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by: Tony Leva
email: tonytrucker1969@gmail.com

This week, the Hawks have dropped the two games they’ve played so far. They got their asses waxed at home by a damn good Nashville team on Sunday, then salvaged a road point in New Jersey on Tuesday in a shootout loss. With 5 games to go, including the game against St Louis that I’ll be doing the ol’ running diary thing tonight, we are within striking distance of clinching a playoff spot. A win tonight would not only help immensely, but it would certainly show the rest of the league we’re a legit threat come playoff time. Jonathan Toews has been skating with the team and says he’s close to being ready for some contact. Let’s hope he continues to improve like he has in the past 10 days.

Puck Drop, 20:00 left in the first period… I’ll never like Jim Cornelison’s version of the National Anthem as much as Wayne Messmer’s, but I bet Jim isn’t half the greedy dick Wayne turned out to be. At a Cubs Convention once, Wayne wasn’t interested in hearing me express how much his version had moved me over the years. He only cared about trying to sucker me out of $20 for a CD of his version. Blow me, pal.

18:26…Tremendous save by Jaroslav Halak in close. That would have gotten the crowd in a tizzy right away. The quick-strikes we’ve gotten lately really get the team off on the right foot. Too bad we didn’t cash that in.

17:52….Hawks going to the power play. I’ll never get the following empty two minutes of my life back. Over/Under on shots we get on net here….0.5. Yeah, it’s been that bad. I wish they could figure this out sometime this century, but you simply can’t polish a turd.

17:08…The Blues penalty kill isn’t what we need to see here. They’ve killed more penalties than neighborhood watch guys have killed kids with hoodies lately. Send the indignant hate mail about that comment to my buddy Lou. He’ll appreciate the chance to spread his wings and answer you in kind….

15:52…The over came in there…one shot on that power play. Pay the winners!!

15:08….Great save by Crawford. That’s what he needed to keep his confidence level up. Brandon “One Punch” Bollig planted Kent Huskins like a springtime daisy after the shot. Pluswhise, Huskins caught a stick from Crawford in his face right before he got hammered. It’s double-dutch action at the UC!!

12:08….So far, both teams look pretty physical. We expect that from St. Louis, and it’s nice to see the Hawks respond in kind. Shaw and Bollig both seem to relish this aspect of the game. Tracey Myers, the CSN in-game microphone jockey, must be good at her job because she is one tough lady to get an eyeful of. Eeeesshh.

9:55…How about a goal by the 4th line tonight? It seems like forever since they’ve potted one.

9:22….HAWKS SCORE!! Bryan Bickell buries his bitchin’ wrister from above the dot to make it 1-0!! When this guy is motivated, he’s deadly. Nick Leddy and Dave Bolland get the assists. Nice to see Leddy continuing to play well. With his wheels, he can be a real weapon.

9:13….Blues score 9 seconds later to tie it up at 1. Jesus, that was unacceptable. Losing the ensuing faceoff after our goal set the whole thing up. No letdowns like that, asspipes!! Leddy played the rush well and turned Steen wide there, but he still got that shot away with some steam on it. Sphincter tightness….returning.

5:30…Hawks have responded to the Blues goal with some nice energy. You hate to see a letdown like that, but when the team responds with even more energy and speed, it’s a good sign. They need to keep this up and sustain some pressure.

3:53
…Wicked glove save by Crawford on Jason Arnott. Sphincter tightness…relaxing.

3:38
…Patrick Sharp with a sick wrister on goal and a better save by Halak. What a luxury for the Blues to have two killer netminders like Halak and Brian Elliott to choose from each game. Quite the nice problem to have….it’s like wondering which sports car to drive over to your supermodel girlfriend’s house…the Porsche or the Ferrari.

2:33….Scrum in front of the Hawks net. Vlad Sobotka of St. Louis touched it off with a post-whistle hack on Crawford. Nice to see Crawford reach up and take a swipe at him in response. Don’t take any shit from a guy with a last name like a bargain-bin vodka.

0:25….Dumb penalty by Shaw. You gotta be smarter than hitting a guy from behind like that. Go after the puck, kid. Even though St Louis isn’t the best team out there on the power play, giving a team this good a freebie isn’t how you win hockey games. I’m sure Q will let him hear about it at the break.

End of the first period
…Hawks outshoot the Blues 14-8 and both teams had some nice chances….I think I’ll get a slice of my wife’s birthday cake from yesterday…it’s chocolate frosted with peanut butter filling inside…..off-topic a bit, but I can’t wait for baseball to start next week; I don’t count the two games played in Japan….

Second Period

18:25…Hawks kill the bad Shaw penalty. Way to pick up the kid.

17:48.
..Pat Foley gives best wishes to Daily Herald hockey writer Tim Sassone. He’s had some sort of health issue and hasn’t been working in the past month or so. I didn’t get a call from those pricks to fill in, either. Their loss.

15:42…Beautiful 3-way passing play results in a great chance for Sharp. Halak was better there, making the save, but Stalberg really has been great so far tonight. He has some elite gifts, for sure, but consistency isn’t among them. Oh, for 82 games of how he’s playing tonight.

14:04….The CBOE seat auction is funny. You bid an outrageous sum to sit in some of the worst seats for a hockey game…right on the glass. I’ve sat right on the glass before and if you don’t mind not seeing the entire ice surface, they’re fantastic. Personally, I like being able to see the corners and stuff. Must be nice to be rich enough that you don’t care where you sit.

12:36….Stalberg AGAIN with some serious wheels and another excellent chance.

10:10
…Hawks are noticeably faster than the Blues. The Blues seem to be having trouble getting anything going thru the neutral zone and when we break out of our zone, we are getting some nice chances. Speed kills.

8:30
…Hawks can clinch a playoff spot with a win and a Phoenix loss in regulation against San Jose. I wasn’t sure before the game on what the exact circumstances were to clinch. Nice to see it’s close enough to touch.

7:40
….Blues head to the power play as we get caught with too many men on the ice. If there’s one penalty that pisses a coach off every time, it’s this one.

5:40
….Hawks kill their second penalty of the night. It’s little things like not giving up power play goals that bring a smile to my face.

4:41
….Sharp robbed by Halak. That’s been a rarity this period…a great scoring chance. Both teams have really tightened up defensively and are as watertight as a frog’s butthole. I’m assuming they’re watertight, or those frogs would fill up and sink. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

3:28
….Great sustained pressure by the Hawks there. The Kruger/Sharp/Stalberg line has been fantastic so far tonight. I hope Kruger puts 10-15 lbs of muscle this summer and takes his game up a level or two next fall.

3:07
…Dylan Olson with a bomb from the point. I’d love to see him unleash that beast on the power play. God knows we need something on that unit.

2:52
…GOALPOST!! Kane bulls-eyed the iron there. So close and yet so far…..

2:15
….Hawks head back to the power play (ugh) as Kane got taken down. He also got robbed by Halak on the delayed penalty. Christ, let’s cash one on guys….

1:03
…How hard is it to dump the puck in, then chase it and gain possession? YOU HAVE THE EXTRA MAN!! UTILIZE HIM!!

0:19….Text from Lou at the UC….the shitty in-house band has been named Taint Nugget. I think it’s perfection. Well done, section 333!!

End of the second period
…Hawks outshoot the Blues 10-3 in the second and are outshooting them 24-11 for the game….we seem to be clogging the lanes quite well tonight and breaking up plenty of rushes at the blue line….apparently, Mrs Illinois is doing the Shoot the Puck contest in the next few minutes!!….gotta love a promo where a hot chick is integral to the entire function…the hottie buries one!!…..hard to believe Mrs Illinois is gorgeous, right?….as much as I love Tony Esposito, he looks AWFUL in those Binny’s commercials

Third Period

18:45…GREAT early save by Crawford!! Alex Steen couldn’t believe that didn’t go in. Either could I, as that looked like money.

17:52…Kruger/Sharp/Stalberg start the period the way they’ve been playing all night. Just terrific.

15:45…HAWKS SCORE TO MAKE IT 2-1!!!! Another great rush by the Hawks and some hard work pays off as Andrew Brunette buries the loose change!!! About time we were rewarded for our hustle and hard work. Now, let’s hold this lead longer than 9 seconds.

15:35…Woo hoo!! More than 9 seconds!!

13:46….Jesus, Sharp AGAIN with a fantastic chance! And it was set up by our superior speed. This is becoming a clinic on how to skate.

11:43….Hawks have held the Blues to a meager 2 shots on goal so far here in the 3rd. They obviously can’t deal with our speed and are having a tough time getting any sort of sustained pressure. We need to stay out of the box and not give them any chances for momentum. We need to score again and keep all the pressure on them.

11:20…THERE IT IS!!! 3-1 HAWKS!!! AND IT’S SHARP AND STALBERG ON A TWO ON NONE RUSH!! These guys have been fucking AWESOME together tonight. That was a great strip by Sharp to set that rush up!! Suck it, Blows!!

10:25….Next time I get cocky, tell me to shut it. 3-2 now on a terrible goal off a Kane turnover. Crawford needs to get his ass down on that stuff. No reason for something like that to sneak in under him. Just terrible to let in such a weak goal like that. You don’t win the Cup by doing shit like that.

9:30….Got to keep up the pressure and not lay back and try to hold on. Stay with what’s been working so far tonight. Keep skating, boys.

8:15…Frolik high-sticked in the face right in full view of the official, no call. So glad the NHL has the highest quality refs. That was as blatant as can be and it got ignored.

6:13…Finally, we come back with some speed and get a good chance. Time to let it all hang out and close these guys down.

4:40
…Almost a fluke goal by the Blues there. Bad bounce almost somehow sneaks over Crawford, who made a tougher save than he thought he’d need to make. Whew!

3:01…Getting a bit chippy there in front of Crawford. I’d be doing the same thing if I were St. Louis. If they manage to tie this, it’s going to be on a dirty goal…it sure won’t be on a glorious chance.

1:32…Well, fuck me. Tied at 3 on a shitty, dirty crap goal. I called that bullshit. Total garbage. Hawks let St. Louis dictate the tempo and did indeed lay back and hoped time would just run out. You can’t do that against a top team and hope it works.

1:00…No excuse to blow a late two goal lead at home to a team that simply can’t keep up with our speed, no matter where they are in the standings. St. Louis has no business being in position to get at least one point tonight. Shame on us for not finishing the job. They have 18 shots and 3 goals, none of which were solid scoring chances.

End of regulation, heading to overtime….With a possible clinching in sight tonight, we need to win this one. While this OT should never have happened, it’s time to rise above that crappy final ten minutes and get that third point.

OT

3:45…Glorious 3 on 2 chance for us, but Halak made a nice save after the St. Louis d-man altered Hossa’s shot by going down, forcing a high shot. Taking away half the net sure helps the goaltender.

2:19…FANTASTIC save by Crawford!! That’s what I’m talking about!!

1:56…Michael Frolik, Mr. Snakebitten, denied twice in close. He couldn’t hit water if he fell out of the proverbial boat. He works so hard in all areas of the ice and just can’t get the payoff. I bet he’s forgotten what a red light looks like.

0:32…Kane gets robbed by Halak. That had game-winner written all over it. Those are the kinds of saves that Stanley Cup winners get from their goalies. Halak is the only reason I’m still writing and swearing at my TV. Dirty cocklunch.

End of OT, heading to the shootout…This is where we miss Toews a whole bunch. Our shootout crew without him is, how do I put this delicately….as shitty as 3 day old diapers. Come on guys, make me eat them words.

1st round
…Kane leads off for us. He beat Halak with a backhander a couple weeks ago in the shootout, let’s see what he does here. Great save by Halak on the backhand attempt. Grrrr….but it might have worked if he didn’t get in too tight. David Perron leads off for the Blues and gets blanked by Crawford!! Scoreless after one round.

2nd round
…Sharp gets denied by Halak’s glove hand. He’s a sniper, not a slick move guy, but our choices are sort of slim without Toews. TJ Oshie is next up for St. Loo and his dumb Ohio State ass gets stoned!! Scoreless after two rounds.

3rd round…Stalberg with a hugely weak attempt. Another guy without much of a shootout resume. If the Blows score here, it’s all over. Alex Steen with a fake slapper/quick move and gets denied by Crawford!! Still scoreless after 3 rounds!! We go to extra extra time!!

4th round….BOLLAND SCORES ON A SWEET MOVE TO HIS FOREHAND!!! Finally, the dike is broken!! (No, I’m not making a lesbian joke) 1-0 Hawks!! Ok, let’s see one more big save!!!! Patrick Berglund needs to score to keep St. Louis alive….he hits the GOALPOST!!! HAWKS WIN IN THE SHOOTOUT!!!

Some good, some bad tonight. We should have won that game in regulation, but after blowing what should have been an easy two points after dominating the best defensive team in the NHL again, we managed to scratch the win column. Our top two lines…Kane/Hossa/Brunette and Kruger/Sharp/Stalberg were easily the best players on the ice all night. That’s good. Even better…we moved to 95 points and are basically in the playoffs. 4 games left in the season, 3 of which are very winnable. We get Nashville next on Saturday and I don’t expect them to do anything different than they’ve done to us all season. But with two games against a bad Minnesota team and the finale against a suddenly struggling Detroit squad, we have a good chance of keeping some momentum going. And if we get Toews back, look out.

In Wednesday night’s game at the UC, the Vancouver Canucks lived down to their well-deserved reputation as the dirtiest and most gutless band of candyasses the NHL has seen in quite some time. When Duncan Keith, one of the cleanest and mildest-mannered players in the game today fired his elbow at the ginger-haired noggin of All-World Pussy Daniel Sedin (hereafter referred to as AWPDS) it was a retaliatory blow for the just-as-dirty head shot AWPDS laid on Keith minutes beforehand. If this had been a one-time cheap shot against us, the story would be over and we’d be moving on. But it is just another brick in the wall. Just for shits and giggles, let’s do a bit of reminiscing. I won’t cover the litany of atrocities these clowns have perpetrated on us, but will simply illustrate the point…..

March 29, 2009…Alex Burrows pulls Duncan Keith’s hair at the UC. I was at that game and saw it clearly, as did everyone. Who pulls hair besides little girls fighting over Justin Bieber posters or whatever little girls fight over these days? Have a look for yourself and tell me if Burrows would ever be suspected of having a pair of testicles.

Yeah, no balls whatsoever. In last year’s Cup final, Burrows pulled this garbage….

Yep….he BIT an opposing player. Again, does this guy have a pair of balls or lips in his pants? In keeping with his M.O. of being a punk, in last night’s tilt, he decided to knee Keith right in the groin while they were tangled up on the ice. Sorry there’s no video of this, but this column can only handle so much raging vagina action without getting a XXX rating. To recap….he pulls hair, bites and kicks guys in the balls. Do I need to go on? I didn’t think so. Suffice to say, Burrows is the leading jerkoff on a team packed with, and coached by, jerkoffs. Speaking of their jerkoff coach, here’s another video for your consumption. This is Alain Vignault in his playing days….

That’s him, jumping into a fight he wasn’t a part of, and trying to sucker punch Al Secord, who then thrashed him like the punk bitch he was. Is it surprising a team this pudwhack coaches pulls shit like this? Of course it isn’t. What is surprising is that this “tough” team cries foul every time they get a taste of their own medicine. Vignault did nothing but whine after the game about the shot AWPDS took from Keith but conveniently ignored the initial cheapshot. No wonder nobody outside Vancouver likes this club. But back to the game…..

After the Canucks opened the scoring at the 27 second mark of the 1st period, the Hawks responded by shutting them out for the remainder of regulation and overtime. The streaking Patrick Kane tied it up for the Hawks just over 3 minutes into the second period. With the score tied, it seemed both teams were more concerned at times with dishing out the physical play, both before, during and after play had stopped. It wouldn’t have shocked me if a player from either team tried to boobytrap the other team’s bus or airplane. Nothing would surprise me at this point. Seriously…if Kevin Bieksa (another paper tough guy who talks an awful lot for a guy skating backwards away from a fight) snuck into the Hawks dressing room and took a dump on the post-game buffet, would anyone be surprised? The only shock would be if that neanderthal actually wiped his ass afterwards. But I digress.

After a high-speed 3rd period for both teams that somehow didn’t see a manslaughter attempt, overtime loomed. With AWPDS out of the lineup after the shot from Keith we had an advantage in manpower. The Hawks got the big break they needed with an odd-man rush in extra time. Dave Bolland, the Canuck-killer, grabbed a rebound of a Vancouver shot and flew up the left wing boards with uber-energy rookie Andrew Shaw filling the middle of the ice with his spry frame and Campbell Lite/Johnny Oduya trailing the play. Crossing into the offensive zone, Bolland pulled up and found Oduya in the deep slot with a feed, which he quickly settled and blasted towards the net, where it deflected off Shaw for the game-winner.

As the crowd ripped into a frenzy and the Canucks looked like someone pissed in their Cheerios, Shaw jumped against the boards and up against the glass in a release of youthful emotion and joy. Yeah, the goal was from a fortunate deflection, but the #shawfact is that he was in front of the net where great things are bound to happen.

The aftermath of the game included Vignault whining about Keith’s elbow while ignoring AWPDS’s hit and likely will see a suspension for Keith and possibly AWPDS (I am getting into typing that) for their deliberate head shots. I have no issue with the possible punishments. It was worth it to see a guy stand up for himself against a band of thugs and sissies. How about one more video clip? Here’s the AWPDS’s twin sister Henrik taking a dive in last season’s Cup finals. Now, this is THE event that EVERY kid who ever laced up a pair of blades would die to play in and this asswhistle playacts this crap…

Yep. He dove like he was Greg Fucking Louganis going for Gold. How can anyone respect a team with players like these? Thank God the Hawks don’t act this way. I’d hate to have to unleash my sarcastic asshole side on them. My powers should only be used for good and instigating the criminally stupid. Shitting on the Canucks and their fans fits into that category. Thanks for small miracles I guess.

We’re down to 7 games left in the season and we’re on the type of roll you dream of as the playoffs approach. I seriously hope we draw these punks in the playoffs so we can have the pleasure of knocking their asses out again and making them cry like the bitches they are. Enjoy one last video clip, this one of the Canucks hoisting the Stanley Cup last year. Wait….what? MY BAD!!!

With 11 games left to go in the season, the Hawks are solidly in control of their own playoff destiny. When the Hawks lost all-star and team captain Jonathan Toews for an indeterminate amount of time with post-concussion symptoms, many thought it was going to be the backbreaking straw to a wobbling team. Since that time, however, they’ve gone 7-3-3, good for 17 points. Since the trade deadline, when many fans decided to verbally murder Stan Bowman, the team is a ripping good 5-1-1, including wins against Detroit (at the Joe, no less) St Louis and the Rangers.

The game Tuesday against St Louis hearkened back to what we saw in 2010. Down 3-1 after one period to the NHL points leader, the Hawks came back to win in a shootout. They flew up and down the ice and played hard along the boards and in the corners. Active sticks broke up passes. The body was taken, as each team had 29 hits, a great sign for us. A whopping 46 shots were rained upon Jaroslav Halak and the top defensive team in the league. There were even two fights for good measure. For a team fighting for position in the tough-as-nails Western conference, it was about as clutch a win as you could ask for.

Coming down the stretch, we still can’t count on getting Captain Serious back at any point. But even without him, we still should make the playoffs and anything can happen during the quest for Lord Stanley. Wouldn’t that be a story….Hawks get Toews back, get hotter than hell and make a run? That would be storybook stuff, but I digress. So what’s been going right for us since Toews has been out?

  1. The stars are being stars. In our current 5-1-1 stretch, players like Patrick Kane (4 goals, 3 assists), Patrick Sharp (2g, 6a) and Marian Hossa (3g, 6a) have all averaged at least a point per game, which is pretty bitching. Brent Seabrook has been a physical monster, blocking shots and taking the body. Even Duncan Keith has shown flashes of his peak. When you get that kind of production from 5 all-star players, you should be racking up wins and points. These guys all have the big ring and have accepted the added burden. That’s big time, baby.
  2. The role players have been about as solid as you can expect. Jamal Mayers, Bowman’s best off-season pick-up, has been a leader and a physical presence all year and has been even better since Toews has been out. Bowman’s only trade deadline pick-up Johnny Oduya, or as I call him, Campbell Lite, has been a wonderful fit and a stabilizing influence on the blue line. Young Brandon Bollig has been a nice addition to the team while replacing John Scott’s physical presence while actually being able to, you know, skate. Yeah, he gets his ass whupped when he fights, but winning the fight isn’t always the objective. Good thing for him.
  3. The rookies and young players have contributed. Andrew Shaw (20) is a little spitfire with a 350 cubic inch engine up his hindparts and been a sorely needed sparkplug. Jimmy Hayes (22) is a 6′ 6″ 230 lb man-child with a big ol’ hockey butt who has fit in nicely on whatever line he plays on. Marcus Kruger (21), only one year removed from, Elitserien, the Swedish Elite League, has become a demon defensive center and doesn’t mind scrapping in front of the net, even though he’s a bit light in the ass at 180 lbs. He seems to be mature for such a young kid as well. Nick Leddy (20) has improved his game since the Oduya trade and Dylan Olson (21) has looked good enough to play the 3rd pairing minutes he’s been getting. It’s nice when your farm system is stocked and can produce players who can contribute at such a tender age.
  4. The Walking Dead has really been sensational lately. The second season was kinda slow-paced at first, but I didn’t bitch like people did on message boards and such. I figured they were working up to something and haven’t been disappointed. When Shane re-animated and Carl blew his zombie ass straight back to zombie Hell, I about shit myself in sheer bliss. This season has had two legit GASP! moments in zombie-blasting….the barn massacre that ended with Sophia getting dusted and now Shane getting waxed by a kid. Throw in that moralizing windbag Dale being ripped into by a zombie like a fat kid rips into the pizza on Italian Night at Old Country Buffet and you’ve some gooood TV to watch and enjoy. It doesn’t have anything to do with the Hawks, but it’s been pretty fucking badass. I can’t wait to see how the virus has been spreading too. October is too damned far away for season 3.

I can’t really complain about much recently and Toews’s concussion seems to be a big factor in the 9 game skid, which was the only bad stretch we’ve had all season for the most part. All we can hope for is good health the rest of the way. It’s not always the best team that wins a title….many times, it’s the healthiest or the team that gets hottest at the right time. If we get that health, I like our chances of being that hot team. Tonight’s game versus a red-hot Dallas team ripe for some payback should be a tough one in a place we don’t always play well. Let’s hope they keep it up.

Since the purpose of this website is to educate as well as entertain, allow me to impart some of my vast hockey knowledge to the masses who may have some questions about how to properly act as a Blackhawks fan. The following Do’s and Dont’s have been compiled from my experiences as a Hawks fan. They apply to all situations….at games, in bars, in county lock-up…..

DON’T: When you’re at a game, don’t get up out of your seat while the puck is in play. Wait until the whistle stops play to get up and go take a leak, get beer or food, or try to hook up with one of the Ice Girls. Be courteous to others and act like you’ve been to a game before. I can’t stress this enough.

DO: Yell at the clowns who ignore the above point. You don’t need to be profane, of course, but some incisive and biting sarcasm is always in good taste. Try being creative and topical. People appreciate humor.

DON’T: Stand up every time the puck comes into the offensive zone. We know it’s there. We’re watching the same thing you are. You’re not going to get a better view of it by standing up. When the puck goes in the net, we’re ALL going to stand and yell and be loud. Until then, keep it in your pants, Ace.

DON’T: Yell “SHOOOOT!” when the team is cycling the puck, looking for the shot. They know when to shoot and see angles and shooting lanes you don’t from your seat. They’ll let ‘er rip when they’re damned good and ready. All you’re doing is alerting the rest of us who the noob in the crowd is. In the 300 level, you may not be allowed back to future games at all.

DO: Refer to the player’s uniforms as a “sweater”, not a “jersey”. Baseball players wear jerseys. Basketball players wear jerseys. Football players wear jerseys. Hockey players wear sweaters. Back in the day, when it was an outdoor game, the uniform was actually a woolen sweater for obvious reasons. They’re polysomething or another these days, but doesn’t it sound cool to call it a sweater?

DON’T:
Buy a shitty Chinese knockoff sweater to express your new-found fandom. These are easy to spot….if the C with the crossed tomahawks on the shoulder looks like a Boy Scout troop badge for being a cheap shithead, then it’s a knockoff. If the Chief’s face looks like he has a bad case of cellulitis, it’s a knockoff. Don’t look like a noob.

DO: Spend the extra $50 or so to get something that looks great. It’s worth it and I won’t be forced to make fun of you.

DON’T: Get a personalized sweater with something stupid on it. Example…I saw a sweater at a TV game that had number 69 on it and the name said “P. Whipped”. If you think that’s worth spending the $300 it costs to customize a sweater in that fashion, I’d like you to try this bleach and grain alcohol cocktail I’m mixing over here. Unless you’re Clark Griswold, just get a Toews or Kane or Hossa sweater. Otherwise, you’re just a cock-knocker.

DO: Buy the max amount of beers when you make a run downstairs. I’m not explaining this one further.

DON’T:
Feel like you’re disrespecting America when you cheer the Anthem at the United Center. It’s part of the Chicago hockey experience and it’s accepted as a great tradition. I was there on May 9, 1985 when the tradition truly took hold and became what it is today. You go right ahead and yell and holler and clap and scream. You can be quiet at a baseball game or in church or when you’re dead.

DON’T:
Jump on the ice to try and kick the ass of a player you don’t like. You’ll lose. But you will get points if the player you go after is Todd Bertuzzi. You’d still get your ass kicked, but seriously mad props for taking that felon on.

DO:
Put one in the net if you are lucky enough to do the Shoot the Puck promo between the 2nd and 3rd period. I did it when I was about 15, missed all 3 and got booed, deservedly so. Hell, I would have booed me, too. Do yourself a favor and pot one.

DON’T:
Go on message boards and scream for the return of players we had to move in the summer of 2010. It’s simply not good hockey talk and opens you up for the kind of ridicule reserved for the assclowns who stand up during play.

DO:
Learn the rich history of the team. The Hawks have had some of the game’s greatest players and the Chicago Stadium (one of the sporting world’s finest arenas of all-time) was their home for decades. Study up on players like Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita. Take a look at how the team was formed and got their name. Learn who the retired numbers belong to and what those players accomplished. It makes for a better fan experience when you’re in touch with the past, and the Hawks certainly have an illustrious….and sometimes shit-awful….past.

DON’T: Be the butthole who didn’t know who my sweater #35 was earlier this season. It happened in a UC bathroom, post-game. As he asked the question and ENTIRE bathroom turned to look at this idiot in the shitty Chinese knockoff (SEE? TOLD YOU!!), my head swam with confusion and my insult generator locked. I was literally rendered speechless by this guy’s lack of what should be obvious. I mean, he was sitting in an arena with the retired number 35 on a banner hanging above him for 3 hours. Christ…….

DO:
Learn the rules of the game, which is obvious for any sport you watch. Start with the basics like icing and offsides and just pay attention. The rest pretty much falls into place. Penalties are mostly self-explanatory, but there are cool things like match penalties and major game misconducts. If nothing else, hockey has the coolest sounding penalties.

DON’T: Lose faith in these guys. Many teams would have given up on the season on the heels of that 9 game skid, especially after losing an elite player and captain like Jonathan Toews. Kane and Hossa have picked up the slack and we’re solidly in playoff position with 14 games to go. Toews skated by himself before practice and felt good, which is a damned good sign. If he comes back strong by playoff time, it’s a whole different Hawks team to deal with.

Heading into the stretch run, we’ve figured out quite a bit about the 2011-12 edition of the Hawks.  It’s a bit of a mix of good, bad, tasteless and stupid.  Sounds like the Oscars.  At least I didn’t hire Billy Crystal or a very stoned James Franco to write this.

We Know….enough about concussions to know that there can be no target date for Jonathan Toews’s return.   Hopefully, he progresses quickly and we get him back before much longer.  I like good old-fashioned injuries where a reasonable estimate for return was possible.  The fact that he’s an elite player and our Captain makes the uncertainty even more excruciating.  We Don’t Know.…how badly we needed him until he’s been out of the lineup.  It sucks without him.

We Don’t Know…which Corey Crawford will show up on any given night.    His confidence level is either sky-high or in the crapper and it doesn’t help when he lets in a softie.    Even when the defense is limiting quality chances against him, your sphincter is tight when there’s action in our end.    We Know….we can’t put up with this type of stuff if he’s the future in goal for us.

We Know….Patrick Kane can give us more than what we’ve gotten this year.   It’s been a down year for him, but everyone has them in their career.  Even Babe Ruth and Ted Williams had off-years.  I’m not ready to scream that “TRADE KANE!!” crap with the rest of the meatballs.  He’s 23, has a cap-friendly deal and steps his production up in the playoffs.  You don’t deal a guy like that when his value isn’t as high as it should be.  We Don’t Know….who the clown was who originally started that rumor, but he should be de-balled immediately.

We Know…Stan could have done more at the deadline.  With that cap space and young talent to deal, I felt we’d do more.  We did get Johnny Oduya, who was solid against Toronto, but we sure could have used that 2nd line center.  I realize the cost of making deal was exorbitant this season, with only 9 or 10 legit sellers out there, so I’m also glad he didn’t get trade-raped.    We Don’t Know.….the last time we heard a particular team’s fandom go so absolutely batshit crazy at the trade deadline and crucify the guy so thoroughly in every available media outlet.  My God….he didn’t get a center (we have other options, like Sharp), he didn’t cause cancer.   Christ, look at the long-term scenario, not just the next two months.

We Know…Andrew Shaw can bring some serious energy to the rink.  He’s a whirlwind out there, and that’s been a commodity we’ve been sorely lacking at times this season.   We Don’t Know…if he’ll hold up physically, since he’s so damned small.  He is responsible for a sweet little fad, however.  #shawfacts

We Know…John Scott sucked and getting a 5th rounder from the Rangers was a good thing.  We’re better, skill-wise, without him.  Pluswhise, his so-called physical presence has been replaced by Brandon Bollig, who can actually play more than 4 minutes a night 4 times per month.  We Don’t Know….what NY sees in Scott, but I hope they get it.  Even though he sucked, he was a good teammate and a funny guy.  His appearance in the Hawks’ Xmas album was glorious.

We Know…Duncan Keith can play at an all-world level and control the ice when he’s out there.  We Don’t Know….if that guy is ever coming back.  I don’t like what I see from him on too many occasions.  His bad decisions have been ending up in the back our our net far too often.

We Know…the power play sucks.  An 85 year old paraplegic man with no testosterone is more potent than our power play.  I mean, if they haven’t figured out that pucks on the net with traffic on front is the way to go, then I’m at a loss.  Fancy perimeter passing is nice, but not when that’s all you accomplish.  We Don’t Know….why it had to be Davy Jones passing on while Snooki and the cast of Jersey Shore continue to draw breath.

Big weekend coming up with road games in Ottawa tonight and Detroit on Sunday, and a third roadie in St Loo on Tuesday.  A mere 17 games remain and every damned one of them looms large.    A nice run of inspired play would be a welcome sight down the stretch.

Pre-Game to Puck Drop….

The Toews/car accident story broke early today, with the Captain coming out of the accident okay.  Thank God for that $100K Mercedes’ crash-resistant features, huh? If texting and driving was the cause of the crash, I’ll be uber-pissed as that’s my current #1 thing that bothers me lately.  He should know better.

Tonight, the Hawks go for five wins in a row with the Stars visiting the UC.  With Toews still out, we need everyone else to pick it up like they did against Detroit.  The red-hot Corey Crawford gets the start between the pipes and hopes to continue his strong play as of late.   For a guy who looks like a monkey humping a football at times, he sure can look like a top-flight goalie for stretches.  My thanks to the late Herb Brooks for the preceding monkey line.  I’ll be doing the “running diary” thing tonight during the game.  Let’s hope we have 2 points to show for ourselves when we’re done.

On a side note, I miss hating the shit out of the Minnesota North Stars.  I wish I could go chant “DINO SUCKS!!  DINO SUCKS!!” just one more time, but I digress.

Puck drop, 20:00 left in the first period.…I miss seeing Toews already, nothing against Kruger for taking the opening draw.  You sure get used to seeing a guy like #19.

19:52….Icing in 8 seconds….sounds like a low-quality how-to cake decorating video.

19:06….Stephen King’s pen name Steven Bachman is tending net for Dallas tonight.  If he employs a huge, possessed St Bernard, I call bullshit on it.

17:14…Great chance for Kaner from Sharp.  Would have been nice to cash that in.  Hossa and Kane have jump so far.

17:00….Uh-oh…Hawks to the power play.  This unit is due like a cell phone bill in the ghetto.

16:3something…Good play by Leddy to deny the shorty chance.  Christ, we can’t score ourselves, don’t give up a goal…

15:07…CRAWFORD!!!  Gotta love big early saves.  #weneededthat

14:16…Goalmouth scramble with Big Jimmy Hayes right in the middle of it.  Stay there for about 15 years, kid.  You look good.

13:50…..Cool little video coming out of commercial showing how the hoops court is converted to the rink at the UC.  I could see grabbing a dozen beers and sitting in the stands and watching that for a while.

9:37…Another good save by Crawford, who saw it all the way.  Decent pace so far, should pick up as the game goes on.  Kane looks pretty active again….damn good sign.

6:55….A quick score before the end of the first would be a welcome sight.  I hate how this Dallas team hangs around.

5:29…LEDDY ROBBED!!  BASTARD BACHMAN!!  I HATE YOUR SELF-INDULGENT BOOKS!!

4:24….I didn’t mean that.  I like King’s stuff.  I just wanted Leddy to bury that chance.

1:20….I think Stalberg misses Toews more than anyone.

End of the first….Shots were 6 to 5 in favor of the Hawks.  Both teams had a couple solid chances, but Crawford and Steven King have been up to the task……Anybody throws me against the boards I’m gonna piss all over myself…….I love Lemonheads, and the commercial with Toews/Kane still makes me laugh…..

Second period….

18:12…Nice flurry for the Hawks there.  Hossa just missed connecting there.  He’s been all over the ice so far.  I love beastly Marian.

17:28…GOALPOST!!!  THEN THE CROSSBAR!!  Crawford with double best-friend action there.  *cues 70’s porn music*

17:17…Hayes robbed by King.  Damn, what a chance.  Jimmy is playing his ass off again tonight.  Glad to see he “gets it” already.

16:14…Near-turnover to Frolik in the slot.  I got excited about the scoring chance, then remembered Frodo couldn’t score in a whorehouse with a fistful of hundreds.

13:55….Hayes with yet another good chance.  It looks like the kid lives for playing hard and going to the front of the net.  #39 is going to be a popular sweater here for years to come if he keeps it up……Edzo and Foley talking up the food at the UC.  I guess they missed the stuff on the news  about the health code violations down there.  I’ll pass on the diarrhea with a side of dry heaves, thanks.

13:21…GOALPOST!!  for Sharp.

10:28….HOSSA MAKES IT 1-0!!!  What a play by Frodo to make it possible!!  Hard works pays off!!!

5:42…Crawford with two great saves to keep it 1-0.  Those are the saves he needs to make on a nightly basis.

5:20….My other favorite young Hawk, Dylan Olsen, with a quality chance.  He looks right at home next to Keith on the back end.

1:00…..Hawks have pretty much owned the 2nd, due in large part to Hossa.  He’s been the best player on the ice tonight, stepping up into a void left by Toews being out.  It’s nice when your best players play like it.

0:03….Another damned goalpost for the Hawks.  We’re burying these guys in the 3rd.

End of the second….Hawks outshot Dallas 16-5 in the 2nd.  That’s called turning your shit up a notch…..Bears LB Lance Briggs is doing the Shoot-the-Puck segment in a minute.  I hope he doesn’t start bitching about his contract when Sarah Kustok blathers at him after he misses…..The girl shooting the puck tonight is less than a 9.  Must be a sparse crowd tonight……Oh, but the 2nd girl was….yeaow!!!……Briggs missed all three shots.  I think he was distracted by the 2nd girl.

Third period….

19:08….Hossa busting in hard along the boards is a nice thing to see.

17:20…Stalberg with a wonderful chance.  I think one goal may break this game open for us.

14:38….Dallas with their first shot of the 3rd. The defense has been fantastic at shutting off the passing lanes all night.

14:07….Ok, who buries the first glorious chance?  I’m saying Sharp will.

10:35….Fuck.  Dallas scores after being dominated and ties it at 1.  There is no way we’re letting Steven King beat us in the UC tonight.

9:35…..Foley sounds like Peter Brady when his voice cracks.  All we need is for him to put on a sweet poncho, some puka shells and find a terrible 70’s song for him to warble.  When it’s time to change, you’ve got to re-arrange!!!!

7:15….Uh-oh…off goes Hossa.  Not good.

6:06….Hossa back on the bench.  My balls can come back out of my stomach cavity now.  Whew.

5:02…You gotta be shitting me.  We’re really going to let Dallas take this game over after owning the ice for over 40 minutes?  This is inexcusable.  2-1 Dallas and I’m pissed.

4:20…..The last thing I want right now is a Hawks power play.  Talk about a momentum killer…..

3:48.….Suck a big fat one, Hawks.  You simply stopped playing hard after dominating for 48 minutes and are now down 3-1.  What a shame you’re going to let a winning streak end on such a poor effort at such a crucial time.

2:05….BOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

1:12…..BOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

0:00……Bite me.  Take a big, wet bite out of my ass.  Terrible way to end the night.

Post-game…

Well, the Hawks played great for about 48 minutes, then decided to slack off and let an inferior Dallas team steal 2 points on our home ice.  With or without Jonathan Toews, there was no reason to lose this game.  In a conference as hellaciously tough as the NHL’s Western conference is, these are the types of games and points we simply can’t afford not to win.  Hopefully, these 2 points won’t be a factor in the end, but it’s maddening to watch  games like this.  I mean, seriously…every scout in the NHL was out there tonight, with contracts in their pockets, and they’re looking for talent. For winners. OOOOOOOOOH. All my years of publicity. All the fashion shows and radiothons for nothing… They come here tonight… to scout the Chiefs… the toughest team in the Federal League! Not this! Buncha… pussies.”

That about sums it up.

The biggest waterfalls start with a drop of water.  Tonight, the Jonathan Toews penalty shot a mere 65 seconds into the game was that drop of water.  It gave a team that was desperate for some sort of break just what they needed….a chance to grab some momentum in the hands of their best player and captain.  Big players make big plays and as The Captain went five-hole to give us the lead we would never relinquish, he proved again that he’s a leader.  That was the biggest 1-0 lead I can recall right now.  Then, we saw a waterfall of hockey awesome.

In less than ten minutes of game time, the Hawks had potted 3 more beautiful goals and played some of the most inspired hockey I’ve seen.  Sticks were active, players were digging hard on the boards, the Slap Shot lines were flowing.  After building that 4-0 lead, they basically played standout defensive hockey and basically shut down a top team in the NHL, something we have had issues with recently.  When you only give up 21 shots, you give yourself a shot at winning.  I can’t stress this enough.

Tonight, our best players were just that…our best players.  Even our depth players like Scott and Lepisto were solid.  But what kept momentum on our side were 2 things had had been struggling….Corey Crawford and our penalty kill unit.

Crawford made the huge saves when he needed to and looked very confident in challenging shooters and controlling his rebounds.  Goalies games revolve around their confidence level and his looked as sharp as I’ve seen in a bit.  We needed him to have a big game tonight and he came through.  He just needs to not revert to being a huge pile of suck.

The penalty kill, in the midst of one of the most horrible stretches of play I’ve seen since God knows when, not only killed all seven penalties called on us, but killed off a key 4 minute double minor that would have been a death knell last week to boot.  It’s amazing what a little effort and desire can get you when it’s required.  There were plenty of pk minutes to go around, but Dylan Olson, all 20 years old of him, got over 4 minutes of it and looked good  He got almost 16 minutes and earned it.  It would be nice if we could keep him up here and get some real contributions from him.

Two early afternoon game for the weekend.  I’ll be at Sunday’s nationally televised game vs St Louis.  Game time is 11:30 am….look for me in the stands.  I’ll be the one wearing the red Hawks sweater and Stanley Cup hat.  Let’s hope they come home on a 2 game winning streak.


First off, my thanks for the invite to contribute to this blog.  I’m about as passionate about sports as anyone and what I say usually comes from the heart.  Well, from the heart or the big sarcastic part of my brain that rules my life.  Sometimes, you can actually tell the difference. (ed. note, sometimes, when the moon is high and Virgo is trending).

As we’ve noticed lately, the Blackhawks have been about as bad as we’ve seen them in years.  You’d have to go back to the dark ages to find as bad a stretch as this one.  6 losses in a row, some of the Rosie O’Donnell-ugly variety, have dropped the team from atop the West to 6th and plummeting.  How have we fallen so far so fast?  More importantly, will they get back on track before pissing away a once-promising season with legit Cup hopes?  I believe so and here’s why….

  1. Jonathan Toews.  The game’s best young (and some say best overall) captain is a stone-cold killer who would cut his balls off with a rusty skate blade to inspire and motivate his team.  There was a reason he was chosen as captain at the age of 20 years and 79 days old….he’s a pure leader.  Anyone can lead when things are going good and a team is rolling….see DFB and the 2003 Cubs….but when things are in the toilet, a true leader rights the ship and does so by example.  Toews is called Captain Serious and it’s apt.  He can and will lead the way.
  2. Patrick Kane.   Yeah, Kane has been not quite as good as he has been in the past, but he’s shown signs of breaking out and being aggressive.  When he shoots more often, the passing lanes open as teams collapse on him.  Then, the shit gets real as 88 is one of the best and most creative passers in the game.  When that part of his game is clicking and he’s feeling the confidence, he is damn near unstoppable and his line mates bury the puck and they all thrive.  Pluswhise, when he’s confident, his all-around game improves.  He’s never going to win the Selke, but his defensive game can be solid when he’s feeling it.  Bottom line, he has too much sheer talent to not play well for long stretches.
  3. Q and his staff aren’t idiots.  They see what we see.  They know what’s broken.  The defensive lapses and awful special teams can be fixed.  This is the same group that was cruising atop the NHL standings after a torrid December where they won 10 of 13 games and looked every bit the dominant team the Cup winners were at times.
  4. Stan has cap space and trade bait.  Rarely do teams keep the same roster intact all season.  Luckily for us, we have two essentials for a deal….cap space and young kids.  With around $5M in space, we can afford to add a tough, physical defenceman (I’m using the Canadian spelling there, eh?) who can contribute to the penalty kill and address the issue stated in my 3rd reason while not depleting the system of it’s incredible young depth.  Adding such a player is not only possible, but a likelihood.  Stan is not stupid either and he knows what’s needed.  He’ll get it.
  5. Teams with championship experience rise to a challenge when up against it.  We’ve had some roster turnover since the summer of 2010, but the core of that title team remains and hungers for more.  Guys like Hossa, Sharp, Keith and Seabrook aren’t satisfied with winning once.  They surely want more and the time has come for them to realize it.   They have no choice but to step it up over the last 2 months.

Every team has it’s own issues, and we’re no exception, but we also have more on the positive side of the ledger than most.  Besides, the worst time to judge a team and how good they are is when they’re at their lowest….this stretch certainly qualifies as that point.  I’m betting the road trip will end on a positive note and the team will right the ship and settle in the for the stretch.  They’d better, as I’m running out of things to kick and creative swear words.

Poor T.