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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

When We Have Nothing Else To Complain About:
The Blackhawks Goalie Controversy

Now that I have all of your attention, it is time for a little education, so lets get a few things out in the air. There is no controversy in the net, for the Chicago Blackhawks. The only controversy is firmly planted in meatball heads. The same types of meatballs that wanted Henry Burris, PT Willis, or Will Furrer to start for the Chicago Bears.

This is, in fact, what you all look and sound like:

The Chicago Blackhawks are Corey Crawford's team, and it will stay that way unless he gets more severely injured or he has an epic collapse. Crawford has done nothing for the Hawks but win a Stanley Cup, and rack up a solid record. In fact, he had the most wins of any NHL goaltender, until he hurt his groin. While Anttio Raanta's save percentage is a bit better, Corey Crawford has been far and above better in shootouts. Corey Crawford is 4-2 on Shootouts with an excellent .833 save percentage, while Raanta is 0-3 with a rather paltry .533 save percentage. This would lead any rational (and labeling some of you as rational is QUITE a stretch) person to believe that the Blackhawks defense helps cushion both goalies, but it benefits Raanta much more. When the game is solely left up to him, he's still green, as far as experience and production goes. Just a few mere games ago, Raanta only faced 12 shots and gave up 2 goals. That's FOUR shots a period. FOUR! If that was Corey Crawford, the meatball nation would be marching the streets of Chicago with pitchforks and torches. Why? Because they are meatballs.

Being slightly green goalie is not bad. Raanta has only played 29 games on the smaller US ice surfaces. His total numbers (Rockford and Chicago) are 17-6-3, with a .913 save percentage, 1 shutout, and a 2.49 GAA. These are all very admirable, but not worth pinning your hopes on, just yet. Corey Crawford, at the time of his injury, was 17-6-3 with a .907 save percentage, no shutouts, and a 2.47 GAA. Those are facts. Other than save percentage, the numbers are almost identical. For Joel Quenneville to bench his Stanley Cup winning goalie, at this point, would be absolutely ludicrous and you should all be tarred and feathered for suggesting it. Fans should be more upset if, by some miracle of science, Khabibulin comes back and Raanta is sent back to Rockford, which he would.

Stop, just STOP!

I will agree that the Hawks signing Crawford through the 2020 season was a little excessive, and I won't dispute that one bit. The chance that Crawford is going anywhere, including the bench, is highly unlikely. Basically, miniscule. The Blackhawks COULD trade him now, but would be stupid in doing so and the number of takers, with that contract, are going to be few. He's been solid in net, won them a Stanley Cup last June, his ego is not fragile, and he has done nothing to lose his job. His numbers support this argument and stack up with the top goalies in the NHL.

There are a few young back up goalies in the league putting up great numbers. The Blackhawks just saw Martin Jones from Los Angeles, who is putting up far better numbers than Jonathan Quick, Ben Scrivens, Antti Raanta OR Corey Crawford, but you're not going to see him start in the NHL, on a regular basis, over any of them at this time. When Jonathan Quick returns from injury, he will be the starter in LA and Scrivens will be the backup. Period. Martin Jones will then return to being an AHL goalie. This is because Jonathan Quick has done nothing to lose his position, and neither has Scrivens. If it isn't broken, don't fix it.

Those of you running around the intarwebz tooting your Antti Raanta vuvuzelas (look it up and learn something instead of being a dumb shit meatball), just pipe down. The Blackhawks have stumbled upon a nice backup goalie, and he will continue to be a backup goalie. Enjoy it, and relish the luxury the Blackhawks have fallen into.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Blackhawks Week That Was - 12/28

12/23 - Blackhawks vs Devils -

  • Sharp continued his absolutely hot and consistent play, with 2 goals.
  • Not Antti Raanta's best performance, but it was enough to get things done. He only had to make 10 saves on 12 shots.
  • The Hawks absolutely dominated at the dots to the tune of 68%. For as quiet of a game as El Capitan had, he won 17 of 22 draws, and was a plus 3.
  • Sharp (6) and Keith (7) combined for more shots than the entire Devils team.
Here are the video highlights:
12/27 - Blackhawks vs Avalanche - 7-2 Win
  • Pat and Ed tried to blame it on the lack of skating for 3 days, but the Hawks opened up a can of whoop ass from the word "go".
  • If Sharp was hot the previous game, he was a towering inferno against the Avs. Shooter had three goals and an assist before the halfway point of the game, but maybe the play of the year thus far was his strip from behind of a Matt Duchene breakaway, and then feed for a Toews breakaway goal back the other way.
  • Overshadowed by the Sharp hat trick, El Capitan was right behind him with 4 points himself. He just missed his own hat trick late in the game.
  • On the back end Keith added to his amazing assist pace, with three more.
  • With all the hoopla and horseshit, the line of Shaw, Bickell, and Saad still managed minus 1's each.
  • It turned out to be completely irrelevant but the Hawks were beaten at the dots, 46% to 54%.
  • Eric Johnson and Jan Hejda were eaten alive by the Hawks forwards. They were a combined minus 8 on the night.
  • I said it on twitter, but I don't care if you're a Hall of Fame goaltender or not. You don't leave your goalie in to eat 7 goals, and a puck to the yap. This is the same guy that cried his way out of Montreal because he was felt he was left in too long. Eat shit, Roy.
Here are the video highlights:

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Blackhawks Week That Was - 12/20

12/14 - Blackhawks at Toronto - 7-2 Loss

  • Two more powerplay goals against in this one. The Hawks bit themselves in the ass, in the first period, with three straight first period penalties.
  • Joffrey Lupul and Mason Raymond each had four points, which should just about tell the story
  • Antti Raanta didn't get much help, but he didn't help himself either. Kent Simpson came in and gave up a goal on his first shot against, just 28 seconds into his first NHL period.
  • Duncan Keith had a rough night. He was a minus four and looked completely uninterested, at times.
  • As bad as the Hawks played, they won 53% of their faceoffs.
  • The Toronto official scorer claims there were 75 (30 to 45) total hits, which I cannot fathom.
  • Under the radar, Pat Kane had 2 goals on 8 shots while playing the second most TOI for the entire Blackhawks team.
Here are the video highlights:

12/15 - Blackhawks vs Kings - 12/15
  • The Hawks had an excellent first period, opening up a 3-0 lead with a shorthanded goal, a power play goal, and an even strength goal. Three first period goals would have told the story of a possible rout, but that wasn't to be. The Hawks were shutout the rest of the way.
  • Sheldon Brookbank at forward makes me very stabby.
  • Raanta rebounded nicely from the thrashing he took in Toronto, the previous night, with 21 saves. He had an excellent save in the second period on Kopitar that made the highlight reels. Unfortunately the kid is snake bitten as far as shutouts go. He may just be that guy that will always give up at least one, but he's not too shabby, otherwise.
  • Dan Carcillo was a plus 1 in his 11:53 of TOI. So there is that, LA.
  • The Hossa shorthanded goal was all Toews. He pressured Jake Muzzin, who coughed the puck up, and dished to Hossa for an easy one timer. Nice to see Kopitar getting back to cover Hossa...oh wait.
  • The Sharp powerplay stroke was set up by some great patience from Toews. He drew 3 defenders, and dished to a wide open Shooter. Two apples and 77% at the dots for El Capitan.
Here are the video highlights:

12/17 - Blackhawks at Nashville -
  • How in the hell do the Hawks get some many faceoff violation penalties? A minute and a half into the game, no less. Literally TWO SECONDS after taking a 1-0 lead. Consequently, the Blackhawks had their worst game of the season at the dots. THIRTY SIX percent. OVERALL! Everyone, but Kruger, was cock whipped at the faecoff dots.
  • If Shea Weber DOESN'T score from that spot, on the powerplay...well...yeah.
  • Kane's roof shot on Hutton was just absolutely sickening. He was less than ten feet from Hutton and roofed a backhand over Hutton's left shoulder. How do you even prepare for that? As a goalie, you have to just shrug your shoulders, because it's impossible to see that coming.
  • Raanta continued to show that he's capable of, at least, the backup position. He saw as many powerplay shots as he did even strength ones. Let's hope they can somehow bury Khabibulin on long term IR.
  • As "clown shoes" as the powerplay was all last year, the Hawks role reversal has been unexplainable. The penalty kill has been absolutely horrid, and the penalty kill has been money in the bank. Third in the entire league behind the Pens and Caps. The PK, well, third worst behind the Panthers and Isles. Quite honestly, I'd rather it be the other way around.
Here are the video highlights:

12/20 - Blackhawks vs Canucks - 3-2 Shootout Loss
  • Antti Raanta and Eddie Lack both had tremendous games. Even though the shot totals were low, there were several quality chances. Both deserved the win, and none of the goals cleanly beat the goalies. When it looked like the Canucks were going to eat Raanta alive, in the shootout, he shut the door for six straight shooters.
  • Crazy 8s continues his red hot play, with a goal and assist, leaving him three points behind Sid for the league lead.
  • The Hawks opened up a 2 goal lead in the second period, and proceeded to blow it.
  • Both teams were 0-4 on the powerplay, which was a little surprising.
  • The Canucks Zac Dalpe played a game low 3:14 but still got a chance in the shootout.
  • Henrick Sedin absolutely sucks in shootouts.
  • The Hawks were 49% at the dots which isn't terrible, but isn't great either.
  • The Blackhawks absolutely HAVE to score more than one in eight shootout chances.
  • It won't show on the score sheet, but Ben Smith had a great night. His drive to the net late in the second was really nice.
Here are the video highlights:


Friday, December 20, 2013

A Brief Look Into
The William W. Wirtz Era

Recently, reader Frank Klenck shared a letter with me, that he had found stashed away somewhere. The letter was from William W. Wirtz to Blackhawks season ticket holders, on July 24th 1972. In this letter, they not only provide the bill for season tickets, but proceed to specifically badmouth Bobby Hull for, as they call it, "jumping" his contract and joining the WHA. This is just a little insight into just what a deplorable snake William Wirtz was. I hope you all get a kick out of this as much as I did:

Thank you again to Frank, for sharing this very interesting piece of Blackhawks History.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Blackhawks Week That Was - 12/13

11/16 - Blackhawks vs Panthers - 6-2 Win

  • The big news was losing Corey Crawford with an apparent groin injury. Antti Raanta came in and filled in great, with 29 saves.
  • Three of the Hawks goals ere on the powerplay, which propelled them to a top 5 position. I'll take that. The firt one was 1:10 into the game and they never looked back.
  • Shooter (1G, 2A) and Kaner (3A) each had 3 points. Money players, earning that cabbage.
  • Former Hawk Dylan Olsen bit his former team in the ass, with a goal to break the shutout, in the second period. The other most recent former Blackhawk, Jimmy Hayes, led the Panthers with 4 hits.
  • The Hawks were over 50% at the dots. Good stuff.
Here are the video highlights:
11/17 - Blackhawks at Dallas - 6-2 Win
  • Like their previous game, the Hawks came out Paul Walker style. Fast and Furious (too soon?). Thor, Michael Kostka, scored in his first shift back from injury.
  • Sharp and Saad each had two goals; IN THE SECOND PERIOD.
  • J-Mo had a hell of a third period, earning himself 16 minutes in penalties.
  • How the Hawks let noted dick cheese, Antoine Roussel, get two goals is beyond me. Fuck that guy, seriously.
  • After 4 goals, the Hawks chased Kari Lehtonen from the game. Dan Ellis didn't fare much better.
  • Deuce and Carter Seven were each plus 3. That's what you want from your top pair.
Here are the video highlights:
11/19 - Blackhawks vs Flyers - 7-2 win
  • The Flyers are just a bunch of dumb asses several times they took cheep shots behind the play. I hope they rot in futility like St. Louis. The Hawks gave up a 1-0 first period deficit and opened up the flood gates in the second, with 5 goals.
  • Even though the Hawks won by such a large margin, they still managed to give up two powerplay goals. Second worst penalty kill in the league. How does this happen after having one of the best last season?
  • Sharp had a goal and two assists, while Hossa had 3 apples himself. Even though he didn't have any points, Hjalmarsson was a plus 3 to lead the Hawks
  • The Hawks were at 58% as far as faceoffs go. Kruger took the most faceoffs of any Hawks center and won 11 of 14 (79%). None of the Flyers centers were over 50%
  • The Hawks scored two powerplay goals (Keith, Sharp) and a shorthanded goal (Handzus) themselves.
  • Ray Emery was pretty terrible. He didn't exactly have much help in front of him but some of the goals, specifically the Seabrook one, were awful.
Here are the video highlights:

Monday, December 9, 2013

Blackhawks Week That Was - 12/6

11/30 - Blackhawks at Phoenix - 5-2 Win

  • Before the fans even had time to settle in, the Hawks had opened up a 3-0 lead. It looked like they may run away with the game, but they let the Yotes back in the game.
  • Just when it looked like the Hawks were poised to let the Yotes tie up the game, who blows the game back open? Brandon Fucking Bollig. If you would have told me that he would have three times as many goals, as fights, I would have told you you lay off the sauce.
  • Brandon Pirri has officially been moved from Le Penthouse to Chateau Bow Wow. Seven minutes of ice time is indicative of that.
  • The Hawks seem to be in a bit of a faceoff rut, losing the battle again to the Yotes. Toews and Handzus were raped.
  • Antti Raanta had a successful second start for the Blackhawks. Thirty two saves on thirty four shots is very respectable.
Here are the video highlights:
11/17 - Blackhawks vs Stars - 4-3 Loss
  • Opposite of the previous game, the Blackhawks spotted the Stars a 3-0 lead. They fought back to tie the game in the second, but ran out of gas in the third.
  • Fuck Antoine Roussel for taunting the crowd. Where is that drunken 100 level trixie to throw beer on a player now? Who names their kid Antoine anymore, anyway? The call was weak in the first place. I'm glad Shaw slapped his ass around earlier in the game.
  • No one on the Hawks really turned their "give a shit" on, until the second half of the game. The second Dallas goal was a double tip while shorthanded, so expecting Crawford to stop that, is just silly. When you out shoot a team 50-18, you need to win said contest. FIFTY to EIGHTEEN!
  • The Hawks were above water at the dots, and if Brandon Pirri could win a faceoff, they would have worked Dallas. Pirri won only 3 of 14 faceoffs. The only thing Rich Peverley did for the Stars was win faceoffs.
  • Leddy was the Q's Doghouse member for this tilt. He sat for a majority of the second period, and scored the game tying goal in his first shift back. I'm sure Quenneville will tell you it's because of the tough love.
  • Dallas blocked 25 shots, to the Hawks 7.
Here are the video highlights:
11/19 - Blackhawks at Minnesota - 4-3 Loss
  • Nice to see J-Mo pot a goal in his first game back up, by going hard to the net. Sadly he'll still end up back on Rockford, shortly.
  • Saad's goal was a thing of absolute beauty. His ferocious forecheck led to a great strip of Mr Defense, Ryan Suter. Saad then drove to the net and beat Harding high on the short side with a ridiculous snipe!
  • Crawford did not have the best game, but far from the worst.
  • The Hawks were victimized at the dots again, with Ben Smith and Joakim Nordstrom taking the worst beating.
  • All that trouble for the Hawks to come back from an 0-2 deficit and then take the lead, but once again, they ran out of steam.
Here are the video highlights:
11/22 - Blackhawks vs Ducks - 3-2 Shootout Loss
  • Corey Perry is such an annoying little bitch. He went down trying to draw a call, and then popped right back up once he didn't get the call, and tipped the puck past Raanta for the first Ducks goal. Dramatic little girl.
  • Forty five seconds after the little bitch show, Ben Smith found the puck on his stick and some room to beat Hiller 5-hole and tie the game up.
  • The Getzlaf goal and the first shootout goal went 5-hole on Raanta, which he needs to fix. If he had just kept his stick in front of him, the Getzlaf goal would have been an easy save. He pulled some crazy splits in the shootout, but still gave up a goal through the gaping 5-hole. He needs work, especially in shootouts, but he is going to be pretty good.
  • It's about time Versteeg finally did something worthy of giving up two young prospects. His goal is what eventually sent the game to OT and a shootout.
  • The Hawks dodged a bullet in OT, when Seabrook cross checked Koivu into his own goaltender, leaving the Ducks an opportunity to win the game, but the refs blew the call, and the game went on. The Hawks got away with that one, but squandered the chance later.
  • Morin only played 7:40 but he tied for the team high with 3 shots. He's creating chances.
  • Believe it or not, but Marcus Kruger led all Hawks centers with 78% at the dots.
Here are the video highlights:

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Blackhawks Week That Was - 11/29

11/23 - Blackhawks at Vancouver - 2-1 Win

  • Talk about a boring game. Other than the Kesler goal, there wasn't anything to stay awake for until late in the third.
  • Speaking of Kesler's goal. Crawford did just about everything, but destroy his groin, to save that shot. Sometimes they just find that one small hole. It was a 5-on-3, for christ sakes. Aside from that, Crawford had an excellent night. 36 saves; one goal; in a hostile environment.
  • The Shaw goal was vintage Shaw. He was in the right place at the right time, and made a play. He might be one of the dirtiest diggers in the league, but you have to love him. Kane tried to make, what seemed to be a stupid blind backhand pass across the slot to El Capitan, but Shaw stepped in front of the pass and redirected it past Sweaty Lu. Can't fault him in that play. Shaw just made a great play.
  • How great is it that the Hawks player that Vancouver poached off waivers ends up being the person responsible for the bad pinch that led to the game winning 2-on-1? NINE SECONDS after the tying goal. I'm slyly looking in your direction, Ryan Stanton. I hope one of your old boys slipped you a couple hundies after the game. You made it look believable, kid. Somewhere Chelsea Daggar was ringing in heads of every Canuck.
  • As shocking as this has become, the Hawks were above 50% at the dots again. It has gotten to a point that you should be surprised when they aren't. Shaw was the only Hawks center under 50%, but we'll let him slide thanks to his other contributions. He only took 5 faceoffs.
  • In what might be one of the more surprising stats of the night, the Canucks were only credited with 16 hits. Usually they are throwing their bodies, in stupid fashion, at the Hawks players.
  • After discovering a certain greasy haired goalie's twitter account what seems like a decade ago, I cannot hate the guy. If he was anywhere but Vancouver, he might be one of my favorite players.
Here are the video highlights:
11/25 - Blackhawks at Edmonton - 5-1 Win
  • El Capitan's single handed shorthanded goal set the tone for the night. He realized that the Erlers had a forward at the point and pressured him to cough up the puck. After that, it was vintage Jonny Serious. All business.
  • After the Toews goal, it was time for Kane to tally on the powerplay. Nothing pretty, just found a loose puck in front and dunked it.
  • Oduya was the fortunate recipient of some Erler shenanigans, when they put the rebound of Oduya's long shot into their own net.
  • Jeremy Morin made a nice play to set up Andrew Shaw for another slam dunk not even half way through the second period, to end Dubnyk's night. Not that the goals were his fault. In comes the Russian Cosmonaut. Raise your hand if you had any idea Bryzgalov was on the Erlers.
  • The Justin Schultz goal was a really nice one timer from the Hawks left dot and surprised Crawford. Meh!
  • The Hawks only had 27 shots on net and scored on 5. Tell me again how bad Corey Crawford is, meatballs?
  • The Hawks won their, now usual, 50% plus at the dots. Shaw was woofed, going only 1 of 8, but the rest picked up the slack. Hell he had 2 goals and an assist. I'll lay off his ass for the faceoffs.
  • The only players to play less than Kris Versteeg were J-Mo and Bollig. Coach not happy already eh? Maybe all those with the happy pants should have watched his play in 2010, and not just his terrible rapping skills.
Here are the video highlights:
11/27 - Blackhawks at Calgary - 3-2 Win
  • The Hawks were down 2-0 and looking like there was no life, halfway through the third period, and the Patricks decided to take over. Back to back Sharp and Kane goals, fifty six seconds apart, erased the Flames lead, and a Kane goal with eighteen seconds left won it for the Hawks. None of the three goals were stellar shots, but they all count.
  • The second goal, by Sharp, was a herculean effort by Hossa, which left room for Sharp to find a soft spot and redirect it on net. Of course Edzo and Pat completely ignored the set up.
  • For the first time in quite a while, the Hawks lost the faceoff battle, which still left them as the 8th best team in the league at the end of the night.
  • Antti Raanta looks really composed in his first NHL start. He only had to make 20 saves and certainly didn't look out of place.
  • Even though he's unconventional, and kind of overly aggressive, I like this Reto Berra kid. He's exciting.
Here are the video highlights:
11/22 - Blackhawks at Dallas - 2-1 Shootout Win
  • Crawford made nice enough effort on the Alex Chiasson penalty shot was enough to force him to shoot off the far post.
  • The only Dallas goal was a complete and utter shitshow. Crawford tried to play the puck but was too close to the ridiculous trapezoid and he coughed the puck up. It finally ended up on the stick of Peverley, who had a gaping net.
  • Once again, Shooter to the rescue. He redirected a long Keith shot, that the Stars couldn't get out of the zone, and tied the game, which ultimately led to overtime and the shootout.
  • For the second game in a row, the Hawks were beaten at the dots. Pirri was dicked at the dots for the second game in a row.
  • The ELEVENTH shooter for the Blackhawks, Ben Smith, took the extra point for the Blackhawks. Sharpie was the only other Blackhawks player to score in the shootout, and Crawford only gave up one.
  • Stars Jamie Benn had SEVEN shots and none beat Crawford.
  • Yes, the Stars goal was ugly, but Crawford is the reason that the Hawks won. One goal, and 10 of 11 saved in the shootout.
Here are the video highlights:

Friday, November 22, 2013

Blackhawks Week That Was - 11/22

11/16 - Blackhawks at Nashville - 7-2 Loss

  • Khabibulin was rather terrible, giving up two questionable goals, before leaving the game injured in the first period.
  • Versteeg made his debut with the Hawks by taking a bad penalty behind the play that eventually let to the Preds third goal. It was technically on Bollig's delay of game penalty, but Bollig air mailed the clearing attempt while killing off Versteeg's dump penalty.
  • After going down 4-0 with 21 minutes to play, Crazy 8s broke the shutout right before the end of the second period.
  • Fifteen seconds after Pirri scored his third goal in as many games, Viktor fucking Stalberg put the Preds back up by 3 goals. Sometime that epitaph writes itself.
  • The Hawks gave up a total of SEVEN goals, which obviously is fucking brutal.
  • Ben Smith and Marcus Kruger were both minus 3.
  • Hawks faceoff percentage was a paltry 36%. Pirri and Shaw won 6 of 31 total draws.
Here are the video highlights:
11/17 - Blackhawks vs Sharks - 5-1 Win
  • Sharpie had two goals and an assist. One of the goals was a late third period penalty shot goal that put the Sharks to bed for good.
  • Tyler Kennedy is the fucking pigman.
  • The Pavelski goal that Crawford gave up was just oogly. He swatted at it like a fruit fly and pretty much directed the puck into his own net, after completely losing it. They happen. They didn't cost the Hawks. I'm no one to talk.
  • Kruger's feed to Sharp, for Sharp's second period goal, was pretty crisp and precise. He not only knocked the original pass right out of the air, but he then put the brakes on and hit Sharp on the back door between three defenders.
  • El Capitan's third period goal was sheer determination. He just stayed with the puck and eventually tucked in a rebound behind Niemi. His balls are bigger than yours.
  • Vertseeg's goal was set up by Saad's blazing speed. Saad took two steps and was in behind Hannan. Niemi stayed with Saad, but the rebound popped loose right back onto his stick. Versteeg just camped out in front of the net long enough for Saad to find his tape, and it was a slam dunk.
  • Shooter's penalty shot move was pretty sick, and roofing it that close to the net isn't all that easy.
  • Funny how the Hawks generally dominate when they are over 50% at the dots, eh? Actually it's not funny OR surprising. They were at 52% for this game. Consequently, Sharp won 6 of 8 faceoffs, but Quenneville won't allow him to play center. Shaw and Pirri were both under 45%. ::headdesk::
  • Bickell only played 13 minutes, which means he did something to piss off Q, or he got hurt.
  • Everyone but Kane, Pirri, Bickell, and Brookbank were minus on the night.
Here are the video highlights:
11/19 - Blackhawks at Colorado - 5-1 Loss
  • Crawford was chased form the game after giving up 3 goals in under 14 minutes, on only 6 shots. The team didn't play well in front of him at all, but one of two of those needs to be stopped. Raanta looked pretty good. The first goal was a 2 on 1 where he was picked apart like a desert carcass, and the second one was a rebound that went off Hjalmarsson's skate and right onto McLeod's stick. The kid can play.
  • The first Avs goal was atrocious, and it all went downhill from there. Seabrook tried to pass off the back boards to Keith, and it shot directly out into the slot. Crawford panicked, never got set, and it's 1-0 Avs.
  • Bickell went into the net awkwardly in the first period and never returned. The grim reaper is watching over.
  • A huge break up at one end on a Toews rush ended up in an odd man break back the Hawks way, and eventually into the net. This night just went that way.
  • Saad continued his hot play with the only Hawks goal of the game. It was far too late at that point for the goal to matter.
  • On a positive note, the Hawks won 59% of their faceoffs. All Hawks players were 50% or above.
  • No more use beating this dead horse.
Here are the video highlights:
11/22 - Blackhawks at Winnipeg - 6-3 Win
  • The Saad goal, in the second period, was a thing of beauty, and completely set up by Boss 81's ferocious forechecking. Hoss looked like he was snuffed out in the corner by two Jets defenders and ended up walking out with the puck. Saad was camped out in the slot and one timed the shot past Pavelec.
  • Nineteen seconds after the Saad goal, Ladd and Little caught the Hawks with a little afterglow, and a one time pass across the Hawks slot to Lad ended up beating Crawford.
  • Twenty nine seconds after the Ladd goal, an almost identical play resulted in the tying goal. Keaton Ellerby took a pass from the Big Fluff, and one timed THAT past Crawford. Three goals in 48 seconds. Wasn't THAT fun?
  • Later in the second period, El Capitan absolutely mugged Keaton Ellerby with a shimmy/spin move and drive to the net from the boards. Toews worked himself one on one with Pavelec and roofed a shot up and over the former Wolves goaltender's glove.
  • The Hawks pulled it together in the third period, scoring three goals, to put the Jets to bed.
  • Two powerplay goals against is concerning, especially from the Jets, who are 26th in the league on the PP. The Hawks PK is now second worst in the NHL behind the Islanders.
  • The Hawks had another great night at the dots, with a very nice 63%. Shaw was the low man at 57%. I'll take it. Bryan Little couldn't win a faceoff agains any Blackhawks, winning only 7 of 27 draws. That's 26%!
  • Toews had a 4 point (1G, 3A), and the dynamic duo on Deuce and Carter Seven each had a plus 4.
  • It wasn't Crawford's best night, giving up 3 goals on 25 shots, but the rest of the team picked him up. I would expect to see Antti Raanta make his first NHL start in the near future.
  • Jets' stars Evander Kane and Olli Jokinen were a combined minus SIX.
Here are the video highlights:

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Week That Was - 11/15

11/10 - Blackhawks vs Oilers - 5-4 Win

  • Pirri is starting to get the NHL game. He helped set up the first goal, by Saad after his pass went through Kane and right onto Saad's stick. Saad pumped it past Dubnyk, with Belov on his back, for a 1-0 Hawks lead late in the first.
  • Sam Gagner was stopped by Crawford on a penalty shot, in the second period, after Gagner got in behind Deuce and Carter 7.
  • Not only is Pirri getting the NHL game, but Saad has turned into a serious threat and playmaker. His pass, in the second period to Shaw, was extremely slick with a guy draped all over him.
  • After getting torched for the first Oilers goal, the fourth line to put the Hawks up by one in the third, with a Smith to Kruger goal. This fourth line is really coming together.
  • Sheldon Brookbank skated 8 minutes at 3rd line wing. ::head desk::
  • The Hawks BEASTED the Oilers at the dots. El Capitan was at a clownish 75% and none of the other Hawks were under 60%. The overall team percentages were 68% to 32%.
  • Not sure how this happens in a 5-4 game, but the Oilers Philip Larsen had 3 assists and a minus 3. DOH
Here are the video highlights:
11/14 - Blackhawks vs Coyotes - 5-5 SO Win
  • Rostislav Klesla was a minus three. Whipping boy.
  • Even though Martin Hanzel dick whipped the Hawks centers at the dots, the Hawks were still over 50% as a team.
  • If you're looking for a Morin silver lining, considering he was sent to Rockford after the game, he had 5 shots in only 7 minutes of TOI.
  • Saad, with a little help from Pirri, opened up the scoring. He continues to be a horse in the slot.
  • The Hawks powerplay got on the board again, with a Sharp one timer finding the back of the net. Smith is going to have Andrew Shaw in his nightmares. That goal put the Hawks up 2-0, but they immediately let the Yotes tie it back up.
  • Hoss'a second period goal was pure determination. He plowed right up the gut, put a shot on Smith and followed up his rebound. This temporarily put the Hawks back up.
  • Pirri continued his hot play, tipping in a Carter 7 shot early in the third period, which eventually sent the game to OT, and then a Shootout. He ended up with the shootout winner, too.
  • Anyone see Feee Agent prize Mike Ribeiro out there? Money well spent, Phoenix.
Here are the video highlights:

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Week That Was - 11/9

Sorry for the late recaps. I was playing a little puck myself in wonderful Grand Rapids Michigan, where the Detoilet fans are delusional as ever. 2008, guys. That's the last time the Wings were relevant. Since then, the Hawks have 2 cups. LET. IT. GO.

11/2 - Blackhawks at Winnipeg Jets - Win 5-1

  • The Hawks went down 1-0 early in the first and never looked back, scoring 5 unanswered goals.
  • the Hjalmarsson goal was a fucking laser beam, and it was all made possible by a nice Marcus Kruger offensive zone faceoff win. Funny how that works.
  • Cleanly shaven Brandon Bollig put all us haters who said he has no talent to shame. He rushed up the ice on a 2-on-1 with Kruger and undressed Pavelec with a great snapshot. Even I can admit that it was impressive. Maybe he'll prove to be a worthy player after all. He later assisted on a nice deflection goal by Ben Smith. This 4th line is coming together. Bollig had a goal, an assist, a penalty and a plus 3. Almost a Gordie Howe Hatty.
  • Crazy 8s was given a penalty shot against Montoya, and had him beat with a sweet backhand shot, but hit the iron.
  • After the first goal, which wasn't his fault, Crawford was excellent. For all the hate directed his way, his good performances need to be pointed out.
  • Barely, but the Hawks were over 50% at the dots. Kruger led the way with 73%, surprisingly, while Pirri and Shaw got pistol whipped into the 30s.
Here are the video highlights:
11/3 - Blackhawks vs Calgary Flames - 3-2 OT Loss
  • Rookie Reto Berra made his NHL debut for the Flames, and was outstanding. This kid looks like he's going to be a player.
  • for the second game in a row there was a penalty shot. This time it was TJ Galiardi against Crawford. Galiardi missed the net, but I can't ever remember back to back games with penalty shots.
  • Kane put on a puckhandling clinic for his first goal. The kid is just plain dangerous with the puck on his stick.
  • Of course, less than a minute after the Kane goal, Hjalmarsson left Mike Cammalleri in front of Crawford all alone. I'm not sure exactly just what the hell he was doing, because there was no one else anywhere near the Hawks half of the ice. He watched Cammalleri tip Wideman's long shot right past Crawford. Not much a goalie can do in that situation. Nice time to have a brain fart, Hammer.
  • Curtis Glencross took advantage of Brookbank's lead skates and was able to separate himself enough to speed up the left wing after a long Bulter breakout pass, and beat Crawford cleanly, early in the third.
  • Hossa and Kane tied the game up late, on a Blackhawks powerplay. Kane held onto the puck long enough for Hossa to set up for a one timer about 5 feet away. That was enough to get Berra off his angle and tie the game.
  • The overtime winner was a TERRIBLE goal for Crawford to give up. Kris Russell just unleashed a 55 foot slapshot from the blue line, with no one in front of the net. Crawford just whiffed. Just bad timing for an awful goal.
  • The Hawks were actually up of 60 percent at the dots; Yes SIXTY! This was with Pirri only winning 2 of 10 faceoffs. Kruger was big, again, winning 9 of 13. El Capitan and Shaw were both at 67%.
  • The fact that J-Moe has been logging the least amount of ice time shows that Bollig has moved up the depth chart. Not sure what that means for Morin, though.
  • The Hawks also out hit and out shot the Flames. Clearly the win was a fluke, but those nights happen. A point is a point.
Here are the video highlights:
11/6 - Blackhawks vs Winnipeg Jets - Win 4-1
  • The entire shift of Toews, Kane and Sharp was dominating just previous to the first goal by El Capitan. They had the puck on a string, with behind the back passes and great stick work by Jonny B Goode. By the time the puck was in the net, it just wasn't fair. The play looked like a bunch of adults toying with a midget team.
  • Kane followed up with another puck control clinic just two minutes after the Toews goal. When you leave Patrick Kane between the dots, deep in your zone, he's going to eat you alive. Dinner is served, Mr. Kane.
  • Ben Smith made a nice steal in the neutral zone and fed Brandon Pirri for a breakaway goal, late in the second period. Credit Smith with getting his head up and finding Pirri across the ice, quickly.
  • Shooter McSharpie found a loose puck deep in the Jets zone after a failed attempt to get the puck out, four minutes into the third, and snapped the puck over Montoya for a 4-0 Hawks lead.
  • We couldn't count on the Hawks to pay attention long enough in a 4-0 game to get Crawford a shutout. Setoguchi stole it from him midway through the third period. Crawford kicked the rebound out to his right, and Setoguchi jumped on it, before Seabrook could get to him. MEH!
  • Bollig continued to make himself get noticed for positive reasons. Late in the third he put Adam Pardy THROUGH the glass in the Jets zone.
  • Two games in a row that the Hawks were 60% or better at the dots. Yanic Perreault is doing something right. Give that man a raise and an extension. Captain Serious was EIGHTY EIGHT percent.
  • Buff, Ladd, Wheeler and Little were all minus THREE on the night. Woof!
Here are the video highlights:
11/6 - Blackhawks at Dallas Stars - Win 5-2
  • The Stars actually went up 2-1 in the second after Jamie Benn hit Tyler Seguin, with a wide open net in front of him. Then the Hawks decided to show up.
  • The Hawks took the lead, in the powerplay, very late in the second and never looked back. Shaw has proven to be a huge part of this team, and helped set up the goal with a nice touch pass to Kane for the goal. A few minutes later, he sent Kane in on a break-a-away.
  • Shooter's persistence along the boards got the puck loose to Hoss for a break-a-way goal with a minute and a half left in the third period, which iced the game. Clutch.
  • The Hawks continued to be at, or over, 50% at the dots.
  • They Hawks were outshot on the road, by three, and won by 3. I'll take it.
Here are the video highlights:

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Week That Was - 11/1/2013

10/26 - Blackhawks vs. Minnesota Wild - Loss 5-3

  • For probably the longest stretch in recent history, the Hawks were over 50% again at the dots. After starting slow, they have moved up to 13th in the league.
  • Seemed like every time the Hawks were able to claw back, the Wild would pot a quick tally.
  • Minus 2 for Deuce, Carter 7, and Kruger. Minus THREE for Kane.
  • The second goal was on Crawford, but he didn't have much help all around.
  • With another PP goal, the Hawks sit right in the middle of the pack at #13 in the league. I can dig that.
  • The Hawks PK, on the other hand, is league worst at 72.2%. Terrible!!!
Here are the video highlights:
10/28 - Blackhawks at Minnesota Wild - 5-1 Win
  • Nice to see our favorite mouth breather score against the team that drafted him.
  • Brad Mills and Jeremy Morin made their 2013 Blackhawks debuts in this game. Mills looks like a nice under the radar 4th liner find.
  • The only goal Crawford gave up was pretty much a 2-0, and Pominville had days to pick him apart.
  • Brandon Saad is a fucking beast. Even though his behind the back pass should have been intercepted, he made that play. The kid is all over the ice every night.
  • Pirri and Shaw took a beating at the dots, which led the Hawks to a team percentage of 43%.
  • Brookbank played a team low 9:10 but still ended up with a goal, a plus 2, 4 hits, and 10 PIMS.
Here are the video highlights:
10/29 - Blackhawks .vs Ottawa Senators - 6-5 Win
  • Four points, including a natural Hat Trick for El Capitan, more than make up for his 39% at the dots. He carried the team on his back. El coco grande.
  • In addition to Toews, Shock-n-Shaw had 2 goals, and Boss 81 chipped in three points.
  • Khabby was pretty damn awful, once again. His bad play helped bury the Hawks in a 4-2 deficit halfway through the second. All of those calling for Antti Raanta, hold your fucking hats on. Khabby makes far too much, in a tight salary cap year, to bury in the press box for a backup. They'll suffer as long as they can until they panic.
  • J-Mo, Jeremy Morin, played a team low 8:40 but still managed an assist and 3 shots.
Here are the video highlights:

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Week That Was - 10/25/13

As with everything, life and family take precedence over hobbies and extracurricular activities. Especially when you write a blog in what little free time you have. I touched on this through Facebook and Twitter about a week and a half ago, but going forward my game recaps will change format. They will be more brief and consolidated into end of the week summaries. Thanks again for understanding and supporting my silly little dream.

All that being said, here goes:

10/19 - Blackhawks vs. the Maple Leafs

  • Brandon Pirri scored his 2nd goal in as many games, on the powerplay, on a set up by Brandon Saad. These two youngsters are showing some great chemistry.
  • Bryan Bickell and Michael Kostka scored their first goals of the season. Kind of poetic that Kostka scored his against his former team.
  • The PK took another kit with Khadri's powerplay goal.
  • The Hawks had 40 shots on net while only allowing 20. MOAR BETTER
  • The Hawks won 56% of their faceoffs, which is about as much as you can ask. They particularly picked on Tyler Bozak all night.
  • Nick Leddy quietly had a nice night with 2 assists.
Here are the video highlights:
10/22 - Blackhawks in South Florida
  • The Hawks surrendered yet another third period lead, this time a 2 goal lead. This is unacceptable against a team that's struggling like the Panthers.
  • Carter 7 and Deuce had a rough third period, each lugging a minus 2.
  • Hawks centers actually had a second good night at the dots winning another 56%. This time Marcel Goc was their whipping boy
  • Somehow, Ben Smith was credited with 4 blocked shots.
  • Crawford had a really nice stop on a Huberdeau penalty shot.
  • The Hawks powerplay continued to click with the Toews goal, on a feed from Keith.
10/24 - Blackhawks at Tampa Bay
  • Khabibulin was simply just not good. Few more of these and the meatheads will be calling for his head on a stick. He faced 25 shots and let 6in. That's terrible.
  • For the third game in a row, the Hawks were over 50% at the dots. Stamkos had his dick beat in at the dots, but with 4 points, who cares?
  • Kane looked like a man on fire with a goal and an assist, but still managed a minus 3. Oduya joined Kane with his own minus 3.
  • Seabrook had a quiet plus 4 night. Carter 7 on the case.
  • El Capitan had a nice two point night.
  • Stamkos was incredible. 4 points. That guy is a stud.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Blackhawks at St. Louis - Loss Recap

"One Kill Wonder"

I have really grown to like the Blackhawks games against the smelly and putrid St. Louis Blues. Not because the Blackhawks generally have good fortunes against them, but the resulting Slaky hatecaps at HockeeNight. I could never do them justice, so I'll stick to what I know best. Wednesday night rivalries in St. Louis with the Blackhawks and Blues....

The first period was pretty much what you'd expect from a Blues/Hawks game. There were chances, hits, odd man breaks and a couple of goals. Each team got opening period goals, and thanks to a late flurry, the Blues led in shots 13-12.

The second period was much like the first period. The Blues controlled a majority of the play as shown by their 14-9 shot edge. Despite the edge, they only managed one goal, which was later matched by the a Hawks goal.

The third period was just more of the same. Each team managed 7 shots and it looked like things were going to overtime. St. Louis took advantage of a costly Hawks pinch and won the game with under a minute to go in regulation. Overall, it was a great game and the remaining 4 games should be war.

The Good

  • Shockingly enough, the Hawks had two 2-on-1's in the first 10 minutes. Of course they didn't cash in, but the chances were there.
  • Six seconds into the first Blackhawks Powerplay, and Crazy 8s picked up a dribbling puck from a blocked Shooter one timer, just to Halak's right, and jammed it onto the net to the tie game up for the Hawks. The Hawks were on the powerplay because Lapierre couldn't resist being a dick bag, boarding Shaw from behind.
  • The Hawks came right back after the Blue powerplay goal, and scored one of their own. Toews worked the play below the goal line, and a rebound on a long Sharp shot was first picked up by Crazy 8s and then finally jammed in the net by El Capitan. Nice to see the powerplay looking dangerous.
  • Two powerplay goals in one game is amazing to see from this team.
  • Early in the second period, a great iso shot showed the big dope Ryan Reeves ask Brandon Bollig, "You wanna go?" and Bollig shook him off.
The Bad

  • It only took about 2 minutes for Brookbank to drop the gloves with Stewart. Man hugs and that's about it.
  • The Blues took advantage of a Duncan Keith pinch and a Hossa neutral zone turnover which turned into a 2-on-1. Unlike the Hawks early odd man breaks, Tarasenko held onto the puck and surgically picked apart Crawford's stick side.
  • David Back-ass put the Blue back up by a goal, after a shorthanded Marcus Kruger lost faceoff. The play went back to Pietrangelo wno let a long shot go, that was tipped by Back-ass past Crawford. God damn penalty kill!
  • Hossa is clearly hurt. He is a shadow of his usual self. At some point they might want to let him heal because he's not helping much on the ice.
  • The Hawks were back to getting owned at the dots. Kruger is just awful and most of the regular centers followed suit last night.
The Ugly

  • With 21 seconds to go the Hawks got caught deep in the Blues zone and the Blues turned around with a 3-on-1. Seabrook was the Hawks defender that got caught, and Steen drove right up the ice, blowing a laser through Crawford virtually winning the game.

The Lineblender



The Video Highlights


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Blackhawks vs. Lightning - Shootout Loss Recap

"Choke Sermon"

The Blackhawks came off a nice little three day rest and welcomed the Tampa Bay Lightning into the United Center, Saturday night, for a warm October tilt. The Hawks were coming off a big opening night win over the Caps. It wasn't what you'd call a tightly played contest. Both teams were sloppy, and it was very clear that they were rusty. The only change for the Blackhawks was that Ben Smith was made his debut as Jimmy Hayes took a seat. Live from the United Center in Chicago....it's the Hawks and Lightning

For all of us spoiled by the great action of last season, a first period like this one will lull you to sleep. The Hawks held the Bolts to a big goose egg in the shots on net department, while throwing 11 pucks at the Tampa Bay net. Not much to write home about.

The Blackhawks opened up a 2-0 lead while out shooting the Lightning 13-6 in the second period. I guess the Bolts should have been celebrating their six shots because the Hawks had a goal before the Lightning managed a single shot on Crawford.

The third period was a disaster for the Hawks. They gave up two goals to allow the Lightning to tie the game up, even though the Bolts only had 8 shots. A fairly boring game that was now going to overtime. Lovely.

When all was said and done the Lightning pulled out a 3-2 shootout win. I hate shootouts.

The Good

  • Crazy 8s opened up a 1-0 Hawks lead just a minute into the second period. This was before the Bolts had a single shot on net. Hammer set the play up by driving up the right side and throwing the puck on net at a tight angle. Bickell whacked at the rebound and Kane chipped the third chance over Bishop.
  • General Saad got one of the easiest goals he's ever going to get, on the powerplay. Leddy dumped the puck in deep and high off the glass. The puck took a ridiculous bounce off a partition right back in front of the net that had been vacated by Bishop, who was trying to meet it behind the net. Saad met it and poked it into the net. 2-0 Hawks.
  • The Hawks weren't terrible at the dots. 50% should be considered a win for this group. Kruger was pretty bad, but the rest of the team had solid numbers.
  • Even though the powerplay goal was a fluke, the pressure that the Hawks put on was pretty impressive. If the Hawks traded in the PK success for PP success, I might consider that a loss.
  • Brandon Saad was probably the Hawks best player on the night. He was everywhere. Again, this was only game two, but this is promising.
The Bad

  • A lost faceoff deep in the Hawks zone led to a fat rebound that Keith actually had decent coverage on, but Martin St. Louis chipped it up and over Crawford's glove half way through the third period.
  • Teddy Purcell took advantage of a Toews penalty and tied the score up on their 11th shot of the game, just 2 minutes after the St. Louis goal. The goal was set up by a pass from St. Louis that went off the skate of Deuce and right into Purcell's wheelhouse.
The Ugly

  • The penalty kill has now given up goals on 4 of 7 chances, which is fucking terrible. I understand it's a two game sample size, but they swapped out Nordstrom for Smith and ended up with the same result.

The Shootout

  • Toews was stopped by Bishop
  • Filppula beat Crawford
  • Kane was bested by Bishop
  • Hedman hit the post
  • Hossa couldn't beat Bishop.

The Lineblender



The Video Highlights


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Banner Raising
Blackhawks vs Capitals - Win Recap

"Hit The Lights"

Game 1 2013. After the unbelievable summer the Blackhawks just had, it was time to start all over again. This time as defending Stanley Cup Champs. The banner was raised, and the season began. Once the cup circus was over it was time to put it all behind them and get this train rolling. Before we get to that, let's relive it just one more time.

The Hawks opened up a lead, early on, and then another lead later in the period, after Washington tied it up. Despite the Hawks lead, they were out shot 13-8 for the opening twenty minutes. A couple of bad penalties were pretty much the key to that shot differential.

The Hawks started out as flat as could be in the first half of the middle period and it cost them the lead. As they got their feet back under them, a fortunate powerplay goal ended up putting the Blackhawks back up by one going into the final frame. The Hawks dominance in the second half of the period was clear by their clownish shot total of 18-6.

The Hawks lost their lead early in the third period, but then came back to finish strong, eventually pulling out a 6-4 win and outshooting the Caps 34-32. 1-0 on a night where focus could have very easily been lost. THey have a lot of work, but a win is a win.

The Good

  • Just 4 minutes into the game and the last person anyone would have picked to score the first goal of the 13-14 season put the Blackhawks up 1-0.

    Yeah, THAT guy. Brandon Bollig continued his hot play by fighting through a check and picking up a Nik Hjalmarsson rebound to Holtby's right. After gathering the few wits he has, and his stick, he jammed it into the gaping net. Don't get to used to that. 1-0 Hawks!
  • Just mere seconds after the Ovechkin goal, Toews and Kane just marched right into the zone and put the Hawks back up by one. The Caps defense let El Capitan walk in and eventually feed Crazy 8s. Kane had about a day and a half to pick Holtby apart, thanks to what can be best described at "lax" defense. The kid just did what he does, and by that I don't mean get drunk and insult drunken Madison Wisconsin trixies. He lit the lamp.
  • The fourth line was the most consistent line in the first period, and they were rewarded with the first goal. They were one of the better lines in the second period as well. This Nordstrom kid might be a find....he just needs to be counted on a little less on the PK. We'll get to that later.
  • Carter Seven put the Blackhawks back up, on the powerplay. Yeah, the Hawks scored a powerplay goal in GAME 1! A fat Hossa rebound trickled into the slot and Seabrook buried it, immediately after Doc, Eddie and the little penis with glasses just spoke at length about the Hawks previous troubles with the powerplay.
  • Manchild scored his first goal of the season about eight minutes into the third period, when he worked a perfect give-n-go at the Caps blue line with old man Zeus. Zeus threaded the needle and his Saad on the tape, behind two Caps defenders. This tied the game back up at 4-4.
  • With six minutes remaining a Brandon Saad keep in ended up going over to Johnny Oduya. Oduya's shot looked like it was going wide but Holtby still casually played it, waving at it and knocking it into his own net. A gift that put the Hawks back up 5-4 for good.
  • Sharp and Nordstrom ended in the box late in the third period, giving the Caps a 5-on-3. Surprisingly, to every one in the building and watching on TV, the Blackhawks killed it off.
  • Hossa finished off the Caps when he raced in on the open net and was hauled down. Game, set, match.
  • Hjalmarsson and Oduya were both plus 4 on the night. Nice start gents. Since all the goals against were on the powerplay, everyone was even or plus, except Deuce, who was a minus 1. Oddly enough, Hjalmarsson was a plus 4, but had 3 giveaways.
  • I know this will come as a shock, but the Hawks actually beat the Caps at the dots, 52% to 48%. That's about as much as we can ask for, from this team.
  • not only did they win the battle at the dots, but they OUT HIT the Caps. Seriously, we all need to buy a lottery ticket, because this will NEVER happen again.
The Bad

  • A Brandon Bollig penalty ended up an Ovechkin goal about halfway through the first period. The new PK duo of Kruger and Nordstrom got to watch Captain Tramp Stamp put them in their place. As pass across the crease was redirected by Hjalmarsson right to the tape of Ovechkin, who just beat Crawford high glove. 1-1
  • Halfway through the second period Handzus disappeared into the locker room. Stop me if you didn't see this one coming.
  • Grabovski tied the game at 2 about half way through the game. Keith got caught with his head down and deep in the Caps zone, leaving everybody's favorite corpse, Rozy-Val, to fend for himself with a 2-on-1 bearing down. Grabovski really didn't even sell the pass, and just blew a shot past Crawford.
  • Mike Green was thought to have scored the Caps second powerplay goal just a couple of minutes into the third period to tie the game back up. El Capitan lost the faceoff deep in the Hawks zone, and the puck was quickly worked to Green. Green just sized up Crawford and beat him stick side. Lets not forget that this was the best powerplay in the league last year. Something we're not used to seeing in Chicago. The goal was later given to Grabovski, so whatever.
  • Green and Grabovski hooked up for the second Caps powerplay goal of the third period to put the Caps up for the first time. An iffy Rozsival penalty led to the powerplay.
The Ugly

  • Just prior to the third Caps goal, Doc and Eddie seemed to miss that it looked like Crawford was having an issue on the ice. I originally thought it was an injury, and it may have been, but they were babbling about water bottles or some shit.
  • Three powerplay goals against is completely fucking unacceptable. Once you give up two, and you have to change shit around. You can't keep trotting the same nags (I'm staring daggers through you Nordstrom) out there to get their asses kicked over and over. It's the kid's first NHL game. Don't keep throwing him to the wolves, and I don't mean the Wolves that play a few miles west.
  • Toews took a high elbow to the dome in the third which made the buttholes of all the Blackhawks faithful clench.
  • 4 points for Grabovski. For all those who thought I was insane for thinking the Hawks might be able to use him between Sharp and Hossa, SUCK IT! For that matter, Toronto can suck it, too.

The Lineblender



The Video Highlights

Monday, September 30, 2013

These Are Your 2013-14
Chicago Blackhawks

"Dawn Of A New Day"

We all knew there might be a surprise or two with the Blackhawks this season. Thankfully we can all just be glad that all of the changes are on the bottom lines. The top six and all of the defensive pairs will be returning this year. Stalberg, Mayers, Frolik, Bolland, Carcillo, and Emery are replaced with Hayes, Smith, Nordstrom, Kostka and Khabibulin.

The biggest roster swing would be the decision to carry 8 defensemen rather than a 10th forward. Michael Kostka has become Quenneville's newest pet, because he can play forward in a pinch; I guess. I know, where have we seen this sad story played out before, right? Hello, John Scott! Hello, Steve Montador! Hello, Jordan Hendry! You get the hint.

Joakim Nordstrom with be the other "surprise" coming out of camp. He was slated as a depth guy in Rockford but, apparently, his forechecking, penalty kill prowess and Quenneville's favorite quality, diversity won over Dr. Lineblender. He can play all three forward positions, and he has played responsibly. It'll be interesting to see how long he sticks.

Ben Smith has been all over the lineup, including special teams, which will only help him. He's filled in the top six for Hossa, and would also fit on either of the bottom two lines. As far as locks go, he's my lock to stay for good. Jimmy Hayes has the size and skills to play full time in the NHL, he just needs to continue to produce. I'd like to see him throw his body around a little bit, because he could intimidate people with that large frame, otherwise he becomes the next kid to draw comparisons to Eric Daze. The BAD Eric Daze.









Until tomorrow night, enjoy these videos as the Blackhawks begin their 2013/14 title defense:


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Preseason: Blackhawks vs. Capitals
OT Win Recap

"Path to Prevail"

The Blackhawks were at home Saturday night to close out the preseason against the Washington Capitals. This is the same Washington team that they will face on Tuesday, to raise the 2013 banner. This would be the last chance some of the kids have to impress the Blackhawks brass. No need to bore you with a preseason preview.

The Hawks opened up a 1-0 lead in an unusually penalty filled first period, on twelve shots. In turn, they held the Caps to only 4 shots. It certainly seemed like the Caps had more, but that's what the scorer says.

The Hawks had an even better second period, despite giving up a goal. The Blackhawks out shot the Caps once again, 14-5 and matched the Caps goal with one of their own.

The third period was bit of a shit show, with the Hawks giving up 2 goals on 5 shots and scoring one of their own. Not the tightest defensive period, to say the least. Nonetheless, the Hawks were headed to overtime with the Caps.

The Hawks didn't look pretty doing it, but they pulled out a 4-3 overtime win.

The Good

  • Shooter set up our very own mouth breather for a Hawks 1-0 lead with 6 minutes gone in the first period to open up the scoring. Sharp wormed his way all the way around the Caps zone, and once he shed two defenders, he dished the puck to Leddy. Leddy just snapped the puck past Holtby's glove.
  • Leddy scored his second of the game with 12 minutes remaining in the second period. Two Hawks were screening Holtby and he really didn't have much help.
  • About 7 minutes into the third period, Jimmy Hayes and Brandon Saad came in on a 2-on-1 that Hayes kept to himself and snapped by Holtby to take the lead back for the Hawks. That's exactly what an NHL player SHOULD do, give the time and space. Glad to see Purple Hazer getting on the board.
  • Andrew Shaw continued to just come up huge when needed, picking up a Brookbank rebound and stuffing it past Holtby two minutes into the overtime. Queue up the Daggar.
  • The Hawks actually clowned another team at the dots to the tune of 61%
  • Marcus Kruger really had a good game playing with Smith and Sharp. It could only get better with a weapon like Hossa on his side. Considering that Handzus won't be able to make it through 82 game much less the playoffs, they'll need someone that can step in.
  • Brandon Bollig actually looked like a force against the Caps Cajkovski. In the preseason I can deal with a silly fight.
The Bad

  • About halfway through the first, the Hawks had a goal negated when Kruger plowed into the crease and interfered with Holtby. Not only did they lose a goal but they drew a penalty for goaltender interference.
  • A great save by Braden Holtby at the Caps end turned around and into a half breakaway by Grabovski and a Caps goal. Sharp had a great backdoor chance that Holtby slickly kicked away and before the Hawks knew it, they were chasing Grabovski and picking the puck out of the net.
  • Johansson caught Khabibulin over pursuing the play to his right and tied the game up with almost 5 minutes spent in the third period. This was only the Caps 11th shot of the game. I'll give Khabby the breakaway goal, but this was one he needed to make. Johansson was at a sharp angle, and should have had nothing to shoot at. Khabibulin will need to be much tighter than that, this year.
  • The Caps Joel Ward got position on Keith and tapped in a Chimera pass to tie the game up once again, five minutes remaining in the third period. Clearly not a fuck was given, and Keith was phoning this one in. More on that later...
The Ugly

  • Keith and Roszival were a combined minus 6. That's all you need to know about that dynamic duo.
  • Powerplay...

The Lines




Sunday, September 22, 2013

Preseason: Blackhawks at Detroit - Win Recap

"Summer Breeze"

I guess the schedule makers didn't get the memo that the Wings were moved to the Eastern conference, with the Hawks facing the Wings twice in the first 4 preseason games. Oh joy. Better than terrible Chicago baseball, that's for sure.

The first period was fairly entertaining with the Hawks scoring two goals on 8 shots, and the Wings scoring one goal of their own, on nine shots. Sloppy hockey, for sure, the goals kept it entertaining.

The second period was much less exciting, with no goals scored. Preseason...Blah.

The Hawks opened up a big lead, in the third, scoring 2 goals fairly quick, but surrendered 2 late goals, as well. When all was said and done, the Hawks held on for a 4-3 road win despite a late flurry from the Wings.

The Good

  • Just two minutes after the Tatar goal, Byron Froese stuffed a Dylan Olsen rebound right between Howard's legs to tie the game up. Nothing really pretty about the play, especially since Howard really let the rebound get away from him. Froese just spun around and threw the puck at the net, beating Howard.
  • Joakim Nordstrom put the Hawks up 2-1 late in the first on a beautiful forechecking play. He caught Alexei Marchenko deep in the Wings zone with his back to the play, and Marchenko completely shit himself. He turned the puck over and Nordstrom drove it to the net. Nordstrom pulled a nice toe drag around the other defender, and beat Howard. Nordstrom also had a nice shorthanded breakaway in the second period, which he didn't do much with it, but half the battle is being in the right place.
  • Garrett Ross put the Hawks up 3-1 shortly into the third period. Jimmie Howard played the puck around the boards to his defender. The defender missed the puck and Ross was sitting along the boards waiting for it. Ross quickly beat Howard back to his far post for the goal.
  • Fifty six seconds after the Ross goal, Froese scored his second of the game in front of the net, on a nice feed from Seabrook. Froese had gotten position on Ericsson and was rewarded with a goal. That ended Howard's night.
  • Datsyuk and Zetterberg were a combined minus 4. Booyah!
  • Brad Mills was a plus 3. Yes, I said BRAD FUCKING MILLS.
  • I know it's preseason and the competition has been "subpar", but Nordstrom, Dahlbeck and Olsen all looked really good. Olsen is skating with confidence, which is something he hadn't had in a while.
The Bad

  • Apparently Quenneville's memory is very short, because he didn't remember the Steve Montador and John Scott at forward abortions. THIS time he lined up future Ice Hog Michael Kostka at forward. What could possibly go wrong? I guess they didn't have enough other forwards on the roster, eh?
  • Tomas Tatar opened up the scoring almost halfway through the first period. Dahlbeck got caught reaching at the Wings forward and Tatar was allowed far too much room. The puck was fed from behind the net and right to a wide open Tatar, who chipped it up and over Crawford's glove, who was still looking over his right shoulder.
  • Tatar scored his second goal of the game on a late penalty as a result of a Jimmy Hayes penalty. Nyquist took a shot from the left circle and Tatar redirected it from about 10 feet out between Olsen and Dahlbeck.
  • Jonathan Ericsson put a late slapshot past Crawford, with 41 seconds remaining, which made it interesting.
  • As has become the norm, the Hawks were schooled at the dots, to the tune of 39%. El Capitan and Froese each went 5 of 13 at the faceoff dots.
The Ugly

  • The announcers, clearly from Detroit, were fucking deplorable. They didn't mention who scored the first Hawks goal until they had played a full minute after. How hard it is to watch the replay and match up the number? They also questioned a non icing call when the Hawks were shorthanded. To finish it off, they gave Nordstrom shit for getting hurt while blocking a shot, by announcing "I don't know why you wouldn't wear pads there". Like no player ever got while blocking shots and wearing pads. How much padding can you put on the inside of the skate? So much elitist asshurt from those fucking clowns!
  • Brandon Saad took a Brendan Smith shot right in the glove and immediately went off the ice. Not good.

The Lines



Whenever the NHL straightens out their video embedding issue, we'll be including game highlights.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Preseason:Blackhawks at Washington
Shootout Win Recap

"Tripping Over Tombstones"

After the previous night's shootout loss at home to Pittsburgh, the Hawks wasted no time heading to DC to face the Caps. Nothing like the hair of the dog, to lick their wounds. Not much need for a preview, other than this being the first extended look at Antti Raanta. On with the hockey goodness....

It didn't take long for the Hawks to surrender a lead, but came back later and tied the game up. The Hawks also out shot the Caps 12-7, which made for a pretty good start.

The second period opened up offensively, with the Hawk potting 3 goals on 8 shots and the Caps netting 2 of their own, on 11 shots. A one goal lead going into the third, would be interesting, and short lived.

The only goal in the third was from the Caps. That was enough to send the game to overtime and, eventually, a shootout. This time the Hawks were able to come up with a different result and win the game 5-4.

The Good

  • Dylan Olsen tied the game up at 1 with about 6 minutes remaining in the first period. Olsen trailed the play and had about 6 days to pick his spot. The result was Olsen nicely beating Neuvirth. That's the kind of play the Hawks have been looking for.
  • Jeremy Morin put the Hawks up 2-1 about 4 minutes into the second period with a pretty rush right through the middle of the neutral zone that was almost a full end to end rush. He fought through 2 defenders and snapped a long wrist shot past Neuvirth.
  • Veteran camp invitee Brad Winchester blew a shot past Neuvirth just past the halfway point of the second period to put the Hawks back up by one, 3-2. The goal was pretty brutal and from a really tight angle but, hey, we'll take it. That ended Neuvirth's night.
  • Brandon Bollig scored his second goal in as many nights, late in the second period, to put the Hawks up 4-2. Hartman and Clendening worked a nice passing play, and Bollig snapped one past an out of position Leggio. Welcome to the show, kid!
  • Raanta didn't have a bad game. Three of the four goals left him hung out to dry. I'd like to see more of him with something actually resembling defense in front of him.
  • Olsen had a goal and an assist, which is promising. He really needed to turn his play around.
  • After seeing two games of Ryan Hartman, I have to say he doesn't look terribly out of place. I would have expected some more young mistakes, and I didn't see that.
The Bad

  • The Stanton/Brookbank shitshow continued in the second, shortly after the Morin goal. Toews won a faceoff deep in the Hawks zone, and the wonder twins got caught in below the goal line. The puck worked it's way over to Burakovsky, who just one touched it to Tom Wilson. Wilson somehow pounded it past Raanta, tying up the game
  • Just over minute after the Bollig goal, Eric Fehr, Jason Chimera, and Joel Ward just worked through the Stanton/ Brookbank shitshow. 4-3 Hawks late in the second.
  • Captain Tramp Stamp tied the game back up at 4-4 about half way through the third period, on the powerplay. Leaving number 8 on the backdoor for a one timer is a bad idea. Write that one down, Baby Blackhawks.
  • El Capitan was the only Hawks center over 50%, which is pretty much the "same ol, same ol".
The Ugly

  • The Hawks gave up a 1-0 lead not even 1:30 into the game, as Backstrom, Ovechkin, Carlson and Johansson put on a clinic around Stanton and Brookbank. Stanton was caught high in the Hawks zone, chasing the puck around like a puppy, and Raanta had no chance whatsoever to stop the backdoor play. Slick start, there, boys. Stanton gave another prime chance to Johansson later in the first. Not a good period for Stanton
  • Dylan Olsen gave Nick Leddy a suicide pass behind the Hawks net 6 minutes into the game, and Leddy was absolutely ragdolled by Chimera. Olsen needs to pony up a few dinners after that one, because Leddy's eggs was damn near scrambled.
  • Stanton and Brookbank got fucking CLOWNED all night. They were a combined minus 6. I'm not a Brookbank fan, so I couldn't care less if he was around. There are plenty of other kids that could fill that spot.
  • Kyle Beach's only contribution to the game, was a late him check on Wilson that incurred a kerfuffle, and got Beach a bloody nose.

The Shootout

  • Chimera met Raanta's glove.
  • El Capitan schooled the hell out of Leggio
  • Ovechkin was beaten by Raanta's 5-hole.
  • Hartman had Leggio beat, but couldn't stuff it in.
  • Raanta stopped Backstrom to win the game.

The Lines

12 BEACH - 14 LeBLANC - 15 McNEILL


Preseason: Blackhawks vs. Penguins
Shootout Loss Recap

"For Those About to Rot"

Just like that, Blackhawks hockey is back. Honestly it's kind of hard to get excited for a preseason game. Even though the first game against Detroit, on Tuesday, was not on TV or proper radio, I'm TOLD it was played. It still amazes me that in this digital age, they can't even manage even an internet video feed. That's not why we're here though. The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (because these rosters very vaguely resemble the NHL rosters) made their way to Chicago for an early preseason tilt. Chances of seeing the big name players was pretty slim, especially with the more recent injuries putting players at risk. This was a good chance to see some young and future Blackhawks stars in action. Live from the stadium formerly known as the Madhouse on Madison, it's baby Blackhawks and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pens.

The Blackhawks took a pretty fast 1-0 lead in the first but surrendered two goals, which left them down 2-1 going into middle frame.

Each team scored goals in the second period, which took a 3-2 score into the final 20 minutes.

The Hawks were able to tie the game up late in the third period, and the game ended up going into extra time.

Fans were able to snore through an uneventful overtime, which then led to the ever exciting preseason shootout. The Pens pulled out the extra point, with a 4-3 win, as no Hawks scored on the shootout.

The Good

  • With just 5 minutes gone in the first period, Drew BlahBlah picked up a turnover, created by Ben Smith deep in the Pens zone, and dished it off to Shooter for a 1-0 Hawks lead. The goal was a result of some terribly sloppy hockey in the Pens end. The Hawks were buzzing in the Pens end for the entire first 5 minutes, and it was just a matter of time before they opened up a lead.
  • Adam Clendening looked pretty good quarterbacking the powerplay with Sharp, Kane, Saad, and Bickell. Then again, when you have those guys out out on the ice with you, they can make you look really good.
  • Teravainen made a couple of beautiful moves that left the Pens players swiping at air. He is going to be really good some day. Even his shootout move was really nice.
  • Agent Smith woke up the UC crowd picking Derrick Pouliot's pocket in the Pens zone, while the Hawks were shorthanded. Smith cut straight to the net and put a nice little move on Vokoun. This brought the Hawks back within one goal, about half way through the second period.
  • Once again, I love seeing the Jolly Swede Giant, Viktor Svedberg, playing out there. He didn't look over matched, but Rockford is the best place for him. Nice depth guy with great size.
  • With just under 7 minutes left in the game, Brandon Bollig continued his hot play on a feed from this year's first rounder, Ryan Hartman. There was a scrum in front of the net and Vokoun was stuck on the ice. Hartman dug the puck out and shoveled it over to Bollig, who had a fairly open net.
  • Ben Smith looks like the new Frolik, as he was thrown out there with Kruger for the PK, and looked very comfortable doing so.
  • The Hawks out shot the Pens 33-30, but that's still more shots than they should be allowing. Preseason...meh.
The Bad

  • The Pens took advantage of the Brookbank instigation penalty, and tied the game back up, about halfway through the first period. The Pouliot shot was deflected by the Hawks Svedberg and past Khabibulin. Not much Khabby can really do on that one.
  • The Pens took a 2-1 lead with just over 3 minute remaining in the first period. Deryk Engelland rushed up the ice and took a long shot on Khabibulin, but Khabibulin left a juicy rebound. Joe Vitale knocked the rebound into the net, to put the Pens up.
  • I'm not going to rag on the powerplay too much, because the lineup was a fraction of the actual players you're going to see on the season opening powerplay.
  • Sid Crosby took a Kunitz feed, after a bad Marcus Kruger turnover, and didn't miss a gaping net. Sid's goal gave the Pens a 3-1 lead just a couple of minutes into the second period.
  • Johnny Oduya was a Blackhawks low, minus 2, on the night.
The Ugly

  • Sheldon Brookbank took exception to a big Robert Bortuzzo hit on Pat Kane, and took few hammers to the dome. Wake me up when it's over.
  • Teravainen was the only Hawks center that had a faceoff percentage over 50%. Same old, same old. The Pens Zach Sill clowned the Hawks centers, going 8 of 11 at the dots.

The Shootout

  • Kane never really got a shot off, with his slow approach
  • Bennett beat Khabby glove side.
  • Teuvo was beaten by Vokoun's glove
  • Sid Crosby waited too long, and Khabby made the save
  • Drew BlahBlah missed the net.

The Lines



Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Title Defense Begins
2013/14 Season Preview

It's hard to sum up the 2013 Stanley Cup run into words. As fans, we went from disappointment and dispair to the ultimate fangasm of euphoria in just 6 months. In January everyone, including myself, was talking about canceling the season, and look what ended up happening. Aren't we all glad that didn't happen, now? I digress. With little rest, and tasks at hand, the Blackhawks start their title defense just shy of three months after hoisting the silver chalice. This is the beginning of the new dawn...

This summer was relatively quiet be the summer following a Stanley Cup win. At least from what we all witnessed the summer of 2010. Dave Bolland was traded to Toronto for three Toronto draft picks, Michael FrolĂ­k was traded to Winnipeg for two draft picks, and Ray Emery signed in Philly. The buyout's of Rusty Olesz and Steve Montador were hardly a ripple in the pool. Thanks about all she wrote for depatures, which is a stark contrast from 2010, when half the supporting cast ended up in Atlanta. Let's all breathe a sign of relief.

And lets give a moment of silence, or absolute joy, that Stan was able to get anything for Dan Carcillo's useless rotting carcass. That was a day that will live in infamy! RIP Gorilla Salad.

The new players coming in, really aren't much of anything. Nikolai Khabibulin is back for his second stint as a Blackhawk, but this time strictly as a rarely used veteran backup. This is insurance, in case Antti Raanta pulls his best Alex Salak impression and flakes out. Michael Kostka, and Theo Peckham were brought in for depth, but that depth will probably be at the AHL level. The rest of the arrivals will be Blackhawks prospects that we're all fairly familiar with. Ben Smith will probably be the most prominent addition to the roster, but we could see Jeremy Morin, Jimmy Hayes, Brandon Pirri and Drew Leblanc, as well. Pirri, and LeBLAH will be fighting for the ever vacant second line center center spot, but I'll dive more into that later. At this point the Blackhawks have won two Stanley Cups with a revolving cast of characters in that slot, so who am I to criticize?

Lets work our way down the lineup, and take a look at just what Dr. Lineblender has at his disposal, but lets be completely honest, he has quite an impressive assortment of weapons at his disposal.



The collective work of Centers looks promising. When you start a list with Jonathan Toews, you're starting with one of the elite centers in the entire NHL and one of the top two in Blackhawks history. The problem is that there is a drop off in talent and NHL readiness. Handzus is old and busted, Kruger is a solid bottom 6 center, and Shaw isn't really a center. This isn't to say Shaw didn't do exceptionally well, but you have to think they would prefer him at the wing, where he can cause holy hell as a first forechecker. I always envisioned Kruger as the replacement for Bolland with Shaw and Saad flanking him. Again, we may very well see Shaw open up at #3 again, and Kruger on the checking line. As far as the ever contested second line, Brandon Pirri and Drew Leblanc will get first crack at it. Pirri is in the last year of his entry level deal that would pay him $67K in Rockford ($870K NHL), and Leblanc has a 2 year deal that would pay him $110K and $600K in Rockford ($575k NHL). If that doesn't tell you who holds the lead right off the bat, then you're as dull as a butter knife. There was hinting and speculation that Brandon Saad would get a shot at the spot, but that makes no sense to me. Why take a rookie that faded down the stretch and put him in a position he's not comfortable with.

After the initial NHL group you have the top prospects from the last two drafts in McNeill, Danault, and Teravainen. Nothing replenishes a thin position like 3 straight first round draft choices. Each player brings their own unique qualities to the table. Danault seems to be the closest to NHL ready, which suffice to say, is still a ways away. Teravainen is a wild card because he's been playing against, at least, AHL caliber talent since he was 17. He seems to have the most NHL upside, if he can continue to keep from having his head knocked off. Mr. Kane can help him in that category. He's probably going back to Finland for one more year of seasoning, before he comes to Rockford next season. McNeill seems to be third in line, and there has been talk that they Hawks may move him to Right Wing. He's more of a power forward that would be good for digging out pucks in front of the net. All 3 could be good Blackhawks players in the next few years. Broadhurst, Froese, Gilbert, Nordstrom and Mills are all nice players, but the chance of seeing them playing at the UC are extremely slim. Weirder things have happened, though.

28 - BEN SMITH  

Moving on to the wingers, the Blackhawks have some of the best in the league. Kane, Hossa and Sharp will be nothing but what they always are, consistently excellent. Bickell looks like he might have finally figured out just what he's good for in the NHL, and he better have, because the Blackhawks are paying him like he has. Saad is a calder nominee, that will only get better with age. Ben Smith is one of the hardest working players the Hawks have in their system and will be a nice replacement for Frolik. Bollig....pass. He is what he is. Quenneville has shown that he requires at least one slobbering cement head on his roster at all times, and at least he's not Gorilla Fucking Salad.

The next level forwards are a talented bunch, with edgy Jeremy Morin and big Jimmy Hayes, and the continually disappointing Kyle Beach. We WILL see Hayes and Morin playing with the big boys this season, and Beach would be a great 4th line grinder if he could just ratchet that 10 cent head on long enough to do something productive. This contract is clearly his last chance to make something of himself in Chicago. The other Broadhurst, Terry, has some potential, but as with his brother, they are very thin for NHL standards.

Garret Ross has been on my radar, because he is basically Andrew Shaw 2.0 with more scoring touch, but still not NHL ready. Shalunov might be a solid AHL guy with his size. Hartman is far from NHL ready after just being drafted in June. Winchester and Brookbank are veteran face punchers that will play in Rockford, and Pat Mullane is a free agent prospect invitee.


The Blackhawks back end is pretty solid and spoken for, as well. Keith, Seabrook, Hjalmarsson, Oduya, Leddy and Rozsival are your top 6, with Brookbank being the swing man and resident press box lurker. You won't see much deviation from that crew, unless someone gets hurt. If there is an injury, I would expect to see Stanton, Olsen, Kostka or Peckham. Just a hunch but unless Clendening is absolutely blazing though the AHL this season, I don't think the Hawks want to rush him up for any reason. No need to rush him. He's progressing nicely, and slipping him in next year as maybe a #6 would work out well for him.

Viktor Svedberg has always been a guilty pleasure of mine, since I saw him at prospect camp 2 summers ago. He's enormous at 6'8' and from the lineage of Swedish defensemen, which teach exceptional fundamentals. He has a chance to be a total Bowman steal. Don't be surprised if he eventually gets an NHL deal, because he's only 22 and a solid prospect.

Dahlbeck is a stay at home defender that could fill a spot, in a pinch. He won't do much on the offensive end, but he won't be a liability. Brown is a green prospect, Fournier is going to be a good one. He has very good hands for a young defender, but he is green as well. Cleason, Nightengale, and Shea are FA invitees that are just filling spots.


Last but not least, the Goalies. The Blackhawks goalies are going to be the "Bears QB" controversy of the Hawks. The Backup will always be the fan favorite, because the meatballs are, well, meatballs. Crawford is the man. He will continue to be that man, in theory, for the next 7 years. Antti Raanta might have something to say about that, but for the moment, Crawford is THE man. Khabby is back, for a year, as an insurance policy. Raanta can write his own story, and that story will begin shortly in camp. Simpson and Carruth are the next generation of Hawks goalies, and both had excellent years with their respective teams, last year. I like Carruth better, but Simpson has more experience, playing a few games with Rockford last year. Carruth was in Portland all season with Mr. All American Seth Jones. Whitney came out of the draft very highly regarded, and has great size. He's the least experienced, and youngest, of the crop.

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