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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Blackhawks at St. Louis - Loss Recap

"Down to None"

The last game of the regular season, and no one would have guessed the Blackhawks would have the luxury of sitting Toews, Kane, Sharp, Hossa, and Keith with no consequences, yet here they sat. The Hawks took the trip down I-55 to always disgustingly smelly St. Louis to face the assclown Blues. The Hawks, if you can actually call them the Hawks, sat a majority of their star players and dressed half of the Rockford Icehogs in their place. One would expect the Blues to feast on this lineup, but one never does know. Live from St. Louis, it's the Blackhawks and Blues.

The opening period was pretty much what you'd expect from a team mostly composed of Rockford players. The Blackhogs were only out shot 9-6, but the talent level was clearly not what you'd expect from the guys sitting at home. They certainly weren't out of the game, but it would be a tall task to come back in this one.

The second period was more of the same for the BlackHogs. The Blues out shot the Hogs once again, 12-10, and scored the only goal of the period. A 3-0 hole for this team would prove to be just too much.

The third period was a little more even, but the BlackHogs just couldn't muster up enough offense to mount a serious comeback. They could only manage to break the shutout, which should be considered a win for this squad. During the game it was announced that the Hawks would be playing the Minnesota Wild in the first round this week.

The Good

  • In the first period there was a glimmer of hope, when the young lines kept the pressure on in the Blues zone, for a two full shifts. Of course none of that malarkey resulted in a goal, but it was something to build on.
  • Brandon Pirri had a great breakaway chance late in the second period, but couldn't beat Elliott. It was a nice chance nonetheless.
  • Halfway through the third period Ben Smith took a Jeremy Morin set up from the left corner and snapped a wrist shot over Elliott's shoulder to break the shutout foe the Blues. If a line was going to score, it was probably going to be that one, even though it was Hayes, not Pirri, out there with them.
The Bad

  • The Blues grabbed an early lead on a delayed penalty, about 5 minutes into the game. The Hawks/Ice Hogs got caught running around and shot from the right circle was kicked out right to the stick of Berglund, who was left open by Oduya and Bollig. Happy 1st goal against, Hutts.
  • Jaden Schwartz scored the second Blues goal, with about 2 minutes remaining in the first period. A long shot from Russell was saved by Hutton, but he over slid his position. Once he over slid, Schwartz had a wide open net to shovel the puck into.
  • Jaden Schwartz scored his second of the night on a 1-on-2 break. It looked simple enough as the defense pushed him to Hutton's left. Schwartz let a soft backhand go which Hutton didn't expect, and it squirted through his legs. Weak goal.
  • The Hawks struggled at the dots, as you might expect. Drew LeBlaaah(60%), Frolik(67%) and Hayes(100%) were the only Hawks to win more than they lost. Overall, they were at 44%.
  • They Hawks actually out hit the Blues, 16-12. Apparently that got them very far.
The Ugly

  • The fact that the Blues didn't annihilate this team is ugly. This was basically the team that couldn't qualify for the AHL playoffs.
  • Minus two's for LeBlaaah, Dullig, Oduya, and Rozy.

The BlackHogs Lines



Here are the video highlights:

Blackhawks vs Flames - Win Recap

"Now Thy Death Day Come"

For the last home game of the 2013 season, the Hawks welcomed the Calgary Flames to the UC. No hiding the fact that the Flames came in with a pitiful record, and had nothing to play for. One of the few interesting facts was that this may be the last time the Blackhawks, or Chicago, ever see Miikka Kiprusoff. There is much speculation that he will retire after the end of the season, and that is unfortunate, because he's been the consumate warrior. He'll be missed. Unfortunately, the Flames announced that they were going to thrown former Red Wing Joey MacDonald in net as the sacrificial lamb. In addition to the Flames having nothing to play for, the Blackhawks had two blow off games before the playoffs begin next week. Would the real Blackhawks show up, or the ones looking ahead two games to the playoffs? How about half and half?

The Hawks came out relaxed and flying in the first period scoring two tow goals and out scoring the Flames 13-5. It almost looked like a men's league game between an "A" team and a "C" team. More of this and the Hawks were going to win 10-0.

Of course, the intensity of the first period didn't follow the Blackhawks into the second. They gave up a shorthanded goal and were out shot 13-12 by the Flames. A 2-1 lead was a tragedy against a team the Blackhawks were so much better than.

The third period was a little better, but not much better than watching pain dry. The Hawks out shot Calgary 13-8 and scored the insurance goal they needed. Other than that goal, it was really a snorefest for the Blackhawks. Calgary went down fighting, but it clearly wasn't enough and the Hawks walked away with a 3-1 won. Next, and last regular season victim...St. Louis.

The Good

  • The Handzus/Kane/Sharp line was buzzing early. With Bolland out, the Handzus move may become a total steal and might make Bowman look like a savant.
  • Of course, Sharp and Kane were involved in the first goal. Shooter took too long and couldn't finish, on a wide open net, but the Hawks smelled blood. Crazy 8s followed up by burying a tight angle shot to open the scoring for the Blackhawks.
  • El Capitan picked up a fortunate Brandon Saad rebound, that dropped behind Ronald MacDonald, and tapped in one of his easiest goals to get the Hawks a 2-0 before 15 minutes had even been played.
  • After a lackluster second period, Dream Warrior got a hold of a puck from the right dot and snapped a shot over MacDonald's blocker for a 3-1 Blackhawks lead.
  • Crawford was outstanding all night, making several huge saves. The goal against was not his fault at all. He only had 26 shots, but there were more great chances than you'd like to see.
  • If it weren't for Zus, all the Blackhawks centers would have been well over 50% at the dots. More please.
  • Nick Leddy led the Blackhawks in ice time with 22:11. It was nice to see the load taken off the top 4, which is how it should be.
The Bad

  • Halfway through the second period, the Hawks got complacent and gave up a 55 foot deflected shot, shorthanded. Part of the problem with coming out to a big lead in a game you don'r need to win is just not giving a fuck, and on this one, not a fuck was given.
  • The Blackhawks powerplay couldn't have been much worse, but it really didn't matter. They gave up a shorthanded goal on the first PP, and a shorthanded break-a-way on the second one. Luckily, Crawford bailed them out on the second one.
The Ugly

  • Maybe the most entertaining play of the game was Kane trying to set up Dullig with a pass for an empty netter, which he couldn't handle with his brick hands and cement head. Then, when he finally caught up to the puck, had his shot blocked. DOH!

Here are the video highlights:

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Blackhawks at Edmonton - Win Recap

"Trial by Fire"

With three games remaining in the 2013 regular season, the Blackhawks took a trip up to chilly Edmonton Alberta. The Blackhawks only needed a win to clinch the Presidents trophy. With Dave Bolland out, patrick Sharp would be returning to the lineup, and Rookie Hobey Baker winner Drew Leblanc making his Blackhawks debut. This kid was in the NCAA finals just a few weeks ago, and now he was centering a line of Patricks Kane and Sharp to start, at least. After the egg they laid in Vancouver, it was time to focus on the playoffs, and let few dinged up players rest. Live from Rexall Place in Edmonton Alberta, it's the Blackhawks and Oilers.

The first period began as a track meet. The Oilers were credited with 11 shots to the Blackhawks 9, but the Hawks had two goals to the Oilers single goal. The play certainly seemed like it was slanted in the Hawks favor.

The second period was much more calm than the wild first. The Hawks battened down the hatches and held the Oilers to TWO shots while getting seven of their own. Neither team was able to score and the two would take a 2-1 game into the third period.

The Hawks were pretty tight in the third period. While out shooting the Oilers 14-9, the Blackhawks also got 2 goals to ice the Presidents trophy. Next victim, Calgary.

The Good

  • Just minutes into the game, El Capitan grabbed 1-0 lead for the Blackhawks while working a 2-on-1 with Saad. He skated up the right wing, waited Dubnyk out, and snapped a shot over Dubnyk's blocker. Looks easy, but it's not. That takes talent.
  • Crazy 8s grabbed the lead back for the Blackhawks as Handzus fed him for a break-a-way. Kane is money in one on one, and made no mistake. The reason Handzus was on the ice is that Leblanc was benched for a shift after the Yakupov debacle.
  • There were three Blackhawks break-a-ways in the first period alone. They converted on Kane's, but Bickell and Stalberg missed.
  • Corey Crawford made what might be the save of the year on the Jordan Eberle in the second period. Absolutely SICK glove save. It can't go without mentioning that Crawford was unbeaten in over 45 minutes of play, after relieving Emery.
  • Johnny Oduya was set up by Crazy 8s about 5 minutes into the third period. The Hawks had an odd man break and Kane waited masterfully for the trailer, who happened to be Oduya. Johnny waited Dubnyk out and picked him apart.
  • Sharpie came back after his injury and went in 1-on-3 to get the open net goal, then was not so nicely checked into the net.
  • Drew Leblanc settled down nicely and had a few nice third period scoring chances, and also set his teammates up for some chances too. He's not the worst player out there, but he's probably better suited for the AHL, right now.
  • Handzus had a nice little game, getting 3 assists and finishing a plus 3.
  • In addition to Zus's three assists, Kane had a pretty quiet 3 points, as well. He just continues to carry this team with the little things. Call him a little whiney bitch all you'd like, but he gets the job done.
The Bad

  • Less than a minute after the Toews goal the track meet continued, as Nail Yakupov picked up a shot off the end boards and blasted it past Emery, tying the game at 1. Leblanc was on the ice, got caught running around after turning the puck over, and generally looked completely out of place. Welcome to the NHL, kid, here is your first minus.
  • Kruger and Handzus were great at the dots, but the rest of the Hawks centers were dogshit, to the tune of 30%. THIRTY PERCENT, including Toews.
The Ugly

  • With about six minutes remaining in the first period, Ray Emery left the game, after it looked like he reaggravated an injury. This is a prime reason why Ray Emery can never be a number one goalie. He's injury prone with those broken hips.
  • Sharp got caught up in a collision in the third period and went off the ice slowly with what looked like a lower body injury.

Editors note - Apparently Pat Kane went out celebrating after the game. Good for him! Atta boy, MVP!

Here are the video highlights:

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Blackhawks at Vancouver - Loss Recap

"Nothin' to Lose"

No one would have guessed that when the season came to a close, this game would pretty much be a throw-a-way. Yes, the Blackhawks could clinch the Presidents Trophy with a win and a Pens loss, but the Blackhawks basically had their playoff plans set. This is just another fluff game against the noted douchebag armada in Western British Columbia. With Patrick Sharp nursing a sore flipper, and twitter sensation Boberto Luongo relegated to backup duty, this game really wasn't exactly what we were looking forward to, in January. They would still pull their ass hattery, and whine like little girls with skinned knees, but we can just laugh even more at them. The biggest worry will be if someone is really dumb enough to try and exact revenge after the idiotic Duncan Keith move last spring. This is precisely why I wouldn't be one big disappointed if Kane, Toews, or Hossa sat for the evening. That said, live from the Rogers Arean in burnt out Vancouver, it's the Blackhawks and the Canucks.

The first period was an absolute clusterfuck from the word go, since Comcast, in their infinite wisdom, decided to air the Bulls, and Cubs over the Blackhawks. Push the team with the best record in their respective league to the 3rd channel, A STANDARD DEFINITION CHANNEL, on your depth chart. Clowns. To steal a quote from CT at Hockeenight, "In a world where I have access to more than 900 channels on my television, there are apparently not enough to accommodate 4 separate local sports teams playing at the same time". I don't pay for HD service so that I can have seizures watching a flickering and pixelizing standard definition broadcast. I'm so glad to see the last place Cubs blowing a late April extra inning game, with 144 more of those remaining, was more important that the first place Blackhawks trying to lock up the best record in the league.

Anyway there WAS a game actually played, but you could have fooled the Hawks. They were out shot in the opening period 11-5 and gave up a powerplay goal. This was not what the way they needed to start.

The second period wasn't any better than the first period. The Hawks gave up a couple more goals, even though the shots were even at 9. They looked like they had truly mailed this one in. The third period was going to be just as ugly, if they didn't wake up.

The third period...whatever. They didn't really wake up. The Hawks never even really showed up to the Rogers Arena in the first place. The Hawks were out shot in the third 12-11, and scored a goal that did nothing but avoid the shutout. Credit where it's due, the Canucks had their agenda and smeared it all over the Hawks faces. Next opponent, Edmonton.

The Good

  • In the third period, the Blackhawks were finally able to break the shutout. Not much to it, Gorilla Salad just cleaned up a rebound and hit the net. Right place at the right time. Other than that, the Hawks spent most of the game looking like they were trying not to get hit, while making themselves huge targets.
  • While Crawford didn't stand on his head, he kept the Blackhawks in the game, until they evacuated themselves. Thirty two shots is way too much for either of these goalies to face on a regular basis. If you bring up the Calgary game, in which Emery had a voodoo doll hidden in his jock, I'm going to smack you on the head with a ball peen hammer because that will NEVER happen again. It was a freak occurrence, like the 5 goal comeback against the same team in 2009. If you expect that to happen again in the near future, you'll be waiting a VERY LONG time.
The Bad

  • After a Hjalmarsson penalty for and illegal hit, both Johnny Oduya and Jannik Hansen tipped a Jason Garrison power play shot past Crawford. The shot was a total dribbler, but it was redirected and slowed down twice on the way to the net. After Oduya got a piece of it, the puck actually went off Hansen's skate. Crawford really didn't have much help on that one on a shot that was pretty much a game of pinball.
  • Dave Bolland went out in the first period with an undisclosed injury. Other than the game Saturday night, he has looked like he was towing baby grand piano behind him, anyway. Anyway, the Hawks really can't afford to get any thinner at Center, so
  • Things got so crazy in the third period that Viktor Stalberg ended up on the ice, killing a penalty for the first time in, maybe, is Blackhawks career.
  • Crawford threw what might have been the Hawks best check of the game, in the third, which resulted in a penalty.
  • Minus 2 for Crazy 8s even after the Bolland sized monkey on his back left with an injury.
  • Six minor penalties for the Hawks. Haven't we established that despite their very good PK, the Hawks cannot spend this much time in the box with shenanigans?
  • On top of being stapled to the boards all night, only Toews and Shaw were over 50% at the dots. With Carcillo and Bollig both dressing, Handzus was in street clothes and it showed. The remaining Hawks centers had faceoff percentages in the 20s.
The Ugly

  • Bollig and Carcillo both took shifts with the first line in place of Brandon Saad, the second period. What a total shitshow. They did NOTHING to dissuade Canucks players from taking every chance possible to smear Hawks players into the glass. I'm still waiting for this magical policing power we were promised, from these two mouth breathing troglodytes. Please tell me what I'm missing here, because it's clear they are going to get walloped with or without these two on the ice. Might as well take your chances with some skill guys, if you're going to go down without so much as a whimper.
  • The Canucks took a 2-0 lead when Zack Kassian planted himself right between Hjalmarsson, Keith and Shaw. Sedin was behind the net waiting for and opening and got it. Kassian was able to just stuff it past Crawford.
  • While floundering to get some pressure in the Canucks zone, Daniel Sedin snuck in behind Keith and Hjalmarsson and received a pass from his brother. Sedin put a move on Corey Crawford that made Crawford wet himself. The move was pretty sick. I can't hate on that play, because he took Crawford to school with Keith hot on his tail.
  • Annnnnnnnnnnnd then we have THIS piece of fine art: Duncan Keith takes sexism heat after dismissing Vancouver reporter’s question

Here are the video highlights:

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Blackhawks vs Coyotes
Shootout Loss Recap

"1000 Times Goodbye"

The Blackhawks hosted the pain in the ass Coyotes Saturday night at the United Center. What a year does in the scheme of the NHL. The Blackhawks had been rolling along with the best record in the league, and a chance to clinch that best record. The Yotes, on the other hand, were fighting for a chance to even make the playoffs. As we're all aware, though, the Coyotes can be a real obstacle to this Blackhawks squad. Just so they don't have to face Phoenix in the first round. Live from the United Center in Chicago, it's the Blackhawks and Coyotes.

The Hawks opened up the game with a big first period powerplay goal, but then let off the gas and gave up two Coyotes goals. The Hawks out shot the Yotes 16-9 despite the two Phoenix goals.

The second period was much more Blackhawk-like. They out shot Phoenix 12 to 4 and scored their second powerplay goal of the night. This was a very familiar situation against the Yotes, so the Hawks needed to be just as careful in the third period.

The Blackhawks and Yotes played even in the third period, even with the Yotes out shooting the Blackhawks 15-8. Since no one could break the tie, the game went into extra time. The extra five minutes weren't enough to decide a winner, so the extra point would be decided in a shootout. Hopefully the Hawks are done seeing this team, this year.

The Good

  • The Hawks converted on their second powerplay of the game, just past the halfway point of the first period. Leddy fed Lucky Number Sleven for a blistering one timer that went off
  • Kane made a beautiful highlight reel backhand pass to Seabrook, who was wide open in the slot. Seabrook wasted little time and snapped it past Mike Smith for his second goal of the night, tying the game up for the Blackhawks.
  • The Hawks beat the Yotes at the dots with the help of El Capitan and Handzus, because Kruger, Bolland and Shaw were all under 50%.
The Bad

  • Two minutes after the first Yotes goal, Radim Vrbata put them up 2-1 following a bad Marcus Kruger turnover at the blue line. Kruger's pass was far behind Bolland and ended up on the stick of former Blackhawk Rob Klinkhammer. The Coyotes turned the play around and another former Blackhawk, Vrbata, just snapped it over Crawford's glove.
  • 31 shots are a little too much for my liking, especially for a team like Phoenix.
  • I don't think there is a better #5 defenseman in the league than Nick Leddy. He plays everywhere and when he turns that speed on, there are few that will keep up with him.
  • oh hey, Megamayers! There you are.
The Ugly

  • About halfway through the first period the Hawks got a powerplay but it should have been a penalty shot. Hossa had a good two steps on Ekman-Larsson who hooked the hell out of him. How that was not a penalty shot is beyond my comprehension.
  • Just a minute after the Hawks took the lead, Crawford completely dicked the dog on a 140 foot dump in that bounced over his glove and into the net. I have no defense for that one. Fucking terrible. About as bad as you'll see. Even worse was that the momentum swung in the Yotes favor after this.
The Shootout

  • Toews almost beat Smith
  • Boedker beat Crawford stick side.
  • Kane beat Smith 5-hole to tie the shootout up
  • Vrbata couldn't beat Crawford.
  • Hossa hit the goal post.
  • Sclemko beat Crawford for the win

Here are the video highlights:

Blackhawks vs. Predators
OT Win Recap

"Good Day to Die"

The Blackhawks hosted the disappointing Nashville Predators Friday night, on Pat Foley night. The Preds came in with the second worst record in the Western Conference, and this season could be chalked up as a complete failure for them. Coming in, the Preds had dropped seven straight games while the good guys had won six games in a row. Even though we could probably expect a Blackhawks win, the game would most likely be a painfully boring one. I guess I've been known to be wrong, though. Anyhow, here is the highlight video of Pat Foley. Great memories here. My favorite is always the Troy Murray pocket pick against Winnipeg. I remember it like it was yesterday.

The first period was an adventure for both teams. The Hawks opened up the scoring, followed by two Preds goals, and the period was closed out with a game tying goal from the Hawks. The shots favored the Blackhawks heavily 15-8, but the Hawks would have to play much better in the final two periods. The middle frame was a little less of a circus, but there were still some fireworks. The Hawks opened up a lead but shortly gave it up, again, even though they also out shot the Preds, 12-9. The Hawks took and lost the lead for the third time in the game, late in the third period. They were also out shot pretty badly 10-2, which really didn't give them much to work with. Regulation play ended up 4-4, which meant extra time for these two teams. The Hawks took the lead and the game for the last time in overtime, to finally put the Preds to rest.
The Good
  • The Hawks powerplay showed some life, with an early first period goal. Stalberg fed a wide open Deuce in the slot, and Keith picked Rinne apart. This was all possible because of the great Hawks puck possession down low in the Preds zone. Amazing what happens when you actually move the puck AND your feet.
  • The Saadfather tied the game back up with about 6 minutes remaining in the first. Saad drove hard in the zone after taking a pass from Toews and took a shot for the slot, that was blocked by the Preds, but landed back on his stick. Rinne had already reacted to the original shot and was out of position, which left a lot of net for Saad to shoot at. Manchild score.
  • Kane blew around old man Gill early in the second at the Pred blue line, like Gill was bolted to the ice. Kane really exposed just how painfully slow FrankenGill is, but Rinne bailed his D-man out with a beautiful back door save on Shaw.
  • Bryan Bickell set up Crazy 8s for another go-ahead goal halfway through the second period. Bickell held on to the puck long enough for Kane to get a step on the two defenders and dished it off to him. Kane gave a quick leg kick to get Rinne down and open up his 5-hole. The rest is history.
  • Victor Bartley handed Michal Handzus his first goal as a returning Blackhawk halfway through the third period. Handzus was able to use his long reach to intercept Bartley's pass at the right circle, and then snapped the puck over Rinne's blocker, grabbing the Hawks third lead of the game.
  • The Hawks won the game on an overtime powerplay with Kaner feeding Hoss for a one timer across the middle of the Preds zone. Second powerplay goal of the game for the Blackhawks. Game, Set, Match, Queue up Chelsea Daggar.
  • The Hawks once again won the faceoff battle. Dream Warrior and Zus were terrible, but El Capitan was his usual inhuman self. Bolland and Shaw were both over 50%, which is all you can ask for from those clowns.
The Bad
  • Just a couple of minutes after the Keith goal, the Preds tied the game on their first shot of the game. Halischuk was left wide open in front of Crawford to tip a high Kevin Klein shot down and past Crawford. While it was a soft goal, the defense has to give him a little crap in front of their goalie.
  • The Hawks gave up the lead for a third time, with three and a half minutes left in the game. Bobby Butler was the lucky recipient of a fat rebound in the Blackhawks slot area, and buried it past Crawford. Legwand took a short angle shot from the corner and the rebound conveniently shot out onto Butler's stick in the slot. The Hawks had officially blown the lead once again.
  • Crawford has to play better, especially in the first two period. The three goals he gave up weren't exactly high quality NHL goals. Right now, Crawford isn't helping his own cause by giving up a softy or two a game. The haters are starting to bark, and if Emery didn't have inbred German Shepard hips, he might have gotten a better look. Remember, this is coming from a Crawford supporter.
The Ugly
  • Just after the halfway point of the first, the Pred scored an awful awful goal. After making an initial save, the Preds tried to bank it off Crawford's back and into the net. The puck hit Crawford and laid either under or next to his pad. It looked like the puck was under him but the refs let play continue. I'm not sure what Brookbank was doing, but he pretty much dove head first into the crease and his goalie. If you let them pitchfork at the puck long enough it will end up in the net, which it did. There should have been a whistle, and the Hawks got the shit end of that non call but the defense wasn't exactly helping much either. It was a shitshow from top to bottom.
  • Halischuk scored his second of the game after getting in behind Seabrook and Leddy for a break-a-way. Leddy was tired, looking for a change and cheating towards the bench which allowed Halischuk to receive a stretch pass up the middle from Bartley, going 1-on-1 with Crawford. Crawford made the initial save, but the rebound popped back out, where Halischuk whacked it out of the air and into the net.
  • OK, here is my bitch for the day about subjective stats. Anyone with half a brain in their head realized that hits is a subjective and imperfect stat, but there is another one. While looking at the other stats, you see that the Blackhawks had 12 TAKEAWAYS, yet the Preds only had 10 GIVEAWAYS. This is as equally stupid the other way around. The Blackhawks had 10 GIVEAWAYS and the Preds had 11 TAKEAWAYS. that doesn't make sense. Is there a third team out there I'm not aware of? To have a takeaway, you have to have a giveaway and vice versa. Otherwise that whole stat line is inaccurate.
Here are the video highlights:

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Blackhawks vs. Stars - Win Recap

"Impact Is Imminent"

The Blackhawks welcomed the Dallas Stars to Chicago for a good old fashion butt whooping, Monday night. With heavy hearts as a result of a senseless act in Boston, the game that was supposed to be played there was cancelled. The rest of the NHL trudged on, with the victims in mind.

The Stars came in with a five game winning streak, but that wouldn't last if the Hawks had anything to say about it. The Blackhawks were on a roll of their own, and that cancelled out the Dallas blip on the radar. Dallas has had chances to take hold of the 8th playoff spot, but the Red Wings seem to have other plans. Personally, I would think a first round matchup with Dallas would be ideal for the Blackhawks, because they really aren't that good of a team. Anyhow, Live from the UC in Chicago, it's the Blackhawks and Stars.

The first period was heavily slanted towards the Dallas end, with the Blackhawks getting 13 shots while only allowing 4. In fact, the Stars had three of the first four shots of the period, and only managed one the rest of the way. A few powerplays and all those shots only yielded one goal, but the Hawks could have easily been up 2-0.

The second period had a goal each way, and the Blackhawks out shot the visiting Stars again, 9-7. A foolish Hawks gaffe left the door open for the Stars to cut the Hawks lead in half, and that is exactly what they did. Luckily the Hawks still carried a one goal lead into the final frame.

The third period didn't exactly start off all that well for the Blackhawks, as the Stars tied the game up pretty early, but the Hawks roared right back and scored two of their own to ice the game. The Hawks only needed 6 shot, and they scored on 3 of them. A late open netter put the exclamation point on the win, and the Blackhawks continued to roll.

The Good

  • The big dogs put the Hawks up 1-0 with about 7 minutes remaining in the first period. Saad, Hoss and El Capitan worked a tick-tac-toe across the Dallas zone and it ended up with Toews tapping a Hossa pass past Bachman. The play just made the Dallas defense look stupid and clueless. Robidas just let Toews camp out and tip the puck past his goalie. Weak effort.
  • Michal Handzus sent Stalberg in on Bachman for the second Hawks goal of the night, with seven minutes remaining in the middle period. The two were covered pretty well after a faceoff win deep in the Hawks zone, but Swedeberg hit that third gear and blew past the Dallas defense. Handzus saw this and saucered a pass right to Stalberg's tape, and he was in. For the first time in recent memory, Stalberg actually just picked a spot, AND HIT IT! This Handzus deal has paid for itself already.
  • Just a minute and a half after the second Benn goal, Kane drew 4 defenders en route to the Dallas net and he was able to dump it off to Shock-n-Shaw. Shaw snapped a shot though Bachman's wickets to take the one goal lead back for the Hawks.
  • Hoss set up Hjalmarsson for a sweet goal, about 8 minutes into the third. Hossa rushed up the ice with half a step on the Dallas D-man but never had an angle to shoot. He pulled a "Maverick", while dropping the puck to himself. The defender flew by, and Hossa retrieved the puck. Once he had the puck, he located a streaking Hjalmarsson who had about three and a half days to pick his spot and blow it by Bachman. Stopping an NHL slapshot at that distance, with no opposition is next to impossible.
  • For all the grief I've given, I have to give Bolland credit where it's due. He won 15 of 19 faceoffs, in a complete anomaly, because you will NEVER see it again. The rest of the team wasn't all that impressive but, as a team, they were 56% thanks to Bolland's one time career faceoff night. For the first time in forever, El Capitan was UNDER 50%, at 44%.
  • 28-18 in shots is exactly how you draw it up. No complaints here.
  • Shaw had a nice little night, with a goal and a plus 3.
The Bad

  • The power play is such a fucking Shanghai Fire Drill that Dr. Lineblender put Handzus, Frolik, and Kruger out there to open a second period powerplay. They didn't do any better, or worse, than the other powerplay units so what did they really lose? That is how utterly horrid the other units are.
  • Anyone named Antoine has to be a turd. I mean do you know anyone named Antoine that isn't?
  • Jamie Benn scored his second goal of the game early in the third period and tied the game up. The play started off an unfortunate bounce, in which a Handzus clearing attempt went off the ref and turned the play back in the Hawks zone. Of all people to end up with the puck on his stick, the Hawks let Jamie Benn have enough time to beat Emery from the left circle. That's why he gets paid all that money. Oh yeah, Keith also screened his goalie on the play, which is always fun to deal with.
The Ugly

  • This fascination with Bolland at the point on the powerplay has to end. I cannot recall one time where I thought, "I'm sure glad that Bolland was back there, what a great play". Not ONCE! He is sucking the life out of Kane and sucking the life out of the second powerplay unit. If it weren't for the faceoffs, he would have been completely worthless.
  • Zus and Dullig, yes Dullig, worked a 2-on-1 early in the second. Tell me if this is a surprise; Dullig couldn't handle the pass, and the chance was missed.
  • A terrible Kane turnover in the offensive zone resulted in a 3-on-1 coming back the other way. Jamie Benn led and finished the play, with Hjalmarsson and Emery not having much of a chance. Hammer cut off one of the passes, but that still left a 2-on-0 and a Dallas goal. Kane's decision to try and stick handle through the Dallas defense with 3 of his teammates already deep in the Dallas zone was a god awful choice. His arrogance got the best of him, and you can hang that goal on his hook.

Here are the video highlights:

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Blackhawks at St. Louis - Shutout Win Recap

"Dissident Aggressor"

The Blackhawks traveled to the hideous hole in the earth, otherwise known as St. Blewus, Sunday. Before the game, it was announced that Sharp would be out with a lower body injury, and Dave Bolland would be returning. Personally, I would have preferred the opposite, seeing as how Sharp can actually win a faceoff and score a goal. Sitting Sharp against the thugs in the St. Louis is not a bad idea, considering their tendency to main people. Anyhow, The Blackhawks were on autopilot, with the playoffs and the division titles locked up, but beating St. Louis is always fun, and will never get old. Live from St Louis, it's Blackhawks and the Blues.

The first period was an absolute bloodbath. Eight penalties were called and several borderline plays filled play. The Blues were clearly out to hurt someone, which is purely barbaric and simplistic. When all was said and done the Blues out shot the Hawks 11-10, even though no goals were scored. If the game was going to continue at this pace, there were going to be quite a few injuries.

The Blackhawks shaped up in the second period, scoring the only goal of the period, and also out shooting the Blues 9-7. Much better play with actual hockey and less thuggery.

The Blues brought the pressure in the third period but the Hawks were able to score a shorthanded insurance goal, and win the game 2-0. Just a great example of how the Blackhawks skill can eventually just wear a team down.

The Good

  • Bickell finally got the Hawks going in the second period, finishing a great Stalberg rush. He got two whacks at a chance on Elliott, the second of which ended up in the net. That's how you silence a bunch of thugs. Shove it right up their asses. Plays like that really have me warming up to Bickell, it's just too bad he'll be gone come season's end. He's been an idea third line size guy.
  • A whistle in the Hawks zone for playing the puck with a high stick led to the second Hawks goal of the game. The faceoff ended up all the way back in the Blues zone, and Toews won the faceoff to Hoss. Hoss just throttled a shot past Elliott for a 2-0 Hawks lead. Did I mention that this was all while shorthanded? Way to stick it right in their ass.
  • Corey Crawford had one of his strongest games of the year. Thirty saves, with several great scoring chances and no goals. Maybe that will shut the naysayers up. This was the 7th shutout of the year, and most since the '09-'10 championship season.
  • Plus 2 for Seabrook, who looks like he has shaken off the cold spell.
The Bad

  • Bolland returned to the lineup to take a cross checking penalty. After 10 minutes of complete ass hattery up and down the ice, it really took a lot to earn a penalty, and Bolland did that.
  • The Hawks shitty powerplay bit them in the ass again. They had a chance to take a late lead late in the first, on a 4-on-3, and couldn't muster up more than a weak chance or two.
  • Based on the tone of the game, I guess 7 Hawks penalties is understandable, but they really need to tighten up come playoffs. As good as their penalty kill is, you don't want to have to depend on it.
  • Bolland shows up, and suddenly the Hawks lose in face offs. Not all his fault, but he certainly doesn't help. Especially since Sharp was so good the previous game, and not dressed in St. Louis. Winning three of ten face offs is just plain terrible.
The Ugly

  • Backes is such a dirty fucking prick. From the opening faceoff he was pulling his crap, cross checking Hossa for digging at free puck that Brian Elliott mishandled. Then later in the period, Backes went knee to thigh with Toews. Fuck him and everything he stands for.
  • Late in the first Shaw drew a crosscheck and all hell broke loose. Stalberg ended up earning himself a roughing penalty in retaliation. Shaw is definitely cut from the Brad Marchand cloth, because trouble follows him and he certainly knows how to exaggerate.
  • With all the shenanigans going on in the first, all Brandon Bollig could manage is negating a Hawks powerplay. Please tell me what this guy is providing, because I don't see it. The guy is useless. I don't care if he's the nicest guy in the world; he's terrible at hockey.
  • Shat-in-pants and Chris Stewart were both minus 2. Glad to see the St. Louis big guns towing the load.

Here are the video highlights:

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Blackhawks sign Hobey Baker winner Drew LeBlanc

In an under the radar signing, the Blackhawks announced that they signed St. Cloud State center and Hobey Baker award winner Drew LeBlanc to a 1 year deal. Details of the deal have not been announced, but he will come to Chicago and wear #14. It's questionable, though, whether he'll actually play. It's not like he's going to be the answer at second line center, so maybe he'll give Kruger or Handzus a rest at 4th line center. Don't expect much from him.

The Hobey Baker is the College equivalent of the Heisman Trophy, but most blue chip players go through juniors rather than the College system. You surely remember the stellar Blackhawk careers of former Hobey Baker winners Brendan Morrison, Tony Hrkac and Kip Miller, don't you?


Here is what the scouting report says at Hockey's Future:

2006-07: Drew LeBlanc played as a junior for Hermantown H.S. where he came back and set a new high for points in a season with 90 (he set the record the year before with 83 points). Left Hermantown program ranked second in career points (199), third in goals scored (79) and first for assists (120). After high school, LeBlanc joined Chicago in the USHL for the remainder of the season. He was NHL draft eligible, but wasn’t selected in Columbus.

2007-08: LeBlanc returned to the Steel for his first full season in the USHL. Played for Team USA at the 2007 World Junior A Challenge. Named to Eastern Division team for the USHL Prospects/All-Star Game.

Talent Analysis

LeBlanc is a 6’0”, 195-pound playmaking center that plays an intelligent two-way game. He also possesses some of the best hands in all of college hockey. His superb passing skills and great vision allow him to make plays that few other collegians can make. And it’s an attribute that hasn’t been lost on scouts, either. LeBlanc’s decision-making is excellent. He makes few mistakes and thinks the game remarkably well. He also has the ability to make those around him better. Although LeBlanc is known more for his playmaking ability, he has shown a knack for scoring timely goals, as well. One attribute that sets LeBlanc apart from many other collegiate players is his ability to create time and space for his teammates. He can control the tempo of the game and, with his tremendous patience with the puck, can allow teammates the time get into the best possible positions. LeBlanc is an excellent skater that moves exceedingly well with the puck. While he isn’t exceedingly fast, LeBlanc does have good speed, acceleration and can transition quickly. LeBlanc, who is one of St. Cloud State’s co-captains, also possesses strong leadership qualities.


Blackhawks vs Red Wings - SO Win Recap

"Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)"

Nine games and counting, for the Blackhawks. Their next target was the Detoilet Red Wings, who they have a good chance of playing in the first round, come playoffs. In fact, if the playoffs started last night, the Blackhawks would have faced Detoilet. A jest a good deal about my hatred for the Wings but, as I've said many times over, I respect them. This game is the end of an era. The last regular season division game the between these two. EVER; and that's sad. Hockey purists, and I consider myself one, like what little remains of the old Norris division rivalry. This rivalry is going to go the way of the Leafs/Hawks rivalry. It will disappear. I don't want to get all weepy on you but, in short, I'll miss them. I'll miss the fact that have been an enormous pain in the ass for many years. Fans will be left with only one old Norris team , St. Louis (Minny and Dallas don't count, because neither are the old Northstars), who cry and demand respect despite having earned absolutely nothing. Thanks Detoilet. Thanks a lot! Live from the UC in Chicago, it's the Blackhawks and the Wings.

The first period was an odd one, especially for the Hawks, who took 3 penalties. They normally don't take 3 penalties in and entire game, much less a period. As a result, their red hot start went luke warm really fast. Even with the cool down, they were able to out shoot the Wings by a slight margin, 11-10. No goals either way.

The Hawks looked like they were going to take and hold a second period lead, when it all fell apart. They gave up two goals in the final 5 minutes of the second, after taking an early 1-0 lead, and were out shot 9-7. The good part is that the Blackhawks had a period to right the wrong.

The Blackhawks scored the only goal of the third period, to tie the game up, while also out shooting the wings 10-8. After late flurries both ways, this game would take extra time to decide the extra point. Overtime passed without a winner, even though play was wide open, and a shootout was in store for the final Hawks/Wings divisional game.

The Good

  • Sharpie opened up the early powerplay at center and proceeded to win two offensive zone faceoffs. Brilliant idea. Take it for your own Quenneville. I'll cover his faceoff prowess a bit later.
  • Vik Stalberg opened up the scoring for the Blackhawks, almost halfway through the second period. He was able to sneak behind the net with the puck as Howard was tight to the wrong post. Once Stalberg got to the goal line he had only a gaping net in front of him. One he actually didn't miss
  • With three minutes in regulation, El Capitan picked up a rebound of an Oduya shot, to Howard's left. He camped just outside the crease and it landed right on his stick. That's automatic for El Capitan, scoring his 20th of the year.
  • The Hawks had their way with Detoilet centers all night. The won 63% of the faceoffs, with Sharp winning 7 of 8 faceoffs. Kruger was a the low man on the totem pole at 46%, but all the others were in the 60s.
The Bad

  • On the fourth powerplay of the game, the Wings tied the game up, late in the second period. Stalberg scored the first goal, and was the guy responsible for the penalty that allowed the Wings to tie the game up. Franzen was allowed to camp his ass out right in front of Crawford, and tipped a long point shot just enough for it to sneak through Crawford and into the back of the net. What? We haven't learned that Franzen in front of your goalie is bad?
  • About two minutes after the Franzen goal, Cory Emmerton took advantage of a held Rozsival stick in the corner and a fortunate bounce, to beat Crawford over his blocker side shoulder, taking a 2-1 lead.
  • Gorilla Salad with 6 minutes of glory. Are we at a point where this guy goes away? Please?
  • Believe it, or not, the Hawks were actually out shot for the game (29-28). Tighten up, gents.
The Ugly

  • The Hawks took three penalties in the first period and 5 in the first 40 minutes. Two of those first period penalties were from Michal Handzus. We'll call it an anomaly, but it's completely unacceptable. The game wasn't that physical. They were sloppy penalties
The Shootout

  • El Capitan was stopped by Howard
  • Datsyuk met Crawford's glove
  • Crazy 8s was out waited by Howard
  • Zetterberg beat Crawford top shelf
  • Hoss hit double posts and in.
  • Brunner was stopped by Crawford
  • Rozsival hit the goal post.
  • Nyquist couldn't beat Crawford.
  • Saad backhander beats Howard.
  • Crawford got a piece of Franzen's shot.

Here are the video highlights:

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Blackhawks at Minnesota - Shutout Win Recap

"Skin o' My Teeth"

Ten games remaining, and the Blackhawks are already assured a playoff spot. Not too shabby for a team that was thought to be in the middle of the pack, eh? Anyhow, The Hawks travelled to the snowy tundra of Minnyhaha, to face the 6th place Wild, Tuesday night. The Wild have gotten hot, lately, winning six of their last ten games. Shiny free agent toys Zach Parise and Ryan Suter have found their game, and have been carrying this team on their backs, along with trade deadline acquisition Jason Pominville lending a hand. The Wild were dealt a blow Monday, when it was announced that Danny Heatley would be out for the rest of the regular season, and could miss significant time in the playoffs, due to arthroscopic shoulder surgery. Ether way, the Blackhawks returned Patrick Sharp from his top secret separated shoulder, so the strong got stronger. Live from still wintery St. Paul Minnesota, it's the Blackhawks and the Wild...

The Blackhawks controlled a majority of the first period play, out shooting the Wild 11-4. Neither team managed a goal. We've seen this before, with the Hawks dominating early, while laying an egg later in the game. This was a good time to start working on their 60 minute play.

The Hawks actually kept the pressure in the second period, with 16 shots, compared to 10 Wild shots. Along with those 15 Blackhawks shots, they were able to manage a goal late in the period. This is where the Hawks have struggled, so a strong third period against a solid opponent on the road was an absolute must.

The Wild played a much better third period keeping the shots close. Minny actually even led with 6 to the Hawks 4 but, like the first period, theere were no goals. Despite a late Wild flurry, the Hawks walked away with a 1-0 road shutout. Good tuneup for playoff hockey.

The Good

  • In his first shift, Shooter took advantage of a reaching Zach Parise and laid him out, deep in the Wild zone. That's a way to get the blood flowing and test the ol flipper in your first shift back.
  • Finally some good from Gorilla Salad. He drove hard to the net looking for a rebound and Cementhead Mike Rupp roughed him up after the whistle. When everyone in the rink and on TV expected Carcillo to pull some dumb shit, he actually kept his head and drew a penalty. Maybe, JUST MAYBE, he's finally learned. ::grunt:: GRIT! SANDPAPER! ::slobber:: #MeatballStatus
  • Clayton Stoner must have been high, because he tried a cross ice pass with Hossa bearing down. Hoss stepped in front of it, skated in all alone, took a half backswing and bet Backstrom for a 1-0 Blackhawks lead with just under five minutes remaining in the second period.
  • Again, 31 to 20 in shots is right where the Hawks need to be. The third period drop offs are concerning, but if they are only allowing seven shots a period, I'll take it.
  • Once again, the Hawks led a team in faceoff percentage against a team that is 4th overall in the league. If you think it's coincidence that Handzus playing for Bolland improves the faceoff percentage, you're wrong, even though this was Zus's first game under 50%. Sharp picked up the slack, taking a good portion of Kruger's faceoffs (for good reason). El Capitan, and Shooter were 68% and 67% respectively. Kruger and Shaw were brutal a the dots, going a combined 2 for 12.
  • Sharp set up Kane for a half break-a-way in the third period, and Backstrom bested Kane. The pass was a blind backhand bank pass off the boards that landed right on Kane's stick. That Patrick to Patrick ESP is something that the Hawks will really need come playoffs.
  • Emery wasn't peppered but came up big when he needed to. Third shutout of the year, in his third game in a row. You still can't convince me that there is enough evidence to remove Crawford as the starter, but Sugar Ray is certainly playing well. Crawford has done nothing to LOSE his job.
The Bad

  • The Hawks lost a chance at the lead about ten minutes into the game. A long shot took a funny bounce and hit Backstrom, but laid in the crease to his right while he was on his back like a two dolla whore. El Capitan and the crew crashed the net, but couldn't get it in the net before the ref lost site of the puck.
The Ugly

  • Ryan Suter hit Sharp hard in the third period, and he fell awkwardly into the boards, hitting his left shoulder. He looked like he was in some pain. Purely speculation, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him take a day off here and there to make sure that shoulder is good to go. It was a bit scary to see him wincing on the bench.

Here are the video highlights:

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Blackhawks vs Predators - Win Recap

"Wake Up Dead"

After Saturday night's Music city snorefest, fans had a real treat to look forward to Sunday back in the UC. If left with the choice, I would guess a lot of fans would be watching Wrestlemania, and I'm not so sure they made the wrong choice. As funny as this sounds, the Blackhawks had a chance to clinch a playoff spot Sunday night with a win, or OT/SO loss. They would, of course, be the first team to do so. Who would have dreamed that the Blackhawks would be in first overall and have a chance to be the first team to clinch a spot, with 10 games to go. Live from the United Center in Chicago, it's the Blackhawks and the Predators...

The first period was more eventful than the entire game Saturday night, with the Blackhawks out shooting the Preds 17-7. Unfortunately, the Hawks could only manage one goal, and kindly handed the Predators a goal, which had the game knotted at 1 after 20 minutes.

The Hawks second period had roughly the same outcome as the first period. The Hawks had a goal on 12 shots and surrendered one goal on 9 Preds shots. Once again, they let one of the few decent chances against even up the score. They were going to need a much better 3rd period to get a regulation win.

The Blackhawks did their best to hand he game over to the Preds, givin up the lead early on in the third. The Hawks responded by scoring 3 straight goals, and sending the Preds home with another loss. Next target the Wild in Minny-haha, on Tuesday.

The Good

  • As long as I've felt that Kruger on the 4th line was an injustice, I LOVE Andrew Shaw centering the 4th line. He is the epitome of the energy guy, and he backs down from no challenge. When everyone is healthy, he might end up on the wing, but they'll need his energy. Just about 7 minutes into the game he tipped a Frolik shot over Rinne's shoulder to take a 1-0 lead.
  • Bickell scored his second goal in two days, about two and a half minutes into the second period. Stalberg poked a puck past the Preds defense at their blue line and Bickell picked the puck up. He took two strides and did what he does best, snapped a wrist shot through Rinne's 5-hole.
  • The Saadfather tied the game back up with about 10 minutes remaining in regulation. He was able to pick up a pinballing puck right in the slot, and stuff it between Rinne's legs.
  • Fifty five seconds after the Saad goal, Crazy 8s beat the Preds defense and picked up a Hawks dump in. He located and hit a streaking El Capitan who snapped the puck past Rinne. That fast, the Hawks were back up by one. 4-3 Blackhawks.
  • Saad and Kane worked a great 2-on-1 for the empty netter to close out the Preds.
  • For the third straight game, the Hawks won in the faceoff dept. Shaw was the only Hawks center under 50% and Kruger had an EXCELLENT night, going 8 for 11.
  • Deuce was a rather quiet plus 3 on the night and the Preds Craig Smith was a minus 3.
The Bad

  • The Preds tied the game a couple of minutes after the Bickell goal, on a pretty basic play. Shaw was thrown out of the faceoff, Frolik lost the draw, and it went right to Shea Weber. Weber took a half backswing and quickly chipped it past Emery. After the play, some yapping to the Ref earned him 2 for unsportsmanlike conduct. Weak.
  • Another failed Blackhawks clearing chance turned into yet another Preds goal. Leddy's clearing play hit Weber, who kept it into the zone. Halischuk tried to wrap it around and it ended up on the stick of Legwand, and finally into the net.
The Ugly

  • The Predators jumped all over a bad exchange between El Capitan and Oduya, with the result being a first period game tying goal. The Hawks had plenty of time to break out and might have gotten a little complacent. Toews' pass was a little behind Oduya, went off his skate and sat in the slot all alone. That's when all hell broke loose. Emery made the original save but the rebound was smacked into the net. Brutal.
  • The replacement PA announcer called Saad, Andrew Saad when he was announced as one of the stars. Way to go rookie.

Here are the video highlights:

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Blackhawks at Nashville - Shutout Win Recap

"Dead Eternity"

No time to lick your wounds when you're playing 48 games in 99 days. The Hawks opened up a home and series with the painfully boring Nashville Predators. The first game of the series was down in Nashville, where there still may have been more Blackhawks fans than Preds fans. The Blackhawks were without Sharp once again, and newly injured Dave Bolland. Good thing they just picked up some depth at center, right? Anyhow, onto the game; Live on this spring Saturday afternoon from Nashville, it's the Blackhawks and the Predators.

As we've become accustom to, the first period of this affair was generally boring. The Hawks had a goal on 10 shots and held the Preds to 5 shots. Blah...

The second was even more boring than the first. The Blackhawks out shot the Preds again 13 to 8, and it was a complete snoozefest. Blah...Blah...

The snoozefest continued in the third period, until the final minute and half of the game. The shots were even at 7, but it was another scoreless period, and the Hawks ended up with a 1-0 shutout win. Blah...blah...blah...

The Good

  • Michal Handzus continued to pay off, setting up One Trick Bick for a 1-0 Hawks lead just 5 minutes into the game. A one touch pass at the Hawks blue line by Kruger set a 2 on 1 in motion with Zus and Bickell. Zus held the puck just long enough to draw the defender and Rinne, then saucered it over to Bickell, who had an open net.
  • 30 to 20 in shots is right in the Hawks wheelhouse. Can't complain about that performance on the road.
  • Ray Emery had a great game. Maybe another strong Emery performance will push Crawford to tighten up some. He only had to make 20 saves, but there were a decent amount of scoring chances.
  • It's no coincidence that with Bolland out of the lineup, and Handzus in, the Blackhawks faceoff winning percentage went up to 59% as a team. El Capitan and Zus were north of 65%, and Shaw won 4 of 5. Kruger was his usual terrible self at the dot, going 3 and 7 (30%).
The Bad

  • Hjalmarsson had two unfortunate turnovers, early in the second, but luckily neither ended up in the net. The first wasn't his fault, as the puck went off the refs skate, and the second was picked out of the air by Legewand, and Sugar Ray made the save.
  • With Bolland out, the lines were throw in the lineblender a bit. Hossa was with Toews and Saad, Kane was with Kruger and Carcillo (ugh), Bickell was with Handzus and Stalberg, Frolik was with Shaw and Bollig. On defense, the usual cast of characters was on hand except for Brookbank, who was in for Roszival.
  • The Blackhawks were the unfortunate recipients of a double minor for high sticking on Carcillo. Shea Weber dumped Gorilla Salad on his as, and once he lost his balance the stick came flying up and hit Weber right in the schnoz. Luckily, the Hawks killed it masterfully.
The Ugly
  • The Hawks were out hit 28-8 which is comical. That stat is so utterly subjective and inaccurate
  • How about that All World Shea Weber. How is his Norris trophy campaign going? Pretty much how Keith's would go if he lost Seabrook.

Here are the video highlights:

Friday, April 5, 2013

Blackhawks vs. Blues - SO Loss Recap

"Wasted Years"

With all the hoopla of the trade deadline, it was almost forgotten that the cup is not simply awarded for acquiring players, but for winning the games. The roster has been set, and the Hawks are strapped in. New/Old Blackhawk Michal Handzus was making his first appearance back since being reacquired by Bowman, on Monday, and Marian Hossa was back from injury. The Blues made a few moves of their own, the biggest of which was acquiring Jay Bouwmeester from the Calgary Fire Sale. It was time for the Hawks to put their foot to the floor and get hot again. Live from the United Center in slightly warmer Chicago Illinois, it's the Blackhawks and Blues...

The Hawks and Blues played a pretty even first period with the Hawks having a slight edge in the shots 8-7. The Blues put a late goal on the board to open up a 1-0 lead after the opening 20 minutes.

The second period was all Blackhawks. They out shot the Blues 15-5 and took a 2-1 lead. All signs seemed to point to a big Hawks night, but things came to a screeching halt in the 3rd period.

The third period was another late game shitshow for the Blackhawks, who actually out shot the Blues 10-7. They not only let the Blues tie the game, but eventually let the Blues hang in long enough to surrender them the lead. The Blackhawks were able to eventually comeback and tie the game back up, but neither team was able to win the game in regulation.

The overtime was a scoreless and worthless 5 minutes, so the teams needed to take this one into a shootout. Even the Shootout went into extra time, and after 12 shooters, the Blues won it.

The Good

  • After the Hawks gave up the lead in the first, El Capitan opened up the second causing all sorts of chaos in the Blues crease. He picked up a Seabrook rebound and poked it past Elliott to tie the game up. As with quite a few goals this year, the play was set up by Kane's puck carrying ability. He waited for the troops to catch up and fed Seabrook. The rest was history.
  • Just over two minutes after the Toews goal, General Saad took a Toews feed and pumped a back door goal past Elliott, to give the Blackhawks a 2-1 lead. That lead would stick until early in the third, and the Hawks would never see a lead again. I can't say enough just how much I like this Saad kid. He's a star in the making, and he's found his niche.
  • Stalberg gave the Hawks some life with under 5 minutes remaining in regulation. He intercepted a weak Roszival shot and surprise Elliott by snapping it through a Bickell screen and Elliott's 5-hole. Big goal, at the time.
  • Even though his shootout expertise didn't work out, his faceoff expertise did. Handzus was 10 for 14 at the dots. If he can keep that up, this move will be a steal. His numbers made up for Bolland and Shaw's terrible matching 33%s. Kane and Sharp need possession, and it's going to come a time when Handzus needs to center them, to get them the puck. Bolland has been brutal.
  • Boss 81 was a plus 2 in his return to the lineup.
The Bad

  • If you're going to allow a shitshow, you might was well go all in, and the Blackhawks did. They allowed previously scoreless Adam Cracknell to score not one, but TWO goals. The first was as a result of Deuces sloppy feet. He blew a tire at the Blues blue line (say that three times) and it left Cracknell in on a 2-on-1 with Seabrook and Crawford. Crawford's angle was way off, and Cracknell blew it by him easily. The second goal was a breakaway as a result of Roszival's cement skates. He pinched on a play that he probably shouldn't have, and Cracknell got in behind him. Keith wasn't able to catch him either, and Cracknell waited Crawford out long enough to just tuck it by him. Made the kid look like a fucking Allstar for a night.
  • Bolland truly did nothing last night. He lost 2/3rds of his faceoffs, took a penalty, and was a minus 2. I've given up all hope that he can be a #2 center. Time for plan "F", put him back where he wants to be and put either Kruger or Handzus on the second line. Shaw can slide to wing or down to the 4th line.
The Ugly

  • Between Roman Polak jumping Stalberg for an innocent collision with Barrett Jackoff and then Jackoff yapping at Ray Emery on the bench, I don't know which was the bigger clown move. First of all, Roman Polak is a doucheface for just blatantly maiming Stalberg after a clean play. Jackoff put himself in a bad position and Stalberg simply lifted his stick. I'm glad the refs got that call right, giving Polak 2/5/10 and Stalberg nothing. Then Jackoff had the brilliant idea of yapping not at one of the 19 players on the ice, but backup Sugar Ray Emery. I really don't think that he realized what he was getting himself into, because Sugar Ray would have knocked his teeth out.
  • WHY is Brandon Bollig back? WHY? Fuck, this is mentally draining.
  • Midway through the third period, the Blackhawks, more specifically Hammer and Deuce, left David Backes alone in front of Crawford long enough to shovel a Bouwmeester rebound past Crawford, giving the Blues a 4-3 lead.
The Shootout

  • Toews scored on Elliott
  • Stewart scored on Crawford
  • Kane scored on Elliott
  • McDonald scored on Crawford
  • Shaw was stopped by Elliott
  • Perron was stopped by Crawford
  • Hossa scored on Elliott
  • Steen scored on Crawford
  • Saad was stopped by Elliott
  • Tarasenko was stopped by Crawford
  • Handzus was stopped by Crawford
  • Shattenkirk scored on Crawford

Here are the video highlights:

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Coming Down - Trade Deadline and Other Developments

Well, that certainly was fun, wasn't it? Like a prostate exam while getting a root canal. The 2013 NHL trade deadline barely made a sprinkle in Chicago, and the Meatball Nation immediately called for Stan Bowman's head on a stake. I have certainly had my doubts about the ability of Stan Bowman to built the Hawks into another Stanley Cup champ, they weren't sitting atop the NHL standings when I was flipping my lid. At times they were fighting for their playoff lives (Hello 2011). What all the extremist Meatball-a-go-gos seem to overlook is that, while the Hawks have holes, so do all other 29 NHL team. Even those teams that went on mad cash grabs, the last week. Despite their holes, the Blackhawks had a nationally recognized point streak. As the Penguins can attest, adjusting to life without one of your top players is not easy, yet the Hawks have done pretty well without TWO of them, on and off, for the last month.

Bowman made a couple of system depth moves this week, but he seems set to go to war, in a few weeks, with the team he started with in January. If you told me this in January, I might have blown my stack too, but 35 games later, the Hawks are closing in on clinching the first playoff spot and have only 5 regulation losses. Yeah, yeah, "bla, bla the playoffs this" and "the playoffs that", but you don't go 35 games with a record like they have because you're a marginal team with only luck on your side. I'm a realist, which is the whole reason I started this crappy little rag, but they aren't as bad as some people make them out to be.

If Stan Bowman was to be fired TODAY, as some people are stupid enough to ask for, he would have a job by the time he hit the pillow tonight. This guy isn't Jay Feaster, or Scott Howson. Whether or not he built the 2010 team from the beginning, he has a Stanley Cup on his resume, and the team he HAS built is currently first overall in the entire league. This all while having to dismantle his Cup team to dig out of salary cap hell. The core of that Cup team still remain, THREE YEARS LATER. I certainly have my questions about some of his decisions, but the fact of the matter is that he has been able to reload this team without a complete tear down and rebuild.

Everyone is aware that the Hawks have a gapping hole at the #2 pivot. They have had this hole since before the Stanley Cup made it's way down Washington and Michigan from the United Center. Patrick Sharp filled that hole then, and could do it now. He could team with Marcus Kruger to play a hybrid center, where Sharpie takes the faceoffs, but Kruger still lines up there. They could also probably use another depth defender, with the latest slide of Johnny Oduya's success, but the recent defensive shakeup could have knocked them back on track.

Where I disagree with the masses is their begging for "more grit". It's yodeled from the UC rafters that they need more of that cliche "sandpaper". This is about as annoying as that idiot in the 300 sections screaming "SHOOOOOT" or "Hit Someone!" all game long. Those players don't work with this team. They have Carcillo and Mayers who just can't find a place to fit, and as insignificant as he is, Brandon Bollig was one of those beloved sandpaper guys, too. None of them fit. This team is built on speed and skill, not some shaved down neanderthal trying to put people through the glass or engage in "punch me in the face" contests. Any and all of those activities just drag the Hawks down. Why would you want to slow this team down? Saad, Toews, Bickell, and Seabrook have grit. They just don't engage in the dances of the cementheads. I don't want to watch Blackhawks kill 1/3rd more penalties because some dim bulb is running around making borderline hits just to appease the simple minded meatballs. Isn't it fun to watch these guys skate around the opponents like they are standing still? I think so.

The biggest problems this team has are that A) Unless you're wearing #19 (and his red cape with the big "S"), you can't win a faceoff and B) The Powerplay has gone flat. These are the two issues that the Hawks need to fix first and foremost, before the playoffs.

The Hawks are a puck possession team, and that starts with grabbing possession from the faceoff and keeping it. Losing late game faceoffs in their own zone has been a contributing factor to quite a few of their breakdowns. Michal Handzus can't really do much on the ice anymore, but he CAN win a faceoff. This is something similar to what John Madden did in 2010. He is NOT the solution to their woes, but he can help.

The powerplay should be able to fix itself, without bringing in firepower. The Hawks have plenty of firepower, so much so that the rest of the league would gladly take their residuals. They just need to move and cycle more. The easiest way to confuse a teams's penalty kill is to make them move. This opens up lanes and, sooner or later, the opposing penalty kill breaks down. I'm not speaking of "rocket surgery" or quantum physics. If you stand still and allow defenders to also stand still, it's much easier for them to close down the passing and shooting lanes. An aside to not getting the PK moving, is that they don't get as tired, and we all know people make mistakes when they are tired. They were moving much more as the season opened, but have fallen back into old habits, and the stats support that.

The moral of the story is that if they can improve the powerplay, and win some faceoffs, along with getting their injured players back, they should make a very strong run in the playoffs. As strong as they did in the spring of 2010. This could be a special spring, so let's cheer them on. We're all on the same side.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Puckin Blackhawks Trade Tracker

Feel free to bookmark this page, I will outline any moves the Blackhawks make today.

New Blackhawks Players

HEIGHT: 6' 5"
BORN: MAR 11, 1977 (AGE 36)

Details - San Jose acquires a 2013 4th round draft pick.
Assets - Big body that can win faceoffs and plays the penalty kill.
Flaws - Older. Not as fleet of foot as the first time around in Chicago.
Career Potential - Role Player.

Games 28 Goals 1 Assists 1 Points 2 PIM 12



HEIGHT: 5' 11"
BORN: JUN 25, 1991 (AGE 21)

Details - Tampa Bay Lightning acquires Philippe Paradis.
Assets - A skilled player who skates well. An offensive defenseman with good puck control and a fast shot.
Flaws - Needs to improve his physique.
Career Potential - Puck moving defenseman.

With Cornell University
Games 22 Goals 0 Assists 0 Points 0 PIM 19



HEIGHT: 6' 0"
BORN: JAN 30, 1990 (AGE 23)

Details - Boston Bruins acquire Rob Flick.
Assets - Sauve is a speedster with good hands, strong puck-handling skills and a surprising amount of grit and determination for this type of player. He sees the ice well and can set-up scoring chances for his linemates just as well as he can create them for himself through speed and clever one-on-one moves. Is an aggressive forechecker exploiting his speed advantage and getting to pucks. Willing to work the walls and play a cycle game. Gets back defensively and has a good sense of the game and his positioning.
Flaws - Health has been the biggest hurdle in his young career, having missed 60 games over the last two seasons.
Career Potential - NHL defensive Center with some offensive upside.

With Cornell University
Games 52 Goals 10 Assists 13 Points 23 PIM 24



Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Blackhawks vs Predators - SO Win Recap

"DNR / Do Not Resuscitate"

Ain't no rest for the wicked
Money don't grow on trees
I got bills to pay
I got mouths to feed
There ain't nothing in this world for free

After running the fuck over the Red Wings Sunday afternoon, and trading for Michal Handzus Monday afternoon, the Hawks were back home last night to face the disappointing Preds and their 5-11-3 road record. Lets get right to it....Live from the United Center in Chicago, it's the Blackhawks and the Preds.

The first period was about as exciting as one could expect from a Hawks/Preds game. Surprisingly enough, the Hawks took a late 1st period lead on their 9 shots. The Preds weren't so lucky, with only 7 shots of their own.

The Hawks opened it up a bit in the second period, and out shot the Preds a whopping 18-4. They only managed one goal, but the percentages were with them. If they could keep up the momentum in the third, this would be a healthy win.

The Hawks came out in the third period and out shot the Hawks 15-8, and scored two goals, to tie the game up. Just another game where the Hawks failed to close out a team. They weren't able to put the Preds to bed in overtime, either,so the extra point was decided in another one of those stupid shootouts.

The Good

  • With eleven seconds left in the first period, Brandon Saad continued his blazing hot play and used a lucky bounce off Blum's skate to grab a Blackhawks lead. El Capitan won the faceoff back to Hjalmarsson, who found a wide open Saad along the right boards. He tried to hit Toews with a pass in front, but the puck went off the Preds defender's skate and past Rinne. Works for me.
  • After Patric Hornqvist negated a Preds powerplay with a 4 minute double minor for high sticking Hjalmarsson, Crazy 8s used the open ice of the 4-on-4 play to work himself into a 2-on-1 with El Capitan. Kane had no pass so he took the shot himself and beat Rinne for a 2-0 lead. You can't leave a sniper like Kane that kind of time alone with your goalie.
  • Minus the Purple Hayes center ice experiment, all of the Hawks centers were at 50%, or above, at the dots. Of course, the Bolland numbers were only for one period, and I'm certain he would have found a way to fuck those up. Even with Hayes, the team was at 60%, thanks to El Capitan's clownish 77%
  • We really can't ask for anything more than a 40 to 27 shot advantage. More times than not, that will lead to a win by the good guys. Even with a 15 shot third period, the Preds only managed 27 total shots.
The Bad

  • Bolland was hurt in the first period and missed significant time. Toews took an elbow to the face, and Kane took what looked like an elbow to the head. It was a rough night for the Hawks.
  • With Bolland hurt, Jimmy Hayes got some shifts at center, and they did NOT go well. He was a big contributor on the second Preds goal, and was a paltry 1-for-4 at the dots. Great time for Handzus to show up, eh? Just too bad he's not a second line Center. His minus 2 would support that.
  • The Preds tied the game up after Jimmy Hayes failed to get the puck out of the Hawks zone, and Taylor Beck ended up wide open with the puck on his stick. Beck had to delay because he had to gain control the puck and that threw Crawford's timing off. Crawford made the save, on his side, but the puck slipped away and barely slipped into the net. All this was as a result of the handy momentum change that swung when Crawford gave up the first terrible goal.
  • The first Hawks powerplay didn't result in a goal, but it's the most consistant pressure we've seen from a Hawks powerplay in a long time. Amazing what happens when you actually move your feet instead of standing still and playing catch. Unfortunately, they missed a prime chance to put the Preds away with an extended powerplay in the second.
The Ugly

  • Crawford was very late coving a puck that slowly rolled in on him, in the third period. When he finally did cover, Legwand was able to meet him and poke it past Crawford. The puck embarrassingly dribbled into the net. Queue comeback in 3, 2...

    I'm not really sure just what the hell Crawford was thinking, but it cost him big time and almost cost the Hawks the extra point. Tighten up. It's making the routine plays consistently that will make him a high end starter. That was a routine play that he completely muffed.
  • TEN hits for Shea Weber and 8 hits for RICH FUCKING CLUNE? How is that even accurate? I barely noticed the guys, and the stats people "claim" they had 18 hits between them. That stat is so fucking ridiculous and subjective.
  • Speaking of ugly, am I the only one that noticed that Brandon Yip and Victor Bartley look disturbingly similar?
The Shootout

  • El Capitan juked the hell out of Rinne.
  • Hornqvist shot wide.
  • Crazy 8s came in slow and was stopped by a Rinne toe.
  • Smith beat Crawford with a backhand.
  • Shock-n-Shaw couldn't get past Rinne.
  • Legwand stopped by Crawford.
  • Saad lost the puck after going wide.
  • Crawford waited out Kostitsyn.
  • Rozsival beat Rinne on the backhand.
  • Crawford got a piece of the Beck shot.

Here are the video highlights:

Shoutcast Player


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