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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Playoffs: Blackhawks at Los Angeles
Round 3 Game 6 Win

"Ride the Lightning"

It's Friday night, the Blackhawks were in LA and they forced a game 7. On to the highlights:

The Good

  • Early in the second period, the Blackhawks tied the game on the powerplay. I know, that wasn't a typo. They were actually able to get shots and eventually Toews fed Kane with a one timer that Quick had zero chance on. Signs of life.
  • A minute and 37 seconds after the Blackhawks tied the game, Ben Smith mishandled a bouncing puck and ended up far past the net. He used some quick thinking and banked a shot into the net off Quick from behind the net. Finally, the Hawks were the recipient of a fortunate bounce.
  • Seabrook got throw in the box for interference in the second period the Hawks were killing the penalty well. Crawford got caught on the far post while the Alec Martinez tried to wrap it around and the net was left gaping. Everybody thought it was a sure goal, but Oduya jumped in and tied up the shooter, saving a sure goal.
  • The Blackhawks tied the game back up with about 8 minutes remaining in the third period. Brandon Saad was shot out of a cannon for every shift he was on the ice after the Kings took the lead, and he eventually got the puck to Kane. Kane hit a streaking Keith with a backhand pass, and Keith beat Quick.
  • With just under four minutes remaining in the third period Patrick Kane had finally had enough, and whipped out his infinitely huge brass balls. He controlled the puck in the Kings zone and skated around virtually the entire team. Once he got a clean look, he snapped a shot past Quick to take a 4-3 Blackhawks lead.
  • While it's not the time for a fight, Corey Crawford going to down yap at Quick following the end of the second period was pretty inspiring. You can't doubt this guy's fire and love for his team.
  • Faceoff wins favored the Blackhawks slightly. El Capitan, Agent Smith and Shaw were pretty good, but the rest were dogshit.
  • Patrick Kane was on fire. Three points on the 4 Hawks goals is clutch.
The Bad

  • Kyle Clifford absolutely murdered Michael Handzus with a huge first period hit. Luckily for him, unluckily for us, Handzus got right up.
  • The Kings took a 1-0 lead late in the first period when the Hawks over pursued everyone but Dwight King right in the slot. Seabrook, Oduya and Handzus got caught staring at the puck BEHIND THE NET and King just coasted in behind them.
  • About a minute and a half after the Hawks took the lead, they had a 2-on-0 with Kruger and Sharp bearing in on Quick. Money, right? Kruger waited long enough, and fed Sharp, who was beaten by Quick with a gorgeous save. If Sharp was able to get any height on the shot it would have been a sure goal.
  • Five minutes into the third period the Hawks couldn't get the puck out of their end and Drew Doughty used a Mike Richards screen to eventually beat Crawford and tie the game. If the Blackhawks win this series, it's no because Doughty didn't show up.
  • Hey did anyone see Sheldon Brookbank out there for Versteeg? Me either. He played a team low 5:09, with Bollig and Handzus right behind him.
The Ugly

  • The Hawks defense was all over the place early, so much so that gorilla Dwight King ended up with a breakaway. Luckily Saad caught up to him and annoyed him enough to keep him from even getting a decent shot off. Terrible defense, just fucking TERRIBLE.
  • Two minutes after the tying goal, with Toews in the penalty box, the Kings powerplay came though once again. Doughty drew two defenders to Crawford's left and dumped the puck off to Martinez who shot the puck through two screens and into the net.
  • A person I trust mentioned that Patrick Sharp has been dealing with personal issues, not an injury. That would completely explain why he is been invisible.
Here are the video highlights:

2014 Playoff song via HockeeNight:

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Playoffs: Blackhawks vs Kings
Round 3 Game 5 2OT Win

"The Saad Rules"

The Blackhawks headed home Wednesday night with their backs against the wall, and the Kings had a chance to knock the Hawks out of the playoffs altogether. In the first period, the Hawks jumped out to a fast 2-0 lead and it looked like they may run away with the game, but the Kings weren't so sure of that. The Kings fought back to make the score 2-1 and then eventually 3-2 before the first twenty minutes were over. Once again, the Blackhawks had a chance to finish the Kings and didn't. In the second period the Kings actually took a 4-3 lead while the Blackhawks played just awful. The good news was that the Hawks had twenty final minutes to tie the game, and they did early on in the third period. This game was going to be decided in overtime and not just one overtime, but two. Spoiler alert: There will be a game 6 in LA Friday night.

The Good

  • Thirty seconds into the game and Drew Doughboy took a tripping penalty which, of course, was cause for shaming. The Blackhawks answered with a long Brent Seabrook powerless play goal just 1:13 into the game, and this game was hitting the ground running.
  • Two minutes and twenty seven seconds after the Seabrook goal, the Blackhawks went end to end in 3 passes, and Johnny Oduya finished to put the Hawks up 2-0. This was Kane's second apple of the game, and second goal by a Hawks defenseman.
  • Q mixed up the defensive pairs right off the bat. Keith played with Hjalmarsson, Seabrook played with Leddy and the third pair was Roszival and Oduya.
  • Just over a minute after the Stoll goal, Brandon Saad picked up a huge rebound in front of Quick and shuffled it into the net. This is the Blackhawks team that has been non existent for the entire series, but it wouldn't last.
  • Just over a minute into the third period, Brandon Saad pulled his big boy diaper up and led a Blackhawks rush. He threw a shot on net that Quick coughed up to a streaking Ben Smith, who tied the game up. Brandon Saad was thoroughly earning his Manchild nickname right in front of our eyes.
  • The first overtime was insanity, going end to end virtually the entire duration of play. Not for the weak of heart.
  • Shortly into the second overtime, the guy that carried the team all night, Brandon Saad, led a rush with Handzus and Kane, and was left with only Handzus to feed. Zus snuck in behind his man and had Quick all alone to rook a backhand over Quick's glove. Game over.
  • Patrick Kane had one of the most quiet four point nights I've ever seen from him. All 4 were assists, but he was engaged and they weren't all secondary.
  • Corey Crawford started off shaky, to say the least. The first three goals were a combination of bad defense and marginal goaltending, but the 4th Kings goal was ALL on Crawford. This being said, I know you're all saying, "Why is listed under the 'good' category?". After the second period, Crawford was a brick wall, and especially in the overtime periods. I was texting with a friend between the second and third periods and he asked if they should pull Crawford. After thinking about it, I came up with a resounding "no". I told him that if the Blackhawks were going to win this game, it was going to be because they stood behind their guy and propped him back up on his feet. A "win this for Crow" feel to the game, and that's exactly what happened. He ended up stopping 40 of 44 shots and one more than All World Jonathan Quick, the day after the All World Henrik Lundqvist was pulled for giving up 4 goals on 19 shots.

The Bad

  • Half way through the first period, the all 5 Blackhawks had a circle jerk in front of the net long enough for it to squirt to pain in the ass Jarret Stoll, who beat Crawford through a maze of cock-n-balls.
  • Milbury and Jones spent two minutes too many contemplating why Crawford whacked his stick on the boards after the first period. He was mad, you fucking clowns! His defense didn't PLAY defense and they let the Kings back in the game. Is it really that hard to figure this out? He had a right to be angry.
  • Marcus Kruger was rag dolled by Jake Muzzin with a clean hit late in the third period and didn't miss a beat. Balls of iron.
  • Shaw looked to have injured the same right leg that had him out 7 games, late in the third period, while the Hawks were on the powerless play. He looked like Rob McClanahan in the overtime, clearly nursing the injury, but I give the kid credit.

The Ugly

  • Just over 2 minutes after the Saad goal, Marian Gaborik was left wide open on Crawford's back door after Quick made a huge backdoor save in the King's end. The goals were coming so fast, at that point, that I couldn't recap them fast enough.
  • Not only did a Versteeg turnover lead to a 2-on-1 that Seabrook ended up bailing out, but then later in the second period Versteeg pulled a "Noonan" and failed to get the puck out of the zone. Fast forward about 4 seconds, and the Blackhawks were fishing the puck out of their own net. I have to point out that Crawford made 2 big saves before Brown finally poked it into the net.
  • Two minutes after Brown tied the game, the Blackhawks defended a Kings rush pretty well but Tanner Pearson snapped a long wrist shot over Crawford's blocker to take their first lead of the game. Terrible goal at a terrible time.
  • Trevor Lewis and Kyle Clifford were each minus 3 for the Kings and Marcus Kruger was for the Blackhawks. WOOF!
  • What more can be said about the complete non factor of Patrick Sharp? He has been a total non factor, and has been getting pinched on the boards more than I've ever seen from him. My theory, and it's only a theory, is that he has a left leg or foot injury. If you watch him, he always tries to push off his right leg and squeeze by the boards. The defense now knows this and pinches him off when he tries to chip the puck in. An easy solution would be to fake that usual play and slide to the inside. He doesn't even attempt that. Again, just a theory, but it would make sense.
  • Kris Versteeg was a turnover machine all game, directly leading to the Kings tying goal. As a result, he played only 6:48. I've beat this into the ground and I said it on twitter but he is really a $2 million waste of space. In typical Jeopardy format:

    What is #DammitVersteeg?
  • Following Versteeg was Bollig with 8:20. I'm exhausted bitching about the waste of space that is Bollig, while more talented players sit and watch from the press box. Whatever, Joel, pin yourself down rolling only 10 forwards. That won't blow up in your face.
  • Nick Leddy played the least of all Hawks defensemen, TEN minutes less than Roszival, who was next. It brings to light once again, What do they do with Leddy? If Q doesn't trust him, then why is he here?
Here are the video highlights:

2014 Playoff song via HockeeNight:

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Just Empty Words and Humble Pie

Well, the chances that the Blackhawks would be in this position, before hoisting the Stanley Cup this spring, were pretty high.

So, here we are.

The Blackhawks are down 3-1 in the Western Conference Final, and the prospect that they will be playing golf soon is a very realistic possibility. While it is hard to write the Blackhawks off completely but the LA Kings are a very talent team, and the only other western conference team to win the Stanley Cup since 2009. I’d love to go on a hateful rampage similar to one I would go on about towards a team like the St. Louis Blues, but the Kings have earned some respect. They are doing something that very few teams have done to the Chicago Blackhawks, which is making them look mortal. I did go on record and say that I would have preferred to see the shallow depth, revolving door defense and crowded cast of characters in the Ducks net, so don't point fingers at this writer, Kemo Sabe.

Fans need to take a couple of things into account, when spouting off like anything less than a Stanley Cup every year is a colossal failure. The Blackhawks have played more hockey in the last 17 months than any other team. These players were forced to play a condensed season that ran long into June and had very little time to rest. The summer quickly led into training camp and the Blackhawks hit the ground running. Don’t forget that while many of the role players got February off, the star players on this team played playoff equivalent hockey in Sochi. Half of this team was involved in one way or another. Again, taxing on the body, as well as the mind.

When healthy, the Hawks are one of the top teams in the NHL, and making it to the conference final is evidence of that, along with two Stanley Cup Championships in the last 5 years. As the Pittsburgh Penguins will attest, it takes a perfect storm of circumstances to win just one Stanley Cup. Repeating is even harder. We, as fans, should be proud of what we’re experiencing. It’ll hurt if the Blackhawks get eliminated, but they have already had an impressive run. Celebrate it.

This isn’t to say that they aren’t good enough to run the table and win the cup, because they most certainly are capable, but the wear and tear just may have gotten the best of this team. We can bemoan the decisions that Quenneville has made or not made. They may have made slight differences, but the core of this team should be able to win another cup with minimal help. Similar to the 2010 cup run and even last spring.

The moral of the story is that in Chicago we are lucky to have a team this good, with this many superstars. This is a phenomenon that comes along once every couple of decades, if we're lucky. In the 1990's it was the powerhouse of the Chicago Bulls, and in the 2010's it is these very Blackhawks. Don't ruin the experience with stupid expectations and idiotic irrational blame. If you want to be that fan, well...


Playoffs: Blackhawks at Los Angeles
Round 3 Game 4 Loss

"Nodding Donkey Blues"

The Blackhawks were wading into dangerous territory for game four on a beautiful muggy Memorial Day evening. The problem was that no one reminded the Blackhawks that they had a game. They came out and surrendered 3 goals in the first period and put up barely a whimper. The second period was only slightly better. The score was 4-1 after 40 minutes, and I honestly had no interest in watching the end of this one. The Blackhawks were able to fight back within 2 goals, but that wasn't nearly enough. The Hawks are now at risk of being eliminated, at home, Wednesday night.

The Good
  • Bollig sat out and Regin played the wing with Shaw and Saad. Kruger was moved up to 2nd line center between Sharp and Hossa. In other changes, Sharp was moved off the first PP unit and Seabrook was inserted. It clearly made a difference.
  • After 4 straight goals by the Kings, and 1:20 later, Brandon Saad roofed a backhander over Quick to break the Quick shutout and slow the bleeding.
  • Bryan Bickell scored a tough goal about half way through the third period. The goal was long overdue because the puck lay in the crease behind Quick and Drew Doughty's stick in the way. Somehow, Quick's Jedi mind tricks kept the puck out of the net but, eventually, the chaos resulted in a goal. At that point the Kings had to pretty much throw the puck in the net themselves for the Hawks to score.
  • When all was said and done, the Blackhawks actually out shot the Kings 24-21. It wasn't a matter of shots as much as it was scoring chances.
  • You can rag on Jeff Carter all you'd like, but I would kill to have a center of his skillset on the second line of the Chicago Blackhawks. Jeff Carter or Shaw, Handus and Kruger? I'll take Carter, thank you very much.
The Bad
  • Two minutes and thirteen seconds after the Muzzin PP goal, Kopitar stole a puck from Duncan Keith deep in the Hawks zone and fed it to Gaborik, who Seabrook had left alone in front. Gaborik redirected the puck between Crawford's legs, and the Blackhawks were in serious, serious trouble.
  • After the Hawks miserable first period, what is the first thing Andrew Shaw does? Takes a stupid offensive zone penalty. Then he took another offensive zone penalty later, but was bailed out when Doughty was sent off too. Listen, you don't get exonerated for doing something dumb just because you were bailed out.
  • Late in the second period, the Kings made it 4-0. Doughty was originally credited with the goal, but it looked redirected to me. At this point, I would have rather been watching the Kim and Kanye wedding on an infinite loop.
  • Lets get this out of the way right away. Pulling the goalie with anything more than 2 minutes left in play is stupid. Its a last resort. Patrick Roy does it a few times and all of a sudden it has become the norm. Pulling the goalie works when you have momentum and can secure possession. The Blackhawks had neither. The chance you'll just end up giving up that empty net goal is infinitely higher when you are in the position the Hawks were. Pulling the goalie just causes chaos, when you're not in control of the puck.
  • Did Kris Versteeg actually play? According to the stat sheet he did, and was on the ice for 2 goals. Only 2 more years of this, guys.
  • The se-Q-urity blanket, Michael Handzus, played only 4:28. The sky must be falling because even Quenneville doesn't seem to have a plan anymore.
  • The Hawks were mushroom stamped at the faceoff dots once again. Toews and Kruger won a combined 10 of 31 faceoffs. Not going to do the job in the Stanley Cup Conference Final.
The Ugly
  • The Kings survived early penalties by Kopitar and Brown, only to draw a goalie interference penalty by Hossa. As a result, the Kings took a 1-0 lead on Muzzin's goal. The Blackhawks couldn't get the puck out of the zone and Muzzin ended up using a Carter screen to beat Crawford.
  • After Patrick Sharp took a stupid offensive zone roughing penalty the Kings made it 3-0, on a tic-tac-toe play. The Blackhawks looked like a bunch of midget players chasing professionals, and Corey Crawford was getting zero support.
  • The Hawks powerplay was just fucking terrible. They had the chances and could barely muster a shot on net. It was a feeble effort. The Kings were 2 for 3 and the Hawks were 0 for 3. That is your game, fans.
  • I hardly ever rag on the officials, but in the third period Doughty's stick got stuck in the shield of Regin and there was no call. Tell me how this is not penalty.
  • If you tell me Corey Crawford is the reason the Blackhawks are in this position, I'm going to stab you in the thorax with a rusty ice pick doused in decade old Tabasco. This is a full team failure. The defense is porous at best. Seabrook and Keith have been terrible. The powerplay is terrible. The Hawks aren't getting pucks to the net. Crawford is the easy scapegoat because he's the last line of defense, but look around at all the Blackhawks players standing around, not covering their assignments, when the puck ends up in the net. Be a smarter fan. Don't take the meatball approach, because you look like an idiot.
Here are the video highlights:

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Playoffs: Blackhawks at Los Angeles
Round 3 Game 3 Loss

"Be Quick or Be Dead"

The Blackhawks were in LA Saturday night to face the Kings and try to take a 2-1 series lead. Unfortunately, the Kings had other plans. The Blackhawks took both 1-0 and 2-1 leads in the game, but for the second game in a row they fell seriously flat in the third period. As a result, the Blackhawks were left to celebrate Memorial Day weekend down 2-1 in the Western Conference Final and left wondering exactly what more they needed do to even this series Monday, or go down 3-1.

The Good

  • Andrew Shaw made his triumphant return Saturday night but really wasn't much of a factor. In fact, he lost all 7 faceoffs he took.
  • El Capitan grabbed an early lead for the Blackhawks. Immediately after Handzus took his stupid ass penalty. He lost the faceoff but then stripped Mr Game Seven, Williams, and went in on Quick. Toews faked the slapshot to freeze Quick and then beat him low for a 1-0 Blackhawks lead.
  • Michael Rozsival set the table for a 2-1 Blackhawks lead, late in the first period. He walked around a Kings defender, with a painfully slow toe drag and put a nice shot on net. The rebound ended up in the skates of Toews, where he was able to kick it to his stick and into the net.
  • Hossa made a great play during a 3rd period penalty kill, when Seabrook broke his stick over Gaborik. Hoss gave his stick to Seabrook which sounds innocent enough, but it doesn't happen often when a defenseman breaks a stick and a forward passes his to the defender.
  • The Blackhawks scored a long goal with 3 seconds remaining but it was really pointless. I understand that it was Patrick Sharp, but it was a fortunate bounce and irrelevant.
  • If not for Shaw the Blackhawks did decent at the dots. Stoll and Kopitar took 45 of the 57 faceoffs so that tells you what Sutter's plan is.

The Bad

  • Jeff Carter tied the game about half way through the second period. Seabrook was working Tanner Pearson behind the net pretty well, but Handzus and Oduya left Jeff Carter wide open in front of the net. Pearson kept control of the puck long enough to hit Carter, who had Crawford dead to rights.
  • The Blackhawks powerplay has gone ice fucking cold. While they had some pressure late in the second, the first two powerplays were god damn terrible. First they had no presence down low and then when they got the pressure low, the Blackhawks kept ending with players on the wrong side of the ice, so they couldn't unload the puck fast enough.
  • Michael Rozsival took a bad penalty in the third period and the Kings ended up taking a 4-2 lead on the resulting powerplay. At this point the Blackhawks were shooting themselves in the foot.
  • Something has to be done to get Kane and Sharp contributing.
  • I thought my eyes deceived me when I saw the fact that the Blackhawks out hit the Kings for the game 32-26, which tells me one thing. The Blackhawks puck possession was dogshit.
  • I won't go as far as the meatballs, but Crawford needs to be better. Two goals against in the second period on only 4 shots won't win you many games. They weren't totally his fault, but he does need to bail out team from time to time. When they needed it most, he was as bad as they were.

The Ugly

  • The Blackhawks bad penalties continued in the first period. Handzus took a penalty for closing his hand on the puck, which is about as easy a call as you can get. Even after the Toews shorthanded goal, the Blackhawks surrendered a powerplay goal. The casual fan will blame Crawford, but when you leave a guy that much time to size the goalie up and blast a 90 plus mph slapshot off the post and in, your goalie doesn't stand a chance. How about not letting a defenseman tee up from the ladies tee?
  • The Kings took a 3-2 lead late in the second period. Tyler Toffoli walked right through flat footed Oduya and Hjalmarsson, and snuck the puck by Crawford to take the King's first lead of the night. If you look at the replay, Hammer and Kruger both gave up on the play and Toffoli took full advantage. Too many guys standing straight up and not moving their legs.
  • You won't win many conference final games getting out shot 18-7 in the third period and even though the Hawks out shot the Kings 10-4 in the second, they were out scored 2-0.
Here are the video highlights:

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Playoffs: Blackhawks vs Kings
Round 3 Game 2 Loss

"Bloodbath And Beyond"

Lets get right to the highs and lows:

The Good
  • The Two Blackhawks goals were nice. The first goal was Nick Leddy getting behind the defense and backhanding the puck, ala Patrick Kane, over Quick for a 1-0 lead. Later on, early in the second period, Ben Smith jumped off the bench and took a long stretch pass from the Hawks end. Smith took a few steps and snapped a wrist shot past Quick's blocker, for a 2-0 Hawks lead. Then the darkness came....
The Bad
  • The Blackhawks were out played in just about every statistic. How the wheels fall off the wagon in one period defies logic. Not this team. I can only chalk it up to an anomaly. The planets aligned.
  • Any time Patrick Sharp wants to suit up for a game would be fine with me. He's gone from leading goal scorer to Kris Versteeg territory. He was a minus 2 with 3 shots on net.
  • Handzus was completely pimp slapped at the dots. Stoll and Kopitar put on a clinic, winning 10 of 11. Well he is still good for the PK right? Right? Oh yeah, he was out there for the Carter powerplay goal, and couldn't handle Justin Williams in front of the net for the first Kings goal.
  • I cannot blame Crawford for what happened. Yes, he needs to be better, but this was NOT all on his shoulders.

    -Scrum in front with a bouncing puck? 50/50.
    -Tipped powerplay goal? Hard one to stop when redirected 6 inches in front of you.
    -Snipe from the dots when you are shorthanded? Goalies need to try and anticipate, and he got caught leaning.
    -Wide open 6 feet in front of the net for a one timer? Your defense needs to help you out SOME.
    -2-on-1 with one of the top snipers in the game bearing down? Enough said.
  • The Peter Regin lightning in a bottle may be spent. When Shaw is back, look for Regin to be back in the press box.
The Ugly
  • The Blackhawks third period was just abominable. They went in with a lead that should have been sustainable but literally shit the bed. Momentum shifted when Justin Williams was credited with an ugly goal in the final minutes of the second period, and snowballed.
  • Two of the Kings first three goals were in the powerplay. One penalty was for "Too Many Men" and the other was from the prince of meatballs, Brandon Bollig, once again trying to make himself relevant. The goals themselves weren't exactly mind blowing, but the Muzzin goal was a nice snipe. The moral of the story is that when the Kings scored to tie the game, you cannot, under any circumstances, take another stupid penalty. Momentum is a scary thing and you don't want to tempt it.
  • After the Kings went up 5-2, Quenneville suddenly turned into older brother if Patrick Roy. He pulled Crawford with 4 minutes remaining and subsequently gave up an empty net goal. Of course the Hawks could have reasonably scored 3 goals in 4 minutes with the goalie pulled all while not giving up an empty netter, right? I don't want to hear any of this, "well, he had to do something" crap. Pulling your goalie with that much time left and a 3 goal deficit is the ultimate meatball response and a sign of surrender.
  • After giving up the 6th goal, Quenneville threw the combination of Handzus, Bickell and Bollig on the ice. I will generously call them the "concrete boots" line. I'm still baffled that when a guy like Bollig takes asinine penalties, like he did in this game, Quenneville keeps throwing him out there. If someone like Regin or Morin did the same thing, they wouldn't see game action for the rest of the game and probably a few more to follow. I will never understand why Bollig gets such a long least. NEVER!
Here are the video highlights:

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Puckin Hostile Shoutcast Episode 3

Gatekeeper and Patrick Stankus from Puckrant.com recap games 3, 4, 5, and 6 with Minnesota as well as game 1 with the LA Kings. Also covered are the Alex Ovechkin and Carey Price injuries.

For all your custom jersey needs visit Black and Tan Sports at:

You can find the episode on iTunes by following this link: iTunes

Puckin Hostile Shoutcast - Episode 3 MP3 Download

You can listen below on the Talkshoe player:

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Playoffs: Blackhawks vs Kings
Round 3 Game 1 Win

"The Blessed Hellride"

The Blackhawks opened up the Western Conference Final against the Kings from the city of Angels, Sunday afternoon at the United Center. The Kings were coming off a taxing series for the battle of California, and the Blackhawks were coming off 4 days of rest, following the series with the Minnesota Wild. I don't know which was better.

The Blackhawks jumped out to a first period lead and it looked like things were rolling for the heroes in red. It looked like the Hawks went up 2-0 but the goal was washed out, and the Kings almost immediately tied the game up. It looked like the momentum had swung but the Blackhawks followed with a goal of their own to take a 2-1 lead into the third period. The game was tight for a majority of the third, until the Blackhawks blew the game wide open with a huge goal, with just about 3 minutes remaining in the game. This wrapped a big 3-1 game 1 win.

The Good
  • The Blackhawks took a 1-0 lead on the powerplay, with about 5 minute remaining in the first period. Brandon Saad tipped a long Nick Leddy shot down and between Jonathan Quick's legs and into the net. The powerplay was as a result of Brandon Bollig flop in front of the Kings net, when Alec Martinez pushed him in front of the net. I guess we'll take it.
  • Shortly after the Toews goal was negated, and the Kings tied the game, Duncan Keith took a long clapper that went off a King stick and over Quick's glove. Another fortunate bounce for the Blackhawks, but not one they didn't earn.
  • Late in the third period the Hawks iced the game with a beautiful 3-on-1 goal. Hossa led the rush up the ice and dished to Oduya, who gave a no look pass to Toews. El Capitan made no mistake depositing puck in the back of the net on a one timer.
  • For the third straight game, Corey Crawford was dialed in. The only goal he gave up was one he had no chance on. Hot goalies in the playoffs win Stanley Cups.
  • The Blackhawks blocked 25 shots to the Kings 15. This is something that might fly under the radar but very important.
  • Oddly enough the faceoff stats were identical. Each team won 31. I can deal with that.
  • Saad is beginning to become a force once again, which is scary good.
  • Hossa had yet another quiet 2 point game, and he was huge defensively.
The Bad
  • The lone Kings goal was as a result of a terrible Blackhawks change that left Brandon Bollig racing back to cover the play. I'll let you guess how this one ended. Backdoor pass to Toffoli who put the puck over Crawford, who had no chance on the play.
The Ugly
  • The Justin Williams blatant elbow should be looked at by the league, but won't. If Roszival was hurt it would be another story though.
  • The point of contention in this game will be the negated goal. Toews drove hard to the net with a guy on his back. Quick saved the first shot and the puck went off Willie Mitchell's skate and into the net. Even though it wasn't called initially, after talking to Toronto, it was decided that the act of Toews going through the crease pushed Quick out of the way and was goalie interference. I may be wrong, but I was under the impression that goalie interference wasn't reviewable, but what do I know? I'm just a Blogger.
Here are the video highlights:

2014 Playoff song via HockeeNight:

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Playoffs: Blackhawks at Minnesota
Round 2 Game 6 OT/Series Win

"Curses and Epitaphs"

The Blackhawks had their first shot at eliminating the Minnesota Wild Tuesday night. The problem was that they would have to do so in St. Paul where the Wild haven't lost in these playoffs. This game would prove to be a terribly taxing effort for the Hawks.

The Blackhawks jumped out to a lead in the first period and the Wild answered in the second period. That would be all of the scoring in regulation, with both teams going end to end for the entire second half of the game. When all was said and done, the Blackhawks were celebrating, and the Wild were sent packing. Tough, tough series.

The Good
  • Before the fans were all in their seats, Kris Versteeg, yes THAT Kris Versteeg, beat a Wild defender to the puck deep in the Minnesota zone and threw it towards Peter Regin, who was crashing the net. The puck ping-ponged around and squirted over Bryzgalov and into the net. I still refuse to give Versteeg credit for anything, so I'm going with the ghost of Bill Mosienko
  • Peter Regin had his second great game in a row, looking like he had been playing regularly all playoffs. He also made some great defensive plays, saving at least one goal with only an open net behind him. He NEEDS to stay in this lineup.
  • About halfway through the OT, the Blackhawks got a fortunate bounce off a dump in and Patrick Kane did what he does. He pulled the puck to his backhand and roofed a shot past Bryzgalov for the game and series winner.
  • If not for the effort by Corey Crawford, the Blackhawks were coming home for game 7. He should be arrested for grand larceny.
  • I wouldn't have believed it if you told me, but Brookbank and Leddy were each plus 2 on the night.
The Bad
  • In one shift during the second period, we had Oduya save a huge Wild scoring chance, into a Sharp breakaway, into a Fontaine breakaway, finished up by a huge Crawford save. There was little defense played in the second period, as a whole. Play was end to end, and odd man breaks all over.
  • The Blackhawks were out shot 30-22 through 60 minutes and 35-27 overall.
  • The Hawks were also beaten pretty badly at the faceoff dots, 42% to 58%.
  • Once again, fuck NBC and their scheduling. They bent over backwards to accommodate the Penguins and got that shoved right up their ass. Because of this, the defending Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks were pushed to CNBC and an 8:00 start.
The Ugly
  • Matt Cooke is a steaming pile of rhino dung. He just can't help taking cheap shots at people, so he pulled a Brandon Bollig on Johnny Oduya. The guy is deplorable.
  • Erik Haula continued to roast the Blackhawks and completely victimized Johnny Oduya and Nik Hjalmarsson about two and a half minutes into the second period. The puck got chipped past Hammer and Oduya had his head firmly planted up his tuchus, so Haula skated right through both guys and beat Crawford on a breakaway, tying the game at 1.
  • It took the Blackhawks almost 13 minutes to get a shot on net in the third period while the Wild had just 5. The outlook was ugly at that point, and it seemed like the Wild were dominating.
Here are the video highlights:

2014 Playoff song via HockeeNight:

Monday, May 12, 2014

Playoffs: Blackhawks vs Wild
Round 2 Game 5 Win

"Rise Above the Sentiment"

The Blackhawks were back in the United Center, Sunday night to face the pesky Wild in game 5 of their second round series. The Blackhawks were coming off two unimpressive games in St. Paul that allowed the Wild back into the series. The good news was that the Wild still can't seem to win a game on the road, and the Hawks have home ice in the series.

The game started off on quite a sour note with the Blackhawks taking an early penalty, and got worse late in the first period when the Hawks surrendered the lead. The second period was much better for Hawks fans, as they out shot the Wild 15-6 and tied the game, continuing that momentum into the third period, where they took the lead for good. The game was fairly uneventful but the Blackhawks were able to take care of the task at hand, giving them a chance to close out the series in Minnesota on Tuesday night.

The Good
  • The Hawks finally tied up the game on Ronnie Pickle's 6th of the playoff, on the powerplay, half way through the second period. They were out shooting the Wild 10-3 at the time. Sharp threw a long shot on net, Bickell tipped it straight down and past Bryzgalov. This goal tied Bickell for the league lead in goal scoring.
  • Peter Regin played and looked good. He had a few good chances and he also set up some chances. Remind me what was so undesirable about this guy, again? Oh, lets not forget that he was the 3rd star of the game. How man times has Bollig been named a star in these playoffs.
  • The Blackhawks took a 2-1 lead about 5 minutes into the third period. Two very important events made the shift for the Hawks. The first was Toews laying a pretty big hit on Granlund, and the second was Hossa's head fake on Granlund. They eventually lead to a Sharp shot that bounced around and ended up in the feet of Toews. We all know how that story ends.
  • Patrick Kane made a huge play late in the third, with Bryzgalov on the bench, as he out raced a Wild defender to negate icing and keep the clock running.
  • Corey Crawford had a HUGE game. After a mediocre game followed up by a bit of a stinker, he was enormous in this one. The only goal given up was more on the defense than anything.
  • The Blackhawks housed the Wild at the dots, winning 57%. Granlund was the only Wild player over 50%
  • Patrick Sharp didn't score but he assisted on both goals. For whatever reason, he is in a funk, though.
The Bad
  • Cody McCormick was listed as having 8 hits. Both Niederreiter and Cooke had 6 each. The official scorer must have been on a cocaine bender.
  • Duncan Keith was unspectacular in this one. He was listed as having 4 giveaways, and made a stupid decision on the Haula goal.
The Ugly
  • Let me also take a swipe at the NBC scheduling crew for not only making the game an 8:00 Sunday night start, but then putting the damn game on MSNBC in favor of the stupid Rangers/Pens game. Nevermind that it was a beautiful Mothers Day and a Sunday afternoon game would have been perfect. Oh but it gets better. The game was apparently by word of mouth only, because none of the channel guides listed the game. Why is this important, you ask? So people that have lives can DVR the game. So not only were people not able to find the game, but they weren't able to record it either. Fail from top to fucking bottom.
  • The Wild took a 1-0 when the Hawks (more specifically Keith, Seabrook, Handzus and Kane) decided to LET Eric Haula skate up the rink, take a shot, and then get a whack at the rebound. Crawford made the first and second save, but the puck popped up in the air and barely into the net. How the Blackhawks didn't box him out is really beyond me. You can't let a guy have a free path to the net to feast on your goalie. Not sure what the hell Keith was doing lunging at Haula, at the blue line either.
Here are the video highlights:

2014 Playoff song via HockeeNight:

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Playoffs: Blackhawks at Minnesota
Round 2 Game 4 Loss

"Days Turn Blue to Gray"

The Blackhawks were in Minny-haha Friday night trying to take a 3-1 series lead back to West Madison Street. The Blackhawks were without Andrew Shaw once again, who was out with alleged leg injury. Hawks Coach Quenneville scratched Kris Versteeg, while dressing both Jeremy Morin and Joakim Nordstrom.

The first period was even on the scoreboard at 1-1, but the Blackhawks only managed fur shots on net to seven Wild shots. The second was no better for the Blackhawks, as they were out shot 18-9 and out scored 2-1. Once again, the Hawks were left with a deficit in the third period, and were not able to come back. When all was said and done, the Blackhawks lost 4-2 and were out shot pretty convincingly, 31-20.

Next game is at the United Center Sunday night at 8pm.

The Good
  • Patrick Sharp finally broke his goal drought with a first period goal, to tie the game at one with 40 seconds remaining in the first period. Even though he scored, it wasn't really a vintage Sharpie goal he rushed up the boards and banked the puck off Bryzgalov. I'll take the goal, but something still seems wrong with Sharp. He had a breakaway in the second period that would have tied the game and couldn't beat Bryzgalov.
  • Even after all the BS of the Wild scoring a pretty soft second goal to go up 2-1 the Blackhawks battled back with Handzus tipping a long point shot from Seabrook just enough to beat Bryzgalov, and tie the game.
  • Morin did have a penalty, but he also had a great chance on a Bryan Bickell set up. Bryzgalov made the save, but Morin was in position, driving the net, and engaged. More than we can say for Versteeg, well, ever.
The Bad
  • Everybody's idiot hero, Brandon Bollig, took a stupid penalty for checking from behind. Absolutely no need for that in his 4:44 of ice time. When are we going to finally relize that he's bringing NOTHING to this team in the playoffs?
  • Hjalmarsson and Kruger hurt in the second period, but both returned for the third period. Kruger actually looked like he was more seriously hurt, but apparently wasn't.
  • Following a Michal Rozsival penalty for closing the hand on the puck, the Wild put he nail in the Blackhawks coffin with a powerplay goal. Kruger had actually played the pass well, but Koivu was able to get the pass up and over Kruger to Spurgeon, for an easy back door goal.
  • Not only were the Hawks grossly out shot but they were beat a the faceoff dots too. Toews was the only Hawks center that could manage to win a faceoff, and in a game where they could have used better possession numbers they were not starting the plays off very well. Mikael Granlund won 8 of 9 faceoffs for the Wild.
  • Clayton Stoner and Keith Ballard were minus 2 for Wild. Quenneville needs to exploit that, period.
  • According to the stat lines, Duncan Keith had no shots on net and 4 shots blocked. Back to "I love shin pads" Duncan Keith.
  • I didn't think he would make a difference, but Matt Cooke had a good game back following his suspension for a knee to knee hit in the previous series. He had an assist, 5 hits, 3 blocked shots and 2 takeaways.
The Ugly
  • Hawks turnovers were glaring and plentiful. They started off with a Michal Rozsival turnover deep in the Blackhawks zone that the Wild pounced on and Justin Fontaine snapped from a tight angle past Crawford. when you're running around in your own zone like clowns, some of the last people you want to see defending are Roszival, Leddy, and Handzus. Well, that's exactly what the Wild had.
  • Both the second and third Wild goals, just terrible. The second goal, by Pominville, was atrocious but I've certainly been there. Jason Pominville picked up a puck behind the net, that Suter had lost, and banked it off Crawford's skate into the net. The third goal
  • The back breaker of the game was the Wild third goal from Nino Niederreiter, just 44 seconds after the Handzus goal tied the game. Niederreiter just skated to Crawford's left, up the wing, and snapped a shot past Crawford, who looked surprised, and off his angle. The Blackhawks were never really the same after that goal.
Here are the video highlights:

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Playoffs: Blackhawks at Minnesota
Round 2 Game 3 Shutout Loss

"Shattering The Skies Above"

The Blackhawks traveled to Minnesota, Tuesday night, to face the Wild in game three of the second round. The Hawks were looking to take a 3-0 lead, but the Wild had other plans. The first forty minutes seemed like a boring eternity and lulled even the home crowd to sleep. In the third period, the Wild took a quick lead and soon after took a two goal lead. The Blackhawks never recovered and ended up getting shutout 4-0.

The Good
  • You see it in Mens league, but you rarely see a player turn around and dump the puck back into his own zone during a penalty kill, but Kruger pulled it off in the first period. I love it. Smart play. That's all the good we have, folks.
The Bad
  • It doesn't get much worse than Nick Leddy being scratched in front of family and friends. Obviously it worked out in the end, right?
  • Bollig was back...blech
  • During a late first period powerplay Patrick Sharp and Duncan Keith got crossed up at the Wild blue line and Sharp missed a chance to keep the puck in the zone. All this resulted in Haula getting a breakaway. Keith raced back and was able to annoy Haula enough to get him to not only miss the net, but miss the puck completely
  • Saad had several chances in the first two period, and each time made one too many moves.
  • I had a good night with predictions. I stated we were due for a Crawford stinker where he, "gives up like 3 or 4 goals on something like 19 or 22 shots". The Wild scored 3 on Crawford with 17 shots. THEN I predicted their PK streak would end. I was off by one PK. Not too shabby. I should go out and grab a very scratch off lottery cards.
The Ugly
  • The best Blackhawks chance in the first two periods was a 2-on-1 led my, yes you guessed it, Brandon Bollig. The other player was some guy named Pat Kane and he never saw the puck.
  • Early in the third period, Eric Haula was able to slide in behind Kane and Rozsival and was able to chip a saucer pass into the net on Crawford's back door. The miscommunication between Hawks players was just enough to give Haula the room he needed.
  • Two and a half minutes after the Haula goal, the Wild took a rare center ice faceoff, made 4 quick passes and Mikael Granlund found himself in a favorable position with Crawford leaning the wrong way. That fast, it was 2-0 Minny
  • The Blackhawks night ended with 2:35 left, when an Oduya took a tripping penalty and the Hawks just laid down. Parise stood in front of Crawford and tipped a long shot off the post. The rebound sat just outside the crease and Captain America chipped it in.
Here are the video highlights:


Puckin Hostile Shoutcast Episode 3

Gatekeeper and Patrick Stankus from Puckrant.com recap games 3, 4, 5, and 6 with Minnesota as well as game 1 with the LA Kings. Also covered are the Alex Ovechkin and Carey Price injuries.

For all your custom jersey needs visit Black and Tan Sports at:

You can find the episode on iTunes by following this link: iTunes

Puckin Hostile Shoutcast - Episode 2 MP3 Download

You can listen below on the Talkshoe player:

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Playoffs: Blackhawks vs Wild
Round 2 Game 2 Win

"In Waves"

The Blackhawks took a 1-0 series lead into game number two, Sunday afternoon at the United Center against the Minnesota Wild. There were a few lineup changed do to injuries and illnesses, but the Blackhawks had a goal in mind.

The Blackhawks scored goals in each of the first two periods to take a lead into the third period. They gave up a goal early in the third period, but then followed up with two goals to take a 2-0 series lead. Not the Blackhawks best game, but enough to get a win.

The Good
  • Morin started for Bollig and Nordstrom started for the injured Shaw. Versteeg was back after his chronic case of suckitis.
  • The Hawks opened up a 1-0 lead just over halfway through the first period. Hossa snuck way behind the Wild defense and came in 1-on-1 against Bryzgalov. Bry made a great toe save after Hossa deked him, but El Capitan followed the play and was able to smack the can-o-corn into the net. Cannot fault Bryzgalov on that one AT ALL.
  • Saad, Kruger and Nordstrom played together while Versteeg, Handzus and Morin spent time together.
  • A Nick Leddy retaliation penalty in the second period led to a few tense moments on the penalty kill, but Crawford was huge and made a nice desperation save.
  • Bryan Bickell had a two on one break late in the third period that he blasted off the post, but just a few minutes later he had a 2-on-1 from he other side and shot to the same side, beating Bryzgalov for a 3-1 Hawks lead. I guess there is something to this "Bickell is a playoff performer and that's what he is paid to do" stuff. in this game alone he had 2 goals and an assist, 2 shots, 2 shots blocked and 3 shots missed the net.
  • Brandon Saad had 2 goals, including a shot off Captain America's stick immediately following a powerplay, late in the second period. His second goal was an empty netter.
  • Hossa, once again, had a very quiet three point game. Minnesota needs to control Hossa's production if they are going to make a series out of this.
  • Crawford had another wonderful game. Unfortunately, that means we're in for a real stinker, in the near future.
The Bad
  • Hjalmarsson was hit in the cake hole later in the first period, which was enough to stop play, but recovered and later came back.
  • The Wild came out with an agenda in the second period, but couldn't tie the game early on. Instead the Blackhawks gained momentum and took control back.
  • Minnesota beat the Hawks at the dots due to Mikko Koivu winning 74% of his faceoffs. Marcus Kruger only won 30%, and needs to get better.
  • For a game that had a surprising amount of action, the hots were only 22-19. I call bullshit.
  • Even though I don't remember seeing him on the ice at all, Jeremy Morin was minus 1 in 5:42 of ice time, so he was basically no worse than Bollig.
The Ugly
  • Early in the third period the Wild caught the Versteeg/Handzus/Morin line out on the ice with the 3rd defensive pair, and all hell broke loose. Eventually, the puck ended up going in, with Roszival spinning around like a top.
  • Duncan Keith decided that playing with fire was something that he was interested in when the Hawks were pressed in their own end, midway through the third period. He tried a fancy cross ice pass deep in the Hawks zone that was picked off. Luckily for Keith, his partner bailed him out big time.
  • Spurgeon, Suter and Parise were all minus 3 on the afternoon.
Here are the video highlights:

2014 Playoff song via HockeeNight:

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Playoffs: Blackhawks vs Wild
Round 2 Game 1 Win

"Spill The Blood"

The Blackhawks opened up the second round, Friday night, at home against the surprising Minnesota Wild. The Wild are a team that no one expected to be playing. Fans, the media, and probably even the players looked right past the Wild from the start of the playoffs, and assumed that the second round would be a match up against the pesky Avalanche. That wasn't to be, and we all have the Wild to thank for that. On to game 1.

The Blackhawks jumped out to a 1-0 and eventually, a 2-0 lead before the Wild decided to make the game interesting in third period, and tied up the game. The Blackhawks were having none of those shenanigans and exploded for a three goal outburst, icing the game.

Game 2 will be at the United Center on Sunday, at 2:00 PM.

The Good
  • Ben Smith continued to play #2 center and looked good there. He may just be this year's solution for that hole. His fancy pass for the second Kane goal was really impressive.
  • The Hawks took advantage of a Minnesota double minor for high sticking, late in the first period. A big stop by Crawford came back down and Hossa dropped a short pass to Seabrook, who one timed the shot. Bickell redirected the Seabrook shot past Bryz for a 1-0 Blackhawks lead.
  • Just past the midway point of the second period, and just after killing off a Too Many Men penalty, the Blackhawks got another powerplay of their own. Saad knifed across the Wild zone and looked to throw a backhand shot on net, but instead he hit Hossa on the back door for a 2-0 Hawks lead.
  • Right after the Wild tied the game, Patrick Kane decided it was his turn to whip his hog out on the table. He took the puck just about end to end with a faked drop pass along the way, and then backhanded the puck top shelf from a near impossible angle. Maybe the best goal of the playoffs thus far. 3-2 Hawks.
  • Kane followed up his highlight goal with a much easier goal, after what looked to be a beautiful feed from Ben Smith. Sharp shot from the point and Smith redirected it blindly between his legs to a wide open Kane on the back door. Kane slammed it home, and the Wild lost all hope.
  • With 2:41 the Wild pulled their goalie and Ronnie Pickle nailed the game shut.
  • For as much flak as Bickell has gotten this year, it looks like he is poised to repeat his playoff performance of last year, which is great news for this team. With four goals already in the playoffs, no one can complain about that.
  • Call me an asshole but after Dany Heatley hit Seabrook late, after the whistle in the first period, I didn't take much issue with Nick Leddy's shoulder/elbow penalty later. Fuck that guy. He got away with killing a guy, and he's a gutless little prick.
  • This is starting to become repetitive, but Corey Crawford once again held the Hawks together long enough to bust the game wide open. This is the epitome of "eating crow".
  • Marian Hossa quietly had a 3 point night.
The Bad
  • Andrew Shaw was hurt by a hard Clayton Stoner check in the first period and never returned. Official word is Day-to-Day with a lower body injury. Looked like maybe an ankle issue.
  • Minnesota finally got on the board about two and a half minutes into the third period. Oduya made a save on a shot that went through Crawford but the second chance slowly rolled out of Crawford's reach and into the net. After a call to the war room in Toronto, it was confirmed that the puck was in the net.
  • The Blackhawks looked to have another goal earlier in the game, when Nordstrom went hard to the net from behind and the puck eventually went into the net, but the ref claimed that he had blown the play dead. That wonderful "intent to blow" rule.
The Ugly
  • The Hawks gave up two very good Wild shorthanded chances during the early game double minor. REALLY sloppy play, but it'll all be forgotten because of the goal.
  • Shortly after the first Wild goal, they caught the Blackhawks with their forth line on the ice and forced Bollig to turn over the puck in the neutral zone. Fast forward and Crawford is picking the puck out of the net. Los Suckholes. Other than Nordstrom, that fourth line is now irrelevant, and Handzus is only useful on the PK, now.
  • Defensive prodigy Jonas Brodin had 6 penalty minutes and the Blackhawks scored on 2 of those 3 powerplays.
Here are the video highlights:

2014 Playoff song via HockeeNight:

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