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Thursday, January 30, 2014

First Ever Puckin Hostile
Blackhawks Road Watch

When I created this blog, almost four years ago, I never thought that I would have more than 5 people that would pay attention to my ramblings. Here I am with almost 700 Facebook followers and almost 1800 Twitter followers. To celebrate, I put together a Blackhawks roadwatch on March 9th, at Mullets Sports Bar in Homer Glen. If you can come out, please join us to cheer on the Blackhawks, and partake in the consumption of alcoholic spirits along with some great food. Here is the info, and RSVP on the Facebook invite if you are a facebook member.


Blackhawks Week That Was - 1/31

1/27 - Blackhawks vs. Jets
3-1 Loss

  • The only Blackhawks goal was a terrible misplay by Al Montoya just a minute and a half into the game. The worst part is that it was Bollig who threw the bad angle shot at the net. This goal along with the one against Rask last week are going to reinforce him taking shitty shots from bad angles. Just perfect.
  • The big story was the Blackhawks $4 million power forward sitting in the cheap seats, wearing a suit. Bickell sat in favor of Michael Kostka, which is not something any of us expected to hear when this season began. This just reinforces that he's in Q's chateau bow wow. Milkbone underwear for you, Dog Boy. Kostka was credited with 4 hits in just over 7 minutes of time. The official scorer must have been tripping balls!
  • Maybe Quenneville has finally realized that his 6'5", 400 year old security blanket just drags his team down. Handzus play a second lowest TOI total of 8:14.
  • The third piece of the "Fourth Line Puzzle", Kris Versteeg not only missed a wide open net that would have put tied the game for the Blackhawks, but he turned the puck over at the Hawks blue line twice in one shift. I wasn't really excited to have him back, and I'm even less excited now. Jimmy Hayes wouldn't have hurt playing the same minutes, and would have been cheaper.
  • It is just plain pitiful that the only Blackhawks player that could generate offense was Brandon Bollig. Kudos to him for making it happen but with the talent on this team, someone else needs to produce.
  • Not Crawford's best game, but he played well enough to win. Wheeler's goal was a fat rebound off a leg in front of the net with the fourth line on the ice, and Ladd's goal was a terrible turnover by Hossa that was redirected by Keith's leg. The easy meatball reaction is to blame the goalie.
Here are the video highlights:
1/29 - Blackhawks at Calgary 5-4 OT Loss
  • Well, this was a fun game, wasn't it? The Blackhawks went down 1-0 just 1:13 in, and never held a lead. Both teams has shorthanded goals, and both starting goalies were eventually pulled. Poppycock. Even the box score of this game makes you think, "meh".
  • Corey Crawford only gave up one goal on 14 shots, but the meatball nation will blame him for this loss. That couldn't be further from the truth. Raanta was slightly below average at best, and the defense looked tired.
  • The fact that the Hawks went down 4-2 and fought back to tie the game can be looked at as a good thing. It's easy to pack the tent up in a road game where you clearly just don't have it, and zone out. The Hawks didn't. And that's the best thing I can say about this game.
  • Bryan Bickell was back and didn't exactly look "rejuvenated". I'm not even sure what to suggest. He's a lost puppy, at this point.
  • The first goal against was a direct result of "the phenom" Brandon Bollig and his attempt to be cutesy. He attempted a cute one touch pass to Ben Smith that was intercepted and it was off to the races the other way. Granted, Antti Raanta's 5-hole looked more like a combination of a 5th, 6th and 7th hole on that shot.
  • Bouma's goal was ALL on Raanta. Bouma was forced to a bad angle and Raanta just muffed it. I will defend him a little, because those shots over the ear are difficult, but he had time and space to get the angle.
  • The Stajan goal was a shitshow, as well. The Hawks turned the puck over in the Flames zone on a terrible pass by Andrew Shaw to Sharp, and the Hawks recovered terribly. Bickell was blazed around like he was standing still, and then just gave up like Bambi on ice. This left Seabrook all alone facing a 2-on-1 with Leddy having pinched deep into the Flames zone. Raanta was pretty much hung out to dry because Seabrook bit hard on the shooter. I'm not sure why he was so worried about David Jones, who was on his backhand. That's the ideal situation for that play. Que sera sera, right?
  • The Backlund goal was brutal. When you allow a 3-on-1 shorthanded rush, you're doing it wrong. Keith and Raanta were the sacrificial lambs on that play. Sharp, a forward playing point, was the next closest Hawks, but he wasn't going to do much.
  • The overtime goal was not Crawford's fault. He followed the shooter and recovered for the rebound well. Definitely not Nick Leddy's best shift. He was walked through and then didn't cover the far post for his goalie, once the play turned into the Shanghai Circus. Rozsival stood there like a clod. Sharp coasted back on the back check and eventually did a fly by. Hossa not only couldn't control the puck at center ice, which started the rush, but then was the last guy back and watched the entire play.
Here are the video highlights:
1/29 - Blackhawks at Vancouver 5-2 Win
  • The Blackhawks spotted the Canucks an early 1-0 and, eventual, 2-0 lead. After that, the Hawks then turned on the jets scoring five straight goals. The Canucks have sure turned into a shit show, haven't they?
  • The first Canucks goal was definitely a woofer, but Crawford followed up with at least three spectacular saves to keep the game 1-0.
  • Saad drove the secondary scoring, with 2 goals and an assist on the night. This kid is just a stud.
  • Bickell and Versteeg continued to be lightning rods. Versteeg was directly responsible for the second Canucks goal, when he tried to stickhandle through the Canucks deep in the Hawks end. As one might expect, it was stolen and eventually ended up in the back of the net. Bickell sat for the second game in the last three.
  • The Blackhawks were awful at the faceoff dots. They won only 37% of their draws. El Capitan was at the top of the futility list, winning only 33% of his draws.
  • Ryan Kesler was a beast for the Canucks. He won 80% of his faceoffs, 5 shots on net, 4 hits and an assist. Of course he had to sour that with a 10 minute misconduct in the third period. It's the Canuck way.
  • It was nice to see the powerplay pull itself out of the slump it was in. The goal was disgustingly easy and leaving the final leg to Hossa is about as safe as you can get.
Here are the video highlights:

Friday, January 24, 2014

Blackhawks Week That Was - 1/24

1/18 - Blackhawks vs. Bruins
3-2 Shootout Win

  • Brad Marchand is such a little pain in the ass. He had two goals, neither of which were things of beauty, but he gets the job done. He seemed to eat Crawford up. If you count the shootout goal, he actually had a hat trick. At least the Hawks didn't get worked like the Kings did the following night.
  • The Brandon Bollig goal was a sign from above, because he made a terrible decision from a terrible angle and was rewarded. There is no way Rask would have expected a bum like Bollig to shoot from that angle and get that kind of favorable bounce. Not only the goal, but he was creditted with another 7 hits. The UC scorekeeper must be giving him hits for just stepping on the ice.
  • El Capitan definitely made the bonehead play of the night, after missing a shot and breaking his stick he proceeded to throw half of the stick into the crowd. As a result, he was assessed a 10 minute misconduct. Just drop it, kid.
  • The Hawks had one of their few off nights at the dots, falling down into the 47% range. #TruckNutz got eaten alive, winning only 5 of 15.
  • Toews and Kane finally stepped up in a shootout, and made it look easy. Quite frankly they should be doing this more often than not. These guys aren't rookies.
  • Another assist for Duncan Keith, who just plows along towards his second Norris Trophy.
  • Bickell was back in the doghouse/morgue playing a team low 8:36. I've given up trying to figure out what the hell is going on there. If Quenneville wants to play his $4 million power forward for only 14 shifts a game, so be it. He didn't see the ice the entire last four minutes of the game and one of his 4 third period shifts was only 9 seconds.
Here are the video highlights:
1/22 - Blackhawks vs Red Wings 5-4 Shootout Loss
  • The Hawks had their boots on the throats of the Wings, in the first period, and let them off the hook, surrendering a fast 2-0 lead with sloppy defensive play. Johnny Oduya was terrible for a majority of the night. He followed up each terrible decision with an even more stupid followup.
  • Neither goalie was "great" but Jonas Gustavsson was swatting at flies all night. He fought the puck HARD, and the Hawks simply didn't cause enough chaos in his kitchen.
  • The Shootout was a joke after El Capitan and Shooter. Hossa's move is now old, Kruger was pathetic, and Shaw was basic. The only real nice save Gustavsson was on Kane. People might not realize just how hard that secondary toe save was. Maybe the Hawks can now hire a shootout consultant, since their faceoff futility seems to be fixed.
  • Speaking of faceoffs, the Hawks were excellent at the dots, winning an amazing 65% of their draws. This was with #TruckNutz winning only 45%. Toews and Kruger won a clownish 26 of 36 draws, and Shaw was just slightly over 50%.
  • Bickell AGAIN played a team low 9:31. Something is amiss here. Even if his knees are sore, just plant his big ass in front of Gustavsson to cause some chaos.
  • Has anyone put an APB out on the artist formerly known as Kris Versteeg? Between him and Bickell, they had a COMBINED nineteen and a half minutes. I can't honestly remember a single shift from either of them.
  • The story of the night was that Helm, Cleary and Bertuzzi were each minus three, and the Hawks still lost the extra point.
Here are the video highlights:
1/23 - Blackhawks at Minnesota 2-1 Loss
  • Duncan Keith unexpectedly missed the game with an illness, and the lack of puck movement on the back end showed.
  • The "dynamic duo" of Oduya and Rozsival were minus 2. Take it for what it's worth. While the Hawks defense was absolutely walked through on the first Wild goal, Raanta misjudged the second goal, by Matt Cooke.
  • The Hawks looked completely uninterested and anemic. They only managed 17 shots in the first two periods and then tried to turn it on in the third with 17 more. Kane's very late goal was too little too late.
  • Bickell and Versteeg were still in the 8 minute range of ice time. WHATEVER! That's $6.2 million of forth line glory right there, not counting Handzus' million.
Here are the video highlights:

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Blackhawks Week That Was - 1/17

1/11 - Blackhawks at Montreal
2-1 Overtime Loss

  • Leave it up to Truck Nutz (Handzus) to screw up what would have been the game winning goal. First he falls down behind the net with absolutely no one around then he gets caught in the crease, which ended up resulting in a waved off goal.
  • I'm not really sure what the hell Kane and Seabrook were doing in OT, but it was a complete clusterfuck.
  • Crawford made some outstanding saves, none of which were better than the one he made without his stick and while the Hawks were on the powerplay.
  • The Hawks were terrible at the dots. Shaw was the best Hawks center at 50%. Kruger and Handzus were in the 30 percentile range.
  • Kane was a minus 2, with no points. Off night.
  • Carey Price has definitely benefitted from the arrival of Stephane Waite.
Here are the video highlights:
1/12 - Blackhawks vs Oilers 5-3 Win
  • Lets not beat around the bush. The talk of the game, and the league, was the goal that Patrick Kane scored on his own empty net during a delayed penalty. At least it didn't cost them anything but some embarrassment and a little schmutz on their faces. Click the link to enjoy the hilarity.
  • While I've seen a lot of talk about how Raanta should have challenged Hemsky more on his goal there is much more to it. Deuce, Carter Seven and Truck Nutz all left enough room for Hemsky to not only drive the net, but drive through the crease. Of all three, I would have liked to see Seabrook drill Hemsky before he was even able to get to the net. It was clear that Mr Norris Trophy was beaten, and Seabrook had a beat on Hemsky.
  • It was nice to see Shaw get some time with some talent again, and score. Funny how you put a guy with some wheels out there with Saad and Kane, and things happen.
  • The Toews goal was just FILTHY. He made Dubnyk turn into putty.
  • The Hawks were back to dominating the faceoff dots. They were 61% as a team and El Capitan led the way, winning 17 of 23 faceoffs (75%).
  • The birthday boy, Marian Hossa, had a goal and an assist. Not too shabby for being 35.
  • Former first overall pick Nail Yakupov was a minus 3, and so was Nick Schultz. Not going to impress the coaching staff that way.
Here are the video highlights:
1/14 - Blackhawks vs Avalanche 3-2 Overtime Loss
  • The SOLE reason the Blackhawks lost was one person, Semyon Varlamov. The guy made 46 saves, including 13 while shorthanded.
  • While Varlamov was huge in net, the Hawks defense wasn't exactly stellar. You can put the first Avs goal on Crawford because it was pretty shady but the second Avs goal, 61 seconds later, was all on the Hawks PK. The overtime goal was again on the Hawks defense. Hjalmarsson had a chance to clear the puck and didn't. The defense turned into a complete shit show after that, leaving Barrie wide open to snipe Crawford on the back door.
  • Shock&Shaw had another strong game, tying up the score in the third period and having an assist on the Oduya goal. That's 2 goals and three points in the two game since he was demoted.
  • The Hawks were really strong at the dots once again, winning 58% of their draws. El Capitan was insanely good, again, winning 21 of 29 faceoffs (72%).
  • The Hawks going 0-5 on the powerplay certainly didn't help their woes. If they convert just one of those, which would be below their average, we're not even discussing overtime.
  • The Blackhawks prized power forward played only 9 shifts for 6:34 and was a minus 1. Either he's really still hurt, or Q just despises him. If he's hurt, then sit him and get someone that is capable of playing more than 3 shifts a period. If he's in the Chateau Bow Wow, then throw him on the 4th line of scratch him.
  • Versteeg has gone Vercold, once again. He hasn't had a point in six games and is a minus 3 with 7 PIMs in those games. He hasn't had a goal in 9 games.
Here are the video highlights:
1/17 - Blackhawks vs Ducks 4-2 Win
  • Well, Well, Well. Looks like the cold stiff corpse of Bryan Bickell made an appearance when it counted. His third period breakaway goal, with a guy draped all over him, ended up being the game winner. Back to the casket for you, sir.
  • Speaking of cold stiff corpses, who is that number 23 guy? Versteeg's goal was a little flukey, especially because he barreled into three Ducks players and still managed to eventually poke the puck by Hiller. He was rewarded by getting hit at teh end of the second by Bryan Bickell and never returned.
  • It amazes me that with talent like Hossa and Toews on the penalty kill, they are still 29th in the league. The Hossa shorthanded goal, in the first period, was mastery. Three one touch passes and Hoss was off to the races on a really nice 2-on-1.
  • While the first Ducks goal was a really nice effort from Getzlaf, Hammer started it off with a needless blind backhand pass, and Johnny Oduya completely overcommitted to the slide. The second Ducks goal was a woof fest. Crawford just got eaten up by a fairly easy shot. This is just more fuel to the meatballs call for Raanta, which will be about as fun and entertaining as chewing on a bucket full of broken glass.
  • The only Hawks center that wasn't great at the dots was Andrew Shaw, who was only 4 of 11. The overall they were at 56%.
  • I know this is really getting picky, but Brandon Bollig on the ice late in a one goal game, just makes me want to drench puppies in gasoline and set them on fire. Why tempt fate? Also, how he was credited with seven hits, is beyond my comprehension.
  • Nick Bonino and Nick Beleskey were minus 3 each for the Ducks.
  • Patrick Sharp had six shots on net and a minus one. It is safe to say he has cooled off a bit.
  • Remember when the Ducks fans and media wanted to trade Hiller because twenty nine year old Viktor Fasth was their future?
Here are the video highlights:

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Blackhawks Week That was 1/10

1/5/14 - Blackhawks vs Sharks
3-2 Shootout Loss

  • The first Sharks goal was a nice pinch by Demers, but bad coverage by Leddy/Shaw/Roszival. Before Crawford could turn his head, he had Demers blasting a one time in the slot at him. The second Sharks goal was a breakdown after some initially decent coverage. The puck squeeked out to Burns who was on the back door all alone.
  • It looks like the Blackhawks are in the business of making goalie look like all-stars, lately. Alex Stalock is no world class goalie, but he sure looked good against the Blackhawks.
  • The Hawks were slightly under 50% at the dots thanks to Kruger's 35% and Shaw's 33%. The Hawks will never be over 50% every game, but if they are close on those off nights, I'll take it.
  • 5 Blocked shots and a goal for Hjalmarsson. He was overlooked as a star of the game.
  • Nine shifts to the tune of 5:20 for Bickell, including ZERO third period shifts. Either he's still more hurt than they are leading on, or he's firmly in the doghouse. If he's hurt, sit him and give a kid a chance. Not like he was lighting the league on fire anyway.
  • This was not Crawford's best shootout, by any means. The Sharks were 2-2, and the Hawks 0-2. That pretty much says it. That being said, he faced 42 shots in the game and looks great. Holy hell I hate everything about shootouts.
Here are the video highlights:
1/8/14 - Blackhawks vs Rangers
3-2 Loss
  • The Blackhawks only really played half a game, and still had a chance to win. The first period and the first half of the third were TERRIBLE. Imagine what they could have done if they played the entire game like they cared.
  • Crawford's play mirrored the rest of the team. the two goal he gave up early in the first were pretty soft. The first goal, he never got set and was caught in an uncomfortable position. This is evident by the way he dropped two one knee. When a goalie does that, you know he wasn't prepared. On the second goal Rangers goal, Crawford was beaten back to the far post on a wrap around. As far as the third goal goes, its really the only one that you can give him. The puck dipped and deflected off Shaw. Crawford made the initial save, but Leddy, Roszival and Shaw all let Hagelin stand in front of Crawford all alone. That one was on the defense. I suppose when you're facing one of the most revered goalies in the world, any mistake is going to looks glaring.
  • Bollig was both the goat and the prince against the Rangers. Early on he tried to start a kerfuffle with Gorilla Salad and ended up in the box. Of course the ensuing powerplay ended up being the Rangers first goal. WHY are you jawing at Gorilla Salad? It's pointless. Anyhow, Bollig later made up for his idiocy with the Hawks second goal, which was a nice snipe from the circle.
  • The Hawks were looking good once again sat the dots. None of the Hawks centers were under 50%.
  • Bollig goal aside, Henrik Lundqvist was outstanding. He made 35 or 37 stops, and several flurries when the Hawks actually showed a desire to play.
  • I have no idea why Quenneville is riding Roszival this hard, but he was out there way too often. I know it's petty when you're scrutinizing the 6th defensemen, but if Quenneville is going to put him out there this much, he needs to be better. He has been dragging the third pair down for a few games now.
Here are the video highlights:

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Blackhawks Week That Was - 1/3

12/28 - Blackhawks at St. Louis
6-5 Shootout Loss

  • The Hawks had two chances to put the Blues away, with a 3-1 lead and a 5-3 lead. They gave both up. They have no one to blame but themselves.
  • At least half of the Blackhawks goals were pretty terrible. While Raanta wasn't stellar, Halak and Elliott were brutal. The Kane and Seabrook goals should have been elementry stops. The Saad goal wasn't much to shout about, either.
  • How about that Patrick Sharp kid? Looks like the Hawks might have a player there, eh? Maybe he has a future in this league.
  • The Berglund goal, to tie the game late in the third, was unacceptable. Seabrook looked gassed, and couldn't keep up with Berglund. Keith went for the pass block instead of trying to poke the puck off Berglund's blade. Raanta, well, I'm not too sure just what happened. He got handcuffed deep in his net. The play end up being a 1 on 3 plus Raanta. You don't score with those odds.
  • The Hawks were back to winning the faceoff battle, beating the Blues 57% to 43%. El Capitan had a rare off night, but the rest of the center picked up the slack. Berglund won a whopping 3 of 12 faceoffs for St. Louis.
  • Any game that Barrett Jackman and David Backes are a combined minus 2 with zero points, is fine with me.
  • Sharp and Toews are a combined plus 10 in the past two games. #Clutch
  • Shootouts suck. Every single one.
Here are the video highlights:
12/30 - Blackhawks vs Kings 1-0 Shutout Win
  • There wasn't much as far as goals go, especially since the only goal was in the first period, but that didn't mean there wasn't action. There was Dustin Brown's unsuccessful penalty shot, break-a-ways, hits, and big saves. This game might have been one of the more exciting 1-0 games you're going to see.
  • I truly thought that Antti Raanta is that goalie that will always give up that one goal to always elude the shutout. Just a few games ago he gave up 2 goals on 12 shots. Not a stellar night. Good for him though. The duo of Crawford and Raanta give the Hawks a serious team, better than even last year. I like Emery, but he's awkward and injury prone. Give me the 25 year old finnish guy with non plastic hips.
  • As far as the penalty shots go the officials were very inconsistent. If Dustin Brown's chance was a penalty shot then the chance Jonny Toews had in the third period was as well, and vice versa. Neither was a clean breakaway chance, but both were similar. Since they made the statement and gave Brown the shot, El Capitan deserved one also. If they didn't give Brown that shot, I wouldn't have disagreed, and I wouldn't have been upset that Toews didn't get one either.
  • The Hawks had a powerplay goal waved off in the third period and it was the right call. Andrew Shaw redirected a high Sharp slapshot down and into the net, but the redirection was a clear high stick. This one, the officials got right.
  • Late in the third, the Hawks, specifically Duncan Keith, got caught napping and let Kyle Clifford get in on a break-a-way. Keith didn't pout and coast back, he turned in the burners and not only caught Clifford, but reached around and knocked the puck away without any hint of an infraction. This was as big of a play as the Sharp steal against Colorado.
  • While the Hawks were out hit, as per usual, Andrew Shaw was credited with NINE hits. Merry Christmas Shawzer.
  • The Hawks continued their dot dominance, winning the battle against the Kings, 60% to 40%. The only center under 50% was old man Zeus, with was at 45%. El Capitan and Dream Warrior won 25 of 36 faceoffs between them.
  • Johnny Oduya didn't have his best night, being credited with 4 giveaways.
Here are the video highlights:
1/2 - Blackhawks at New York Islanders 3-2 Overtime Loss
  • The Hawks came out with a nice pace, but their defense left something to be desired. The Cizikas breakaway goal was due to a lazy change and Bickell being fed a live grenade. The pass was not a great one, even though Bickell was not exactly hauling ass, but I believe it was either Seabrook or Hjalmarsson that pulled the pin and lobbed that live grenade off to Bickell. Bickell just looked like a fucking sloth after it was turned over, because Cizikas just whizzed right past him. The Vanek goal was just sloppy coverage in the Hawks end. A rebound popped out to Vanek, who had an open net. And Finally, the game willing goal was terrible over pursuit by Sharp, Keith and Hjalmarsson. They all flocked to Tavares like his hair was on fire, and left Okposo wide open to pick up the fat rebound.
  • None of the goals could be plopped squarely on Crawford's shoulders, and he looked just fine. In fact he was less rusty than I had expected. I'm glad to see him back. Haters can eat a rather large bag of fecal matter.
  • Ben Smith was probably the most noticeable Blackhawks player on the ice. He was rewarded for his hard work with game tying goal. Poetic justice.
  • Seabrook's powerplay goal was a howitzer from the left circle on a nice feed from Versteeg. Nabokov had suck a slim chance of getting that puck, yet still just missed it.
  • I have to give credit where it's due, and Evgeni Nabokov player an excellent game. He made 37 saves and neither of the goals were his fault. For a guy that is just short of 159 years old, he was on his game.
  • Brandon Saad didn't show up on the score sheet, but he had a burst of speed that began as a 1 on 2, and almost ended up a breakaway, in the third period. This kid is so special. He would be a top 6 forward anywhere else in the league, and possibly, top 3. I love this kid's game.
  • Deuce and Hammer didn't have their best games. They were each minus 2.
  • The Hawks were credited with THREE hits. THREE! That stat category is utterly worthless. Matt Martin had 3 hits just stepping onto the ice.
  • The Hawks were 1 for 1 on the powerplay, and didn't give up and powerplay goals. That is something to slide over to the "plus" category.
Here are the video highlights:
1/3 - Blackhawks at New Jersey Devils
5-3 Win
  • Sharpie with yet another Hat Trick. He's playing on another level.
  • Keith, Toews, and Sharp were all plus 4 on the night.
  • The game was fairly tame until the third period came around and both teams came out and combined for 6 third period goals.
  • Only 10 shifts in the entire game for Bickell. Welcome to Chateau Bow Wow.
  • Henrique, Ryder and Clowe were all minus 4. WOOF!
  • Ben Smith and Kruger were terrible at the dots, winning only 5 of 16.
  • Raanta wasn't at his best, but he did enough to keep the Hawks into the game until they blew it open.
Here are the video highlights:

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