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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Just The Facts, Ma'am
Crawford by the Numbers

by Gatekeeper

Happy summer, Blackhawks fans. How happy are we that the Stanley Cup has come back to Chicago for the third time in 5 years, or 6 Seasons? Elated, I would hope. I know I am. There is a slight problem, however. Some people, lets call them meatballs because fans is not a correct term, are still not happy with their team's goalie. I'm not going to point out which team...

OK, well maybe I am going to point out this thankless group of meatballs. It shouldn't surprise me, or anyone for that matter, that Chicago sports fans completely overlook a player's success for fairy tales and conspiracy theories. I want to keep this strictly to a stats/salary driven piece, because everyone knows I'm a Crawford apologist.

First of all, Corey Crawford is the 7th highest goalie cap hit in the NHL. Five of the top seven have never won a cup. Two of these players have two Stanley Cups, Corey Crawford and Jonathan Quick. Quick's cap hit is $200,000 less than Crawford, but he makes $500,000 more in real dollars.

Second of all, Corey Crawford is the 9th highest goalie salary in the NHL. Six of the top nine have never won a cup. Again, two of these players have two Stanley Cups, Crawford and Quick.

Below, is a list compiled of all Stanley Cup winning goalies since 2007-08. Playoff stats, and regular season Save Percentage are listed, as well as some advanced stats. The advanced stats are as follows:

  • Quality Starts (QS): When the goalie achieves at least the mean save percentage (for the season) in a game.

  • Quality Start Percentage (QS%): simply the number of Quality Starts / Games Started. This gives you a sense of how often the goalie has a Quality Start. A good rule of thumb for this stat is that anything less than 50% is bad, anything over 60% is among the league leaders, and the league average for an NHL regular is about 53.4%

  • Really Bad Starts (RBS): Awarded whenever a goalie has a save percentage in a game less than 85%

  • GA Pct (GA%): Goals allowed % relative to league goals allowed. Lower is better, 100 is exactly average, 0 means you have saved 100% of shots faced. Min. 4 shots faced per team game needed to qualify.

  • Goals Saved Above Average (GSAA): Goals this goalie prevented given his save percentage and shots faced vs. the league average save percentage on the same number of shots. Min. 4 shots faced per team game needed to qualify.

  • I did not create these, I am simply passing on the information. This is a list that has been mixed up for the sport of it. Feel free to tell me which two are the terrible over paid Corey Crawford, by looking at these stats:

    If you don't like Corey Crawford, that is your right, but there is no statistical evidence to damn him, or his salary, for that matter. Saying he is overpaid is false based on his accomplishments, and saying he has not earned his status is also false, based on the stats.

    If you compare him to Antti Niemi on 2010, the comparison falls short, statistically, as well. Of the three recent Blackhawks Stanley Cup wins, Niemi played the worst. In fact, you could make the argument that he was statistically the worst goalie in the last eight seasons to win a Stanley Cup, along with Marc-Andre Fleury. Black and white folks. Below are the initials and the year filled in:


    Sunday, June 28, 2015

    Da Tradez Have Come
    Get Dat Goaler Out Of Da Town

    by Gatekeeper

    Shortly after the draft wrapped up yesterday afternoon the Blackhawks finally announced a trade. Unfortunately for the fanbase, it was nowhere near the one they were expecting.

    Not exactly the thrilling move that we all expected, but a bit of a surprising development. I thought the Blackhawks would hang onto Raanta in case of an injury to Crawford or Darling. He has a year left on his contract, at a low cap hit. Raanta's waiver status had expired and he would have to pass through waivers, if he was called up. This could have been a big reason for the move.

    The Blackhawks now have no goalies signed, beyond Crawford and Darling. Mac Carruth is a restricted free agent, and will probably be qualified. Swedish netminder Anders Nilsson, acquired in the Nick Leddy trade, is in the KHL but it has been reported that he is uninterested in playing any further in the AHL. The Blackhawks also have the rights to Russian Goalie Ivan Nalimov, but he has a year remaining on his KHL deal. Ohio State Goalie, and 2012 7th round draft pick Matt Tomkins doesn't seem to figure in the mix, and is still unsigned.

    This means the Blackhawks will have to make a move, or two, to sign a goaltender. Previously, the Blackhawks signed low risk and "under-the-radar" players like Raants, Antti Niemi, Carter Hutton, Michael Leighton, Scott Darling, and Ray Emery. All of which have worked out in some capacity.

    In the deal, the Blackhawks acquired forward Ryan Haggerty. Haggerty is a 22 year old, 6'0" 200 lb, righthanded, Right Wing. He was signed as a college free agent in 2014, and played last season with the Rangers AHL affiliate, Hartford. These are his career stats:

    Not bad for a first year player in the AHL. Could be some depth in Rockford to take the place of the players moving up to the Blackhawks. Honestly, he sounds a lot like Kyle Baun to me.

    Here is a college highlight reel of some of his goals. Enjoy:


    Friday, June 26, 2015

    Tuesday, June 23, 2015

    Where Do We Go Now?
    The Blackhawks Summer

    by Gatekeeper

    Now that all the Stanley Cup celebrating has died down to a low rumble, the Blackhawks have no time to waste getting back to hockey business. The Blackhawks will attend the National Hockey League draft in Florida, beginning this Friday night. Stan Bowman, and company, have 7 picks but only 1 in the first 90, thanks to the acquisitions of Antoine Vermette and Kimmo Timonen. The only pick they have, is the compensation pick they received for the loss of Kevin Hayes, last spring.

    Based on Stan Bowman's history, one would be left to believe that he is looking to acquire some early picks, while shedding some extra salary. Of course, this would have to come by Friday evening. This is where the Blackhawks currently sit in the draft:

    2nd - 54 CHI (Comp)
    3rd - 91 CHI
    4th - 121 CHI
    5th - 151 CHI
    6th - 164 CHI
    6th - 181 LAK (For Carcillo)
    7th - 211 CHI

    It is no secret to anyone that the Blackhawks will need to shed some salary to re-sign their prized RFA, with the salary cap announced today to be $71.4 million. The most likely trade-able candidates that Stan Bowman has at his disposal are Patrick Sharp and Bryan Bickell. These two players would clear the most salary and leave the "smallest" holes in the line-up, or least amount of tangible carnage.

    Bryan Bickell was a noticeable non factor in the playoffs, which was his only saving grace the last two seasons. You can bring any cheap slobbering gorilla in, if hits are all you're looking for. Hits alone are certainly not worth $4 million a year. It was flaoted today that the Arizona Coyotes might be interested in Bickell. Please, do the Hawks this favor.

    Patrick Sharp will be a more difficult loss. Despite the alleged personal issues, he is a popular guy with the team, an alternate Capitan, and fan favorite. As with all businesses, the difficult decisions need to be made. Sharp is 33, and probably on the down slide of his prime, while he has a $5.9 million cap hit. There is just no way he can stay, and this is coming from a Sharpie fan. Most recently, the names of the Florida Panthers, Toronto Maple Leaf, and New York Islanders have been mentioned.

    There are several young players that are ready for a crack at the NHL, that would be able to fill in Sharp's third line spot. Of course, you are not going to be able to fill a Patrick Sharp sized hole with just one young player, but if anyone has the talent to spread around, it is the Chicago Blackhawks. Some of the names you might want to get used to seeing are Artemi Panarin, Ryan Hartman, Mark McNeill, Philip Danault, Garrett Ross, or maybe even Kyle Baun. Depending on the role, any of these players could be skating for the Blackhawks this fall.

    Some other players that could possibly packaged up and sent away are Kris Versteeg, Antti Raanta, and even Andrew Shaw, if the situation called for it.

    As far as filling the roster going forward, and aside from Sharp and Bickell, the Blackhawks return Toews, Kane, Hossa, Versteeg, and Shaw. There are also 4 notable restricted free agents that need to be dealt with. Brandon Saad, Marcus Kruger, Joakim Nordstrom, and David Rundblad are all restricted free agents, which means the Blackhawks have the right to match any deals signed elsewhere. Stan Bowman will do anything necessary to bring Saad back and will probably do his best to re-sign Marcus Kruger. Kruger would be an excellent bottom six center to have back, especially with his defensive skillset. Unless he signs some insane offer sheet, Kruger could be back.

    The Blackhawks defence is another situation altogether. They return Keith, Seabrook, Hjalmarsson and van Riemsdyk. Oduya, Rundblad, Cumiskey, Timonen, and Rozsival will probably not be back. Young players like Stephen Johns or maybe even Ville Pokka will be available to fill some skates, but I have to think that there will be a veteran, or two, looking for a last hurrah to fill out the back end.

    Goaltending is set for a while with Corey Crawford and #LemontNativeScottDarling signed for at least 2 more seasons, and Antti Raanta signed through this season. I would expect to see a veteran AHL guy to compete with Mac Carruth (RFA), if he is qualified, in Rockford as the backup. Rumors have been swirling that Anders Nilsson wants to come back to the US, but he wants to be in the NHL.

    Wednesday, June 17, 2015

    Puckin Hostile Shoutcast Episode 32

    In this Stanley Cup Celebration and 5th Anniversary Episode number 32, the Hostile crew gets deep into the Stanley Cup Final, and the ensuing shenanigans.

    Gatekeeper, Pat and Derek come in hot, discussing the Blackhawks wins in games 1, 4, 5, and 6, as well as the losses in games 2 and 3. The asshole mind games by Lightning coach John Cooper. Injuries that played a role in the outcome. A big celebration in Lemont. Beards, and last, but not least, how thankful we are that all of you fans listen and read our stuff. Here is to at least one more exhausting year getting blocked by national media members on twitter, and insulting just about everyone else along the way.

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    Tuesday, June 16, 2015

    Blackhawks vs Lightning
    Game 6 2-0 Series Win Recap

    "Hail The Apocalypse"

    by Gatekeeper

    Almost 5 years to the day, that this very site was created the Blackhawks were at home in the United Center, trying to hoist their third Stanley Cup in 6 seasons, Monday night in rainy Chicago. The city was buzzing with the fact that the Blackhawks could win this one at home, which was the only unfortunate thing about the previous cups. Tampa fans may not have wanted to hear it but most everybody, including yours truly, was sure that this was the night. So, without further ado, game 6.

    The first period wasn't exactly what the Blackhawks could have hoped for, but a couple of powerplays helped them to a 13-4 shot advantage. Apparently a Tornado in the Kankakee/Manteno area had ideas of it's own too. Yikes. Anyhow, as usual, the Blackhawks big shot total yielded no goals, so both teams went into the first break scoreless.

    It took the Blackhawks almost half the second period and a 4 shot head start by the Lightning for them to wake up. Just after the midway point we started seeing some Hawks pressure. That is when the momentum shifted heavily in the Hawks favor. When the horn sounded, the Blackhawks led in shots 10-7 for the period and led the scoring 1-0.

    The Blackhawks went into the third period with a powerplay, but really didn't use it to their advantage. Just when the Lightning were pressuring, the Blackhawks answered the bell to take a 2-0 lead. A late Bolts powerplay put some serious pressure back on the Hawks and they even out shout the Blackhawks 14-9. When the final horn sounded, though, the Blackhawks were Stanley Cup Champions once again.

    Third time in six seasons, Fans.
    Please enjoy and share this Puckin Hostile Hawks Highlight Video!

    The Good
    • The power play looked dangerous early even though they didn't score. They controlled the puck and had the Bolts running around.
    • Just a minute into the second period, a puck skipped past the Hawks defense and Stamkos was in all alone on Crawford. My heart stopped beating for a second while Stamkos waited for Crawford to bite. He didn't and kept the puck out of the net long enough his defense to get there. PHEW!
    • With about three minutes remaining in the second period, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith made their presence known. Saad and Richards made two quick but effective passes across to Kane, who skated in over the blue line and waited for help. Keith was the help. He skated in wide open with the puck and let it go on Bishop. The rebound came right back out in the slot and Keith followed his shot up, putting the puck into the back of the net. 1-0 Blackhawks
    • The Bolts were pressuring about 5 minutes left in the game. Brad Richards and Brandon Saad led a rush up the ice with Patrick Kane as the trailer. Richards waited just long enough for Kane to clear as well as the defender. He threaded a pass right to Kane's wheelhouse, where Kane hit the wide open net. 2-0 Blackhawks and the place went fucking BA-NA-NAS!
    • Duncan Keith unanimously and easily won the Conn Smythe. DUH!
    • Corey Crawford was outstanding. Biggest stage in the sport once again, and he shuts the Lightning out.
    • In a game when faceoffs would be huge, the Blackhawks clowned the Lightning, winning 42 of 62. Utter domination.
    The Bad
    • The Hawks got an early powerplay chance and had a few really good opportunities. Unfortunately, they weren't able to finish. The best chance was a pass to Hossa at the side of the net. He had room to throw it behind Bishop, but chose to hang on and hit Teravainen with a pass. Turbo got a piece of the pass and Bishop was able to get enough to direct it wide.
    • Kruger took a big hit early in the third period and was laboring pretty heavily. He missed a shift and was right back out on the ice.

    The Ugly
    • I don't remember the officials being this bad at any other point, but they missed a huge interference/too many men call five minutes into the game when Sustr re-entered the play just as he was changing and interfered with Versteeg.
    • Stamkos in this series. Just like Getzlaf, and Parise before him. SHUT DOWN
    • I know it's necessary but a full screen National Weather Service warning right in the middle of a Stanley Cup game 5 Blackhawks powerplay is seriously annoying
    The Lineblender

    Timonen-van Riemsdyk


    Saturday, June 13, 2015

    Blackhawks at Tampa Bay
    Game 5 2-1 Win Recap

    by Patrick Stankus

    With the series tied at two, the Stanley Cup Final shifted to Tampa for Game 5. There's no doubt the extra day off between games 4 and 5 was welcome for the Blackhawks, as it was very apparent after Game 4 that the gas in the tank was running low. The other glaring question leading into Game 5 was who would be in net for the Lightning. As they took to the ice for pregame warmups, the question was answered and Ben Bishop was in net.

    Judging by the start of the game, the extra day off was clearly paying dividends for the Blackhawks. They came out with a sense of urgency, and energy to their game. It was quite obvious that this was their best start to any game this series. Despite the start, Corey Crawford tried his best to hand the Lightning an early lead. Crawford turned the puck over to Kucherov, but was able to scramble back in net and make the save as Kucherov got a mouthful of post. Just minutes later, Ben Bishop mirrored Crawford's idiotic play. Bishop came out to the top of the circle to play the puck, but Victor Hedman was also skating back to play the puck, and the two collided. The end result was Patrick Sharp skating in for an uncontested goal to put the Hawks up. As the period went on, the Lightning started gaining momentum as the Hawks looked like they took their foot off the gas. At the end of the period though, the score would remain 1-0 in favor of the Hawks.

    The second period started out with the Blackhawks having some sustained pressure, but it was short lived. As play wore on, the Lightning started to gain momentum, and were able to sustain it throughout the period. With the ice tilted in their favor, the Lightning were able to capitalize midway through the second period. Jason Garrison found a loose put in the offensive zone, and flung a cross ice pass to a wide open Valterri Filppula who tied the game at one. With all the momentum on their side, Tampa also had a chance on a power play, but the Blackhawks penalty kill was able to come through. In the final minutes of the second period, the Hawks would have their biggest offensive surge, but they were unable to get a puck past Bishop and the score would remain tied at one after two periods.

    The final twenty minutes can be summed up in four words, The Corey Crawford Show. Crawford simply stood on his head in the third period. Just two minutes into the third, Crawford made a huge save on Brenden Morrow which resulted in springing the Hawks up the ice. Kris Versteeg had a step on the Tampa defense, and was in on Bishop, but he whiffed on the shot attempt. All was not lost as Versteeg was able to get the loose puck to the center of the ice and a trailing Antoine Vermette hammered it home to give the Hawks a 2-1 lead. From there on out it was Corey Crawford all day in net, and the Hawks were able to hang on for the 2-1 win, and now lead the series 3-2.

    The Good
    - The fourth line of Shaw-Kruger-Desjardins was fucking phenomenal. They pressured the Lightning all night, and had numerous chances throughout the game. It sucks they didn't get on the score sheet because they worked their ass off all night and deserve a lot of praise.
    - Corey Crawford was simply excellent. In the end he ended the night with 31 saves.
    - Another individual performance that deserves praise is Niklas Hjalmarsson. Apparently Hjalmarsson mean "shot blocking machine" in Swedish. He had 7 in total tonight.
    - This was by far the best start to any game of the series for the Blackhawks. While they were able to lead after one, Tampa Bay kept coming and coming as the Hawks looked to set back as the period went on.
    - Patrick Sharp got a goal gift wrapped for him as a result of a lack of communication between Ben Bishop and Victor Hedman. Hopefully this will give Sharp some confidence despite the fact I could have probably scored that goal.

    The Bad
    - I'm nitpicking here, but Teuvo had a chance on a breakaway in the second period, and instead of trying skate in a make move, he decided to take a 30 foot wrist shot. You'd like to see someone with his skill make a little bit more of a move on a chance like that.
    - The Blackhawks were given an early chance to put a huge dent in the Lightning with a power play opportunity in the first minute of the second period. To no one's surprise though, nothing came from it.

    The Ugly
    - Apparently Corey Crawford hasn't gotten the memo that he isn't a very good puck playing goalie. Once again he turned the puck over while playing the puck, but luckily he was able to stop Kucherov's shot. Nevertheless, you still think goalies should play the puck?
    - Supposedly TVR played tonight. I honestly didn't even notice him. I noticed Timonen more, which should say a lot. TVR played 8:01 and Timonen 5:05.


    Wednesday, June 10, 2015

    Tampa Bay at Blackhawks
    Game 4 2-1 Win Recap

    Break Down The Wall
    by Patrick Stankus

    Coming into Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, the Blackhawks knew they were facing a must win situation. Going down in the series 3-1 is not an option. So coach Joel Quenneville did exactly what he likes to do in these situations, and hit the line blender button. The result, Kris Versteeg and Kimmo Timonen in, while Bryan Bickell and Kyle Cumiskey were out. Oh and did I mention that Ben Bishop was a late scratch for Game 4? So lets end the upset stomach talk when it comes to Bishop.

    With the jumbled up lineup the Blackhawks threw out on the ice, you'd expect an energetic start. Unfortunately for the Hawks, the Lightning came out with pressure on the Hawks, and thus resulted in sloppy play that dictated the first period. It became quite obvious that the Hawks were not on the same page, and despite having two power play chances in the first, they could only muster two shots on Tampa's rookie goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy. Yes, you heard me right, two shots. Despite the smoldering tire fire of a first period, the Hawks somehow managed to be scoreless with the Bolts after one.

    As the second period got underway, the Blackhawks looked like they had a little, and I mean little bit more of a sense of urgency. While they weren't getting credit for shots on goal, they were getting pucks to the net. Johnny Oduya had a point shot go square off the post, and a few minutes later, Patrick Sharp, while on a breakaway found the iron. Later though, the Hawks were finally able to break through on Vasilevskiy as Jonathan Toews broke the scoreless drought to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead.  But just like the leads the Blackhawks have had throughout the playoffs, this one wouldn't last long, as 5 minutes later Tampa would tie the game at one. As the horn sounded, that's how the score would remain after two, tied at one.

    The third period got underway continuing with the excellent pace and intensity its displayed throughout. Just over six minutes into the third, Brandon Saad put the Hawks ahead 2-1, but as we all know, no lead is safe with the Blackhawks. The Hawks defense was put to the test in the final five minutes of the game, as the Lightning mounted a furious attack. With all the garbage talk he's taken by certain people, Corey Crawford stood tall in net, denying the Lightning's numerous chances. It also helps when Steven Stamkos misses an open net. Nevertheless, the Hawks were able to hang on for the 2-1 win, and tie the series at two as the series heads back to Tampa Bay.

    The Good

    - Brandon Saad's play continued right where it left off in Game 3. He had another strong game, and scored the game winning goal in the third period. The more he performs in the Stanley Cup Final the more $$$ you can add.
    - After the chances he stopped in those final minutes, Corey Crawford deserves a lot of praise. He rose to the occassion when the Hawks needed him most. He finished with 24 saves.
    - Another player who was taking grief was Jonathan Toews. Well Toews silenced them by scoring the Hawks opening goal, and all around had an excellent game.
    - The penalty kill came through once again. This time they killed off all 4 of Tampa's power plays.
    - The Hawks dominated at the dot winning the face off battle 38-20.
    - Memo to Yahoo Sports NHL writers, that wunderkind Vasilevskiy is beatable after all.

    The Bad
    - The Blackhawks did their best to look uninterested in playing during the first period. They took 3 penalties, and were careless with the puck. Turnovers were the name of the game in the first period.
    - After being "alright" in Game 3, TVR was terrible tonight. He was caught standing around in the defensive zone and lost his man on Tampa's first goal. Its tough to learn on the fly like this, but if that was Rozsival, Rundblad, or Cumiskey they'd be getting tarred and feathered.
    - This wasn't the greatest night for the zebras, as several soft penalties were called. In the end though, none of them had an affect on the outcome, but you'd still like to see some more consistency.
    - Speaking of penalties, the Hawks were sent to the box four times. In such an important game, the Hawks need to cut down on the sloppiness.

    The Ugly
    - You'd think while facing a rookie goalie, the game plan would be get pucks to the net early and often. The Blackhawks had one shot on goal through 11 minutes of the first period, and ended the period with two. Way to give the young goalie some confidence. The two shots in that period would end up setting a franchise record for fewest shots in a Stanley Cup Final bench.
    - The line juggling that went on were as Gate would famously say "bat shit fucking crazy." Seriously someone unplug the line blender, or replace the button on it with one that says panic. Because that's what it looks like Quenneville is doing out of desperation.
    - Duncan Keith looked like he was completely out of gas after the game. He played 29:07, while TVR played 6:37 and Timonen 5:46. Tonight it was very evident that the speed of the Lightning is catching up with the Hawks defense. Can they dig down and suck it up for a best of 3 now? Its going to be very difficult task.
    - If you didn't find the final 90 seconds nerve wracking/exciting, then you need to rethink what you think is exciting. That was playoff hockey at its finest.


    Monday, June 8, 2015

    Tampa Bay at Blackhawks
    Game 3 3-2 Loss Recap

    "Angry Chair"
    by Patrick Stankus

    With the Stanley Cup Final shifting to Chicago for Games 3 and 4, there were no shortage of story lines heading into Game 3. Much of them centered around would Ben Bishop be able to go for Tampa, and would Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville insert rookie Trevor van Riemsdyk into the lineup. As the pregame warmups took place, we got answers to both questions, Bishop and TVR were both in the lineup for their respective teams.

    At the drop of the puck, the Blackhawks were lacking from a sluggish start. Tampa pounced on that early as they caught the Hawks in a slow, lazy change, coupled with a blowout by Johnny Oduya, and Ryan Callahan blew a slap shot past Crawford to give the Bolts an early lead. As the period wore on, the Hawks found their legs, and simply dominated play. All that puck possession would pay off as a point shot from Brad Richards, while on the power play, found its way past Bishop to tie the game at one. As the horn sounded to end the period, the game would remain tied at one.

    As the second period got underway, it looked like the Hawks forgot some of that momentum they had in the first period back in the locker room. Tampa had a jump in their step that they were lacking in the first period, but were unable to solve Crawford early on. Meanwhile, the Hawks did have a nice opportunity from Antoine Vermette off a Lightning turnover, but Bishop was able to stone him. Following a Hawks power play, Tampa was able to spring Nikita Kucherov out of the box on a breakaway, but Crawford rose to the occasion and stopped him. As the period wound down, the Blackhawks got a little careless and reckless, and were forced to kill off an extended 5 on 3 power play for the Lightning. Much to the delight of the crowd, the Hawks did just that, and rode that momentum till the horn sounded and the score remained tied at one.

    The opening minutes of the third period mirrored that of the later stages of the first period for the Blackhawks. Unlike the first though, the Hawks would strike much earlier. During a shift that saw Marian Hossa shift into beast mode, he found a wide open Brandon Saad in the slot, and Saad gave the Hawks a 2-1 lead. The lead wouldn't last long though, as just 13 seconds later, Tampa's Ondrej Palat tied the game at two. With 3 minutes remaining, Tampa would take advantage of soft defense by Brent Seabrook and Kyle Cumiskey, as Cedric Paquette redirected a puck past Crawford to give the Lightning a 3-2 lead. That would end up being the final as the Bolts held on for the 3-2 win, and now lead the series 2-1.

    The Good
    - Marian Hossa and Brandon Saad were absolute beasts in this game. It would have been nice to see some other guys answer the bell as well.
    - Brad Richards power play goal was nice to see. Its amazing what happens when you shoot the puck on a power play isn't it?
    - Speaking of that power play goal, I criticize Shaw all the time, but his work on that power play was outstanding. He won a board battle, and got the puck to the point, but he didn't stop there. He worked his way to the front of the net to disrupt Bishop enough to throw his timing off from Richards shot.
    - The penalty kill came through big in the 2nd period as they killed off an extended 5 on 3 Tampa Bay power play.

    The Bad
    - Although his offensive prow less was evident, Brandon Saad did have a mental lapse in the 1st period. The Hawks were about to get a power play, but Saad felt the need to cross check Valtteri Filppula in the head, thus negating the Hawks power play.
    - Tampa's first goal was just a collection of hot vomit in a garbage bag by the Hawks. Lazy, slow change, Oduya blows a tire, and while it was a bomb of a slap shot by Callahan, it was one that Crawford probably should have had if he was a little more aggressive in his positioning. He was a tad too deep in his crease.
    - Johnny Oduya left the game in the second period with an undisclosed injury, but thankfully did return in the third period.
    - Woof on Kyle Cumiskey's positioning on Cedric Paquette's goal. But there's more blame to be handed out. What exactly was Brent Seabrook doing on that play?
    - The much hyped return of TVR produced 9:01 of ice time. Overall he was ok, but we don't have an ok category here.

    The Ugly
    - The Blackhawks peppered Ben Bishop with 19 shots, but could only get 1 past him. The Lightning had to be thrilled to escape at the end of that period being tied at one after being thoroughly outplayed.
    - Also in that 1st period, Hossa and Teravainen both missed wide open nets that would have destroyed the confidence of the Lightning. In the end its all about missed opportunities.
    - Bryan Bickell started out alright, but that was short lived. He took just an absolute brutal roughing penalty in the 3rd period. To make matters worse, Brandon Saad was nailed for goalie interference (it was the right call, get over it) and the Hawks were forced to kill off an extended 5 on 3.
    - Nothing like taking your foot off the gas after a goal. Once again the Hawks did that, as Tampa responded to Saad's goal just 13 seconds later. But by all means continue to pat yourselves on the back for scoring.
    - Is it just me or are the Blackhawks more like the Slackhawks when it comes to making line changes?
    - Crickets have made more noise than Patrick Kane has so far in this series. Same can be said for Patrick Sharp.>


    Saturday, June 6, 2015

    Blackhawks at Tampa
    Game 2 4-3 Loss Recap

    "A Good Day To Die"

    by Gatekeeper

    Game two of the Stanley Cup final was Saturday night in Tampa. The Blackhawks came in with a 1-0 series lead, after a late surge in game one that resulted in a stunning 2-1 win. The Hawks needed to come with a better effort if they expected to come home with a 2-0 lead. Playing a only a strong third period, or just final six minutes, was not going to do the job. The Lightning sounded like they regretted going into defense first mode and letting the Blackhawks claw their way back into the game. It was doubtful that they would allow the Blackhawks that much room to work, if given the opportunity again.

    The Blackhawks opened the game much more solid than game 1. They kept the shots and chances pretty even, but the Lightning had the only goal. The shots were ever so slightly in favor of Tampa 12-11, and that was with the help of a late powerplay. Still plenty of things to build on for the Blackhawks.

    The second period opened up a bit, with both teams scoring big goals. The Blackhawks scored 2 goals and the Lightning answered. The Bolts led in shots 10-8, and when all was said and done, the Blackhawks were still down by one. They were going to need another big 3rd period to come back to Chicago up 2-0.

    The third period didn't exactly work out in the Hawks favor. They were able to tie the game, but then gave up a late powerplay goal to end up losing 4-3. The shots were 10-2 in favor of the Hawks, but they couldn't pull off another game of late magic.

    Don't worry, folks. A split on the road is what you hope for. The Blackhawks still sit on a fine position.

    The Good
    • The Blackhawks opened the game much better than game 1. They had several chances and kept it even in shots.
    • After killing off a Lightning powerplay the Blackhawks fourth line came up big. Desjardins had a nice little give and go with Johnny Oduya. Desjardins turned and threw a shot at the net with Kruger and Shaw screening Bishop. The shot squirted through
    • Shortly after the Shaw goal, a Blackhawks powerplay came up big. Patrick Sharp chipped the puck to Teravainen and he played give-n-go with Hossa, who was in the corner. Teuvo used a Saad screen to beat Bishop to the stick side to go up 2-1.
    • Brent Seabook came up big once again for the Blackhawks with about 4 minutes gone in the third period. The Hawks broke the forecheck of the Lightning and pushed deep into the Lightning zone after Q made the change to swap Kane and Hossa. The puck was dropped to Seabrook who loaded the howitzer and beat Bishop with Hossa in his grill.
    • Teravainen was really good. He has slid in as a legit weapon, right behind the big names. Just wait until he's REALLY comfortable. It's too bad he's too small, and doesn't like to shoot enough.
    • Believe it or not the Blackhawks were at 65% at the faceoff dots. If it weren't for Richards going 36%, they would have been up in the 70% range.
    The Bad
    • The Bolts took a 1-0 lead late in the first period. Ryan Callahan caught Kyle Cumiskey out on the ice and beat him on an icing call. The Lightning held possession and after a couple of stopped chances, then Cedric Paquette picked up an open puck in the slot and beat Crawford, using Toews as a screen.
    • Just a minute and thirty seconds after the Teravainen goal, Nikita Kucherov redirected a long Garrison shot just enough to get past Crawford, and tie the game back up.
    • During a Lightning powerplay in the third period, Bishop went to the locker room and Vasilevskiy went in. It looked like an equipment thing because Bishop came right back. The Lightning scored on the powerplay, though. Bishop went out again a few minutes later once again. If he is hurt, as it looks, the Blackhawks just gained another advantage.
    • After his late game back to back penalties, Sharp was removed and Kane took his spot.
    • Crawford. Not his solid self. You can't blame the game on him, but he needs to tighten up. Goalies have these games, and he'll come back fine.
    • Again, the powerplay could have really bailed them out. One goal is nice, but those players are too good to not be clowning teams.
    • Patrick Sharp was brutal. His two late game penalties ended up killing the Hawks.

    The Ugly
    • I understand that a triple crown is a big deal, but NBC could have started the game on NBCSN then. Can't tell me this was a surprise for them. God damn. You don't need to run the post race show on both.
    • With about 6 minutes left in the second period, Crawford gave up his first softy of the series. Tyler Johnson walked out from the corner and caught Crawford cheating off the post. The puck hit Crawford in the arm and squirted into the net. He has to have that one.
    • During the second of two Patrick Sharp penalties, the Lightning got yet another lucky bounce. Jason Garrison loaded up and released a shot from the point that went off Andrew Desjardins' stick, knuckled and into the net. Not Crawford's lucky day.
    • After being out there for the first goal, we might have seen the last of Cumiskey. He only played one shift in the third period and 7 for the entire game. Trevor van Riemsdyk could be in our future.
    • If you called for Scott darling at any point of this game, or after, Fuck you. You're a god damn idiot.
    The Lineblender



    Wednesday, June 3, 2015

    Blackhawks at Tampa
    2-1 Game 1 Win Recap

    "Monsters In The Ballroom"

    by Gatekeeper

    Well, here we are. The Blackhawks were in their third Stanley Cup Final, in 6 seasons. They made it look pretty easy, despite the usual things that would have most teams golfing long ago. Inconsistent powerplay? No problem. Thin on defense? Got it. Questionable lineup moves? Fuggetaboutit. All of this was behind them, and they were back on the big stage. The Lightning were no slouches, but either were the three teams that the Blackhawks sent packing.

    Even though each cup run has some similarities this particular one would feature a type of team that the Blackhawks had not faced in the finals. A "run-n-gun" team is not something they have faced while in this position. The Bruins and Flyers were punishing physical teams, much like the Ducks. This should prove to be a very entertaining series, so let's get right to it.

    The Blackhawks first period did not go how most thought it would. They came out and struggled for the first 15 minutes of the series. Thanks to a late power play they were able to get some late pressure and save face. In the end, the Hawks were only out shot 10-7 and out scored 1-0. This simply wasn't going to be good enough.

    The second period was definitely better from the Blackhawks, but not entirely what that needed. The Lightning led in shots 8-6 and there were no goals either way. Holding a team like the Lightning scoreless was a positive, but they needed to break onto the scoreboard.

    The Blackhawks did what they have done all playoffs, in the third period. They took over the game and out shot the Lightning 8-5 and in the biggest category, goals. Two late goals took the wind out of the Bolts and gave the Blackhawks a 1-0 series lead.

    The Good
    • Right before warmups it was announced that new daddy Kris Versteeg was going to replace Bryan Bickell in the lineup. Supposedly the injury from game 7 of the Ducks series was a little worse than initially indicated. Versteeg might have been the best forward on the Hawks for a majority of the game.
    • It took the Blackhawks almost 55 minutes to finally get on the board, but we'll wait. Great plays by both Keith and Teravainen at the half boards to keep the puck in the zone ended up with a Teravainen seeing eye shot going through a Marcus Kruger screen and past Bishop.
    • Just a few minutes after the Teravainen goal, he figured in the go ahead goal. A Lightning turnover in the middle of their own zone was pushed over by Teravainen to Vermette, who cleanly beat Bishop to take a 2-1 Blackhawks lead.
    • Despite the one wonky goal, Corey Crawford was huge. A late Callahan breakaway could have opened up the game in favor of the Lightning and he shut the door.
    • They weren't terrible nor were they great, but the Rundblad/Cumiskey need to roll. Rundblad had some tense moments deep in the Hawks zone but they were able to get out of it.
    • Turbo Turtlepants (Thanks Jen O) with a goal and an assist, huge.
    • I caught the Jay Zawaski after show on the Score and heard "Sasha From Houston". I then realized it was actually adult star Sasha Sean. Respect to her because I know she's a big Stars fan, but I think it's pretty clear that she's a closet Hawks fan, too. We have fun jousting back and forth about our teams but shout out to Houston TX!
    The Bad
    • The Blackhawks came out and had a rough first shift. They nearly gave up a Killorn goal, but he missed an open net. It took the Blackhawks a good 15 minutes to get any sustained zone time.
    • The puck was bouncing everywhere. That ice had to be absolute shit.
    • The powerplay was 0 for 3 and showed very little pressure. That has to be better. Tighter and quicker passes, boys.
    • The Lightning actually beat the Hawks at the dots but it was by a small margin (30-27)

    The Ugly
    • The first goal of the series was a pretty terrible one. A long point shot from Anton Stralman was going well wide but Alex Killorn blindly redirected it behind himself and into the net. Kind of weak, because Crawford was down and out, for no apparent reason.
    • Late in the second period the Blackhawks were caught with some very tired players on the ice but a bouncing puck got past Stralman. Kris Versteeg jumped off the bench and stole the puck from Stralman, heading towards the net. The puck was knocked away but Versteeg's momentum carried him towards Hedman, who tripped him up. Versteeg crashed head first into the net and was awarded a weak goaltender interference penalty for his effort. That is a terrible call. Apparently the meatball nation was screaming about concussion protocol. The only reason Versteeg grabbed his face was that he thought he was bleeding. Relax, all you WebMDs. Until they rule that every head hit needs to go to the locker room, you'll have judgement calls. He looked fine and the refs are no better doctors than we are.

    The Lineblender



    Tuesday, June 2, 2015

    Puckin Hostile Shoutcast Episode 31

    In this very special "Bob Sauve" Episode 31, the Hostile crew is joined for a Stanley Cup preview roundtable by returning guests Greg Boysen, from LetsGoHawks.net, Jim Kress Jr, from CityOntheTake.com, and first time Shoutcast guest, Satchel Price from Second City Hockey.

    The group discusses games 3,4,5,6, and 7 of the Western Conference final, as well as the upcoming Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning. We also take a stab at some email questions make series predictions, and generally have a very productive 2 hour discussion about the HOCKEEZ where we all agree that Corey Crawford sucks and #LemontNativeScottDarling should start the Final.

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

    Also, please consider helping out our friend Lauren's ailing sister Caryn, in her quest to get treatment at the Mayo clinic:

    Check out Mike Figueroa at:
    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 31 MP3 Download

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