Posts Tagged ‘Lord Stanley’

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.


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.