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Friday, April 27, 2012

Ya Gotta Go With The Devil You Know

Let the right one in
Ya gotta go with the devil you know
It's a goddamn sin
Ya gotta go with the devil you know
I'm ready, ready to begin
You bastard
Let the right one in
Ya gotta go with the devil that you know

This describes how I feel about the Blackhawks situation, following the disappointing 4-2 series loss to the Phoenix Coyotes. This is a team that is still on the verge of dominance and greatness, but two disappointing first round exits following a Stanley Cup are hard to swallow. Where does one chuck the blame? There is really no single solution. These are deeper issues that have many layers. Let me get a few things off the plate, right off the bat:
  • Stan Bowman is not a terrible GM, YET he has not proven to be a great one, either. Mike Milbury is/was a terrible GM.
  • Joel Quenneville, while being extremely stubborn, is a proven and very successful coach. Davis Payne is/was a terrible Head Coach.
  • The Hawks core is one of the top in the league. Bar none.
That being said, there are some glaring holes with this team and it's management. This is where I say, "Ya gotta go with the devil you know", because turning this team upside down is NOT going to fix things. What happened in Philly is rare occurrence that doesn't often work. The core of the Blackhawks management and back office deserve another year to fix some of what ills them. If this team is in the same position or worse next spring, then BURN IT DOWN! Now, There are a few things that should logically happen within this organization over the next few months:
  1. They need to evaluate all talent, as well as Coaching. Quenneville is not going anywhere, but don't be so sure about Kitchen or Haviland. Quenneville and Haviland were around for the cup, so you can imagine who the odd man out should be. Unless they are hiding something from everyone, Kitchen is the squeaky wheel. Once John Tochetti left for Atlanta, and Kitchen was brought in to replace him, the special teams went down the proverbial crapper. My money is on Kitch taking his walking papers. As far as talent, no one really knows for sure where they want to be, come training camp, if training camp even happens. You'd have to guess that they would like to cut some fat, and make some room for some possible free agent moves or additions through trade.
  2. The Hawks next need to address the draft, which will be held on June 22-23 in Pittsburgh. With the success of last year's draft, they can ride that wave and stockpile some talent. The Blackhawks have 8 picks in the draft, one in each round and an additional 5th rounder from the Rangers for John Scott. The exact location of the picks won't be laid out until more teams are eliminated from the playoffs. Suffice to say that the Hawks will pick somewhere in the 20's, and that Rangers pick will be even deeper in the 5th round. This is where a trade could be pulled off, and where Bowman/Bowman and Associates could ride the momentum of last year's draft by grabbing some keepers.
  3. Once the draft is complete, the team needs to evaluate their current RFA's and which ones they want back, which might be none. Their RFA's this year are: Simon Danis-Pepin, Ben Smith, Chris DiDomenico, Igor Makarov (who is playing in the KHL), Brandon Bollig and Carter Hutton. I wouldn't shed a tear if none of those players were resigned, but a couple of them will, no doubt, be tendered qualifying offers. Hopefully this year, they will be on time, eh Dale Tallon?
  4. After the RFA period, begins the UFA feeding frenzy. The Blackhawks scheduled to become UFA's on July 1st are, again, a list of people that wouldn't break my heart if they were left to sign elsewhere. They are: Brunette, Oduya, O'Donnell, Mayers, Morrison, Huet, and Lepisto. That doesn't hurt so much, does it? The Hawks, and I, would no doubt love to see Oduya back, and Lepisto is only 27, but the rest of the guys are over 35 and won't be back.
  5. That leads us to the next step, which is the available Free Agents. You will hear every moronic idea imaginable about who the Hawks will sign, and the fact of the matter is that no one knows who will end up wearing the Indianhead next fall. With no players resigned, they go into free agency with nearly 7 million a year available. They left money on the table this past season, and never addressed their weaknesses, and it would be nice to see them leave a little less, this year. Names like Suter, Parise, Doan, and Jackman might get thrown around, but based on Bowman's past reputation, I don't see a big name coming in. There aren't really much in the way of big names that the Hawks could afford, anyway. If you're getting your hopes up about a UFA goalie, let me slow your roll right here. The top UFA Goalie, as listed by Cap Geek, is Cristobal Huet. Yes, THAT Cristobal Huet. He wasn't in a horrible windsurfing accident with Kim Johnsson. Granted, they are listed by previous salary, not talent, but I digress. The only goalie in the whole list that looks remotely attractive is Minnesota's Josh Harding. Otherwise it's a bunch of "has-beens", "never-weres", and "never-will-bes", many of which are dry humping 40 years of age. No thanks. Didn't they learn this lesson with Turco, O'Donnell, and Brunette already?
So, there you have the events of the next few months, in a nutshell. This is all dependent on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, as well. If the NHL and NHL Player's Association don't agree, there won't be a 2012/13 season for this to play out. Sports business is fun, isn't it? Whatever the case, these two gentlemen have their work cut out for them, for at least, the next few months.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

PLAYOFFS - Blackhawks vs. Coyotes Game 6 Season Ending Loss

"This Is the End"

If you would have told me, two weeks ago, that the Red Wings, Penguins, Sharks, and Canucks would all be eliminated before the Blackhawks, I would have laughed in your face, yet here we sit. Not to mention that the Stanley Cup Champs were one game from elimination as well. The Hawks have their own fish to fry, though. They were able to squeak out a gutsy 2-1 OT win Saturday night, but still had to win two more to move on. Not an easy task when your goalie has given up soft OT goals in 2 of 5 games and channeled the spirit of Cristobal Huet and Chris Mason, while the opposing goalie has channeled the spirit of Jacques Plante and Ken Dryden. Until Saturday, the top 6 forwards were invisible in this series. That is until Captain Serious whipped his ball bag out and tea bagged Mike Smith. The problem is that the Hawks need two more performances like that to just simply move on. Luckily, with the Canucks out, the pressure is much less. The Blackhawks weren't expected to go anywhere when these playoffs started, but they could use the momentum and make a run. Alas, it was not to be, as the Hawks joined the ranks of the golf clubs.

The Hawks opened up at a fierce pace, out shooting the Coyotes 16-2 in the first period. Unfortunately, The Hawks were still tied 0-0 going into the first intermission. Just as you would worry, when you grossly out shoot an opponent, but can't score, the Hawks out shot the Coyotes 12-6 in the second period, but came away down 1-0. They were up 28-7 after 2 period, yet were losing. That is sad! The Hawks opened up the third period yielding the second Coyotes goal of the game, to put them in a hole 2-0, and it all went downhill from there. The Yotes added 2 more goals in the third period, just to rub salt in the wound. Bad penalties, the failure to finish, and an atrocious powerplay spelled the end of the Blackhawks season. If there IS a next season, this team could look different in quite a few areas.

The Good

  • The Hawks were as fast and aggressive as I've ever seen them all year, in the first half of the first period, out shooting the Yotes 10-1. They could have easily been up 3-0, but couldn't beat Smith. You HAVE to finish, when given the opportunity.
  • Just a minute into the second period, El Capitan turned Derek Morris around like a top and drove right up the middle of the ice on a partial break-a-way. Smith was able to make the save, but it would have been a highlight reel goal, if he scored. But again, He couldn't finish.
  • Stalberg, Toews, and Morrison had a gorgeous 3-way passing play about 5 minutes into the second period, and Morrison couldn't lift it up and over Smith's extended leg. If Morrison gets his shot up, it's an easy goal. Still, great pressure, though.
  • Amazingly enough, the Hawks were 57% at the faceoff dots. Tazer was a cartoonish 15 out of 19, Kane was 6 out of 10, and Dream Warrior was even 5 out of 10. Bolland got clowned once again, going 4 out of 12. Might have been nice to have Jamal Mayers in there to win a few faceoffs, don't you think?
The Bad

  • The Coyotes used a late Toews interference penalty to take a 1-0 lead towards the second half of the second period. Sooner or later the penalty kill was going to break, and that was only the Coyotes SIXTH shot on net. Oliver Ekman-Larsson blew a long slap shot past Crawford, through some traffic in front of the net, on a pretty generic goal. When you're out shooting a team 24-6, you should be winning somehow. Fucking ridiculous. I get the screen threw Crawford off, but Smith showed that you have to be able to carry your team through rough stretches, and Crawford just wasn't up to the task. The Coyotes showed what a team with a half-assed powerplay can accomplish, while the Hawks were 1 for forever.
  • The Coyotes took a 2-0 lead early in the third period. Leddy and Lepisto got worked and didn't pressure Chipchura behind the net, while Brule snuck in behind them. Chipchura worked a pass through the Hawks to Brule's stick, who roofed it past Crawford. Funny how a forth liner can get the puck about 6 inches off the ice, but no Blackhawks could.
  • Antoine Vermette put a dagger in the hearts of all Hawks fans in the final minute of the 5 minute Jimmy Hayes major, picking up a loose puck in front of the net, and beating Crawford.
  • Just for good measure, Kyle Chipchura was left wide open in the slot to beat Crawford, and give the Yotes a 4-0 lead with 5 minutes left in the game. Not even worth watching any more at this point.
  • Hits and blocked shots were fairly even, but as in most Hawks games, the opponent held the advantage. Hits were 37-25 and blocked shots were 19-14 in favor of Phoenix. The Blocked shots worry me much more than the hits do.
The Ugly

  • Opponent or not, Rostislav Klesla looks like he was accidentally clipped or kicked in the face with Brendan Morrison's skate. You never want to see a serious eye injury to a player. Luckily he came back later in the game without and lacerations.
  • The Powerplay. What a piece of dung their powerplay is. Northern Illinois College of Clown Arts as I've affectionately named it. They can't enter the zone, they shoot from horrible angles, they have zero net presence, and no one moves. They would accomplish more if they just took retaliation penalties every time they earned a powerplay. The Blackhawks should be ashamed of themselves as professional hockey players, after this year's display of horseshit.
  • With 11 minutes left in the game, Jimmy Hayes took a bad 5 minute checking from behind major penalty. He'll get a talking to, from Brendan Shanahan for that one. This was basically the end of the Blackhawks season.
  • Just for good measure, Kaner's invisibility act ended with a childish misconduct for chirping at the refs. Way to act like a little bitch, kid. Thanks for the effort and for showing up in the series, Kaner! No goals, and a stellar 27.8% faceoff percentage for young Patrick.
  • Speaking of the "name" players, where the hell was Sharp all series long? The only thing he accomplished was 23 hits, which was good for 17th in the entire playoffs. Surprising in and of itself, because that is not the stat line where Patrick Sharp belongs or should to be. ONE point and a minus 2 in 6 games.
  • Hjalmarsson, Lepisto, O'Donnell, and Brunette were all minus 3 for the series, and Dream Warrior was a minus 4. Think that highlights where some improvement needs to happen?

Here are your video highlights:

Sunday, April 22, 2012

PLAYOFFS - Blackhawks at Phoenix Game 5 OT Win

"White Knuckles"

They've been here before, and they have conquered. After the announcement of the Raffi Torres 25 game suspension, the Blackhawks had bigger fish to fry. They were in Phoenix and facing elimination, after 4 straight overtime games. What more needs to be said? They Hawks had to win three straight games against a team that they were having a very difficult time against. Would this be the last game of the Hawks season, or would they live to see Monday night back in Chicago?

The first period of the game, Saturday night, was largely in the favor of the Blackhawks, but unfortunately, they weren't able to take advantage of it. They out shot the Coyotes 12-4, and had nothing to show for it. Not always a good sign, because the Coyotes can wear you down. The second period was a bit of a different story. The Coyotes took the lead on 10 shots, while the Hawks were, again, shutout on 10 more shots. The Hawks were going to be playing for their playoff lives in the third period. The Hawks actually tied the game up, in the third period, out shooting the Coyotes 12-4. 5 games, 5 overtimes. Thank god that this time the Hawks were able to eek this one out to force a game 6.

The Good

  • Quenneville shook the lineup up, to start. Bickell was playing with the top line, Hayes was playing with the second line, and Morrison was playing with the third line. Lepisto was in the lineup, as well.
  • Whatever Michael Frolik is doing lately, I like it. He has looked like the fastest player on the ice for the three games he's played. It would have been nice enough to see this Frolik in the first 84 games. Three points in three playoff games is something to great to see.
  • The Hawks PK was stellar. They managed a few chances and held the Yotes to a handful of chances. The Hawks won the game because their PK was on fire.
  • Halfway through the third period, Nick Leddy blew a puck on edge past Smith, using some Coyotes defenders and Bolly as screens. Frolik and rookie Brandon Saad both got assists. Nice to see some life out of the Blackhawks who were about to have only 10 minutes left in their season.
  • Just 2:44 into overtime, El Capitan whipped out his big boy balls, and slapped them on Mike Smith's chin. Toews won the faceoff, controlled the puck, and then whipped a sick wrister past Smith for the game winner. Hawks win 2-1.
  • After having some TERRIBLE games, the pair of Oduya and Leddy were a combined plus 4 for the game.
  • Looks as though the Hawks did just fine without the hammer throwin Brandon Bollig out there. No one murdered any Hawks players. No one took cheap shots. Lets keep this up, eh?

The Bad

  • How long have we all been screaming about Duncan Keith blindly blasting shots into defenders shin guards? Is no one in the organization pointing this out to him? What the fuck good are you when you can't get a shot off?
  • The Hawks did great to out shoot the Yotes 38-19, but they still fail to get the QUALITY chances.
  • Once again the Hawks were grossly out blocked, 29-9. Like I said last game, if they even get a third of those through, they have almost 50 shots on net.
  • The Hawks were average, as a team, at the dots. Toews and Kruger were pretty good, but Bolland was anally probed and ridden like a mule all night.

The Ugly

  • The Coyotes took advantage of an awful third defensive pairing play. Hammer got caught pinching, Lepisto was left hung out to dry, and none of the forwards (Brunette, Hayes, Kruger) rotated back. Lepisto was caught in no mans land, and three Coyotes forwards were bearing down on him. The puck was chipped to the off winger, Brule, who raced in and beat Crawford, short side. 1-0 Coyotes.
  • Vik Stalberg reverted back to the dipshit we saw at the beginning of the season, taking 4 penalties in the game. None of them ended up in the back of the net, but any momentum the Hawks were able to muster was halted, because they were on the PK. Four penalties by one forward is just too fucking much. Stalberg has no points, minus 1, and 8 PIMs. That has to be better.

Here are your video highlights:


Friday, April 20, 2012

PLAYOFFS - Blackhawks vs. Coyotes Game 4 OT Loss

"The Thing That Should Not Be"

Just when you thought things couldn't get any more dramatic, Raffi Torres throws his ass-hat in the ring. Just as the Coyotes were starting to savor the sweet taste of justice, with the Shaw suspension, Torres pulled one of the biggest asshole move of the series, yet. With Hossa down for what might be a considerable length of time, Brandon Saad was the first player to be given a chance to step in and contribute. The Coyotes were still without a couple of their players, as well, with Hanzel and Korpikoski out. I had the honor of attending the game, thanks to an old High School friend, that was nice enough to score me a seat.

The first period looked like a really motivated Hawks team as they came out and out shot the Coyotes 11-5, but there were no goals scored. The second period was more of the same with the Hawks getting 12 more shots, and only allowing 5, but again they weren't able to finish. The third period was full of action as both teams scored two goals, and the shots were much more even. Extra time once again for these teams, and the Coyotes took only a couple of minutes to end the game and send the series back to Phoenix with a 3-1 Phoenix lead.

The Good

  • While Saad had just over 13 minutes of time, he didn't look any worse than what Hossa gave in the the first three games of the series.
  • The chants of "Hossa, Hossa, Hossa" to open overtime really gave me the chills. It was a heartfelt gesture by the fans.
  • Of all the people that I would have picked to get the goal to bring the Hawks back within one goal, the LAST player would have been Brendan Morrison. I don't care what he did, he still sucks! He got lucky because his shot was deflected up and over Smith's shoulder by Rosty Klesla. Whatever, it's a goal. There was finally some life in this team. 2-1 Yotes
  • Michael Frolik continued to make up for his horrible regular season by tying up the game late in the third period. Bolland made a great clutch play to get the puck to the slot and get a backhand on net. The rebound came out and laid in the crease where Frolik was hanging out on the back door. He poked it into the net with one hand, and the place was up for grabs. The question is, though, should they really only be tied at this point? Absolutely not. Amazing what happens when you create pressure in front of the net, eh gents?

The Bad

  • While the Hawks out shot the Coyotes 32-19, it's disturbing just how few actual scoring chances the Hawks had. When a team out shoots an opponent as bad as the Hawks have, you HAVE to have a better goal differential. Mike Smith my ass, the percentages don't lie.
  • The Hawks were whipped at the dots, once again, and it's become a rare occurrence when they haven't been. Toews and Kruger were average, Bolland was pretty bad, and Morrison didn't win a draw.
  • The Coyotes out hit the Hawks 50-32, which isn't all that odd, but where they should be worried was the shot blocks. The Coyotes had 21 and the Hawks had only 6. If the blocks were just even, the Hawks would have had 15 more chances.
  • I'm so fucking tired of watching people like Stalberg try to force tough passes when there are clear, open, easy passes, or watch them try to walk through defenders one-on-one, when they could simply chip it deep. Stalberg especially, could give a defender windburn by chipping and chasing. There isn't a player in the league that's going to turn and keep up with him. Stop trying to be so fucking fancy.
  • Once again, Quenneville essentially played only 10 forwards. Bollig and Morrison only played three and nine minutes respectively, so the other 10 players needed to pick up the slack. Is there ever going to be a point when the coaches realize that this doesn't work? Wake the fuck UP! It's common sense.
  • That being said, They dressed Lurch instead of Lepisto or Olsen. I can live with this, because O'Donnell can kill penalties. The problems with this is that A) O'Donnell is fucking old, slow, and can't carry the puck for shit, and B) He played only 9 minutes. Why dress a 6th d-man and 11th/12th forwards if you're not going to play them? This isn't "rocket surgery" people!
  • Hey, guys? Kaner? Sharpie? Anytime you guys want to show up and contribute, would be fine by us. Toews gets a pass because he's clearly not 100%, but when Frolik and Morrison are your contributors, something is very fucking wrong. VERY wrong. And that penalty Sharp took with 5 minutes to go in the game, with the Hawks down by one goal was just stupid!

The Ugly

  • Paul "Biznasty" Bissonnette and Brandon Bollig decided to dance in one of the most anticlimactic fights ever. Biznasty took the decision, but was tossed from the game when his jersey came off. Seriously, what did this charade accomplish? Not a god damned thing!
  • The powerplay fails AGAIN. Did we really expect any less? One time. That's all we ask for. One powerplay goal would have brought a win. I hate to be the one that predicts failure, but I said it before. If they didn't fix the powerplay or the penalty kill, they wouldn't make it out of the first round. Gee, look where they are.
  • With thirteen minutes left in the game, the single most shithead play of the game happened. Johnny Oduya made my shitlist on a big way, by getting absolutely worked over and embarrassed by Shane Doan. The Coyotes dumped the puck in for a change and Oduya leisurely skipped back to get it. Doan came off the bench, went all the way around the net, picked Oduya's pocket in a masterful manner, and fed Ray Whitney for a cross ice one timer. That's not the worst of it! Crawford made a beautiful save, but the rebound went back to Doan, who easily beat Crawford. THIS is what made me scream, "ODUYA! YOU LAZY FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT!" at everyone in section 210, before the puck ever went in the net. Once Oduya get horsed, you'd think he'd dig his ass off to get back and help bail his own ass out. No, he didn't. He pouted like a child, and left Leddy and Crawford all alone while he coasted back. The Campoli turnover last year really left a bad taste in everyone's mouths, well this one should leave a worse taste. No fucking excuse for that lackadaisical horseshit. Fuck you, Oduya! This isn't fucking Winnipeg or Atlanta. This was THE PLAY that gave the Coyotes life. 1-0 Yotes
  • Forty four seconds later, the Coyotes took a 2-0 lead, and I was about to get up and leave. Bolland, Bickell, and Keith got mesmerized by the puck and left their areas. Bickell tried to push the puck through a player and the boards, which obviously doesn't work. Seabrook poked at the puck like like it was a rabid sleeping wildebeest, leaving Pyatt free reign to take a pass from behind the net and direct it past Crawford. Where do you start, and where do you end with the fucking terrible on this play. Even the most constant player on the team, Seabrook, looked terrible. C'mon guys, show some fucking PRIDE! 2-0 Yotes
  • The game winning goal was just deplorable. From top to bottom, the whole play was a truckload of bullshit and half-assed play. It only took one overtime shot to win it for the Coyotes. O'Donnell got caught trying to keep the puck in the Coyotes zone, Leddy got caught trying to be too aggressive and lost his cushion on Boedker, and Boedker went around him. Now, Crawford has to make the save because Boedker never really even got shot off. The puck just slowly rolled between Crawford's legs with all the commotion. FUCKING TERRIBLE by everyone on the defensive end of the ice, for the Hawks. UN-FUCKING-ACCEPTABLE!

Here are your video highlights:


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

PLAYOFFS - Blackhawks vs. Coyotes Game 3 OT Loss

"For Whom the Bell Tolls"

Game three brought the teams back to Chicago with the series tied 1-1. On the heels of the Andrew Shaw three game suspension, the fans looked for the Hawks to take the ice with some aggression, and enact some revenge. What they wanted and what they got were two different things. After taking the first two games into overtime, the Hawks were also looking to take control of the game a bit sooner than the last minute. With the fans behind them, and a chip on their shoulder, everyone was expecting great things Tuesday night. Instead, it was more of the same.

The first period turned into a shitshow once Hossa was carried out on a stretcher. The Hawks were out shot 16-10, but when all was said and done, they somehow took a late lead into the first intermission. The second period was a much different and controlled period, with the Hawks out shooting the Coyotes 10-6 and no goals either way. One goal game, going into the third period; remind me where have we seen this one before. The third period was, again, a completely different period from the previous two. The Hawks had goal on 11 shots, and Coyotes had two goals, in a minute, on 9 shots. For the third game in a row, the Hawks and Coyotes were going into overtime. The overtime period was sloppy and ugly, but the tired Coyotes were able to take advantage of an extremely soft goal to take a 2-1 series lead.

The Good

  • The Coyotes got an early powerplay on a weak Bollig penalty, but Crawford was outstanding, stopping several huge chances.
  • Andrew Brunette grabbed the lead for the Hawks with 28 seconds left in the first period, off a faceoff win by Marcus Kruger. Kruger won it back to Leddy, who turned it over to Kaner. Kane ripped a long wrist shot that was tipped by Bruno and the place went bananas. 1-0 Hawks.
  • After Hossa went down, Sharpie looked like a man possessed, throwing big hits and making some big plays in the Hawks zone. It didn't last all game, but he certainly looked motivated for a while.
  • Bolland and Frolik hooked up for a huge goal, just 30-something seconds after the Klesla goal, to grab the Hawks a lead. Bolland threw a shot on net and the rebound shot out to Frolik, who backhanded it past Smith. Unfortunately, that lead would last less than a minute. 2-1 Hawks
  • Seabrook whipped out his enormous coconuts, in OT, blocking a shot that stung him badly, but he stayed out for another minute or so and eventually threw a big hit at the end of his shift, on one leg. Game in and game out, he has been an example of steady play and dependability.
  • Frolik looked great, as well. He had a goal and several great chances, which makes one feel much more comfortable about Shaw missing two more games. With Hossa's status in question, that's another story. For the first time in forever, Frodo was noticeable on the ice. Maybe it's because there was really no pressure or expectations, but maybe something has clicked; MAYBE.
  • El Capitan, and Kruger had a great night at the dot (18-of-23 and 6-of-7 respectively), but Kaner and Bolland were ridden hard to the tune of 6-of-24. Mayers only took 8 draws, and won half. Can we please pull Kane out of the dots and have someone else take his draws?

The Bad

  • Can we put to bed the theory that Dylan Olsen is fast, in any way? Raffi Torres opened up the game beating him BADLY to a delayed icing puck which turned into two excellent Coyotes chances. Quenneville cannot be playing this game in the playoffs. In a game that was over 70 minutes long, Olsen played a paltry 4:56. Keith and Seabrook will be cold corpses by game 7 if he keeps this up. They each played over 4 minutes more than anyone on the ice, and Oduya was third in minutes played. Play Sami Lepisto, for fucks sakes! Enough of this horseshit, already, Joel. We get it, you're stubborn. Lepisto can carry a puck, at the very least, instead of watch Oduya and Leddy get horsed from the best seats in the house.
  • The Hawks opened up their first powerplay of the night by giving up one of their infamous "shorthanded partial break-a-ways against". Luckily a tired Seabrook was able to catch a tired Boedker and Crawford was able to keep his eye on the puck. Obviously, this powerplay problem isn't magically going to improve, just because it's the playoffs.
  • I'm not sure how I feel about this, but Crawford and Smith passed each other at the end of the second period, on the way to to the locker rooms. Crawford gave Smith the hairy eyeball, the stink eye, and the "what have you". Had the refs not stepped in, there may have been a purse or two thrown. As entertaining as that would be to watch, that was not in Crawford's, nor the team's, best interest. Leave the shenanigans to the Flyers, Pens, Sens and Rangers. The Hawks aren't built for such theatrics.
  • For as great as Johnny Oduya was in the regular season, he's been THAT bad in the playoffs. It's like he has become Bizarro-Duya. Every time he has had the puck, he has treated it like a red hot hand grenade, been caught out of position, and has been out worked for the puck several times. At this rate the Hawks will be playing golf before he gets his shit back together.
  • A late 4-on-4 situation resulted in the Coyotes first goal by Rosty Klesla. An open slapshot from the high slot, beat Crawford to open a minute thirty of chaos. Leddy got worked behind the net, Oduya and Kane got caught out of position and the puck got caught in the net. Awful match-up on defense. 1-1 tie
  • Just 32 seconds after the Frolik goal put the Hawks up, Ray Whitney picked up a fat rebound in front of a fallen Corey Crawford, and put it in the net, tying the game back up. Another 4-on-4 situation with Leddy and Oduya out there, and another goal against. Didn't Quenneville learn his lesson a minute earlier? I understand that Hammer was in the box, but you need to have either Keith or Seabrook out there with one of those two, especially after the circus that they put on the first time. Sure would be nice if someone on the third pair, like Lepisto or even O'Donnell could log some PK time, wouldn't it? 2-2 tie.
  • So much for that "John Scott Theory", that Carcillo, Bollig, or Scott himself prevented other teams from pulling assclown stunts against the Hawks skill players. Bollig ended up with 14 minutes in penalties, in the first period alone. On the first powerplay against, only Crawford kept the game scoreless, with a couple of ridiculous saves. Clearly that first dumb ass penalty sent a message, as 8:28 later Torres pulled his horseshit, and he certainly looked scared doing it. Can everyone now agree that "enforcers" rarely deter anyone from acting like ballbag thugs? Thugs are thugs, and they always will be (unless you're Matt Cooke and received a frontal lobotomy in the offseason). They are too fucking stupid to care which fucking cementhead the other team dressed.
  • Meatball stat of the game. The Hawks actually out hit Phoenix, 41-39. Worked out well, didn't it?

The Ugly

  • Well, lets just say that Andrew Shaw got a game misconduct for his phantom hit on Smith, but Torres got nothing for practically breaking Marian Hossa's neck. League owned team. Coincidence? I can't even express what a mess of horseshit that Brendan Shanahan has created with this disciplinary committee. Now Marian Hossa's health is at risk and maybe his career. Let's hope for the best, because aside from his hockey talent, Hossa is a classy individual. Get well, Hoss!! I'm not going to go into huge detail here on why the Torres hit is dirty and completely different than the Shaw bump. Shaw was irresponsible, not malicious. Torres is trying to end people's careers. If Shanahan has an ounce of self worth, which is highly debatable, that is the last time Raffi Torres is seen until the 2012-13 season, no matter what happens in this series. I put this together last night and I hope Hossa's unfortunate injury can help inspire the Hawks to another level.
  • After an overtime of missed chances, Kaner passed up a chance, in the middle of the ice, which the Yotes turned around. While Kane didn't have a clean shot, he had enough space to flip the puck either at the net or towards the net. He chose neither. The Coyotes did the one thing Kane couldn't which is get the puck deep, and Hjalmarsson was caught looking over his shoulder, rather than making sure he was the only person to control the puck. Boedker picked up the puck in the corner and fired it at Crawford, who somehow let it slip through his pads, very similar to the cup winning goal 2 years ago. Goa line extended, with zero angle. VERY weak goal after an otherwise strong performance. Damn shame, in fact. Phoenix had TWO shots in over 13 minutes of overtime play, and one went in. That absolutely cannot happen.

Here are your video highlights:


Sunday, April 15, 2012

PLAYOFFS - Blackhawks at Phoenix Game 2 OT Win

"Cleanse the Soul"

Well, Game One didn't go as planned, but all hope is not lost. The Hawks played two very good periods, and one not so good period. They need to play 3 solid periods to beat the Coyotes. First of all the Hawks powerplay MUST get better. If they go 0-4 every night, they won't make it to the next round. Losing in OT, on the road, while not playing your best possible game, is something to take away as a positive.

The game looked promising when the Hawks opened up the scoring, but Phoenix scored two of their own in the first period. The Hawks had plenty of pressure, out shooting the Yotes 17-11, but they were going to need to put a few more in the net to win this one. The second period turned into a complete mess thanks to a long major powerplay for the Coyotes. The Hawks and Yotes each had a goal, and the Hawks out shot Phoenix once again, 11-10. The third period yielded only one goal, and that was the game tying goal with 5 seconds left in regulation to send it to overtime. Fortunately for the Hawks they were able to hold the fort together long enough to score the game winning goal halfway through the overtime period. All in all, the Hawks out shot the Coyotes 50-33.

The Good

  • Just as everyone was saying that the Hawks powerplay needed to come though, Bryan Bickell whacked the rebound of a Bolland shot past Smith with just over three minutes gone in the game. Bolland ripped a shot off Smith, and Bickell smacked a waist high shot out of the air and past Smith.
  • Two games in a row that Hjalmarsson laid big hits on opponents. What has gotten into him? This time it was Doan that he laid out, but where was this player all year?
  • Brandon Bollig tied the game back up, seven minutes into the second period. He skated up the left side and took a 40 foot shot that beat Smith that looks like it surprised him. I'm sure he wants that one back.
  • When Brandon Bollig has two of your best offensive chances in the third period, something isn't right.
  • Once again the Hawks tied the game with under a minutes to go. Patrick Sharp deflected a Brent Seabrook shot past Smith to send the game to overtime. Two huge Corey Crawford saves kept the game within reach. It's not often you see two last minute game tying goals with the goalie pulled.
  • One Trick Bick won the game halfway through the overtime period for the Hawks after an exhausted Adrian Aucion shot a clearing attempt directly up the boards at Viktor Stalberg. Stalberg directed the puck to the slot where a streaking Bickell was waiting and beat Smith low, to the glove side.
  • Brent Seabrook had yet another huge game. Five shots, five hits, and an assist on the game tying goal. The guy is just a STUD!
  • The Hawks were close in both blocked shots and hits at 10-17 and 34-40 respectively.

The Bad

  • Just as the Hawks took the lead, Raffi Torres took it away. Shane doan just out worked the Hawks behind the net and threw it out to a streaking Torres, and he beat Crawford. Of all the people, why don't they just let Alex Burrows score too?
  • Keith Yandle and Antoine Vermette teamed up on the powerplay to give the Yotes their first lead of the game. Yandle was given a few chances from the point, and eventually took something off the shot to get it through the mess of bodies. Vermette got a stick on the shot, because he was left all alone in front, and beat Crawford.
  • Phoenix took advantage of the Shaw major powerplay as Vermette used the screens by Torres and Seabrook to snap a shot past Crawford from the right side of the slot. Complete and utter bullshit that the Hawks were in that situation, in the first place.
  • Seems like no matter what they do, the Hawks can't manage much better than 45% at the dots. This game was no different at 46%. Toews, and Bolland were above the Mendoza line but Kruger, Mayers and Kaner were all well under.

The Ugly

  • Shortly after the Bollig goal, Andrew Shaw and Mike Smith collided behind the Yotes net, and as you would expect, all hell broke loose. Smith flailed around on the ice like he was shot, which led to Shaw getting 2+5+10 and a Game Misconduct. Shaw left his elbows down, and bumped Smith no harder than any other players. If goalies can't take some incidental contact, they need to stay in the crease. Smith had the puck on his stick and Shaw pressured him. Shaw's momentum took him into Smith, whom he just grazed, and because Smith has no clue how to lift his head when he's playing the puck, he didn't see Shaw coming. Terrible dive and bullshit call.

Here are your video highlights:


Friday, April 13, 2012

PLAYOFFS - Blackhawks at Phoenix Game 1 OT Loss

"Ha, Ha, Ha, WHITEOUT!"

Finally, the 2012 Playoffs begin. The Hawks drew the least threatening of the possible opponents. That is not to say that they aren't a dangerous team, just less dangerous than Nashville. The big matchup will be the Blackhawks offense versus Mike Smith. While both teams had almost identical records in their last 10 games, the Yotes were on a 5 game winning streak. The only glaring difference between the special teams is Phoenix's penalty kill unit, which was 8th in the league, as compared to the Hawks 27th ranking. Both powerplays have been absolutely horrid, so don't expect much excitement there, unless you're looking for shorthanded goals. This biggest story of the series, though, is the return of Jonathan Toews after missing 22 games. If the Hawks second line can maintain it's hot play, the Yotes may find themselves in trouble often, but that's a big "if".

Even though only one goal was scored in the first period, Thursday night, the Hawks controlled a majority of the play. The Hawks looked energized and out shot the Yotes 11-8. As with everything the Hawks do, that successful first period came to a screeching halt in the second. They were outshot 13-11 and outscored 2-0. It's a damn shame they can't be consistent enough to play three solid periods in a row. In the third, the Hawks mounted a comeback they shouldn't have needed in the first place. They peppered the Yotes with 18 shots, and scored with 14 seconds left in the game to send it to overtime. In overtime the Hawks were sloppy in their own zone and ended up losing about 9 minutes in.

The Good

  • El Capitan wasted no time making his presence known scoring just over four minutes into the game, from Kaner and Oduya. It was really a scramble and Tazer just threw it at the net from a bad angle, and it ended up beating Smith. I know he'll take it!
  • Read this very carefully, because you probably won't see it again. Hjalmarsson actually laid a big hit on Klesla. It was a VERY nice open ice hit. I was shocked.
  • Crawford flashed some sass with only 2 seconds left in the first period. He slid over to stop a backdoor chance for Hanzal after Oduya turned it over behind the net.
  • Brent Seabrook was the hero, briefly, with 14 seconds left in the third period. He picked a Kaner rebound off the post, off his skate and finally deposited it in the open net to send the game to OT. The Hawks were all OVER the Coyotes at that point.
  • While he was a little frisky at the end of the first period, Andrew Shaw really showed me that he's a gamer. He plays with a naive confidence that works for him. He's growing on me more and more every game.

The Bad

  • Raffi Torres is still a complete fucking tool bag. Fuck him and his whole fucking family. He was running around trying to throw elbows at people, like a total jackass. I will admit it's funny to watch him miss, though.
  • One Trick Bick had a chance to completely take all momentum from the Yotes, and shot it right into Smith's bread basket. I really don't know what is worse, trying to pick a corner and missing the net or hitting the goalie in the chest.
  • Antoine Vermette grabbed the lead for the Yotes late in the second period on a mid range slapshot. It was a fairly innocent looking play and Crawford had the time to track it, but just simply didn't. Crawford would love that one back, I'm certain.
  • The Coyotes won the game as the clock struck exactly midnight of Friday the 13th. How appropriate. Kruger lost an important defensive draw, Aucoin kept the puck in the zone, and then both Kruger and Leddy got out muscled by Hanzel for the tip.
  • Minus 2 for both Lurch and Hammer. Coincidence? Hjalmarsson deserved a minus two on the first goal alone. "I know whe've been stuck on the ice for about 2 minutes and we can't get the puck out of the zone, but let's keep the play alive. None of that silly play stoppage stuff!"
  • I'm sure Frolik would be more useful than the 6:40 of playing time Bollig got. At least Frolik can work the PK, but what do I know? Bollig sure looked great on that first Yotes goal, didn't he?

The Ugly

  • After a complete clusterfuck of shift, the Yotes finally tied up the game. Bollig, Sharp, and about 5 other players failed to get the puck out of the zone. With that much action in your own end, you are bound to end up picking the puck out of your own net. Pat and Edzo can blame it on the missed too-many-men call all they want, but the bottom line is that if Sharp doesn't turn that puck over to start the shitshow, that never ends up happening. Are you not professionals? In Pittsburgh they can cry about officiating, like little bitches. The Hawks need to overcome and conquer. Lets not even get into the fact that Hjalmarsson prevented Crawford from stopping the play with a complete dunderhead move of his very own.
  • Just goes to show that the powerplay is going to bite them in the ass, the Hawks were 0-4. 25% is all I ask, for Christ sakes!
  • The Hawks were out hit (48-22), out blocked (27-12), and beat at the faceoff dots (43%), yet still took the game to OT. I've been pointing out the faceoff problem for months and look how the game winning goal was scored. Lost faceoff. That's not coincidence, folks.

Here are your video highlights:


Monday, April 9, 2012

2011-12 Blackhawks Regular Season Report Card


19 - Jonathan Toews - A-minus
"Tazer, El Capitan, Johnny B. Goode"
If it weren't for injury, this would have been an A+. You can't ask much more from El Capitan, other than to stay healthy (and lookout for support steel beams). Tazer carried this team on his back for much of the season, until the unnamed and unspecified injury took him out of the lineup for a significant period of time. I personally feel that the Hawks were right to keep him out, and not have this situation turn into a Crosby situation. They botched melon mushing injuries to Hjalmarsson, Montador and Kruger, so they certainly don't want a repeat with the face of the franchise. This team learned to exist without him, but he still makes this team infinitely better when he's on the ice, similar to Sid The Kid.
36 - Dave Bolland - C
"Bolly, Invisibolly, Incredibolly"
Invisibolly has some issues to sort out. He's no longer just a young kid. He is considered a veteran that younger players will look up to, and he disappears for long stretches of the season. Maybe this is what Bolland IS. An ultra streaky player that will never be more than a third line shutdown guy, and had plateaued. I honestly don't believe that, though. This guy lit up the JRs so he has a knack for scoring. I think he makes a better second line center than Kruger, but he's yet to show anything of the sort, nor the desire. His disappearing act has led the Blackhawks to experiment with Kaner at center, which has turned out pretty well, luckily. Later in the season, he added some more scoring to the mix, but what Bolland needs is consistency; and some people with offensive skill around him. If you look at the people he's been paired with most (Frolik, Bickell, Shaw, Brunette, Carcillo), only Frolik is a legitimate offensive player, and we'll get to HIS colossal disappointment later in the program. Bruno can score, but he needs people to open up space around him, and is best from the dots north.
16 - Marcus Kruger - B-minus
"Krugs, Dream Warrior"
Stan Bowman tried to sell us a bill of goods last year, and no Hawks fan, sans a frontal lobotomy, bought it. He did exactly what you'd expect a kid from Europe adjusting to North American hockey to do. He struggled. And he struggled. He struggled more into camp this year, and was sent to Rockford. After his little smack on the ass, he came back with the big boys and never left. I'm still not a Dream Warrior subscriber, just yet, but he is improving. He's shown why the management was so high on him a year ago.
37 - Brandon Pirri - Incomplete
Pirri lit up the preseason and looked like he might stick around, but numbers just didn't fall in his favor. He ended up sticking around for 5 games, and got 2 assists, but it's hard to get into a rhythm when you're only around for a game or 2 at a time. In Rockford he ended up an All-Star and led the team in scoring. He has a future somewhere.
17 - Brendan Morrison - F/Incomplete
"Tommy Gunn"
This acquisition was pretty pointless, and accomplished one thing. It freed up Brian Connelly to advance his career, because that wasn't happening in Chicago. Morrison played in a handful of game and looked terrible in every one. This was a way to try and get something for Connelly when they were in need of help up the middle. Because of injuries he was forced into action late, and didn't look quite as awful, but he's still just a band-aid.


10 - Patrick Sharp - A
"Sharpie, Shooter, Mr. Handsome"
You can try to keep him down, and you can take the support from around him, but he just keep producing. Jack of all trades, and master of quite a few. Patrick Sharp has been consistently consistent. On pace to reach his typical 65-70 point season, the Hawks Alternate Captain has done anything and everything asked of him. Short of some time he spend banged up, he could have eclipsed his previous high of 71 points. I don't know of anyone who dislikes or speaks ill of the man.
25 - Viktor Stalberg - A-minus
"Pick-to-Click Vik, Vik, Wheels"
Pick-To-Click Vik! The breakout player of 2011-12. This guy has taken a bumpy road to West Madison, but thanks to the Columbus Blue Jackets, this Bumslayer seems to be paying dividends. For the price, the Blackhawks are getting a hell of a deal. Under a million a year for a guy that has spent a majority of his time skating with the big six. Forty points and his world class speed make for a great second level role guy. Sure, he has problems finishing (HEY-O!). Sure, he has brain cramps that occasionally lead him straight to Chateau Bow Wow. The bottom line is that he's a bargain, and he is fast as hell! Use him as trade bait or keep him around as a role guy; either way, he is valuable.
29 - Bryan Bickell - C
"One Trick Bick"
This poor guy went from phenom, last season, to dead man walking, this season, and is now clawing his way back. The knock on him has always been that he is rather soft for his stature. Package that with a willingness to unleash the three day long wrist shot, and you have a guy with limitations. When you put all the fact in line, he is a low rent replacement for Troy Brouwer, who was a disappointment in his own right. Bickell is a third liner with some size, that can shoot from the perimeter. He just needs to learn to throw his body around more, and work in tight spaces. What do you expect for $541K a year, seriously?
65 - Andrew Shaw - A
"ShawFacts, Shock and Shawe, Shawzer"
What a shortened season this kid had. He was drafted in the summer, with the clear intentions of him becoming a smaller Marchand, Ott, Cooke agitator type. He began the season in Rock Vegas where he has 23 points in 38 games. Once the the Hawks called him up, he became a cult hero. The subject of the twitter phenomenon "#ShawFacts" had 9 points in his first 19 games, before being sent back to Rockford in favor of some size. He was recalled at the trade deadline and has resumed his unbelievable pace with 14 more points. He's played on all the lines, and even on the powerplay. The way he throws himself around, his career may be short, but it will be fun to watch. This kid just keeps making things happen, and will end up as one of the leading jersey purchases by bandwagon fans, in the near future.
13 - Daniel Carcillo - C
"Car Bomb, Asshole"
I'll be the first one to admit I was thoroughly confused by this ordeal. First by the signing, and even more so by the RE-signing. The guy is a total trouble magnet. He has a horrible league reputation and was knocked out, for the year, on a play where he dangerously injured an opponent, as well as himself. This was his second suspension while playing for the Hawks. He played 28 games, and scored one goal with a goalie actually in the net. I just don't see the love. I wanted to, but he's proven to be nothing more than a dirty cheap shot artist, with an itchy trigger finger. Whatever the case, the Hawks are stuck with him for two more years. The over/under on suspensions is 4. I can handle his antics if there are no more roster spots wasted on John Scott/Brandon Bollig types, but the management love to torture us bloggers with wasted roster spots full of "sandpaper" and "grit". Spare me the ulcer, please.
85 - Rostislav Olesz - Incomplete
What a shit deal THIS guy got. He was the albatross of a contract that the Hawks had to absorb, to unload the even bigger albatross named Brian Campbell. His release was called for the instant the deal was done, and he never got a fair shake. Six games is hardly a chance, when you had worthless players like John Scott on the ice skating as a forward, yet he was sent to Rock Vegas. He obviously has some talent, along with his good size, tallying 41 points in 50 games, but he's going to rot there in Rock Vegas, like meth lab trailer. $3.125 million a year is a tough pill to swallow, while he's netting goals and slaying bums in the AHL. Since no one will trade for him, a buyout has to be imminent, unless they are comfortable with the Cristobal Huet treatment. Nothing I've seen of this guy has shown me that he's deserving of this treatment, yet there he sits. Honestly, it's not worth splitting hairs over this, when you have a logjam of talent at the position.
00 - Jeremy Morin - Incomplete
The kid has promise, talent and some spunk to his game, but the log jam at wing has kept him slaying bums in Rock Vegas, too. While recovering from concussion problems Pirri, Shaw and Hayes all passed him up on the call up list. He still has the chops for a spot in the next few years, but is there room left? If someone wants to ante up a tremendous deal for him, he may let go, but I'd like to see what he's got. Could be looking at an edgier, but slower Stalberg.
52 - Brandon Bollig - Incomplete
I'm sure John Scott, and Glen Sather are on this guy's Christmas card list. Thanks to the Cementhead Du Jour spot being vacated, due to Scott's trade deadline move to the Rangers, Bollig got his chance fill those Cement skates. Not that it was a taxing task at hand, mind you. He is the typical enforcer clod. Limited skills, but the personality that fans love. I have to think that with Shaw around, and Carcillo coming back, the quota of agitating hammer tossers on this team have been met, but it wouldn't be the first time I was wrong. I have nothing against the guy, I just don't see a spot for him on a team and organization with such depth at wing, unless they want him to center the fourth line, which would mean Mayers is playing elsewhere.
43 - Brandon Saad - Incomplete
"General Saad, Kneel before Saad"
We only saw a brief flash of his talent, but this kid is going to be a stud here. The Hawks wisely decided not to waste his first year of his entry contract on a year of struggling and musical lines, so he was sent back to the Juniors where he has absolutely lit the league on fire. He's a man among boys down there. In 44 games, he had 76 points, including 9 PPG and 6 SHG, as well as a cartoonish plus 35 +/-. Bowman and Quenneville have absolute boners for this guy, and they should. Hell, I have a boner over him; wait, stricken that from the record...
81 - Marian Hossa - A-plus
"Hoss, Boss81"
While there have been injuries and turmoil, Hoss put together a pretty stellar two way season. He racked up his best point totals since 06-07 with the Thrashers. Through the blood and fire, he has been a solid two way performer all year long, especially with injuries to people like Toews. He continues to be one of the better defensive and puck control players in the league. I have no criticisms with Hoss, especially since he is really set up as a secondary scorer on this team.
88 - Patrick Kane - B
"Kaner, Party Boy"
It's been a rough and interesting year for Kaner. He started the year with wrist surgery, that kept him out of the lineup, early on. Once he came back, he was forced to adjust to playing Center, which he did quite well. After a while he was switched back to wing, where he did well also, but he ended up back in the middle when Toews went down. He went through hot and cold stretches, where some dumb shit mouth breathers actually suggested trading the point a game 23 year old, former number one overall draft pick and Calder trophy winner, multiple All-Star selection, who scored the Stanley Cup winning goal two seasons ago and won Silver Medal in the Olympics. Unless Sidney Fucking Crosby is coming to Chicago in said trade, you're out of your fucking mind. His point totals were slightly lower than his average, but with all the adjustments and the injury, it's expected. He's still a very important player to this team, and should be for years to come. Here is a little food for thought: http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/console?catid=0&id=170674
15 - Andrew Brunette - C
"Bruno, Old Man"
This was one of Stan Bowman's top free agent signings, last summer. He was supposed to come in and add some veteran leadership, and secondary scoring. He never really turned out to be much more than a 3rd tier role player. His point totals were about half what can be expected, and he never really found a spot in the lineup. He was shuffled up and down all 4 lines, and the only place he really provided anything was on the second powerplay unit. He's hands around the net came in handy, but his tortoise-like speed just dragged everyone down around him. At $2 million he was a fairly low risk signing, and the only way he'll be back is at a considerably lower price tag.
22 - Jamal Mayers - A
"Jammer, MegaMayers"
From one of the disappointing free agents to the hidden gem of a free agent signing. Mayers has turned himself into a beloved teammate and cult hero in Chicago. He has done everything that the Hawks have asked of him. He has played on the PP, PK, and even strength, while even seeing time with the top 6 forwards. Mayers was the most consistent physical player on the Hawks, from beginning to end, and he has done it wisely. Like an assassin. Generally most fans, including myself, would like to see him back for another year. Granite, I understand he is a 38 year old 4th liner, but he brings that "grit" the Hawks management are so desperately looking for, while not sacrificing talent at the offensive side of the ice. Bring him back on another one year, low dollar deal. He has brought more to this team than Brunette.
67 - Michael Frolik - D-minus
What a complete and utter nightmare of a season for Frolik. He was relegated to the 4th line when he wasn't a healthy scratch and couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. I can't really pinpoint where things went wrong, but he was given opportunities. I was really high on Frolik, coming in, and he completely expelled his bowels all over the bed. He has been a healthy scratch several times, and has fallen down the depth chart to 14th forward. He is only 24, but at $2.333 million a year, 14 points just isn't going to be enough. If the Hawks get a chance to move him, that may just happen, especially with players like Morin, Pirri, and Saad knocking at the door at over half the price.
39 - Jimmy Hayes - C
"Purple Hazer"
In the pre-season people liked what they saw of his game, but there just wasn't any room for him. He was sent back to Rock Vegas, and had himself a nice little run with the Hogs. He was shuffled up and down a few times, and ended up with a decent point total. Nothing great, but his nose for the net, and size will earn him a much longer look next season. His fire faded as the season went on and he was a Healthy scratch several times, but with a summer of working out with the boys of west Madison street, he could come in next season with some more confidence.
28 - Ben Smith - Incomplete
"Agent Smith"
My, My, My, How a year can change things. Last spring, all summer, and most of the fall Ben Smith was labeled the messiah by fans and media alike. A smallish, average, grinder couldn't possibly be a fluke? Could he? Surely, A handful of good games last spring should land him a spot in the top six, right? To take a page out of Dennis Green's book, Ben Smith is who I thought he was. A marginal bottom six forward/AHL player. He was given shots at playing time, but did absolutely nothing. When teams don't know much about a player, it's hard to prepare, but once teams have seen you the success can fade fast. I won't say he has no chance of coming back and playing, but he has been passed up on the depth chart considerably. Jesse Rogers will hold a candle light vigil, and carve Smith's name into his arm if the Hawks decide not to re-sign him this summer. The bottom line is that he was never really that good in the first place. Just ask John Druce, and Fernando Pisani how that works.

2 - Duncan Keith - C
"Deuce, Duncs"
2011-12 has been an interesting year for #2. For the second year in a row, his point production dropped. Maybe his Norris Trophy winning season of 2009-10 was a fluke and this is the real Duncan Keith. If that's the case, He's still a fine defenseman that eats up an enormous amount of ice time against other teams top players and is very effective doing such, as shown by his plus 16. With a solid supporting cast to take some of the load off his shoulders, he might just be able to have another 69 point season, but he absolutely has to learn to create lanes for himself. Nothing is more annoying than Keith blasting shots into opponents shin pads all game long, which end up in odd man breaks coming back the other way. His shot totals have gone down each of the last two years for a reason. Teams realize that he doesn't fake shots, or try to work to give himself a better angle at the net. He just winds up and lets the shots fly no matter how many players are in front of him. Something very uncharacteristic of Keith's usually insanely cool demeanor was his ode to Randy Savage, aka flying elbow, to the melon of Daniel Sedin. A move that earned him a late season 5 game Shana-Ban. Maybe the frustration is finally starting to show for the Deuce. No matter what the meatballs say, a "C" Duncan Keith is still better than an "A" from most defensemen.
8 - Nick Leddy - C-plus
"Three Times a Leddy"
This was supposed to be Nick Leddy's breakout year, and something became very evident. Nick Leddy is not ready to shoulder the responsibility of the load that Brian Campbell left. That's not a knock on him. He's 21 years old, and this is his second NHL season. If he WAS ready, Chuck Fletcher would have no choice but to eat the barrel of a 357, because if Minnesota gave up the next Brian Campbell (which will still be up for debate) for Cam Barker (who doesn't even play for the Minnesota organization anymore), he should be hung drawn and quartered. Last season, the Hawks were content in letting Leddy have a trail by fire, and he wasn't terrible, nor was he great. He was a mobile, 20 year old defenseman that had to learn his trade. One thing has changed this season. He is now a 21 year old defenseman that has to learn his trade. It's very rare that a 20 year old defenseman can step in and take over for someone the caliber of Brian Campbell. Just look at what Campbell did in Florida this season, and tell me how many 21 year old players have done that. In Leddy's defense, everyone thought that Chris Campoli was coming back, and the two could split the responsibilities. Once, Campoli did his best Antti Niemi impersonation, all bets were thrown out the window. The Hawks hands were forced, and I can't say I'm completely disappointed in the kid. Was Keith or Campbell this good at 21? I think not. Let's hope the Hawks can avoid a third year of arbitration drama with Oduya, this summer, and Leddy should be just fine. Right now, though, he has the attention span of a Labrador, and can't physically keep up with stronger forwards in the Hawks end, but he'll learn.
7 - Brent Seabrook - B-plus
"Seabs, Lucky Number Sleven"
I openly admit, I'm a huge Brent Seabrook fan. He's big, physical, intimidating, and will score a goal or two for you. A clutch performer, that will eat up ice time against all the top players in the league. Playing with a revolving door of partners this season hasn't worked to his benefit, but he still put together a solid year by Seabrook standards. He tied career highs in goals, while cutting his penalty minutes in half. I honestly feel that Seabrook means more to Keith than Keith does to him. He'll never will a Norris Trophy, and All-Star selections won't come often, but the guy is a stud on the back end. Like I said before, a "B-plus" from Seabrook is still better than an "A" from a majority of defensemen in the league.
5 - Steve Montador - C-minus
"Monty, Matador, Frank the Tank, Ron Burgundy"
Montador was Bowman's big free agent signing last summer, and while he has been decent, for what was expected, he was a huge disappointment. Now this isn't entirely his fault, because Quenneville jerked his chain from day one. He was scratched several times, and even dressed as a forward when the season opened. This is what you do when you have a fairly pricy free agent trophy that you don't want to play, but have to, because you don't want to make your boss look like a complete nincompoop, which he may or may not be. He averaged roughly 23 points a season before this one, and after all was said and done, he had 14 this year. Not what you're looking for out of a guy that is being paid $2.75 million a year. Now I know he has missed a lot of time with injuries, so that has been taken into account. If this was based on production alone, I would have given ol Monty a solid "D Minus". He can thank Quenneville for having the stupid idea of dressing him as a forward the first game back after a concussion, in which he received an elbow to the melon. Back on the shelf for you and your dizzy spells!
4 - Niklas Hjalmarsson - C-minus
Hjalmarsson is another player on the speed train to disappointment. When the Hawks matched Doug Wilson's little cock blocking move, it was clear to everyone that the Hawks needed Hammer. He was young, and there was promise in his game. Fast forward two years, and his game has actually regressed. Again, like Montador, he has has concussion issues this year, but he wasn't lighting the world on fire before the injuries. For the money he is making, the Hawks should be getting more production. Now, all the meatballs will weep and sob about blocking shots, but I've said this a hundred times before. Blocking shots is not splitting the atom. You just have to have the desire to give up your health and body to do it. Like the Hunchback of the KHL before him, Hjalmasson is the defenseman most willing to give up his body, on this team. If blocking shots was such a fucking skill the league lead wouldn't be by Josh Fucking Gorges, it would be led by Erik Karlsson, Zdeno Chara, or Shea Weber. They leave it for the the other knuckleheads. If the Hawks can find a way to unload Hjalmarsson, they should pull the trigger. It's always nice to have cap room should a player they really want become available.
6 - Sean O'Donnell - C
"O'Donnell Sean, Lurch, Father Time"
Instead of getting Campoli back, Hawks fans had to endure the two headed monster of O'Donnell Sean and Sami Lepisto. Yes, he's an experienced veteran, and yes he has Stanley Cup experience. What he doesn't have, is gas left in the old tank. The Hawks picked him up about two years too late. He's old, big, slow, and very limited, which doesn't fit him anywhere in the Hawks scheme. As a 7th defenseman, I can live with him, but trotting him out there for 50 games is just too damn much for my liking, and if he's out on the ice before Montador, something is VERY wrong. There is no way he's back next season. If they want an NHL 7th guy, Sami Lepisto should be a cheap solution.
27 - Johnny Oduya - A
For every 3 Bowman misses, there is a hit, like Johnny Oduya. With the number of defenseman available limited to a skeleton crew, at best, Bowman pulled off one of his best moves, in acquiring Oduya for two draft picks. Oduya fit right in to the Hawks scheme because of his mobility, and before long he was logging Duncan Keith's minutes. He played half the game a few times, which was as a result of the Keith suspension, but this is a team that still has Brent Seabrook. He has turned out to be a total hidden gem, and the fans could only hope that the Hawks can retain him. A little food for thought; Oduya and Hjalmarsson made the same salary this year, and while Nik is a different kind of player, you'll NEVER see him logging 30 minutes a game. I would gladly trade Oduya's experience and dependability for Hammer's youth in a heartbeat.
20 - Sami Lepisto - B
This grade might draw some contention. He was basically, signed as a #7 guy, and Quenneville seemed to hate his face from day one. Like Olesz, I saw nothing to make me believe that Lepisto should sit for 20 games at a stretch. He's fairly quick, and has decent size, which lends to the Hawks style, unlike Sean O'Donnell. Once he was able to knock the dust off, Lepisto played some solid minutes, due to injuries. Of course, when you're relegated to the doghouse for 20 games, you might be a little shy about making mistakes with the puck, so he treated it like a live grenade for his first few games. Once he was able to shake the fear of being beaten with a rolled up newspaper for any mistake, he settled in nicely. Unfortunately, a late season injury limited his progression, but I'd have no issues with him coming back as a #7 for the same cabbage, next season.
34 - Dylan Olsen - C
The Golden Goose, as far as young defensemen go, in the Organ-I-zation. While they rushed Leddy into action as fast as possible, they took the opposite approach with Olsen. They have been extremely conservative with young Slowlsen, and probably with good reason. He's a physical specimen, and has some great talent. With the injuries and the fact that O'Donnell Sean is a century old, Olsen was forced into action. He started out at a snails pace, but really picked up his game, as his time with the team went on. He is going to be a bulldozer someday, if paired with the right partner, but if he gets stuck out there with a partner that is less than fleet of foot, there will be red lights blazing behind the Blackhawks net. The problem with Olsen is not his shot or his positioning as much as it's his footspeed. To get that big ass moving, he needs time. If you watch him transition from skating forward to backwards, expect an hour or two. His first thirty NHL games were less than stellar, but there is promise. If the Hawks have him work on his puck handling and foot speed, they will have the next Seabrook.


50 - Corey Crawford - C
Poor Crawford. I talked him up all summer, and he showed up just to shit his pants. There were even rumors of the Hawks bringing in a Goalie, at the deadline, to take over. He has had a rough year, to say the least. The sophomore slump perched itself firmly on Corey Crawford's back. I put some of the blame on Stephane Waite, who is normally an excellent goaltending coach. What happened was that a little tweaking turned into fixing something that wasn't broken. It was clear, to open the season, that someone was chirping in Crawford's ear about being more aggressive, and he was just following orders. The problem is that he never looked comfortable. He is the type of goalie that works best deep in his crease. He was losing his angles, giving up some godawful goals. A number of times, Emery was handed the keys for long stretches, while Crawford was left to sit the bench and ponder what the hell was going wrong. That aside, had some very strong stretches, especially to close the season. In the long run, I think he'll be alright, but he needs a guy like Emery to push him. Lets not all toss him in the lake just yet. If he has another horribly streaky start to open next season, or just lays a turd in the playoffs, then there might be reason to add "goalie" to the grocery list.
30 - Ray Emery - B
After a controversial decision by the Hawks management, in the fall, Emery had himself a very nice full season as the Blackhawks 1B goaltender. When Crawford soiled himself, Emery was there to pick up the job and run with it. When Emery ran out of gas, Crawford picked up and started a streak of his own. The problem with Emery is, and always will be, his durability. His hips will never be able to take the grind of a season as a true starting NHL netminder. He's a great second level alternative, though, which is why the Hawks re-upped him for another season. Cheap, and not terribly bad. If you would have told me, or anyone for that matter, that Ray Emery would put up a 15-9-4 record with the Hawks and be available for a full season, when they signed him to that pro tryout, I would have cynically laughed in your face. Don't get me wrong, If the Blackhawks signed a goalie off the scrap heap, I was pulling for Emery, but I didn't think they'd get this much out of him. Lets hope that a summer of knowing he has a job in North America helps him, and he can push Salak, and Crawford in training camp.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Blackhawks at Detroit - Season Finale
Shootout Win Recap

"Blood Red"

"I fart in your general direction"

So, the 2011-2012 regular season coes to a close in one of the least desirable places in the NHL. Detroit. You know the NHL schedule gurus chuckle when they put this one on the agenda. Really, there is no other place, other than the UC, where the Blackhawks should want to end their season. It is tradition. What better way to give you my 300th post? On to the festivities:

The first period of the game, Saturday, really was favoring Detroit, but the Hawks took advantage of some lazy defensive coverage by grabbing a 1-0 lead. The Wings only led in shots 9-8, but the ice seemed slanted towards the Hawks end. The Hawks came out in the second and scored another goal, while fending off some serious Detroit powerplay pressure. The Hawks actually out shot the Wing, in the middle frame, 13-12. The third was all Red Wings. As far as shots go, the Hawks led 10-9, but the Hawks were out scored 2-0, which sent the game to OT. There were plenty of OT chances, but the teams took it to a SO, and The Hawks eventually won it. Next stop, Phoenix Arizona!

The Good

  • Vik Stalberg was given a gift goal, halfway through the first frame, when the Red Wings thought the puck was out of the zone, and kept in by Sharp. Sharp hit Jimmie Howard and the rebound shot out to Stalberg, who was wide open in front. Stalberg one timed it between Howard's wickets. 1-0 Hawks.
  • The newest Hawks powerplay expert, Andrew Shaw, put the Hawks up 2-0, late in the second period. Shaw missed on a wide open chance in front, but never stopped on the play. Eventually, wheeled around and took a no look backhand pass from Sharpie, which he didn't miss. The kid just keeps producing. HUGE goal.
  • It wasn't a big roster move, but Sami Lepisto was in the lineup for Dylan Slowlsen. I like his speed and I'm glad to see him back. Against teams that have speed, he's a nice alternative.

The Bad

  • No Toews, Bolland, or Brunette in the lineup.
  • I'm going to have homicidal rage if I have to listen to Pierre McGuire mouth manipulating the Red Wings, and Babcock. He should be banned from their games for the safety and sanity of the fans. "Oh, everybody, the Red Wings changed their lines up, can I please tongue Mike Babcock's balls?". Quenneville has done that his entire tenure in Chicago, yet no ball tonguing there. Such a kiss ass little troll.
  • Eddie O doesn't think Stalberg is a top six forward, you say? On this team he is, and has been doing a pretty good job of it. I'd rather have him playing top six than being saddled with a more important defensive role on the third line. He's pretty much all offense, but Brunette is a better third liner than Stalberg, every day of the week.
  • Crawford's stellar afternoon was marked with a big bandaid when he let Franzen squeak one in from the corner. Definitely a goal he should have stopped, but Oduya really should have made a better clearing pass. A guy shooting from the corner just has to be stopped. The momentum completely shifted from that point.
  • The Hawks got caught running around in their own zone with under a minute to go in the game and Datsyuk was left wide open on the off post. Someone has to come back and help on that play. You cannot leave Pavel Datsyuk wide open, at the edge of your crease, with under a minute to go in the game. Nothing Crawford could do on that one, but if he didn't let up the softie, this goal would be irrelevant.
  • Frolik and Bickell is an "interesting" OT lineup, to say the least.
  • Thanks to Kruger's 4-for-12 faceoff number, the Hawks were their usual sub 50%. This NEEDS to get better, but when they are missing two centers, I can't complain too much.

The Ugly

  • The first Blackhawks powerplay was just embarrassing. On national TV, no less. They had a double minor, and Detroit had more pressure than the Hawks did. A powerplay that bad won't get them past the first round, period, end of discussion.
  • It doesn't get any uglier than blowing a 2 goal third period lead.

The Shootout

  • Datsyuk missed the net after a fancy pants move.
  • Kaner beat Howard on an even fancier move.
  • Hudler got bitten by Crawford's glove.
  • Sharpie wound up and Howard got a piece.
  • Bertuzzi hit the post.

Here are your video highlights:


Blackhawks Extend Razor for Another Year

The Hawks made a decision regarding their shakey goaltending situation early Sunday morning. A move that really settled nothing, in the grand scheme of things. They re-signed Ray “Razor” Emery to a one year extension worth $1.15 million. I honestly have mixed feelings about this move. I like Ray Emery and I suggested that that Hawks look into him last summer, but he is limited in his potential. If the Hawks can kick Crawford in the ass and get him back to his 2010-2011 form, Emery is low risk solution to the backup question. The problem is that there is no guarantee that Crawford will rebound, and the goaltending depth in the system is thin, to put it lightly.

There are a couple of scenarios are possible, as far as the offseason, to help beef up the goaltending:

First of all, the Blackhawks could pickup a goalie in the draft. I have nothing to back this up, but I’ve seen it mentioned that the Hawks might be looking at someone like Russian goalie Andrei Vasilevski to fill some of their depth issues at the position. This is all good and well, but young goalies are RARELY NHL ready in less than 2 years. This could be the plan, but that leaves some holes for the near future. Alex Salak has fallen down the depth chart, because of a terrible year in Rockford, but can still rebound into a decent NHL player someday. Carter Hutton is a decent depth guy, at best. Nothing against the guy, but he was an ECHL guy that was discarded by the Sharks at the beginning of the season. The Chances that you’ll see Carter Hutton as the everyday backup to any Blackhawks goalie is slim. Which brings me to my second scenario.

The Hawks could bring in either a veteran or young unproved guy to compete with Crawford and Emery. They did this last year with Emery to compete with Crawford and Salak. Look how that turned out. The problem is that there isn’t really much out on the market. Josh Harding is good but might command Crawford money. Everyone else out there is a veteran. There are some good RFA guys out there, like Corey Schneider, Ondrej Pavelec, and Anders Lindback, but most of those teams are likely to match an offer. Lindback is a strong possibility to poach from Nashville. He is young, and a younger version of his teammate Pekka Rinne. Nashville is VERY tight on cash, with Ryan Suter becoming free agent. All purely just speculation, but good ideas.

The last scenario is that they could trade Emery, now that they own his rights. I’m sure there were a team or two calling Bowman about the availability of Emery at the trade deadline. With his experience as a backup, and in the playoffs, some teams no doubt would be interested. Even if the Hawks get a draft pick or two in return, that's not a bad deal. Again, just speculation, but food for thought.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Blackhawks at Minnesota
Shootout Loss Recap


Game number 81, and the Hawks headed to cozy Minnesota to complete the ass end of the Home-n-Home. After a shootout loss Sunday night, the Hawks were looking for revenge. With the Hawks weak up the middle, they were in for a tough task. Bolland, and Toews were sitting for the game Thursday night, and Sean O'Donnell was in for Olsen. The Wild had nothing to play for, but they weren't acting like it. They weren't going to roll over and play dead for the Hawks, who could pull within a tie breaker of the Preds, with a win and a Nashville regulation loss.

The first period of the game Thursday night was a complete show of domination for the Blackhawks. They were able to get one goal on 10 shots, while only giving up 3 shots. The second period was a completely different story. The Hawks played with fire, and gave up some great powerplay chances, while looking terrible on their own powerplays. Both teams had 11 shots, and there were no goals. The Wild tied up the game on a late powerplay, and the Hawks managed only one shot in the third period to send the game to OT. Neither team was able to win the game in OT, and the Wild were able to win the game in the shootout.

The Good

  • While on a delayed penalty in the first period, the the hawks dominated. They held the puck for a good 45 seconds before Harding came up with a big save on Sharpie. One the powerplay, they weren't so successful.
  • Michael Frolik, fed MegaMayers for the first goal of the game just over half way through the first period. Mayers won the faceoff which Frolik dragged around the net. As he cleared the net, he turned to send it in front from his forehand. The pass went off a Wild defender and right to Jammer, who fired it low and hard past Harding. 1-0 Hawks.
  • The Hawks were actually over 50% at the dots. Kruger and Mayers were good, but Kaner was still low at 33%
  • 0-Fer-6 on the PP including a 5 minute one is unacceptable.
  • Morrison actually looked like an NHL caliber player, which isn't setting the bar very high.

The Bad

  • The Hawks looked to have gone up 2-0 halfway through the third when Bickell tipped a Hjalmarsson shot past Harding. It originally looked like the call on the ice was goal, and they went to video review, but since the call on the ice was no goal, there wasn't enough evidence to overturn.
  • A late Bryan Bickell high sticking penalty resulted in the Wild tying up the game. The powerplay the Wild had earlier in the game had some serious pressure, which made everyone uneasy about this one. Sure enough, Cal Clusterfuck tipped a Marco Scandella slapshot past Crawford. Figures.
  • Stalberg had three excellent chances in OT, and missed the net all three times. I keep saying how he needs to learn to really finish. This is a prime example. He had 6 shots on net, and missed at least three in OT. Gripping the stick too tight or something?

The Ugly

  • Nate Prosser got tossed for the game from head butting MegaMayers in a late first period scuffle. Of course, the Hawks powerplay is so bad that they couldn't score. Five minutes of fucking off.
  • Kaner's move in the Shootout was similar to his crawling move earlier in the year, but he forgot to finish, shooting into right into Harding's glove. Total faceplam.

The Shootout

  • Christensen nearly beat Crawford, but it was denied by video review.
  • Kaner was stopped by Harding after a fancy move.
  • Koivu was poke checked by Crawford
  • Sharp lost the puck and didn't get a shot off
  • Setoguchi beat Crawford top shelf
  • Shockingly, Stalberg missed the net.

Here are your video highlights:


Monday, April 2, 2012

Blackhawks vs. Wild
Shootout Loss Recap

"Cast Down"

Please forgive the lazy preview section, as I was spending my night at the Allstate Arena with a few thousand of my closest friends, watching DLR and the Van Halen boys while witnessing this colossal jersey fail that would be a sin to not end up as one of Greg "Puck Daddy" Wyshynski's Jersey Fouls:

The first period of the game last night was rough and tumble. Two fights, and 3 goals were the story of the first frame. The Hawks out shot the Wild, but only by a margin on 10-9. The second period was much more tame in the physical aspect of the game, but there 2 goals each way and 28 total shots. The third period yielded only one goal, for the Hawks, which was all they needed to get one point. Neither team was able to score in overtime, and the Wild were able to gain the advantage in the shootout, to grab the extra point.

The Good

  • Sharpie tied the game up just 34 seconds after the Wild took the lead, on a nice rush by Nick Leddy. Leddy rushed up the boards and into the Wild corner and fed Sharpie with a nice backhand pass. Sharpie kicked it to his stick, chipping it up and over Harding.
  • Seabrook and Stalberg hooked up in the second period to tie the game back up, in the second period. Seabrook led the 3-on-2 rush into the zone and dropped a saucer pass right in the bucket to Stalberg who was streaking up the left wing. Pick-to-click Vik went right around Harding for his 21st of the year.
  • The Line of Kaner, Hossa, and Mayers brought the game back within one goal at 4-3, later in the second period. Hossa saw Kane wide open in the slot and him with a perfect pass that he snapped past Harding.
  • Shaw came back from his misconduct to take on Cody Almond. Shaw actually held his own pretty well, in a fight that could have been a blood bath. Almond was a much bigger guy, and could have really laid Shaw out.
  • Andrew Shaw capped off his eventful night, and by eventful I mean 17 PIM affair, by unleashing a huge pass, in his second game in a row, to feed Kaner for the game tying goal. Shaw drew two defenders on the powerplay and dumped it off to Kaner, who was as wide open as you could be, in the slot. Kaner has a wide open net to direct the puck into.
  • Despite Dream Warrior going 4-14 at the dots, the Hawks were actually over 50%, as a team. Shocking, I know!
  • According to the official stats, the Hawks outhit the Wild 30-28. Go figure that one out. Despite spending 17 minutes in the box, Andrew Shaw led the Hawks with 5.
  • With Toews out, a couple of unlikely sources have stepped up, in Vik Stalberg and Andrew Shaw. That's GREAT news for the Hawks. GREAT NEWS!
  • Duncan Keith suspension officially over, and Toews cleared for contact. Playoffs, here they come!

The Bad

  • The Wild opened up the scoring when Setogutchi torched the hell out of Hjalmarsson going right up the middle of the ice and in on a break-a-way on Emery. The play was set off the faceoff, and worked to perfection. The case of wind burn Hammer got on that play must have been painful, but winning that faceoff could have been huge, eh?
  • Little bitch Heatley scored a powerplay goal to put the Wild back up 2-1 on a Dave Bolland interference penalty. Koivu fed Heatley for one of the easiest goals he will ever score. Dumb penalties, boys...
  • Twenty seconds after the Stalberg goal the Hawks got caught napping on the defensive side of the rink, letting Setogutchi streak in, and then letting Stoner pick up the rebound for the goal. Sloppy, sloppy mess of a goal.
  • Brodziak continued to be an absolute Hawks killer scoring forty one seconds after the Stoner goal, to put the Wild up 4-2. Just when everyone thought the Hawks had some momentum, they give up two pretty weak goals. Brodziak worked Olsen, and Kaner wasn't much help either.

The Ugly

  • Right after Jimmy Hayes went to battle with Falk, Brandon Bollig got under the skin of the little bitch Dany Heatley who, of course, can't take care of himself. So, Clint Stoner had to come to the aid of his mouthy little girlfriend. After all that action, Shaw earned himself an instigator for doing a whole bunch of nothing with Powe. What a complete cluster fuck.
  • This just in, Dany Heatley is a little sissy bitch.
  • Dylan Olsen took a run at Powe late in the first period. It looked like it might get a look from the league, though. I honestly don't think it deserves a suspension, but who really knows, these days.
  • Nick Johnson was a minus three in 10 minutes of playing time. Atta boy!

The Shootout

  • Kaner beat Harding with a slick backhand
  • Christensen pulled the Datsyuk/Forsberg on Emery
  • Harding got a piece of Sharpies glove hander
  • Koivu lost the puck
  • Bolland couldn't lift the puck over Harding's leg
  • Setoguchi beat Razor through the 5-hole.

Here are your video highlights:


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