Category Archives: Blackhawks

All Chicago Blackhawks related talk

Game of the Night!

What the hell?!  Scoring is up to start the season???  Somebody in the hockey world will undoubtedly put an end to this!  Mark Spector, lead the parade, let’s get back to “just lettin’ ’em play” hockey where you can hook, hold, and trip guys all day…especially if you play like a piece of shit.  We can’t expect the refs to hold this standard can we?  After all, they’re good guys, and in hockey if you’re a good guy then that gives you carte blanche to be as horrendous at your job as possible!  Colin Campbell…good guy.  Kevin Lowe…good guy.  Jim Rutherford must have become an asshole while in Pittsburgh because in Carolina he was a good guy too!

 

I really didn’t mean to get on a rant there, but I did, so live with it.

 

The point I was trying to make is that the hockey so far has been TERRIFIC!  Sure, there have been some brutal blowouts.  And we all know that you end up with some crazy scores at the start of every season as teams settle in.  And coaches will adjust.  But no matter how bitter some people in the media will be about it, you and I both know how great this is and could continue to be.

 

Case in point…I’m writing a blog about an October game between the Leafs and the Blackhawks!  Why?  Because going into tonight, these two teams have combined for 30 goals in just four games.  They’re literally averaging 7.5 goals  a piece.  I always enjoy Chicago and Toronto games these days since we so rarely get to see them play anymore.  But now, two of the best teams in the league to start the season, and both are scoring out their asses!!

 

Now, I am a realist.  The Leafs did their damage against the Jets and the Rangers.  The Jets gave up six to the Flames on Saturday, who were shutout by the Oilers on Wednesday.  The Jets…while I’m a big fan…are the most overrated team in the league and just aren’t a good club.  The Rangers, most had them out of the playoffs this season.  In their season opener they lost to the Avs.  The Avs, at MSG.  That’s not a good sign!  Then on top of that, it’s becoming a fact that Lundqvist is badly fading.  A terrific playoffs last spring, but during the regular season he wasn’t what he was and it appears as though that trend down is continuing.  So while it’s been a great start for the Leafs, this is a great test for them.

 

The Blackhawks are much more so the team that doesn’t need to prove themselves.  Three Cups in the last eight seasons, we all know their track record, we all know the names.  And hey, beating Columbus and Pittsburgh?!  Maybe the two best teams in what’s considered to be the toughest division in hockey (it’s not)?!  Unreal…right?  Nah.  Both teams were on the second half of back to backs, both teams started their backup goaltenders.  The wins look amazing on paper, but they very much so are not.

 

But this game looks as though it’ll be incredible.  Both teams are a very legit three lines deep.  In fact, they might have the deepest forward groups in the league.  The Leafs are looking to prove they were no fluke last season, the Hawks appear pissed about people actually believing they wouldn’t make the playoffs this season.  I’m not sure if any regular season game can ever be a classic, especially the third game of the season, but it has all the makings of one hell of a fun watch and a great way to cap Thanksgiving weekend!

 

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Stanley Cup Final Preview

GettyImages-462323740.0Well I believe that was the first time I’ve ever seen a team win a series, 2 games to 5.  It just goes to show you how vital experience is, and how vital a winning environment is.  The Blackhawks just have that ultimate confidence, that swagger, that they knew they were going to find a way to win this series.  When they need to, they go to a level that other teams can’t match.  And the Ducks are a big, fast, young team which have all the ingredients.  But they also have no confidence or swagger when things get tight with other elite teams.  And that was the difference.

 

Why have I yet to talk about the Stanley Cup final?  What do you mean?  I JUST did a Stanley Cup final review in that first paragraph.  I’m KIDDING…sort of…

 

But let’s be real, for the 4th time in 6 seasons the Eastern conference looks like the B side of this tournament.  The 2 seasons I’m leaving out are 2011 and 2013 and to be really honest about it, 2011 looked like that as well.  Going into that series the Canucks were vastly superior team and then folded when things got tough against a far less talented but much more mentally tough Bruins team.

 

I do think this Stanley Cup final matchup is going to optically be the best series we could have asked for this season.  Tampa plays with so much speed, as do the Hawks.  The goaltenders are great at times, and terrible at times, which should give us at least a few real high scoring games.  And you have 2 of the 3 most exciting players in the NHL on each team in Stamkos and Kane.  The NHL should be pretty happy with this.  Sure, the Rangers vs the Hawks would have been enormous for the ratings.  But this series will draw real well.

 

 

And even though I don’t think the Lightning are in the same league as the Blackhawks, I do think they have a shot.  A lot would need to go right for that to happen.  They would need to get some bounces early on to build their confidence and get that belief going that they can do it.  And the Hawks simply can’t have much left in the tank after 3 straight deep playoff runs and coming off a physically brutal series against the Ducks.

 

But if you want a good comparison in styles, look at Minnesota and Tampa.  Both teams have elite speed, and have good but inconsistent goaltending (in the playoffs).  The Blackhawks swept Minny.  And if Tampa had trouble keeping the Rangers off the board in 3 of those 7 games, a team that is offensively challenged, then how the heck are they going to hold off the high scoring Hawks?

 

So I’m taking the Hawks in 6.  I took the Hawks at the start of the season, stuck with them in the playoffs, and I have little reason to move off of that now.  I do believe they will drop the first game of the series.  Much like last season with the Rangers, the Lightning DESPERATELY need game 1 to have any shot here.  At home, Chicago is on shorter rest and will have a lot more travel, you just have to take advantage of that and I believe they will.  If the Blackhawks win game 1, this will be a sweep.  But I’ll say Tampa wins game 1, but the Hawks come back and take the next 3.  Tampa stays alive in game 5, but Chicago being so experienced don’t leave anything to chance and blow out the Lightning in game 6 to win the Cup at home.

 

Having said all this, it is now highly unlikely this series goes anything like this.

 

And before I wrap this up, can I just say that the Hawks are on the verge of a dynasty?  People can hate that all they want because it’s not 4 in 5 years or 3 in 4 or anything like that.  But I wrote this a few years ago that this is the type of run that should now be considered a dynasty.  We live in a cap world now.  The Blackhawks should they win this series, are an extremely lucky Alec Martinez bounce away from winning 3 in a row and 4 in 6 years.  I’m sorry if you disagree, but it is a dynasty to me.  And with all due respect to the “Brad Richards returning to where it all began” storyline, the debate of whether or not the Blackhawks are a dynasty will be the biggest storyline of this final.

 

I don’t know if the series will go long, but I am expecting all the games to be at a break neck pace and REALLY fun to watch!

 

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Face of the League

nhl_g_kane2_sy_300This is something that I’ve wanted to write for a while now.  More of a rant than anything good or clever, but it needs to be said.  It’s a perfect example of how dumb the people running and marketing the NHL are.  And trust me, outside of a few classes I am definitely no marketing guy, but it seems pretty clear to me that the league can’t see the forest through the trees on this one.

 

The NHL endlessly pushes Sidney Crosby as the face of the league.  Is he the best player in hockey?  Absolutely, although I really believe it is closer between him and Toews than anyone wants to admit, just recently Toews has been getting put in the conversation by fans.  If I had to rank it today, I would likely say Crosby, Toews, Getzlaf, Kopitar, and Doughty in that order.

 

None of those guys should be the FACE of the league.  By face of the league I assume you know what I mean but in case you don’t….I’m talking about it’s most recognizable player.  The player who your average fan knows best.  The player who goes on Jimmy Fallon, does national commercials, and who the media goes to on all the big issues.

 

That guy should be a highlight reel type of player who is one of, if not THE most skilled player in the game.  Preferably American since it is more vital to the league that they sell the game in the States (they don’t need to sell the game up here….there aren’t any seats left!)  He should have a lot of personality.  He should be playing in a big U.S. market.  He should be quotable.  And he should be playing on a winner.

 

Yet Patrick Kane, while very well known, isn’t the face of the league.  Someone please explain to me why?!  Sid is great and doesn’t do a thing wrong, but he doesn’t have the personality to carry the league.  How is it that Ovechkin was this guy 5 years ago, but they haven’t pushed Kane to be this guy now?!  Ovy was exciting, but is Kane not?

 

3acfd70acfab1152a33524b87c94358dAnd with Kane he’s not only going to do something memorable most nights, he’s one of the most clutch players in the game!  Stanley Cup winning goal, Conn Smythe trophy, how about that goal in game 6 vs LA this spring to force game 7 in the WCF.  I haven’t heard Bob Cole say “WOAH…BABY!” with that much enthusiasm in 20 years!  He hits everything on the list that you want.

 

You’ll never hear me advocate that Kane is the best player in the league.  Not close, he’s not even close to the best player on his own team!  But this guy should be at the forefront of everything NHL.  When I first started this site, I wrote about how they completely missed the boat on Mike Modano being this guy.  And I also talked about how Modano should have been to hockey what David Beckham was to Euro Football in that he wasn’t ever the best player in the sport, but he was seen as the biggest star in the sport.

 

Patrick Kane is the biggest star in hockey, it’s just that the league is too stupid to let him shine to his full potential.  Don Draper would go nuts over this guy!  Maybe someone reading this who knows marketing better than I do can help me out with it.  But until then, I’ll be left asking the question.  And in true NHL fashion….I’m guessing I’ll never get it answered.

 

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Wakey, Wakey People!

 

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Let’s not confuse what I’m saying here.  I’m not condoning the hit that Brent Seabrook laid on David Backes in game 2 of the Blues/Blackhawks series.  But since I’m a guy who can’t shutup, I have to speak up on this.  It has become a hot button topic.  It isn’t lost on me as to why, but the people outraged by this need to understand that this is sports, this is hockey players competing for the greatest trophy in sports.

 

A few months ago I had a piece on here ripping Richard Sherman for his post game interview with Erin Andrews (lucky man that Jarret Stoll is).  But my stance turned out to be much different from just about everyone.  It wasn’t lost on me that Sherman had JUST played the biggest game of his career, made the biggest play of his career, and was hyped up beyond belief.  My big problem was that most of what he said was A) manufactured and B) all of it was “look at me” and he said zero about his teammates.  But I had no issue at all with him being so hyped up.

 

What Duncan Keith said to Backes after the hit was NOTHING.

 

I get it.  You see Backes barely able to stand, he’s out on his feet and it looks brutal that he’s mocking him for it.  I would bet it was one of the more tame chirps in the entire game.  For example, in my final year of midget we started our season with an exhibition game against Provost.  Before I go any further, this story is rated R.  So kids….wash your filthy little faces and GET TO BED!!

 

Now where was I?  Oh yes.  Picture it.  Paradise Valley, 2000.  The PV Jets lead Provost 7-2 with just 20 seconds left in an EXHIBITION GAME.  Since the game is done, I decide to rush the puck, see if I can snipe one.  Just when I’m about to split the D I get tripped, and after getting tripped I receive an extra shot to the back of the head.  No call, because the game is done and it was harmless.  Except, I didn’t see it that way.  Provost starts back up ice.  I look at the clock to see only 7 seconds left and far behind the play are myself and the D-man who gave me the extra shot.  Nobody is looking, so what the hell?  I wind up and as hard as I can I two hand the kid right on the ankle.

 

Classless, I know.  But I’m not telling you this because I’m proud of it, I’m telling you this because of what I said after.  The kid obviously screamed when I got him and went down, which drew everyone’s attention.  My reaction to this?  Ear muffs kids….”Ohhhhhh get the f*** up you f***ing p***y!!”

 

Again, in case you forgot….this was an EXHIBITION GAME!

 

This is what happens in most sports.  Not all, but most.  Was it classy of Keith?  No.  Was it classy of me?  HELL NO!  But it’s what goes on.  Everyone loves the playoffs and mainly because of the intensity in which the games are played with.  Well this is what comes out with this kind of intensity.  After the game, I’m certain Keith is hoping the injury is nothing too serious.  But in the moment you’re doing anything you can and saying anything you can to get guys off their game, and you HATE the opposition.

 

Here is another example.  I don’t condone half the words said in this clip, and again this is not for kids, not for the faint of heart so to speak.  This is a clip from the 1991 Stanley Cup final, after Brian Bellows had been hurt on his previous shift.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MNA0_n32Hc

 

It is BRUTAL out there.  In the illustrious words of Coolio….”if ya can’t take the heat, get ya ass out the kitchen”.  And it’s brutal that Backes might be out of this series, he might be the most underrated player in the game and is one of my favorites.  But it’s playoff hockey.  I’m sure he’s said as bad or worse to injured players.  Take a number, get your’s down the line.

 

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What a run!!!

 

Well to say that was fun would be a HUGE understatement!  It is a shame if you didn’t have a horse in that race like me that this one didn’t go the distance.  As much as I would get frustrated at times with the terrible officiating and the fact that the game keeps drifting closer and closer to the way things were in the “old NHL”, it still doesn’t mean that it wasn’t playoff hockey at its absolute best!

3 games went to OT, 2 more went down to the final minute of play, and in game 4 we witnessed one of the most exciting Stanley Cup final games of all time.  And the fact that there was a game in this series that overshadowed game 1 is pretty unreal, and the ending to last nights game will make it an all timer.  I will get to the Bruins in another blog, but this one is about the Hawks season.  Simply incredible.

Starting with their streak to start the season, the 3rd longest of all time with at least a point going 24 games, and the longest such streak to start a season (79-80 Flyers went 35, 77-78 Habs went 28).  They ended the regular season with a 36-7-5 record.  Could they have kept up that pace over 82 games?  Who knows, but incredible nonetheless.

Then after having an easy time with the Minnesota Wild (I LOVE Wild fans!!), they fell behind the Wings 3-1.  They weren’t getting bounces, Jimmy Howard was playing out of his skull, things didn’t look good for a team that hadn’t faced adversity all season.  After a win in game 5, they trailed game 6 in Detroit 2-1 heading into the 3rd.  That was the first time that this team really nutted up for lack of a better term and came up HUGE.  3 goals in the 3rd got the Hawks back home with a big 4-3 win and momentum all on their side.

Then the 3rd period of game 7 happened.  Up 1-0 going into the 3rd, Henrik Zetterberg tied it early, and the Wings controlled much of the play.  Then with just 1:47 left in the 3rd the Hawks believed they had scored the goal that would clinch the series, only to be waved off because of a horrific coincidental penalty call by referee Stephen Walkom.  I really believed that would be the dagger to the Hawks run.  To shake off getting such a horrible break like that takes incredible mental toughness.

The conference finals wasn’t what anyone really expected, as the Hawks were able to roll over the bruised and battered defending champs relatively easily (although 3 of the 4 wins were only by a goal).  But the Stanley Cup final was definitely a different story, and once again overcome a lot.

Game 1 you may already have forgot they trailed 2-0 early, and 3-1 8 minutes into the 3rd.  But they managed to tie it, and then on their 60th shot of the game beat Tukka Rask to win it in the 3rd OT.  A lot of people including your’s truely believed that would be a damn tough game for the Bruins to overcome, but they not only overcame that loss, they took control of the series in games 2 and 3 and seemingly had the Hawks on the ropes.

Game 4 was something special.  The Blackhawks carried the play and for the first time in the series really had the Bruins playing “their game”.  But they couldn’t shake them.  Corey Crawford had his worst game of the series, and the Bruins were getting the bounces while the Hawks were really having to work hard for their goals.  I really thought there was no way with how Crawford was playing that they were winning in OT.  But again, they sacked up, Crawford kept battling and shut the door in OT, and Brent Seabrook came up big to send the series back to Chicago tied at 2.

After hanging on in game 5, they went back to Boston and of course we all know what happened last night.  Again, it seemed done when Milan Lucic sniped with 7:49 left in the 3rd.  I believe on the CBC broadcast prior to that goal Healy and Simpson were talking about how it was basically already in OT, that’s how it felt.  But again, the Hawks came up huge, with Toews setting up Bickell to tie it and of course 17 seconds later with just 58.3 left in the 3rd David Bolland wins it.

Just remarkable what we just witnessed…unless you’re a fan of the Wild, Wings, Kings or Bruins.  Weather you love them or hate them, you have to tip your hat to the Chicago Blackhawks.  That was truely one of the most unbelievable runs in NHL history, and with the core of this hockey team still very young I have a feeling this isn’t the last one they will win.

 

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The Stanley Cup final

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Well I guess my dream of going 14 for 15 with my playoff predictions is gone, and I didn’t just barely miss.  No, that was the Ultimate Warrior and I was the Honky Tonk Man.  I was the champ and I was feeling pretty damn cocky heading into my match with whoever was in the back and willing to fight me.  Then the Warrior came out.  Jimmy Hart couldn’t save me, nobody could save me.  And before I knew it, I had not only lost my belt, I had been humiliated.  Pens in 7….WRONG!!!  Kings in 6….WRONG!!!  Hawks and Bruins for the Cup it is, and it only took them a total of 9 games to get through the conference finals.

It’s one heck of a sexy matchup.  2 originial 6 teams (first time since 79 when the Habs took down the Rangers in 5).  2 of the top 4 TV markets in the US which will make the NHL offices in New York VERY happy.  It has a marketable star too in Patrick Kane who is coming off a hatty and series winning OT goal (don’t confuse star with marketable star, Jonathan Toews is miles ahead of Kane but he isn’t as marketable).  If your team wasn’t going to get in the final, then you couldn’t have asked for a better matchup.  If you’re a Wings fan, or Habs fan, or Leafs fan then you have a team to pull for….the team that you don’t hate!

So lets get on with it, who will win.  Well since there is only the 1 series to talk about I guess I have to drag this out don’t I?  Lets talk about the tendy’s first.  Rask is better than Crawford.  Ok, now that we covered the tendy’s….maybe I’ll give it more respect than that.  Look, everyone is sky high on Rask right now.  He’s great, don’t get me wrong.  But the Pens generated NOTHING in that series.  Just about every shot was right at the B’s logo.  And usually nobody was near the net for the rebound.  Now, while I think the Bruins did a FANTASTIC job playing New Jersey Devils circa 2003 type hockey (if that’s not a backhanded compliment, I don’t know what is), the Pens still never made Rask make many great saves.  Don’t get wrapped up in shots on goal, it can be decieving.

Meanwhile, Crawford doesn’t face many shots but it seems to me that when he gets them, they’re high quality chances.  The Bruins have good offensive fire power, but Crawford is capable of shutting the door on them.  So while there is still no doubt that Rask is the better goaltender (better technically, better athletically), the Hawks will put up a much better offensive fight than the Pens did so if the Bruins are to win this series Rask is going to have to be even better than he has been so far.

Then we have the 2 bluelines.  The Bruins have the top dog in Chara, but give me the Hawks blueline as a 6 man unit over the Bruins.  They move the puck much better and they’re more mobile.  Brent Seabrook has been great in these playoffs, Duncan Keith is Duncan Keith, Niklas Hjalmarsson is underrated, and Johnny Oduya is DISGUSTING….but he still moves the puck pretty good.  It’s the type of blueline that every NHL GM wishes to have these days.

Up front the Bruins have a bit of a size advantage but anywhere near as bad as its made out to be.  Lucic is huge, but so is Bryan Bickell.  Nathan Horton is a beast, but Marian Hossa is 6’1 210.  And these are top 6 guys.  As for the skill, its not like the Bruins lack skill but give me the Hawks skill up front over Boston’s, especially as a unit.  The chemistry Chicago has up front is ridiculous.  The misconception is that the Hawks are a finesse team.  The Hawks can play any style, so if the Bruins want to take this series into the ally I’m sure the Hawks won’t have any problem with that.

But if we are talking about up front then of course I’m going to hit on how they matchup down the middle which as you may know is vital in my mind.  This is where the Bruins have the Hawks beat.  Not by a lot, Jonathan Toews is still the 2nd best player in the league in my mind, but the Bruins still beat them.  Patrice Bergeron is as close to a Jonathan Toews clone as you’ll find in the league.  Then, while I LOVE Dave Bolland, David Krejci is just simply on another level.  Chris Kelly and Michal Handzus are pretty much a wash, and while Andrew Shaw is the best 4th line center in this series it’s pretty much like being the tallest midget.

I could break down the coaching battle, but in the end to me it’s a wash.  Julien and Quennville are both great.  So that’s how I feel about the matchups, I can honestly say either of these 2 could win the series.  The Bruins might be better in more area’s, but not by enough to make them a favorite in my mind (I believe they are favored by Vegas in the series).  So here it is…..

Hawks in 7

I’m going to get really stupid here and make a game by game prediction that in no way will be right.  In game 1 the Hawks will shock everyone and put 5 past Rask in a 5-1 blowout.  Game 2 the Bruins will bounce back with a gritty 3-2 OT win and for the first time since 2004 the Stanley Cup final will be 1-1.  Game 3 the Bruins on home ice will come out strong and walk away with a 3-1 win.  Game 4 I got the Hawks coming back with a big 4-3 OT win to tie the series.  They split home wins in 5 and 6, and then the Hawks on home ice skate away with a 3-2 win and their 2nd Stanley Cup in 4 years….I would be shocked if ANY of that happened.

 

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Round 3: They went to Jared’s

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Because they all have rings…GET IT?!?!?!?  That’s gold.  If you’re not laughing then YOU’RE the problem.  Ok round 3 of the playoffs and I’m pissed.  Why would I be pissed you ask?  Well that’s a good question Johnny.  The reason I’m pissed is because I’m a pathetic Carburner team away from being perfect on these predictions this playoff season.  11 for 12….I just HAD to trust the Carburners didn’t I?  When you’re hot in Vegas, you don’t walk away from the table.  When a team is incredible at awful you don’t bet them.  But the Sharks were awesome at awful too so what’s a “brother to do?” as the kids would say.  Anyway, I’m starring down the barrel of 14 for 15 and hitting just about everything spot on so not going to change a thing.

 

Eastern Conference final

#1 Pittsburgh Penguins vs #4 Boston Bruins

Dream matchup number 1 features the 2009 champion Pens against the 2011 champion B’s (remember that one Carburner fans?!)  The biggest storyline coming into this series is Jarome Iginla and how he was almost a Bruin.  Who cares anymore?  To me that’s an issue between the Bruins and Flames not the Bruins and Pens.  For me the biggest storyline in this series is the Bruins size vs the Pens skill.  I don’t like it, but I don’t usually pick against the team that has the size advantage in the playoffs.  It’s a war of attrition and if you’re using your size advantage right then you should wear down your opponent over a 7 game series.  And the Bruins are red hot right now as they are still riding the momentum of their game 7 comeback win over the Leafs.  HOWEVER….there are always exceptions to the rule in life and this I believe is one of them.  The Pens skill is overwhelming.  They have the advantage down the middle against the the Bruins, something most teams can’t do.  And while Chara is far and away the best d-man in this series, there is only 1 of him (although there is a lot of that 1!)  Do you match him against Crosby’s line or Malkin’s?  Then you have Sutter’s line which can produce as well.  The Bruins have the advantage defensively and between the pipes, but it’s not at the level that it needs to be to eliminate the Pens.  I believe the Bruins can win this series, but I don’t think they will get it done.

Pens in 7

 

Western Conference final

#1 Chicago Blackhawks vs #5 LA Kings

The President’s trophy winner vs the defending champs.  It’s a sexy matchup anytime it happens in the playoffs, and the deeper in the playoffs it happens the better.  The last time it happened was the 2011 opening round, Hawks and Carburners.  That series didn’t exactly suck if you recall.  And much like the Eastern final, this is size vs finnesse.  In boxing, styles make great fights.  I expect that to happen in both these conference final matchups.  I haven’t viewed the Hawks as some have as this incredible power house.  They have a great team, I’m a huge fan of the team, but I haven’t seen them as some unbeatable juggernaut like others have.  Then again it’s not like the Kings are rolling in these playoffs like last year.  Last year they made it look ridiculously easy, this year it’s been one hell of a grind.  6 grueling games against the Blues, followed by 7 grueling games against the Sharks.  Had the Hawks dusted the Wings in 5 or even 6 I would love them in this series.  Because while they aren’t as big or as physical as the Kings, they can play that game.  But 2 things for me give the Kings a huge advantage in this series.  The Hawks are good down the middle, but they can’t matchup with the Kings at center.  Kopitar, Richards, Stoll (if healthy), Lewis, and if they feel like doing so Jeff Carter.  So that’s a big edge to the Kings.  But the biggest one is in goal.  Crawford has been quietly great in these playoffs.  He doesn’t get much work, but when he does it seems like they’re high quality chances.  And for the most part he has shut the door.  But I’m not taking him against Jonathan Quick.  Quick is in that zone again and is going to make it damn tough on the Hawks. Obviously the Hawks can win this series, but they’ll really need Crawford to raise game to an even higher level.  I had the Kings and Pens at the begining of the playoffs and I see no reason to change that now.

Kings in 6

 

Doesn’t matter what the combo will be, we will get an amazing Stanley Cup final.  Big markets, big stars, experienced teams, it’s going to be great hockey from here on out, Gary is in the NHL offices right now laughing like Dr. Evil.  I won’t lie, I’m pulling for it to be the Hawks and Pens, I believe that would give us exciting, high skilled, end to end action for at least 6 and likely 7 games.  But again, had Kings and Pens from the start, not going to change it now.

 

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Quite the Hawk streak

 

See what I did there?  You thought I was going to say “hot streak” and I danced you like I was Savard and you were Lowe!  Well this is getting ridiculous.  Sure last nights win was in OT against the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets, but this team is getting everyone’s best night in and night out.  Take a look at their loses, Columbus is playing everyone tough…they simply don’t have the talent to win games.  The Hawks managed to survive them and push the streak to 21 last night.  Right now they are Will and the rest of the league are a bunch of Carlton’s and Cornflakes.  Their only loses have been in shootouts.  Nobody seen anything like this coming.

Remember last year?  The mighty Blackhawks had completely lost their swagger that they were known for the 3 years previous.  This was a young, cocky team.  But last season they simply lost their way.  Corey Crawford after having such an amazing series against Vancouver in the 2011 playoffs, came crashing back to earth.  Patrick Kane’s off ice behaviour was seemingly hurting his development.  Duncan Keith was no longer looking like the all world defenseman he once was.  This team lived and died with Jonathan Toews.

They got smashed by the Oilers last year, twice!  9-2 (although I wrote on this website at the time that it was clearly a product of them going to Vegas on a team trip after the game, they mailed that one in).  Then of course the Sam Gagner 8 point game, where they blew a 2-0 lead, losing 8-4.  They also lost to the Oilers once in Chicago.

In the playoffs they were stoned by Mike Smith, but even though they were out shooting Phoenix game in and game out, they seemed to lack fight.  Again, they were totally dependent on Jonathan Toews who could only do so much.  Rumors were everywhere that Head Coach Joel Quennville and GM Stan Bowman weren’t even on speaking terms anymore, and it was only a matter of time before either Quennville would resign or Bowman would fire him.

garth-algar
Much like other celeb fans like Vince Vaughn and Jeremy Piven, Garth Algar is excited with the teams incredible start

What a difference a lockout makes.  I had a feeling they would win that first game of the season in LA after some knob in the Kings organization thought it would be a great idea to parade the Cup around the ice before puck drop.  Because that wouldn’t fire up the former champs at all I bet, not to mention that it’s literally a workout lifting that Cup.  In 25 years of both playing and watching hockey never once have I heard a coach or a trainer suggest that someone go bump weights minutes before puck drop.

But while I expected that result, I didn’t see this team that had so much turmoil entering the offseason going nearly half way through the season without a regulation time or OT loss.  It is unreal.  And the beauty of it is that its not just one guy.  Patrick Kane growing up sure does help, but some nights its him, some nights its Toews, some nights its Hossa, some nights they stay up cashing in their bad luck, some nights they call it a draw….

Its probably a good time to write this piece now, because I actually have to believe that in Detroit for a Sunday morning game against the Wings is a pretty good bet as to where this streak could finally end.  Mind you before that I would have thought facing the Blues in St.Louis would have been an even better bet and they made the Blues look horrible in a 3-0 win.  But also, the last time I wrote about a teams hot streak was last Saturday about the Raptors, who went 0-3 since….all 3 at home….2 against awful teams.  The Soups curse is now in full effect for the Hawks, so I apologize to all Hawks fans if this kicks in again.  It was my intent to sing their praises, not ruin their season.

 

Follow on twitter because I’m incredible @TJ_Soups

What Exactly was That?!

After coming back down to earth having lost 4 in a row and 5 of 6, the Edmonton Oilers, the NHL’s latest emerging talented darling completely dominated the team that used to own that moniker.  The West leading, 2010 Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.  An amazing night for both the Oilers and there fans.  But let’s get honest about it.

I’m not intentionally raining on Oilers fans parade (although I know I am), but you have to be honest.  The Hawks had been rolling till arriving in Western Canada this past week.  I didn’t see the game inVancouver but from what Kelly Hrudy was saying Saturday night, despite the Hawks apparent 5-1 Pauly D win (get it?  Pauly D win?  Blowout?  See what I did there?  But I digress…) they didn’t play that tight of a game.  Then in Calgary they didn’t seem into it.  Then in Edmonton they were without a doubt not into it!

What were the Hawks doing after the game?  Oh that’s right, Vegas for a little in season va-cay.  See where I’m going with this?  What happens on the last night of games before the All-Star break every year?  More often then not teams play terrible because most of the players are focused on getting away for a few days.  It is to the players as what Friday’s are to most of us.  “F the workout it’s Friday baby!!!”  Don’t tell me you haven’t said something along those lines before.  Or “I’m taking off early, it’s Friday bit**es!!!”  Right.  It’s human nature.

This is the biggest factor in what happened on Saturday night.  Don’t get me wrong, perfect storm happened to make it 9-2.  What made it 9-2 was a pissed off Oiler team who had just lost 5 of 6 looking to get back on track against a team that pretty much toyed with them 6 days earlier.  And they needed it.  It was Saturday night and a LOT of the crew was looking to slump bust!  Lucky for the Oil and there fans, a lot of them did, specifically of course a man named Taylor.  Yes, Chorney played terrific…

Aren’t I just FULL OF IT TONIGHT?!  But bad jokes aside, all I’m asking is to look at this domination rationally.  Oiler fans it was terrific and I’m glad you enjoyed every minute of it, these days have been a long time coming.  But as for going forward just keep it in perspective.  Stars and Preds back to back, this could be 7 of 9 by Wednesday morning.  And Hawks fans, they weren’t worried about the games in Calgary and especially Edmonton.

Kevin Weekes on the HNIC broadcast couldn’t understand why no push back from the Hawks?  Well it’s embarrassing, nobody wants to get hurt before going to VEGAS!