Posts Tagged ‘Hockey’

Weekend Roundup

Posted: January 28, 2013 by Mauricio Rubio Jr. in Sports
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The Blackhawks are off to the best start in franchise history Nick Leddy scored an OT goal to push the Blackhawks to 6-0-0 with the 10-0-0 Maple Leafs firmly in sight. 

Bulls lose to the Wizards – The Bulls front court got eaten up in an ugly loss to the Wizards, who are suddenly hot after an atrocious start. They were of course Wall-less for the first half of the season, but the Wiz have managed to beat the Heat, the Bulls, and the Thunder. 

Oh, and everyone is still waiting for Derrick Rose.

Paul Konerko shaved his goatee – Please note that all beards are to be flown at half mast until the start of the season in remembrance of PK’s tremendous goatee. He looks so wrong without one.

Image

I just can’t.

Dave Sappelt made some unfortunate comments on twitter – They’ve been deleted, but here’s the recap.

The Pro Bowl was on? – Some stuff happened and here’s a happy fun time article about it.

Go forth and attack the day:

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Find us on iTunes

  • 0:48 Andy is dead this episode
  • 1:15 Propers
  • 2:10 Tony thinks Twitter is exuberantly happy
  • 2:46 Ted Lyons Sunday Starter
  • 9:30 Top Ten MLB HOFers that need to be kicked out
  • 19:38 Breakage
  • 20:15 Beer brewed with maple syrup
  • 22:00 Andy’s story time
  • 23:00 Waite Hoyt sucks too
  • 25:00 @SaintLouisSport
  • 25:30 White Sox talk
  • 37:02 Chicago Cubs talk
  • 43:54 Breakage
  • 44:30 A buncha gutless dogs that folded like lawn chairs
  • 48:43 House Cleaning
  • 51:58 Where Are They Now: Bo Jackson
  • 57:50 The show never really ends
  • 59:27 Bye-bye

by: Tony Leva
email: tonytrucker1969@gmail.com

Junior Seau, CTE and where this all may lead

On Monday, future NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Junior Seau put a gun to his chest and pulled the trigger, ending his own life at age 43. This is eerily similar to how former Bears defensive back Dave Duerson took his own life in February of 2011. Duerson left a note saying he intentionally left his brain intact so it could be studied for chronic traumatic encephalopathy, commonly known as CTE. It’s a degenerative brain disease that has been linked to violent contact sports like football and hockey. Repeated blows to the head in these, and other, sports are suspected to directly lead to CTE, which in turn causes the victim to suffer from memory loss, depression, confusion and aggressive behavior. Obviously, suicidal tendencies are also a symptom and unfortunately, sometimes the last symptom.

With the recent deaths of hockey players considered “enforcers”, Rick Rypien, a CTE victim who committed suicide, the possible suicide of Wade Belak, a depression sufferer, and the overdose of Derek Boogaard, also a depression sufferer and CTE victim, the hockey community has been seriously questioning the role of enforcers in the game as its becoming apparent the constant punches to the head may be directly linked to CTE. Considering the relative youth of these 3 players…Rypien was 27, Boogaard was 28 and Belak was 35…the crippling effects of CTE manifesting itself in such young men is truly frightening. If getting into fights on the ice is linked to CTE, what the hell is the game of football doing to others?

Virtually every play in football ends with a high-speed collision between at least two people…at least one of which is moving at full speed. From the first time a youngster puts on the pads and taps into that neanderthal gene that says “RRRAAAAAHHHHHRRRRRR!!!! HULK SMASH!!!!” they are subjecting themselves to the very real possibility of injuring their brain on a constant basis until the day they stop playing the game, be it one play later or when they retire from pro football. The damage done to a brain from a violent concussion can never be trusted to fully heal and the medical data supporting that conclusion gets bigger with every study done on the brain.

When do parents around the world finally say, “Not my child” and refuse to allow them to participate in sports where the risk for brain injury is so great? I’m not advocating one side over the other here, just asking that very important question….”When”? I’m certain that many parents out there won’t give a shit about anything that’s come to light and will keep enrolling their kids in these sports and will continue to scream encouragement from the stands when little Johnny plants a crushing hit on the son of another set of parents. They’ll yell “SHAKE IT OFF, RUB SOME DIRT ON IT AND GET BACK OUT THERE” even when it’s their kid on the sideline, woozy and nauseous from receiving a similar hit, even when their coaches insist they watch from the sideline until they’re cleared by a doctor to return to game action. I’m not sure where this is leading for the future of these sports, but I’m sure controversy will abound.

The Cubs and the Farm System

On a lighter note….Yeah, the Cubs suck hard this season and probably will in 2013 as well. While this is nothing new for us Cubs fans, what is new is there’s an actual plan to improve via the farm system. Let’s take a look at my top 5 prospects…

1. Anthony Rizzo, 1B The prize of the Adrian Gonzalez to Boston deal, the Cubs somehow heisted The Riz (That’s MINE and I expect royalties when he wins his first MVP and everyone calls him that) from the Padres for Andrew Cashner. Only 22 years old, he’s tearing it up at AAA to the tune of a .372/.422/.638 slash line and is only being held back by the issue of service time (free agency eligibility begins after 6 major league seasons and teams sometimes try to delay the eligibility clock by bringing young players up in June or July) and the fact that Bryan LaHair is playing well at the major league level. He’s a Hodgkin’s lymphoma survivor, so you know the kid is a fighter, too. I think he’s the most big league-ready of our youngsters and will give the Cubs a big run producer for a decade or so. ETA…June 2012

2. Brett Jackson, OF Jackson is a big, left-handed hitting OFer with superb defensive skills, is faster than rent in the ghetto and actually has the ability to draw a walk, something the Cubs haven’t stressed in the past. He’s prone to the strikeout, but so were plenty of other difference-makers with a similar tool set. I’m hoping he can be Jim Edmonds with more speed and less power. I don’t expect 40 homers from him, but 40 steals per season are in his sights. He’s excelled at every level he’s been at and at 23 is ready to hone his craft in Wrigley. There’s an available OF spot for him, but he’s in the same service time boat as The Riz. This kid is going to get every chance to be the dynamic leadoff hitter we have lusted after like we’ve lusted after a video of Kate Upton doing the Cat Daddy.

God help the rest of baseball if Jackson exceeds that level of awesomeness. ETA….June 2012

3. Javy Baez, 3B The last 1st round pick of the Jim Hendry reign of terror, he’s from the last MLB draft where overslotting and overpaying those players was possible. Drafted 9th overall in 2011, he’s 6′ 1″, 205ish, and still filling out since he’s only 19 years old. Scouts raved about how the ball jumps off his bat to all areas of the field. Defensively, he’s already a plus player and has the ability to play SS as well as 3B. Attitude may be an issue, though. He was recently scolded for admiring a home run and responded, “I can do whatever the fuck I want!” He’d better hit about 35 homers with a .300+ average in Wrigley if he’s going to be a cockbite. Hey, they can’t all be saints. ETA….2015

4. Matt Szczur, OF
Pronounced “Caesar”, Szczur is a super athlete who played both baseball and football at Villanova before choosing baseball after being drafted in the 5th round of the 2010 draft. He probably would have chosen baseball anyway, but the Cubs gave him $100K to sign and another $500K to skip the NFL scouting combine. For $600K, I shudder to think what I’d do. He’s struggling a bit at High-A Daytona, but he was a project with a high ceiling when we drafted him and we can afford to let him learn his craft at his own pace. He’s athletic and was very durable in college while playing two sports. He’s gone from 5th round future to fast-track prospect making a name for himself in the organization. ETA….2014, maybe 2015

5. Trey McNutt, P The top pitching prospect in the system, McNutt, only 22, has two outstanding plus pitches…an overwhelming fastball and a big ol’ power curve that are almost major-league caliber as it is. Refining a 3rd pitch and sharpening his control a bit will be the keys for McNutt (yeah, you love that name) to make it as a starting pitcher in The Show. He is thought so highly of that the Cubs refused to include him in the Matt Garza trade and laughed in Boston’s collective faces when they wanted McNutt (don’t act like you’re not giggling) in compensation for Theo. Standing 6′ 4″, he’s an imposing figure on the mound and may even put a few more pounds on his 205 pound frame. We need more home-grown arms to compete, but McNutt is a good start. ETA…2013

Rocky Horror Live Cast Showing

Ok, off sports for a second. This past Friday night, I took my girls and two of their friends to the Arcada Theatre’s live cast showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. If you’ve never seen this, it’s a Bucket List thing, especially if you like rude, vulgar, offensive and colorfully dressed people who worship a movie that bombed like it was dropped on Nagasaki in 1945. These goofs (said lovingly, of course) dress up in costume and act along with the movie in it’s entirety. But that’s not the fun part!! The fun part is the audience callbacks. During the whole movie, the dialogue in the movie is “answered” by the in-the-know members of the audience. Here’s a decent example of this. Gotta listen kind of close, but you can make out the callbacks.

The enjoyment level for virgins (Oh yeah, first-timers are called “virgins” and are marked with a lipsticked “V” on each cheek and some offensive words or artwork on foreheads or bald heads. Then, the cast tries to offend them pre-show. The guy who tried to offend me had the tables turned on him. Silly cross-dresser!!) depends on how good the audience is. It’s much more fun to hear everything crisp and in-time (My name is Janet. “SLUT!!”) rather than a bunch of people who aren’t into the flick. It’s very audience participatory-dependent for fun, because the movie itself pretty much sucks, which is why it bombed years ago. After the show, the cast is more than happy to pose for pics and shoot the proverbial shit with you. This is me and my boy, Frank. I think it’s a boy. I didn’t have the sack to look under it’s panties…

Bring your kids if you don’t mind taking a chance on scarring them for life. How can you, really, when it’s just a bunch of grown-ups prancing around in drag?

 

Find us on iTunes

  • 0:01 Lee Elia Rant
  • 2:00 Introduction and Propers/It’s Pat!
  • 4:30 Bulls/Derrick Rose Sad Face
  • 8:00 Happy Lee Elia Day
  • 9:50 The Ted Lyons Sunday Starter/General Baseball Notes
  • 16:50 NFL Draft
  • 26:50 Beer Breakage
  • 27:19 Wing Walker Beer
  • 28:30 Where are they Now? Black Jack McDowell
  • 32:14 The Slugging Konerko’s
  • 37:32 That Young Awful Cubs Team
  • 41:35 Breakage
  • 42:00 Tony Talks about his feelings/Hawks Eulogy
  • 53:30 Top Ten NFL Draft Busts

Well, the Hawks bowed out quite meekly in the first round of the playoffs this week. With Mike Smith stealing the two wins that Corey Crawford didn’t gift-wrap coupled with some key players (Patrick Sharp, I’m looking at you) last being seen on a milk carton and losing one of the game’s best two-way players in Marian Hossa, it all added up to a big wet fart that smelled worse than it felt. As disappointing as things turned out, it’s a damn sight better than what we saw before the resurgence of 5 years ago. To paraphrase some old Roman dude, “I’ve come to bury the Hawks, not to praise them.” Here’s my end-of-season/playoff report card. No punches pulled, no gilding the lily, no tarting it up.

FORWARDS

Jonathan Toews…Until a concussion cost Captain Serious 23 games, he was showing the hockey world again what a special player he continues to be. Averaging basically a point-per-game (for you hockey noobs, that’s a great rate of scoring), winning over 60% of his faceoffs (this is a FANTASTIC percentage), continuing to be a dynamic defensive player and cementing his place as an elite player and leader, Johnny was in the conversation for the Hart Trophy, awarded to the league’s MVP. Even though he likely wasn’t 100% upon his return, he was a factor in the series vs. Phoenix. Hopefully, his noggin is okay and his career isn’t affected by the concussion. GRADE….A

Patrick Kane
…Coming off wrist surgery in the off-season, there was some question about his being ready for the season. All he did was play all 82 games, one of only two Hawks to suit up every night. Shuttling between wing and center all year, he had a down year, points-wise, but if his wingers could have buried half the chances he served them, his point total would be much higher. He’s a work-in-progress defensively, but did show lots of improvement in that area and stepped up in Toews’s absence into a leadership role. Only 23, he’s a key player in our future. GRADE….B

Marian Hossa…Big Hoss led the Hawks in scoring with 77 points this year and played his usual excellent two-way game. One of the game’s best defensive forwards (he only had 20 penalty minutes this year, remarkable for such an active player in his defensive end), he did have some stretches where he wasn’t very visible, but over the 81 games he played, he was a serious plus. We can only hope he’s fully recovered from Raffi Torres’s dirty playoff hit. A true core player, we need him to come back healthy. GRADE….A

Patrick Sharp….Until a playoff vanishing act that would make Houdini ask “How did you do that?” Sharpie led the team in goals with 33 and was his usual dynamic sniping self. I wish I had an answer for his playoff no-show, but I don’t. Chalk it up to being a new dad and not getting any sleep. That’s what I’m going with. GRADE…B-

Viktor Stalberg
…Quite possibly the handsomest guy on the Hawks, the incredibly skilled Swede had a career season with 22 goals and 43 points and did it for under a million bucks. He looked better as the season wore on and he gained confidence. At times, he was the best player on the ice on either team. His elite speed created numerous scoring chances all season and we can only hope he continues to trend upward in 2012-13. He could be a real difference maker for us. GRADE…C+

Dave Bolland…Why is it that we all expect more from this guy? Only 25, it seems like he’s been a Hawk forever. He played 76 games and scored 19 goals, but after the job he did in the 2010 playoffs, I think anything he ever does might be a disappointment. It may not be fair, but I don’t make the rules. If we can deal him and his $3M+ cap hit, so be it. We can replace a guy who probably will never be that 2nd line center we desire. GRADE…C-

Andrew Brunette…Brought in to provide a big body in front of the net and leadership presence, he did one admirably and failed at the other. He proved too slow to keep up with the speedy Hawk forwards and never really found a place to call his own on any line. We all had hoped to squeeze whatever last drops of hockey goodness he had out of him, but that well proved to be dry. He shan’t return. GRADE…D-

Marcus Kruger….While he may never gain enough size to be a great player, he showed he can be pretty damned good on the 4th line as a defensive center. Smart, quick and always in the right spot, he has proved to be pretty durable and has a nice head for the game. We certainly can do worse than him and at only 22 years old, his future is with the Hawks. GRADE….C

Bryan Bickell….Easily the most frustrating Hawks player this season. Big, tough, fast with a great wrist shot, he pulled a Claude Rains for most of the season before coming to life against Phoenix. Every Hawks fan wanted this guy gone before the trade deadline and if they say they didn’t, they’re lying to you. He has too much talent to give up on so quickly and will be back next year, hopefully finally seeing what hard work all year can do. GRADE…D

Andrew Shaw….Easily the best story of the year. Signed to an entry-level deal during the season after being a 5th round draft choice after being undrafted in THREE previous drafts, Shaw blasted into Chicago like a breath of fresh air with an attitude and instantly became a fan favorite. His hustle won fans. His grit won fans. His determination won fans. Everything this kid did won us over more and more. Andrew Shaw proved that there is more to playing the game than measurable talent. Heart and desire, while cliché, matter. Pluswhise, #shawfacts ruled Twitter for a time, which speaks volumes about his impact. GRADE…A+

Michael Frolik….Works his ass off, battles in the corner, fills lanes with an active stick, couldn’t buy a goal if he had a bag of gold dust for a nutsack. All that is well and good, but for $3M per year, we need him to find his 20 goal-a-year form he showed early in his career. GRADE….D++

Jamal Mayers
….One of the “grit guys” Bowman brought in for a one-year deal, he provided what he was signed for. His character and work ethic were solid all season. Not sure if he’ll be back, but he was a solid player for us. GRADE….C+

Daniel Carcillo
….Carbomb, brought in as another “grit guy”, but one with actual hockey skills showed he can really play the game well. Of course, the fact that he’s a tremendous turd, a reckless player and a target for refs every time he’s on the ice proved costly and ended up costing him the season with a wrecked knee he did to himself with a dirty hit on another player. Re-signed for 2 years while in rehab, I’m not sure where he’s going to fit next season. GRADE…Incomplete

Jimmy Hayes….Did fairly well in limited time, he’s another youngster with a nice future here. You can’t teach size and Big Jimmy has it in spades. I look forward to his big ass in front of the net for a long time. GRADE….C

DEFENSEMEN

Duncan Keith….Brilliant at times, pedestrian at others, looked like a clueless fuck at others. If Bickell is the most frustrating Hawk player, Duncs is easily #2, simply because we KNOW how good he can be. Remember when he was the best defenseman in the world? Of course you do, because it was only two years ago when he won Olympic gold and was a stalwart for Team Canada, won the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best defenseman and had his name engraved on the Stanley Cup. There isn’t anything he can’t do on the ice, but he has struggled with consistency. He needs to become at least 85% of that player again. GRADE….B-

Brent Seabrook….This season, Seabs became the undisputed best d-man on the team. Big, fast and a bruising hitter, he blossomed into the player we hoped he’d become. He finally started to unleash that bomb of a shot of his more often and piled up the ice time without any significant reduction in effectiveness. A true blueline stalwart, Seabs would thrive in any era. GRADE…A

Nick Leddy….At an age where his peers are still playing college hockey (Leddy turned 21 late in the season), he was thrust into a role that was too big for him. Even so, he played in all 82 games and scored 37 points, a solid season in those respects. What he needs is about 15 lbs of muscle and plenty of ice time and experience to become the player he can be. Fans really shit on him all season, deservedly so at times, but those same people will be cheering wildly for him once he improves on those rough areas. GRADE….C

Niklas Hjalmarsson
….He’s regressed since his first two seasons, when he looked every bit the next mainstay on the blueline. When we matched San Jose’s offer sheet, it was seen by most as a necessary move to keep a building block. Since then, he’s done nothing to warrant the move, giving the second-guessers plenty of ammo. For the money he makes…over $3M per year….we need more than ONE goal and a buttload of shotblocks. Simply put, if he’s moved this off-season, it won’t make many Hawks fans sad unless he blossoms elsewhere. Then, the third-guessers will go hog wild. GRADE….D-

Sean O’Donnell….Brought in to be a depth defenseman, he only played 51 games and looked to have almost nothing left. He did have some solid games, but simply couldn’t sustain any sort of solid play. He won’t return. GRADE….F

Johnny Oduya…..A fantastic addition at the trade deadline, he was a disaster in the playoffs and it’s up in the air as to whether he’ll return. I like the guy, but we have other d-men that have a similar skill-set….fast, agile, not very big or physical. If he stays, someone else has to go and vice-versa. At least he was sort of cheap in that trade. GRADE….C

Steve Montador….A concussion wrecked his season and he never looked comfortable before that. Hopefully, he’s healthy and can find a groove with us because we need him to be the player we signed him to be. He was actually more effective as a forward on the power play. That’s as surprising as the fact that one of my daughters puts ketchup on her hot dogs. *throws up in my own mouth* GRADE….D-

Dylan Olsen
….Another young guy who didn’t get a whole lot of consistent playing time, he should get a long look in camp to take one of the bottom pairing spots. He’s gotta be better than O’Donnell, right? GRADE….Incomplete, but with promise

Sami Lepisto
….Spent much of the season in Q’s doghouse. Not sure why, since he was better than O’Donnell who got into 51 games. He must have made fun of Q’s coachstache. GRADE….D-

GOALTENDING

Corey Crawford….I’m not sure where to start with this guy. When he’s on, he’s dynamite and impregnable. Like he was in games 3 and 4, he kept us in the games and looked as confident as a cow a vegan convention. Of course, he could turn on a dime and shit the bed like he did in those same two games. For a team to win the Cup, the goalie needs to be able to steal a game here and there. Antti Niemi did it in 2010….game 1 against San Jose comes to mind….and Crawford needs to be able to do the same. A summer of busting his ass with a goalie coach should help greatly, but how dedicated he is remains to be seen. GRADE….C+

Ray Emery….His return from a possible career-ending hip injury was rewarded by a roster spot with the Hawks and was our team’s nominee for the Masterson Trophy, given to the NHL player that “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey.” Having a guy that respected on the roster is always a good thing and when he stepped in during a Crawford slump that lasted forever, he played well enough to steal a game or two for us when we were desperate for some wins. His overall numbers weren’t outstanding, but he did his job as a backup…be a pro, be ready to play, don’t bitch about not playing, and mentor the kid who you’re backing up. He is a credit to the game of hockey. GRADE…B

I’m not sure what the off-season will bring, but in the meantime, I’ll be enjoying another 6 weeks or so of the NHL playoffs. All we can hope for is a solid off-season for Bowman and the regained health of out walking wounded. Things are never as bad as they seem when you’re at your lowest and the playoff loss certainly applies here. Getting 101 points in the beastly-tough Western conference isn’t like we were terrible all over the ice and up and down the roster. A few key additions and subtractions will help our chances this time next season. Onward!!

[audio http://awmr01.podbean.com/mf/web/mnx65a/Episode013.mp3]

In this weeks episode we round up MLB, talk a little Ozzie, wonder aloud if the White Sox are for real, get a little touch and go with the Marlins uniform, we realize that almost no Cubs fans were ready for this season, discuss some Blackhawk hockey, bitch about the Heat, talk some Bulls, and we bring up our Top Ten Scrubs.

by: Tony Leva
email: tonytrucker1969@gmail.com

After back-to-back shootout losses against the laughably awful Minnesota Wild (their name is as awful as their quality of hockey), the Hawks have recently accomplished the following…1) clinching a playoff spot without having Captain Serious in the lineup for 20 games 2) showing they can beat anyone with the lineup they have if they play smart, tough and fast hockey 3) knocking AWPDS out with an elbow, courtesy of Duncan Keith (I don’t condone what he did, but since it was in retaliation for basically years of cheap shots by those punkass bitches, so be it) 4) giving me plenty of ammo for my columns and 5) raising ticket prices for next season already. All that’s left to settle is who they’ll meet in the first round. Let’s look at the possible match-ups and how desirable they are.

Nashville

This is the ONE team no sane Hawks fan wants to face in the first, second or any round. The only way we get these guys is with a win in regulation against Detroit in the season finale. Anything else, we’ll finish 6th in the conference and draw the Pacific champ, which we’ll get to in a minute. Why don’t we want these guys? Besides the fact they beat us like they paid a nickel for us, they have possibly the best goaltender in the West in Pekka Rinne. Gotta love hockey names, eh? Anyhoo, Rinne and Nashville have taken 4 of the 6 regular season games from us and even though we beat them 5-4 in the last meeting, they stormed back from a 4-0 deficit and looked damn-near unstoppable while doing so.

Their offense is good enough to compete with anyone, a radical switch from their usual M.O. In years past, if you got up a goal or two on them, they were as good as beaten. But with the addition of former KHL (the elite Russian pro league) MVP Alexander Radulov, they’re as deadly as a box of rabid cats with straight razors tied to their tails. He’s a real difference maker and has a terrible haircut. That’s a bad mix.

It’s best if we let Detroit face them in the first round and watch as one knocks out the other. Hopefully, we get past our own first round series at the same time. In short, this team scares the ever-loving piss out of me. They’ll be quite the confident bunch if we meet up with them at any time in the playoffs. Nashville is led by one of the best coaches in the game, Barry Trotz. He always has his teams ready to play and well-prepared. Not to mention he is the happiest-looking guy in hockey…

You can almost see the sunshine beaming out of his ass, right?

Prediction…If we get these guys in the first round, I think they take us in 5 games. Yeah, they scare me that much.

Los Angeles

As of this writing on Friday night, this is who we’d get in the opening round.
They took 3 of 4 from us and looked pretty damned good while doing it. If Pekka Rinne is the best goalie out there, the Kings’ Jonathan Quick is in the top 5. Appearing in a staggering 68 games so far, Quick has posted 35 wins, a whopping TEN shutouts and a sub-2.00 GAA. YIKES!! He hasn’t been easy for anyone to beat and he already has two of those ten shutouts against us. I love him as an American hockey player, but I don’t want to be chanting U-S-A! while watching him stonewall us out of the playoffs.

Let’s hope Quick doesn’t get fatally wounded by his own troops like this Stonewall did.

Their offense isn’t as stout as other teams, but they sure have a few skill players to watch out for. Mike Richards and Jeff Carter have had a nice reuniting out on the Left Coast and I’m sure the bars and nightclubs have seen their business go up as well. Drinkee, drinkee!! Add in Hawks-killer Dustin Brown, Dustin Penner and Drew Doughty, they aren’t exactly barren. They’re coached by one of my first favorite Hawks players, Darryl Sutter, one of the 6 Sutter brothers who played in the NHL. He’s never won the Cup, but he knows the game and won’t lose a series because he’s not prepared.

Prediction…This may not be the best match-up either for us, but hockey teams from L.A. don’t exactly have a record of success in the playoffs. As good as Quick is, we have a great playoff defensive center in Dave Bolland who should be able to shut down the Kings’ top line. Hawks take this series in 6 games.

San Jose

GM Doug Wilson (still one of my all-time favorite Hawks) nearly tweaked this perennial playoff team right out of the post-season this year, but they’ve been hotter than a junkie’s spoon lately and have roared back into contention. They are essentially tied with L.A. and will decide the division winner in tonight’s game, the finale for each. Offensively, they’re led by a guy who is 6′ 4″, 230 and is a real under-achieving bitch. Joe Thornton has a well-earned rep as a playoff choker…who else recalls how he pissed the bed against us when we swept them in the 2010 playoffs? For such a big guy, he’s severely lacking in balls. I’m not worried about any team that will lean on this guy in a short series.

Defensively, Dan Boyle, a very good player, leads an unexceptional corps of average d-men. Aside from Marc-Edouard Vlasic, hereafter referred to as PickleBitch, and the ugliest man in hockey, Douglas Murray,

Ugly is not a good look for a wanna-be pretty boy.

I couldn’t pick a Sharks d-man out from a lineup of car salesmen, though the trail of slime would tip me off as to who the car salesmen are. Hawks playoff hero Antti Niemi is a quality goalie for sure, but he can have his moments where you know you can beat him. I’ll love him forever for those 16 wins he gave us on the way to Lord Stanley, but the team now in front of him can’t hold a candle to what we had in front of him. They’re coached by Todd McLellan and that’s not exactly going to make an opponent shit themselves in fear now, is it? He’s about as intimidating as that spider my daughter crushed with a shoe last week.

Prediction
….This may be the most favorable match-up for us. I simply can’t believe a team led by Thornton, PickleBitch and McLellan can beat us in a short series. It’s always great fun to watch Thornton crash and burn under pressure. I’m going with the Hawks in 5 games here.


Phoenix

The current 8th seed, they have an outside chance of winning the Pacific. The mere fact that this incredibly broke team, owned by the NHL until a buyer can be found, is actually in the playoffs is astounding. They’re so broke, they make the state of Illinois look like we have $100 bills growing on trees in our solid gold backyards. Seriously, they’re so broke…HOW BROKE ARE THEY??…that they literally have to have the coaches pay for pre-game meals and drinks. That’s broke. That’s like ghetto broke. Can we send them some coupons for 2 for 1 meal deals at their local Denny’s or something?

This collection of no-names are led by a solid captain in Shane Doan and a dynamic young defenseman in Keith Yandle. They have in their employ players named Lauri, Oliver and Raffi….sounds like a deranged TV puppet show for kids or something.

“That’s right, King Friday, we’re going to have to get medieval on these bitches.”

On the blueline, they’re solid, though unspectacular besides Yandle. But the real story on this team is the play of goalie Mike Smith. He had his string of 234:25 consecutive scoreless minutes snapped earlier this evening (I’m writing on Friday night this week due to my daughter being in her high school musical, West Side Story, the past two nights. I GOT A SOCIAL DISEASE!!). That’s pretty impressive for a guy who’s on his 3rd NHL team in 6 years. The guy charged with keeping this motley crew together is Dave Tippett, who has done a magnificent job with the most limited resources in pro sports today. This guy doesn’t even have an office at the team’s practice rink…he uses a TV tray and a folding chair in the rink’s party room. Well, he does unless little Johnny has a birthday bash going that afternoon. I didn’t make that shit up, either. Like I said earlier…broke.

Prediction….As great a story as they’ve been, even Cinderella had her midnight. Just getting into the playoffs was a great accomplishment in the tough Western conference, but if they meet us, I don’t see us losing to a team where the coach is taking them out for Slurpees after a win like some pee wee team. Hawks in 5 games.

Of course, things all hinge on the health of Jonathan Toews. All us Hawks fans are hoping and praying for his return in the first round. I am taking a page from the movie Major League and looking to sacrifice a live chicken. Hey, every little bit helps and it can’t hurt. Well, except for the chicken. It’s going to suck for the chicken.



“DON’T JUST SIT THERE, STOP THIS ASSHOLE!!!”

[audio http://awmr01.podbean.com/mf/web/xbqf92/Episode012.mp3]
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In today’s episode we introduce King Troll, Tony Leva (short-e), we talk some Tim Tebow to the Jets, Manning to the Broncos, call Skip Bayless an asshole, talk some Bulls, we talk some Blackhawk Hockey, wonder where Jack Haley went, we demand Tim Duncan to play DnD with us, we look at the Cubs/Sox seasons, and we reveal the top 10 pitchers in Chicago history.

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!!!