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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Blackhawks at Hurricanes
3-2 Loss Recap

"Sad But True"


By Patrick Norton
@pdnorton3

One night after taking down the Nashville Predators in Tennessee, the Blackhawks took on the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. Although they were coming off of a victory the night before, the Blackhawks were having trouble getting their offense jump started. And while the offense had been struggling, the main storyline surrounding the Blackhawks going into tonight’s action would be the goaltending and the defense.

After Crawford guarded the 4 x 6 on Thursday, Coach Wizzo called #LemontNativeScottDarling’s number. Darling has openly expressed his interest in returning to Chicago when he becomes a free agent this season, but with the Blackhawks already bursting at the seams of the salary cap, it has become apparent that he’s auditioning for a starting job somewhere around the league. Darling kept the heart beating for Chicago in the absence of Corey Crawford while he dealt with injury, but no matter how well Darling performed, it was always a secure job for Crow.

The defense has been steadily improving over the past few weeks, so it came as a bit of a surprise when Brian Campbell was a healthy scratch in Nashville on Thursday, ending his 423 consecutive game streak. Another surprise took place tonight in Carolina when Michal Kempny was not listed as a healthy scratch. The defenseman had struggled in a couple of games and found himself watching a few too many games in a suit. A side effect of riding with eight d-men, but it was seemingly unfair to Kempny. Kempny wasn’t going to progress much if he wasn’t getting any game action, but that finally changed tonight.

GAME TIME

The Blackhawks struck first in the opening frame. Wow, that’s a phrase you don’t see written too often. And who was responsible for goal? Michal. Fucking. Kempny. Gosh, I can only imagine our dear beloved Gatekeeper creamed his pants when he witnessed KempGod score his first goal as an NHLer. It was a slick little slapper from the left circle and Cam Ward had absolutely no chance at stopping his shot. Ward even got a piece of it, but it just wasn’t nearly enough. Another point for #OffensivelyHandicappedJonathanToews as he and Hartman picked up helpers on the goal. It didn’t take long for the Canes to get on the board, as Elias Lindholm picked up a rebound to knot the game at one. One minute later, a Teuvo Teravainen bad angle shot left a juicy rebound with little hope of a Darling save, Lee Stempniak gave the Hurricanes a one goal advantage. With three minutes left in the period, Vinnie Hinostroza nearly tied the game backup, but Ward denied him with two right pad saves.

The second period was empty. No scoring. Not many fantastic saves and some pretty hideous puck control coming from both teams left much to be desired in the frame. I made an argument that scoring isn’t needed to make a game exciting earlier today on Twitter. This period did not backup my claims.The period seemed to drag on like a #Fatrick game recap. A few rushes for each team, but nothing to brag about. In all honesty, the Blackhawks had a decent portion of time in the offensive zone, but with refusal to shoot gave the Blackhawks a hard time trying to score an equalizer. At the end of two, still 2-1, Hurricanes.

The started like the first period of oh-so-many Blackhawks game this season. It was only a matter of time until the Canes extended their lead to two goals. Sure enough, it was Jay McClement that scored on a treacherous turnover in the defensive zone, which left Scott Darling helpless. Then, the Toews line awoke and the Blackhawks mounted strong and sustained pressure. Vinnie Hinostroza finally broke through for the Blackhawks in the third and brought it back down to a one goal deficit. After an eventful final two minutes, in which the Blackhawks looked poised to score, but struggled to put the puck on net, the final horn sounded and sixty minutes had come to a close… with the Blackhawks still trailing, 3-2. In the final game of 2016, the Hawks leave North Carolina on a sour note, but will have a shot at revenge come January 6th when the Hurricanes visit the United Center.

The Good

  • Michal Kempny… who knew? Gate knew. And on the next shoutcast, we’re all gonna hear about it. But on a serious note, Kempny looked pretty good. He totaled a goal and an assist and finished a +1. Good game for fresh legs.
  • The “Jonathan Toews can’t help the offense” narrative is coming to an abrupt end. His two game goal streak ended, but his point streak continued with two helpers on the only two Hawks goals. Another solid night for the captain.
  • Pisses me off, yet also puts a stupid smirk on my face to see Teuvo have a decent game. A secondary assist and he bodied Toews along the boards in the first period.
  • I don’t know how the Panarin - Anisimov - Kane didn’t crack the scoreboard, but they put together some incredible sustained pressure throughout tonight’s game.
  • Duncan Keith was playing with some nice speed. Always good to see, given how I’ve slammed him for half-assing some recent games.
  • Darling had some excellent saves throughout tonight’s action. I have absolutely no idea how the Canes only won the game by one goal. Darling may have lost the game, but it wasn’t a bad performance. 10-4-2? Not bad for a backup just halfway through the regular season.
  • Tanner Kero and the penalty kill looked pretty good. With Kruger listed as week-to-week, Kero might find himself with a bit more responsibilities and ice time. Let’s just hope Stan Bowman doesn’t trade him for Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann when Kruger returns.
  • Hinostroza and Hartman continue to impress me, especially as “rookies.” I’ve like Ryan Hartman for such a long time, the number 38 has been in my phone passcode since he initially came up a couple years back. The other two numbers? 57. Yes, for TVR. I was young.

The Bad

  • Steve Konroyd and Dan Roan sometimes make me hate hockey. And I write about (or aboat) it as a damn hobby. Their analysis is laughable and it doesn’t help that they look so cramped in the WGN intermission studio. Steve Konroyd’s GRADE A take on MS: “It’s not a death sentence.”
  • This happens when you’re double-shifted, but Patrick Kane didn’t have the best defensive game of his life.
  • Sebastian Aho… what an unfortunate name that must’ve been to have in grade school. “Hey, what’s up Aho?”
  • The defense, as a whole, had a pretty tough time defending their goaltender. A loss isn’t always indicative of poor defense, but tonight, it wasn’t difficult to see the miscues when goals were scored by Carolina.
  • The final two minutes of the third period were all Blackhawks with puck possession, but they kept trying to be a little extra with their passes. I feel like a lot of amateur hockey fans will yell this a couple of times during a game, but I mean it when I say, “SHOOT THE GOD FORSAKEN PUCK!” Kind of frustrating.
  • You can add injury prone to “Words to describe Marcus Kruger,” along with #Scoreless.

The Ugly

  • For no apparent reason, the Canes were throwing shade on Twitter with a GIF of Blackhawks fans leaving early. Jokes on them though because half of their stadium was empty.
  • Brian Campbell complains about being a healthy scratch, which I do have sympathy for the guy losing his streak, but if you want to earn your playing time back, then play some decent defense. I was disappointed with his effort tonight. Kind of seemed like he was phoning it in tonight.
  • I often forget that Andrew Desjardins is on the team. He has played fourteen of the previous fifteen games, yet has not scored a point all season. Yikes, man.
  • “Being too cute” took a big ol’ L tonight. Panarin and Kane have some incredible comfort and chemistry together, but when the passing lane isn’t there, stop forcing it and shoot the damn puck.
  • I couldn’t make out a single chant the Hurricanes faithful cheered. I kept hearing “Wets Go There!” C’mon, Carolina. Make some damn sense for once.
  • Was the ice shitty or did the players from both squads forget how to pass the puck? Or both? Seriously, that whole second period was a huge dumpster fire when it came to puck possession.
  • Since when did Carolina become Chicago South? When Campbell returned from Florida? I mean, come on. Viktor StÃ¥lberg, Joakim Nordstrom, Teuvo Teravainen and they’ve got Bryan Bickell on IR? When are Versteeg, Pirri and Klas Dahlbeck signing?
  • JUST SHOOT THE PUCK. OKAY?
  • A crappy turnover led to the eventual GWG from Jay McClement. Turnovers happen, but they totally left Darling hung out to dry.

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION

  • Stop turning the puck over at high rates in high risk areas.
  • Shoot. The. Puck. How many times must I plead?


Alright, it was a tough loss in a dumb game, but as 2016 comes to an end, I’d like to express how happy I am to be contributing to this site. I hope everybody had a fantastic holiday and Christmas and I hope everyone has a splendid New Year. Don’t go too crazy because the Hawks play on the 2nd at noon! Should be fun! See you all in
2017.
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Friday, December 30, 2016

Blackhawks at Nashville
3-2 Win Recap

"Red Clouds"

by Gatekeeper


One day after the recently insignificant Nashville #PERDS stated their horseshit "keep the red out" campaign up once again, in a pathetic cry for attention, the (still) first place Blackhawks rolled into town on the back of a 3 game home losing streak. Joel Quenneville couldn't let fans bask in the glory of the Artemi Panarin extension long before he started dropping hints that not only might green rookie Gustav Forsling sit for this contest, but Brian Campbell might have his consecutive game streak snapped at 423. Doesn't make a damn bit of sense, but alright. The last time we got our feathers ruffled about this shenanigan, Quenneville Rick-Rolled us all by dressing 7 defensemen. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me, Coach Wizzo.

This time around, though, he wasn't playing.

The game opened up with the Blackhawks actually asserting themselves but, as happens often, one of their signature abominable powerplay stalled their momentum. Later in the period, the Hawks were able to take advantage of a second powerplay, but turned around and gave up a game tying goal just thirty five seconds later. Swell; You just have to love when that happens. The first period ended with the Predators on a powerplay, but the Blackhawks were able to hold off a very brief flurry to slog into the first intermission tied 1-1. That said, the Hawks were also out shot a comical 16-6. But lets trade the one play that has kept you in several games singlehandedly....


Moving on...

The second period was somewhat the same for the road team, overall. The Blackhawks took a lazy penalty early on and then squandered another powerplay of their own in the second half of the period. Eventually the Blackhawks woke up a little bit and started to get some pressure on Pekka Rinne. Of course, the now customary Blackhawks terrible powerplay found itself on the ice to finish the middle frame, and did nothing at all. Shots were a little more even in the second, with a slight advantage to the Blackhawks at 10-9, but nothing new on the scoreboard.

The third period opened up with the Blackhawks wasting the remaining carryover time from the second period powerplay, and then turning right around to gave the Preds a powerplay of their own. Luckily for the Blackhawks, the Preds were just as bad on the powerplay, and the man advantage then shifted right back over to the Blackhawks, again. The general theme for this game was "every other powerplay", because this fourth powerplay resulted in the Hawks tying the game. They followed up this powerplay goal with another goal just over three minutes later, which gave them a 3-2 lead, and that is was how the game ended. The Blackhawks 3 game losing streak that no one was worried about was over.

The Good
  • The first Blackhawks powerplay didn't go well at all, but they made up for it late in the first period. Red hot Artem Anisimov started the #ArtyParty with a nice redirection of a long Duncan Keith point shot to give the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead. On the Shitshow Petroleum Powerplay, no less.
  • Midway through the third period the Preds took a penalty when Craig Smith went plowing through the crease and Corey Crawford, ever so slightly, moved enough to get clipped by Smith. This had the sensitive #Perds fans in an uproar, but you can't go plowing through the crease and act surprised when you get a penalty for contact with a goalie. Any hockey player knows this. Quit acting stupid! Of course, The Shitshow Petroleum Powerplay struck then again. Brent Seabrook let a long shot go through from the point and Captain Jonathan Toews redirected the puck just feet from Pekka Rinne. Rinne has no chance.
  • Late in the third, the Blackhawks found themselves in the midst of a Patrick Kane led 4-on-2 that included...well...it doesn't actually matter who else was involved because Kane used everyone else as decoys and slammed home a no look game winner for his 700th NHL point.
  • Can we all slide off Michal Kempny's back like the worms we are? The guy had a solid night after sitting for three more fucking weeks. Both him and Rozsival were two of the better Blackhawks defensemen. I still wouldn't advise Quenneville to be putting them both out there together against teams that are fleet of foot, but against the Preds they were good. That's the closest you're getting to a Michal Rozsival compliment, Fatrick, so suck it.
  • I mentioned this last year, but the Preds Viktor Arvidsson is a nice little player, unlike most of the rest of that deplorable roster.
  • Corey Crawford had himself yet another solid night, saving 36 of 38. If not for Crawford's first period heroics, the Preds could have easily had a sizable first intermission lead. If you're still a Crawford hater, just please email me your twitter handle to PuckinHostile@gmail.com so I can block you now, because nothing you can say can possibly resemble anything rational.
  • Three blocked shots each by Keith, Kempny, Hjalmarsson, and Seabrook, as well as four blocks by Tanner Kero just doesn't seem possible, but the NHL statisticians are the bible. Couldn't possibly be flawed.

The Bad
  • Less than a minute after the Anisimov goal, Dennis Rasmussen failed to clear the puck in the Hawks zone and it ended up in the back of the Hawks net. Filip Forsberg was fed for a one timer by the fat out of shape Ryan Johansen, and Forsberg buried the puck top shelf over Crawford's blocker. Dennis Rasmussen tightened up later in the game, but he was brutal in the first half of the game. He was directly responsible for this Preds goal, and then got a lazy second period penalty with one hand on his stick.
  • The Preds took a 2-1 lead early in the third period when Mike Fisher redirected a long Mattias Ekholm cross crease pass on the powerplay, and easily gave the Predators a lead. It was only a matter of time before the lazy penalties hurt the Hawks. This was one of those instances.

The Ugly
  • Those golden pissbuckets that the #PERDS have been wearing are hideous. I posted it on twitter last night, but they look like That Yellow Bastard from Sin City, which is appropriate, because he's a deplorable scumbag, much like James Neal and Mike Ribeiro.
  • Speaking of Mike Shit-beiro, this stupid ass fanbase boo'd Patrick Kane every time he touched the puck but they are perfectly fine cheering the creepy, nanny diddler. Backwards, half-witted hillbillies.
  • There were a shit ton of open seats in the lower bowl for the entire first half of the game, but the Preds like to lose money, so lets keep the red out. Solid business model, because they are afraid of opposing fans.
  • One of the only redeemable Preds players, PK Subban, missed the game and will be out for a bit. Word on the broadcast was that he has a disk issue in his back. Not good.
  • Jordin Tootoo playing 3:28 just makes you shake your head in disbelief.
  • Listen, Sitting Brian Campbell was just colossally stupid. You want to punish him? Drop him down the lineup and cut his ice time, but don't break a 423 game streak just to prove some stupid neanderthal point. You have no problem playing Jordin fucking Tootoo for just over 200 seconds for the entire game. It's an flat out asshole move, and the guy is 37 years old. Why are we playing children's games, and giving him a "timeout"? Pat Foley just ranted about Bob Pulford being and old stubborn fuck and ruining Steve Larmer's streak, but no outcry over Joel Quenneville just pulling a similar move because of shithead reasons.

The #Fatrick Stankus Fatsy Stats
  • The Hawks led in faceoff wins by a significant margin, winning 26 of 47 (55%).
  • Niklas Hjalmarsson and Brent Seabrook were walked all over most of the night in possession, as supported by their respective -29 and -24 corsis.
  • The #AK72Line were the only Blackhawks players with a positive corsi. That'll tell you which line drove the Blackhawks possession the entire night
  • There was one Preds player that had a negative corsi; Hockey Star (and #PERDS Captain) Mike Fisher.

The Lineblender
Left Wing - Center - Right Wing
Hartman - Toews - Hinostroza
Panarin - Anisimov - Kane
Rasmussen - Kruger - Panik
Motte - Kero - Tootoo

Keith - van Riemsdyk
Hjalmarsson - Seabrook
Kempny - Rozsival


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Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Breadman Stayeth
Panarin Signs 2 Year Extension


After what has been a bizarre, tumultuous, and often times heavyhearted 2016, the Blackhawks gave fans a wonderful last minute present late last night, when the news of the Artemi Panarin bridge deal was leaked. I, for one, was getting concerned because Panarin has been the only Blackhawks player not named Marian Hossa, that has been consistently on a scoring tear through the league. Each game that passed, he has been proven more valuable to this team and, as a result, more expensive.

As of today, Panarin was tied for 10th in the NHL (2nd on the Blackhawks) with 15 goals, tied for 13th in the NHL (2nd on the Blackhawks) with 22 assists, and 5th in the NHL (1st on the Blackhawks) with 37 points. That's pretty damn impressive. The sophomore slump is a fallacy to #BreadOMac.

Panarin's deal is a slightly under market value 2 year deal worth $6 million per year, and this is a pretty damn good deal for both parties. As with anything, here are certainly concerns both ways. For the Blackhawks, they have 2 more years to figure out how to lock him down long term, if that's their plan. His price is going to rise and, no doubt, there was talk about a "Kruger-esque" deal where he takes a below market ticket this time and he is rewarded with a healthy raise after. This is a scary proposition, because $6 million is nothing to laugh at. If Panarin keeps up this point per game pace, he's going to, at minimum, command similar salary to Phil Kessel ($8M), Vlad Tarasenko ($7.5M), and Jakub Voracek ($8.25M). The additional scary aspect to this deal is that Panarin will be a full unrestricted free agent at the close of this deal. Realistically, the Blackhawks could have exercised restricted free agent rights, and held Panarin over a barrel. Not the most wise of the choices, but an alternative nonetheless. The threat of an offer sheet always looms like a dark cloud, but it is so extremely rare and looked at as poor form that the Blackhawks were looking at a less than 10% chance of a team pulling that stunt.


Speaking of offer sheets, Stan Bowman really lucked into this after the Brandon Saad ordeal went sideways, two summers ago, eh? They ended up with a more dynamic player for less money. Brandon Saad is a nice player, but Artemi Panarin is eclipsing anything Saad would have given the Hawks. There is simply no way Brandon Saad was giving the Blackhawks 77 points. That is no knock on Saad, either. I love him, and would take him back in a New York minute.

As far as the bigger picture goes, the Blackhawks front office just bought themselves two years to figure out just how they are going to free up salary. Don't get me wrong, they will still need to maneuver salary this summer to fit this $4 million raise under the cap for next season, but they bought some wiggle room. Possibly as much as $2 million of wiggle room. Walk with me in hell, as we paint a little salary cap painting for this coming summer:

-Coming off the cap this summer as UFA are Desjardins ($800K), Tootoo ($750K), Campbell ($1.5M), Rozsival ($600K), and Darling ($587,500). I have to think, based on what I've read, that Campbell will come back at any price. Darling is 50/50, or maybe 33/66, but he will CERTAINLY get a raise, to at least, four times what he's making now. Assuming this, you have roughly $4.25M coming off the cap, and you could probably get both Campbell and Darling back around $3.5 million. For the sake of this exercise, Bowman would get roughly $750K in relief.

-As far as restricted free agents go, the Blackhawks have Panik ($875K), Rasmussen ($575K), and Kempny ($700K) as significant pro level RFAs. Any or all of these guys would command a raise if they returned, so there is no relief to be found through this solution. In fact, you're most likely eating up some of the pie to keep these three.

-The Blackhawks will probably just tread water with bonus and salary retention. Blob Scuderi's god forsaken salary will finally come off the books, and give them $1.13 million in cap relief. The bonus structure will be somewhat similar to this year, with Panarin, Campbell and Kempny all getting performance bonuses. Forsling, and Hinostroza could very well ring in their bonuses, as well, so all these figures could spell a $1 million jump in overages next season. This, of course, would eat up a good majority of Scuderi's stolen money.

-Finally, lets just assume that the cap goes up $2 million and throw about that same number in cap space out there.

What does all this tell us? Someone has to go. Mind you, a player is likely to go in the expansion "draft", but I just don't see anyone higher profile than Marcus Kruger leaving through that route. We all bring up Brent Seabrook or Corey Crawford, but that would require them waiving their no trade / no movement clauses. Marcus Kruger has a modified NTC that kicks in July 1st so, as much as it would hurt the Hawks on their half of the ice and I wouldn't be happy, he looks more and more like a prime candidate. More than likely Kane, Toews, Hossa, Anisimov, Seabrook, Keith, Hjalmarsson and Crawford will be protected. This leaves three open forward spots. I will go out on a limb to say they will protect Marcus Kruger, Ryan Hartman, and Dennis Rasmussen with their final spots unless they, and by they I mean Joel Quenneville, are in love with Trevor van Riemsdyk so much that they want to risk less protecting 2 less players.

As much as I love him as a player, Brent Seabrook could certainly be moved to free up almost $7 million. Again, he has a full no trade clause in his contract, and he would need to waive this clause to go anywhere (or be left unprotected in the expansion exercise). Seabrook will be 32 years old, on the decline (as slow as the decline is) and his contract goes on way too long. Trading a player just one year into his new eight year extension isn't ideal, but this is a tough business. Tough decisions need to be made.

The sexy pick to move, with Blackhawks meatball collective, is Corey Crawford. He is halfway through his six year extension, with a reasonable market value $6 million cap hit, and also has an undisclosed modified no trade clause in his contract. John Jaeckel speculated, on our last Shoutcast (shameless plug), that it was of the "list of 10 teams" variety. Crawford is also at the top of his game (probably top 5 in the league), and will be 32 on New Years Eve. He is a cheaper player, plays a more crucial position, and has a shorter contract. All of these aspects could lead to teams preferring his name in trade talks.

The elephant in the room, though, is that while all of these losses would hurt in their own way, the Blackhawks would open up a gaping hole by trading Corey Crawford. Scott Darling is a wonderful backup, but he is a significant step backwards from Corey Crawford. As an organization, they have some defensive depth that could help alleviate the loss of Brent Seabrook much easier than the loss of Crawford, if Quenneville would use it.

::cough::
MICHAL KEMPNY
::cough::


But I digress...

If, or WHEN, Scott Darling suddenly looks more human, they have absolutely no one of substance behind him. No thank you. I'll take three more years of the goalie that is at, or near, the top of his game, rather than 7 more years of Brent Seabrook at just a hair under $7 million a clip. Again, I love Seabrook.

The bottom line is that this summer will be yet another contentious one. Someone we all know and have come to love will be playing elsewhere because of that commie Russian;

and that's ok.

The Blackhawks will recover, and they will probably just keep finding ways to keep themselves highly competitive until the end of the Toews and Kane era. After almost a decade, we all just have to figure that this is the norm.

I suppose.
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Friday, December 23, 2016

Blackhawks vs Avalanche
2-1 OT Loss Recap

"No Excuses"

by Gatekeeper


The schedule wizards of the NHL really stuck one in the fans behind when they scheduled a Friday night game on December 23rd. No one wants to spend Christmas eve-eve stapled to a United Center seat or their TV. It might be decent background fodder while most parents are rushing to wrap the mounds of gifts they had left, but it was going to be really hard to pay attention to a game against the thoroughly shitty Colorado Avalanche. I hope the Hawks asked the Avs to bring some of that special Colorado contraband with them, otherwise this was going to be a tough one to swallow.

Luckily for the Blackhawks had goalie Corey Crawford back from his illness, but the luck stopped in net. Center Vinny Hinostroza was a game time decision with and illness and the duo of Marian Hossa and Artem Anisimov were ruled out with upper body injuries. For the Avs, goalie Semyon Varlamov didn't even make the trip to Chicago, so noted Blackhawks killer Calvin Pickard was in net.

The Blackhawks definitely looked like they were indulging heavily in the ol Colorado contraband for the opening of the first period. The Avs took a 9-1 shot lead before the game was ten minutes old. A Hawks powerplay turned the tide a bit, but the Blackhawks never caught up. The Avs finished the first period with a 13-12 lead and could have easily grabbed the lead. The Hawks were going to need to finish stronger than that against the last place team in their division.

Apparently the Blackhawks weren't interested in my analysis because they came out in the second period and put forth another "ho-hum" effort, for the first half, that is. It took them until the second half of the period to finally find some motivation. A powerplay goal gave the Hawks a shot in the ass and the goals, er goal, was to follow. This sustained pressure also resulted in a 15-10 Blackhawks shot advantage.

As can happen when you only carry a one goal lead into the third period, the Blackhawks coughed up that lead, like Forklift on Wednesday's Shoutcast. After they gave up that lead, the Hawks packed it in. Even though they out shot the Avs 12-9, they really never threatened to break the tie. I guess they were just happy to get to overtime, because they gave up the game winner 25 seconds into the extra time. What a colossal waste of everyone's evening.

That said, we want to wish all of you fans a Merry Christmas, and safe travels.

The Good
  • With their second powerplay of the night not exactly going swimmingly in the second period, the Blackhawks finally got the monkey off their backs with a powerplay goal. Jonathan Toews redirected an Artemi Panarin pass over the goal line to break his scoreless streak. I guess that means I had to delete my "Jonathan Toews is just snakebitten" note.
  • The Rasmussen/Kruger/Panik line has been amazing lately. They have truly become a solid shutdown line with enough skill to toss a goal or two in.
  • Corey Crawford was not at fault, at all. He kept the Blackhawks in the game all night and his team pissed all over him.
  • Calvin Pickard continued to be a Blackhawk killer, making 38 saves and taking home a win.
  • Other than Tanner Kero, the rest of the Hawks centers were dominant at the faceoff dots.

The Bad
  • Five minutes into the game and Jordin Tootoo snuck around the defense and had a partial breakaway. What does he do? He tries some stupid fucking between the legs move and never really got a good shot off. What the shit was that? Just get a good look and shoot the puck, you fucking dopey plug! Following that, Tootoo played 3 more shifts the entire game. Good. Asshole!
  • The Avs tied the game with 5 minutes gone in the third period. It was a simple enough play that was redirected 5 feet in front of the net past Crawford. The Hawks should never have been up by only one goal at this point.
  • How do you play the last place team in your division and take them to overtime in the first place?

The Ugly
  • Just a couple of shifts into the second period, Duncan Keith almost kicked a rebound right into his own net, but Corey Crawford got the puck with the toe of his skate. That would have been embarrassing.
  • Vince Hinostroza cross checked Joe Colborne right in the fucking yap, halfway through the third period and was lucky to only end up with coincidental minors. Not a smart play.
  • Twenty five seconds into the overtime period,, and after Patrick Kane turned the puck over, Nathan MacKinnon led a 2-on-1 but took it himself and won the game.
  • This game was boring as all hell. The Hawks gave zero shits.

The #Fatrick Stankus Fatsy Stats
  • François Beauchemin (-18 Corsi) and Nikita Zadorov (-16 Corsi) were just run the hell over in possession.
  • So, when does Andrew Desjardins sit for a few games? He was far and away the worst possession play on the Hawks (-12 Corsi), and did nothing all night. This was all in just 9 total shifts and 5:47 of time on ice.
  • Tootoo would have been even worse than his -4 Corsi, if he didn't have his worthless ass stapled to the bench all night.
  • Tanner Kero didn't have a good debut at all. He couldn't win a faceoff and had a negative Corsi.

The Lineblender
Left Wing - Center - Right Wing
Panarin - Toews - Hossa
Hartman - Hinostroza - Motte
Rasmussen - Kruger - Panik
Desjardins - Kero - Tootoo

Keith - Hjalmarsson
Campbell - Seabrook
Forsling - van Riemsdyk


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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Puckin Hostile Shoutcast
Episode 72


In this 72nd Puckin Hostile Shoutcast (the Artemi Panarin episode) Gatekeeper and AtomicFroster are joined by John Jaeckel from Hockeybuzz.com and Forklift from Hockeenight.com.

The panel discuss the following:
-Gate gets some new ink from Mike Figueroa with http://www.figsigarts.com/
-Cal Clusterfuck extension in NY
-A couple of suspensions
-The EPIX "Road to the Outdoor Classics" series begins
-The Artemi Panarin Saga
-The Russian contingency plan
-The Michal Kempny Saga
-Rookies stepping up
-Corey Crawford on the verge of a return
-Games vs the Rangers, Stars, Islanders, Blues, Shark and Senators.
-Mail sack questions
-Stick around til the end....we have a surprise guest
-And of course, as always, an abundance of extremely inappropriate references and jokes in incredibly bad taste

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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Blackhawks vs. Senators
4-3 Loss Recap

"Silence in the Snow"

by Patrick Norton
@pdnorton3

The Blackhawks would be riding a five game win streak into Tuesday night’s game against the Ottawa Senators. With Corey Crawford set to return to game action before the Christmas break, Scott Darling’s heavy workload could lighten up after a ten game stretch as the Blackhawks’ #1. Darling has lasted the entirety of each and every game Crow has missed, so I guess Lars Johansson and Eric Semborski have played an equal amount of time in a Blackhawks uniform. That will be Johansson’s lasting legacy: Equal to #BlackhawksLegendEricSemborski. With a healthy bunch and a confident group, the Blackhawks looked to make it a six game win streak in time for the potential return of the two time Cup champion goaltender.


Less than five minutes into the first, Bobby Ryan netted his seventh goal of the season to put the Blackhawks behind early. Just another slow beginning for the Blackhawks; was anybody actually surprised? Artemi Panarin added to his goal count and upcoming salary with a slick one timer from Seabrook just past the halfway point of the first frame. Other than that, the period went pretty back and forth, even though the stat sheet gave the Senators a 15-9 advantage in the shots department,


The second period gave both teams difficulty entering the zone, but Ottawa grabbed the lead on a Derick Brassard shot. After a defensive meltdown, the Senators tallied another goal just ten seconds later off the stick of Tom Pyatt. Tyler Motte put one past Sens goaler Mike Condon after Hinostroza and Hartman set up the near-empty net. With the lead cut down to one, crybaby bitch Dion Phaneuf scored with 5:38 left in the second frame to extend the Sens lead back to two. Sloppy play plagued both teams in the opportunity department, but Darling wasn’t as sharp as he had been in the previous two outings.


With the need for a quick start to the third period already down two goals, Patrick Kane shipped the puck over to Richard Panik and Panik buried it. Since the puck was deflected twice and Phaneuf intentionally kicked the puck away, yet inadvertently to Panik, Kane did not receive an assist and Panik’s goal went into the scorebook as an unassisted tally. Yikes, run-on sentence much? With that structure, I ought to go back home to The Hockey Press. Ryan Hartman found himself in the middle of a scrum in front of the benches and the Blackhawks seemed to be playing with a little pep in their step. While the Hawks kept up the intensity, that was the closest they’d get. No matter how many times they’d whack at the puck, Mike Condon seemed to be there. Marcus Kruger was handed a penalty shot and couldn’t convert and that left a sour taste in mouth, similar to that of a McRib. Condon looked like a Vezina candidate in the final few minutes and the Senators hung on to take one on United Center ice, 4-3.


The Good


  • Mike Condon didn’t have a great game, but I’ll be damned, his final three minutes of play were fantastic. He kept the Sens ahead, especially since his defense just stopped playing.
  • I was already high on Hartman, but damn Vinnie Hinostroza has grown on me. Those two looked great tonight, sans Hartman’s late game penalty. If you have the chance, go and watch the replay of the Motte goal. Hartman with a nifty move in their own end to Hinostroza. Hinostroza with a shooting mentality and Motte with the right of mind to get a stick on the wobbly feed. Great play from the Quenneville Youth. (Too far?)
  • So yeah, the defense stunk it up, but hey, I didn’t see Michal Kempny active tonight. Maybe Gate will have his wet dream come true. If he can clear the damn zone, I’m all for putting him back in the lineup, no matter how much crap I’ve given him.
  • If you’re reading this, I’m sorry for the impoliteness, but Ms. Sierra Santos, how you doin’? The intermission reports were short and sweet and there was a lot of Sierra Santos and Leila Rahimi and I loved it. Call me a weirdo, but I’m 17, so it’s a normal phase.
  • Panarin has a wicked shot. Comparable to the shot of Ovechkin. I can’t fathom losing him after this season. It’d be 10X worse than losing Saad. And losing Saad sucked, too, don’t get me wrong, but Panarin is leaps and bounds ahead of the player Brandon Saad has ever been. That’s going to be lot of money spent this summer. Everyone reading this needs to invest in Canadian oil in hopes the salary cap spikes. If not, we’ll be waving by to somebody important this offseason. Whether it be Panarin or Seabrook (my prediction), it’s the harsh reality. Yikes, I seem to have forgotten this is in “The Good.”
  • Panik took a half dozen punches to the face tonight, but still played his heart out. It’s almost like his alarm clock didn’t go off and he got some extra sleep this morning. #NeverForget.


The Bad


  • I know he’s not too familiar with penalty shots, but what in God’s name was Kruger’s move? I’d take a Hossa clapper over that any day.
  • I get it. Darling’s tired, but boy, am I happy to see Crawford back in net? Darling was fantastic in Crow’s absence, but I think I speak for the logical Blackhawks when I say I feel much safer with Crawford in net.
  • Eh, I hate doggin’ him, but I expect more from last years MVP. Kaner seemed to half-ass some plays until the final ten minutes of the game.
  • I feel bad for Toews. He’s been in some great positions, but he can’t seem to get the puck to cross the damn line. We’ve seen his scoring side, but it’s tough to watch him play with such frustration.
  • The absence of Anisimov stung a bit, but we’ve missed other players more. The Hawks actually had the advantage in the faceoffs department, but it would’ve been nice to have #ArtyParty rather than Quenneville’s child Jordin Tootoo.


The Ugly


  • I don’t know if I’ve seen the Blackhawks have such difficulty exiting the defensive zone this season. It was atrocious and was a direct consequence of Ryan’s first period tally.
  • Sorry NHL, but scoring isn’t making games more exciting. I’ve watched low scoring games this year that have had me on the edge of my seat. This game puts up plenty of goals and I seriously didn’t give a damn until Kruger’s penalty shot.
  • Just when you think the penalty kill is making strides, they have a horrendous “kill.” Man, their special teams have been so hit-and-miss all season. I get that there will be some inconsistencies, but the amount of woes at the level Hawks are playing at is unacceptable.
  • Two goals in ten seconds? Absolutely unacceptable. It pisses me off to see a complete defensive malfunction and meltdown. C’mon, how do you let that happen in a close game?
  • Dion Phaneuf can suck a bag of dicks. I know, not professional, but since when is Puckin’ Hostile about being professional? Exactly. Phaneuf cries about everything. I didn’t like him in Toronto and he still whines like a bitch in Ottawa. Some people use their change of scenery to come back down to earth, but Phaneuf shit the bed on that one, eh? Complains that the Hawks are flopping to get calls, yet the Senators look like f*****g Gordon Bombay is standing behind the bench. Give it a rest.
  • Did I mention how awful the defense was tonight? Oh, I did? Well, it deserves another mention.
  • It was a frustrating game because the Blackhawks had so many opportunities, meanwhile the Senators seemed beat, but were handed goals and chances. The Blackhawks deserve one in the win column, as well for beating themselves tonight. Sure Darling wasn’t fan-freaking-tastic, but he sure deserved more help than he got.

Alright, enough of my bitching. No Fatsy Stats or Lineblender tonight because it’s going on 2 AM and I’m physically and emotionally exhausted. I had to DVR tonight's game, go back and watch it, then write the recap. Anyways, tomorrow night, Gate and two special guests roll with the Shoutcast. He’s nice enough to give Pat and me a Christmas break, along with Froster and whatever the hell he celebrates. Boxing Day? Is that the thing?
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Monday, December 19, 2016

Blackhawks vs Sharks
4-1 Win Recap

"Pleasure to Burn"

by Gatekeeper


As we all count down to Christmas, the Blackhawks were trying to continue their warm streak while also navigating a pretty busy December schedule. To complicate the situation, center Artem Anisimov was out with and upper body injury sustained in St. Louis. The Hawks had been relying heavily on goalie Scott Darling with Corey Crawford still out, which left many wondering if goalie Lars Johans-SON would make his NHL debut. Joel Quenneville confirmed shortly before game time that Scott Darling was going to start, though. The Sharks were coming in on a five game winning streak, four of which were on the road, and well rested. The Sharks also came into this game leading the pacific division which posed a serious threat to the Blackhawks. The threat was even greater because the Blackhawks had to return late from St. Louis very late the previous night, due to their game and bad weather.

You might have expected a slow start from the Blackhawks, but that wasn't so. They started off fairly competitive, compared to the Sharks. The best scoring chances were on a Blackhawks powerplay, and that was about it. They also out shot the visitors 10-6, and could call that period a win, for certain.

Of course, when the Blackhawks play a good period, they immediately come out the next period and give up a goal. This is exactly what happened a minute and thirteen seconds into the second period. Each team had powerplays in the middle of the period but neither could really generate anything substantial. After I proclaimed what a boring 34 minutes of hockey it had been, the Blackhawks spun some Shark pressure around and tied the game at the other end. San Jose led in shots 15-8, but it was tied where it counted.

Somehow the Sharks came out in the third period and laid an egg. The Blackhawks put up 3 third period goals, and which was more than enough to get them the "W". All this happened with the Blackhawks getting out shot 13-7 in the final period and 34-26 overall. if the Blackhawks have to work on anything, it's shot suppression. We'll take it though.

The Good
  • The Blackhawks finally crawled out of the basement for the penalty kill, eclipsing the Buffalo Sabres.
  • With 3:11 left in the second period, Duncan Keith made a really nice play to keep the play alive at the Sharks blue line, but missed the net with a shot. The Puck came around to Artemi Panarin on the half boards, and he fed Keith for a one timer that beat Martin Jones, and tying up the game.
  • With thirteen minutes remaining in regulation the Blackhawks took the lead and never looked back. Vinny Hinostroza won an offensive zone faceoff, and Ryan Hartman quickly snapped it past Martin Jones. The puck was in and out before anyone knew it. All world D-man Chewbacca had a front row seat of Hartman picking his goalie apart.
  • With about 2 minutes remaining, Vinny Hinostroza used Marian Hossa as a decoy on a 2-on-1 and beat Jones 5-hole to give the Blackhawks a 3-1 lead and Patrick Kane had an empty netter.
  • Ryan Hartman had himself another good night. He has all the makings of the next meatball hero, and that's alright.
  • Marian Hossa clowning the hell out of Schlemko and Braun.in the third period. I'm glad he's on the verge of LTIR.
  • Can't leave out #Fatrick's future brother in law, Scotty Darling. He had yet another strong night, with 33 saves. At this point, the Blackhawks have the strongest goaltending duo in the NHL. The Rangers are not far behind but Lundqvist is playing pretty average.

The Bad
  • Just over one minute into the second period, and innocent looking Brent Burns shot was redirected by Joe Pavelski just enough to beat Scott Darling, while Pat Foley was busy stroking Edzo off under the table because he worked 5 games in 7 days.
  • What the fuck were Panik,Hinostroza and Motte thinking, leaving Brian Campbell without a stick for a good 35 seconds in their defensive zone. GIVE UP YOUR STICK, FOOLS!

The Ugly
  • I've given up on any hope that Michal Kempny will get a fair shake from Coach Wizzo. I can't imagine he's going to spend the whole season playing every 10 days. Just fucking trade him, if you're going to play him as a number 8 guy.
  • Melker Karlsson collided awkwardly with Tyler Motte and stayed down for quite a bit. The play looked innocent, but Karlsson's head hit Motte's arm and it sure ;looked like Karlsson had his bell rung.
  • Fuck Lazarus and his stupid #PearlJamCounter. Alice In Chains was a better band.

The #Fatrick Stankus Fatsy Stats
  • Vince Hinostroza had a goal and assist, but was just crushed with a team worst -14 corsi
  • In fact, the only Blackhawks with positive corsi were Toews, Panarin, Kane, Keith and Hjalmarsson. Everyone else was negative.
  • The broadcast crews can jerk off all over TVR all they want but him and Forsling started 60% of the time in the offensive zone. That's heavy sheltering.

The Lineblender
Left Wing - Center - Right Wing
Artemi Panarin - Jonathan Toews - Patrick Kane
Ryan Hartman - Andrew Desjardins - Marian Hossa
Dennis Rasmussen - Marcus Kruger - Richard Panik
Tyler Motte - Vinnie Hinostroza - Jordin Tootoo

Duncan Keith - Niklas Hjalmarsson
Brian Campbell - Brent Seabrook
Gustav Forsling - Trevor van Riemsdyk


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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Blackhawks vs. Islanders
5-4 Win Recap

"Ambush"

by Patrick Norton
@pdnorton

Pregame

The Blackhawks enter play with the highest point total in the Western Conference, and the Islanders have the lowest total points in the Eastern Conference. This one has the scent of “trap game” from mile away. With Scott Darling playing exceptional hockey in the absence of starting goaltender Corey Crawford, the question was, would the Hawks offense be able to match the level of play of their goaltender. With the team finally getting back to full strength and coming off of a win against the New York Rangers on Tuesday night, this would be the perfect opportunity for the offense to pick up some confidence.

Game Time

Whoops. Here come all the Stan Bowman haters for letting Andrew Ladd go. Just 2:14 into the first period, Ladd scored just his fourth goal of the season. The Islanders then grabbed the Hawks by the pucks with Casey Cizikas also picked up his fourth goal of the year. Down two, the Hawks went to work. After Ryan Hartman duped Cizikas into taking a roughing penalty, the Blackhawks got on the board with an Artemi Panarin one-timer. It didn’t take long for the Blackhawks and even it up. On another powerplay, some tic-tac-toe passing led to an Anisimov equalizer. Then, an incredible pass from Ryan Hartman gave Marian Hossa an empty net. Up 3-2, the Islanders felt the pressure and responded. Ryan Strome snuck one past Darling and tied it up towards the end of period number one. At the end of one, it was all knotted up at three...THREE!

That didn’t take long. Just twenty-two seconds into the second period, Anders Lee redirected an Islanders shot to give New York a one goal lead. After that? Both teams took a nap. After an eventful first period, the Islanders couldn’t pull away, but the Blackhawks couldn’t tie it up. A very lackluster period to follow up an energized first period. BUT WAIT A SECOND. Another PPG! With 18.7 seconds left in the second, Artemi Panarin scored off a nifty pass from Brent Seabrook. Maybe some momentum heading into the third?

Sure, there have been four goals for each team through two periods, but this game has been kind of bland. Hopefully the third would prove to be a little bit different. The first fourteen minutes of the third were very similarly to the second. Richard Panik was finally able to break the ice and give the Hawks the lead, their first since the first period. That’s all they would need, too. Somehow, the Blackhawks steal this one, 5-4.

The Good

  • The offense is alive and well. Three first period goals, including two on the powerplay finally gave fans something to cheer for on offense. Totalling five tallies including adding another on the powerplay gave them THREE PPGs.
  • The penalty kill was pretty solid. They didn’t give away many opportunities and were able to keep the Islanders from scoring on the advantage.
  • Marian Hossa is absolutely tearing it up. He scored his sixteenth goal of the season. Oh yeah, but he’s old, so it doesn’t count.
  • The powerplay was better than great. It helps that the Islanders penalty kill was trash, but the PP was marvelous, nonetheless.
  • Hjalmarsson is a stud. Blocking shots left and right. I can’t imagine the bruises he wakes up with in the morning.
  • Defensively, the first 20:22 were awful, but the remaining 39:38 showed a tightened up core, but also saw some new pairing. We saw a lot less Kempny and a Keith and Seabrook pairing.
  • Special teams was a solid tonight, which is always good to see when that’s been a big struggle for the team.
  • Talk about a team win. Needed a win that relied on something other than spectacular goaltending. Now, put it all together and put the best possible product on the ice. So, uhhh, not Jordin Tootoo.
  • Seabrook improved throughout the night and finished with two helpers, along with Keith.
  • Bread Man finished with a two goals and an assist. Last time I checked, he still does not have a contract extension.

The Bad

  • Sure, it was nice to score three goals in the first, but the start to the game was soooo sloooow. I don’t get how a league leading team can be so consistently bad at jumping out of the gun.
  • The Hinostroza line dressed. I think.
  • Konroyd and Boyle continue to find themselves in this section of the recap. When talking about potential #1 stars of the game, the seemed confused about Ryan Hartman and forgot about his behind-the-back pass to Hossa. C’mon. It was a sweet dish, but their only positive was a darn open ice check in the first period.
  • Ryan Hartman won over the hearts of a lot of fans tonight. He baited a penalty and had a sweet assist .Another good-near-great game for the kid.

The Ugly

  • Sorry Gate, but Kempny sucked. Seabrook wasn’t much better in the first period. Remember how the score was 3-3 at the end of one? Both defenseman were -3 at that point, too. Coincidence? I think not!
  • The start to the second was all Islanders. Surprisingly, they were only able to scratch one across the goal line in the entire period.
  • Puck possession for the Hawks was pretty crappy. Besides the powerplay, the Hawks had trouble getting sustained opportunities. The second and third period was full of sloppy passes and weak shots.
  • Scott Darling didn’t have the best defense being played in front of him, but he looked like a combination of Gate and Brian Elliott out there. He’s been worked a lot, but it looks like Crawford is close to a return, so Darling just has to get through a couple more.
  • This game was ugly for me. I’ve never had such difficulty critiquing a team. Sure, the first period was treacherous, but once the Islanders scored a fourth goal, the Blackhawks got their heads out of their respective asses. You can’t throw away an entire period of horrible defense, but the Hawks regrouped very well.
  • I’m still not positive if Jordin Tootoo actually skated once.
  • Thomas Greiss has a miserable night in net. Sorry pal, but you can’t let your team score four goals on a scorching goalie and still lose the damn game. That’s like rule number one in goalie school.

The Lineblender
Left Wing - Center - Right Wing
Hartman - Toews - Hossa
Panarin - Anisimov - Kane
Rasmussen - Kruger - Panik
Desjardins - Hinostroza - Tootoo

*I’d put the defensive pairing here, too, but they changed every thirty seconds*

#Fatrick Stankus Fatsy Stats

  • The PAK line had Corsi’s through the roof, but Brian Campbell shocked me when I saw he finished +16.
  • Michal Kempny finished with a team low -4. Not horrible, but still, not great.
  • The Blackhawks took just 23/53 at the dot. But they also took two points, so who gives a rats ass.

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