Posts Tagged ‘Marian Hossa’

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!!

First off, I’ve come up with a cool hockey-themed name for my column. For you hockey novices, let me explain…a bag skate is a hockey practice where the coaches keep the pucks in the bag. All they do is skate, skate and then they skate some more. It’s a punitive measure that usually follows a terribly shitty effort in a game the night before. You can usually tell somewhere in the 3rd period when a team will be going through the dreaded bag skate the next day. Busting your ass is a sure way of avoiding a bag skate. There’s no smartass parallel I’m trying to make here…I just like how it sounds, so The Bag Skate it is.

Pre-Game

Tonight, the Hawks face their biggest game of the year in game 4 against the suddenly “We think we’re good” Phoenix Coyotes. Well, most of the Coyotes. Grade A cocklunch and assphlange Raffi Torres is obviously not playing for a while, due to his being suspended for that dirty hit on Hossa in game 3. I don’t really need to go over what happened again. Suffice to say, the bad blood between these two teams has grown exponentially since game 1. The Hawks don’t need to go out and “get even”. That’s what stupid fans would want us to do, and I’ve seen plenty of that shit on plenty of boards. Fans of other teams blathering, “That wouldn’t happen with my team.” Good for your team. Chances are, they haven’t won the Cup ever or for a very long time. I’d prefer the Hawks to retaliate with a series win.

Puck drop, 20:00 left in the first Anyone else nervous? BTW, rookie/junior superstar Brandon Saad starts on the Toews line. Nothing like playing with an elite player to boost a kid’s confidence.

18:30…The Bolland line with a great shift! We need a big night from the secondary guys tonight with Hossa out. The big guys need help with the heavy lifting.

17:48…Hawks to the power play. God help the Coyotes if we actually can score here. God help us, period.

16:20…Near miss by the Hawks. Damn, that would have been sweet.

16:02…Refs fuck the Hawks yet again. Blatant high-stick in Sharp’s face right in front of all 4 officials goes uncalled. Someone give Q another $10K for another fine when he calls the officiating a disgrace again.

14:36…Brandon Bollig and Paul Bissonnette tangle here. Yet another talentless hack employed by Phoenix for the express purpose of being a pile of crap. Get some talent and then talk to me. What a punk. Both get 5 for fighting. Bitchonnette should get 2 more for that haircut he has.

11:55
…Toews with an awesome chance. Not a great angle from in tight and he tried to go short side rather than his customary 5 hole. Would have been a tough shot to make for sure.

11:40
….Foley railing on Torres, saying the league needs to tell him that if he pulls this shit again, his future is in doubt. Yeah, sounds good, but we all know the NHLPA would never allow that to happen.

10:43….First good save by Crawford, as Phoenix can’t get much going in the early part of the game. Good thing to see!!

9:15
…Hawks are controlling the game big-time so far. We need this effort all night and the rest of the playoffs.

6:14…Even Kane taking the body!! Attaboy!!

5:27
….Frantic pace with not many whistles so far. This style benefits the Hawks as we’re by far the faster team. Phoenix can’t stay with us so far and seem to be back on their heels. Speed kills!!

5:07
…Another great flurry for the Hawks. Stalberg looks like he has a bounty on the first goal scored. #Saints

4:03
….Kane nearly beats gutless faker Mike Smith to a loose puck. That would have brought some serious catcalls down on that play-acting punk.

3:13
…Goalpost for Phoenix. Why does it go this way…a team is getting utterly dominated and they get a great chance like that? Thank you for that PING!!

1:15
….Phoenix has another stiff, this one named Kyle Chipchurra….is he some sort of chocolate-chipped Mexican doughy treat? I loves me some chipchurra after my burrito and horchata.

End of the first period
…Hawks dominate the first period and outshoot the Coyotes 11-5. Trying to do this column and tweet the game at the same time is almost beyond me. I may have to apply for hazardous duty pay for my typing fingers. Blocked shot tally….Phoenix 9, Hawks 0. Can’t block what aint there. That’s a great sign. Flipping over to the Bos/Wash game for a quick looksee….tied at 1 and, of course, the pricks run a commercial as soon as I flip to them…bastards are spying on me again.

Second Period

18:58…GREAT SAVE BY CRAWFORD!!!

17:52….Phoenix has come out strong in the 2nd. Push-back is a big part of what we need to do here until we get control of things again.

14:48….Bickell steps on a stick and dumps himself. Actually a good no-call there by the four blind mice.

13:54…Crowd seems a bit underwhelming so far. You know what would get them going? A goal.

12:23….Great save by Smith on snake-bitten Michael Frolik. The puck trickled in a bit late and the whistle blew. Would have been nice for that to have counted, but it was pretty close and the whistle is the end of the play. At least it got the crowd into it.

12:04…Another Hawks power play. Excuse me while I shit myself with joy!!

11:13….This makes my balls hurt watching them get nothing going.

9:22…Hawks currently outshooting Phoenix 16-8. The trend is your friend, but sometimes friends stab you in the back.

8:00.
..This game is flying by so far. Good thing, I’m tired and want to hit the sack.

6:14…Brendan Morrison wins a board battle. THE SEVENTH SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE!!

5:30….Another great save by Smith, this one on Bickell. Hawks are going to break thru soon.

1:56…Coyotes head to their first power play after Mikkel Boedker falls down. Nice dive there.

End of the second period….Hawks continue to dominate everywhere but the scoreboard, outshooting them 23-10 so far. This isn’t even close, save for the acting candyass keeping the game scoreless. I gotta figure Phoenix is going to come out even stronger in the 3rd than they did in the 2nd, so we’d better be ready for it and match the intensity. I don’t want to go to bed all pissed off like I did Tuesday night. I hate swearing in my sleep. The cocky doucher doing the shoot the puck promo missed all 3 of his tries badly….LOL. This chick just joined the list of “Top 5 Whorishly Dressed Women” to ever do this promo….well done, you tramp!!

Third Period

19:56….Hawks kill off the penalty. That was much appreciated, boys!!

18:57…..Someone tell the Hawks the 3rd has started. Phoenix kept the puck in our zone for over a minute. Did they set tee times and not tell anyone?

17:45….The longer we don’t score, the less I like our chances. These are the types of games goalies steal for inferior teams.

16:43…Foley needs to stop calling Ray Whitney “The Wizard”. Unless he’s in OZ or playing SS for the Cardinals, he’s nothing of the sort. STFU, Pat.

12:57….Yep. The Coyotes score and lead a game they have no business being in, 1-0. Out-played, out-shot, out-everythinged and they’re up 1-0. I hate this sport.

12:13….2-0 Coyotes. No effort at all in the crucial 3rd period and we’ve been dominated thus far. Keith and Seabrook get caught standing in the crease like they had tickets to watch the game. Good bye, playoffs. This series is over. Saturday night will be academic unless something drastic happens.

10:40….Way to pick up your fallen comrade, Marian Hossa, by the way. Nice heart you guys are showing in response to Torres and his blatant thuggery. Ought to be ashamed of yourselves.

9:35….Brendan Morrison of the Hawks scores on a deflection to make it 2-1. Forgive me if I don’t get fully engorged, but that was a weak goal Smith should have had. I’ll get excited if we can tie it up. As it is, I see Phoenix scoring again within 2 minutes. Sorry to piss down your leg and tell you I pissed down your leg.

7:53…..To the Hawks credit, they’ve picked it up since rolling over and playing dead to start the 3rd. Too little too late?

7:23….Hawks head to the power play. I think this may be the most crucial power play of the season.

5:23…What a popcorn fart of a power play at a crucial time. I think I’ll go pick my nose with a rusted butter knife….

5:13
….Another Hawks penalty, this one by Sharp for a trip. This is the most crucial penalty kill of the season. I love when things even out.

3:18
…Toews with a solid short-handed chance there. We can always count on him to play his ass off. OH CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN!!

2:25…Getting beaten by nobodies. I hate this sport.

1:26…HOLY FUCKING SHIT THE HAWKS TIE IT UP AT 2 APIECE ON THE DELAYED PENALTY!!! And it was the snake-bitten one again…Michael Frolik!!! I love this sport!!!

End of regulation.
Headed to overtime for the 4th straight time in the series. I don’t know if this is good in the long run for whoever advances, but it sure is fun to watch. Well, it’s fun when I’m not swearing at the TV or shaking with nerves.

Overtime

19:40….Hawks fans chanting for Hossa. That’s a nice thing to do. #WinItForhossa, indeed.

17:45…Hawks lose quickly on another goal by a real slug, Mikkel Boedker. What a fucking joke, going down 3 games to 1 to a team we have no business losing even once to. And it was all set up by Nick Leddy taking a horrible angle on the rush by the slug. This one, just like game 3, was given away to a team that can’t hold our jocks. Have I mentioned I hate this sport?

So, the season is basically over. With Marian Hossa playing the part of the Gipper, the Hawks couldn’t summon up the courage to win even one of the two games at home for him. Way to be good teammates. You let a talentless thug like Raffi Torres change the series and couldn’t respond. You let a team with NINETEEN SHOTS ON GOAL beat you tonight. A team that can’t skate with us beat us. A team that can’t score goals beat us. To top it off, we lost on two awfully horribly weak goals. Unacceptable on all counts. I, and all Hawks fans, expected more out of this team. In short, this is how I feel about this team as I go to bed tonight…

EVEN JESUS IS PISSED AT YOU ASSHOLES TONIGHT!!

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.

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.

Mercy!! Can't wait for the Ice Crew to get back to work!

What was once a comfortable lead in the Central division has quickly vanished.  What’s left is a ton of question marks.  In the last 10 games the Hawks are 3-5-2 while the rest of the North, minus Columbus, has played exceptionally well.  What you thought the all-star break was going to help this lifeless team?

You should have seen this coming.  The defense has been awful, in fact what happened to Duncan Keith?  He certainly is not the same since winning the Norris Trophy in 2010.  However, Keith is not the only problem, Niklas Hjalmarsson Brent Seabrook and Nick Leddy have continually made poor choices on the ice.  One can argue that every member of the blue line has played poorly this year and have caused the Mercy!! Can’t wait for the Ice Crew to get back to work!goaltending to look downright brutal.

Corey Crawford has channeled his inner Marty Turco, letting so many easy pucks passed him.  Coming into the season many Blackhawk fans, myself included, thought Crawford would be a stone wall in between the pipes for the Hawks.  What we have instead is a goaltender who has lost his confidence and a goalie controversy has emerged.

Ray Emery has played much better then Crawford in his limited time but head coach Joel Quenneville continues to stick with Crawford in goal.  Maybe that’s about to change as Emery started in the Blackhawks recent loss to the Colorado Avalanche.  Both goalies haven’t been helped by the constant turnovers in the neutral zone.  Emery however, has done the best when facing the continuous 2-1 rushes by other teams as of late.

If you’ve been watching as of late you probably know that Patrick Kane is not playing the same type of hockey he did over his previous 4 seasons.  After being shifted over to the faceoff circle this year he started to embrace the playmaker roll.  Now to start the season that worked really well, but his scoring has fallen way off.  If Tuesday’s game is any indication maybe Kane is back on track.  He took more shots then were used to seeing and played more aggressively than in prior games.  Kane even scored a goal which is something were not used to since in his last 27 games he has a total of 5 goals.

Chicago, A Drinking Town with a Sports Problem is not ready to panic.  We’d rather drink our sorrows away with a six’er and a few shots of Jamison.  So hang in there Blackhawk fans, we have plenty to be happy about.  Jonathan Toews and “Lord” Marian Hossa have been outstanding and the young kids are getting a ton of experience.  Heck besides Daniel Carcillo this team is finally getting healthy.  Stay strong Blackhawk fans, this team is better then what were watching.

Or so I hope so!