the officials. The effort at this point was simply pathetic.
  • Taylor Hall grabbed is hat trick goal to put the the Oilers up 9-2, midway through the third. The play was a 2-on-3 and Frank the Tank practically backed up into his own netminders face. Hall just walked the puck in, and never even debated passing. Ridiculous.
  • I hope these last two games put this crazy "John Scott is a good luck charm" bullshit to rest. Save the hate mail because I know that very little of what happened was his fault, but they need 6 NHL defensemen on the ice every night. Not four and a fucking half, on the second night of a back-to-back. Really, enough of these fucking games, Joel. This is just ignorance.

Here are your video highlights:

Friday, November 18, 2011

Blackhawks at Calgary - Loss Recap

"Burnin Ring Of Fire"

"This is how I pad my shot blocking stats"

It was official, the Blackhawks WERE back on a hot streak after beating the Canucks pretty convincingly, at home. A few things had happened since that night, with Michael Frolik sustaining a shoulder injury against Vancouver, Seabrook would be missing his second game in a row with and injury, Rosty Olesz being sent to Rockford, and the messiah, Ben Smith, being recalled from Rockford. In the Calgary camp, they were sitting on a record that was 2 games under .500. That being said, they still have the firepower and the goaltender to do some damage. It's just a question of which team would show up in Calgary. Obviously, the better of the two is what we got.

Even though the Hawks were outshot in the first period, they were able to keep the game tied at 1-1. If the ref hadn't lost site of a loose puck, they would have actually been up 2-1. The second period started as a complete and utter disaster, with the Flames scoring two goals in the first minute of the period. The Hawks were able to get one back, but the Flames scored a third one of the period on only 8 shots, to go into the third period up 4-2. The third period really wasn't much better, with the Hawks giving up the 5th and final goal of the night. Not the effort the Hawks needed, whatsoever. No time to sit on this one, with Edmonton on Saturday.

The Good

  • A couple of minutes after Calgary took the lead, El Capitan flexed his enormous coconuts and took the puck hard into the zone, hitting Pick-to-Click Vik for a tap in goal on Kiprusoff. Tazer was clearly not happy with the original disallowed goal, nor should he be.
  • The Hawks took advantage of a rare 4-on-3. It was a really simple play, as the PP group was led in by Tazer and Deuce. Keith held the puck long enough for Hoss to get in position for a one timer, and he lasered it past Kiprusoff to bring the Hawks within one goal at 3-2. Unfortunately, that's as close as they got.
  • In a side note; the soft, pathetic and worthless Rosty Olesz scored in regulation and in the SO, in a Rockford SO win. Good thing they didn't need any of that horseshit in Calgary. POPPYCOCK!

The Bad

  • With about five minutes into the game, the Hawks were robbed of a goal, when the back ref lost sight of a free puck that El Capitan poked into the net. Very unfortunate.
  • Something you dont see very often happened, soon after the disallowed goal. Deuce was completely undressed. Lee Stempniak put a nice little drag move on, and Deuce was left swimming. Have to give credit where it's due, because Stempniak made a hell of a move, but that was atrocious by Keith.
  • The Hawks defense clearly missed Seabrook's presence in this game. There was a healthy list of questionable plays by the defense.
  • Glencross got his second of the night when Keith, Hoss, and Montador looked like three guys that had never held hockey sticks before. They threw the puck all over the ice, and it progressively made it's way from the Flames blue line all the way back behind the Hawks blue line, finally ending up on Jokinen's stick. Jokinen gave it right to Glencross, who knifed right up the middle of the Hawks zone and beat Crawford after a bounce or two. 5-2 Calgary.
  • Glad that the savior, Ben Smith, was on hand to witness this, eh? He was beat out in ice time by Big Slow...and every other player on the team, for that matter. Don't want to miss mentioning that -2, either.
  • The dream team, Pistol and Big Slow, showed EVERYONE how to properly give up a 3-on-1. Well done!

The Ugly

  • Less than a minute into the second period, Former Blackhawk Rene Bourque put the Flames up 2-1. The Hawks couldn't get the puck deep into the Flames zone and Pistol was a little too aggressive, leaving Bourque open enough to take a pass and streak in the zone. Crawford got a piece of it, but it still snuck in.
  • Seventeen seconds after the Bourque goal, Nick Leddy made a questionable pass that went off a Flames forward's skate, and right to Paul Byron who backhanded it past Crawford.
  • Bouwmeester and Glencross hooked up about halfway through the second to put the Flames back up by 2 goals. Car Bomb slid out to take away the shot, but Bouwmeester tried for the pass. He hit Glencross's stick, and Glencross was able to put it past Crawford.
  • A 3 goal second period on only 8 shots is just utterly deplorable.
  • Good thing Big Slow was out there to prevent Hannan from taking liberties on his captain. That's why you're out there, Big Guy.
  • For the 53rd time this season, the Hawks almost gave up another break-a-way to a guy coming out of the penalty box. Didn't see THAT one coming.
  • Duncan Keith, -4 on the night. OOO-FA!

Here are your video highlights:

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Blackhawks at Vancouver - Win Recap

"You're So Vain"

Thus begins the infamous "Circus Trip", that is named so, not as a reflection of the Blackhawks play, but because an ACTUAL circus inhabits the UC while they are gone. I know, much could be said regarding the Blackhawks powerplay and it's likeness to a circus, as well. Let's just say this circus has stinky animals...scratch that...the Hawks currently employ a 6'8", 270 lb stinky fucking gorilla.

Let's get to the subject at hand; game one of the western swing (Kaner, Stalberg and Sharpie's eyes just lit up). I digress, last night the Hawks visited the hated Vancouver Canucks in their home confines. While the Canucks were struggling to stay at .500 for the season, they had previously whipped the Hawks 6-2 in the UC. This time around the Canucks were without Bobby Lu, who was out with a sore groin (insert joke here). For the Blackhawks, they were without the services of defensive stud Brent Seabrook, who went awkwardly into the boards the previous game. It's been made clear that THESE games are now going to be the grudge match games, and if the Red wings get lost in the realignment, they will be even bigger.
The game opened up with a torrid pace. Chances were abound but neither team could put a puck in the net. Even though the Hawks outshot Vancouver 8-7, this style favored the home team. This bit the Hawks in the ass just 38 seconds into the second period, as the Canucks went up 1-0, but they were able to score a couple of powerplay chances to end the second up 2-1. In the third period, the Blackhawks blew the game wide open scoring 3 goals, which was beautiful. Big win!

The Good

  • Bruno scored his 4th of the season, on the powerplay no less, on a feed from Kruger no less. This tied the game up at one's. Listen to THIS powerplay line, folks: Bruno, Kruger, Frank the Tank, Pistol and Leddy. It's like some alternate universe, where the most asinine combinations work best.
  • The powerplay struck again, and this time the first unit, in the middle of the first. Kaner took the puck hard to the net, from the right boards, and threw the puck towards the net. It deflected off a defenders stick, and Toews either tied up the defender or helped direct it in. Either way, take it.
  • Early on, Quenneville actually made a line change that I did't immediately loath. He moved Bruno to the third line with Bolland and Frolik, then moved Bickell to the forth line with Mayers and Kruger.
  • The Hawks held things together in the third long enough for Boss to make a game changing play. He turned on the burners outracing two defenders to get to the puck deep in the Canucks zone and pushed it across the slot to Stalberg. Stalberg gave it right back to El Capitan smack dab in the middle of the slot, who had a gaping net due to Schneider's over pursuit of the initial Hoss pass. 3-1 Hawks.
  • Just a few mere minutes after the Tazer goal, it looked as though Car Bomb smashed a Sharpie rebound right past Schneider, to put the Hawks up 4-1, but the goal was credited to Shooter. Nonetheless, The play started with a Kaner break-a-way where he was visibly slashed, and should have been given a penalty shot, but the puck eventually ended up on the stick of Sharpie who sent it to the net.
  • Frank the Tank kept up his goal streak off a pretty backhand pass from Boss, to put the Hawks up 5-1. Nice to see the Hawks respond with some fire after the Sedin cheap shot. Three goals is what I call a response.
  • The Hawks were commendable in the circles all night, except Kruger who didn't win a single faceoff, at 0-7.
  • Even though I posted this up last night on the Facebook, and Twatter, I had to post it again, because this picture is HILARIOUS!:

The Bad

  • After a couple of great early chances both ways, Marcus Kruger came in on a 2-on-1 and tried to force a horrible pass which resulted in no shot at all. Maybe that's why Kruger was moved from 3rd line center to 4th line center after only a few minutes.
  • Most combinations of Deuce, Hammer, Tank and Leddy are all fine and well with me, but if I'm standing in the Hawks net and I see the numbers 32 and 20 in front of me, I'm a little worried.
  • Thirty Eight seconds into the second period and the Canucks took the lead, 1-0. The whole play began with Nick Leddy's happy feet getting him caught far too deep in the offensive zone, leaving Hammer to fend off the Crimson Twins and Jannick Hansen. You can imagine how that turned out. The Puck AND Hammer ended up in the net. This is not the time to take stupid chances and leave your partner hung out to dry, kid. Granted there is the argument that the forwards didn't rotate back, but Leddy needs to be smarter than that.
  • I'm not going to waste this good mood on Big Slow's meager and useless 8 minutes of TOI. Even though the only shift he played in the third was the one in the last minute, when the game was far out of hand, and the trio of Big Slow, Car Bomb, and Megamind where stuck out thee to try and deter the asshats from doing anything stupid to a Hawks skill player. That's confidence in a 6th D-man, and forcing your back end to roll only 5 guys, for you.
  • Even though the Hawks had a much better third period, they can't maintain this level of getting out shot all trip.
  • If Hammer doesn't learn to actually hit someone, I'm going to pull my fucking hair out. Well, theoretically. I've tired of watching a 6'3" 207lb man NOT hit anyone. With Seabrook in the cheap seats, someone needs to hit an opponent. He had his chance to clean Sedin's clock, after he jacked the poor guy in the balls, and really did nothing but shove him around a little bit. I'm SURE this is the reason w saw Frank the Tank out on the ice with Deuce, later in the game. Tank will hit someone. That's not just coincidence.

The Ugly

  • I'm not sure why the hell they were so foggy, but the Hawks almost got 2 or 3 "too many men" penalties in the first period. That's just pure laziness. Tighten up, gentlemen.
  • Not only did they blow a 2-on-1 in the first, but Kane, Car Bomb, and Keith blew a 3-on-1 delayed penalty chance in the middle of the second. THEY DIDNT EVEN GET A SHOT OFF. Yes, Yes, Keith was agitated from behind a little bit, but that's a 3-on-1. You can't blow chances that good, on the road!
  • The Hawks third powerplay wasn't as successful as the first two, and Duncan Keith had an AWFUL turnover that led to ANOTHER shorthanded chance against. This time is was a break-a-way. Lucky for Keith that Crawford was dialed in, because Hansen pulled away, and into the clear; fast.
  • Daniel Sedin is a gutless little fucking punk for spearing Crawford in the balls when he can't protect himself. That's where Hammer needs to grow a set of balls himself and lay Sedin the hell out. That's completely unacceptable, and he got away with it.

Here are your video highlights:

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Eagle Lands - Belfour to the HOF

Eddie Belfour is headed to Toronto, tonight, and this time it's not to play for the Leafs. It's to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Now, I really don't care what the fans in Dallas, San Jose, Toronto, or Florida have to say, but the above picture is how I remember Eddie The Eagle, and it's how he should be remembered. For 8 seasons, Ed Belfour lost blood, sweat, and tears for the Chicago Blackhawks organization, but it looks to me, on the intarweb, that people are overlooking the things he accomplished here in Chicago. All I'm seeing is Dallas this, and Dallas that. Screw Dallas! He led the Blackhawks to their ONLY Stanley Cup Finals between 1973 and 2010, we won the Calder trophy, he won the Jennings trophy 3 times, and he was a 3 time All-Star all as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks.

While his abrasive temper seemed to rub some people, well A LOT of people, the wrong way, he was an enlightening and fresh surprise in Chicago. He was the backbone of some of the most underrated Blackhawks teams, ever. While they were dominating the Campbell Conference, there was a little phenomenon in the city named MICHAEL JORDAN that swept this city off their feet, and the damn Pittsburgh Penguins, with Lemieux and Jagr, were lighting the Wales Conference on fire. As a result, the Hawks quietly did their thing under the radar, even advancing to the Cup finals in my senior year of high school, 1992. While I will admit that I was definitely a closet Mike Vernon (Calgary), and Dominik Hasek fan, at the time, I loved Ed Belfour, as well. You couldn't go wrong with either guy. If you look back on things, these were two future Hall of Fame goaltenders, in our city, with three more future Hall of Famers in Jeremy Roenick, Chris Chelios, and Michel Goulet. Not often that happens anywhere in the NHL. Nonetheless, I loved watching Belfour play. His style was wild, theatric and emotional, which is just what this closet hockey town needed, and especially a young impressionable goalie, like myself.

Who can forget the mask, either? Even though Belfour was Canadian, that Eagle on his mask seemed to stand for all the wholesome things here in the states. His mask, as innocent as it may have originally seemed, became his identity, and eventually one of the most legendary masks ever. If you can look at this mask, as a US citizen and hockey fan, and it doesn't strike up some sort of emotion, you're not human:

Dallas Stars fans can blab to me all they want about Stanley Cups, but he spent the most time of any organization right here in Chicago Stadium, with the Blackhawks. He belongs in the Hall of Fame as a Blackhawk. If it weren't for the over mettleing of Mike Keenan, he could have very well won more than one cup here, because the Hawks were as DOMINANT as a team could be. Maybe even more so than the current Hawks teams. At the time, the Hawks management, namely "The Bobs" Pulford and Murray, had lightning in a bottle and failed to realize it. The departure of Roenick in 96, Belfour in 97, and Chelios in 99 was the beginning of the fall of disgrace, for this franchise.

Eddie will always be a Blackhawk, in my heart, just as Roenick and Chelios are. I really don't care what crests they donned after leaving here, because they were part of something legendary, here. If someone deserves a Heritage Night, it's Eddie the Eagle. Congrats, Eddie, true fans love you, and appreciate what you did here in Chicago!


Blackhawks vs. Oilers - Win Recap

"Oil Spill"

No time to enjoy the Hawks big win Friday, with the Oilers coming into town. These aren't the Oilers that we've been use to smacking around, because they were actually leading their division. The young talent includes names like Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Former Blackhawks netminder Nikolai Khabibulin was in net for the Oilers, and was leading the lead in goals against average. This was going to prove to be a good test for the Hawks before they hit the road for their annual west coast circus trip.

The Blackhawks were all business early in the first scoring 2 quick goals to stun the Oilers. Even though the Oilers were able to score a bad one themselves, the Hawks answered later on the powerplay, to go into the intermission up 3-1. Even though the Hawks held a shot advantage for the second period as well, they tied the period as both teams scored a pair of goals, but the Hawks were still up 5-3 at teh end of the second period. The only goal in the third was the empty netter at the end, with the Hawks winning their last game at home for a while 6-3.

The Good

  • El Capitan just dominated the first few minutes of the game, like it was his job, and it was rewarded by a pretty first goal. Stalberg fed the puck from the corner to Tazer, who took it around the net and moved right around in front. As soon as he had a clean look, Tazer snapped a shot up over Khabibulin's shoulder, knocking the water bottle off the net. 1-0 Hawks
  • Thirty six seconds after the Toews goal, Frank the Tank took a feed from Kaner, knifed through the offensive zone, and went right around Khabby, for a 2-0 lead.
  • Apparently all the Hawks power play needed was...Frank the Tank. He tipped a puck past Khabby, on a long shot from Leddy to put the Hawks up 3-1 with only 16 minutes gone in the game. That was his second PPG in 2 games and 3rd overall. Hell, keep throwing him out there at forward. Play the hot hand.
  • The brutal goal aside, Crawford made a couple of gorgeous glove saves in the opening period.
  • Twenty two seconds into the second period, the Hawks capitalized on another Oilers turnover and El Capitan jammed a puck in the net himself. Nothing fancy, just good old meat and potatoes.
  • Shortly after Eberle's goal, the Hawks capitalized on yet ANOTHER Oilers turnover, and the Deuce scored on a long wrist shot, through a screen, to put the Hawks up 5-2.
  • The Hawks had a decent night at the dots, with Tazer leading at 71%, and Krugs the loser of the night, at 20%. Kruger is the worst on he team, winning only 41% of his draws. He needs that to get better, yesterday.

The Bad

  • Seabrook fell awkwardly in the second, on a powerplay rush, and limped off the ice, never to return. Lets hope that was just precautionary, because that may affect the Hawks more than missing Keith.
  • Jordan Eberle atoned for his high sticking penalty by picking up a loose puck that had gotten past Keith just as he had stepped out of the box and raced in on Crawford. He waited....and waited.....and waited. Once Crawford was finally down and out, Eberle put it past him. This Eberle kid is a stud. He blazed past Keith like he was standing still, and that's not an easy task.
  • A late second period powerplay chance resulted in an Oilers goal, as Leddy let Shawn Horcoff get position on him, and he tipped a Nugent-Hopkins pass into the net.
  • Well, as I predicted, Bruno seems to have been lost in the shuffle. Under 10 minutes of ice time, mostly with the forth line, and a minus 1. The thing is, I don't think anyone misses him. The only thing left is a healthy scratch in the near future.

The Ugly

  • The Oilers scored their first of the game on a real head scratcher. Ryan Smyth seemed to be innocently skating behind the net, and decided to take it to the net and just jammed it in the net, like a kid on prom night. That's an unacceptable goal.
  • I'm not going to waste much time bitching about Big Show. He was invisible, which is about the best we can hope from him.

Here are your video highlights:

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Blackhawks vs. Flames - Win Recap

"Razor's Edge"

The real trick to Thursday's big win over Columbus was just how that game was going to affect last night's game, at home, against the Flames. The Flames came in as a middle of the pack team, with the potential to put up some decent numbers. The Flames were led by veterans Jerome Iginla, Olli Jokinen, Alex Tanguay and Miikka Kiprusoff, who are all talented players. While the Hawks were coming off their big win Thursday, the Flames were coming off a shutout loss in Minnesota, of all places, on Tuesday. After stewing on that for three days, I would expect a team that is looking for revenge might be on the agenda. Match that with the fact that the Flames came in with the best road penalty kill in the league and the second best road powerplay. This one wasn't lining up to be an easy one at all.

While the Hawks didn't exactly dominate the first period, they DID get some great goaltending and were lucky enough to capitalize on a sloppy Flames play you finish the first period up 1-0. The first half of the second period was like a track meet. Both teams raced back and forth, resulting in some great chances, but it seemed like once they got inside the blue lines, the puck started bouncing over sticks like a superball. The Hawks were eventually able put one of those pucks in the back of Calgary's net to go up 2-0, heading into the third period. Even though the Flames were finally able to get something on the board, the Hawks put the game away with a late goal and an empty netter, to end up winning 4-1.

The Good

  • Deuce rebounded from being laid out earlier in the first period to open up the scoring after Kiprusoff failed to get back in position, following a big Shooter slapshot. The rebound shot out to Car Bomb, who had it bounce right over his stick, but Kiprusoff had already dove over for the puck. The delay caught him laying on the ice prematurely, and Deuce was able to put it in the net. That bad bounce turned quickly into a lucky bounce for the Hawks.
  • The Hawks went up 2-0 due to a highly unlikely source. THE POWERPLAY. The Flames never got a chance to touch the puck on the kill as the Hawks won the faceoff, and Hoss ended up feeding Lucky Number Sleven for a low lazer that went through a screen that was about 4 players deep.
  • Hoss was responsible for yet another goal, late in the third period, as he fed Pick-to-Click Vik, who was streaking for the net, for a back door goal. Hoss's pass was dead on, and within a tight window. This was huge, because the Flames had picked up the pressure and were threatening.
  • Ray Emery was absolutely in fire all night, stopping 24 of 25 shots, many from in tight. Even the goal he gave up wasn't really his fault. He looked almost agile and quick. Maybe he just needed more time than the preseason to get his legs under him. No one expected to have to count on Razor, but last night they did, and he was stellar.
  • The powerplay was one for four, which is much better than 0-fer, and the PK was one for one. That's a decent special teams night, and I'll take that.
  • Olesz was still causing chances, and using speed last night. Watch and note, Joel.
  • Duece and Sleven were a combined plus 4 on the night. Funny how that works, isn't it?
  • Shooter was quietly awarded 3 assists and 6 shots on net. That's about as "under the radar" as it gets.

The Bad

  • Deuce was absolutely ragdolled in the opening minute of the game, by Tim Jackman. Welcome back to playing NHL talent, Slick. Get that head up.
  • "The Hawks are handling the puck like a hand grenade". I couldn't have said it any better, Pat. That is a great summary of the first three minutes of the game.
  • It took the Flames over 50 minutes to finally solve Razor, and it wasn't much his fault. Kaner not only lost the faceoff, but left his guy, Olli Jokinen, wide open. Jokinen took the pass and ripped it past Emery, top shelf.

The Ugly

  • The Big Slow watch immediately started with him getting beat out badly for and icing touch up, after having a 5 foot lead. His next time off the pine, he purposely backed away from a Calgary forward that was camped out in front of Emery, and allowed him to cleanly tip a shot on net. I'm not really sure just WHERE he was going, but just leaving a guy one-on-one with your goalie isn't how you play that one. It's to a point now that it's just comical, and I'm convinced that Q is putting him out there as an example of what NOT to do. Let me have my delusions, because it's the only thing that keeps me from going insane. Hey, at least it's not Cristobal Huet.
  • Frank the Tank was thinking a little too much about going streaking through the quad and got his pocket thoroughly picked by Curtis Glencross, at the Hawks blue line. Lucky for Tank, Razor was on his game to bail his beer bong guzzling teammate out, with a great save on the break-a-way.
  • Iggy and Tanguay were a combined -6. As I said about Wizzer and Nash the other night...OOO-FFA!

Here are your video highlights:

Friday, November 11, 2011

Blackhawks at Columbus - Win Recap

"Blue Shadows on the Trail"

"Thanks for carrying me on your back, Kaner"

Funny thing happened this Wednesday morning. The sun came up. That's about all we could say about the shutout loss to St. Louis. The worst thing about it was that all of us fans had a day to stew over it. I suppose that taking on one of the more terrible teams in the league was a good way to try and smack the funk off their junk. This being said, the Blue Jackets were able to manage their only two wins at home. So much for playing devil's advocate.

With a 16 shot first period, the Hawks were able to go up 2-1 at the end of the first period. This was a considerable improvement, but lets take into account the opponent. The second period was all Blackhawks, as they scored 3 goals, and the Jackets were booed off the ice. They even managed a power play goal. They opened up the third with a quick goal and set the family truckster on cruise control for the rest of the game. Columbus was able to gain back two goals of their own, but the game was already FAR out of hand, and they were basically pity goals.

The Good

  • Basically, anyone playing with Hoss is going to have a good night. He is a man possessed, and everyone around him benefits.
  • Tazer opened up the scoring, for the Hawks, on a rebound chance from Lucky Number Sleven. Between Deuce, Sleven, Tazer and Stalberg, they were passing around like adults playing against 8 year olds.
  • One-Trick-Bick looked like he got the message that Q was sending with his benching in St. Louis; for part of the game, at least. He had several good chances early on but, kind of, lost interest like the rest of the team.
  • I still maintain that Rosty Olesz is just fine working with the forth line, and he did nothing to make me think otherwise, in this game. Olesz had several good offensive zone chances, and made a couple of nice passes. So tell me again, JOEL, why is this man on the depth chart behind Big Slow?
  • Tazer had his second goal of the night late in the first, as he threw one at Steve Mason from an awful angle, and it snuck through. Jackets 1 - El Capitan 2.
  • It took the unlikely line of Tank, Krugs, and Bruno to get the Hawks powerplay going, and that's not something I thought I'd EVER say, nor SHOULD I. Columbus should be embarrassed; just ashamed.
  • Who could have predicted that Tank would play a very important role in the powerplay last night. He scored the second powerplay goal of the night, AT WING. He sat in the slot wide open and took a pass from Deuce, who was pinching down low, and put it home. This completed his Gordie Howe hat trick, and good for Tank. It's great to see him coming around, because he looked like one hot mess in the early going.
  • Car Bomb and Kaner hooked up with minute left in the second frame to make it 5-1. Kaner was being a complete and total lazy ass coming back defensively, and Columbus had basically forgotten about him. Car Bomb took the puck and couldn't believe Kane was that wide open. He sent it ahead, and Kaner beat Mason 1-on-1.
  • I've said all along that it made sense to have Deuce and Sleven back together, Leddy and Hammer together, and Montador with one of the the remaining guys, just not Scott. I guess I got 5/6ths of my request, and for what was a whole game, no less.
  • Thirty two seconds into the third period and the combination of Tazer, Hoss and Stalberg scored off a sloppy Steve Mason give way. At that point, it just wasn't fair. The reaction by the Hawks was almost that of disgust. That also ended up being a plus 3 for that line, on the night. I guess you could say Hoss has a positive effect on the other two.

The Bad

  • Big Slow gets pushed around and bodied off the puck more than any 270 pound player EVER. Just fucking brutal. While he didn't cost them at all, you're playing against what might be the worst team in the entire league. He's not bringing anything valuable to the table either. If anyone wants to try and argue the value of Big Slow to Pistol and Lurch, I may have to smack you and abruptly remove your fan card.
  • The penalty kill continued to mimic the Powerplay, as Clitsome scored 12 seconds into a bad Stalberg offensive zone penalty. It was a long slapshot that Crawford should have had, even though he was fighting a pretty thorough screen.
  • Once, again the Hawks penalty kill was taken advantage of, after a sloppy Big Slow penalty. Letestu scored his first Jackets goal , while the Hawks just looked simply uninterested. I guess we can let it slide when it's 6-1.
  • The Hawks were actually eaten up in the faceoff dot. Only Tazer was over 50%, with Kruger only going 6 of 18.

The Ugly

  • Wizzer was a brutal -4 on the night, and Nash was almost equally as bad, at -3. OOO-FA! That'll make writing those paychecks so much easier.
  • The last goal, on a one timer from Clitsome was just a total yawner. The Hawks were clearly looking forward to leaving Columbus and, in their minds, they were already gone.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Blackhawks at St. Louis - Loss Recap

"Blue Buffoon"

How much one game can change everything. The Hawks had a real stinker of a game Sunday night and were now going to have to cure their ills in St. Louis, against a team that is playing their first game with new Head Coach Ken Hitchcock. Rumors of mangled lines and benchings were the buzz of the intarweb. The Blues should not have been taken lightly, no matter what their record said. They have talent, a couple of pretty good netminders (even though Halak had played disturbingly awful), and lets not forget that aggressiveness. They also had a knack for playing the Hawks well. Lucky for the Hawks, two of their better offensive players, Andy McDonald and David Perron were on IR.

The Hawks didn't exactly start like they would have liked, giving up a goal in the first. Not only that, but they were pushed around pretty easily. The Hawks gave up a fairly weak powerplay goal early in the second, and even with powerplay chances, they couldn't get anything done. The same happened in the third as the Blues were able to sneak in another weak one. When the final horn blew, it was 3-0 Blues, and the Hawks had a day to sit and stew on this one. Looks like that one game stinker slide turned into two games.

The Good

  • The KHL Locomotiv ceremony before looked really nice, with a bunch of classic Blues, like Hull and MacInnis, in attendance. Might have been nice if we could have watched the whole thing too, but the Comcast Sportsnet Pregasm Live studios were FAR more important.
  • The new line combinations that were reported Monday pretty much held true last night, at least for a period. 10-19-67, 13-88-81, 85-36-15, 25-16-22, 2-7, 8-4, 5-32 were what Quenneville rolled out. And as I said, that setup only lasted one period. I mentioned Monday that, not to put much thought into the combinations, because they weren't a reality long enough to matter.
  • One of the Hawks best chances was by...you guessed it...the previously undesirable Rosty Olesz. Wake up, Quenneville, Seriously.
  • Well, all the centers were over 50% on faceoffs. Did a bunch of good, didn't it?

The Bad

  • The Blues took the lead against the the newest Frankenstein of defensive pairings Big Tank (Montador/Scott). Sbotka was able to power to the net after getting position on Tank and followed up his original shot, basically pushing the puck and Crawford into the net. Scott was rather over aggressive, trying to take Shattenkirk, and Oshie high at the blue line. This left Shattenkirk either a cross ice pass to the eventual goal scorer, or a chip up the boards to a streaking Oshie. Either way, he was fucked. Also, that was a BAD matchup. The Blues first line against the Hawks fourth, and third defensive pairing?
  • Steve Konroyd claiming that Big Slow doesn't look out of place on the ice is a flaming insult to anyone that has played organized hockey. Are we watching the same #32, Steve? It makes me question his hockey expertise, with some of the goofy things he says.
  • The second Blues goal was as a result of Car Bomb "kneeing" penalty, that led to another opposing PPG. Chris Stewart fairly easily tipped an Oshie pass past Crawford. Stewart pretty much had is way with Leddy, Hammer, and Hoss in the slot, and Crawford completely over pursued the play, and probably should have been able to get a piece of that.
  • Just to put a cap on this one, Oshie scored an absolutely weak goal from the right circle. Crawford just dicked the dog on that one.
  • Leave it up to Halak to have his best game of the year, and Crawford to have his worst. Three goals on 23 shots is deplorable, for NHL standards.

The Ugly

  • Apparently, it's a requirement for the Blues to have at least two complete assclowns on the roster at any point in time. Back-ass isn't going anywhere, but since Cam Jannsen parted ways, the complete and total scumbag award goes to Ryan Reaves. He took a shot at Tank, Kaner and then Car Bomb before getting in the kerfuffle with Car Bomb. The spear in Car Bomb's gut officially put him in the assclown category. Complete and utter piece of shit. So much for that theory all the twatterheads keep bringing up, regarding Big Slow keeping teams from acting like assholes. Stupid people will drink any kool aid you feed them.
  • The Big Slow saga turned to comic when he tried to incite Ryan Reaves after a whistle and Reaves laughed him off, and then later, the 5'11" 194 lb. Sobotka knocked his dookie down, fairly easily. Real intimidating.
  • I'm tired of mentioning how bad the powerplay is. It's just terrible. It doesn't matter how many CHANCES you get if you can't finish. Not only that, but they are consistently giving up brutal shorthanded chances against. If it weren't for Dave Back-ass tripping over his enormous vagina, there could very well have been a shorthanded goal on that play. The worse it gets, the the more I feel they miss Soupie. While I was a fan of the trade and realize it had to be done, I voiced my concern for price it would have on the powerplay, at that time. Of course, everyone vehemently assured me that Leddy and Keith were more than capable replacements. My bad.
  • While the Hawks had a few chances, they weren't exactly striking fear in the Blues. Granted they hit a hot goalie, but with the talent up and down this roster, they need to be able to "will" a couple of goals. If they had scored in the second, the came could have easily turned the game around.

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Monday, November 7, 2011

Blackhawks vs Canucks - Loss Recap

"Mass Chaos"

"Noogie Time"

Back in sweet home Chicago, the Hawks had a tilt against the hated Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks weren't exactly lighting the league on fire, before this game. They were 6-7-1, and having trouble keeping the puck out of the net. With the Sedins, Kesler, and Luongo in net, they are always dangerous to break out of the slump. The Hawks were coming off a 5-4 OT loss that was high disappointing, because they blew a 2 goal second period lead. Of course, this was all done with Ray Emery in net and Duncan Keith watching from the press box, so all is not lost. They were able to get 3 our of 4 points, without their top defender.

The Hawks were VERY lucky to come out of the first period tied. They were grossly outplayed and outshot, yet the score stood at 1-1. This is where they need to come out the next period with purpose, but that sure didn't happen. The Hawks opened the second giving up 3 more powerplay goals, while generating zero PP chances themselves, and just make sure we were watching, they gave up another late PP goal. The Hawks did get one goal, but that only lasted 43 seconds, as the Canucks answered. The third period was just a formality, and the Hawks left 6-2 losers. sometimes teams lay eggs, and the Hawks laid a big Sunday afternoon egg, here.

The Good

  • It looks like all that Frodo needed to break that snakebitten streak is Bobby Lu. Frodo innocently skated up the left boards and threw the puck at the net. That's where the theatrics began. Lu was trying to do SOMETHING, I'm not sure what, and the puck hit the inside of his pad, and dribbled into the net. 20,000 people collectively pissed their pants laughing simultaneously. There is no goalie that is more fun to watch give up soft as babyshit goals that Bobby Lu.
  • It was clear that Car Bomb was going to fight someone this game, from the moment he was signed, and that was certainly the case. At the 13 minute mark of the second period, Carcillo hit the Canucks Volpatti, and it was game on. Car Bomb got one real good lick in, but it was pretty much a draw and hugfest.
  • Just when all was quiet, Marco Krugs picked up a MegaMayers rebound and put it into the net. It was a pretty simple play by the Hawks 4th line, against the Canucks 4th line. Stalberg took a pass and stepped into the zone. He hit MegaMayers with a nice pass, who fired it on net. Bobby Lu kicked the rebound out and Krugs poked it in.
  • At least we were privy to watching MegaMayers tenderize Bieksa's face. I really hate that guy.

The Bad

  • The Hawks spent the majority of the first period looking at the numbers of the Canucks jerseys as they skated past the Hawks defense. This was a sign of things to come.
  • The Canucks were the first to get on the board, in the first, with David Booth getting his first goal of the year. The initial shot was saved by Crawford, but the rebound popped right back out to Booth, who finished. Lurch got caught in no man's land, because Bolly was late coming to help down low. If Bolly was down low helping, Lurch could have pressured the passer a little more. As it stood, Higgins could have walked the puck out, but didn't. He forced a pass that never should have gotten through, and got lucky.
  • The Canucks were CLEARLY out to hit the Hawks and hit them HARD. A number of Hawks were ragdolled in the first period, including Mr. "I want to hit the Canucks", Car Bomb. I fully expected him to get up swinging, and nothing. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed. He made up for it later, with 21 minutes in penalties. Car Bomb meltdown #1.
  • The Canucks cashed in on a stupid late first period Kaner roughing infraction, that rolled over into the second. Aaron Rome took a passed that missed Booth, and had all day to tee it up. He then cleanly beat Crawford. The PK unit got caught watching the puck and were all standing in the same quarter of the Hawks zone. Once the puck squirted out, there wasn't a defender anywhere close to Rome.
  • Dan Sedin put the Canucks up 3-1 on their 3rd powerplay tally of the night, while the Hawks were killing another bad penalty, this time by Bolly. Crawford was able to take on the initial shot from the point, but when the rebound popped right back out to Henrick Sedin. He then dumped it to Daniel who was on the back door wide open. Crawford got tied up in front with Kesler, and wasn't able to make it across. Seabrook was the only player that had a shot at saving it, and wasn't nearly close enough.
  • Forty three seconds after the Kruger goal, the Canucks went back up by two. It was a simple enough 3 on 3 play and the Hawks just didn't cover their guys. Bickell tried to get back, but ended up taking Crawford out of the play, and Hansen had a wide open cage.
  • The Canucks 4th powerplay goal of the night was on a Vik Stalberg high sticking penalty. The Hawks PK was just worn down, and completely eaten alive. Dan Hamhuis was the lucky recipient of a prime chance high in the slot,and blew it by Crawford.
  • There is no way the Blackhawks had 20 shots on net in the second period. Just NO WAY!
  • Henrik Sedin put the Blackhawks away with a 5th PP goal of the night. How fucking embarrassing. Not even worth analyzing.
  • Car Bomb had 2 penalty minutes before last night. He earned 21 last night. YOWZA.

The Ugly

  • Like there is any question, here. 5 powerplay goals against. Brutal and pathetic. Get your shit together, boys.
  • Right behind that is the Hawks powerplay, which has fallen back into complete disarray. This begs to question just how helpful Soupie was on the powerplay.
  • Stupid penalties killed the Hawks. Kaner and Bolly specifically took back penalties after the whistle, while the Canucks were taking the body during play. Those post whistle infractions will kill you every time.

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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Blackhawks at Tampa - OT Loss Recap

"Lightning McQueen"

Seeing as how the other night's SO win wasn't as easy as it should have been, this one was going to prove to be a bit tougher, on the ass end of a back-to-back road trip, no less. The Lightning are also 3-1 at home, which didn't bode well for the Hawks. The Hawks could ill afford to be sloppy on defense with the ringers this team has on offense, which is exactly what they got away with Thursday night. This time the Hawks were going with Razor Emery in net and without Deuce on defense again, so they needed to be extra careful on defense.

The Hawks came out fast and furious in the opening period and had a majority of the chances, along with 15 shots on net. Unfortunately, it yielded them no goals. No goals either way, in fact. The second period looked like a completely different game, in a completely different decade, with the teams putting up a total of EIGHT goals on the board. No defense allowed, here. Oddly enough, the game was still tied when the dust settled, though. The third period went back to the trend, and neither team was able to score. The Hawks then went into extra time for the second game in a row, and this one didn't turn out quite the same, as the Hawks broke down and gave up the OT winner late in the extra period.

The Good

  • Between El Capitan and Vik Stalberg, the Hawks had all the momentum in the first 5 minutes of the game. Vik had the first 3 shots and a couple of steals. Tazer had a beautiful rush up the right side of the ice, making the defensemen look like they were standing still.
  • Stalberg continued his solid first period by finishing with 4 shots on net, and 3 or 4 more that missed the cage. I have no problem with him throwing the puck at the net. It sure beats a turnover or no chance at all. People will be critical of his aim, but at least he was there to get the puck in the right general direction. Remember, he's still trying to figure out who he's heven going to be playing with on a nightly basis.
  • The Hawks were FINALLY able to come though on the powerplay, after what seemed like a thousand chances. Kane dished it to Tazer, who let a quick blind backhand pass to Shooter, who was sitting wide open on the back door, with a gaping net. 1-1
  • Kaner set up Boss to tie the game up again, just a few minutes after giving up the lead. The Hawks won the faceoff and worked a rotation play to perfection, with Boss finding himself wide open on the back door, and Kaner feeding him the puck. Situations don't get drawn up any better than that.
  • CAR BOMB put the Hawks up 3-2 with his first Blackhawks goal, in the second. First, he made a beautiful defensive play to poke the puck off the Tampa defender, and then out ahead. He then outraced the defenders, controlled the puck, pulled the puck to his backhand and roofed it. All while running out of gas. Beautiful goal from beginning to end.
  • Kaner quickly followed up the Car Bomb tally, 12 seconds later, with a great feed to Sharpie on a give-n-go, to put the Hawks up 4-2.

The Bad

  • Seabrook and Hammer gave up a break-a-way to Stamkos in the middle of the first period, but Razor was able to follow him across the crease and keep the game 0-0. That Stamkos kid is decent, isn't he?
  • The Lightning took a 1-0 lead, 15 seconds onto the second period on a rebound, that Razor couldn't control. Seabrook was slow tying Stamkos up, who was able to quickly poke it in the net.
  • The Hawks gave up the lead on a complete cluster fuck of a play. Leddy and O'Donnell got caught flat footed on St. Louis. Bolland pushed the eventual goal scorer into the crease, where he was basically in Emery's way and was able to coral the puck off his skate and put it into the net.
  • The third Tampa goal was a direct result of Nick Leddy not controlling the puck that was originally right on his stick. He knew he had it between his skates, he was wasn't able to gather himself enough to either kick it ahead, or move his feet to get his stick on it. So, he stood there with his head down like a dog chasing his tail, looking at his feet, Stamkos knocked his wiener in the dirt. Leddy then took his time getting back up as he pouted, and was late getting back into the play. When Purcell went around the net, Leddy had PLENTY of time to tie up Stamkos' stick and decided to try dry humping him from behind, instead. Stamkos had a clean chance to deposit it past Emery.
  • Stammer got his hat trick goal on a powerplay. Hammer and Seabrook got caught up in front of the net, and Stamkos snuck out on the back door. St. Louis faked the shot, and hit Stammer for a one timer on an open net.

The Ugly

  • Nick Leddy was a sign of futility in the second period going MINUS 3! No mater how you slice that, it's not good, in fact it's TERRIBLE Slice it up, and make excuses all you'd like, but the fact is that if you're out there for 3 even strength goals against in one period, something is wrong.
  • Not only was Leddy pretty undesirable in the second, but Lurch, Bolly, Frodo, and Bick were all minus 2.
  • The Lightning won the game on a play that went bad fast. Bolly lost his stick and the play broke down fast. The Lightning were able to keep the puck in the zone, and it ended up on the stick of St. Louis who make a great pass over Leddy's stick to a wide open Lecavalier, and that's as good as money.

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