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Saturday, October 14, 2017

Blackhawks vs Predators
2-1 OT Win Recap

"Cutting Teeth"

by Gatekeeper



After taking their first regulation and home loss Thursday night against the Wild, the Blackhawks faced another division rival, the Predators. The Preds came in 0-2 on the road thus far. In fact, they started 0-2 on the road to open the season, and were able to claw back to .500 with a couple of home wins. Filip Forsberg came in as the hottest Nashville player in this young season with four goals and six points. Nashville was also nursing some injuries as defensemen Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis were not in the lineup. Nick Schmaltz missed his third straight game with an upper both injury sustained agains the Blue Jackets in game 2.

The two teams played a pretty hard and eventful first period, even though neither was able to get on the scoreboard. There were break-a-ways both ways, failed power plays, shorthanded chances, and great saves. All the things you need to have an entertaining scoreless game. Giving up 18 shots in a single period at home isn’t ideal, though. The Blackhawks managed 11 shots of their own, which was decent by comparison.

For a majority of the second period the Preds led in scoring chances and shots on net. With under two minutes remaining in the period, the Preds finally cracked the scoreboard, on the powerplay. Nashville led in shots and scoring chances again, 12-8.

In the third period, the Blackhawks actually looked like they cared. They came out and scored the game tying goal, late, while holding the Preds to only 8 shots. That effort was enough to get the game to overtime, which the Blackhawks were able to eventually score the game winner.

The Good
  • John Hayden came off his big fight the other night to continue impressing. He was thrown out on the ice for the penalty kill in the third period and singlehandedly took on three Preds players and got a solid shorthanded chance. Later he was reward by getting moved up with the third line and earned an assist.
  • It took almost 55 minutes, but the Blackhawks finally got their first goal with just over five minutes remaining. Cody Franson sealed the boards on and attempted Predators clear and puck landed at the feet of John Hayden. Hayden dumped the puck to Patrick Sharp, who headed for the net and beat Rinne.
  • Once the Blackhawks got to overtime, the Predators were just out of gas. The Toews, Kane, and Keith line ran the Nashville ragged. Once the line hit the ice for their second shift, the Preds were exhausted. Jonathan Toews went off for a change and Brandon Saad jumped on the ice in enough time to play give-and-go with Patrick Kane for the game winner.
  • the Blackhawks had a nice night at the faceoff dots, winning 58% of draws. Every Blackhawks center won at least 50%, including fill-in center Ryan Hartman
  • It took quite a comeback, but the Blackhawks battled back from the dead in possession numbers to almost pull even at 68-67.
  • Cody Franson actually had a good game. I think he's finally getting his feet under him. Just too bad it is at the expense of Connor Murphy. Even Gustav Forsling looked alright for the first time this season. This Murphy situation needs to be resolved pretty quickly.
  • Corey Crawford was incredible once again. He had another 37 saves, keeping his save percentage above .950, and currently leads the league in wins, goals against avg, and save percentage.

The Bad
  • The Blackhawks gave up yet another early shorthanded breakaway and a few other excellent chances while on the powerplay. Of course, their goalie bailed them out so we won’t hear much about it. I would have loved to blame the 4-1 setup they have been using but both of the solid chances had 2 defensemen on the ice. Now there is really no excuse.
  • The Golden Midget took another hard hit, this time from behind, in the second period and got up slow. He also spent extended time on the bench, following the hit.
  • Speaking of the Golden Midget, I hate when the broadcast team completely ignores questionable plays that should lead to criticism. In the third period, DeBrincat was on the powerplay and left back as the only defender. With forwards bearing down, he backed almost into Corey Crawford’s face and then just “fell” to his knees when the puck carrier cut to the left.
  • Joel Quenneville rolled out the line blender, again, in the third period. He moved DeBrincat with Hartman and Kane, then had Sharp, with Anisimov and Hayden. This moved Tanner Kero back to the fourth line.

The Ugly
  • A late second period powerplay turned into the first goal of the game. An offensive zone penalty gave Nashville all the opportunity they needed.
  • I want to know who is telling these analysts that “The scouting report is that Pekka Rinne is really good at playing the puck”, because that period is terrible at their job. Rinne is average when he is at his best. If you pressure him, he is terrible. Stop telling people he's good at it!

The Lineblender
Left Wing - Center - Right Wing
Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Richard Panik
Ryan Hartman - Tanner Kero - Patrick Kane
Patrick Sharp - Artem Anisimov - Alex Debrincat
Lance Bouma - Tommy Wingels - John Hayden

Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook
Michal Kempny - Cody Franson
Gustav Forsling - Jan Rutta


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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Blackhawks vs Wild
5-2 Loss Recap

"Abysmal"

by Gatekeeper


The Blackhawks were back home to face the winless Minnesota Wild, Thursday night. By winless, the Wild are only 0-1-1, but winless nonetheless. The Blackhawks came in with the league’s second leading scorer in Brandon Saad (tied), and three players tied for 3rd in Patrick Kane, Ryan Hartman, and Richard Panik. The Wild, on the other hand, were dealing with some injuries so Zach Parise and Mikael Granlund weren’t available.

During the first period, Other than a few big hits by each team, the play was painfully boring. The scoreboard said that the shots favored the Wild 8-6, but there wasn’t much action at all. That’s about all that can be said.

The second period had much more action, including a few partial break-a-ways. Even though the Wild scored the lone goal in the period it was the Blackhawks that led in shots on net 16-9. After a generally insufferable first period, this middle frame set up a big third period.

And a big third period it was, for all the wrong reasons. The Blackhawks had a decent amount of momentum and then an unfortunate bounce turned into a 2-1 Wild lead, despite the Blackhawks challenging the play for offsides. With the new rules this season the Blackhawks were assessed a delay of game penalty for losing the challenge and the wild converted on the powerplay. So, like a pouty baby, the Blackhawks coach pulled his goaltender with over four minutes remaining and gave up on his team. Another late empty netter really poured salt in the wound before the Blackhawks scored a late, pointless, powerplay goal with under a minute to go.

The Good
  • John Hayden had what look like a pretty uneventful fight with Marcus Foligno until Hayden tagged Foligno with a wild right hand to the chin that buckled knees of the Wild forward.
  • The blenderific line of Patrick Kane, Tanner Kero and Ryan Hartman finally got the Blackhawks on the scoreboard and tied the game in the third period. Kane saw that the Blackhawks had numbers deep behind the Wild defense in front of the Wild net and lofted a shot towards Tanner Kero, who was screening Devan Dubnyk. The rebound popped out into the slot area and Ryan Hartman shoveled it past Dubnyk.
  • What seemed like seconds after the Hartman goal, Artem Anisimov got a similar very rebound to the goal with a wide open net and beat Dubnyk, but the puck hit both posts and some how stayed out of the net.
  • Not even going to go into depth about Jonathan Toews’s late powerplay goal, because their future hall of fame coach made it completely irrelevant.
  • Corey Crawford was huge, once again, and especially so in the second and third periods. I'm sure someone will find a way to blame him for the final 3 goals, but he was obviously in no way at fault.
  • The Hawks actually outshot the Wild 38-34, overall.
  • As far as possession goes, the Blackhawks looked good. Only 5 players were under water (Hartman, Anisimov, Hayden, Keith and Seabrook).

The Bad
  • Joel Quenneville once again fired up the line lender swapping Artem Anisimov and Tommy Wingels. I will never understand Tommy Wingels playing second line center. Makes zero sense to me. Thankfully he switch Tanner Kero there later.

The Ugly
  • Late in the second period, it looked like the Blackhawks were going to go into the intermission scoreless, but a terrible turnover turned into a gift of a goal. The play was ping ponging back and forth, and the Blackhawks looked to have snuffed a Wild rush but Gustav Forsling turned the puck over trying to be cute and flip it by the Wild forechecker. That didn’t work out and the Wild had a deep 2-on-1 that Eric Staal narrowly beat Corey Crawford with.
  • Halfway through the third period it looked like the Wild had an easy goal to go up 2-1, but the Blackhawks challenged. Unfortunately, the goal stood and then the Blackhawks went on the penalty kill.
  • Of course the resulting powerplay turned into a Wild goal, and put them up 3-1. Brutal turn of events after what should have been an overturned goal.
  • In one of the most stupid trends this league has dabbled in the past couple of seasons, Joel Quenneville pulled Corey Crawford with over four minutes remaining and almost immediately gave up an empty net goal. GOOD! Serves you right, for pulling that epically stupid move.
  • AND THE STUPIDITY DOESN’T STOP THERE! The Blackhawks got a powerplay and pulled their goalie again...

    And gave up another empty net goal.

    They could have been down 3-1 with a powerplay, and had a chance to close that to a one goal lead, but hang two empty netters on Joel Quenneville.

The Lineblender
Left Wing - Center - Right Wing
Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Richard Panik
Ryan Hartman - Artem Anisimov - Patrick Kane
Patrick Sharp - Tanner Kero - Alex Debrincat
Lance Bouma - Tommy Wingels - John Hayden

Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook
Michal Kempny - Cody Franson
Gustav Forsling - Jan Rutta


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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Puckin Hostile Shoutcast
Episode 92


In this Puckin Hostile Shoutcast Episode 92 (the Bernie Nicholls episode) Gatekeeper and Double J, John Jaeckel, breakdown the last week in Blackhawks hockey and check in with Mark Grainda from the Indy Fuel division of Sin Bin Hockey.

The topics discussed include:
-Mark gives us the low down on the Indy Fuel
-Wouldn't be a Shoutcast without a #HostileLegendCollinDelia mention
-The Blackhawks make a minor trade
-Undue Artem Anisimov hate.
-Alex Debrincat scores his first NHL goal, and Gate addresses it
-Connor Murphy has a seat on the healthy scratch express
-Blackhawks go 3-0-1 in their first 4 games
-A new average listener review
-Listener/Reader questions

and some big things are on horizon.

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

You can find the Shoutcast on Google Play Music here:
https://play.google.com/music/m/It4fd6pv6tv2w5atfvuyuw4uyza?t=Puckin_Hostile_Blackhawks_Shoutcast

You can listen to the episode on Stitcher here:
https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/puckinhostile/puckin-hostile-blackhawks-shoutcast

Get the Shoutcast directly though Soundcloud here:


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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Blackhawks at Montreal
3-1 Win Recap

"SUPERTZAR"

by Gatekeeper


The Blackhawks limped into Montreal tonight after barely making it out of Toronto with a point, the previous night. This time around it was the Blackhawks that came out slow, but then picked up their game. Enough with the formalities, because I'm tired and worn out. Also, give a listen to the podcast I did with the Talkin Hawks guys after the game. Think of it as a special little bonus for this recap.


The Good
  • Late in the first period, the Wonder Midget finally scored his first NHL goal. Nothing too flashy, just well placed one timer through a screen that eluded Carey Price. It’s about damn time.
  • The Blackhawks weren’t finished in the first period, though. Nineteen seconds later, Brandon Saad finished a 3-on-2 with a slam dunk into a wide open net. Just that quickly, the Hawks went from down one to up by one.
  • The Blackhawks extended their lead halfway through the second period just as the powerplay was ending. This, of course, almost didn’t happen when the Wonder Midget tried a fancy blind backhand pass to no one, which led to a shorthanded partial breakaway. Corey Crawford bailed the kid out, and Debrincat then assisted on an Artem Anisimov power play goal at the other end that Cody Franson also got an assist on.
  • After a pretty lucky first period, the Blackhawks had a much better second period, scoring the only goal, on the powerplay and out shooting the home team 12-7.
  • Corey Crawford once again displayed his absolute mastery of the Canadiens in Montreal. If not for Crawford, the Blackhawks don’t win this game. The title is all Corey Crawford.

The Bad
  • In theory, the scoreboard said that the Blackhawks had a good first period, but the eye test says otherwise. All the advance metric categories also indicate that the Blackhawks got their butts kicked.
  • As good as the second period was, the third was that bad. The Hawks were out shot 16-6 and relied solely on Crawford to keep them in the game.
  • It also didn’t take long for the Quenneville shenanigans to begin. Halfway through the first period Lance Bouma got benched in favor of a double shifting Patrick Kane. By the third period the fourth and second lines had been all mixed up for good with Hayden/Wingels/Kane playing together, and Bouma/Anisimov/Hartman playing together.
  • Debrincat’s bad turnovers didn’t stop in the second period. He turned one over in the third period as well, that led to another Habs break-a-way. It wasn’t all bad, because the kid hustled back to tie the Canadiens forward, Paul Byron, up enough that he never got the shot off.
  • The Wonder Midget wasn’t the only player that had bad turnovers. Franson had a pretty egregious one, and Gustav Forsling was spun around like a top a few times. If you’re ok giving up these mistakes early, it’ll only make these players better for the late playoff push. I still think Debrincat and Forsling could use seasoning in Rockford, at some point.

The Ugly
  • It only took the Blackhawks 1:15 to give up a terrible goal, when Ryan Hartman flubbed a pass and the puck ended up past Crawford. The Habs spent a majority of the rest of the period with the puck; until the final 2 minutes.

The Lineblender
Left Wing - Center - Right Wing
Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Richard Panik
Ryan Hartman - Artem Anisimov - Patrick Kane
Patrick Sharp - Tanner Kero - Alex Debrincat
Lance Bouma - Tommy Wingels - John Hayden

Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook
Michal Kempny - Cody Franson
Gustav Forsling - Jan Rutta


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Blackhawks at Toronto
4-3 OT Loss Recap

"Stranded"

by Gatekeeper


Monday night the Blackhawks rolled into Toronto to face a team that was just as equally hot as they were. Both the Hawks and Leafs lead the league after scoring 15 goals each, in their first two games. The Leafs are that young up-and-coming team, much like the Blackhawks in 2009, while the Hawks are that older team just looking to hang on for one last chance at winning the Stanley Cup. Like the Hawks on 09, the Leafs have young superstars in Auston Matthews, William Nylander, and Mitch Marner. They also added a Marian Hossa type veteran in the off-season in Patrick Marleau. Last night was an excellent opportunity, along with the inevitable game against Edmonton, to take a look at the old guard and new. Can the Blackhawks be that Redwings type team that gives the kids one last beating before they take home one last crown? Only time will tell.

The Blackhawks had Anton Forsberg making his NHL regular season debut, with Corey Crawford scheduled to start against his hometown Canadiens, in Montreal, the Tuesday night. Nick Schmaltz didn't make the two game trip to Canada, after sustaining an upper body injury in the first period against the Blue Jackets on Saturday night. Tanner Kero, who missed Saturday's game, made his return to the lineup in this one.

We all just keep waiting for the domination to end, and the Blackhawks just kept rolling, for a period at least. Before the game was ten minutes old, the Blackhawks were up 2-0, which was a total false sense of security. Actually, the Hawks could have very easily been up 4-1 or 4-2 before this period ended, but 2-0 was what we ended up with. Some real solid goaltending from Anton Forsberg kept the Blackhawks up by two. Surprisingly, the Hawks out shot the Leafs 9-7 on their home ice. Then the bottom fell out.

During the second period, the Leafs woke up and played much more like what we all should have expected earlier in the game. In fact, they came out and peppered the Blackhawks with 19 shots on net. That total had the makings of a four goal period, but the Blackhawks goaltender held the Leafs to only one goal and a slim one goal lead. On the other hand, the Blackhawks were only able to muster up 6 measly shots of their own. Some of this Leafs offense was due to eight second period penalties, but the rest was the Blackhawks being overwhelmed by the speed and youth of the Leafs.

The Leaf continued momentum in the third period, despite the Blackhawks getting their third goal of the game. Powerplays once again figured into the action, as the Leafs scored two third period power play goals to tie the game to combat the one by the Blackhawks. 3-3 is exactly where the game ended, as this one went to overtime. The Leafs just outlasted and out ran the older, slower Blackhawks. In fact, the Blackhawks didn't even manage a shot the entire OT.

The Good
  • The game wasn't even five minutes old when Jan Rutta gave the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead. John Hayden dished the puck to Rutta, who activated and carried the puck around the Leafs net. Once he cleared the far post, he tried to hit one of the Hawks forwards in front but the puck went off Mitch Marner's stick and past Fat Freddy Andersen.
  • Just a mere four minutes after the Rutta goal, Jonathan Toews picked up a Richard Panik rebound and chipped it over Andersen for a 2-0 Blackhawks lead. There were several key factors in this goal, but the first was the ferocious forecheck by Panik and Brandon Saad. Andersen had also lost his stick, which helped as well, in more than one way. The puck was headed around the net, and possibly out of harms way, but it hit Andersen's stick and Saad was able to feed the puck to Panik. Panik drove to the net and had a great chance, but was stopped by Andersen. Unfortunately for the Leafs, though, Jonathan Toews was the trailer and finished the play.
  • With just under eight minutes gone in the third, Dick Panik put the Blackhawks up 3-1 off a fortunate end boards carom. Gustav Forsling took a long point shot that was roughly 4 feet wide of the net, and Steve Konroyd says, "That shot went just a little bit wide". A little bit wide, he says. Anyhow, the shot banked off the end boards and found the stick of Richard Panik with a wide open net staring him in the face. You have to get a little chuckle as Panik trolled his former team after scoring:
  • Anton Forsberg deserved a better fate than he got, as made 39 saves and was able to hold the circus together long enough to get to overtime He was just let down by his team, plain and simple.

The Bad
  • The Leafs took advantage of some Blackhawks chaos in their own zone, midway through the second period. Connor Brown found a breaking Nikita Zaitsev, and Zaitsev beat Forsberg 5-hole to begin the scoring for the Leafs.
  • The Blackhawks penalty kill was playing the "bend but don't break" style and it finally broke in the third period.
    Just a matter of time until the Leafs scored, because the Hawks defenders were gassed and running around sloppily.
  • Just a few minutes later, also on the powerplay, the Leafs tied the game up. This time is was James van Reimsdyk, who redirected a shot off his leg, and past Anton Forsberg.
  • Oh, did I mention Alex Debrincat, who had the 4th lowest ice time on the Blackhawks after the 4th line slugs, getting his head nearly taken off? Don't say I didn't mention concern about this very thing. That secondary assist the day later was quite a delight though, wasn't it?
  • Gustav Forsling just looks overwhelmed out on the ice, at least 50% of the time. Something has to give, and playing Cody Franson or Jordan Oesterle is probably the best move at this point. At least for a game or two. The Rutta and Forsling pairing was an adventure, if only because Rutta is babysitting in his 3rd ever NHL game.

The Ugly
  • The Blackhawks had several brutal changes that led to odd man breaks coming back their way. It's early, I know, but worth being pointed out.
  • In Overtime, the Leafs just caught the Blackhawks sucking wind, and broke them down. Super Soph Auston Matthews ate up Anton Forsberg with a perfectly placed shot right by Forsberg's left ear, which is an almost impossible shot to stop.
  • The Hawks shot metrics went from 54% in the first period to just under 11% in the third. I'd say the Leafs wore them out.
  • The Hawks powerplay failed them once again. The Richard Panik powerplay goal was kind of a fluke bounce, but they were 0-5 outside of that goal.

The Lineblender
Left Wing - Center - Right Wing
Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Richard Panik
Patrick Sharp - Artem Anisimov - Patrick Kane
Alex Debrincat - Tanner Kero- Ryan Hartman
Lance Bouma - Tommy Wingels - John Hayden

Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook
Michal Kempny - Connor Murphy
Gustav Forsling - Jan Rutta


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Sunday, October 8, 2017

Blackhawks vs Blue Jackets
5-1 Win Recap

"Invisible Enemy"


by Ray


Tonight marked the return of Artemi Panarin to the United Center for the first time since this summer's blockbuster trade for Brandon Saad. Both players had outstanding debuts for their teams as Panarin had 3 assists against the Islanders last night. Saad scored a hat trick in the Hawks blowout win against Pittsburgh.
Let's get right into it before the Hawks score any more first period goals.

Oh wow, ok. Guess that happened already. 1 minute 33 seconds in, in fact. Patrick Kane scores his second of the season on a great 3 on 2 rush. Good players find the open ice, great players finish off the play. He did both. Ryan Hartman initially wanted the pass to go to Nick Schmaltz but he was tied up by two Jackets defensemen and the puck found the wide open Kane's stick. He fired it above goalie Jonas Korpisalo's glove to give the Hawks an early 1-0 lead. That goal came at a cost though, as Schmaltz was pinned awkwardly between the defensemen and left the game. He attempted another shift during the period but it was unsuccessful. Plug in Q's lineblender, it starts early this year. Reports have it that Schmaltz has an upper body injury and will not travel during the road trip this week.

Lance Bouma kicked the crap out of Zac Dalpe in a scrap a few minutes later. Dalpe never stood a chance.


Hey look! A powerplay goal! After going 0-6 Thursday night, great puck movement and crashing the net led to Brandon Saad's 4th goal of the season as he banged home a rebound chance against his former team.

The Hawks seemed to have had most of the posession time in the first, however the shots would have indicated differently. 11 for Chicago, 9 for Columbus.

After an early Hawks penalty kill in the second period, the physical activity ramped up with some pretty solid hits. This of course prompted Foley and Konroyd to go on their first "MOAR HITZ" charade of the year. The leading hitter from Thursday? 5' 7" Alex DeBrincat... That might be the only thing that is remembered about him before he gets sent to Rockford next week. I will say though, I felt he was owed an assist on Sharp's goal Thursday. He wasn't initially, but apparently that was changed sometime Thursday or yesterday and he was given one. Right move.

Of course, as I was writing about "MOAR HITZ" sure enough, #DickFuckingPanik delivers a beautiful hit on Seth Jones deep in the Jackets zone to get the puck loose to Saad who sent a perfect pass to the Captain who nailed a rocket one timer off the post and in to make it 3-0 halfway through the Second.

Sure enough, 3 goal leads are the worst ever lead in hockey and 30 seconds after the Toews goal, Columbus strikes back with a little bit of luck. An attempted pass hits a sprawling Hartman and Sonny Milano taps in the puck while it is lying along the goal line to make it 3-1.

Two minutes later the three goal lead is restored thanks to Jan #RotoRutta 's first NHL goal. Nice recognition by both Kane and Rutta to find the open area with nearly all 10 players below the faceoff dots led to a pinball like, but still very easy goal to make it 4-1 Hawks.
Columbus woke up during the period and took over the shot lead 25-22.

The start of the third period wasn't exactly the smoothest for the Hawks as they gave up an early power play chance and allowed the first four shots on goal. Made for a little bit of a tense moment, but they fought through it and that was the end of the night for the Jackets.

The third was fairly uneventful after that with the exception of the glorious return of #DickFuckingPanik again to score his second of the year. He caught everyone sleeping after the faceoff in the offensive zone and fired it past Korpisalo for the final goal of the night. 5-1 Hawks Win.

Columbus wins the shot battle 33-29.


The Good
  • The special teams. As I mentioned before, the poweplay finally got on the board after a rough start last time out. The penalty kill however looks so much better. They gave up the one goal vs the Pens Thursday, but it was a 4v3 situation and with that insane Penguins lineup it's almost a certain score. However before the Pen's scored, it looked like a start of a solid kill. Even without a decent penalty killer in Tanner Kero in the lineup tonight they killed both penalties. They're being much more aggressive on the puck, and that is something they need to do more of to have this success.
  • Fast starts. This has been great to see. Kinda reminds me of 2013 a little bit where they just ran over the competition before they knew what happened. Keep this up.
  • Kane and Saad. Look the fuck out, other NHL teams.
  • Jan Rutta. I've been pretty impressed with how he has played. His decisions with the puck have been solid and he isn't afraid to make moves out there. Whether its pinching offensively or making a move in the defensive zone to avoid the forecheck, he's been effective out there. It was nice to see him in motion and involved in the play where he scored.
  • Corey Crawford. He had another solid night in net. Wasn't challenged too much at times, but made the big saves when he needed to. Hey, Crawford haters. "WHERE'S YOUR DARLING NOW?"
  • Edzo and the Blue Jackets Organization. During the first intermission, Pat Foley had Eddie Olczyk in the booth to talk about his health condition. If you haven't heard, Olczyk has been dealing with cancer treatments, and it was really encouraging to see him looking that well. It was also nice to hear how many times the Blue Jackets have contacted him during this time. Stick taps to you Jackets. Hang in there Edzo. We're thinking of you.




The Bad

  • Jonas Korpisalo. Yikes, there were some bad rebounds by him tonight, but at least he wasn't Niemi bad. I know the Jackets were playing their second of back to back games and it's way early in the season, but after the way he played against the Hawks during the preseason, I would have maybe considered playing Bobrovski back to back, especially after a shutout. But hey, I'm not Jack Adams award winning coach Torts. What do I know?
  • Zac Dalpe's punch riddled face. Ouch.
  • Artemi Panarin. *crickets*. Ok he wasn't bad, but he was pretty invisible tonight at times. It's obvious that the Jackets powerplay will run through him. Which is a bit of a shame because there is a lot of talent on that team other than him.


The Ugly


  • Michael Kempny's Puck Handling. Need I say more? There are sometimes where I cringe watching him in pressure situations in the D Zone. I was kinda hoping it would only be a year long nerves thing last year, but it still looks scary at times to me. Hopefully Ulf Samuelsson can help him get more comfortable handling the puck in those situations. We really don't need another Campoli moment.


See you guys in a few weeks when I recap Hawks-Preds. Thanks for reading and following along.
@Rayzer_14 on the Twitterz.

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Friday, October 6, 2017

Regular Season Opener
Blackhawks vs Penguins
10-1 Win Recap

"No One Gets Left Behind"

by Gatekeeper


After all the circus-like hoopla and festivities ended Thursday afternoon, there was still an actual game to be played against the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. Quite a way for the Blackhawks to test out their newly revamped roster in front of their home crowd. The Pens were coming in on the rear end of a back-to-back, which saw them raise their cup banner the night before and waste a third period comeback and lose to the St. Louis Blues in overtime. Talk about a real kick in the groin. The Blues got to see what an actual Stanley Cup banner looks like up close, though, so they had that going for them. The Blackhawks, on the other hand, certainly didn't go easy on the visiting Penguins in their home, and season, opener. In fact, they put on a real show for the United Center faithful. Not only did they put on a show during the game, but they really pulled at everyone's heartstrings by surprising us all with a Bryan Bickell One More Shift celebration before this one.




The first period could not have possibly gone any better. The Blackhawks scored FIVE goals and chased the starting goalie before the Pens knew what hit them. Five goals on twenty one shots was the tally as the Hawks finished the first period of their season. What more really needs to be said? This was about as perfect a period as we could expect. It would not have been all that surprising to see the Hawks put up at least another goal or two, with the pressure they had.
Officially, the Penguins had 12 shots on net, but I can not remember more than 7 or 8.

The Pens were able to get their only goal of the night, early in the second period, but the Blackhawks continued to steamroll over them with three more unanswered goals. The shots were even, at 14, but clearly the Blackhawks were in a zone.

The third period was just a formality, until the Pens pulled some meathead shenanigans in the waning moments. The Hawks did finally get to double digits, a franchise record for a season opener, which obviously didn't sit well with the champs. Phil Kessel and useless big dummy Ryan Reaves earned late misconducts, as a result. Anyhow, One down, 81 more to go.

The Good
  • Just over six minutes into the game, with the Blackhawks buzzing the Pittsburgh net already, Patrick Kane set up Ryan Hartman with a fancy behind the back reverse pass that Hartman put into a wide open net. Antti Niemi was lost as to where the puck was, and was looking over the wrong shoulder. In his defense, they teach you to move to the other post once the player crosses the midpoint of the net. This one looked bad on Niemi at first glance but it was all defense, or lack thereof.
  • Moments later, Brandon Saad then gave the Blackhawks a 2-0 off a 2-on-1 with Richard Panik. It must be pointed out that the rush began when league golden boy Sidney Crosby left a drop pass for no one in the Hawks zone, and Saad took the puck the other way. No mention on the broadcast, though. How shocking.
  • Twenty eight seconds after the Saad goal, Nick Schmaltz jumped into the action and squeezed a backhand past Niemi, on the back door, after another fancy Patrick Kane setup. That was three goals in 1:13.
  • Less than two minutes after that third goal, Brandon Saad notched his second goal of the night off a terrible Antti Niemi rebound. Niemi was absolutely flailing through a sea of bodies while Saad bore down with most of the net wide open. That said, Niemi got NO help, either. Four goals on thirteen shots and Niemi didn't make it ten minutes into the game before he was yanked. Supposed "elite" top 5 goalie according to NHL rankings, Matt Murray, did no better.
  • With three minutes left in the first period, Patrick Sharp scored his first goal back with the Blackhawks and their fifth of the game. I was very hesitant about having the old guy back but he looks good enough to be well worth $800,000.
  • After the Penguins ruined the shutout, it was Patrick Kane's turn to actually score a goal, after setting up two in the first period. He rushed up the right side past Brian Dumoulin and roofed a short side backhand over Murray's glove in highlight reel fashion.
  • Richard Panik was the next in the long line of Blackhawks to get his name in the goal column when Nick Schmaltz picked up a rebound to Matt Murray's left and dished to Panik for a slam dunk.
  • Speaking of Nick Schmaltz, he was the recipient of the 8th goal of the night, his first, on a one timer from Patrick Kane in the second period. This assist was Kane's 4th point of the game.
  • Five minutes into the third period, Brandon Saad completed the hat trick on a nice feed from Jonathan Toews. At least the crowd threw more than 8 hats on the ice this time.
  • The exclamation point, and tenth goal, was from Brent Seabrook late in the third period. He was, for some reason, down low in front of the Pittsburgh net and whacked a puck out of the air, past Matt Murray.
  • Brandon Saad, right? This kid is something really special and he is just in a zone. He already has two hat tricks, including his preseason one against Detroit, in only a handful of games back. Think he's happy to be back? I sure am glad he is. Saad makes it much easier to stomach the loss of Artemi Panarin, for sure.
  • The "improbable" Dick Panik looked like he is just carrying his career best season right into this second full season with the Blackhawks. He looks stronger and more confident, if you can believe that.
  • John Hayden continues to make plays happen. If he keep this up, he will force Quenneville to move him up the lineup, which is a wonderful problem to have.
  • It'll be lost in all the craziness, but Corey Crawford pretty quietly had a great night. His break-a-way save in the second period on Evgeni Malkin was a prime example of how well he played. He saved 28 of 29 and was perfect at even strength.
  • I am not a big Jamal Mayers fan as an analyst but Adam Burish and Brian Campbell were pretty entertaining in the intermissions. Burish, especially, was pretty charismatic. We need to have these guys involved more, and less Konroyd/Mayers.

The Bad
  • The only real Pens highlight of the night came on a 5-on-3 advantage. When you have to face Crosby, Kessel and Malkin all on the ice together for a powerplay, there isn't much you can do. Sid easily found Kessel on the back door which ruined the shutout for Corey Crawford.
  • When you score 10 goals, there usually isn't much to complain about but the Hawks were 0-6 on the powerplay.

The Ugly
  • The Pens played former Blackhawk Antti Niemi in net and the Hawks shelled him. I remember a "supposed" expert once telling me what a good goalie Niemi was before his first season in Dallas, and how good the Stars would be with the Niemi/Lehtonen combo. He has since put up .905 and .872 save percentages, and had to basically beg for a backup job with the Pens.
  • I know I have been labelled the Alex Debrincat hater, so it is my duty to point out that the Blackhawks scored TEN goals and the dynamic golden boy didn't have a single point. the only other forwards that didn't end up with a point on the scoresheet were fourth liners Tanner Kero and Lance Bouma. His lone highlight was a hit on Ian Cole, at the whistle, in the second period.
  • Olli Maata, Connor Sheary, and Kris Letang were all each minus five. YIKES!

The Lineblender
Left Wing - Center - Right Wing
Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Richard Panik
Ryan Hartman - Nick Schmaltz - Patrick Kane
Patrick Sharp - Artem Anisimov - Alex Debrincat
John Hayden - Tanner Kero - Lance Bouma

Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook
Michal Kempny - Connor Murphy
Gustav Forsling - Jan Rutta



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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Puckin Hostile Shoutcast
Episode 91


In this Puckin Hostile Shoutcast Episode 91 (the Brad Richards episode) Gatekeeper and Double J, John Jaeckel, breakdown the last week in Blackhawks land with Stankus, Froster, and Norton as they prepare for the regular season to begin on Thursday vs the back-to-back Stanley Cup Champs.

The topics discussed include:
-The new weekly, more concise format of the Shoutcast is launched
-The Blackhawks roster is decided, and broken down
-Salary cap layout
-Alex Debrincat makes the opening day roster, but how long will he last
-John Hayden also makes the roster, although no one seems to care but us
-Michael Rozsival is put on LTIR
-The league informs the Blackhawks of Marian Hossa's fate.
-Tootoo, Jurco and Berube all sent to Rockford.
-Listener/Reader questions.

and some big things are on horizon. What will they be? When will you even find out?

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

You can find the Shoutcast on Google Play Music here:
https://play.google.com/music/m/It4fd6pv6tv2w5atfvuyuw4uyza?t=Puckin_Hostile_Blackhawks_Shoutcast

You can listen to the episode on Stitcher here:
https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/puckinhostile/puckin-hostile-blackhawks-shoutcast

Get the Shoutcast directly though Soundcloud here:


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Gatekeeper Invades The 312 Podcast
to Preview the Blackhawks Season


Take a listen to the latest episode of The 312 Podcast by Sports Mockery. I joined former Shoutcast guest Matt "Zo" Zawaski, and Sports Mockery Blackhawks writers Brian Foran and Marc Paprzyca to preview the Hawks and this upcoming NHL season, while trying to sound like I actually know what I'm talking about.

Available on iTunes, and Soundcloud:



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Monday, October 2, 2017

Blackhawks Roster Breakdown: Forwards

by Gatekeeper


With opening night less than a week away, the Blackhawks are down to some tough decisions with their roster. We talked at length about the options on Tuesday night's Shoutcast, but there are some real questions. I'm going to break down some of the upcoming roster decisions or at least try to lay them out in a logical manner. This doesn't mean Joel Quenneville will decide to use the logical method. Lastly, we look at the offense:

Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Richard Panik

This is your first line, and it has been since the day the Blackhawks traded Artemi Panarin for Brandon Saad back in June. We all know what we are going to get from Saad and Jonathan Toews. Richard Panik is a bit more of a wild card. No one believed me when I predicted that Panik could easily replace the 34 points that were sent to Montreal with Andrew Shaw. No only did Panik replace the points, but he eclipsed it. By a decent margin. He played all 82 games, and contributed 22 goals, 22 assists for 44 points. These are all better than Andrew Shaw has ever reached in his career. I don't expect that Panik will have 22 goals again, but it's really not all that unreasonable. With Saad on the other wing, Panik will have more room to work. As long as he is in the right place, he will have every opportunity to equal that 44 points. This line is light years better now than it was in April. Expect Jonathan Toews to have a bounceback typical Jonny Toews year, and for Brandon Saad to have a career year. Saad is coming off three straight 50+ point seasons, and this year will be no different. 60 points is not unfathomable.

Alex Debrincat - Nick Schmaltz - Patrick Kane

I know, the Debrincat hater has him not only making the team, but playing in the top 6. If you look at the alternatives, there really aren't any. Unless they move Nick Schmaltz back to wing, no one else fits the position, and they certainly haven't been playing Schmaltz at center all preseason only to dump him back at the wing. I think Debrincat will hit the wall in ten games and they will need to re-adjust but, for the moment, it won't hurt to try this combo out to open the season. Speaking of Nick Schmaltz, this kid has impressed me. He was a pouty little brat, last season, once he was sent to Rockford and it rubbed me the wrong way. Granted he still has that pouty look on his face all the time, but his play has grow leaps and bounds. He was “good” last season, after he came back from Rockford, but this preseason he has been excellent. I would have never placed him at second line center, but that is where he has been the entire preseason. He has not looked out of place either. This makes you wonder what the future holds for new third line $4.55 million center Artem Anisimov. Patrick Kane is; Patrick Kane. I don’t want to say too much or the PC Police will come after me.

Patrick Sharp - Artem Anisimov - Ryan Hartman

If we didn’t expect to have Debrincat or Schmaltz on the second line, we certainly didn’t expect to see Artem Anisimov on the third line. If Debrincat makes the team, I’m fine with Sharp on the third line, and if Debrincat doesn’t, then someone like Wingels or Hayden can slide up. Ryan Hartman is a perfect third line player and will have a solid year once again there. Anisimov is a perfectly fine third line center, but I have my reservations about paying a player $4.55 million for the next 4 years to play on the third line. At some point they have to investigate getting him to waive that no trade clause and clear that cap room. For the near future, he is perfectly fine in the third line role. Even if he can’t win a faceoff to save his life. Circling back to Debrincat, Quenneville toyed with playing him on this third line with Anisimov and Hartman, and I’m not a fan whatsoever. He is not really responsible defensively, yet, and he is not a player that drives possession by himself. He needs to be set up for his chances, by skill players. Anisimov and Hartman are good, but they are good straight line players. They are not going to set Debrincat up with beautiful passes, or dazzling moves. I cannot see this experiment working, and you are not putting him in a position to succeed based on his skillset.

Tommy Wingels - Tanner Kero - Lance Bouma
Tomas Jurco, Jordin Tootoo
, John Hayden,Vinnie Hinostroza

This fourth line is a complete mystery. You might as well just throw all the names in a hat and randomly pick them out. What you see above is not what I would select, rather what I think Quenneville and Bowman will decide. Tanner Kero is a fine, responsible fourth line center and should have that position locked down. Tommy Wingels, Lance Bouma and Jordin Tootoo are basically the same player in “small, medium, sort-of-large” sizes. If Quenneville wants to keep one of those three players as a 13th forward for the “grit”, that’s fine by me. Keeping all three is simply preposterous. My honest opinion is that they should keep Wingels and Hayden, waive Bouma or Tootoo, and launch Tomas Jurco into the sun. This is not the year to waste roster spots on players that you mistakenly signed or traded for. The problem with this entire scenario is that the Blackhawks rarely ever admit their mistakes, which means Wingels, Bouma, Tootoo, and Jurco will all make the roster. This leaves Hayden and Hinostroza heading due west to Rockford, even though John Hayden has done everything to make this opening night roster. We are only talking about 6-8 minutes a night for this line, but it is just not the best way to maximize your talent. There I go applying logic again. Please allow me to beat any logic out of my brain with a 2x4.



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Sunday, October 1, 2017

Preaseason
Blackhawks vs Bruins
1-0 Shutout Win Recap

"BORING"

by Gatekeeper


The Blackhawks preseason came to a close last night, at home, against the Boston Bruins. For those of you that spent your Saturday night at the United Center, I feel for you. It was a boring game. Most of the players seemed uninterested and most roster battles have been decided already. Since I wasn't even supposed to recap this one, you'll have to excuse the Cliff Notes version:

The Good
  • One player who was interested was Corey Crawford. He pitched in a 38 save shutout, and looked ready for the regular season. He was aggressive and square to the puck all night. I am sure that even in a shutout, the meatballs will find a way to complain about him.
  • The only goal of the game was a powerplay snipe by Patrick Sharp. Shades of the old sharpie at the left circle, before anyone knew just who Artemi Panarin was. Sharp had about 3 inches to score this goal and used every bit of that. For as much angst that the Sharp signing caused me on July 1st, seeing him out there and scoring gives me the chills. He may not be the Sharp of 2013-14, but the team seems to enjoy him being back.
  • Anton Khudobin was excellent for the Bruins. Any time you lose a game 1-0, it is not on the goalie. This game was a coin flip as to who was going to win.
  • The Blackhawks won an amazing 65% of their faceoffs, and they were 1-5 on the powerplay.

The Bad
  • Both Connor Murphy and Jonathan Toews left the game early with minor injuries. Quenneville said after the game that they "Should be alright".
  • No one really stood out. Not even "the amazing" Alex Debrincat. Jan Rutta continued to look good, but even he had some issues. Speaking of Debrincat, I said earlier that I understand them keeping him on the roster, but that doesn't mean I think that he's going to make it more than 10 games before he runs head first into the NHL wall.

The Ugly
  • The Bruins looked like they had tied the game almost midway through the third period, but Jake Debrusk interfered with Corey Crawford's ability to make the stop and the goal was negated. Honestly, Crawford wasn't making the save on the clean backdoor chance from Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson(say that name 5 times quickly), anyway.
  • I still see no redeeming qualities in Lance Bouma. He's probably going to make the team over John Hayden, and that is a damn crime.

The Lineblender
Left Wing - Center - Right Wing
Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Richard Panik
Patrick Sharp - Nick Schmaltz - Patrick Kane
Alex Debrincat - Artem Anisimov - Ryan Hartman
John Hayden - Tanner Kero - Lance Bouma

Duncan Keith - Connor Murphy
Gustav Forsling - Brent Seabrook
Michal Kempny - Jan Rutta


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