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Friday, July 28, 2017

Blackhawks Sign Hostile Favorite
Goalie Collin Delia


The Blackhawks announced this morning that they had finalized a deal to bring former Merrimack junior goalie Collin Delia in to the Blackhawks organization and goalie fold. As one might expect, I was absolutely delighted to hear this, because I have been singing the song of Delia for about 12 months. Last summer, when he was coming off a visit to the Ducks prospect camp, he caught my goalie eye. Even though he went back to Merrimack for his Junior season, he attended Capitals camp this summer, as well, and was invited back to Blackhawks camp. Seeing a free agent two years in a row, in the same team's camp is rare. NHL organizations were taking a long hard look at this California kid, and with the house cleaning the Blackhawks performed this spring/summer another solid goalie in the pipeline is never a bad problem to have.



Ever since I saw Delia play during the prospect camp of 2016, I was intrigued with his style and very calm demeanor. He was coming off an injury plagued sophomore season, that saw his stats dip, after an impressive freshman nine game look the season before. Even though he didn't miss much time, his goals against went up by over a goal a game and his save percentage went down by .050, as a result. Just watching Delia play, though, it was hard to not be impressed. He has decent size at 6'2" and roughly 200lbs, but he's no physical giant like Scott Darling. The first thing that really caught my eye, though, was his smooth fluid movement sliding side to side. Look, it's not easy to master sliding side to side on ice without some little imperfections, but Delia looked to have his weight distribution locked in. He makes it look so simple, which takes exceptional bio-mechanics to accomplish. Not only does he move very smooth, but his natural reflexes were on display both this year and last, more specifically, his glove hand. Delia has a low compact stance, which allows him to explode in any direction quick and efficiently, and he's also very flexible. He came back this summer healthier, and better overall, after getting back on track with a very respectable 2.15 goals against average and .927 save percentage, while being named Hockey East Third Team All-Star and the league’s Stop It Goaltending Champion. It is easy to see why Blackhawks goalie specialists Jimmy Waite, and Peter Aubry were licking their lips. He came into prospect camp and stole the spotlight from camp vet and former draft pick Matt Tomkins, which led GM Stan Bowman to personally pull Delia aside to acknowledge his great week at camp.

With Friday's signing, the Blackhawks now have six goalies under their umbrella in one fashion or another. Delia will, most likely, attend the Traverse City Rookie tournament with the Blackhawks rookies, later this summer. He will also attend the pro training camp in September, when all but Corey Crawford's starting job could be up for grabs. Goalie Matt Tomkins signed an AHL deal just before prospect camp, but with JF Berube and Jeff Glass signed to NHL deals, Tomkins looks to be all but Indy bound. This leaves Delia on the cusp of Rockford and Indy. Anything can happen, and given Jeff Glass' age, Delia could push for a backup spot in Rockford with strong training camps.

Peripherally, I am still not sold on Anton Forsberg as Crawford's backup, and JF Berube could surprise people, as well. Most likely, the depth will play out with Crawford/Forsberg in Chicago, with Berube/Glass in Rockford and Delia/Tomkins in Indy. Don't be surprised of you see Berube and/or Delia make some waves and force the Blackhawks to make some more complicated decisions, though.

Here are some videos I took last week, at prospect camp, of Delia and his stats:







Goalie Collin Delia finishes with a first big glove save #Blackhawks @collindelia @fire_cycle

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Goalie Collin Delia finishes with a second big glove save #Blackhawks @collindelia @fire_cycle

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Collin Delia with the windmill glove. #Blackhawks @collindelia @fire_cycle

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Delia makes a nice save with the blocker. #Blackhawks

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Puckin Hostile Shoutcast
Episode 87


In this Puckin Hostile Shoutcast Episode 87 (the Sidney Crosby of episodes) Gatekeeper is running solo but joined by returning guest and www.BlackhawkUp.com writer Aaron Goldschmidt as well as first time guest www.SecondCityHockey.com writer Mario Tirabassi for three more hours of Blackhawks hockey talk.

The topics discussed include:
-Couple of new reviews.
-Fatrick doesn't even make it to the starting line, and neither do the other two Puckin clowns.
-Brian Campbell retires.
-Johnny Oduya finds a new home
-Blackhawks prospect camp comes and goes. The Blackhawks blogging "wolfpack" spent a lot of quality time together, and spend a good deal of time on camp.
-Team Delia,and #DealForDeals.
-Blackhawks convention also came and went.
-Listener/Reader questions.
-Much less inappropriate jokes than usual.

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

Get the Shoutcast directly though Soundcloud here:


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Friday, July 21, 2017

Puckin Hostile 2017 Blackhawks
Prospect Camp Wrap-up


The Blackhawks wrapped up their annual post draft summer prospect and development camp early Friday afternoon. The organization changed their focus from a large group of free agent try outs, to a majority of Blackhawks draftees with a handful of mostly local free agents. This is actually a good adjustment for a few reasons. First of all, you don't "muddy the water" with a bunch of player that will probably amount to very little, if nothing at all, in the NHL. Second, the Hawks get more time and space to actually focus on their own assets. Last, and sometimes overlooked, you don't have some dumb, desperate free agent trying to make a name for himself by destroying your prized players in the open ice. It doesn't happen often but every once in a while you get a situation like Cam Barker blowing up Teuvo Teravainen and injuring him. No one needs that when the team is in such a state of transition.

Monday through Thursday the two teams of prospects spent most of their time doing drills, and sprinkled in a little 4-vs-4 scrimmaging. This was just enough to give us a little taste of what these players had at a very basic level. It is true that none of these drills can truly gauge what a player will do in the NHL, against actually adult players, but it did give us a good idea of what raw talent they may have.

The Blackhawks trotted out a few of their golden show ponies, as they do every year, and paraded them in front of the media. High former draft picks like Alex Debrincat and Graham Knott were on hand as well as this year's first round pick Henri Jokiharju. Naturally, the mainstream media spend the week leading up to the camp slobbering all over these players, which turned out to be some time wasted, but this is nothing new.

Unfortunately, last year's bell of the ball, Alexandre Fortin, was recovering from recent sports hernia surgery, so he was not available to participate in on ice activities. I, for one, was looking forward to seeing more of him, after he stormed through camp last year like a bat out of hell and earned himself an NHL contract. I guess we'll have to wait until September to see more of him, but word on the street is that he added about 20 pound since last summer. That could be very dangerous to other prospects looking for a shot, if he carries that weight well and it doesn't slow him down.

The question this year was just who would stand out and, possibly, earn themselves a spot with the NHL club this October. Spoiler Alert; none of them did. This is not a bad thing, though. Rarely do players in these camps stand out so vividly that they force the team's hand. This camp is for assessing future talent, which is something everyone should remember. FUTURE TALENT, not current.

Enough of me yammering on, let's get to the players. First of all, I'll give you the bad news...

  • Alex Debrincat - The first thing I have to express strongly is that I do NOT hate Alex Debrincat. I do NOT want him to fail. I do NOT want him to be a bust. I hope this kid develops into a really good top 6 forward someday. SOMEDAY! At this moment in time, Alex Debrincat is not ready to play in the NHL. Period. Make up excuses all you'd like. The reason I have been so adamant about this kid is the relentless media horseshit we've all been fed by the shovel load about his bum slaying stats in the OHL against kids. He does not have the raw skill to step off the OHL ice and into the NHL. That's the bottom line.

    First of all, you're probably all aware that he's a really short player. He might be 5'6"/5'7" and it "reported" to weigh in the area of 160 pounds. You can rattle off names like Martin St. Louis, Jeff Skinner, Tyler Johnson and Tyler Ennis but he's not as fast as ANY of these guys, nor does he had the lower body strength, yet. He needs to improve his foot speed, or he's going to have an incredibly hard time against much bigger NHL adults. We watched him play 1-on-1, 2-on-1, 2-on-2, 3-on-2, 3-on-3, and 4-on-4. In none of those drills did he stand out. In fact, he struggled against any players that had size or knew how to use a proper gap against him. He would get frustrated, lose the puck, and spend the remaining time unsuccessfully trying to get the puck back. He certainly scored a couple of times, but not anything close to the complete domination that we were all told we were going to see.

    "In those drill you're not going to see his true talent for finding soft spots in the defense". This is something else we've all been fed, right? Friday, they played a full 5-on-5 game situation. He was no more noticeable than the free agent invitees. He didn't pull an end to end Teuvo Teravainen play from a few years ago. He didn't hang out in the slot and snipe lasers from the top of the circle. He was AVERAGE. Like it or not, that's the truth. Accept it, or you're going to be sadly disappointed. Unless he miraculously finds top end foot speed in two months, he needs to probably spend most of the next season in Rockford working on separation speed against pro players. Stop slapping unrealistic expectations on 19 year old players who aren't ready. Let him develop and ease him in. You're only setting him up for failure and yourself for immense disappointment. Haven't we learned by now???
  • Graham Knott - I'll be the first to admit that I rarely know much about these prospects the night they are drafted. I need to see them on the ice, in their element, to know what they bring. Knott puzzled me from the first time I saw him, and puzzles me to this day. He is certainly big, which may be what the Hawks saw. As of the last, THREE prospect camps, he has shown only that. He should change his name to Graham Nott. I certainly like big players. Ones that can actually play, though. I really liked John Hayden in prospect camp. Radovan Bondra was great 2 years ago. Matheson Iacopelli, and Beau Starrett had a nice camp this year. I'm completely baffled as to what the Blackhawks saw, or want from Knott, though. He's not even slightly quick. He's not overly strong. He doesn't shoot exceptionally hard or accurately. He doesn't even get his shot off relatively fast. He is big, slow and lumbering. Just a guy. They played him at center in the scrimmage, so maybe they want him to be the next Dennis Rasmussen. Even that is quite a reach. I'd expect a little more out of a player that was drafted 54th overall.

    Maybe he develops into something handy, but at the moment, he's JUST a big dude, which isn't going to earn you an NHL job.

    ...unless you can fight. Then it gets you in the All-Star game.

You can poke your head out from under the covers, because now I'm going to give you the good news (and prove to you that I'm not all doom and gloom)...

  • Dylan Sikura - This kid is something else. Most of us have heard that he had a nice season at Northeastern University in New England, but he delivered the payload, and more. This all from a SIXTH round pick. He came into camp and backed up his reputation from the moment he stepped on the ice, and never let off the gas. He was scoring goals, using his speed, and looking like a high round draft pick. I will be utterly shocked if he doesn't place high for the Hobey Baker this year. The Blackhawks need to sign him to a contract the second his college season ends, too, because he's got the tools to be a valuable player. If you don't believe me, look at this play during the scrimmage from our boy Aaron at Blackhawk Up. Sikura doesn't score on the play, but that is only because of a great effort by Matt Tomkins. The moves and skill are exciting as hell.
  • Collin Delia - OK, Egregious goalie fanboy time. You all know I'm a goalie, and I pay close attention to the position. I'm a goalie geek, and this kind of camp might be the best opportunity for me to see the raw skills of young goalies. This also especially important right now, with the turnover of the depth in the organization. That said, I saw this free agent kid play last summer, and didn't know a damn thing about him. Immediately, I really liked what I saw. He had really compact stance, and a quick glove. He was smooth side to side, and didn't over slide the play. He was calm, and relaxed most of the time. Just a good looking player. He went back and played his Junior year at Merrimack and played very well. These were all reasons I was stoked to hear he was coming back this summer. He did not disappoint me at all, and he actually made me look like I might know something (Thanks Collin, I owe you a $20).

    From the moment he stepped on the ice, he was the best goalie in camp. He looked better and even more composed than last year. His glove looked better and he was very loose. I don't often get excited about goalies in prospect camp, because in a butterfly style world most goalies looks very similar. If the Blackhawks don't scoop him up (and they definitely should) some team will snatch him up and you'll hear his name again. This is a player you take a chance on. I'm standing by my word.
  • Tim Soderlund - Scott Powers gave us a little taste of the Tim Soderlund show before he ever stepped on the ice for the Blackhawks, and Soderlund showed everyone that attended what Scotty was talking about. He is a smallish player, which scares me right out of the chute, but he has something Debrincat doesn't have; speed. Granted, he is a couple of inches taller but not much. Another trait Soderlund has is that he goes hard to the net, no matter who is in his way. He plays the puck tough in the corners and he can dish the puck, as well. He's a well rounded player. Keep your eyes on this guy, because he will be in the mix shortly, until they have to throw him in to get out from under Seabrook's deal.
  • Mathias From - Not a guy that received a lot of mainstream attention, but he reminded me a little of Phillip Danault, even though From is a wing. He has very deceptive speed and whizzed by defensemen more than a couple of times on 1-on-1 drills. The place where is lacks is finishing. In camp and in his stats, you don't see many goals out of him. This doesn't mean he can't turn into a bottom 6 bulldog of a forechecker and speedy defensive specialist. He has the size, at 6'1" 190. He is worth keeping an eye out for.
  • Jack Ramsey - I didn't have anything worth noting last summer with Ramsey, but he definitely gave us all a show this week. He was named the best player on the winning white team, in Friday's scrimmage, and was very noticeable mostly because of his size. Did I mention that he had 2 goals in that scrimmage?

    The first thing, though, that caught my eye was his quick, accurate shot. Monday, In a couple of drills, he sent some laser beam, one timers over the goalie's blockers. This continued the entire week. Now don't get me wrong, Ramsey is a SEVENTH round draft pick (208th overall). He has a combined ONE goal and TEN points in his entire two year, 67 game college career, but he was on fire this week. Might be the best hockey he has played in his entire life. Good for him.
  • Chad Krys - I had heard about his disappointing season this last year, which left him off the USA U-18 roster, so I wasn't expecting much. The only thing I can imagine is that he was injured, because Krys looked like a really nice player in this camp. Not many defensemen stood out, but Krys showed his great skating off the entire week. If he has a bounce back year at Boston University, there could be a lot of attention paid next summer. Luckily the Blackhawks have the option of letting him marinate in college and don't need to rush him along.

These are just a few of the highlights, but players like Iacopelli, Will Pelletier, Matthew Highmore, Roy Radke, Henri Jokiharju and Matt Tomkins all had a nice week, as well. Feel free to take a look at my notes below. If you have any more inquiries, please email me at PuckinHostile@gmail.com.

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Blackhawks Prospect/Development Camp
Rosters and Schedule Released



The Blackhawks released their roster and schedule for next week's prospect/development camp, this morning. Here are a few notes to keep in mind:
  • Alexandre Fortin, Fredrik Olofsson and Jakub Galvas are listed as "injured" and are listed for off ice activities only.
  • Only six free agent invitees on the rosters (seven if you include Roy Radke). This is down quite a bit from the past camps.
  • Former Merrimack goalie, and Hostile favorite, Collin Delia is not listed as a free agent but actually is.
  • Two of the seven free agent invitees (Joey Keane, Brogan Rafferty) are from Chicago area (Homer Glen/Dundee).
  • Three of the seven free agent invitees are goalies (Collin Delia, Kyle Keyser, Hayden Lavigne).
  • Rockford's Will Pelletier (24) is the oldest and free agent invitee Joey Keane is the youngest (18 on 7/2).
  • Those hoping to see actual scrimmages any day other than Friday will be disappointed, which means If you plan to go Friday, it'll be a madhouse unless you get there early
  • Unless you are a big fan of drills, Monday through Thursday will be a wasted trip for you. Plan accordingly.
  • This camp has truly gone from a prospect search to a organizational development camp. Less hockey and free agents; more training and prospects from the organization.
  • No Russian prospects are attending

Check out the group rosters and schedule for the week, below:




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Tuesday, July 4, 2017

2017-18 Chicago Blackhawks
Salary Cap Hits

This will be a running ticker throughout the season. Roster members are only estimated until the season begins.


by Gatekeeper
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Puckin Hostile Shoutcast
Episode 86


In this Puckin Hostile Shoutcast Episode 86 (the Teuvo Teravainen memorial episode) Gatekeeper, and Norton are joined by another www.BlackhawkUp.com writer Aaron Goldschmidt for 3 1/2 hours of actual hockey talk.

But first make sure you let this guy know that one doesn't put ketchup on eggs:


The topics discussed include:
-Fatrick doesn't even make it to the starting line, so Norton wears two Fatrick hats
-We have a hard time finding much we don't all agree on
-#NoKetchupOnEggs
-Screw that prima donna Ilya Kovalchuk
-More on the Blackhawks Panarin and Hjalmarsson trades
-We completely gloss over the Marcus Kruger trade, just to chafe Fatrick's behind
-Don't forget the draft
-Free agency opens with a Blackhawks whimper
-The rest of the NHL does their free agency thing
-Listener/Reader questions
-And of course, as always, an abundance of extremely inappropriate references and jokes in incredibly bad taste

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

Get the Shoutcast directly though Soundcloud here:


For all your custom jersey needs visit Black and Tan Sports at:
http://www.facebook.com/BlackAndTanSports
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Saturday, July 1, 2017

Chicago Blackhawks
2017 Free Agent Ticker


Here is your running ticker of Blackhawks signings or transactions. We will provide a more comprehensive recap after the festivities wrap up.

Blackhawks Trades

Blackhawks Free Agent Signings
  • Blackhawks sign wing Patrick Sharp for one year at $800,000, with reported bonuses.
  • Blackhawks sign center/forward Tommy Wingels for one year.
  • Blackhawks sign goalie Jean-Francois Berube for two years at a reported $750,000 per.
  • Blackhawks sign defenseman Jordan Oesterle for two years at a reported $650,000 per.
  • Blackhawks sign center Lance Bouma for one year.
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