Thursday, April 23, 2009
The most notable failure in this game was clearly that of the defense. A whiffed pass by Cam Barker led to a goal for the Flames, and a couple of poor positioning-defensemen also didn't help matters by screening Nikolai Khabibulin, allowing multiple goals and for the author of this post to rip his hair out (yeah, it's a little long).
Needless to say, the Hawks need to forget about these two games that they've just played, and focus on the fact that this is now a best two-out-of-three series, and that THEY, not the Flames, are in the advantageous position of having two of these games at home. They have to hold serve on Saturday night at the UC. If they don't, it's game over.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Playing without Patrick Kane, the Hawks also may be missing agitator Adam Burish on Wednesday night in Calgary, because of an incident that happened towards the end of the game.
Burish clearly delivered a cross-check to the face of Calgary forward Rene Bourque, and the two got into a scrum in front of the Hawks bench that took several officials and several minutes to sort out. According to Al Cimaglia of espnchicago.com, NHL punishement czar Colin Campbell will be reviewing the incident.
Our take: Before the NHL suspends Adam Burish, perhaps they should take a look at any number of cross-checks that Calgary inflicted upon the Hawks in front of the Flames net after plays ended, or hell, even take a look at this video of Michael Cammalleri socking Martin Havlat in the face off of a face-off.
Overall, the game was not a successful venture for the Hawks. They got outhit mercilessly, and they were thoroughly beaten in every way possible after they scored three minutes into the game. Nikolai Khabibulin made some great saves, but also was out of position on a few shots that really cost the team the game.
Also, the Hawks clearly missed Patrick Kane. He may not be the elite goal scorer that Jonathan Toews may end up being, but 96 assists over his first two years surely can lead one to believe that his puck moving ability is critical to the success of the Hawks offense, especially on the power play.
A full game preview for Game Four will be posted tomorrow afternoon, but in the meantime, here's some assigned reading for you Hawk fans.
-Who is going to be a bigger star: Jonathan Toews or Patrick Kane? Our Jim Neveau examined this question in this piece from The Hockey Writers.
-Wondered if Cristobal Huet has mentally checked out for the rest of the postseason? Well, this piece from the Chicago Tribune reveals what's going on between the ears of the pine-riding Frenchman.
-Do you think the Hawks miss Patrick Kane? Well, just ask Patrick Sharp.
-1994 NHL Playoffs, Jeremy Roenick. Overtime goal. Remember the roar?
Monday, April 20, 2009
He will sit out with a case of the flu, and Troy Brouwer will likely replace him on the top line. Lines two and three will completely stay the same according to sources, and the fourth line will be centered by Colin Fraser, with Eager and Burish on the wings.
More assigned reading for you folks. Here's an article from the all new ESPN Chicago, written by Jon Greenberg (a slightly less awesome Greenberg at ESPN, behind Mike and Hank) website about the man, the myth, the legend, that is Joel Quenneville.
Patrick Kane has been listed as a game-time decision with an unknown ailment, according to Joel Quenneville during his post-skate news conference this morning. If he is unable to play tonight, he will be replaced in the line-up by Colin Fraser, who has been a healthy scratch the first two games of the playoffs.
This is going to have a detrimental impact regardless of whether Kane plays or not. The fact that he not only sat out practice today, but also the fact that he saw limited time on Saturday night gives credence to the theory floating around the blogosphere that the Flames' phyiscal attacks on Kane on the ice are having a very detrimental impact on him.
This will give the Flames some more confidence in themselves, even being down 0-2. The reality of the situation is that the Blackhawks merely held serve in their first two games, and it won't be until they win a game in the crazy atmosphere that the Pengrowth Saddledome provides.
Here are a couple of links to check out before the game tonight (which starts at 8:30pm CDT and can be seen on Versus/Comcast SportsNet Chicago).
-The Hawks are hosting a City Roadwatch at Harry Caray's in Chicago. Puck Daddy on Yahoo! covered an event with Jim Corneilson, who sang the anthem after the Hawks win on Saturday night.
-Calgary is apparently impressed with the Hawks. Just check out this article here.
-Jim Neveau from The Hockey Writers posted this piece about the five keys to the Hawks continuing to have success against the Flames.
That's it. Go Hawks tonight!
Friday, April 10, 2009
Friday, April 3, 2009
-Martin Havlat has been nominated for the Bill Masterson Award for Comeback Player of the Year. You can find the whole story in the Daily Herald.
-Interesting article on Sammy Pahlsson today in the Chicago Sun-Times. He centered the Bolland-led line on Wednesday in Dave's absence, and did a great job, scoring his first goal as a Hawk in the process.
-I've never publicized this blog before, but Adam Burish has a blog on the Sun-Times website called "Dropping the Gloves". It is usually very interesting, and Burish has an interesting take on things with the team.
-According to the Miami Hearld, Nikolai Khabibulin has an affinity for tennis, or at least, helping a family friend out.
-A game preview of the Predators-Hawks game tonight, where Denis Savard will be doing an autograph signing, and it is Jonathan Toews bobblehead night. Tickets are still available in limited quantities. Oh yeah, did I mention the Blackhawks could clinch a playoff spot with a point tonight?
-Want keys to the game for the team tonight? Well, you can check out The Hockey Writers site for that piece.
-Interested in season tickets? Well, check out this link for information.
-As promised, here's the Q-Stache joke in John Buccigross' latest column:
Have you ever thought of growing a 'stache that would someday rival the Q-Stache?
It would take me so long to grow a 'stache comparable to the Q-Stache that, moments before I would reach that point, I would be so old that I would begin to lose the ability to grow body hair.
What would happen if the Q-Stache and Chuck Norris were to cross paths?
Floral Park, N.Y.
First? Armageddon. Second? Norris, RIP."
Alright. Let's get to it tonight against Nashville. Clinch that playoff berth!
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
-Chris Kuc weighed in with his opinions, and honestly, the comments at the end of the post are far more interesting. Either way, check it out here.
-Apparently, my articles on The Hockey Writers have given me some interweb cred, according to a Vancouver sports blog. They featured a mini-rant about Dustin Byfuglien from my piece yesterday about the game. Check that out here.
-Coach Quenneville had mostly negative things to say about the team's effort on Sunday in this piece in the Sun-Times. Well, at least we know where he stands. Power to the Q.
-Matt Walker might play Tuesday, and will likely be back by Wednesday at the latest. Thank goodness. On another note, Troy Brouwer, who left yesterday's contest with an injury, will likely miss at least two games.
-Speaking of tomorrow, Cristobal Huet will be in net for the Hawks when they take on the Canadiens on Versus.
-Puck Daddy, a very good hockey blog on Yahoo!, led off its afternoon hockey headlines segment today with the Duncan Keith hairpulling fiasco. Check that out and other hockey news here.
Be sure to check out my recap from the game tomorrow, as well as a link to my preview of Wednesday's date with the Blues on UC ice. Until then, good night Hawks fans.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Hopefully the above link works and you can see the fight that pretty much summed up the game for the Hawks tonight. Words cannot accurately describe what happened in this game, so I will merely transcribe a couple of thoughts from my notes taken at the game, and provide you with a link to a more definitive recap.
-The early exiters from the United Center numbered in the thousands. It was a silent testament to the brutality they had just witnessed, coth during the fight and in the complete lack of passion shown by their home town Blackhawks. This crowd, which had been so vibrant and loud at the beginning of the game, was rendered useless by the ineptitude of the Hawks.
-This fighting should have happened a long time ago. The Hawks never quite got the gears spinning right, and a scrum like this could have saved the ship, but alas, too little too late effort-wise for the Hawks.
-If Dustin Byfuglien tries to feed the puck into Patrick Kane one more time, even though Kaner is double covered in front of the net, I'm going to throw an ice crew member at him. F-ing idiot.
-Adam Burish should be suspended for his idiocy during the melee, Ben Eager should get a medal for clocking Kevin Bieska, and the refs should all get pink slips for not assessing Alex Burrows a misconduct penalty for pulling on Duncan Keith's hair, but Keith somehow ended up with a misconduct himself.
-I'm beginning to wonder if the Hawks players have late April tee times that they want to make. Effort like this will certainly ensure that they will be in carts instead of penalty boxes in a month.
For a full recap and more ranting and raving, please click this link.
Good night Hawks nation.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
-Everyone in Hawk-world has been looking at this game for about a month now. Well, it is finally here: the showdown with Vancouver. The Chicago Sun-Times did a great job previewing the game and conveying the importance of it for those of you who are unconvinced.
-As shocking as it sounds, the Chicago Tribune reports something that hasn't happened to Aaron Johnson the entire season, that finally occurred on Friday.
-This article is more Chicago-centric, but it deserves attention anyway. Dave Dameshek and Marc Silverman ranked the best and worst jerseys to wear in Chicago. If I EVER see another Mark Prior jersey, I will beat somebody.
-Finally, check out my latest piece on The Hockey Writers, detailing lessons we have taken from the lessons we have learned from rounds one and two of Gut-Check Week for the Blackhawks.
Alright. More links will end up coming, but for now, it's time for bed. Puck drop is now less than 13 hours away.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
To start, I have to thank John Buccigross for his outstanding work on his hockey columns on espn.com, and I enjoy everything about them, from his weekly tribute to Jack Falla to his picture captioning contest (this week's is Patrick Sharp jumping into the glass, so go vote!).
However, my favorite part of his columns are the inevitable emails challenging the supremacy of the Q-stache to other fantastic facial hair contenders. Since practice was boring and uneventful today, I'm going to share a few of my favorites with you.
As an avid Sharks fan, it pains me to even raise the issue, but I think George Parros' mustache would dominate the Q-Stache. My son, an avid Ducks fan for no good reason, and I are always talking about what Parros' 'stache could do on its own.
The Parros 'stache is stylish. But, to me, the Q-Stache has an experience and an IQ that would take advantage of the Parros mustache's nemesis -- namely, density and coarseness. The Parros 'stache does shampoo commercials. The Q-Stache sells chainsaws and jackhammers."
The Q-Stache may be exceptional, it may be a wonder of the world all its own, but there is another. Who in the NHL has the mustache to unseat your precious Q-Stache? Why, the Detroit Red Wings' own Paul MacLean. You cannot deny the power of the MacStache. His Wilford Brimley-esque 'stache not only can make oatmeal on its own, but it could also fight off even the most staunch offender of 'stache.
USFC: Ultimate 'Stache Fighting Championship. Q-Stache versus MacStache. A battle for the ages. A battle for the ages.
Paul MacLean has a tremendous 'stache, but I'm sorry, it falls short of the Q-Stache. The Q-Stache is like Bo Jackson in his prime -- a freak-of-nature mesomorph. I see the MacStache more along the lines of an endomorph 'stache, and that just can't compete. That's like an NFL guard trying to chase down Bo Jackson. Ain't happening."
I think the obvious, epic mustache battle has been overlooked. Which 'stache wins in a battle between Joel Quenneville and Lanny McDonald?
I have received countless e-mails on this matchup. It is clear the people want to see this pay-per-view event soon. Here is what would happen in this battle:
The Mac-Stache would come out cocky, that much is clear. His massive amount of Heatmiser-stache hair would simply overcome the Q-Stache by simply choking the life out of him or by sheer intimidation. But how many times do I have to tell you that the Q-Stache combines size and strength? The coarseness is something the 'Stache World has never seen since Groucho Marx. These kinds of 'staches come along once every other generation.
The Mac-Stache would suffer hyperextended follicles, torn ligaments and an assortment of injuries while trying to deal with the Q. And just think -- if it were raining, the Mac-Stache would be a mess. All matted down and stinky. The Q-Stache is like a United States Marine Corps member's hair. Tough, coarse and free to operate under any conditions. The Q-Stache versus the Mac-Stache is like Larry Holmes beating on Gerry Cooney. C'mon, people! Can't you see that?!"
Earlier this month, I took my son to see the Blackhawks in Atlanta. We just happened to stay at the same hotel as the team. I could not help it, when I saw Coach Quenneville, I just had to ask him if he saw the story you wrote about him. Sorry to say, he did not read it, but he got a good laugh when I told him some of the lines from your story. He thanked me for sharing and was gone. The mighty Q-Stache had some Thrashers to beat!
Not before the Q-Stache stopped at Waffle House and carbo-loaded with 27 waffles. And yes, the Q-Stache bathes in maple syrup."
"Bucci,I work in a large office building in downtown Chicago. Yesterday, as I was heading out on an errand, I turned the corner after getting off the elevator and -- BAM! -- there it was, literally less than two feet from my face ... the Q-Stache! There was no doubt about whether it was the genuine article since I could feel it peer into my soul and let me know that I was weaker than it. As a Blues fan living in Chicago, I could tell the Q-Stache sensed this, so I quickly scurried along my way, glad to have survived the close encounter.
That's not weakness on your part, Dave. That's wisdom. Well played, my brutha, well played."
I'm sure that there will be more emails like this, and when they come, I will continue to share them with you. Check back tomorrow for my reactions from the Canucks-Hawks showdown in Chicago.
Seabrook's goal in overtime gave him a Gordie Howe hat trick (a goal, assist, and a fight in the same game), and Martin Havlat and Kris Versteeg also notched goals to back up Nikolai Khabibulin's 28 saves in the 3-2 win.
Chicago ended a 12-game winless streak against New Jersey by winning the game. Since beating the Devils 5-2 at the United Center on Oct. 10, 1998, Chicago had eight regulation losses, two shootout losses and two ties against New Jersey.
The victory also kept Chicago in fourth place in the Western Conference, two points ahead of Vancouver.
"It was huge," Seabrook said. "We needed these points. Vancouver is looking at it the same way."
Vancouver, who notched a 4-1 victory on Friday night, will visit the United Center on Sunday night in a tilt that could either give the Blackhawks a nice four-point and game in hand cushion, or give the Hawks, merely a game in hand and tie the two teams in points.
I'll have a full practice report tomorrow afternoon, and I will also have a game recap on Sunday that will be a little better than usual, because I'll be attending the clash at the UC with the huge playoff implications.
-Dan Aykroyd dropped the ceremonial first puck, and looked like he would rather be virtually anywhere else other than on United Center ice. Reminds me of a guy who is merely shilling a product, or who is tired of the spotlight. I could see either being the case with Elwood.
-The Devils committed a ton of first period penalties, and it's a shame that only one of those resulted in a Blackhawks goal. Yes, we won in the end, but it would have been nice to build an early 3-1 or 4-1 lead.
-It bothers me that Brian Campbell, who hasn't scored a goal in 35 games, is getting paid $1 million per goal this season. For a guy who is supposed to be a power play catalyst, he certainly seems like a pair of cement shoes rather than a nice pair of Pumas.
-Dustin Byfuglien needs to be locked in a steel cage anytime the Hawks are on the power play. His lack of puckhandling ability is even more painful than Campbell trying a spin move that looks more like a rickety washer than a tornado of scoring. I'll be glad when Walker and Eager come back and this clown can ride the pine.