Archive

Archive for the ‘Blackhawks’ Category

I think Sami Lepisto may have blocked a shot or two…

 

Love it.  Thatta baby Sami!!! This picture kinda sums up playoff hockey.  Guys literally sacrificing their bodies to block shots.  I like Sami Lepisto.  Good skater and puck mover.  Played well when given a chance.  I would definitely re-sign him if his price tag is about the same.  Real solid 6th or 7th defenseman.

 

Follow the Chief @WindyCitiSports

Like the Facebook Page

 

Blackhawks vs Coyotes Series Recap

April 24, 2012 1 comment

 

This one hurts, but my emotion is more anger than sorrow.  This is the first time in my life where I feel as though one of my teams had a series stolen from them.  Stolen by cheap shots, stolen by the referees, stolen by the league office, and stolen by a goalie.  The 2011-12 Blackhawks never really looked like a Stanley Cup contender, but they certainly looked better than the Phoenix Coyotes and they certainly deserved better than a 4-2 series loss.

The most disturbing part of this loss is that it wasn’t decided by hockey plays.  The Game 2 flop by Smith, and subsequent 3 game suspension of Shaw and the despicable head shot on Marian Hossa by Torres decided this series more than anything else.  Shaw deserved a penalty for his hit on Smith.  You simply can’t make contact with the goalie.  Shaw should have received a 2-minute minor for goaltender interference.  A 5-minute major followed by a three game suspension is lunacy.  Shaw was a very important player for the Blackhawks.  He is a tone setter, he plays physical, and he is a spark plug for the team.  Removing him for three games would have been difficult to overcome, but losing Hossa was a death-blow.  There is no doubt that Torres was hunting for Hossa in this series.  He took runs at Hossa in games 1 and 2, but Hossa was able to side step them.  When Torres finally completed his mission, it sucked the life out of the team and the stadium.  Somehow the most dangerous, intentional, deplorable hit of the year went unseen by all of the officials on the ice and the Blackhawks came away short-handed.  Perhaps if the Blackhawks had received a 5 minute major power-play and Torres had been ejected the Hawks manage to win that game.

The Blackhawks are a team built around star players and Marian Hossa is one of the most important.  You simply can’t replace Marian Hossa.  He is an elite player in all three zones, not to mention the team’s leading scorer during the regular season.  Losing him created a black-hole in the top 6 that couldn’t be filled.  The Blackhawks became drastically worse in every phase of the game, while the Coyotes went unpunished.  Yes, Torres got suspended for 25 games….big effing whoop.  He had a whopping 26 points on the year.  He was easily replaceable for the Coyotes.  They would take a Torres for Hossa swap every chance they got.  They simply throw some other body in the lineup.  Meanwhile, the Blackhawks were left scrambling.  Saad, Bickell, Hayes, Kruger, Stalberg, Frolik, Shaw, Brunette, and Morrison put together aren’t half the player Marian Hossa is.  Their effort was great, but their talent just wasn’t enough.  Even with two essential players missing, the Blackhawks still carried the play against the Coyotes.  The Blackhawks averaged 40 shots per game in the series.  So while the Blackhawks out-played the Coyotes, Mike Smith was out-playing Corey Crawford.

Corey Crawford simply isn’t a Stanley Cup caliber goalie.  He was very good at times in the series and I love how Crawford stood up with his teammates and challenged Smith, but every time the Hawks needed a big save…he failed.  Crawford’s soft goals were the difference in the series.  In a series where everything was stacked against the Blackhawks, they needed Crawford to just make the saves he was supposed to make…he failed.  Nobody ever thought the Blackhawks would need Corey Crawford to be better than Mike Smith, but he needed to give his team a chance to win…he failed.  There is a lot to like about Corey Crawford…just not as your starting goaltender.  The Blackhawks must find a way to upgrade the position or at least bring in a plan B that isn’t Ray Emery.  Crawford certainly doesn’t deserve all of the blame, but his play simply wasn’t good enough.  His .893 series save percentage doesn’t instill a lot of confidence going forward.

 

It’s going to be a long summer.  Again, probably not a Stanley Cup team…but stranger things have happened.  A full strength Blackhawks team would certainly have beaten the Coyotes and may have gone on a long run.  Now…thanks to Torres, the referees, Shanahan, and Mike Smith we will never know.  I will be dusting off my LA Kings swag from the early 90s the rest of the way while wondering what could have been.

 

Follow me @WindyCitiSports

 

The Number One Reason I Feel Confident in the Blackhawks tonight

April 19, 2012 1 comment

 

We’ve got Toews.  The Coyotes don’t.  He’s gonna be superman from here on out, because that’s what he does.  Let’s FUCKING GO!!!

 

Follow me @WindyCitiSports

This Marian Hossa thing just keeps getting crazier

April 19, 2012 Leave a comment

(Chicago Tribune)–A man from Burr Ridge is accused of sending threatening emails to the president and owner of the Chicago Blackhawks and the former general manager of the Chicago Cubs, accusing them of “stealing his ideas” to win championships, police said.  Emanuel Kuvakos, 56, was arrested Tuesday night and charged with three counts of misdemeanor harassment by electronic means, police said.  Kuvakos sent “a number’’ of emails to Blackhawks CEO John McDonough and to Jim Hendry, the former general manager of the Chicago Cubs, that accused them of “stealing his ideas to win championships,’’ according to a police report. On Saturday, he sent them another email stating that he would keep the Blackhawks from winning the Stanley Cup, police said.  While being interviewed by authorities, he claimed he also sent a message to Rocky Wirtz, the Blackhawks owner, saying that if he ever saw Wirtz, he would beat him, according to the police report. Kuvakos, whose nickname is “Mike,” said during a telephone interview with the Chicago Tribune that he has been a freelance sportswriter for 30 years, and claimed he is a sports psychologist and “savant” who works for the Blackhawks, White Sox and the Cubs. Kuvakos denied the messages he sent accused officials of stealing his championship-winning ideas and claimed the police arrested him because of what “he knows’’ about the Blackhawks.”Police wouldn’t be responding if I wasn’t as important as I’m telling you,’’ he said. Shortly before hanging up on a reporter, he said he was becoming suspicious and asked if the interview was “set up” by the Chicago Police.

Son of a bitch!!! This thing is bigger than I thought.  I can’t even really begin to grasp a conspiracy this enormous.  All along this guy Emanuel “Mike” Kuvakos was giving the Blackhawks the secrets to winning the Stanley Cup.  Just told Rocky Wirtz to kill his old man. Told Tallon to  draft Toews, Kane, Seabrook, Keith, Byfuglien, Bolland, and Burish. Told him sign Brian Campbell, Hossa, and Niemi. Told him to trade for Versteeg and Ladd.  I mean that’s effing gold strategies for winning the Cup.  It worked.  Then the Blackhawks thought people would get wise if they were dominant for too long so they fired Dale Tallon and broke up the team.  They blamed it on the Salary Cap, but really it was to clean up all the loose ends of a massive conspiracy.  Somewhere along the way the Blackhawks made the mistake of pissing off “Mike”.  Maybe they didn’t give him a Stanley Cup ring. Maybe they fired him, who knows?  Whatever it was, it was bad enough to turn him against his hometown team.  This year he is sitting back watching the Blackhawks start moving towards another Stanley Cup run using the plan he created, but didn’t get any sort of compensation or even a thank you.  This bro flat-out tells the Hawks that he is going to prevent them from winning the Cup…then bang…Shaw gets a ridiculous suspension and Torres knocks out Hossa.  Did Kuvakos tell Gary Bettman all of the Blackhawks secrets?  Did Bettman order the kill shot on Hossa?  I mean I am sure Betman would be furious if he found out the Blackhawks were stealing secret strategies guaranteeing them a Stanley Cup.  So he sent his best assassine on the league owned Phoenix Coyotes to murder one of the Blackhawks superstars.  Stop the Hawks. Save the Coyotes. Torres is Oswald, Shanahan is Jack Ruby, Hossa is JFK, Kuvakos is Ferrie, I am Costner, and Bettman is the man behind it all pulling the strings.

Follow me @WindyCitiSports

Introducing Brandon Saad: Rookie to make NHL Playoff Debut

April 19, 2012 Leave a comment

The Blackhawks will be inserting 2011 2nd round pick Brandon Saad into the lineup tonight in place of injured forward Marian Hossa.  Here are a few quick facts about the newest Blackhawk

  • Born and raised in the Pittsburgh, PA area
  • Physically mature. Listed at 6’2″ 210 lbs
  • At one time was considered a top 5 overall prospect in his draft class, but slipped to the Blackhawks in the second round when he didn’t perform as well as expected in his first OHL season
  • Saad plays left-wing.  His strengths on the ice are his hockey sense, strength, and scoring touch around the net
  • Saad had 76 points in 44 regular season games.  Then added 17 points in 12 OHL playoff games
  • Saad was awarded the sportsmanship award in the OHL this past season

Difficult spot for a rookie to come in.  Tonight won’t be Saad’s first NHL action as he had a cup of coffee with the varsity at the very beginning of the season, but the playoffs are obviously a different animal.  I believe that he is the best option for the Blackhawks to fill Hossa’s vacancy in the lineup.  Having said that, nobody can replace Hossa.  As I said yesterday, I would like to see Saad skate with Toews and Kane on the top line.  Those are big minutes for a rookie in his first playoff action, but playing with skilled and responsible players such as Toews and Kane should take some pressure off of Saad.

 

Follow me @WindyCitiSports 

What do you think this says about the knowledge of hockey fans in AZ?

April 18, 2012 Leave a comment

And people wonder why the Coyotes are moving to Quebec City.

PS: Kind of annoyed that ESPN even thought to ask this question.

Follow me @WindyCitiSports

Picking up the pieces: A Game 3 Recap and a look towards Game 4

April 18, 2012 Leave a comment

  • I don’t really want to talk about the Torres-Hossa hit any more than I already have, but it’s impossible to give an accurate recap of the game without discussing it.  It had an impact on every aspect of the game.  Seeing Hossa carted off on a stretcher was a distraction for the players on the ice and the fans in the stands.  I am not a yeller at Hawks games, but I was particularly quiet during this game.  Seeing Hossa in that condition sucked the life out of the stadium.  In many ways it didn’t feel like a playoff atmosphere.  People were in a fog.  Combine that with the boring style Phoenix plays and it made for a stadium that lacked energy.  Hopefully the crowd is able to give the Hawks a boost in Game 4.
  • The officiating was beyond deplorable.  Obviously there should have been a 5 minute major and a game misconduct for Torres.  Instead the Hawks had Bollig out with a 10 minute misconduct and having to kill a penalty.  Then at the end of the 2nd period the Blackhawks were on a powerplay when a giant scrum ensued.  All 12 players on the ice were involved, yet the refs send one guy to the box…Jonathan Toews.  Negating the Blackhawks powerplay.  I could go on and on, but I hate blaming officials for losses.  I don’t think I have ever done it…until today.
  • Frolik was fantastic.  He scored a goal, which is great, but he was dangerous and dynamic all night long.  I have ragged on Frolik in this space repeatedly because he has the worst contract on the team, but he was great last night.  Responsible, active in all three zones, made the simple plays, used his speed.  Terrific game.  Maybe Frolik is just a “playoff guy”.
  • Crawford might be a “playoff guy” too.  I loved Crawford’s game last night with the obvious exception of the OT winner.  That is a shot that Crawford has to come up with, and he said as much in the post-game.  Overall though his angles were solid, his rebound control was there, and he competed hard.  I LOVED him standing up for his teammates and challenging Mike Smith.  Maybe Ray Emery is rubbing off on Corey a little.  I think that really can do a lot for the team going forward.
  • The Hawks have to find a way to be more effective on the powerplay.  There were instances last night where I felt the neutral zone speed and the zone entries were solid, but overall the unit wasn’t effective.  I thought the powerplay had been moving in the right direction, but last night was definitely a step backwards.  Who knows how much Hossa’s presence was missed.
  • Phoenix is trying to slow the game down to a crawl with their trap.  It’s an effective game plan because the Coyotes are a tough team to dump and chase against.  Keith Yandle, Ekman-Larsson, Rosival, Morris, and Klesla are all above average skaters and puck movers.  It’s difficult to get on top of those guys.  The Blackhawks may need to start using a powerplay type break-out to stretch the defense and open things up through the middle.
  • The Blackhawks also need greater net presence.  I honestly believe that Toews’s phantom goaltender interference call made the Blackhawks a little gun-shy going to the net.  They need to shake that off.  Smith plays so deep in his net that the best way to beat him is to shoot and go for screens, tips, and rebounds.  Brunette’s goal last night being the perfect example.
  • Quenville needs to give the 6th defenseman more minutes.  I thought Olsen was very effective in the limited minutes he had(4:56).  The top guys are going to get gassed if they continue to play 30+ minutes per night.  I’d like to see Olsen’s minutes get bumped to between 10-12.
  • Sounds like it’s going to be Saad taking Hossa’s spot in the lineup.  I think that is the right move, but I wouldn’t have minded seeing Morin in that spot either.  Although I am sure Q will try many different combinations, I think Saad is getting the call with the idea that he will be a top 6 forward.  I think he has to play with the most responsible player…Toews.  As much as I like Kane at center, I think the Hossa injury makes a move back to wing necessary.  I would go Saad-Toews-Kane, Sharp-Kruger-Stalberg, Frolik-Bolland-Bickell, Brunette-Mayers-Bollig as the line combos.  If Kruger can’t hack it as the number center, then go 43-19-25, 10-88-15, 67-36-29. 22-16-52
  • I love Toews’s comments both post game and today.  He is fired up.  I think this whole thing will take Toews to Conn Smythe level.  I believe he recognizes that he MUST put the team on his back…and I think he will.
  • There is only one thing left to do….

 

 

 

Follow me @WindyCitiSports

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: