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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Blackhawks at Minnesota - Shootout Loss Recap

"Rhymin and Stealin"

What is this two days off stuff? After a hard fought overtime win against the despised Detoilet Red Wings, Sunday, the Hawks earned a well deserved couple of days off. Wednesday was their first look at the new look Wild, with their multimillion dollar center pieces. As we all know, the Hawks come in 6-0, but they have hit a bit of a rough streak. Detoilet and Dallas had ample opportunity to beat the Hawks, but Corey Crawford helped keep them in the games long enough to pull out a win. For his efforts, Crawford was named NHL #2 star of the week. If the Hawks are going to continue being successful, they will need Crawford to continue being solid, but they will also need to step up offensively and open some bigger leads. They can't expect Crawford to bail them out consistently, because he's just not that type of goalie. New shiny toy, Zach Parise, is doing exactly what he was brought in to do, which is put asses in the seats, and points on the board. Suter hasn't had as much luck, but there is going to be a little more adjustment time playing defense. His time will come, just so that time was after Wednesday night. Live from Minny-Haha, it's the Blackhawks and the Wild...

The Blackhawks came out and looked utterly atrocious in the first few shifts. They immediately took some lazy icing calls and before the second line could even fully get on the ice, they had already given up a sloppy goal. They finally managed to wake up and mustered up enough pressure to actually take a lead and chase the Wild goalie from the game with 2 goals on 4 shots and a crossbar. The Wild ended up out shooting the Hawks 15-7 because of some powerplays, but that doesn't tell the tale.

Once again, the Hawks started a period out in negative fashion. They were able to thwart a few great chances against, but another defensive zone gaffe allowed the Wild to tie the game up. The good news is that it once again woke the Hawks up, and even though they didn't score, they had some great pressure and their penalty kill was excellent as well. When the whistle blew, the shots favored the Hawks 8-4, but the game was tied 2-2.

While the Hawks dominated the third period, outshooting the Wild 11-2 they had to face a late penalty kill which pretty much killed the momentum they had going in the last 2 minutes. In what has become a pleasant trend, the Hawks killed the penalty, sending the game into extra time to decide the extra point.

The Overtime was a absolute track meet up and down the ice, with the Hawks getting 6 shots on net, and the Wild getting 4 of their own. When all was said and done, neither team could beat the opposing Goalie, and the game was decided by a couple of Wild shootout goals. Consider that extra point stolen, but only one point lost in the first 7 games is still an excellent start and more than we could have asked for.

The Good

  • One of the first shots that the Hawks took was by Shooter who beat Harding and rang it off the post. It was thought that the shot might have originally gone in, at first glance, but after seeing the replay clearly it didn't.
  • During the same sequence that Shooter's shot went off the post, Bickell took a puck from the corner and drove it straight into the crease. Before Bickell got his shot off Shaw stole it right off Bickell's stick and threw it over Hardings shoulder. Not 5 minutes gone in the game, and two goals had been scored.
  • Make that three goals. El Capitan took a 2-1 lead for the Hawks a minute and a half later on a terrible goal. He skated up the left wing and beat Harding pretty easily through the 5-Hole. That ended Harding's night, and suffice to say, he was not happy.
  • For most of the game the best Hawks line, by a long shot, was One Trick Bick/Shock-N-Shaw/Swedeberg, even though Swedeberg wasn't out for their first goal. Just imagine what they could do if Bick would actually hit someone, given the multitude of chances he has gotten.
  • It's not often that I give Brandon Dullig credit, but Zenon Konopka tried to sucker Dullig into a fight in the first and he declined, actually drawing a penalty in the process. He finally learned to not fuck up his team's momentum, by losing a pointless hug festival. Credit where it's due. Of course, Swedeberg took a silly Goalie interference penalty that ended that powerplay early, but it's the principal. For his efforts, Dullig broke the 7 minute mark for the first time this season. Funny how using your fat melon can result in extended playing time, isn't it?
  • Crawford made what might be one of the best saves of the year, on Bouchard. Bouchard was wide open on the back door, during the 4-on-3 powerplay. Bouchard tried to bring the puck to his forehand and Crawford dove head first, beating Bouchard. Excellent, Excellent save!
  • Funny how little this team missed the Carcillo shenanigans when you have a kid with the talent of Brandon Saad out there in his place. Saad might not show up on the score sheet, but he is constantly making things happen with his speed, size, and willingness to go to those dirty places.
  • The Hawks penalty kill is still among the top in the league with only one goal given up in 7 games. Again, more than we could have asked for.
  • Niklas Backstrom was a wall in net, after relieving Harding. It's really hard to root against Harding with all that is going on in his life, and I actually felt pretty bad for the guy when he was pulled. That said, I'd take Backstrom in a Hawks uniform any day.
  • The final shot tally favored the Hawks (32-25) even though they were heavily out shot in the first. This is exactly what you'd like to see from the offense, so one can't really complain about that.
  • Bolland was eaten alive again at the dots, but the rest of the Hawks centers were all over 50%.
  • Even though he took a boneheaded penalty, Frolik led the team with 6 shots on net. The Hawks may never see 20 goals from him again, but he is making himself useful on the PK and 4th line.
The Bad

  • At roughly 1:30 of the first period, Matt Cullen picked up the opening goal of the game. Deuce and Seabs had finally just been able to leave the ice, after 2 straight icing infractions. Oduya and Hjalmarsson no sooner stepped on the ice for the faceoff and they left Cullen to whack away at Crawford, and the rebound, and finally beat him. Kruger actually won the faceoff, but the Hawks looked lazy and uninterested in controlling the puck.
  • Following a couple of nice saves by Crawford, the Hawks won a faceoff deep in their own zone, but O-dunce-ya threw it right up the middle of the zone to Tom Gilbert, who just dumped it towards the net. Cal Clusterfuck redirected it just enough to get it by Crawford, and tie up the game.
  • It would be nice to see one of the big dopes, Dullig or Bickell, hit SOMETHING. I can understand the rest of the team not hitting, but these wonder twins are two of the biggest players on the ice most nights and refuse to throw a big hit. The finally hit tally was 13-6 in favor of the Wild, but if you ask me (and I know you didn't), it looked like the Wild had 13 hits in the first half of the first period. Whoever tallys these hit totals must be blind, deaf and stupid.
The Ugly

  • Frolik did his first moronic thing of the year, checking Granlund from behind, and giving the Wild a 4-on-3 powerplay. This might get a second look from the league office, but I think he'll slide.
  • What's that you say, Eddie? One-Trick-Bick shouldn't be trying blue line curl and drag moves? Couldn't. Agree. More.
  • Crazy 8's made a terrible turnover in overtime that led to a break back the other way. He floated across the Wild zone waiting for numbers, but tried a blind drop which ended up on the stick of Bouchard.
The Shootout

  • Parise deked Crawford out of his jock
  • El Capitan equalled Parise, gaping 5-Hole, on Backstrom
  • Koivu couldn't beat Crawford
  • Crazy 8's ran out of room in Backstrom's kitchen
  • Cullen beat Crawford slow and low
  • Shooter hit the crossbar. Game...set...match
Here are the video highlights:

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Blackhawks vs. Red Wings - OT Win Recap

"Ledd Alert"

After what could have been a disastrous game in Columbus the previous night, the Blackhawks stopped home to meet the vehemently detested 2-2-0 Detoilet Red Wings. While their defense resembles something the Chicago Wolves could torch, they still roster names like Datsyuk, and Zetterberg. Datsyuk lead the team in scoring with 6 points, as one would expect, but they are giving up almost 3.50 goals per game. This is not the same team fans are used to seeing, but something about a Chicago/Detoilet matchup that brings the best and worst out of these two clubs. Live from the United Center, it's the Blackhawks and Red Wings.

The Hawks jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead, but the game settled down to a screeching halt after that, as far as goals go. Each club managed 11 shots on net, in the opening period. The Hawks thwarted two Detoilet powerplays following their powerplay goal, as they managed to continue their excellent penalty killing.

The second period was basically all Detoilet, as far as shots and pressure went. A bunch of Wings powerplays (six in a row) led to the puck spending a majority of the period in the Hawks end. When all was said and done the Hawks were out shot 9-6, which is respectable considering the circumstances. If this were the Wings of even a year ago, the Hawks would have been down at least 2-1 going into the third.

The Hawks came out in the third period and spent roughly the first 7 minutes running around in their own zone like a Shanghai Fire Dance. It was the ugliest hockey they've played all season, and they looked extremely tired. Once the Hawks woke up, they almost evened the shot totals with the Wings finishing the period leading in that category 9-8. The only goal was an early Wings goal. This one was going into extra time, to decide the extra point.

The Wings had the edge in shots, in the overtime period, but the Hawks only needed one shot to win the game. Consider this one a stolen game. The Hawks are now 6-0 on the season, and the next target in the crosshairs is the Wild, on Wednesday.

The Good

  • Deuce gave the Hawks a lead on the powerplay with just over 2 1/2 minutes gone in the first period. Nothing special about this one. Keith was just outside the left dots. The Wings let him skate to the dot and rip a clapper over Opie Howard's blocker. Queue the Dagger.
  • The PK was able to come up huge once again, halfway through the second period, when Detoilet ended up with a 5-on-3 for almost 40 seconds. This resulted in almost 3 minutes of PP time when the Wings were already in control of the period. Just about a minutes and a half later, the PK was called on once again, when the Hawks sloppily took a "too-much-man" penalty.
  • Nick Leddy sent the Wings away in overtime, trailing a rush by El Capitan and Swede-berg. Pick-to-click Vik floated across the zone long enough for Led-Hed to catch the play. Stalberg hit Leddy on the tape and Leddy beat Opie Howard under the glove.
  • Crawford earned the first star and made 29 saves. He was the Hawks best player by a long shot, in a game they probably didn't deserve to win.
  • The Hawks weren't terrible at the dot. All of the centers were at, or close to, 50%. Shaw was the worst at 2 for 5 (40%).
  • The Hawks were lucky to take care of their one in overtime because they did NOT want to face Datsyuk, Bertuzzi and Bruner in a shootout.
The Bad

  • Justin Abdelkader took a run at Oduya deep in the Hawks zone in the first period, and it looked like he could have taken Oduya's head clean off. Luckily, Oduya jumped right back up with no ill effects.
  • The Hawks were far too tired to take advantage of two third period powerplays, which could have iced the game.
  • Call for the Meatballs! Six wins and six games that the Hawks have been out hit, this time 19-14. Where are the Meatballs calling for more hitting, now?
The Ugly

  • As much as I try to advocate MegaMayers over Bollig, he's making me look like a total asshole. In one of his few shifts, he took a silly "covering the puck" penalty which resulted in the 6th straight powerplay of the game with under 40 full minutes played. At this point in time, I don't have much use for Bollig OR Mayers.
  • Stupid ass Pay Boyle and his verbal fucking diarrhea. He didn't mention the shutout, specifically, between the second and third periods, but he certainly hinted at it. Sure enough the Hawks came out in the third and laid an egg. Not even 5 minutes into the period, Franzen picked up a redirected puck to the left of Crawford and beat Crow through the wickets. How many times do people need to be reminded not to even hint at shutouts? Is it really that hard? Morons!

The video highlights for your viewing pleasure:

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Blackhawks at Columbus - Win Recap

Four down and the Hawks were playing a team they had dominated all last year. Easy pickins for number 5, right? It would be very easy for the Blackhawks look past the lowly Blue Jackets and focus on their first shot this season at the Red Wings, Sunday, but this is a tougher team than last year's whipping boys. Their star power took a hit with the face of their franchise, Rick Nash, being sent to New York, but they ended up with a good deal of talent in return along with a little of that beloved "sandpaper". If they didn't take this one serious, they wouldn't be going back home to face the Wing still undefeated. Live from Columbus, it's the Blackhawks and the Blue Jackets...

The first period started off pretty heavily in favor of Columbus, and they even took 1-0 lead, but the Hawks finally woke up out of their haze and tied the game before the period ended. Considering the slow start the Hawks were only out shot 9-8 and carried momentum into the second.

The Hawks took a lead in the middle frame and were out shot again 9-8. They lucked out when Columbus looked to have tied the game, on the powerplay, but it was waved off. This should have been the inspiration they needed to pull away. It would take the last 20 minutes to see if they would do just that.

The third period seemed to be slanted in favor of Columbus, but the shots were 8-8. Both teams scored in the period, but the Hawks held off a late Columbus flurry to walk away with a hard fought 3-2 win. Next stop, back in the UC against Red Wings.

The Good

  • Kane continued his red hot play, setting up Bolland for the game tying goal with 2 minutes remaining in the first. Crazy 8's blew by former Captain Healthy Scratch Adrian Aucoin, and drove in 1-on-1 with Steve Mason. Mason made the original save but the rebound was left sitting for Bolland to clean up. It must be nice to clean up after players like Kane and Sharp.
  • Hjalmarsson helped give the Hawks a 2-0 lead about half way though the second period on a feed from Frolik. One-Trick-Bick worked to keep the puck in, and Frodo picked it up in the corner. He made the safe play by throwing it back to Hammer for a long shot. The puck was redirected by Bick and past Mason for a 2-1 lead. This was all after two enormous saves, by Crawford on Jackets shorthanded chances.
  • MegaMayers was on the ice again, in place of Bollig, which is a good thing. Just too bad that he looked like Bambi on ice when he went after Jared Boll for hitting Kruger. Boll was able to get a few shots in and MegaMayers never even got his feet set after stepping on a lost glove, which led to him ending up on his ass quite quickly. He also only managed 4:44 of ice time with 7 minutes in the penalty box.
  • As much as I want to grab Jamie Kompon's tall lanky ass, shake the shit out of him, and ask him what he's thinking regarding Shaw on the powerplay, he makes up for it by using Stunning Swede-berg on the man advantage. It's amazing that they could be so stupid about using his size and speed before this season.
  • The Hawks ended up on the fortunate end of a gift with just over 6 minutes gone in the third period. Mark Letestu turned over the puck while breaking out at the Jackets blue line. Crazy 8's picked it off, and shoveled down low to El Capitan who was behind the play and wide open just feet in front of Steve Mason. Mason didn't stand a chance, 1-on-1 with one of the most dangers players in the game. 3-1 Hawks
  • Hjalmarsson was a plus 3 for the game followed by Oduya and Crazy 8's with plus 2 each.
  • Everyone, but Bolland, was over 50% at the dot. They could have achieved this with Sharp at the #2 slot, but they are winning and Crash Davis once said "Never fuck with a winning streak".
  • Crawford was once again big. He bailed the Hawks out several times. While I'll refrain from proclaiming him back to form, He's certainly playing much better.
The Bad

  • The Jackets took a 1-0 lead about halfway through the first on a mad scramble in the crease. Foligno drove to the net, and Crawford made the first save. Crawford then made a second save on Anisimov, and as he was laying on his stomach with his ass facing everyone else, Letestu chipped it into the net and the Hawks were left in a quick hole.
  • I cannot, for the life of me, figure out what Shock-N-Shaw has been doing that makes him a better third line option than Kruger. Kruger is smarter, more responsible, and more talented overall. Kruger has just made more happen too. Furthermore, Shaw on the first powerplay unit is going to make me throw something heavy through my flat screen. It doesn't take a brilliant hockey mind to see that this silliness isn't benefiting anyone.
  • After winning a faceoff deep in their zone the Hawks lost possession and a Dubinsky stuff attempt ended up loose in the crease. Anisimov chipped it up over Crawford and the Jackets were within one goal, with 2 minutes to play.
  • Deuce was a minus 2 on the night for the team low. He played better than this, but it still looks pretty bad.
  • Meatball central...The Hawks were outhit again 22-12 and won yet again. Shocking.
The Ugly

  • The Blue Jackets came out with a clear agenda to pound the Hawks thtough the boards.
  • The Jackets looked to have tied the game on the powerplay but they were called for bring in the crease, and the goal was waved off. I don't think anyone but the ref saw the play that way, but the Hawks will take it. The crowd continued to boo for a good couple of minutes after the play, and I can't blame them.
  • A terrible holding the stick/unsportsmanlike conduct penalty looked like it was going to give the Jackets a 4 minute powerplay, but they proceeded to take 2 penalties of their own, which turned into a short 4-on-3 advantage for the Hawks. The whole ordeal was set off with El Capitan controlling the play and taking on 3 Columbus players, and getting tripped.
  • I know we've only seen him for two games, but I really have no use for Brookbank. He looks slow and apparently wears skates full of lead laced concrete.
  • Captain Healthy Scratch was a minus 3, for which I only have one thing to say:
  • Bolland was absolutely cock whipped at the dots winning just 5 of 18.

Video highlights as promised:

Friday, January 25, 2013

Blackhawks at Dallas - OT Win Recap

"Power Player"

Hold me, Marian. Hold me tight.

Last night the Hawks travelled to sunny Dallas Texas, to take on the pesky Stars. It would be east to look past this team, but they have some firepower and a very good goalie. Newcomers Ray Whitney and Jaromir Jagr are leading the Stars in points, like fans hoped they would. Thank christ that they cast off mega douche faces Mike Ribiero and Steve Ott last summer, because those two were grade A pain in the asses. Good riddance to the Eastern conference for both of those clowns. The Stars were also short Jamie Benn, who is a RFA and still without paper. During the game it was announced that Benn had re-signed, so the Hawks lucked out on that. Anyhow, the Hawks were, of course, riding a 3 game winning streak, which was their best start in 30 years. Hard to believe, yet true. Live from Dallas Texas, it's the Blackhawks and the Stars...

The Hawks came out like they were running a track meet once again. Up and down the ice like a mid 80's game. They ended up going to the locker room down 1-0 on a bad goal, even though they out shot Dallas 12-6. You'd think that would bring more favorable results.

The second period was more of the same in the shot totals column, but the Stars took a 2-0 lead half way though the period. It could have been lights out for the Hawks, but they battles back with a goal of their own to head into the third down 2-1, but up in shots a staggering 30-14.

The third period was once again dominated by Blackhawks shots, but the difference was that they were the only ones to score in this frame. The Hawks tied it up in the last half of the period on 10 shots, and then went on to use their only overtime shot to win the game. 4-0 and next up...Columbus on Saturday. Viktor Stalberg, your table is ready!

The Good

  • Megamayers was finally in the lineup in stead of Bollig. I think the guy warrants more than 6:49 of ice time, but Quenneville dressing him is a step in the right direction. Why did the Hawks re-sign him if they were going to scratch him?
  • All Hawks centers were above the 50% mark at the dots, while Cody Eakin was eaten alive. I like this.
  • About 5 minutes into the second General Saad, and Hoss had a 2 on 1, which resulted in a great shot by Saad. Lehtonen made a great tight save on Saad, and Toews was there for the rebound and Lehtonen made an even better save on him.
  • When Nick Leddy winds himself up, he's is absolutely electric. His end to end rush in the second made everyone else look like they were standing in cold molasses. He blew by everyone, up the right side and fed a wide open Hoss, who Cody Eakin left to make a sammich in Lehtonen's kitchen. Again, Lehtonen made a great stop. If I'm a Dallas fan, I'm throwing eggs and rotten fruit at this Eakin kid.
  • The Hawks were the recipient of a little devine intervention on a late second period powerplay. The Hawks were hitting tape to tape passes across the Dallas zone and Shooter tried to hit Stalberg on the back door. Trevor Daley had other ideas, and attempted to block the pass. I say attempted because he not only blocked the pass, but beat his own goalie, to give the Hawks life. 2-1 Stars.
  • Duncan Keith made what might be the play of the night, after a late second period Star flurry. The Stars were just abusing the Hawks in heir own zone as time was running out. Goligoski took a long shot that snuck through Crawford's legs again and sloooooooooowly rolled towards the goal line. Keith reached behind Crow with about 2 seconds to go, and swept it clear of the net to save another potential period ending disaster. Clutch as clutch can be. If Keith plays the way he has for three out of the for games, the Hawks are going to do extremely well.
  • The Hawks second powerplay goal of the game tied the contest up with just under 6 minutes to play in the third period. Sharp set the play up from the right point and was able to hit an open Tazer at the top of the left circle. Toews took a stride and ripped a lazer over Lehtonen. The crowd went nuts, with all the Hawks fans on hand. It sounded like a home game. Again, CLUTCH by the big paper guys.
  • After killing a late third period/early OT powerplay perfectly, and almost dominating the shorthanded time, the Hawks were able to draw a powerplay of their own, in OT. The Hawks made quick work, with 1:41 gone in OT. Kaner and Hossa worked an extended give-n-go with a 4-on-3 advantage. Hossa passed over to an open Kane who first looked like he was going to let the shot go from a pretty good position in the slot. Kaner, having the vision that he does, noticed Goligoski sliding over to block the shot. Just as everyone was screaming "NO! What are you waiting f...NOT A BLIND BACKHAND PASS!!!!", he did just that, hitting Hossa on the tape for a one timer past Lehtonen. Game...Set...Match!!!
  • I want to point out that the Hawks win is no reflection of Kari Lehtonen's play. He was OUTSTANDING. When he is healthy, he is a top notch netminder and I'd take him on my club, any day.
  • Six shots each for 19 and 88. Five shots each for Saad, and Hossa. Bolly had 3 shots and Shooter had 2. That top 6 is rounding out really nice, isn't it? Twenty seven shots from your top 6, alone, is quite impressive.
  • Three points for Handsome Pat. CLUTCH!
The Bad
  • Meatball stat of the day. The Hawks were out hit for the 4th straight game 19-13. Amazingly enough, they still win. Funny how that works. This brings the season total to 123-70.
  • Everyone talks about the bad attendance in Phoenix, but where were the gun toting, ten gallon hat and cowboy boot wearing Dallas folk? They were playing an exciting, high scoring, 3-0 team. Amateurs. Must have been a rodeo or a cock fight in town.
The Ugly
  • The Stars opened up the scoring with 0.6 seconds left in the first period, shorthanded. Louis Eriksson put on a show after a block of a Seabrook point shot. Derek Roy was able to cleverly flip the puck to Eriksson, who turned on 5th gear and blew around Seabrook. He then dragged Seabs on his back as he came in on Crow. Eriksson's shot was originally saved by Crow, but dropped down trough him like a coin in a soda machine and rolled into the net. While it was as ugly as honey boo boo's mother to give up a shorthander with that little time left, Eriksson's effort was pretty damn good. Crawford wasn't entirely at fault either. Unfortunate bounce after the initial shot.
  • The second goal was just as bad as the first. Half way through the second, it looked like it was light out for the Hawks. The Hawks won a neutral zone faceoff, and Michal Rozsival blew the clearing chance off the boards. Eakin intercepted and chipped it to Whitney, whom Leddy had left to camp out in front of the net. Whitney was still on his backhand though, which should favor Crawford, but that wasn't the case. Whitney shoveled a top chizel shot over Crow's blocker and it was 2-0 Stars.
Here are the video highlights:

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Blackhawks vs. Blues - Win Recap

"Again We Rise"

Things didn't get any easier last night. The Hawks opened up the United Center to host the recently "not so bad" St. Louis Blues and their new found glory. The Blues had previously shut out Detroit, and beaten the Preds in a shootout. Lets not forget latest Blues flash in he pan Vladimir Tarasenko, who might just be the real deal. Everything seemed to be running smooth for the Blues, and it was time to drag their filthy Busch Beer smelling carcasses back down to earth. Crawford and Elliott went head to head, and this was just another major test for the Hawks defensive corp. Like we said before the season, off the couch and right into the frying pan. Live from Chicago, it's the Blackhawks and the Blues...

The Blackhawks came out FLYING down the ice, in the first period. There was odd man break, after odd man break until the Hawks finally broke the ice. The official scorekeeper must have drunk because they claim the Blues out shot the Hawks 9-7. Not the same game, sir.

The second period looked a little more even with the Hawks getting 11 shots and the Blues 9. The only goal was a powerplay goal by the Hawks and the they sat 20 minutes from a 3-0 start. Even though they had less odd man chances, they still had a few.

They couldn't make things too easy, so the third looked as though the ice was really slanted the Blues way. The Blues out shot the Hawks 16-9 and had the pressure on most of the frame. When the final horn went off, the Hawks were still up 3-2. Big win, and on to Dallas.

The Good

  • The Killer B's, Bickell and Bollig, each had killer chances on Elliott just minutes into the game, but neither could beat him. The combinations of Sharp/Kane, Toews/Hossa followed with a beautiful chances of their own shortly thereafter. Again, all thwarted by Elliott. It looked like track meet down the ice.
  • Finally, the trio of Kane/Sharp/Bolland got a THREE ON NONE. You read that right, a THREE ON NONE! Kane and Shooter played give-n-go, and keep-a-way from Bolland. Kane pulled a move around Elliott and tucked it into the net. Damn that felt good, but how does an NHL team give up a three on none? Seriously? 1-0 Hawks.
  • At one point towards the end of the first period, the CSN camera crew got so fixated on the two young ladies racks on display behind Mike Kitchen that they missed a quick chance off a draw in the Hawks end that nearly ended up a Blues goal.
  • Late in the first, a turnover left the rookie Tarasenko one on one with Crawford, and Miiiiister Crooooowley was the better man.
  • Duncan Keith took a biscuit in the chops on a Blues powerplay, early in the second. Crawford was way out of position but the Blues couldn't hit the wide open cage on the back door. This was after Rozsival got walked by Andy MacDonald.
  • The Hawks took a 2-0 lead on, the powerplay no less. Right after Crawford snuffed a shorthanded chance by David Back-ass, the puck ended up being carried in by Toews, who fed Keith for a one timer. Seabrook skated right through Elliott's field of vision, and created a little confusion by just slightly getting the puck with his skate. 2-0 Good Guys.
  • Pick-to-Click Vik put the Hawks up 3-0 just over 2 minutes into the third. He skated in hard, hit the brakes Top Gun style, and used Chris Stewart as a screen. Elliott never picked the shot up, and the Hawks looked like they were well on their way.
  • If this game doesn't make you realize why Brandon Saad is a much better choice than Carcillo playing on the top line, then you're just dull. Saad is just getting more and more comfortable, which is bad news for Hawks opponents, and good news for all us fans.
  • Crawford was as solid as you could ask for all night (.941%). The Hawks were outshot 34-28 and the Blues were stopped by good Crawford saves several times, especially in the final minutes of the game.
  • Meatballs Unite! The Hawks have now been outhit for 3 straight games, and yet, won all 3. Tell me again how this has been the reason for their woes? This is not by a slim margin, mind you. They have been outhit 104-57. Almost double for those of you mathematically challenged mouth breathing neanderthals.
  • Kruger and Shaw were on the shit end of the faceoff percentage, last night. Bolland and Toews were over 50%, and Frolik even won the only two he took.
The Bad

  • While I admire the effort, the Brandon Dull-ig fight with Stewart was just plain dumb. Why give a team in their heels a chance to gain some momentum? Stewart - "My team has no momentum and I need a way to wake them up, want to have a punch me in the face contest?", Bollig - "Duuuuuuuhhhhhhh, uhhhhh, ok"
  • Andy MacDonald took a nice feed from Alex Steen after a terrible change and turnover by the Hawks led to Tarasenko turning the rush back around at the Hawks blue line. The Hawks couldn't get the puck deep enough for a change, but they tried to pull it off anyway. Puck...in net....bad.
  • The Blues used a late third period interference penalty to Hjalmarsson to bring the game back within one, with 5 minutes to go. Perron took a shot off Crawford from the dot, while Oshie snuck in on the back door. The rebound found Oshie's stick and he didn't miss the gaping net. The perfect PK wasn't going to last forever, especially against a high powered team.
The Ugly

  • This new inference rule benefits the Hawks exponentially. This is going to be an exciting year if games are going to continue to be called this way. You're on notice, Western Conference.
  • Two giveaways each by both Shaw and Stalberg is probably why we saw Kruger take some third line shifts late in the game. Shaw's stupid puck control decisions with under 5 to go, and a one goal lead, are going to lead him right to Quenneville's Chateau Bow Wow.
  • The last minute and a half was a complete and utter Shanghai Fire Dance, but luckily the Hawks were able to hold off the Blues onslaught.
  • Low ice time of the game? You guessed it, Brandon Bollig, with 5:16. Nothing like rolling 11 1/2 forwards.

Video highlights:

Monday, January 21, 2013

Hawks Trade for Henrik...
Not THAT Henrik

Late Monday the Hawks announced that they had traded a 7th round pick in this June's draft for Calgary cast off, 6'6" 29 year old Henrik Karlsson. Karlsson is a former San Jose Shark free agent signee, who was later traded to Calgary. The Hawks assigned him to Rockford. He will join newly recalled Kent Simpson as the forth goaltender on the Icehogs roster.

Don't pull your happy pants on just yet, because this is a depth move. Karlsson and Leland Irving were basically told they their services were no longer need and they were put on waivers last week. If the Hawks were really that hot for Karlsson, they could have scooped him up, sans draft pick, then. This makes one think, if this guy was an undesirable in Calgary, just how much will he provide for the Hawks? None, basically.

I'm not entirely sure just why the Hogs need FOUR goalies, but that is just what mess they have. Carter Hutton is expected to possibly be suspended after getting involved in the bench clearing brawl Saturday, and getting ejected. According to Chris Block from The Third Man In, backup Alec Richards looked deplorable after relieving Hutton, Saturday. Hawks prospect Kent Simpson was already recalled from Toledo and played in a 6-3 loss to Texas Monday afternoon, while Hutton was scratched. I have to think that Simpson will be sent back to Toledo, and Karlsson will take over the backup duties if Hutton is suspended.

You can officially add me to the head scratcher list.

UPDATE: Here are some videos of Karlsson

Henrik Karlsson shuts the door 11/4/11

Henrik Karlsson thinks fast 12/21/10

Henrik Karlsson point-blank saves 10/22/10

Henrik Karlsson sliding pad save 10/10/11


Blackhawks at Phoenix - Win Recap

"For Your Malice"

After all the hoopla and bullshit in Los Angeles Saturday, the Hawks had no time to celebrate. It was off to Phoenix for a rematch of the the playoffs last season. This is a team that might have even gotten a little better than the one the Hawks saw last spring.

The first period started off looking terrible with the Yotes scoring an awful goal, but the Hawks recovered nicely and scored a powerplay goal of their own, which sent the teams into the locker rooms tied at one. The Hawks even outshot the Coyotes 11-9 in the first frame.

The second period looked like it was going to be a rough one too, with the Coyotes taking an early 2-1 lead, but the Hawks roared back and scored 3 straight goals to send them back to the locker room down 4-2. Oddly enough the Yotes took advantage of some powerplays to out shoot the Hawks 10-8 in the period, but the Hawks led where it counts.

The Hawks came out flying in the third, scoring just 14 seconds in, but then proceeded to give two up. Twenty two shots in the third made for a wild period. After a time out to settle the troops down, the Hawks regained their two goal lead, and that was all she wrote, Ladies and Gents.

The Good

  • Kaner had his second break-a-way in as many games which drew a powerplay, which was unsuccessful. Playing in Switzerland did him good. I like what I see.
  • Just a few seconds after a Shane Doan high sticking penalty, Bolland scored from the back door. Kane fed Bolly with a nice tape to tape pass, and all Bolland had to do was chip it in. Two powerplay goals in two games? I could get use to this.
  • In just six periods of play, Hjalmarsson has played some great hockey. He laid Steve Sullivan out in the first period, like we all wish he had been doing for years.
  • Earlier in the day I commented on Paul Bissonnette's Instagram, and begged him to take Bollig off the ice for at least 5 minutes. Well, my prayer was answered as BizNasty and Bollig went at it about halfway through the second period. Neither player had a defined edge but I'd give the decision to BizNasty. Bollig tossed in a stellar 5:40 of playing time after 5:27 in the Kings game. Here we go again with this pointless horseshit.
  • Being a goalie with an attitude at heart, I never get sick of goalies defending themselves, and Emery is no exception. In the second period he took a poke at Chipchura, after Chipchura took a few extra whacks at Emery's glove.
  • Sharpie tied the game back up half way through the second, on a bang-bang play from Oduya, to Bolland, to Sharp. Sharp took a Bolly pass, took one stride and snapped a tight top chizzle shot over Smith's blocker.
  • Michal Rozsival and Marian Hossa worked a beautiful give-n-go after to consecutive successful Hawks penalty kills. Hossa took the pass back from Rozsy, delayed a bit and picked Smith apart. 3-2 Hawks
  • Fifty seconds later Pick-to-Click Vik took a feed from Bickell and snapped it past a very deep Smith to give the Hawks a 4-2 late in the second period. Bickell had powered through a check a the blue line and given himself enough room to hit Stalberg, who was wide open.
  • Fourteen seconds into third period Hossa rushed in on Smith and sent a real stinker past Smith for a 5-2 Hawks lead. The goal was a harmless backhand that Smith just muffed. The puck rolled through him like a slot machine and over the line. Three of the four goals Hossa has this year have been stinkers.
  • Roughly thirty seconds after the Doan goal, Bolland scored on a shot that flipped up and over Smith. Sharp held up and saucered a pass to Bolland, who redirected it on net. Smith made the save, but the puck flipped up like a coin toss, over him, into the net. The best part of this play was Smith thowing a tantrum and beating the shit out of the post with his $200 goalie stick. Meltdown city!
  • Tazer and Kruger were over 50% at the dots, but Bolland and Shaw were both under.
The Bad

  • Vermette got in behind Seabrook after Kaner lost a faceoff deep in the Hawks zone. Vermette picked up a fat ass rebound to Emery's right after a long Schlemko slapshot, and deposited it in the net. 2-1 Yotes.
  • The Coyotes took advantage of a powerplay early in the third when Boedker streaked up the wing and sent a shot in on Emery. The rebound flipped up in the air in front of Emery and Hanzel bunted it into the net.
  • A few minutes later Shane Doan pulled a 1-2 move after a feed from Schlemko and roofed a backhand over Emery to bring the game back within 1 goal, with over 14 minutes left.
The Ugly

  • This one didn't start as well as Hawks fans would hope. David Moss took a deep turnover and pushed it between Emery's legs just over three minutes into the game. The shot was weak, and I can only gather that Razor thought it was going to be coming at him much faster, because it was a weak 5-hole shot.
  • Keith and Seabrook had a rare off night and looked like steaming dog shit with minus two each. Luckily the rest of the team picked their asses up.

Here are the video highlights:

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Rockford Icehogs Line Brawl with the Grand Rapids Griffins

On the night that the NHL showcased its opening night of this 2013 NHL season with 13 games the Rockford Icehogs took on the Detroit Redwings affiliate Grand Rapid Griffins and ALL HELL broke loose.

Whoever says pink is for sissies, wasn't at the BMO Harris Center in Rockford last night. The Hogs donned special pink jerseys and tinted the ice pink for their Pink the Rink promotion with the American Cancer Society. Pink was hardly a sissy color for the Hogs Saturday night, as about halfway through the second period an all out bench clearing brawl was set off.

The Hogs and Griffins amassed 202 penalty minutes and 13 players were ejected from the game, including both starting goalies. The best part of this video, which holds a special place in my heart, is watching Carter Hutton beat the piss out of Griffin's goaltender Petr Mrazak. All in all, the Hogs lost in a real nail biter 11-6. The fans to bid on the pink jerseys got a little piece of AHL history with their purchases. Enjoy the carnage:


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Blackhawk at Los Angeles - Win Recap

"Now You've Got Something to Die For"

It's finally here. Game one 2013. Roughly 125 days after we expected it, but it was here nonetheless. What kind of shake did the Blackhawks draw? The Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings! That's who. Maybe the motivation of watching another team raise their banner on opening day will be enough for the Blackhawks to blast through this shortened season with a vengeance. We won't know the real answer for 99 days. Let's Roll!!!

The first period could not have gone ANY better for the Hawks and their fans. They come out with a 5-on-3 powerplay and ended up with a 3-0 lead going into the break. The Hawks only outshot the King by 1, 9-8, but they were already up 3-0 before the Kings had any pressure.

The second period was much more even, with goals each way, but the Hawks still sat on a 4-1 lead. The Kings actually outshot the Hawks 6-5, but it was a much more slow period. The Hawks still seemed to have a swagger, going into the third.

The third period had more action, and goals both ways again, but the Hawks outshot the Kings again 8-7. The 3-0 first period did the Kings in, and they never recovered. One game, one win, 47 to go. Next in line, Phoenix on Sunday.

The Good

  • The Hawks were the luckily recipients of a 5-on-3 early in the game, and took advantage with a new look. Kaner opened up the scoring on a 5-on-3 powerplay from a brutal angle. He got a nice feed from Hossa, just under 4 minutes into the game, and sniped Quick to start the ball rolling. Hossa was at the point, and that doesn't disappoint me at all. The shot was hell of a snipe, just off of the goal line. Unfortunately, after that goal, the Hawks went 0-6.
  • Drew Doughty helped Hossa out a little, by redirecting a weak flip from the half boards past Quick, for an early 2-0 lead.
  • Just a minute and 14 seconds after Hossa scored, my pick to click in my season preview, Frolik, gave the Hawks a 3-0 lead. Kruger made a nice play to dance around Matt Greene, and dished it over to and open Frolik for a lazer of a one timer, off the near post and in. 3-0 and the Hawks were rolling.
  • Just a minute into the second period, Pat Kane squirted past Voynov and was sprung on a break-a-way, after a flurry in the Hawks end. Quick made the original save, but the rebound popped out into the slot where a trailing Captain Serious shoveled it past the scrambling LA goaltender, to put the Hawks up 4-0.
  • Hossa put the Hawks back up by 3 with a 40 foot wrist shot that went off the leg of Martinez and past Quick just 15 seconds after Nolan's goal. Nothing special about either goal that Hoss had, but they all count the same.
  • Toews was on fire at the dot (64%), and Shaw was at 50%, but the rest were pretty bad.
  • The Hawks were 5 for 5 on the PK, which is promising, considering the firepower LA has.
  • Even though he didn't do much, it was really nice to see some Handsome Viktor Swede-berg on the powerplay
  • Following up his assist, Kruger looked really good. He set up Frolik's goal, and sidestepped a big hit on a second period right after back checking hard and breaking up a shorthanded Kings rush.
The Bad

  • Shock-n-Shaw on the first power play unit? Holy christ this is going to be a long 99 days.
  • "It's interesting having Carcillo on that first line". Exactly Brian Engblom, EXACTLY.
  • Matt Greene was abused by the Hawks all game long, and the more strict interference rules didn't help his cause, either.
  • He wasn't needed much, but Crawford looked slow and sometimes out of position. It's only game one, but it's worth pointing it out.
  • Carcillo was injured while trying to squeeze past a Drew Doughty check, and never returned. Even though he was a plus 3, I can't say I'll be disappointed to see Saad in his place in Phoenix. I don't wish ill on the guy, but he really had nothing to do with the 3 goals he was on the ice for.
The Ugly

  • Listening Dave Strader call Sheldon Brookbank, Brent Seabrook , mentioning "Joel Crawford", and referencing a "shot clock" made me want to kick puppies and punt babies.
  • Rob Scuderi broke the shutout with just over a minute left in the second. New Hawk Sheldon Brookbank chose to dance around with a Kyle Clifford, and help said forward screen Crawford so bad that Crawford didn't even know the shot was taken. Welcome to Chicago, Brooksie. Now quit playing like you're still an Anaheim Suck.
  • During the second intermission the Hawks site actually crashed from what they are saying was high traffic.
  • The second Kings goal was another adventure with the Sheldon Brookbank circus, as Kyle Clifford horsed him in front of the net again for a good 20 seconds, which led to Brookbank knocking down Crawford. Crawford was EXTREMELY slow getting up and never recovered. A long shot from the point was redirected by Nolan off the crossbar and in. Fucking shitshow!!
  • Minus 3 for Richard, Gagne and Brown. Ouchie, LA.

Line Combinations



Video highlights as promised:

Friday, January 18, 2013

Puckin Hostile 2013 Chicago Blackhawks Preview

This preview is going to be fairly easy, because the team looks extremely similar to the one that was ousted in the first round by Phoenix last season. Bowman added a couple of names under the radar, but no one that is really going to jump out at the casual fan right away, or maybe ever. There are questions at #2 center, just like last season, and questions about goaltending, again like last season. Lets jump right into it:


Number Name Height/Weight
29 Bryan Bickell 6'4" 233
36 Dave Bolland 6'0" 184
52 Brandon Bollig 6'2" 223
13 Dan Carcillo 6'0" 203
67 Michael Frolik 6'1" 198
81 Marian Hossa 6'1" 210
88 Patrick Kane 5'11" 181
16 Marcus Kruger 6'0" 181
22 Jamal Mayers 6'1" 222
20 Brandon Saad 6'1" 202
10 Patrick Sharp "A" 6'1" 199
65 Andrew Shaw 5'10" 180
25 Viktor Stalberg 6'3" 209
19 Jonathan Toews "C" 6'2" 208

The only difference between last season and this, is that Andrew Brunette was dropped for Brandon Saad. I'm not going to spent time previewing players that we already know from top to bottom, rather focus on some wild cards.

It's anyone's guess what Saad will be asked to do, because the roster is as tight as a virgin on prom night. I'd love to see him matched up with some talent like Toews, Kane, Sharp or Hossa, rather than rotting away on the forth line. That will really do no one any good. If they are planning on that, then just send him back to Rockford, so he can actually play more than 5 meaningful minutes a night.

Carcillo will still be a point of contention on this blog as well as any others that collectively possess a single brain between them, because he is a grade-a knucklehead. Even after the infamous cheap shot that injured the opposing player and tore his own knee up, the meatballs continue to defend his actions like he runs some kind of cult. Bowman was clearly drinking the kool-aid when he re-signed Carcillo for two more seasons. For the fans sakes, I hope he cleans his ass up, because it'll drive me mad if he continues to run around like a clown. That is asking ALOT!

The rest of the forwards are the usual cast of characters, with Quenneville trying Bolland out at the #2 center spot, for the moment. I have been wanting to see him succeed there for a few seasons, but he seemed to love dogging other team's top centers from the shutdown line. Time to grow up and step into the spotlight, little Bolly. Shaw will take over the 3rd line center spot in Bolland's place, until this experiment goes belly up. I would prefer Kruger as the #3 and Shaw on the energy line, but that doesn't look to be in the cards for opening night, at least.

Frolik is an interesting player to watch, under the radar. If he can recapture some confidence once again, I would be quite a happy camper. I just cannot find it in my heart, or mind, to give up on him, and he has talent. If he makes it back from the depths of Q's Doghouse, this team immediately goes from good to dangerous.

Bickell is in a contract year and needs to prove his worth, so hopefully his agent sits him down and explains just how to extenuate ones talents for open market desirability. In other word, DO WHAT YOU DO WELL, DUMMY!

I really hope that some of these question marks pan out, because if we are left to count on a trade deadline acquisition, Bowman has shown us that we will be sadly disappointed once again.


Number Name Height/Weight
17 Sheldon Brookbank 6'1" 202
4 Nik Hjalmarsson 6'3" 207
2 Duncan Keith "A" 6'1" 200
8 Nick Leddy 6'0" 191
5 Steve Montador 6'0" 210
27 Johnny Oduya 6'0" 190
32 Michal Rozsival 6'1" 212
7 Brent Seabrook 6'3" 221

The defensive corp comes in deeper, in general, than last year. Thank god for that, right? The place they WILL be hurting is that 7th or 8th defender. Since that glorious part of last season when Quenneville assisted in pummeling Montador's brain into brown mush last season, Montador has never fully recovered. We might never see him in a Hawks jersey, or even on the ice, ever again. If someone goes down, they are going to be counting on the acquisitions of Brookbank or Rozsival to help. After that, it's a crapshoot. Olsen, Stanton, Dahlbeck, Clendening and Lavin are just a few names that might be called upon, in an emergency, but you won't see much out of them. Olsen has fallen drastically down the depth chart, in Rockford. Dahlbeck and Clendening could be sleepers if the dice are rolled just right.

Seabrook and Keith are who they always are. The steady top minute eating workhorses that Quenneville and the Hawks lean on heavily. With as much press and exposure Keith gets, Seabrook is the glue on the back end. Expect another season of high ice time numbers for these two, and lets HOPE for a return to excellence for Keith.

The second pair will most likely be Oduya and Leddy, which is not all that bad; If we get the Oduya of the regular season, and not the one that got rolled over against Phoenix. I'm not an Oduya hater by any stretch of the imagination and if they can manage to clear Leddy's pants of the ants he carries in them, we'll all be happy.

The third pair will be Hjalmarsson and Rozsival, or Hammer and Brookbank. Based on his size and experience, I would like the think that Rozsival holds the edge, but whenever I try to read Q's mind, it gets me nowhere. Expect the unexpected. If Montador was healthy, I would tell you that Hjalmarsson would be out the door ASAP, but he lives to fight another season in Chicago.


Number Name Height/Weight
50 Corey Crawford 6'2" 208
30 Ray Emery 6'2" 196

Another season, same goaltending issues. Crawford wasn't terrible last year, but he wasn't good either. Very vanilla for the Crow man, and the way the playoffs ended just left us all with an awful taste in our mouths, something like your first shot of Malort. This is Crawford's last chance as the Hawks starting goalie. If he regains his form, it's his job until his contract is up. If he fails, he'll be watching games while opening the bench door for his teammates next season. I have faith in the guy, and I'm really hoping he puts things back together. With only 48 games, there is no time to experiment or hit a cold streak.

Emery is, to quote Dennis Green, exactly who we thought he was. He's a serviceable backup that can be called on to start for short stretches, in a pinch. He is simply too fragile for the grind of a starting position. I, for one, am fine with that if Crawford returns to form. If not, we are pinning our hopes on a guy with hips worse than an inbred German Shepard, and a heavy 5 month grind. I'm not very confident about THAT. Hutton and Richards won't be any help from Rockford, and even though Kent Simpson and Mac Carruth are lighting the world on fire for their respective teams, they aren't carrying this team to the Stanley Cup; yet.

Until then, enjoy this message from the Blackhawks:

And don't forget to pass on the Puckin Hostile E-Card, the Facebook page, and follow me on Twitter.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Puckin Hostile: 2013 Season E-Card

I hope you all enjoy the E-Card we put together. The link is below to share, and please do share. Again, thanks for all the support and for reading my ramblings.

Puckin Hostile E-Card Direct Link


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

We're Getting the Band Back Together

The end of the lockout is a double edged sword for those of us that write these amateur rags, especially the ones that write game recaps, like The Committed Indian and Hockee Night. We have all had plenty of time to get reacquainted with our families and friends, just to have us cast away into the dungeons of Blog-o-spheres. Not to be confused with BLAGO-SPHERE. I'm not going to lie, this abbreviated season is going to wear on us all. Those of us that are used to recapping 2-3 games a week are going to be on the hook for 3-4 games a week. I know, just be happy it's back, and I truly am.

Moving onward, with the looming CBA ratification we have so much to smash into 10 days. First you have the re-opening of free agency, very brief training camps, and then game one on what looks like the 19th or 20th. Nothing like hitting the ground running.

The Blackhawks have 49 players under contract, so the chances they will sign anyone else is virtually nil, but there will be RFA, and UFA signings across the league. On the RFA front, PK Subban, Mike Del Zotto and Jamie Benn are the three biggest unsigned names, and those teams best be busting their hump to get those players in and signed.

On the other hand, in the UFA pool the most curious name might be former Blackhawk for a minute, Chris Campoli. Campoli was a major thorn in the side of the owners during this entire CMA negotiation, all while not having an NHL contract. Will the Owners hold a grudge?

Luckily, not much of that has anything to do with the Hawks, but what does concern them is the roster of this 2013 team. This is how the team shapes up:

Jonathan Toews
Patrick Kane
Patrick Sharp
Marian Hossa
Michael Frolik
David Bolland
Marcus Kruger
Viktor Stalberg
Jimmy Hayes
Dan Carcillo
Jamal Mayers
Brandon Bollig
Andrew Shaw
Bryan Bickell

Duncan Keith
Brent Seabrook
Niklas Hjalmarsson
Steve Montador
Johnny Oduya
Michal Rozsival
Nick Leddy
Sheldon Brookbank

Corey Crawford
Ray Emery

That is what is referred to as a full boat. As of this morning, Hayes and Leddy have yet to report, but it's assumed that they will. This list isn't even including Brandon Saad or Jeremy Morin, either.

The big question will be: Who fills the #2 Center spot? I am maintaining that Patrick Sharp should be the only option, if Kruger can't hold the position, and I'm going to say Kruger won't hold that position. Even though Kaner did alright with the transition, he struggled to put up the points that he's accustomed to. Get him back on his wing, where he feels most confortable.

Otherwise, it looks like you will see a top six of Toews, Kane, Hossa, Sharp, Stalberg, and maybe Kruger. Third line could skate Frolik, Bolland, and Bickell, with the rest of the slugs (Carcillo, Shaw, Bollig, Mayers and possibly Hayes) battling for the last 3 spots. If Hayes is brought back, him and Kruger could be shuffled anywhere up and down the lineup.

On Defense, the Blackhawks look pretty solid on paper, and there is quite a bit of paper between these gentlemen. The simple fact is that one has to go, unless they plan on letting the mouth breathing golden child skate his minutes in Rockford. I just can't see the team scratching two defensemen every night. The most logical player to be cast away is Hjalmarsson, but that is not happening in the next 10 day. If they are kosher with over 3 million dollars a night wearing their Sunday best in the press box, then so be it. I could be wrong, but I remember the Blackhawks crying poor for the last 110 plus days.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Lockout Ends - The Players and League Reach Tentative Deal

Some, including myself, had doubted this day would come, this season, but the Lockout is over. In the early morning hours this morning, a tentative deal was reached between the spoiled players, including the Hawks Jamal Mayers, and the greedy owners. Per TSN and ESPN the new CBA includes the following details:
  • The players' share of hockey-related revenue will drop from 57 percent to a 50-50 split for all 10 years.

  • The league coming off their demand for a $60 million cap in Year 2, meeting the NHLPA's request to have it at $64.3 million - which was the upper limit from last year's cap. The salary floor in Year 2 will be $44 million.

  • The upper limit on the salary cap in the first year is $60 million, but teams can spend up to $70.2 million (all pro-rated). The cap floor will be $44 million.

  • The 10-year deal also has an opt-out clause that kicks in after eight years.

  • Each team will be allowed two amnesty buyouts that can be used to terminate contracts after this season and next season. The buyouts will count against the players' overall share in revenues, but not the team's salary cap.

  • The salary variance on contracts from year to year cannot vary more than 35 per cent and the final year cannot vary more than 50 per cent of the highest year.

  • A player contract term limit for free agents will be seven years and eight years for a team signing its own player.

  • The draft lottery selection process will change with all 14 teams fully eligible for the first overall pick. The weighting system for each team may remain, but four-spot move restriction will be eliminated.

  • Supplemental discipline for players in on-ice incidents will go through NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan first, followed by an appeal process that would go through Bettman. For suspensions of six or more games, a neutral third party will decide if necessary.

  • Revenue sharing among teams will spread to $200 million. Additionally, an NHLPA-initiated growth fund of $60 million is included.

  • Teams can only walk away from a player in salary arbitration if the award is at least $3.5 million.

  • The NHL had hoped to change opening of free agency to July 10, but the players stood firm and it remains July 1 in the new agreement. But with a later ending to the season, free agency for this summer will start at a later date.

  • Also, a decision on NHL participation at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games will be made outside of the new CBA. While it is likely that the league will participate, the IIHF and IOC will have discussions with the NHL and Players' Association.

    The agreement will have to be formally voted on, and the document will have to be drafted, but it's safe to say that within the next two weeks games will start.

    What does this mean? Sloppy hockey, and a large number of out of shape players. Ones that didn't take their services overseas or to the AHL will be behind the curve. Hello Adrian Aucoin!

    For me, this will mean two things that aren't much of an adjustment from the last 100 plus days and I encourage all fans to do the same, even though I know most won't.

    First of all, I will NOT buy any licensed NHL merchandise. This will be hard, because I have two small children that would look darling in some Blackhawks gear. For at least this season, the NHL can tickle my taint.

    Second, I will NOT pay to go to an NHL game. If I come across free tickets, I will go, but I'm not paying a single dollar out of my pocket after this fucking ridiculous charade.

    Most fans will go about their business, as if nothing happened, but there are alternatives. Fans can watch games from local bars in the area, to give them back business, and boost profits. Fans should continue to support the AHL, because they brought a product to hockey fans while the lockout was toiling on.

    I can hold a vengeance, as my almost decade long boycott of Dollar Bill Wirtz, so I'm sticking by my guns with this. The league and players stuck to theirs, so it's the least I can do. Call me a curmudgeon, but I'm still not exactly thrilled with the situation.

    More to come, but lets hope that this is the beginning of the end for Gary Bettman.


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