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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

Stop, just STOP!

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

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

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


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Blackhawks Week That Was - 12/28

12/23 - Blackhawks vs Devils -

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

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Blackhawks Week That Was - 12/20

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

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

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

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

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


Friday, December 20, 2013

A Brief Look Into
The William W. Wirtz Era

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

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

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Blackhawks Week That Was - 12/13

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

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

Monday, December 9, 2013

Blackhawks Week That Was - 12/6

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

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

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