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Monday, February 25, 2013

Blackhawks vs. Oilers - OT Win Recap

"Only for the Weak"

Monday night the Edmonton Oilers were next in line to try and end the Blackhawks consecutive point streak. I had to stop trying to guess when the streak was going to end, because I came to the conclusion that it was probably going to end against the most unsuspecting team. The Oilers look to me like the Hawks of 08-09. Young, fast, and almost too dumb to know better. You weren't going to see many 1-0 games with the Oilers, but they'll give you plenty of 6-5 games. It's a fun, exciting team and their time of dominance is on it's way. This team could give the Hawks a run for their money, if they could stay interested long enough. Live from the United Center in Chicago, Illinois it's the Blackhawks and Oilers.

The first period certainly looked like the Hawks were on the run for a majority of the time. The Oilers opened up a lead just a few minutes in, on a shorthanded goal, but the Hawks came back to tie it up a minute later. Officially, the Hawks out shot the Oilers 9-8, but there were long stretches where the Oilers seemed to be swarming in the Hawks zone.

The middle frame was very similar to the first. The Oilers seemed to keep the Hawks on the run for a majority of play and scored the only goal of the period on a powerplay. A powerplay goal had the Oilers up by one at the buzzer. Again, in a period where it looked the the Hawks were outshot, they actually led 9-6, but in a rare occurrence the Hawks trailed going into the third period.

The Hawks quickly tied the game, just a few minute into the third period. They continued the pressure and outshot the Oilers once again 9-5 for a 27-19 total, but the game was going to be decided in extra time. It didn't take long for the Hawks to send the Oilers away losers, and for the Hawks to come away with the extra point. The Hawks had the only 6 shot of OT. We weren't worried for a second, were we?

The Good

  • A minute after the Petry goal, Crazy 8s picked up a loose puck along the wall, deep in the Oilers zone. He danced right to the slot around a bailing Smid, and finally beating Khabby under the pad, for a powerplay goal.
  • Pick-to-Click Vik tied the game up just a couple of minutes into the third period. There was a video review, but that review showed that Swedeberg had shoveled the loose puck through Khabby's 5-hole and over the line.
  • Shooter and Hoss teamed up to win the game in OT. Shooter spun in the left boards and drove the puck to hte net. He couldn't get a clean shot off, but the puck sat in the crease for Hoss to get 3 good whacks at. The third time was a charm for Hoss; queue the Dagger.
  • Toews and Kruger were great in faceoffs. Sharp even won 4 of 6, but it was Shaw's night to get donkey punched at the dots (27%).
  • Plus 2's for Leddy, Roszival and Sharp. I'm cool with that.
  • A friend passed on the fact that the band In Flames stopped in the Chicago on their way to Flint Michigan, to see the Hawks game. They just so happen to be one of my favorite bands, so in honor of their visit:
The Bad

  • Ales Hemsky snuck in behind Deuce and Sleven in the opening minutes of the game, and found himself alone with Emery. Emery was able to close the 5-hole but not a very swell way to open the game.
  • Rookie Nail Yakupov snapped a laser beam past Emery to take a 2-1 lead on the powerplay with just under 6 minutes remaining in the second period. The Hawks PK got caught running around and all hell broke loose, and Gagner hit Yakupov on the back door. Emery had no chance.
  • Saad had a rough night with 2 bad penalties, and a demotion in favor of Carcillo. For the record, that is s huge downgrade in talent, Q.
The Ugly

  • The Hawks gave up a goal while on the powerplay with under 5 minutes gone, in truly elegant fashion. Deuce had a blowout at center ice trying to start a powerplay rush, and left the puck on a platter. Petrell walked in all alone and hit the far post, but the puck ended up out in the slot, and Petry put it into a wide open net, with Emery prone. This play was a Shanghai Fire Drill, from the get go.

Here are the video highlights:

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Blackhawks vs. Blue Jackets - SO Win Recap

"Lone Justice"

Now that the Blackhawks have broken the record for the best start in NHL history, the Blackhawks next goal was the most consecutive games with a point. The Hawks sat at 23 and the record was 35 by the '79-'80 Flyers. To overtake the second spot, they would need to pass 28. The Hawks welcomed the Blue Jackets into the United Center to be the next sacrificial lamb. The Jackets came in losing 7 out of their last 10 games and losing their last game to St. Louis, Saturday night. Live from the United Center in Chicago Illinois, it's the Blackhawks and the Blues.

The game didn't exactly open up how Chicago would have figured. Columbus came out with much more life than you would would expect for a team that played a close game the night before. Each team had 7 shots and there were no goals scored.

The second was just more of the same, with the Hawks slightly out shooting the Blue Jackets 14-13. The Hawks scored a late goal to take a 1-0 lead into the third period, which bodes well for the boys in red. We have been here before, and there is not nearly the reason for concern that there use to be.

The Jackets made an attempt to tie the game in the third period, with 8 shots to the Hawks 7, but they could not beat Hawks defense. Even though the Hawks faced a hot goalie, one goal was enough to take another 2 points. Next opponent, the Oilers, tomorrow night.

The Good

  • Even though Bolland missed the game, it was nice to see Kruger get his due and move up with Kane and Sharp.
  • Crawford was back in net for the Hawks, which was very good to see. Enough of that Emery for #1 bullshit. He quieted any meatballs by posting a 28 save shutout. No ill effects from his alleged concussion, apparently.
  • Hossa had three great 1-on-0 chances, but couldn't dent the net. The second one was as a result of a complete dumb ass blind backhand pass attempt from former Blackhawk James Wisniewski. Glad he's wearing the other colors, now, aren't we?
  • Just as Foley mentioned that there was no score, Bickell fed Andrew Shaw with a nice backhand pass for a 1-0 lead, late in the second period. Shaw had just come off the bench from a change and he made a bee line for the net. Bickell had just picked up the puck in the corner and must have heard Shaw yelling. It was a bang/bang play, and Mason had no chance to react.
  • Toews, Shaw and Mayers all won 50% or more faceoffs. Kruger was his usual 40%.
  • Considering he only gave up one goal, Steve Mason was really solid for the Jackets.
  • Was nice to see Jesse Spencer, an actor from two of my favorite shows, Chicago Fire/House , shoot the puck between periods.
The Bad

  • The Hawks caught a huge break in the closing minutes of the second period, on a Columbus powerplay. Vinny Prospal was sent in on a break-a-way, beat Crawford, but hit the crossbar.
  • Carcillo and Mayers both had under 6 minutes of playing time, which barely made it worth them even dressing. I can't remember seeing Carcillo on the ice at all.
  • Both teams were a combined 0-8 on the powerplay. With this being said, the Hawks were 5 for 5 on the penalty kill.
The Ugly

  • The Hawks were victim to quite a few penalties, but none were worse that the extreme Olympic dive that Calvert against Hjalmarsson. He should have been the only one penalized, and ended up rewarded for his actions. Dumb ass.
  • Wisniewski took exception to a Shaw crosscheck by spearing Shaw right in the twig-n-berries. The CSN crew showed Shaw on the bench and his face was as red as his jersey. His eyes looked a little glassy too. Cheap shot play by Wiener-niewski. Shaw followed up with a charging penalty on his very next shift.

Here are the video highlights:

Friday, February 22, 2013

Blackhawks vs. Sharks - Win Recap

"Lonely at the Top"

Just when I think it's all going to come crashing down, the Hawks find a way to pull it out. On Eddie Olczyk heritage night, The next target for the Hawks on their streak was the recently very familiar San Jose Sharks. Each time the Hawks have seen the Sharks, they have fallen further and further down the power rankings. This is a team that is going to hit the panic button real soon. They opened up red hot and then instantly went as cold as ice. Even though their last game was a win against the Blues, they have issues scoring. This is something the Hawks feast on, so hopefully they could jump out to a lead early. Live from Chicago, it's the Blackhawks and the Sharks...

The Hawks came out a little flat but dominated the meat of the first period, with 11 shot to the Sharks 8 shots. Even though the Hawks had a majority of the chances, the Sharks had the only goal, with under a minute to go in play.

The second period started off just like a majority of the first period went, with the Hawks controlling most of the play. Even though they had to kill a couple of penalties, they still out shot the Sharks 10-6, and scored the only goal of the period.

The Hawks opened up a quick third period lead on a shorthanded goal, and shut down the Sharks for the rest of the period. There were 13 shots either way, but the Hawks played their "bend and not break" defense to perfection. When the final horn sounded, the Hawks had set a new record for best start in NHL history. Amazing.

The Good

  • Pick To Click Vik tied the game up for the Hawks with just over three minutes left to play in the second. He streaked up the left side on a 3-on-3 rush, and just as he got over the goal line extended, he fired it towards the net. Niemi tried to make the save and it went off the inside of his left pad and into the net. Soft goal for Niemi, but Swedeberg will take it, and so will us fans.
  • General Saad took a lead for the Hawks just as a Sharks powerplay ended. He lugged the puck up the ice himself, and just as he cleared Brett Burns, he caught Niemi leading the wrong way, snapped a shot off the far post and in. Huge, huge goal to open the third period.
  • Once the Hawks took the lead, they suffocated the Sharks pretty impressively with penalty kills and swarming defense. This team has far exceeded any expectations I could have had for them. I'm just amazed.
  • For the first time this year, the Hawks out hit an opponent. I didn't see it that way, but the "official numbers" were 29-27 in favor of the Hawks.
The Bad

  • Emery began the night getting draw grossly out of position two or three times. This might have been nerves, or had something to do with the fact that it was his first game wearing his new Brian's G-Netik pads. He's been wearing them in practice to break them in, but this is the first game he has worn them in.
  • Marleau followed up a very late first period Sharks flurry by beating Emery to open the scoring. Pavelski tipped a long shot on Razor, and the rebound ricocheted into the slot. Marleau took a shot that was stopped by Emery, but it squired out from under his pad and into the net. Sloppy last minute goal for the Hawks.
  • Carcillo made his return, and Quenneville made a smart decision by putting him on the 4th line where he belongs. Of course when the Hawks went down 1-0, Carcillo started the second period with Toews and Hossa. Christ on a cracker, Quenneville!!!
  • Bolland disappeared for a majority of the third period, and there was no word on just why. He had under 10 minutes of ice time and didn't see the ice after the last 1/4 of the second period. After the game, the only thing Quenneville had to say was that he was "day-to-day", which tells us nothing. NHL injury report are a fucking joke.
  • Kruger and Shaw were both dicked at the dot, both going dragging a -40% at the faceoff circles.
The Ugly

  • Foley was having issues with Niemi and Emery all night. He called each one the other's names quite a few times. Not the Pat Foley all of us old timers are use to from the 80's and 90s.
  • Ryan Clowe ended up getting a misconduct at the end of the game for jumping off the bench and retaliating against a Shaw on Pavelski borderline hit. While Shaw's hit was questionable, Clowe showed just what a dumb shit he is.

Here are the video highlights:

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Zapruder Strikes Again - The Hansen and Hossa Chronicles

First of all, I find it hilarious that I even need to address this, but here we are.

Last night Jannik Hansen made a stupid and careless "attempt" at playing a puck in the air, thus elbowing Marian Hossa in the back of the head as a result. Hossa laid on the ice for a few minutes after and was then taken to the locker room for the remainder of the game. Here is the hit:

Unless you live in Vancouver or make yourself look foolish by willingly wearing a Canucks jersey, you see a dangerous and reckless elbow. This may or may not be intentional, and I will even give him the benefit of the doubt. BUT, where I will not give him the benefit of the doubt is the mouth breathers that claim it was a "hockey play" and he was reaching for the puck. I might need to brush up on my anatomy, but to the best of my knowledge Jannik Hansen doesn't have hands attached to his elbows. So why you would make a play for a puck with an elbow is a curious proposition. Take for instance this still frame.

Notice that there is a stick in one hand, and the left arm is being used to embed an elbow into the back side of Marian Hossa's cranium. How Mr. Hansen intended on playing the puck is beyond rational thought.

Elbow + full hand = no puck.

Now maybe Mr. Hansen isn't smart enough to know you can't catch a puck with your elbow. Who am I to judge? Maybe they teach the ancient art of elbow catching in Denmark. Then I would be totally wrong, but until someone shows me proof otherwise, he made a reckless and dangerous play that deserves supplemental league discipline. I don't think he deserves 5 games, but 2 games would suffice. I'm not irrational. He did something stupid and needs to pay the piper.

Now contrary to what those Canucks fans in the glass houses, this play last spring with Daniel Sedin and Duncan Keith are not that different. First of all, this was not to the back of Sedin's head, it was to his face. Secondly, the puck was much more out of reach. other than that, it's the same general play. I said it when this happened, and I'll say it again. Keith made a reckless and dangerous play. He deserved his punishment, and served it.

Who you crappin, Vancouver? Just accept and move on, especially if Hossa has had his eggs scrambled, like everyone is expecting.

Blackhawks vs. Canucks - SO Win Recap

"Piece by Piece"

Dun, dun, DUN. The west coast evil empire, Vancouver, slithered their way into the United Center Tuesday night, to try and end the Hawks regulation undefeated streak. Call me a jinx or whatever other colorful adjective you'd like to call me, but I'm going to let you all in on something. The Hawks will NOT go undefeated this season. This is OK, because that does not take anything away from the great (and sometimes lucky) hockey they have been playing. If you honestly thought that they could go 48-0, then you're just not sane.

Anyhow, if ever there was a night for the Hawks to be lacking manpower, this was it. With Crawford nursing what has been report as a concussion, and Seabrook icing his sore balls from the cup check he took the other night, they were ripe for the picking. I would hate for all these rainbows and unicorns to end against the Canucks, but it looked like divine intervention had the planets aligned. There was still a game to be played, but the story could have already been written for them.

The first period was a track meet from the word "GO". There were 4 breakaways, none of which were successful, and the only goal was a terrible dribbler by Vancouver. The Canucks actually out shot the Hawks 12-9, but the chances were closer story than the stats tell.

The second was slanted much more in the Hawks favor and they dominated Vancouver for 20 minutes. They scored three of goals to take a lead, and out shot the Canucks 16-6, but there was still an entire period to play. We all know that nothing is a lock in a Nucks/Hawks game.

The Hawks had a number of chances to close out the game, in the third period, but could not manage that insurance goal. This would bite them in the ass, in painful fashion. The Canucks scored 2 goals in the final three minutes of the game to send it into extra time. A game they allowed the Canucks back into with massive failed odd man breaks. The streak was intact, but the points were almost bittersweet.

The Hawks had chances in OT as well, but were still snake bitten by the Canucks goaltender. Plenty of chances to win this one in regulation and in extra time, out shooting the Canucks 43-32, but the Hawks nearly left thew extra point on the table.

The Good

  • Shooter opened up the scoring for the Hawks on a play that could have been whistled for a too many men penalty. The Hawks got away with the infraction and Crazy 8s dropped it off to a wide open Shooter, who wound up and beat Schneider through the 5-hole. The Canucks were too busy crying about the missed call to bother playing defense.
  • After screaming at the TV for a good 20 seconds while the Hawks failed to take advantage of a Canucks defender without on a stick as the Hawks were on a powerplay, Hossa finally blasted a half clapper over Schneider's blocker for a 2-1 Hawks lead, late in the second period.
  • Hossa's second goal of the night was colossal and masterful. Hoss picked up the puck in the corner and took it hard to the crease. He could have dumped it off to Saad, who had position in front, but he carried it through the crease like a bull in a china shop and tucked it around Schneider's left leg. Highlight reel goal. 3-1 Hawks.
  • I'm really going to miss watching Swedeberg blaze trails around defenders only to not finish. Speed is a dangerous skill that you can never have enough of. It's just too bad that they are going to have let him go when some idiot GM throws a bag of money at him.
  • As a team, the Hawks were over 50% at the dots. Only Marcus Kruger dicked the dog with his 36%.
The Bad

  • Brookbank and Deuce together? That is enough to make me want to masturbate with a handful of broken glass, rather than watch Keith run around covering for Brookbank all night.
  • I'm not really sure what is going on with the Hawks with letters. First, it was Deuce against the Sharks, then it was Toews flipping out against Thornton, and then Tuesday it was Shooter flipping out on Ballard. Some of the strangest reactions I've ever seen from the Hawks Captains.
  • I'm not normally one to accuse the Canucks of diving, but they spent the third period falling all over themselves. As a hockey player, it's embarrassing to watch a professional team pull that kind of stupid shit. I agree with Eddie O, that a diving penalty should negate the original infraction. The Canucks would have to fold, because they wouldn't know how to function. Gutless little pieces of shit.
  • Ryan Kesler and Kevin Bieksa are a couple of smug ass clowns. I have no use for either of them. The ass hattery they pull game in and game out, is just asinine. Those are two guys I wouldn't mind seeing speared in the junk.
  • Edler scored a long powerplay goal with with just under 3 minutes to go in the game, through screens from about 5 players. Emery was cheating to the wrong side to see around the Canucks player standing in his front porch and was beaten on the stick side. 3-2 Hawks.
The Ugly

  • The Blackhawks choked on not 1; not 2; but three first period breakaways. Hossa, Bolland and Shooter all had 1-on-1 chances with Schneider but failed to capitalize. Two of those breakaways were on the same Hawks penalty kill. You have to cash in on at LEAST one of those. Looking ahead, just one of those scores would have avoided the Shootout drama.
  • Weise took a cheap shot at Kruger, not by what could have been a clean hit, but because he left his feet. Dull-ig took exception, drawing the misconduct and the instigation penalty. Shocking, I know. How Weise got away with that is beyond me. He only got a fighting penalty on the play.
  • The first Canucks goal was truly brutal. Daniel Sedin just drove up Emery's left side, and threw a backhand at the net. For some reason, Emery chose to use the one knee down method which left an opening right down through his 5-hole. Sedin hit him in the chest and it fell down through the hole and into the net like a soda machine gulping up a quarter. Awful goal.
  • Jannik Hansen pulled a real douchebag move by elbowing Hossa in the back of the head as Hossa went for a head high puck. Hansen has no intention of playing the puck and SHOULD get a call from Brendan Shanaban. Such an asshole move for the member of a team that cried like a bunch of little sissy bitches when Deuce took out Sedin last year. Same fucking circumstance, except it was to the back of a defenseless player's head. Hossa never returned to the game, and you have to figure he's got yet another concussion. If Hossa has to miss time, there has to be a suspension for Hansen.
  • Just as you might fear, with the goalie pulled, after two failed Oduya clearing chances, Asshat Kevin Bieksa let a 55 foot shot go that beat Emery again on the stick side to tie the game with under 2 minutes to play. Couldn't come from any bigger ball bag.
The Shootout

  • El Capitan lost control of the puck
  • Schroeder was stopped by Emery
  • Crazy 8s was the lucky recipient of Schneider scoring on himself after a ref conference with Toronto confirmed the goal.
  • Higgins took his time and beat Emery
  • Shaw beat Schneider blazed in and beat Schneider.
  • Emery snagged Kesler's attempt with his glove.

Here are the video highlights:

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Blackhawks vs. Kings - Win Recap

"Hockey Day in Merica"

Sunday afternoon's game against the LA Kings was the center piece of the NBC Hockey Day in America festivities. This game was somewhat full circle for the Hawks. They opened up this regulation undefeated streak in LA, and they looked to continue it at home against the same Kings. The Kings haven't has as much success trying to defend their Stanley Cup championship, coming in 5-5-2. The Hawks were without Corey Crawford once again, so Ray Emery was playing his second game in a row for the first time this season.

The Hawks came out fast and furious for a second straight game. They had 4 shots on net before the Kings knew what hit them, and it was 9-3 by the time the Hawks went up 2-0. They finished the period out shooting the Kings 11-8, and taking that 2-0 into the middle period.

It took less than minute into the second for the Hawks to go up 3-0 on the Kings, and the pressure didn't stop there. They out shot the Kings 20-10 in the second period alone, and it seemed like they might roll. The third period would tell another story.

From the time that the Kings scored a very early powerplay goal, the play was slanted towards the Hawks end. The Kings out shot the Hawks 9-5 in the period, and the pressure was heavily in the Kings favor, all period long. The Kings followed up their early PP goal with another powerplay goal about halfway through the period, to bring the game within one. Late theatrics aside, the Hawks held off a Kings powerplay with a pulled goalie to win 3-2. Next victim Vancouver, on Tuesday.

The Good

  • Seabrook and the fourth line opened up the scoring just over 5 minutes into the first period. Quick had no stick and the Kings defense lost track of Seabrook, who snuck around and sat on the back door. Keith had a bead on Seabrook and it him across the ice with a wide open net in front of him. 1-0 Hawks.
  • El Capitan followed up Seabrook's goal, with a powerplay goal of his own. Keith picked up his second assist of the period using a slap pass right to the tape of Toews, and he redirected it off the post. The puck sat on the goal line long enough for Toews to follow up and poke it into the net. 2-0 Hawks.
  • Shooter scored his first goal in what seems like forever, in the first minute of the second period. Oduya used the end boards to pass to Toews on the back side of the net. El Capitan couldn't put it in the net, but Sharp picked up the puck in the slot and beat Quick. Quick was way out of position and you have to think the Hawks were in his head at this point.
  • There is always one Hawks center that absolutely sucks at the dot, and more times than not that player is Bolland. Sunday's game was no different. Bolland wore the dunce cap once again, going 5 for 13. The rest of the guys were all over 50%.
  • Marcus Kruger has been outstanding this year, and for as much as he dropped off in Rockford, he's been that good for the Hawks. Goals, Assists, puck control, penalty killing. He's done it all, and he really deserves to be moved up the depth chart. After making this observation, Kruger got a shift with Kane and Sharp and didn't look out of place one bit. I'd really like to see him on the third line with Shaw on the fourth, but you can't argue with success at this point. It's a good problem to have.
The Bad

  • A Sharpie penalty very early in the third period led to the Kings breaking the Hawks shutout. Mike Richards let a long shot go from the point that eluded Emery, and brought the Kings within 2 goals. It'll be a hit against the penalty kill, but they can't be perfect. Emery could have had that shot.
  • Mike Richards scored his second powerplay goal of the game through a Hjalmarsson screen to give the Kings life in the later moments of the third period. Doughty made a nice blind backhand pass to Richards at the blue line who used the Hawks defender to beat Emery, who had no chance
  • The Hawks penalty kill had a rough afternoon, going 2 for 4. Not good at all.
The Ugly

  • Seabrook took a shot in what looked like the arm, or maybe the groin, on a Kings powerplay. The shot was high and Seabrook went down like he was shot. Not a good sign at all. Seabrook would have been a huge loss. Luckily he came out for the second period, after some TLC in the locker room.
  • To follow up Seabrook's injury, Hammer was injured early in the second period and returned, as well.
  • very late in the third, the Kings' Williams interfered with Emery pretty deliberately and Oduya gave him a few shots in his goalie's defense, earning a penalty. I would be a little frustrated too, if a guy went at my goalie like that and wasn't called. I can't rag on him for coming to his goalie's defense. I'd be much more upset if Williams was allowed to pull that bullshit without retribution.

Here are the video highlights:

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Blackhawks vs. Sharks - Win Recap

"Shark Fishing"

The San Jose Sharks were in town Friday night to take another shot at the Blackhawks, but this time it was in the Hawks territory. After losing to the Hawks on Feb 5th, the Sharks continued the cold streak, losing the next three games (1-ot, 1-so, 1-reg) while only scoring 2 goals in that span. This should be prime fishing season against a struggling team.

Ray Emery was slated to start the game, even before it was announced that Crawford had sustained an injury in practice Thursday. Newly acquired Henrik Karlsson was recalled friday morning to take Crawford's place backing up Emery. Other than that development, the Hawks were in tact, and still riding that regulation undefeated streak. Live from the United Center, in Chicago, it's the Blackhawks and the Sharks.

The Hawks opened up the game with dominance in the Sharks zone, but that ended about half way in, when the game slowed down as a result of a plethora of whistles. With a late goal, and 9 shots on net, the Hawks out worked the Sharks on top of out scoring them.

The Second was more domination by the Hawks. They scored two goals and yielded one, but they out shot the Sharks by a wide margin, 17-8 in the period. The Sharks looked exactly like the team that everyone expected before the season began. Tired and over the hill. It'll be entertaining to watch everyone abandon ship in the very near future.

The Sharks put a feeble fight up in the third, but the game was pretty much out of hand with a terrible fourth Hawks goal, which put the Sharks on the slab. The final shot totals heavily favored the Hawks at 37-28. The Sharks continue to fall and the Hawks continue to roll.

The Good

  • After killing off most of a 4 minute powerplay courtesy of the El Capitan and drawing a penalty of their own, Dave Bolland and Crazy 8's scored the first goal of the game. Bolland drew the penalty on the previous play, and followed up the next shift scoring the goal on his own rebound with Kaner driving the net. Niemi lost site of the rebound on Bolland's initial shot and he easily stuffed it into the net.
  • Just a few minutes into the second Antti Niemi looked like a three year old chasing a puppy, trying to handle a soft Kruger dump in on net. The puck jumped up over Niemi's glove, hit the post, and skipped around behind him. Kruger followed up his rebound in enough time to find a puck and a wide open net. UC terrible Ice 1, Niemi 0.
  • Shock-N-Shaw put the Hawks up 3-1 on the powerplay, after a patient play by Deuce at the point, with 5 minutes remaining in the second period. Deuce drove up the slot with the puck and put a relatively unopposed shot on Niemi. Shaw whacked away at the rebound, and the puck flipped up and over Niemi, ending up in the net.
  • Hjalmarsson put the Hawks up 4-1 on yet another terrible goal in the third period. Hammer let a 55 foot shot go that looked harmless, but ended up floating over a lazy Niemi.
  • Crazy 8's spun Brent Burns around like a top after a tremendous rush that ended up drawing a penalty in the middle of the second period. It's scary how dominant Kane is controlling the puck. That's what you call some silky mitts, folks.
  • Everyone but Kruger was over 50% at the dots, including Bolland. I like!
  • When your fourth line is a combined plus 6 with 4 points, you're doing something right.
The Bad

  • The Sharks got back in the game with a goal by Tim Kennedy after him and Logan Couture were able to get in 2-on-1 against Seabrook and Emery. Kennedy caught Emery over pursuing, reversed back through the crease and around Emery. 2-1 Hawks
The Ugly

  • In probably the only time I've ever seen such a display, El Capitan instigated a fight with Jumbo Joverated Thornton in the first period. Must be some hard feelings after Thornton sucker punched Toews last year, and likely cause his concussion. This was immediately after Thornton's knees buckled like a child when Toews nudged him from behind in the corner. Thornton is such a big soft pussy that it's sickening, but this doesn't explain Jonny's actions. I'm not really sure what inspired him to, not only get into a fight, but instigate the fracas by chasing Thornton down. Bizarro world. Honestly, I would have loved to see Toews knock his teeth out.
  • Swedeberg had an awful turnover in the second period, that resulted in a great Sharks 1-on-Emery chance, and was followed up by about a good minute of threatening San Jose pressure. Terribly selfish and brainless play. He only saw about 9 minutes of ice time but, honestly, none of the forth line broke 10 minutes. That being said, Kruger had a goal and an assist on HIS 9 minutes.
  • Just when you think the Hawks powerplay is ass, the Sharks show up. That was one terribly awful powerplay. I can't honestly say I remember one solid powerplay chance.

Here are the video highlights:

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Ignorance is Bliss - Gripes and Grudges

Any person that has played a sport for any serious team or organization knows that perfection is expected. None of this "just have fun" crap. I'm just as guilty as the next guy, and it stems from playing 4 years of high school football at a highly competitive state football powerhouse from the 80's and 90's. Every play was broken down, analyzed, and critiqued. This has carried on into my adult life, and it's something most casual fans will never understand. This is how college, semi-pro, and professional teams are run, whether you want to believe it or not.

This being said, we are all aware that the Blackhawks are doing very well, but perfect they are not. The Penalty Kill has been out of this world, and the kids have played well. Patrick Kane and Hossa have been dominant, the goaltending has been more than anyone expected, and the defense has been solid from top to bottom. Let's be realistic here, though. They cannot keep this pace up for 48 games in 99 days. It's just not humanly possible. Any number of those highs will flatten out, and honestly, we should all be thankful that they have even maintained the crazy success this long. It's an achievement. Kudos to them!

The point I'm trying to convey here, is that there are some concerns that will need to be corrected or at least improved, if they want to continue this kind of success into May and June. Just sitting back and ignoring the problems until they become game deciding glaring weaknesses is just absurd and ignorant. So this is where I point out the weaknesses, so just click that little "X" in the top corner if you can't handle critcism and you would like to continue to enjoy your ignorant bliss.

The Powerplay
The powerplay this season (18% - 16th) isn't as bad as it was last year (15% - 26th); YET. The problem is that the early season success has lulled people into a false sense of security. The powerplay, in its current state, is not as good as the overall numbers might have you believe. The were able to get power play goals in 5 of the first 7 games (7-26, 27%), which was really great.

The last 6 games is where things have leveled out for the Hawks powerplay. Outside of a few PPGs in a that Phoenix debacle that mites could have scored, they only have 1 powerplay goal. The numbers of this dry spell support this, with the Hawks going 3-27 (11%), including a 1-6 showing against the second worst PK in the league (Anaheim).

The powerplay has been overlooked because the Hawks have been winning, but this will become a glaring issue when the do start to level off. They are dropping to last year's level pretty quickly, and there hasn't been much to be excited about. The two powerplays in overtime Tuesday were downright ugly.

Anyone not named Jonathan Toews (60%) has been pretty terrible, and more specifically Dave Bolland (40%) has been atrocious. The problem with this number is that Bolland centers a line that thrives on puck possession. While his play has been adequate for the second line, he is putting them at a disadvantage right off the bat with his inadequacy. Again, this hasn't bitten them in the ass, just yet, but it could become a problem very quickly.

Now that I mentioned it, Shaw and Kruger haven't exactly lit the world on fire with their faceoff percentages either. Shaw is at 48% and Kruger is hovering around 43%.

The only way I can see this improving is by trade, because there isn't anyone in Rockford that will do any better, and you don't just learn over night. If there were possible Rockford candidates, they would already be playing with the big boys every night.

Now I am, by no means a doom and gloom guy, but instead of breaking their arms patting themselves on the back, these things need to be improved.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Blackhawks vs. Ducks - SO Loss Recap


If it seems like we've danced to this song before, it's because we have. The Blackhawks faced one of the hottest Western conference teams, Tuesday night, with the only difference being that this game was actually in some place called the United Center. I'm not really sure what this place is all about, but I'm told that it is a very festive place.

Back to the subject at hand, the Anaheim Ducks. Previously, the Hawks had faced hot teams that were going to "provide a huge test", and each time the Hawks overcame. The only real threat the Hawks faced was Calgary who, oddly enough, is in the deepest depths of Western Conference hell.

The Ducks came in allowing almost a full goal more a game than the Hawks, while scoring a few hundredths of a percentage point less. Corey Perry, Teemu Selanne, Ryan Getzlaf, Bobby Ryan, and Saku Koivu can always put the puck in the net, and Rookie Victor Fasth was in net for an injured Jonas Hiller. The key for the Hawks was to jump on Anaheim early, because a comeback would be extremely hard against this squad. They were just as well rested as the Blackhawks, so the big advantage the Hawks held was the home ice. Live from the United Center, it's the Hawks and the Ducks...

The first period of action was just that, action. There was a sense of anticipation in the crowd with plenty of clearly audible "Ooo's" and "Ahh's". Each team had some great chances, but none were able to result in goals. The Hawks out shot the visitors 9-8, and they were setting the plate for what looked to be a great game.

Both teams amped up their play in the middle period with the Ducks out shooting the Hawks 14-12, but the Hawks out scored the Ducks 2-1. Several powerplays both ways definitely figured into the scoring and the shot totals, with the chippiness jumping up a couple of levels.

The third period was a completely different pace than the previous two. The Hawks seemed to go into defensive mode, and the Ducks were on the attack most of the period out shooting the Hawks 9-6. Sooner or later, that is going to turn out bad for the defensive team, and it did. The Duck scored a late goal that tied the game up and sent it into overtime. The regulation undefeated streak was still in tact and the Hawks were able to gain another point. The Hawks were not able to cash in on two OT powerplays which sent the game into a shootout. The Ducks shooters were on target, and the Hawks shooters weren't, which led to a Ducks Shootout win.

The Good

  • Shooter and Frolik were each able to out run Ducks defenders, negating two icing calls in the first 10 minutes alone with ferocious a forechecking.
  • In a first period, Kruger and Frolik gave the Ducks fits on the PK. Kruger single handedly held off 3 Ducks players and killed about 20 seconds off the powerplay, deep in the Ducks zone. Frolik followed up with some great neutral zone defense himself.
  • Crawford was 1-on-1 and dead to rights with Corey Perry in his grill during a first period powerplay. Crawford absolutely stoned him with a beautiful glove save, that will be replayed the rest of this season ad nauseum. Good for him, though. He deserves some accolades after that shitstorm he endured last season.
  • I cannot believe I'm typing this, but Bryan Bickell threw a check, and not only that, but big clean check on Getzlaf at the halfway point of the game. Staubitz took exception, in what has become customary in this league, and drew an instigator penalty. On the ensuing powerplay, Nick Leddy tied the game up, with a big one time feed from Shooter. That quick (17 seconds into the powerplay) the game was tied.
  • Thirty seconds after the Leddy goal, a spectacular effort by Saad ended up in the net after a lengthy video review. There was a huge scrum in the crease after Saad's shot skipped up and over Fasth's shoulder. dribbling towards the goal line. It looked at first like Sbiza saved the puck, but the video room in Toronto thought otherwise. 2-1 Hawks
  • The Hawks penalty kill is no joke or fluke. They were saddled with a 40 second 5-on-3 and followed up with 40 more seconds of 5-on-4 time, late in the second period. They killed both off masterfully. Seabrook, Kruger, and Hjalmarsson were stellar for that entire 5-on-3 segment.
  • Two games in a row with Roszival over Brookbank, and I'm perfectly happy with that.
  • The Hawks sent an OT powerplay unit of Toews, Kane, Sharp and Hossa out on the ice, and I can't say I've seen the Hawks send out 4 forwards out there, like that, and they didn't generate the chances you'd expect those 4 to generate against a team that was 2nd worst in the league, coming in. Let me repeat that; SECOND WORST PK IN THE LEAGUE
  • If it weren't for Bolland getting his dick knocked in the dirt at the dots, the Hawks could have been over 60% as a team. Bolland was a brutal 6 of 18 (33%). If this doesn't get better, something needs to be adjusted.
The Bad

  • Andrew Cogliano took advantage of a Patrick Kane turnover deep in the Hawks zone to tie the game up with just over 2 minutes left in the game. Kane waited too long to dump the puck out of the zone, or really do anything at all, and was muscled off the puck. I'm not really sure just what he was waiting for, but Lovejoy ended up with the puck and sent a wrist shot towards Crawford. The shot was redirected and landed right on the tape of Cogliano. Easy tap in, and tie game. Nothing Crawford could have done with that one.
  • The Hawks shootout lineup continued to disappoint, going 1-3. Saad went third but couldn't pull out the shootout goal to tie it back up.
The Ugly

  • I'm not really sure what Eddie O was bitching about after the Bickell hit/fight, but he had his knickers in a knot. He was babbling on about how he understands that Staubitz was sticking up for his teammate, but Bickell shouldn't have to drop his gloves just because he put a big hit on a player. Look Edzo, it's not Bickell's choice to be attacked, and he needed to defend himself. Just because you would have turtled like a 10 year old girl, doesn't mean it makes sense.
  • Anaheim took a 1-0 lead on the powerplay, early in the second period. Getzlaf was open along the left goal line and tried to hit Corey Perry across the crease on the back door, Seabrook's attempt at blocking the pass turned into a redirection right past Crawford, and into the net. Flukey play, and again, nothing Crawford could do.
  • Other than the Leddy goal, the Hawks powerplay didn't really do much. That one goal was enough to lull the casual fan into a false sense of security, but their power really hasn't been anything special.
  • I'm so fucking tired of repeating that Dull-ig couldn't manage more than 7 shifts or over 5 minutes of ice time. Maybe Carcillo returning will fill the last spot, that will allow Quenneville to actually roll 4 full lines. Bollig belongs in Rockford, plain and simple. Enough of the bullshit. I can't believe I'm actually asking for Carcillo back.

The Shootout

  • El Capitan beat Fasth through the 5-Hole
  • Bonino juked Crawford
  • Kaner was denied by Fasth
  • Perry beat Crawford high stick side
  • Saad was denied slow and low.

Here are the video highlights:

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Blackhawks at Nashville - Win Recap

"Everything To Nothing"

The Hawks rolled into Nashville Sunday night, to wrap up their extended road trip. When the season began, most people with brain not consisting of mashed bananas figured that if the Hawks could come out of this trip with 60-70% success, everything would be rainbows and unicorns. Well, if the Hawks were able to manage a point Sunday night, they will have gotten a point in not only 6 straight road games, but every game this season. No one could have predicted this success, but us fans certainly weren't complaining. As far as Nashville was concerned, they came in with a 5-2-4 record and some very bi-polar play. They started the season cold, but warmed up to beat teams like the Kings, Blues and Sharks, recently. As one would expect, the goalies in Nashville have been playing incredible. Rinne and Mason were giving up less than 2 goals a game, but their offense was barely averaging 2 goals a game. I would have gathered that this one was going to be a tight scoring game but, this season, anything is possible. Live from Nashville Tennessee, it's the Blackhawks and the Predators...

The opening period was about as boring as could be, which would be the motif of the night. Even though this was the case, the Hawks out shot the Preds 10-3, but didn't manage any goals. The Hawks obviously had the better of the chances, but Pekka Rinne was not going to give up many easy goals.

The second was similar to the first, and who really expected anything less from a Preds game? The Hawks were able to net a couple of goals while severely out shooting Nashville once again, 10-4. After two periods, the Preds couldn't even average 5 shots a period.

The final period was as boring as the first two, with the Preds waking up long enough to actually out shoot the Hawks 10-7, but it was the Hawks that scored the only goal of the period. When the final horn went off, the Blackhawks had their first shutout in 102 games, and had taken 22 out of a possible 24 points.

The Good

  • I was glad to seen Michal Rozsival back in the lineup, and Sheldon Brookbank wearing a suit in the press box. He not only returned, but he was a plus 2 on the night.
  • Of the 10 first period shots, Brandon Saad had 4. Officially, he didn't have any more shots, but he certainly had chances.
  • Marcus Kruger took advantage of a Preds giveaway, and resulting screen, to snap off a wrist shot and beat Rinne for a Hawks 1-0 lead, almost half way through the second period. The play just looked like a sloppy zone entry, when Roman Jossi chose to use his skate rather than his stick to clear the puck at the blue line. The puck ended up right on the tape of Kruger, who snapped it past a Jossi screen.
  • Just about a minute after the Kruger goal, Duece used El Capitan as a pylon, and banked a backhand shot off Toews and past Rinne. Keith made a sweet drag around the winger and cut to the net. Once he was in the clear, he sent a backhand towards the net that hit Toews and dribbled past Rinne.
  • Crazy 8's put the Hawks up 3-0 about 5 minutes into the third period on a brutal shit. Kane drove right up the ice and up the left boards. When he gt to about the same position he scored the 2010 cup winning goal, he fired it through Rinne's 5-hole. Terrible goal for Rinne to give up.
The Bad

  • Andrew Shaw tried to get into a tussle with Rich Clune, and ended up absorbing half a dozen shots to the head with no answer.
  • Anyone notice Shea Weber out there? Neither did the Blackhawks.
The Ugly

  • Andrew Shaw only won 3 of 10 faceoffs. That's really the only ugly stat.

Here are the video highlights:

Friday, February 8, 2013

Blackhawks at Phoenix - Win Recap


And the hits just keep on coming. The Hawks were in sunny far southwestern Quebec, aka Phoenix, to visit the Yotes and recently paroled, pea brained primate Raffi Torres. The Twatterverse had been abuzz with the prospect of getting at the cement headed ginger, after his near decapitation of Marian Hossa last spring. Honestly, I was just plain sick of it. If he wanted to run around the ice with a sickle in his hand and get himself exiled for an even more extended period time, let him. He's an asshat. The Blackhawks had their sights set on much bigger targets, like continuing their lead of the Western conference. You all know the drill, and this roster, so there is no use boring you once again with the details. Live from Phoenix, it's the Blackhawks and the Coyotes...

It didn't take long for the Hawks to start with the shenanigans, but luckily it was out of the way and done with, early. Once that charade was over, the Hawks opened up such a big lead, so fast, that Phoenix couldn't recover. They scored 4 goals on 17 shots, and completely took the game away from the Yotes.

The second period settled down some, but there were still two more Hawks goals on 6 shots, and the Yotes finally broke the shutout on 10 shots of their own. The fight had been sucked out of them in the first period, so both teams were going through the motions.

The third period had even less fight than the second. There were 10 shots either way, and Phoenix actually mustered up a late goal, but both teams were going through the motions. When all was said and done, the Hawks walked out of the desert with a convincing 6-2 win.

The Good

  • Just over 8 minutes into the game, Shock-n-Shaw set up Swedeberg for a nice one time goal that looked like it caught Smith off guard. Shaw cut up the middle of the ice and pushed the puck past Chipchura. He made a nice move to slide around Chipchura, and once he caught up to the puck, Shaw pushed it over to a surprisingly open Swedeberg. The handsome Swede snapped it past Smith, while two Yotes defenders skated within 5 feet of Stalberg watching him snipe their goalie. This was the beginning of about 20 minutes of hell for Smith. How is that stupid haircut working for you now, Smitty? He might want to consider shaving his head, ASAP!
  • Roughly two minutes later, with about 6 minutes left in the first, the Hawks used a 2 man powerplay advantage to take a 2-0 lead. Shooter ended up with a great chance on a back door feed from Seabrook, that Smith was able to stop. The puck bounced around between everyone's legs long enough for El Capitan to shovel it over to Crazy 8's, who was sitting outside the scrum and to the right of the net. Kane had a wide open net and that's not one he'll likely miss. It was especially satisfying watching Mike Smith throwing a tantrum, on his belly like a child, after the goal.
  • Just under three minutes after the Kane goal, he earned his second point of the night, feeding Bolland for a one timer in the slot. Crazy 8's skated in the Coyotes zone fairly uncontested. He pulled his new favorite move, turning and skating with his back to the defender like he might pull a spin-o-rama, but instead reversed and fed a trailing Bolland for the one timer. I'm not really sure just what the fuck Derek Morris was doing, but he left Bolland wide open, while backing into and screening his goalie. If I was Smitty, and I'm glad I'm not, I'm ready to spear Morris in the groin after that bullshit effort. Dave Tippett should have pulled Smith at this point, because the snowball was gaining momentum. Not that Smith played terrible, but the Hawks were curl stomping all over the Yotes. He dropped the ball on this one. 3-0 Hawks.
  • Another Hawks two man advantage resulted in the forth goal of the first period, with under 2 minutes left. Crazy 8's and Shooter on the back door of the power play is going to give goalies night terrors this season. This time, instead of Kane feeding Shooter, it was the other way around. Shooter sent a laser pass across the crease to Kane on the back door for a lightning quick one timer. Three points for Kane, and three for Sharp in about 8 minutes. I told you that you should have pulled Smith, Tippett. That's right, Boss, just let the boys pick off the carcass. 4-0 Hawks.
  • Just past the 12 minute mark of the second, El Capitan felt it was time to whip his dong out on the table and join the party. He carried the puck up the right wing, 2 on 2, with Saad. Instead of forcing a tough pass across to Saad, he caught Yotes prodigy Oliver Ekman-Larrsen in some kind of daze, with his stick in bad position and leaning the wrong way. Toews read this brilliantly, shifted gears towards the net, and snapped a wrist shot past Smith for a 5-1 Hawks lead. Again, what the fuck is Tippett doing leaving Smith in the game? The team had clearly quit on him. The media should roast him for this, if anyone in Phoenix even cares any more.
  • With 5 minutes remaining in the second period, the Hawks finished off their scoring onslaught, as Swedeberg stole a puck behind the Yotes net and fed it to One Trick Bick. Bickell was basically left alone on the back door to snap the puck into a gaping net. Finally, Smitty's night was over, but at this point, what was the difference? He was done 3 goals ago.
  • 33-24 is right about what you would look for, from the Hawks, as far as shots.
  • The Hawks were 54% at the dots, which is right where you'd ask, as well.
  • Seabrook added to his league lead in blocked shots with 5 more last night. The dude is a consistant machine and if I had a man crush on anyone on this team, it's Lucky Number Sleven. Hjalmarsson had 4 blocks, himself, which has him at 6th in the league, and Oduya added two to put him at #18 in the league. Some big numbers under the radar.
  • Kane is obviously as hot as a player can be. Second in the league in scoring, behind the unconscious Tomas Vanek in Buffalo. This is exactly why all the meatballs that were screaming to trade him after last year, and after the Madison incident need to be collectively dumped in the fucking lake. FU-CKING IDIOTS!!!
The Bad
  • About 5 minutes into the second period, the Yotes finally broke the scoreboard with a redirected powerplay goal. Vrbata walked the blue line, and ripped a long shot on Emery, who was left alone with Hanzel camped on his front porch. It was hard enough for him to see the shot without a redirect complicating matters. Can't really fault him for this goal. It was only the third powerplay goal they have given up, in 11 games. As much as I'd like to hate on this, those are exceptional numbers, and this game was already out of reach.
  • Just for good measure, the Hawks, who had lost interest about 20 minutes previous, gave up a slop goal to Bananaphone Torres in the final 2 minutes of play. I'm sure they meatballs will have a good time with this because it was Torres, but no one cared at this point? Take your worthless goal, asshole, because it matches the rest of your game; worthless and insignificant.
The Ugly
  • It didn't take long for the meatball asshattery to begin. Two and a half minutes into the game, and in the most anticlimactic moment of the season thus far, MegaMayers grabbed a Raffi Torres and the two did the dance of stupidity. Torres was already chirping at the bench and Mayers jumped right off the bench and dropped the mitts. Torres had the edge in the and tussle. Mayers lost his balance the two went down in a heap; Whatever. I get it. Veteran clubhouse guy doing his job. Can we all move on, now? This is almost a fucking year old for fucks sakes.
Here are the video highlights:

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Blackhawks at San Jose - Win Recap

"One Blackhawks Nation Under Saad"

Sorry for the late recap, but some of us have lives and late rink time, so eat it!

With a little help from Anaheim Ducks, this was not a matchup of teams with no regulation losses, but it was still a matchup of two of the hottest, or maybe luckiest, teams in the NHL. Between the two of them, the Hawks and Sharks had 1 regulation loss, with the Sharks losing in Anaheim Monday night. Not much different on this Sharks team than years past. You have Jeremy Roenick's favorite Shark, Pat Marleau; former Blackhawks Martin Havlat, Michal Handzus, Antti Niemi, and Adam Burish; as well as Jumbo/Gentile Joe Thornton. If the Hawks came out like the team that gave up 40-something shots to the pitiful Flames, then they were going to have a drastically different turnout in San Jose. This one almost got out of hand in a hurry. Live from San Jose, California, it's the Shark and Blackhawks...

I probably wasn't the only one that watched the first 10 minutes of the first period and thought the Hawks were going to be whaloped. They were certainly due for a whaloping, and based on their play against Calgary, it looked like that bullet was coming down the chamber. Luckily, that never happened. The Hawks reached down, whipped out their coconuts, and they fought back mere seconds after the Sharks took a 3-1 lead, and eventually evened up the score. The first ended up a track meet, and that usually favors the Hawks. They out shot the Sharks 16-10 and took that 3-3 tie into the second period.

After that wide open first period the game settles down, and the Sharks regained a little composure, doubling up the Hawks in shots 12-6. The Hawks scored the only goal of the middle 20 minutes, during a 4-on-4, and took that one goal lead into the final frame.

The Hawks stood tall in the third, even though they were out shot once again. They eventually scored a late open net goal to ice the game, and leave San Jose with all their vital organs intact. It wasn't pretty but it was effective, and the Hawks maintained their regulation undefeated streak. Next up, Southwestern Quebec, aka Phoenix, in the desert.

The Good

  • Brandon Saad finally broke his NHL scoreless streak, getting his first goal in a huge way. The Hawks were on their heels and the fire was stirring when Lucky Number Sleven and El Capitan worked a nice give-n-go high in the Sharks zone. Seabrook knifed up the middle of the Sharks zone and dished to The Saadfather, on the back door, for a one timer past Niemi. Huge goal for a number of reasons, not the least of which being that the whole team is pulling for this kid, and they all seem to love him. A #20 jersey might be in my future, because I share the love for him. 2-1 Sharks.
  • Eight seconds after the Handzus goal, Swedeberg carried the puck into the Sharks zone and dumped it around the boards. Bickell picked it up and reversed it back around the net, feeding a wide open Shawfacts right on Niemi's front porch, to immediately grab the momentum back. I'm not sure what the hell the Sharks were doing, but it had nothing to do with playing defense. That fast, the Hawks were back in the game. 3-2 Sharks.
  • Less than a minute after the Shaw goal another kid, Marcus Kruger, tied the game back up on a bad Sharks turnover. Frolik picked up a free puck and fired it off Niemi from a tight angle, but Kruger picked up the rebound and deposited it into the net around Niemi, completing the comeback. The first period wasn't even complete, there were 6 goals on the board, and both Coaches had used their timeouts.
  • Crawford settled down, after the three initial goals, and regained his composure. At one point, He was one-on-one with Marleau's hot, dog breath in his grill. Crawford stuffed him, and the rest is history.
  • After the Mayers/Keith/Desjardins fracas (more on this below) the Hawks, more specifically El Capitan and Crazy 8's, used the open ice to clown the Sharks deep in their own zone and take the lead. Toews led the rush, 2-on-3, and dropped it to Kane, who never really got anything on a shot. Murray ended up with the puck and Niemi went down in the confusion. Murray tried to control the puck, so he could send the Sharks back the other way, but Toews picked his pocket in disgusting fashion. Instead of forcing a shot that Niemi would likely eat up, Toews fed Crazy 8's, who had curled back at the dot, and Kane beat Niemi. Just not fair. Lets trade that Kane kid. He's a lazy alcoholic bum, who has no heart. Dumb Meatballs! 4-3 Hawks.
  • Kane closed out the Sharks night with an open netter, to complete a 2 goal night. Clutch from Crazy 8's. 5-3 Hawks
  • Three shots on net for Frolik in under 9 minutes of ice time and a vital part in the game tying goal. The kid just keeps doing his job. I'm loving it.
  • Faceoffs were fairly even for both teams, even though Scott Gomez was 10 and 1 at the dots. No need to investigate him, Stan. Bolland and Kruger are doing just fine getting dong smacked at the dots, nightly.
  • El Capitan was a forechecking beast with 4 takeaways. Just ask Douglas Murray what he thinks of that.
The Bad

  • It didn't take long for the Hawks to pick the puck out of their own net. About three minutes in, Dan Boyle took a long point shot that Crawford fought off, but the rebound plopped down right in front of a disturbingly wide open Joe Pavelski who easily shoveled it into a gaping net. How Pavelski was able to sit between Brookbank, Oduya, and Kruger without anyone picking him up is beyond me. 1-0 Sharks.
  • Havlat and Murray took a combined minus six for the night. Good job, boys! Doug Murray is a tank, though. I'd still take him on my blue line. He tossed Shawfacts around like a rag doll. I give Shaw credit though, because he doesn't know the word quit and comes back for more punishment each time.
  • The Hawk were out hit again, but this is nothing new. Pretty much par for the course here, but the Meatballs will cry foul and scream for people like Kane to "hit someone", which is asinine, because the guy is basically 140lbs. Fools.
The Ugly

  • Just over two minutes after the Pavelski tally, Sheldon Brookbank did his best Chris Campoli impression in the neutral zone, and Tommy Wingels beat Crawford up the left wing, on a pretty marginal goal. Yes, Pat, we understand Wingels is from the Chicago area, and reminding me every shift gets old, very fast. He's not the first or last player to come out of Chicago, so let's say you drop it, capisce? Anyhow, Quenneville wisely used his timeout to call in someone with a fire extinguisher, because the Sharks looked like they were going to run away with this game. 2-0 Sharks, but smart move be Q to stop the bleeding.
  • Under a minute after the Saad goal, the Sharks regained their 2 goal lead, when Tommy Wingels, whom I've heard is from the Chicago area, got his second point of the night. Wingels took advantage of an odd man situation and fed the trailer, Handzus, for another fairly soft goal. I'll be honest, I probably would have pulled Crawford at that point, but Quenneville stuck with his guy, and it eventually payed off. 3-1 Sharks.
  • I might be in the minority, but I didn't have a big problem with the Desjardins hit on MegaMayers. It was more shoulder to shoulder, but the jolt rattled the cobwebs in Jamal's head. Maybe it was interference, but as far as hits go, it was fairly clean. Furthermore, I'm usually against the retaliation to big hits, but I kind of like to see the usually level headed Keith stand up for his teammate. He jumped in and stuck up for a fourth liner that is highly respected in the locker room. I still think Keith was a little wonky from the elbow to the ribs that he had taken, because he was a little "on edge", similar to the Sedin saga from last season. This may be a turning point in the brotherhood of this team. Now, the 19 minutes in penalties Keith earned is another subject altogether. The "Instigator with a shield" penalties is a stupid fucking rule. You're not deterring players from starting a fight, you're dettering players from wearing shields. Just plain moronic. Either way, I think it was a hockey play, and the Sharks should cry foul if there is any follow up punishment to the hit. Mayers was left hung out to dry on a suicide pass by Keith and got caught with his head down. Maybe Keith was feeling guilty for the pass, adnthat's why he jumped Desjardins.
  • Hjalmarsson didn't have his most productive game, turning the puck over a team high 5 times. Considering the level of play he's been hovering at, he was bound to have an off night. Hey, Doug Wilson, still want him?

Here are the video highlights:

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Blackhawks at Calgary
Shootout Win Recap

"Grand Larceny"

On to Calgary the Blackhawks go, after two straight shootout losses with little offense to speak of. Facing a team that came in with a 1-3-1 record should have been just what the doctor ordered. The Blackhawks were beginning to look like a team that started hot and had the rest of the league finally catch up with them. Stagnant offense was beginning to bite them in the ass, and things needed to change quickly or this road trip was going to turn into a disaster.

The Hawks actually came out of the box on the hot side but period of uncertainty in the middle of the period peppered the Hawks with shots, and the remainder of the period was pretty much spent in the Hawk end. There were bad turnovers and generally sloppy play, which supports my theory that the rest of the league is catching up to the Hawks level of play. The final shot tally was 10-6 in favor of the Flames.

When play in the second resumed, the Flames continued their hot play and pressure by testing the Hawks from every angle. Once again, the Flames out shot the Hawks 10-6 to lead 20-12 after 40 minutes. It could have easily been 2-0, if it hadn't been for the Hawks goaltending.

The third period was a Blackhawks dogshit circus, with the Flames dominating the entire period like a Harlem Globetrotters game. Somehow, someway, the Hawks took the lead, but that didn't last long. Calgary even took a lead with 30 seconds to play. In a game they had no business getting a point out of, they found themselves going to overtime, with a game tying goal very late. This is not a typo when I tell you that Calgary out shot the Hawks 24-6 in the third.

The Hawks did their best to give the game away in overtime as well, but Calgary couldn't finish. There were officially only 3 shots on net for Calgary in the overtime, but that was nowhere close to the truth of the matter. Ultimately, this game was decided in a shootout.

The Good

  • Razor is the only real bright light in the first period as far as the Blackhawks go, and he continued in the second. He was faced an Iginla breakaway in the second, and closed the 5-hole. The third period, overtime and shootout were all stellar by Emery, too. None of the goals were his fault.
  • Hossa had a shorthanded breakaway chance after a great shot block at the point, and tried to blast it through the 5-hole. Kiprusoff was one better, though.
  • Crazy 8's finally scored the first goal of the game after almost 44 minutes of scoreless hockey. Sharp wheeled behind the net and took a bad angle shot that surprised Kiprusoff, and the rebound ricocheted out into the slot where Kane launched it Kiprusoff who was down on his side. The shot was hard enough to sneak through and dribble in the net.
  • After the Bouwmeester goal everyone, including myself, figured the game was over. Calgary called a timeout, and the Hawks pulled Emery. With 2.1 seconds to play in the game, Hossa picked up a rebound in the slot and beat Kiprusoff, who was down and out. The Hawks had no business taking this game to overtime, and yet here they were.
  • Toews, Shaw and Mayers were all at, or around, 50% at the faceoff dots. Kruger only managed to win 3 out of 17.
The Bad

  • I can't say I'm overly enthused about the shift of Shaw to the second line, and Kruger only to the third. Kruger is much more suited for the second line than Shaw.
  • Dull-ig was back to his usual horseshit fighting Tim Jackman three and a half minutes into the game. Cementhead got a few shots in and cut Jackman's face, but was there really a reason for that, just 210 seconds into the game? I'm tired of repeating the waste of a roster spot that he is.
  • It was only a matter of time before the Emery's mastery and the penalty kill streak ended, and the third period was that time. Wideman took advantage of a Hawks late third period penalty, and banked it off Seabrook's skate and into the net. Absolutely nothing Ray Emery could do to stop that puck.
The Ugly

  • The Hawks offense, after the first few minutes of the first period was utterly pitiful. They could barely manage bad shots, much less a solid scoring chance. In reality, the goals they did manage in the third were really lucky.
  • Watching Kruger get thrown out of a faceoff and then Frolik earning a delay of game for also getting thrown out was just sad and pathetic.
  • As one would expect when you out shoot a team by 20 shots in a single period, the Flames used a Kane neutral zone turnover to take the lead with thirty seconds to go in the game. Everyone in the rink was sure that Calgary had won; but Marian Hossa...
  • There is no excuse to get dominated the way they were, by a very average team, and San Jose will shove it right up their ass Tuesday night.
The Shootout

  • Tanguay was bested by Emery across the crease
  • El Capitan ran out of real estate
  • Hudler was stoned by the glove of Emery
  • Crazy 8's beat Kiprusoff through the 5-Hole
  • Cervenka shot it over the net. Game...set...match

Here are the video highlights:

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Blackhawks at Vancouver - Shootout Loss Recap

"100 Ways To Hate"

For recent Hawks and Canucks fans, this is the game they have been waiting for. The first game of the season against the easily hated Vancouver Canucks. While some of the usual cast of clowns won't be playing or have been let go, Alex Burrows, Kevin Bieksa, and the ultra creepy ginger twins are still on hand. The Canucks came into this game 3-2-2 and with a continuingly annoying goalie controversy. Cory Schneider was anointed the starter after last season, and Borat was thrown on the trading block. Here we are into February of the next year, and Luongo is stealing starts from Schneider, like tonight. Live from Vancouver British Columbia, it's the Blackhawks and the Canucks.

As a few teams have done early in the season, the Canucks came out with momentum in the opening 20 minutes. AND as has happened a few times, an opposing goal woke the Hawks up. When the period ended, the shot clock said 9 each way, and the only goal was from the Canucks.

The Hawks used the momentum of some remaining overlapping powerplay time to come out hot in the second period, with several shots and great chances. The Hawks had picked up the pace, and managed 9 shots while yielding 6 to the home team. Unfortunately, the Canuck blanked them for a second straight period.

The Hawks were finally able to make some headway, in the third period, with a late goal on six shots. A few Vancouver powerplays allotted them six shots of their own, but neither team could score the go ahead goal. This one was going to overtime and eventually a shootout, for the second game in a row, to decide the extra point in the standings. All it took was one shootout goal to win it for Vancouver.

The Good

  • As badly as I wanted Hjalmarsson traded the last 18 months or so, I'm glad they didn't. He has been a beast on defense, and saved a possible goal by Zack Kassian.
  • The SaadFather continues to impress with a beautiful between the legs pass after drawing two defenders, to Hossa, and showed some serious speed on a great rush that drew a penalty in the first. He had an almost identical chance in the second, that drew another penalty.
  • Crazy 8's tied the game up with about 10 minutes left in the game, after Shooter was able to fight along the boards to keep the puck in the Nucks zone. He got it down low to Shock-n-Shaw, who turned and hit Kane's stick right on the tape. Kane delayed long enough for Luongo to fully commit, and leave just enough room to tie things up.
  • Crawford gave up one goal in 65 minutes of play. You can't ask for any more than that.
  • As with just about every other game this year, Toews and Kruger were over 50%; Shaw and Bolland were dick whipped at the dots.
  • The penalty kill is still on fire, but it's been more of a "bend-not-break" situation. They can't keep relying on it this way.
The Bad

  • It didn't take long for the Hawks, more specifically Hjalmarsson, to take a penalty. His was an interference call, that was really an iffy one. As they have all year, the Hawks killed it off very well.
  • Alex Edler gave the Canucks a 1-0 lead with about 5 minutes remaining in the first. The Hawks turned over the puck in the neutral zone and Keith had his stick knocked out of his hand. Zack Kassian ended up with the puck and held it long enough for the trailer, Edler, to catch the play. Edler did his job and sniped Crawford, who was dead to rights.
  • The powerplay looks to have fizzled once again. The chances they had looked very similar to the powerplays of last season. No movement, just stationary players playing catch. This needs to stop, because they have looked ridiculous on the powerplay for two straight games now.
The Ugly

  • Keeping with his usual douche bag shenanigans, Alexandria Burrows continued an offsides play by shooting the puck into the Hawks net well after the whistle. Sheldon Brookbank wasn't having any of that, and negated the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. I really loathe Pat Foley advocating those actions. Standing up for your teammate and canceling a powerplay opportunity are two different things. They would have fucked the powerplay up anyway, but it would have been nice to give it a shot.
  • Bolland looked to have hurt himself early in the third period. If that is the case, Stan Bowman better warm up his phone dialing finger, and bump up his cell phone plan, because the Hawks will need another center, quickly.
  • Immediately after scoring the tying goal, the Hawks proceeded to take two penalties, that resulted in a 40 second 5-on-3. Hello foot, this bullet is for you. Perfect way to kill momentum.
  • If you can't score a single goal in a shootout, you can't win, plain and simple. EXPECTING your goalie to be perfect is a terrible approach.
  • Speaking of the shootout, I can understand that Hossa isn't much of a shootout kind of guy, even though he's not a terrible choice, but Brandon Saad has been flying up and down the ice for a few games now, and is grossly overdue. So what does Quenneville do? "Hey, Leddy, get out there". Dumb; just fucking dumb.
  • Dull-ig was back down to under 5 minutes worth of ice time. Way to make that roster spot count, Joel, especially with Bolland going down with an injury. Rolling 10 forwards with back to back games is fucking brilliant roster management.
The Shootout

  • Burrows was snuffed by Crawford
  • Toews ran out of room on Luongo
  • Kassian was also snuffed by Crawford's leg
  • Kane and Luongo got too close for comfort.
  • Lapierre couldn't beat Crawford 5-hole
  • Shooter got all of Lou's glove.
  • Schroeder snuck one though the 5-hole.
  • Leddy shot it over the net. Game...set..match

Here are the video highlights:

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