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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Dr. Lineblender's House of Horribly Distorted Mirrors


If you told me, on October 16, 2008, that Joel Quenneville would lead the Blackhawks to two Stanley Cup championships and a couple of deep playoff runs, I am not so sure I would not have you checked for dementia. That exactly scenario is exactly what happened. Lets be very honest, though, he was handed a pretty damn good team to work with. This is not to take away from the accomplishment of not only winning one, but winning multiple Stanley Cups. There are many coaches around the league that are very good and had teams of cup winning caliber that, quite frankly, just shit the bed.

I do not like being the guy that has to piss in the punch bowl

Well, OK, yes I do.

The Blackhawks also have 2 first round playoff exits in that run, as well. In 2010-11, they honestly had no business being in the playoffs, anyway, and it showed by bowing out to the Canucks, who eventually shit the proverbial bed. The following year, they were outplayed and out coached by the, then Phoenix, Coyotes. Part of this had to do with Capocalypse 2010, but the pieces were still there to produce better results.

Not all is as perfect as some naive Blackhawks fans want to believe it is with the coach, or some would even say the GM, of this team. Lets be completely honest here, Joel Quenneville was handed a golden egg when he stepped to that Blackhawks podium and accepted the job. Much of the core that still plays for the Blackhawks today were a major part of that team, at the time. Also included in that mix are players that have very strong careers after leaving Chicago, as well, like Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien, Brian Campbell, Troy Brouwer, and Antti Niemi. It is not like he took over a decimated last place team, and pushed them to Stanley Cup glory. He took the reigns of a swiftly upward trending team with a strong core, and some of the most promising young players in the entire league, and coached them to exactly where he should have. He is a great coach, no doubt, but he has some qualities and tendencies that can drive a fan base insane. Let me clarify that, things that can drive a cognizant fan base insane.

This does not mean I'm suggesting that Joel Quenneville be fired. I am simply saying that he has areas that he is lacking in, and should probably address. A portion of fans would rather just stick their heads in the sand and let him do whatever dumb shit he wants. If Quenneville sat Patrick Kane for no reason, they would say, "Are you nuts? How dare you question a coach with two Stanley Cups?". Free your mind, and stop being such fucking pathetic and naive sheeple. The reason Mike Ditka, and Ozzie Guillen were here in Chicago past their expiration was exactly the same. Blind faith. You can question the government, you can question your boss, you can question your family but, god dammit, if you question the man with #2CUPZ you are out of your mind.


The first thing that needs to be pointed out is Quenneville's "Band of Bros". If you're lucky enough to earn your spot in Q's "club", it takes a hammer, chisel, and a suitcase of C4 to get you out of the lineup, no matter how bad you play. I can understand having your favorites, but this takes it to a whole different level. This is a list of players that adorn the walls in the "Hall of Meatballs":

Michal Rozsival, Kris Versteeg, Andrew Shaw, Brandon Bollig, Gorilla Salad, Michal Handzus, Andrew Brunette, Sean O'Donnell, John Scott, Nick Boynton, Jassen Cullimore, Fernando Pisani

Not exactly your "who's who" of future hall of famers. Honestly, only Versteeg and Shaw have amounted to anything, whatsoever. I understand that the cap has restricted what the team was able to do, as far as free agents, but if you are going to attempt to tell me that there were no better alternatives, then you are blind. Often times, there were young promising players that needed to be brought along and were not, because they didn't break into the "Band of Bros". Some players, like Shaw, have earned some leeway but most of these slugs get infinite leashes. If you're going to tell me that Kris Versteeg played better defense or made less mistakes than players like Brandon Pirri or Jimmy Hayes, I call bullshit. Which then brings me to my second gripe; lack of development in young players.

Because this "Band of Bros", the development of young players in this organization has been significantly hampered. Clearly nothing is absolute, but for every Shaw, there are two or three Jimmy Hayes. In Quenneville's tenure, there are only a handful of young players that have made their way through the organization and into his lineup. Some will argue that this shows organizational development, but I disagree. This is a list of young players that have come up through the organization to see significant playing time for more than a portion of one season:

Kris Versteeg, Marcus Kruger, Nick Leddy, Brandon Saad, Andrew Shaw, Ben Smith, Joakim Nordstrom

That is all. Since the 2008-09 season. Seven years. They have developed 7 players that went on to play significant minutes with the Chicago Blackhawks, but it gets better. Let us further examine the circumstances these players gained favor by:

  • Versteeg was already on his way when Q jumped on board.
  • Kruger was already playing pro league when he landed in Chicago.
  • Leddy and Saad were slam dunks that really didn't really require any grooming at all.
  • Shaw and Nordstrom were surprises to everyone right out of their first camps, so saying they were developed is a stretch.
  • Ben Smith was the only player to spend considerable time in the lower ranks, and spend time with the Blackhawks.
  • You could throw Teuvo Teravainen in, but he hasn't played significant minutes yet, either. They are still too busy busting his chops, and wearing him down.

Please tell me where the "organization" has really developed anyone, in these examples. Oh, right. The guys they traded away. The ones they gave up on because they didn't have the right attitude, or they weren't strong skaters, or whatever horseshit excuse you get from them. Tell me half those guys in the "Band of Bros" are strong skaters, or strong on the Hawks end of the ice. Some of these guys needed to go to acquire assets, but this is generally a decent group of players:

Jimmy Hayes, Kevin Hayes, Jack Skille, Rob Klinkhammer, Brian Connelly, Dylan Olsen, Brandon Pirri, Jeremy Morin, Adam Clendening, Klas Dahlbeck

The Hayes brothers have had nice seasons in Florida and NY, Pirri is starting to come through in Florida, Morin was having a nice season in Columbus before he fell ill, Clendening will be a solid player in Vancouver, and Klas Dahlbeck is a building block in Arizona. Sure, not all panned out, and not all players will, but these guys look much more promising than that list of fucking meatball boobs that Quenneville insisted on playing ahead of them. I fully understand that Kevin Hayes never even walked in the door of the UC, but are the Blackhawks really that much thicker up the middle than the Rangers? No, they aren't. If they were, Antoine Vermette wouldn't be here.

Some say that Jimmy Hayes, Pirri, Olsen, and eventually Morin had bad attitudes, or felt entitled. Is that so? So then tell me, are the Blackhawks front office collectively poor judges of character, then, or are they just awful at drafting players? Something is wrong, here, and it doesn't make sense. Bowman and the rest of the suits behind the scenes aren't excluded from this debacle either.

This summer, for the first time since 2010-11, the Blackhawks will have to rely on rookies to fill some big holes. Players like Mark McNeill, Philip Danault and Garrett Ross look to be set up to crack the NHL lineup next fall, as should Stephen Johns. What happens the first time one of them turns the puck over and it ends up in the Blackhawks net? This WILL happen, because it happens with all young players. Probably the same thing that has happened all long, they will sit and then get taken out of the lineup, because Q is just allowed to play these stupid games, without any retribution.

Because that has worked so well with the other prospects.

My final concern is Quenneville's knee jerk reaction to start flipping the lines upside down if the team doesn't play well for 5 consecutive minutes. This can go hand in hand with the young player development, as well. How can young players, or even newly acquired players, expect to find a place to settle into the lineup, and get comfortable, when the lines are constantly in flux? I'm not talking talking multiple games, either, because he cannot keep lines together for multiple PERIODS. It is kind of hard to provide consistent play when you don't know who you will be playing with next shift. Players, especially young ones, need to be put in a position they feel comfortable in to succeed. It is common fucking sense.

All this said, and the Blackhawks might be stuck with 4 or 5 rookies on the roster next fall. How is that going to work, when none of them have more than a game or two of experience, and weren't allowed and significant time? When has Joel Quenneville allowed more than 2 rookies in his lineup at once, much less ones with no NHL experience? The answer is never.

I know this is just me venting, but these should be concerns for everyone. It is OK to question authority. We should expect the best, all the time. Especially when the Blackhawks have all the tools at their disposal.

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Friday, April 24, 2015

PLAYOFFS: Blackhawks at Nashville
Game 5 5-2 Loss Recap

"You've Got Another Thing Coming"


by Gatekeeper

The Blackhawks traveled back to Trashville Tennessee, Thursday night, to face the PERDS and a take a shot at being the second team to move on to the second round. After playing just over 5 periods of hockey just under 48 hours earlier, both teams were, no doubt, tired and sore. That is playoff hockey though.

The Blackhawks and #Perds went into the first intermission tied at 1, with the action being fairly even. The shots favored the visiting team 13-10, but that also included two powerplays. It was honestly a gift that the #Perds were even able to tie the game, but there was still a long game ahead.

The second period was not without its action, but there were no goals, and the #Perds out shot the Blackhawks 11-7. For the first time in the game, the #Perds actually looked dangerous enough to actually take the lead, but the Hawks held tough.

The third period was a disaster for the Blackhawks. The opened up the third giving up a goal 47 seconds in and 2 more just 12 seconds apart. Would have been nice if Quenneville used his timeout but he has 2 cups. He doesn't need timeouts.

The Good
  • With just over 5 minutes remaining in the first period, Brad Richards got a step on Cody Franson. Yes, THAT Brad Richards. The Brad Richards with concrete skates. So, he blew around Franson, who should be completely embarrassed, and went in 1-on-1 with Rinne. Richards sized up Rinne and beat him 5-hole for a 1-0 Blackhawks lead.
  • With 5 minutes remaining, and the Blackhawks down 4-1, Patrick Kane whipped out his gorilla balls and slapped them on the collective foreheads of the #Perds. He drove the puck up the slot and pulled a spin-o-rama. Instead of shooting he sent a backhand pass across to Kris Versteeg, who was wide open. Of course he was wide open, because he is still basically useless. A three year old could have hit the wide open net, and Versteeg did.  4-2, but too little, too late.
  • Scott Darling was pretty aggressive playing the puck. He made a couple of very confident and aggressive plays to play the puck and get it out of harm's way. He's definitely confident in his puck handling skills
The Bad
  • It didn't take long for the Blackhawks to show their dogshit powerplay, early in the first period. Just all in a days work for our heroes from West Madison. They were a little better on a late first period powerplay, but still came away with no goals. Once again, a chance at running away with the game turned into the complete opposite.
  • Patrick Kane made a possible goal saving back check late in the second period and then led an end to end 3-on-1, back the other way. Then he decided to pass to Bryan Bickell. WOOOF!
  • Just 47 seconds into the third period, the #Preds took a 2-1 lead when Darling lost his net and James Neal wrapped the puck around off Duncan Keith's skate and into the net.
  • Shortly after the Neal goal, Michal Fucking Rozsivasl took a stupid interference penalty and just about 30 seconds into the powerplay Colin Wilson took the puck in front of the net, spun and beat Darling for a 3-1 #Perds lead.
  • TWELVE FUCKING SECONDS after the Wilson goal, Filip Forsberg sniped Darling for a 4-1 lead. Didn't hear the meatballs screaming for Darling to get pulled, did ya? Fucking meatball idiots. Eat shit.
  • The only one to play less than Antoine Vermette was Kimmo Timonen. I'm sure he's going to see the press box again soon.
  • Jonathan Toews won 7 of 19 faceoffs. Ouchie. The only player other than Toews to take even 10 faceoffs was Brad Richards.

The Ugly
  • Just over a minute after the Richards goal, the Blackhawks got caught napping on a defensive zone and Filip Forsberg snapped a shot past Darling to tie the game.  The goal was pretty soft, and from a really tight angle. With Darling's size there should be no way that puck makes it into the net.
  • It was announced on NBCSN that the Shea Weber injury in game 2 was a torn ACL. If that didn't spell the end for the #Perds, nothing does.
  • Pat Foley rambles on endlessly about hits every single fucking game. This time he rambles and then proceeds to tell everyone that "you can't hit people if you always have the puck" and then reminded everyone that the only game they out hit their opponent all year was game 2, which they lost. IDIOT!
  • The empty netter was fucking glorious. Poop stain Michal Rozsival and virtually useless Kris Versteeg were out on the ice which tells you all you need to know. No one can actually give a shit with those two out on the ice at the same time, down by two goals, with the goalie pulled and under a minute remaining. Didn't we all discuss this just a few weeks ago?

The Lineblender
Saad-Toews-Hossa
Versteeg-Richards-Kane
Sharp-Shaw-Bickell
Nordstrom-Kruger-Tervainen

Keith-Seabrook
Oduya-Hjalmarsson
Rozsival-Timonen


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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Puckin Hostile Shoutcast Episode 28


In this opening round Playoff, Steve Larmer episode, of the Puckin Hostile Shoutcast, Gatekeeper and Pat recap the open 4 games of the 2015 playoffs.

The guys discuss the details of the Blackhawks 3-1 series lead, the Corey Crawford / Scott Darling debacle, Silly lineup changes, Gatekeeper's stellar first round series picks, and the other recent Blackhawks news.

Lastly, I will leave you with this, and you'll have to listen in to figure out why:


For all your custom jersey needs visit Black and Tan Sports at:
http://www.facebook.com/BlackAndTanSports

Also, please consider helping out our friend Lauren's ailing sister Caryn, in her quest to get treatment at the Mayo clinic:
http://www.gofundme.com/o5x7o4

Check out Mike Figueroa at:
http://www.figsigarts.com
http://www.facebook.com/FigSIGArts
Portions of his profits go to the Ronald McDonald House Chicago.

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

Puckin Hostile Shoutcast - Episode 27 MP3 Download

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PLAYOFFS: Blackhawks vs. Predators
Game 4 3OT
3-2 Win Recap

Livin After Midnight


byGatekeeper and Patrick Stankus

We all know what happened last night. I want to thank Pat for stepping up at the last minute to pinch hit. We are lucky to have such a great team.

No need for semantics, lets get right into the meat and potatoes. On to this joint team recap:

The Good
  • In the first period to start the game, the Hossa-Toews-Saad line had multiple chances on first few shifts. They have been pretty consistent all series.
  • Just a couple of minutes after the PERDS took the lead, our favorite whipping boy, Michal Rozsival, threw a centering pass from along the half boards into the clot, which Antoine Vermette redirected past Rinne. The shot was a little bit of a knuckleball, but who re we to complain? Finally, the Vermette deal yields something other than teeth gnashing.
  • Well, if he can't do anything else, and it looks like he can't, at least Bickell laid out ass face Mike Ribeiro with a huge hit. Everyone can approve of that play.
  • Scott Darling had another strong night. He made some nice solid stops and kept the Blackhawks close all night. Darling and Rinne both put on goaltending shows in OT.
  • The Blackahwks finally tied the score roughly mid way through the third period. Duncan Keith had an excellent cross ice outlet pass to Marian Hossa, who then carried the puck into the zone and across the slot. Hossa dropped a pass to Brandon Saad, who snapped the puck past Rinne. The UC went bananas and things were all tied up. They would be tied up for quite a while.
  • He has been a point of much contention but Johnny Oduya's sprawling play against Stalberg in the first OT was pretty significant.
  • A minute into the third OT, Brad Richards forced the PERDS to turn over the puck at their blue line. Kane ended up with the puck on his stick and he sliced across the slot, trying to hit Bickell in front of Rinne. Kane followed up the missed chance by picking up the puck in the corner and circling behind the net. As soon as he cleared the net, he found and hit Brent Seabrook with a pass that Seabrook one timed past Rinne for the game winner.
  • Go figure. Antoine Vermette is in the lineup and the Blackhawks manage to win 53% of their faceoffs.
The Bad
  • About midway through the first period, Bryan Bickell took a lazy hooking penalty. I know you'll be shocked to hear this, but Colin Wilson then redirected a point shot by Ryan Ellis past the #6foot6Monster Scott Darling for a 1-0 lead. The one special team that was pretty god for the Hawks was the PK, and it has struggled in this series.
  • In the second period, Viktor Stalberg had a big hit on Jonathan Toews in the corner, which could have made a case for boarding. Dangerous hit from a notoriously dense player.
  • The Blackhawks were out shot pretty well in he oping to periods, but seemed to even the play more as the game waned on. They were still out shot 52-48 overall. Getting out shot at home when the other team is missing their Captain and all world defender is not good. The only period where the Blackhawks controlled the play convincingly was the third.
  • The Hawks had a chance to tie the game on a two on one. Forsberg raced back, caught the play, and took a hooking penalty. One could have made an argument for a penalty shot, but that's not happening in the third period of a one goal playoff game. This power play negated the PERDS earlier power play chance. Of course the Blackhawks made clowns out of themselves with a terrible showing on the powerplay. The had a powerplay in the second OT and proceeded to muck that up as well.
  • Druing a stretch in the first OT, the PERDS had two quick, very dangerous, shots off face off wins. First of all, if that happens once, you adjust your lineup for the faceoff. Second of all, win a FUCKING defensive zone draw Kruger!
  • Over 46 minutes for Duncan Keith. We may see a man literally melt into a pile of goo before these playoffs are over.

The Ugly
  • Fuck the NHL and their late central time zone starts. We were able to roll over and go to bed after, but I cannot imagine what the 22,000 people in the UC had to endure, going home and then getting up for work. Not only that, but they had to watch the game sans alcohol for over 2 1/2 periods. We all know Chicago fans have a hard time functioning at all without a registering blood alcohol level. This schedule benefits no one, BUT NBC, so knock this dumb shit off!!
  • About three minutes into the second period, the "possibly" overworked Duncan Keith made a lazy attempt to clear the puck out of the Blackhawks zone, which Hossa wasn't able to get a hold of either. Puck bounced around, and Duncs eventually had a chance to break up the play but flat out missed puck. The puck squirted through and landed on James Neal's stick, who beat Darling to take a 2-1 lead. I know Rozsival played alright, but once again, he cannot be out there as a top pair guy with Keith.
  • I have a lot more tolerance for this than the average player/fan, but the play where Rinne lost the puck in his "paraphernalia" ended up being a nice break for all involved, I'm sure. That stuff happens and you honestly cannot find it without starting to take all your shit off. Been there, done that.
  • Both teams took lazy penalties in the second OT. Neither resulted in a game winner, but that puck over the glass penalty in the playoffs is STUPID. Someone is going to win a game they shouldn't because the puck sails a foot higher than intended on a usually basic clearing play.
  • In a triple overtime game, Kimmo Timonen barely broke 12 minutes, and your second line wing, Kris Versteeg, barely broke 19. When the team runs out of gas, and they will, don't say I didn't tell you.
The Lineblender
Saad-Toews-Hossa
Versteeg-Richards-Kane
Sharp-Vermette-Bickell
Desjardins-Kruger-Shaw

Keith-Seabrook
Oduya-Hjalmarsson
Rozsival-Timonen


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Thursday, April 16, 2015

PLAYOFFS: Blackhawks at Nashville
Game 1 Double OT
4-3 Win Recap

"Psychophobia"

by Gatekeeper

The last 7 months and 82 games have led to this. The Playoffs. The Blackhawks took to the road in game 1 to face the clearly paranoid fanbase and organization that we affectionately call the PERDS. While the PERDS had a better record, they ended the season blowing a division lead. So PERDS. Not only this, but the Blackhawks fanbase spent the first day of the Playoffs poking fun at the paranoid PERDS fanbase and organization.

The Blackhawks controlled the first few minutes of the series, but that changed when the PERDS took advantage of a terrible defensive period, and very sloppy Blackhawks play to take a 3-0 lead before the first break. It didn't hurt that they out shot the Blackhawk 12-6 either.

The second period was the polar opposite of the first period. The Blackhawks came out with a different goalie and a different attitude. They scored 3 goals, 2 of which were on the powerplay, and could have scored 2 more. The Hawks also out shot the PERDS 11-4. This was shaping up for a hell of an ending.

The third period was more calm and a more playoff-like atmosphere. Neither team scored and there were plenty of chances for the PERDS to win it, but they didn't close the deal. the PERDS out shot the Hawks 15-10 in the third period as well. Game 1 and what else? OVER TIME...

The first overtime was exactly what you expect from playoff hockey. End to end action, questionable calls and, best of all, no goals. The PERDS out shot the Blackhawks pretty significantly, 17-9, but they held tight.

The second overtime is where the magic happened. Whe the blackhawks came out and play wasn't slanted in the PERDS favor, we all thought that we might be onto something. And we were onto something. Just about 8 minutes into the period, an innocent shot eluded Rinne and the Blackhawks comeback was complete.

The Good
  • It took the Blackhawks until the 22 minute mark of the game for anything positive. The Blackhawks used the open ice of a 4-on-4 stretch of play to catch the PERDS running around. Teravainen found a breaking Hjalmarsson, and hit him for a back door one timer.
  • The Blackhawks were the lucky recipients of a 2 man advantage, shortly after they broke the shutout. The usually terrible powerplay turned actually turned into something, with Kane feeding Sharp for the goal.
  • The comeback was complete with yet another Blackhawks powerplay. Jonathan Toews took the puck and just jammed it through Rinne and it was 3-3. WOW, so THIS is the playoffs.
  • During a third period powerplay #LemontNativeScottDarling made a sensational post to post save. Might have been the save of the playoffs, already.


    Scotty D was really phenomenal all night. There really isn't anything I can say that is remotely negative. 42 saves, in what was essentially a shutout for him against his former organization. All this said, enough with the "who will start game 2" stupid shit. Corey Crawford starts game 2. If that game starts with Darling in net, it still goes into the second at least 2-0. Darling held the game together after the ENTIRE Blackhawks team, from the Coach on down, shit the bed in the first period. Teams undecided on their goalies never win the Stanley Cup, so unless Crawford has at least one more bad showing, stick a fucking sock in it.
  • The game winner was nothing special. Blackhawks kept the puck deep after a PERDS icing call. Duncan Keith just let a shot go towards the net through a Jonny Toews screen, and Rinne missed it.
  • Speaking of Keith, he led all players with 9 seconds short of 40 minutes. This cannot continue or they will simply be out of gas come the Conference Finals.
The Bad
  • The Blackhawks took some stupid penalties and also negated a powerplay early, which didn't help their early defensive woes.
  • Rozsival and Timonen barely played in regulation. If they are going to rely on 4 defenders for the playoffs, they will not win a cup. PERIOD. 11:39 in a double overtime game, is almost useless. I don't a rats fat hairy ass what the meatballs think. No team in the modern era has ever gotten away with rolling 4 for the entire playoffs. Someone needs to sit Q down and get this situation UN-FUCKED, like quick.
  • Duncan Keith got away with highway robbery late in the first OT. First of all, the puck bounced over Keith's stick because of the deplorably shitty Nashville ice, and then Beck got a step on him. Keith dragged Beck down with what should have been a penalty shot, and there was no call. The PERDS might have a legit complaint on that one.
  • I picked Bickell in OT and that was a huge mistake. At least he was being physical, which is more than the Blackhawks got out of him in the regular season. If he doesn't get hot soon, it is going to be really hard to unload him.
  • Somewhere along the line Hockey Star Mike Fisher was hurt. I'll be completely honest, I didn't even know he was in the lineup.
  • The Blackhawks were curb stomped at the faceoff dots. 39%. With one of your better faceoff guys in the press box. #2CUPZ! Jonathan Toews won only 10 of 30.

The Ugly
  • The PERDS had an early chance for a Mike Ribeiro breakaway when Hjalmarsson and Oduya got crossed up and almost collided, but the Hawks dodged a bullet.
  • A few minutes after dodging the bullet, the PERDS took advantage of the three thousand year old statuesque relic, Michal Rozsival. Colin Wilson skated right around Rozsival, who was tripping over his own feet, and sniped Crawford. Why the HELL Rozsival is playing with Keith is beyond any rational explanation.
  • Late in the first period, Corey Crawford got stuck behind the net in no-mans-land. Once he got surrounded, the chinese fire drill began. The puck ended up squirting to, of all people, VICTOR FUCKING STALBERG. He easily put it into the net, which had to be easy, because he is a terrible player.
  • In the final minute of the first, the PERDS took a 3-0 lead on the powerplay, when Colin Wilson tipps a long Seth Jones shot past Crawford. What. The. Hell???? Joakim Nordstrom had a chance to clear the puck out of the zone, and failed. Seconds later, it's in the back of the net.
  • When Scott Darling came out for the beginning of the second period and the meatball nation spontaneously orgasmed. Now the world of the cognizant is going to endure 48 hours of barely functional fucking morons asking, "Who will start game 2?" and when they hear the answer, "Corey Crawford", they will ask, "WHY?!?!". Because they are drooling idiots.
The Lineblender
Saad-Toews-Hossa
Versteeg-Richards-Kane
Sharp-Shaw-Bickell
Nordstrom-Kruger-Tervainen

Keith-Rozsival
Oduya-Hjalmarsson
Seabrook-Timonen


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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Puckin Hostile
Blackhawks 2014-15 Report Card


On to parent/teacher conference:


The Pivots

19 - Jonathan Toews
Gatekeeper - This has not been El Capitan’s best season, but that is not to say it has been bad, either. Jonathan Toews is a warrior, and even when he is not showing up on the score sheet, he is leading this Blackhawks team. Sixty something points is pretty good for the face of the Blackhawks, especially when Kane has been hurt. I will probably never have much bad to say about him, because he is future hall of fame player that is a great example of a player that kids should look up to. Signed on forever.
GRADE - A
Pat - I’ve always said, never count out a team led by Jonathan Toews. Most thought the season was over when Kane went down, but Toews showed his leadership and stepped up to the plate. He’ll end the season with his point total in the sixty, and while that isn’t an eye popping number, it shows he more than a one dimensional player, and a complete player.
GRADE - A plus

91 - Brad Richards
Gatekeeper - When the Blackhawks signed Brad Richards it was a pretty low risk signing, and there was not much to complain about. He started the year slow and was pretty red hot by mid season. That ended quickly. Very quickly, in fact. Richards has been pushed down to the third line, and even the fourth line at times. Without Versteeg AND Kane on his flank, he is just a guy. Granted, that guy is still better than Michal Handzus, but that bar is low. He can redeem himself with a solid playoff effort, but do not hold your breath.
UFA after the season
GRADE - C
Pat - I think we were hoping that when we heard the Hawks had signed Richards, we had hoped it was Mike Richards after the Kings bought him out. Instead with got the other disappointing Richards that was bought out by the losing team in last year’s Stanley Cup Final. It was a low cost, low risk deal, but at first, it was safe to say I was close to having a stroke about the signing. While Richards had a very nice run through November, he faded quickly to the island nation that is Hawaii. Currently, we’re still looking for him to show up for a playoff game, and then disappear again. In the end all he ended up being was the rusty chain that led to the former rusty anchor that was Michal Handzus.
GRADE - C Plus

16 - Marcus Kruger
Gatekeeper - Another player that it is kind of hard to hate on, because he does his job. That job just happens to be hosted by Mike Rowe and is called "Dirty Jobs". He plays the 4th line with a bunch of knuckle dragging buffoons, kills penalties, and takes a lot of defensive zone draws (53%). Not pretty at all. All this being said, he still put up 16 points, which may not seem like a lot, but you have to factor in that his linemates have been Nordstrom, Desjardins, Gorilla Salad, and whatever poor sap has found himself in Quenneville's doghouse. Not the easiest environment to provide offense. I would love to see him turn into a 3rd line center, but it is looking more and more like he could be a 4th line lifer.
RFA this summer
GRADE - B
Pat - If you’re looking for the definition of a “Hard Working 4th Liner, that buys into the team concept,” look no further than Marcus Kruger. When Kruger was first brought to Chicago there was hope he maybe the coveted 2nd line center. Well that never materialized, but now Kruger has turned into quite the penalty killer and 4th line center. He often plays with a rotating cast of hacks on the wings, but his ability to adapt makes him an underappreciated player on the Hawks. Yes, his faceoff percentage could use work, especially in critical draws, but this the ultimate team guy. Going into this summer you need to ask yourself (with Kruger being an RFA), who would you rather have? Kruger or Shaw? It could come down to that decision.
GRADE - B Plus

80 - Antoine Vermette
Gatekeeper - Everyone was excited that the Blackhawks ended up with the opportunity to get Vermette at the trade deadline. Who wouldn't be? He has played out of place most of the season in Arizona, and he'd be able to slide in, behind Toews, to immediately thicken up the middle for Quenneville. He has contributed a grand total of 3 assists, in 13 games thus far, and he has been pushed to the wing. Brilliant move for a guy that is one of the better faceoff guys on the team. This needs to change in the playoffs.
UFA this summer
GRADE - D
Pat- With Patrick Kane’s injury, the door opened for Stan Bowman to make the moves needed for a deep playoff run. With the door open, Bowman delivered by getting Antoine Vermette, however, at a steep price, a 1st round pick and Kris, I mean Klas Dahlbeck. Vermette’s stint has been nothing but a nightmare. The constant line juggling has killed any chance at him finding consistency. He’s bounced around 2nd and 4th line center, and now to the wing. Awesome!
GRADE - D Plus

86 - Teuvo Teravainen
Gatekeeper - It must have been a frustrating and trying year for "the savior", this season. It was hopeful that he would start the year in Chicago, but that dream was squashed quickly. Early on, it was evident that he would start the year in Rockford when Cam Barker set back his progress with an injury. Then Quenneville gave us that 20-30 games quote, which kind of came and went. He was called up when Versteeg got hurt and sent down briefly in mid Feb, to be called up again later in the month. With all this, he was able to put up 25 points in 39 games with Rockford, and he has 8 points in 29 games with the Hawks. Not terrible stats, but not savior worthy. He has show flashes of dominance, but Q's line games have him in places where he won't succeed, like the 4th line. Based on the situation he was put in, Q gets this grade as much as Teravainen does.
Signed through 16-17.
GRADE - C Minus
Pat- Who wasn’t excited when “Teuvo Time” finally started in Chicago? This guy wasn’t, and my reasoning ended up being correct. With the horrendous mismanagement of prospects by the “coaching” in Chicago, I said it would be a mistake in bringing up Teuvo this year. After bouncing around in the line blender, it seems he’s found a home for the time being on the 4th line. That’s not an ideal spot for developing your best offensive prospect. But when you have a stubborn Ego maniac behind the bench, what do you expect? The euphoria that captivated the UC the night of his first NHL goal has gone quietly into the night. Now he’s an after thought in the line juggling, and struggling to find consistency. Shocking. Oh and did I mention that NOW towards the end of the season he’s seeing limited power play time?
GRADE - C, but coaches’ for developing him - F



The Wingers

88 - Patrick Kane
Gatekeeper - Patrick Kane was robbed. Flat out ROBBED of the Hart and Richard trophies. He was on a pace to win both, when tragedy struck. The Panthers not only take the Blackhawks prospects and team them into useful mammals, but they hurt their star players. With Kane out the rest of the regular season, his dreams of a scoring title went out the window. He's the 1A on this team behind Toews, and had a great season dragging Richards and Versteeg around the ice, and making them look like adequate players.
Signed though forever, also.
GRADE - A Plus
Pat - As someone who’s been critical of Kane in the past, this season he has made me look like a damn fool. That said, he was in the running for the Hart and Richard trophies before a broken collarbone ended his regular season. Those awards would have been nice, but its all about that silver cup at the end of the playoffs that you play for. This was hands down Kane’s best year as a Blackhawk, and has me looking forward to the next couple of years that he’s in his prime.
GRADE - A Plus

81 - Marian Hossa
Gatekeeper - Hoss is just Hoss. The most consistent player on this team. Accepts his role as a secondary star, and continues to teach the young players like Saad. Barring injury (knock on wood) he could finish out that contract with the Blackhawks, which would be a load off their mind, with the cap recapture penalties looming. I would be really sad to see him have to go, at any point. Even at his age, he can be completely dominating, and make players look like talentless goofs. Just having him around the locker room for young players like Teravainen to learn from is infinitely valuable. All hail Hoss. He had a few dry patches, but you can always count on him to resurface with an amazing return.
Signed though his geriatric years.
GRADE - B Plus
Pat - Remember when people questioned why the Hawks let Marty Havlat walk and why they signed Hossa? I do, and its hilarious that we haven’t seen those meatballs since. Hossa is a special player, and his tenure with the Hawks is making you erase the memories of him as a Senator, Thrasher, Penguin, and Red Wing. He’s not as explosive of an offensive player as he once was, but its his two way that is so valuable to the Hawks. He’s an underappreciated leader on this team, and someone who should take an A on his sweater when Sharp is traded.
GRADE - A Minus

10 - Patrick Sharp
Gatekeeper - Like Randall in Clerks, “I’m not even supposed to be here today”. Sharp was supposed to be playing somewhere else this season. It was a slam dunk. He was coming off a career season, and Stan was going to sell him high. Then…
So, the Blackhawks were stuck hanging onto him for yet another season. He has been “OK”. He has also had a black cloud of alleged person problems following him around. All this and a significant drop in his production has everyone asking, “What now?”. The Blackhawks need to unload that salary, and possibly a few others. That aside, Sharp has been average at best. Clearly his skills are diminishing, and he’s getting older. He missed some time with an injury and 40 points isn’t terrible, but it’s not Sharpworthy, nor is it worth a $5.9 million cap hit. His numbers haven’t been this low since 08-09. It’s time Stan.
Signed through 16-17
GRADE - C Plus
Pat - Hands down the streakiest player on the Hawks is Patrick Sharp. That was the dilemma that Bowman faced last summer. Do you sell high on him or keep him for one more run with this current core. Bowman chose the later and it bit him in the ass. As is the case with Bickell the point production for Sharp isn’t worth the cap hit, nor are the personal issues he’s rumored to be dealing with. Its hard to imagine him being here next season, frankly I don’t expect him to be here. It was a helluva run while Sharp was here, and we’ll always be able to troll Flyers fans with Matt Ellison’s name.
GRADE - C

20 - Brandon Saad
Gatekeeper - From disappointment to bright futures. Brandon Saad is one of the brightest young stars in this organization. He has grown leaps and bounds each year, and he is a legitimate threat to hurt opponents. Another great thing is that he has clearly been watching Hossa, because he has been a terror on both ends of the ice. He can play all up and down the lineup, but he’s most effective when playing in the top 6. He needs to be more consistent, but that will come. He has had dips in production, but he always resurfaces, too. How Bowman is going to fit him in with this cap situation will be interesting. There is no question that he needs to stay and be part of this next Blackhawks core.
RFA this summer
GRADE - B
Pat - We might as well change Brandon Saad’s name to Brandon $aad. This has turned out to be Saad’s breakout year, and of course it comes in a contract year. He’s drawing comparisons of being a young version of Marian Hossa, which is something that shouldn’t be ignored. This kid is a special player. He has the ability to play a 100ft game, something that fits into Q’s system. Its going to be an interesting summer in how Bowman can pay Saad without losing a lot of the supporting cast. Regardless, I’d do whatever it takes to sign Saad, even if it means losing a Bickell and Versteeg.
GRADE - B Plus

65 - Andrew Shaw
Gatekeeper - This kid is frustrating. He might be the most Hot/Cold player on this team. He goes from top line to 4th line sometimes multiple times in games. He takes stupid penalties. He does enough on the powerplay to warrant Quenneville keeping him out there. He is most definitely a necessary evil on this team, especially if we want to keep the slobbering gorillas out of the lineup. Ideally, he should be a third line wing on this team, but whenever Quenneville wants to light a flame under players, he shifts Shaw with them. He does his job, but he also does a lot of stupid things as well.
Signed through 15-16
GRADE - B Minus
Pat - Andrew Shaw might as well be a superball with all the bouncing around he does in the lineup. In a matter of a game Shaw can see time on all 3 lines, plus the power play. However, all that juggling isn’t necessarily a good thing. 9 times out of 10 its because Shaw has been incapable of doing his job or taking a horrendous penalty. Granted its not his fault that this organization is hell bent on playing him at center. In the end, he is a replaceable part on this team, and won’t be shocked if he’s elsewhere next season.
GRADE - C Plus

23 - Kris Versteeg
Gatekeeper - I’ll start off this review the same way I did last year. THIS FUCKING GUY!! He started the year on a tear, and we were all forced to eat crow. Then the Winter Classic happened. Versteeg was forced to sit out with a hand injury and he was replaced with last year’s shitty Kris Versteeg. Just swell. One could be inclined to say that with a cap hit of $2.2 million, this is really nice. But he’s taking time from players like Teravainen, and Quenneville keeps doing dumb things like putting him on the power play and penalty kill. Shoot me now. Just shoot me now.
Signed through 15-16
GRADE - A very generous C
Pat - Talk about flipping a light switch on and off. Versteeg started the season like the Versteeg we knew in 2010. Offensively productive, with some turnovers sprinkled in. Then the calendar turned to 2015 and its been all downhill since. He suffered a hand injury during the Winter Classic, and when he returned, the Versteeg of 2013-14 returned. There aren’t enough antacids in the world that would warrant an argument to keep him around next season.
GRADE - D

29 - Bryan Bickell
Gatekeeper - This is what we were all afraid of, but probably expected. Bryan Bickell lights up the playoffs in 2013, and gets an inflated new contract. The next season, he had a rough regular season, but for the second season in a row, he lights it up in the players. Then there is this year. He has had 27 points in 79 games, and has been scratched or moved to the bottom of the lineup several times. I’m off the Bickell Banana Boat. Even if he has a good post season, he is too expensive to be keeping around for just the playoffs. This team will need cap relief. The best thing that can happen for the Blackhawks is that he has another great post season, so some desperate team will take him off their hands.
Signed through 16/17
GRADE - C Minus
Pat - This guy is a complete disaster. Bowman was backed into a corner and had to resign him to a big new deal following the 2013 season to please the meatballs. Well I hope they’re happy. Anyone who still thinks this guy is still worth keeping around for the playoffs is out of their minds. 28 points for a $4 million dollar cap hit isn’t worth it on a cap strapped team. Good riddance Bickell, I’ll be more than happy to drive you to the airport after your trade is announced.
GRADE - D

11 - Andrew Desjardins
Gatekeeper - Sure this is a sample size of Desjardins, but I can see what they saw in the guy. He’s kind of big, has experience, can play multiple positions without issue, and most of all; cheap. I cannot hate the the guy, and he is just that; a guy. He will be a free agent, but considering his versatility, he may have earned himself an off season invite back. At a cheap price, he’s better than someone like Brandon Bollig, and can solidify the 4th line with a player that has a 4th line skillset.
UFA this summer
GRADE - B
Pat - Acquired in a salary dump of Ben Smith’s contract, Desjardins has grown on me in his brief time in Chicago. He’s been your typical 4th line role player. He’s accepted the role, and so far has executed. He’s nothing special offensively, but he is willing to step in and defend a teammate, something our other “enforcer” doesn’t do.
GRADE - B Plus

42 - Joakim Nordstrom
Gatekeeper - J-Nords has been around for about half the season, which might surprise many. He doesn’t do any one thing particularly well, but he can play on the PK and not kill the Hawks in the process. That said, he has THREE assists this year. That’s it. As a 4th line player, he’s alright. He forechecks pretty well, and you won’t catch him doing a Versteeg on his own end. Like Desjardins, he is a guy. I really wouldn’t care where he ends up. a 4th line of Nordstrom-Danault-Desjardins could be just fine if the Hawks don’t qualify Kruger but, of course, there are going to be better options.
RFA this summer
GRADE - B
Pat - At times this season Nordstrom has ridden the now famous “Rockford Shuttle” bouncing back and forth between Rockford and the big club. Much like Desjardins, Captain Nordstrom is a typical role player, with limited offensive capability. Despite the offensive power outage, I would still like to see the Hawks keep Nordstrom even though he is an RFA after this season.
GRADE - B Minus

13 - Dan Carcillo
Gatekeeper - Gorilla Salad. The guy so good that we had to sign him 3 times. Aside from the slobbering meatballs, no one really knows what this guy’s purpose on the Chicago Blackhawks is. After being passed around to 3 other teams after the he was last with the Hawks, Stan Bowman just couldn’t scoop him up fast enough. The joke is on us, because we all laughed when both the Kings and Rangers traded for him, and the Penguins signed him in the offseason, but here he is. Oddly enough, this year’s 39 games is the most he has played since 2010-11 with the Flyers. I have no idea what Bowman loves in this assclown, but we’ve had to endure far too much of his asshole circus stunts. He’s been suspended for injuring other players this year and injured himself in a fight. Can we be done with this guy, once and for all? PLEASE?
UFA this summer
GRADE - D
Pat - “Are you fucking kidding me??!!” Those were my exact words when I hear this useless hockey player was signed for a 3rd time in Chicago. Seriously, that’s not a joke. I don’t know what else to say to sum up his season other than Gate’s now classic line when we were at the game against Winnipeg and Gorilla Salad was in the line. “Carcillo’s getting suspended tonight. He’s running around like a chicken with his goddamn head cut off.” Shortly there after we were treated to a dirty cross check that earned him a 6 game suspension. He’s completely useless, other than barely breaking a sweat for 4 minutes of ice time when he’s in the line up. He doesn’t kill penalties, nor is he even a good enforcer.
GRADE - F

Hartman, Regin, Danault are incomplete because they were herre for 30 seconds. Morin and Smith were traded.



The Blue Liners

2 - Duncan Keith
Gatekeeper - Keith has had a rough year. With the loss of Leddy on the bottom end, Quenneville has had the defensive pairs all wound up, which takes Keith out of his comfort zone and away from his BFF. Not only that, but he has spent far too much time trying to cover up Michal Rozsival and David Rundblad mistakes. The only guy that really seemed to fit in, was Trevor van Riemsdyk and he was hurt a handful of games in. Keith’s numbers are pretty good for his standard, but a drop off from his Norris Trophy years. At this point we know what we are going to get out of him. consistent play and a lot of shots directly into opponent’s shin pads.
Signed through 22/23
GRADE - B Plus
Pat- If there’s a guy that you ask “how much gas is left in the tank for the season?”, it should be directed towards Keith. As a top 2 guy on this team, Q has played him a lot of minutes, mainly because of talent drop off with the bottom pair. The drop off in performance was expected based on the 5th and 6th defensemen and the expanded ice time Keith would see as a result. Being split up from Seabrook has played a major role. Regardless, Keith had a season that 90% that other NHL defenseman would drool for.
GRADE - B

7 - Brent Seabrook
Gatekeeper - I have made no secret that I’m a big Seabrook fans, but he has had his issues. Much like Keith, he has been all over the lineup, and struggled at time. Who can blame him? Overall, he’s had fairly average Brent Seabrook season, nothing more, nothing less. If you’re one of these people that thinks the Blackhawks can afford to dump his salary this year, I won’t even entertain that. With the turnover in this group, you cannot have 3 of your 6 defenders playing somewhere else next season. That would be a recipe for a lottery pick next summer.
Signed through 15/16
GRADE - B minus
Pat - Much as the case with Keith, bouncing Seabrook around the lineup has taken its toll on his performance. In the terms of Seabrook’s career, this was probably a slightly below season for Seabrook. However, any talk of trading Seabrook in the offseason is a huge mistake. If anything, its next summer at the draft where he MIGHT be dealt. Nevertheless, lets not worry about that right now.
GRADE - B

27 - Johnny Oduya
Gatekeeper - Oduya may have been the biggest disappointment to start the season. He was pretty bad. Quenneville moved him every which way but loose, and could not get him back in the grove. He was injured in February and came back looking like the old Johnny Oduya. It’s still too early to tell, but the time off combined with being reunited with his partner, Nik Hjalmarsson, might have lit a flame. Unless he took a considerable cut to stay, he is going to be playing somewhere else next fall.
GRADE - C
Pat - Entering the final year of his contract, I expected a lot more out of Oduya this year. I was severely disappointed by his play all year long. While he missed some time with an injury, he did return looking like a shadow of his old self, but that shadow quickly disappeared. I don’t see him taking a pay cut to return, because there are some teams that will throw a boat load of money at him to reach the salary cap floor.
GRADE - C Minus

4 - Niklas Hjalmarsson
Gatekeeper - I wrote many years ago that he will never be Niklas Lindstrom, and he won’t. Who will be though? He’s been nothing, if not solid, for this team. He’s probably the number one unsung hero on this team. I love what he does, and the abuse he takes. Even if he falls off, this would be an amazingly easy contract to unload, but the Blackhawks will be best served to hang onto him with this low salary.
Signed through 18/19
GRADE - A
Pat - Apparently Hjalmarsson in Swedish means “shot blocking machine” because not only is he the most willing, and best at sacrificing his body at blocking shots, but he also sacrifices himself to make a play. He is an absolute bargain as well when you look at some of the other contracts handed out to defensemen nowadays. He’s not an offensive powerhouse when it comes to production, but its all the little things Hammer does that makes him so valuable.
GRADE - A Plus

32 - Michal Rozsival
Gatekeeper - We now go from the hero to the goat. This has to go down as one of those Stan Bowman head scratchers, right next to Gorilla Salad. Signing Rozsival to a two year deal was an absolute gift. The second year was just maddening, because that are not going to sit a guy making $2 million for long. Rozsival is at his best when he can rest regularly and the Blackhawks did not rest him much this year and, as a result, he has been a smoldering pile of festering garbage for a majority of his games. Not only that, but he seems to have an infinitely long leash which he continuously pisses all over. It’s been discussed at length how often he is on the ice when the puck is in the Blackhawks net, and Quenneville just seems to ignore it. This post season is going to be rough, if we have to watch this guy playing way too many minute, way too often.
UFA this summer
GRADE - D
Pat - Hands down the worst contract on the Blackhawks belongs to this man. A two year deal, with a no movement clause basically handcuffed Bowman into trading Nick Leddy. But that was all on Bowman, so he needs to take the blame for having this smoldering bag of dogshit on the ice this season. The constant turnovers, coupled with him being cemented to the ice on defense makes him an eyesore to watch. I didn’t even get to the fact that despite all these mistakes, Quenneville continues to give him near 20 minutes of ice time. Its safe to say, I’m counting the days until RozyBall is gone.
GRADE - D Minus

5 - David Rundblad
Gatekeeper - Another curious case of a Stan Bowmanism. Last year, Bowman traded a second round draft pick for this guy, last year, and Quenneville didn’t play him more than 5 games. This year, based on the late trade of Leddy and injury of Trevor van Riemsdyk, Quenneville was forced to use the bodies he had on hand. In steps Rundblad. SLOWLY steps Rundblad, I should say. He played well enough for us to brand him Adequate Rundblad. as the season has gone on, he has gotten worse and worse. One of the reasons that they took a chance on Timonen was their lack of faith in Rundblad and Michal Rozsival. As far as trades go, at least it’s not as bad as the Morin for Tim Erixon trade, so Stan has that going for him. At least they have been able to get actual playing time out of Rundblad.
UFA this summer
GRADE - C
Pat - Oh David Rundblad. I don’t know what to think of him. He’ll give you a few games in a row where he’s adequate, but then follow that up with a performance that has you scratching your head and asking “how the hell is this guy an NHL defenseman?” Under Quenneville, he’ll never get the consistent playing time needed to develop. Never the less, he is a dependable player that can step in if needed. For Christ’s sake he is an upgrade over Rozsival.
GRADE - C Minus

57 - Trevor Van Riemsdyk
Gatekeeper - This was one of the pleasant surprises this season. When Bowman signed TVR last year, it was thought to be another shot in the dark. Matt Carey and Trevor van Riemsdyk. Not only this, but van Riemsdyk was coming off a pretty major leg injury. Sounds a lot like another player that Bowman has taken a chance on, minus 20 years in age. Anyhow, van Riemsdyk came into camp as the last person anyone thought would make the team. He then promptly made the team; without looking terrible, either. After 8 games, most of his season was over. Another major leg injury and a followup wrist injury however finally brought his season to an end. The hopes were high that his return would help solidify the bottom pair, and that might happen next year. He is one of 3 other defenders that will return, which is scary in itself. I hope this kid turns out to be what the meatballs expected.
Signed through 15/16
GRADE - Honorary B (incomplete)
Pat - If there was an unexpected turn of events this season, it was the rise of TVR to the NHL level. He was nothing more than a longshot to make the Hawks roster, but turned out to be in the early staging of being quite the NHL defenseman, until he smashed his knee. Then while on his rehab assignment he wound up under the knife again for wrist surgery, thus ending his season. I had the opportunity to see him play a rehab game for Rockford, and he was everything I expected coming back for a knee injury like that. Any hope people had of him returning to his pre-knee injury for this year were going to be sorely disappointed.
GRADE - A Minus

44 - Kimmo Timonen
The Blackhawks took a chance on a guy that is 40 years old and hadn’t played in a year. With the blackhawks, he finished his regular season hurt. Not enough to judge, but the few games he was in, didn’t impress. Stan Bowman may have whiffed on this one.
UFA and committed to retire this summer
GRADE - Incomplete
Pat - All I can remember hearing when the Blackhawks made this trade is, “they got him for nothing.” Well guess what, the Hawks did get nothing for the draft picks they parted with. Why a GM who covets draft picks would make a deal for a 40 year old who was going to retire and hadn’t played in a year is perplexing. I said this may have been the start of the public feud to the already behind closed doors boiling feud between Bowman and Quenneville. I’d write more, but there’s nothing to add. The ultimate insult of this deal may have been the text message I received from a Capitals fan after this trade was announced, “Are the Hawks going to trade for Al Iafrate next?”
GRADE - F, based on what I saw, and because of what was given up.

Kyle Cumiskey is incomplete. Adam Clendening and Klas Dahlbeck were sent away.



The Netminders

50 - Corey Crawford
Gatekeeper - This has been a year of ups and downs for Crawford. Mostly ups and a brief down period. Crawford was on fire, and rolling along, until a freak injury that may or maynot have been alcohol induced, set him back quite a bit. Lower body injuries, especially to legs, can hamper a gloie quite a bit. That is exactly what Crawford did to himself. When he came back, he was not the same player for quite a while. As his season is closing, he has regained for, but that didn’t stop the asshole meatballs from piling on. We shall see what happens in the playoffs, but he is still the best option this team has. If they are forced to move his salary in the summer, it will be another step backwards.
Signed through 18/19
GRADE - B Plus
Pat - I’m not the biggest Corey Crawford fan, but even I have to admit, despite his time missed from him drunken stumble, he has been excellent all season. Granted it doesn’t change my opinion that he is the Blackhawks version of Chris Osgood, but none the less, when called upon down the stretch, he’s answered the bell. Overall, putting the injury aside, its had to blame any of the Hawks struggles on Crawford.
GRADE - A Minus

33 - Scott Darling
Gatekeeper - Pat and I have pointed this out, but we specifically said that if #LemontNativeScottDarling was playing for the Blackhawks, they were in serious trouble. As it turned out, Scott Darling turned out to be a diamond in the rough, which is awful news for Antti Raanta. Darling made a late push in camp for the backup position and has been all over Raanta’s ass ever since, eventually the #6FOOT6MONSTER overtook Raanta for the backup spot for the Hawks. He’s done pretty much everything that the team has asked him for as well as improving. He is also the prototypical NHL butterfly goalie nowadays. Tall, and yet mobile. He’s a PR golden egg, and the Blackhawks nominee for top comeback player. The marketing department for the organization has to have perma-boners.
Signed an extension through 16/17
GRADE - A Minus
Pat - We can thank Pekka Rinne and the Nashville Predators for the now Chicagoland famous, #LemontNativeScottDarling. Without Pekka Rinne’s hip injury last year, Darling never gets a chance with Nashville’s AHL team Milwaukee Admirals, thus the Blackhawks Masterson Trophy nominee never happens. Nevertheless, this is a good story that has happened for Darling. He’s basically come out of no where, outdueled the guy who was supposed to be the backup, and now won over the hearts of meatballs everywhere who think he’s a #1 goalie. (Sounds familiar doesn’t it?) He’s been good, but not that good.
GRADE - A Minus

31 - Antti Raanta
Gatekeeper - From feel good stories to feel bad stories. After a strong showing last year, that led to him winning the backup job, this year has been kind of a disaster for DAT RANTER GUY. Raanta hasn’t played bad, either, but he hasn’t played as solid as Darling. When the other guy moves just as well and has 5 inches on you, you might be in trouble. Raanta is a smaller goalie, by recent standards, and he can be overly aggressive, which lands him out of position. They gives Joel Quenneville a “urps”. Since Raanta has another year left, they would be best served to keep him as the #1 in Rockford and show Mac Carruth the way, then maybe trade him to a contender that needs depth, at the deadline. They could also use him as a throw in to sweeten some Capocalypse #2 deals this summer. Either way, I think he can be a good player, but that probably won’t happen here.
GRADE - B Minus
Pat - Despite his dethroning as the backup to Corey Crawford, Antti Raanta is still an NHL goalie in my books. But when your management team drools over pleasing meatballs, you shit out of luck coming back to Chicago when the guy who is now the backup is from Lemont. Raanta is a solid goalie who needs work. In Chicago he’s not going to get that work, so sending him to Rockford wasn’t a bad idea, but then he didn’t play there either. So it begs the question, what the fuck is going on? If you don’t want him, trade him. I think that will be the end result for Raanta. It probably happens this summer and he is packaged to sweeten the deal with Bickell to Edmonton.
GRADE - B
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Monday, April 13, 2015

Puckin Hostile Shoutcast Episode 27


In this short...er regular season wrap up, Rick Vaive episode of the Puckin Hostile Shoutcast, Gatekeeper and Pat go old school. Bosom Buddies. Starsky and Hutch. Bo and Luke.

or Bozo and Cookie....

Our heroes talk about the end of the regular season, including the final three games against Minnesota, St. Louis and Colorado. The Blackhawks also made some moves, and announced the activation of some kid named Kane. We unveil our first round predictions and talk Dan Akroyd movies.

Who could forget this?


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Portions of his profits go to the Ronald McDonald House Chicago.

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

Puckin Hostile Shoutcast - Episode 27 MP3 Download

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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Blackhawks at St. Louis Blues
2-1 Loss Recap

"Losing My Insanity"


by Gatekeeper

The Blackhawks had a chance to inflict some damage on the Blues in St. Louis Thursday night. Instead, mother nature inflicted damage across northern Illinois. Scary stuff like that kind of makes hockey secondary, but there was a game to be played.

The first period was painfully slow and uneventful until the very end. As a result, there were no goals scored and a total of only 15 shots. The biggest highlights was a dumb penalty.

The second period wasn't any better. A bad Hawk penalty turned into the first goal of the game, very late in the period, but the rest of the action was slow and uninspiring. The Blues came away with the shot lead as well.

The third period has slightly more action, with ear team getting a goal, but it was nothing all that tremendous. Shots were 7-7, but the Blackhawks anemic offense continued. 2-1 Blues was how it ended.

The Good
  • After a really boring first 3/4 of the first period, Brandon Saad awoke and drew what should have been a penalty shot. They got a powerplay instead; which they promptly blew.
  • It took them almost 58 minutes, but the Blackhawks finally broker the shutout with just over 2 minutes remaining. Teravainen picked up a loose puck at the Hawks blue line and led a 2-on-1 with Shaw. The angle was cut off, so Teravainen took the shot. The Allen dropped the rebound in the crease and Shaw jammed it into a wide open net.
  • Once again, and we have to keep pointing this out, Corey Crawford was solid in net. Neither goal was on him, and his team has given him zero support.
  • Kyle Baun was ok. He had some physical play. I've seen worse, and I've seen better.
The Bad
  • Several Blackhawks were laboring at various times. Seabrook was hurt a couple of times, and Toews was as well.
  • David Rundblad took a pretty sloppy double minor late in the second period, and it turned into the first goal of the game. David Backes redirected a long Pietrangelo shot right in front of the net. The puck squeezed through Crawford, and Jaskin just poked it into the net. Not going to help Rundblad's case any.
  • Crawford really took a stupid penalty in the third period. He stuck the toe of his stick in Ryan Reaves' face, which brought on a penalty. We would all love to do that to that disgusting excuse for a hockey player, but you have to be smarter than that.
  • Fuck it, I'm putting in as much effort as the Hawks did.

The Ugly
  • Kris Versteeg taking an extremely stupid elbowing penalty at the end of the Hawks first powerplay. Idiot.
  • Midway through the third period, the Blackhawks had a chance in all alone on Allen...then we realized it was Bickell.
  • With just over 5 minutes left in the third, a brutal hop off the glass landed behind Hjalmarsson and led to a 3-on-1. Based on my tone, you can imagine how this ends. Schwartz fed a trailing Stastny, who buried a one timer past Crawford.
The Lineblender
Versteeg-Toews-Hossa
Baun-Vermette-Saad
Sharp-Shaw-Bickell
Nordstrom-Desjardins-Teravainen

Keith-Hjalmarsson
Oduya-Seabrook
Rozsival-Rundblad


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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Puckin Hostile Shoutcast Episode 26


In this Alex Zhamnov episode of the Puckin Hostile Shoutcast, Gatekeeper and Pat are joined by our newest team member Derek Harms.

We discuss the recent college signings, and the lack of sense in the contracts. Shane Doan is a dirty piece of gutter snipe. Games versus the Flyers, Blue Jackets, Jets, Kings, Canucks, Sabres and Blues are all recapped. Gatekeeper makes a very ill advised comparison of Joel Quenneville to Adolf Hitler. The non suspension of the hits on Jackman and Kruger are debated. We all agree that the blind faith of Quenneville is stupid, and a brief breakdown of the roster situation next season.

And last of all, Let us not forget the rabbit hole of hilariously stupid hockey cards in the mid 90s that takes up the final 20 minutes. Follow along and enjoy...










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Portions of his profits go to the Ronald McDonald House Chicago.

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

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Puckin Hostile Shoutcast - Episode 26 MP3 Download

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Sunday, April 5, 2015

Blackhawks vs Blues
2-1 Loss Easter Sunday Recap

"The Blackout"


by Gatekeeper

It was Denis Savard bobble head day at the United Center Sunday afternoon for a rivalry game against the very smelly and primitive St. Louis Blues. There were definitley standings position slots at stake with this one. If the Blues won, they could jump the Preds for the division lead, and if the Blackhawks won, they could leapfrog the Blues and tie the Preds. That always makes for a high energy and high intensity game versus the good squad from St. Louis.

The first period was what you would expect from a late season Blues/Hawks game. There were big hits, forces mistakes, quality chances and a fairly low score. The Blackhawks were the only team to score even though they were out shot 16-12.

The second period was turned up yet another notch, with play getting more chippy and physical. The Blues scored two goals to take the lead, despite the Blackhawks out shooting the Blues 16-12. This would have made one expect a brutal third period.

The third was a little more surprising, as far as play went. There were less shenanigans and more clean playoff type play, which didn't end up benefiting the Blackhawks, even though you would think that it would have. There were no goals, and the Hawks out shot the Blues 12-5. When the final horn rang out, the Blues held on to the win and took the division lead.

The Good
  • After killing off a Corey Crawford delay of game penalty, the Blackhawks took advantage of a Blues turnover. Jonathan Toews took advantage of TJ Oshie rushing to clear the puck and Hossa swooped in to circle back. Hossa got around a defender and hit a wide open Versteeg in front of Allen for a 1-0 Blackhawks lead.
  • Crawford deserved better than a loss, here. He kept the game plenty close, and if you score less than 2 goals, don't expect to win.
  • Have to give credit where it belongs. #ChicagoWolvesLegendJakeAllen made 38 saves. He's no Brian Elliott; luckily for him.

The Bad
  • Andrew Shaw and Bryan Bickell had another 2-on-0 and AGAIN came away with nothing. The Blues had to be thinking, "Oh shit, those two aren't anything to worry about".
  • Shaw felt he needed to make an impression by leaving his feet to take a shot at Jackman.  While I'm all for abuse Barrett Jackman, you can't leave your feet like that.
  • Midway through the second period, while killing a Michal Rozsival penalty the Blackhawks got caught watching the puck rather than covering their guys, and David Backes bunted the puck past Crawford.  The Hawks actually had the Blues out numbered around the net, but looked like chimps fucking a football.
  • With under a minute to go, Marian Hossa made a rare mistake. He tried to stickhandle around Oshie and had it stolen. Oshie tried to go for the empty netter on the backhand, and it turned into an icing.
  • The Blackhawks were beat at the dots and one draw, in particular, cost them the game.

The Ugly
  • Kimmo Timonen was cross checked, in the back, deep in the Blues zone by Ryan Reaves and never returned. That left the Blackhawks with 4 and a 1/2 defensemen. That's always nice.
  • Late in the second period, the Blackhawks lost a faceoff in their own zone and the puck shortly ended up in the back of the net. Michal Rozsival missed tying up Olli Jokinen and he picked up a loose puck and barely beat Crawford to take the lead.
The Lineblender
Versteeg-Toews-Hossa
Sharp-Richards-Vermette
Bickell-Shaw-Saad
Desjardins-Kruger-Tervainen

Keith-Rozsival
Oduya-Hjalmarsson
Seabrook-Timonen


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Friday, April 3, 2015

Blackhawks vs Canucks
3-1 Win Recap

"At The Graves"

by Gatekeeper

The first period was slanted in the Blackhawks favor, out shooting the Canucks 13-10. And unfortunate turnover by an unnamed defender let the Canucks back in the game, late. Fortunate for the Hawks, it only cost them the lead and there was 40 more minutes to go.

The second period was a little less exciting that the opening period. The Blackhawks out shot the Canucks 11-10, but no one was able to advance the score. The Blackhawks did have several quality scoring chances, especially towards the end, though.

The third period was just more of the same. Action at both ends and quality chances. The Canucks actually out shot the Hawks 15-14, but the Blackhawks won the scoring battle 2-0. Congrats to the Blackhawks on nailing down their 7th consecutive playoff berth.

Since I passed the hell out during the third period, and the Blackhawks have something to celebrate about, here is a special GIF enhanced recap:

The Good
  • With just over 5 minutes gone in the first period, the Blackhawks used a stickless Eddie Lack as an advantage. The 4th line peppered the net and Marcus Kruger slipped the puck back to Teravainen in the slot. He snapped a shot past a diving Lack for a 1-0 lead.
  • Midway through the second period, the Blackhawks took the lead back for good. A Johnny Oduya shot from the point was redirected half way to the net by Marian Hossa. The shot went off Lack's right post, and landed behind Lack right on Jonathan Toews' stick. Toews was able to fight off Dan Hamhuis and push the puck into the net. Weird goal, for sure.
  • A couple of minutes after the Toews goal, Marcus Kruger turned the lights out for the Canucks. He stole the puck from Bo Ho-Duke in the neutral zone, with some help from Teuvo Teravainen, and rushed to the net. He was able to both out race the Canucks defenders racing off the bench to recover from a terrible change and fight off a diving attempt, to navigate around Lack and tuck it in behind him. Pretty goal.
  • Crawford was excellent once again. He saved 36 of 37 pucks he faced, and was lights out to close out the game. I love that he's been huge when they need him most. Saves me the trouble of being the lead Crawford apologist.
  • I'm not really sure just how this 4th line is working, but it is. Teravainen belongs nowhere near these guys, but it's somehow working.
  • Johnny Oduya....still looking good.
  • Kimmo Timonen's ice time has risen, and he's looked better. That's reason for excitement.
  • Blackhawks were dominant at the dot, winning 65%. Toews and Kruger were a combined 26 for 38 which is almost 70%.
The Bad
  • The Blackhawks had an early breakaway...but it was Versteeg. You can imagine how that went.
  • What is with these Blackhawks too many men penalties??? Quenneville must be crawling out of his skin.
  • Vermette with 4 PIMS, a -1, and only 11:59 time on ice. Not good. He has to break out sometime, right?

The Ugly
  • The Canucks got a generous 4 minute powerplay for high sticking, and dumb ass Alex Burrows took a hooking penalty to negate half of it.
  • With just over a minute remaining in the first period, Michal Rozsival passed the puck across the middle of the Blackhawks zone, right to a surprised Derek Dorsett. Dorsett went right to the net, put a head fake on Crawford and beat him with a perfectly placed snipe of a shot. Make all the excuses you want, intarwebz and Eddie O, but he's just terrible. If David Rundblad made that play, the Blackhawks would have played with 5 defenders the rest of the game. RozySlow gets a pass because he's old, or something. I'm tired of it.
  • Blackhawks powerplay is shit. It's forgotten about when they win but, god damn...
The Lineblender

Versteeg-Toews-Hossa
Sharp-Richards-Vermette
Bickell-Shaw-Saad
Desjardins-Kruger-Tervainen

Keith-Rozsival
Oduya-Hjalmarsson
Seabrook-Timonen


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