Cheer the Podcast: Episode 30

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On the Ed Belfour edition of Cheer the Podcast, Adam checks in from Italy while the guys talk about the longest game in Blackhawks history, the Blackhawks’ defensive issues, and what it all means as the Hawks head home. Listen after the jump. More >

Cheer the Podcast: Episode 29

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The fellas discuss how exactly the Blackhawks have turned on the jets and put themselves up 3 games to 0 on the Wild, Teuvo’s impact, and they look ahead to the next series. Listen after the jump.
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Lifter Puller: Wild 1 Hawks 4 (Series 2-0 Hawks)

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Well then.. After an uncertain 1st Round against the Preds, the Hawks appear to be rounding into Championship form this series. They’ve won both handily, the stars are shining, the supporting cast is doing its job, their goalie is solid (yes, really) and the lines and lineup are about as optimal as they can be. The Wild have not had a lead for a single second thus far and are heading back home without the smash & grab win you feel they really needed. Of course, it’s only been two games and this time last year the Hawks headed to St Paul with a similar advantage and promptly got their asses handed to them so we’ll not be getting the Corey Perry photoshops out just yet. But there’s reasons to be cheerful this morning and we’ll get to them directly.

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Cheer the Podcast: Episode #28 (Mark Bell)

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The entire stateside CtA crew got together to do talk about the Hawks vs. #perds series, what to expect against Minnesota, dream scenarios for the Blues, Q’s roster choices, and everyone makes fun of Tom for eating McDonald’s. Listen after the jump.  More >

Mini Cheer the Podcast: LOL Blues

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Tom and Jim hop on the air to talk about the Blues failures and the Jets being bad. Topics covered: Bad goaltending, sad Blues fans Tweets, is the Central Division really that good? and more…  Listen after the jump: More >

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PRESS THE BOMB!: Preds 3 Hawks 4, Series in the bag, my frents.

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This series was very much a Ugandan action movie: part entertaining, part excruciating, mostly just glad it’s over and I don’t have to look at it any more. Nashville chased Newport News, IL (or is that Lemont, Va?) native Scott Darling then blew a two-goal lead and really didn’t look like they wanted to be there, much less go to the 2nd Round (considering they’d have to visit either St Louis or St Paul, that’s completely understandable). The Hawks got it done, in regulation no less, and can take a few days off while pointing and laughing at the Blues & the Wild. let’s get into it:


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Uhhhh……. NASHEY COUGAR! Perds 2 Hawks 4 (Series 2-1 Hawks)


Before we go any further, that headline refers to this which led my web-designer brother to create this .

Anyway, Nicolas-Cage based antics aside, this series is now 2-1 and the Hawks now have a chance to make the return to Nashville an elimination game (Which sounds like a tortuous setup for a urine -based pun, but I won’t go there…heh, heh).  Despite some reversals , especially in the immediate aftermath of scoring a goal, and some curious coaching decisions, the Blackhawks dominated this one for long stretches and were well worth the win. Shall we address the matter at hand? We shall.

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Too many Urkels: Game 3 Preview

Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images

Somehow this series is tied 1-1. The Blackhawks deserve to be opening up game 3 at United Center down 2-0 and needing to be desperate. They’re still comfortable right now, it seems. They’ve miraculously taken home ice advantage back despite being the worse team in both contests.

The goaltending “controversy” happening in Chicago is taking center stage in the media and even in the locker room. Scott Darling is getting the start this afternoon, but that’s masking the fact that the Hawks have been hot garbage in front of whichever guy is standing in the blue paint and it’s been that way for weeks.

To describe why the Hawks have been, well, pretty bad recently let’s turn to Chicago native Kanye WestMore >


Dumbness Abounds


You know it’s the playoffs when the Tribune’s Dumbass-In-Chief, David Haugh,  stops fretting about Kris Bryant long enough to give we mere mortals the benefit of his wisdom. Yesterday, he pinched off a real steamer about the “Goalie Controversy” ahead of Game 2. Needless to say, it’s down to his usual level of gibberish but fear not, intrepid reader, I’ve gone behind the paywall so you don’t have to.

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879Blackhawks Predators Hockey

You’ve got Tennessee tendencies and chemical dependencies: Hawks 4 Perds 3 2OT

879Blackhawks Predators Hockey

Hello and welcome to Narrative Heaven.  Last night had a bit of everything, didn’t it? A first period meltdown, Roszival and Shaw being terrible, the goalie getting pulled and replaced by the “local” boy, the comeback, the fourth year in a row we go to overtime in the Hawks’ Game 1, action, drama, redemption, MOAR OVERTIME and finally Victory and a win on the road that starts this series off the Flahavans’ Way.  In addition, I was kept up until 6am by Playoff hockey.. oh, how I’ve missed that.

Let’s get into this, shall we?

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Playoff Beered II


Those of you who were around this site last year may recall that, rather than shaving off my beard and regrowing it, I instead chose to brew a beer during the playoffs with the eventual aim of using it to toast victory. The beer turned out just fine but, sadly, was imbibed a little sooner than planned.  Oh well.


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Cheer the Podcast: Episode 27

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Prior to heading into the playoff series vs Nashville the guys get together to discuss Antoine Vermette’s entrance to the witness protection program, the return of Patrick Kane and what it’ll take for the Blackhawks to move on to the 2nd round. They also look across the other seven playoff series on tap and take some stabs at the NHL Awards to be handed out after the playoffs.

Audio after the jump.

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Killed By Death: Blues 2 Hawks 1


“To Piss On One’s Chips”  is defined thus by Urban Dictionary:

“…to really mess something up for yourself (rather than for someone else) with an unnecessary and/or stupid act….The origin of the expression is from the scenario in the UK of a guy buying some takeaway chips (french fries for any US readers) after an evening’s drinking.

Finding that he then needs a piss on the way home, the inebriated guy finds a quiet spot somewhere then and puts his chips on the ground nearby while he relieves himself. In his drunken state he then accidentally pisses on his chips, thus depriving himself of his meal through his own carelessness and stupidity”.


A better definition would be the highlights of last night’s game, with special attention paid to Michal Roszival.

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The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place: Hawks @ Jets Preview


It gets really grim when the Blackhawks have a day off after a particularly demoralising defeat. As a fanbase we take to social media and comment threads en masse in order to tear our hair and each others throats out. Considering that this specific defeat is the third  really bad one in the last four games, the angst levels have been redlining. That’s not to say this is without good reason: losing three out of four is never a Good Thing, but losing them to non-playoff teams in abject fashion makes it far worse. It isn’t even so much the lowly status of the Stars, Flyers and Beej that stings, it’s the patheric capitulation by the Hawks in those losses (and you can include the win over the Canes in that, too: the Hawks did their level best to fuck that up as well).  just four games ago we were coming off a successful trip to New York talking about a run at the Division. Now the Hawks are (at least temporarily) in the Wild Card mix and we’re looking anxiously over our shoulders at Winnipeg.


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Cheer The Podcast: Episode 26

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The boys take on the last week of Blackhawks action and discuss Q’s roster usage, the effectiveness of Brad Richards, and what’s going on with the rest of the playoff picture on the Jocelyn Lemieux episode. Listen after the jump.

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Insert Neil Young Quote Here: Hawks @ Canes Preview


This effing Hockey Team.. right after I bigged them up in relation to the Central (and by default, Western) title race, on the back of a shutout of the Rags, the Hawks go and #Cube one up against the out-of-it-even-if-they-don’t-believe-it-themselves Stars.  Guess those are the breaks. What made it doubly annoying was the Wings making it three straight losses (albeit with loserpoints involved) for the Blues. Boy, St Louis must be looking forward to a playoff series against Minnesota the way one looks forward to a proctological examination. Anyway, stuff:

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Contains No MSG: Hawks 1 Rags 0 and what lies ahead..


OK, that one felt pretty good, despite it not being a “classic” but rather a tight, disciplined effort from both sides, backed up by excellent goaltending. Could have gone either way but Brad Richards popped up late in the 3rd and clearly greatly enjoyed his goal against the team that scratched him in the playoffs ahead of buying him out last offseason (although I’m sure he enjoys cashing the checks they’ll be writing him till the sun goes supernova more), Scott Darling earned his first NHL shutout and the Hawks leave the Empire State with four points from two games against two of the East’s best.


That was a short recap, hey? Let’s talk more stuff, specifically how the rest of this season looks..


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Cheer the Podcast: Episode 25

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It’s the Matt Carey Cam Barker Jerome Dupont episode. In the first cast since Pat Kane’s collarbone become more than one piece the guys discuss the implications of the injury, the replacements acquired to help soften the blow and of course there’s plenty of Teuvo talk after his big game against the Rangers. We do wonder if Patrick Sharp will ever emerge from urinal trough he’s been stuck in for the better part of two months however.

Audio after the jump.

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I Think I Smell A Dead Guy: Rags 1 Hawks 0 OT


That one was annoying. Granted, the Rangers are one of the top teams out East but last night felt like a squandered opportunity to close in on the floundering Predators and the stuttering Blues, not to mention putting a little distance between the Hawks and the Wild, who are riding Devan Dubnyk right back into the postseason picture.  If there was going to be a bounce from the new acquisitions, it was going to be here.

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Dying To Play: Pascal Dupuis and Men’s Health

I know it’s deadline day, and you’re expecting analysis of trades.. however, I put this together in response to Pascal Dupuis’ article in the Players Tribune . You may or may not like it very much.


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Roundtable of DOOM … and a little optimism, kinda

Enlightening discussion in this circle, I’m sure.


After the shovel to the face that was Tuesday in Chicago sports the staff got together to do an emergency roundtable and share their feelings about the rest of the season in light of Patrick Kane’s injury.

1.) So, the season is effectively over, yes? Y/N/M/brb

mMD: In the words of the great Walter Sobchak: “Nothing  is fucked, dude.. come on, you’re being very un-Dude”. This could mean a decent run on a top line for Teuvo and a fit and rested Kane in the playoffs. In the words of the great Walter Sobchak: “Nothing  is fucked, dude.. come on, you’re being very un-Dude”. This could mean a decent run on a top line for Teuvo and a fit and rested Kane in the playoffs.

LePac: I’m not in a joking mood about this today, so I’m looking entirely to numbers. Kane’s health is obviously important, but the season won’t turn on him. It’s about our fucked up D-corp. We won’t make it through without addressing that.

TomThis will do a better job of explaining my thoughts than I ever could.

Bartl: We were bitching up a storm about how the ‘Hawks are going to struggle to win a playoff series BEFORE one of the NHL’s leading scorers suffered an up-to-10-week injury. There’s my answer.

Nakis: Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? My answer is an emphatic no.

Adam: I have a very difficult time seeing how a team that was entering a questionable slide with Patrick Kane is going to advance to the conference finals without Patrick Kane. There’s so many variables here that have to go in Chicago’s favor for the season not to be over. They need to use as much of the $5.2M possible made available by Kane’s LTIR placement to upgrade the current roster, Kane’s injury needs to heal at the shorter end of his timetable than the 12 week portion and the Blues/Predators need to start playing closer to Earth as April approaches. If you think all of that is not only possible but probable, then the season is not in danger of ending early.

tl;dr.. They’re done.

2.) Do you still want the Blackhawks to try and acquire talent for this season at the deadline? If yes, who and why? If no, why not?

mMD: Until bits started falling off Oduya, I’d have said no. What Q needs to do is limit Roszival’s exposure as a bottom-pairing d-man. Now.. yes, a cheap blueline rental would seem neccesary.

LePac: Nick Leddy. He’s still available, right?

Bartl: Try? Sure. But even saying “The Hawks acquired the best available player at the deadline” doesn’t do very much good if said player isn’t all that good to begin with. Even with Kane going down, I’d like to see an upgrade at defenseman, if anything is done at all.

Tom: No. I don’t. I want them to just run this season out with the current crap. Why? Because I don’t want to add some half-assed veterans like Chris Stewart to try and make some postseason run. This team has greater issues than they believe they do and any stopgap acquisitions aren’t going to be enough to help them compete with the big boys. You might as well just run into the postseason with what you’ve got and hope that somehow Corey Crawford turns into Dominik Hasek.

Nakis: No, let’s just give up in a “go for it” season and surrender to the playoff giant St. Louis Blues.

Adam: There’s a fence post up my ass on this one. When I sent out these questions yesterday I was a hard no. After talking it over with the rest of the guys there’s a couple of moves that would be OK with me. With McKenzie mentioning Vermette by name and Keith Yandle reportedly available I would be fine with mortgaging part of the future from Rockford to upgrade down the middle and on the backend in that fashion with one swift move. Stan has been hesitant to make splashes in the past and with this team needing help on both sides of the puck it would seem to me that having one trade partner instead of two would make the cost more manageable for such a large upgrade. Kinda like going to CostCo for butter. What, no one else does that? It’s going to cost them some prime talent to make a move like that happen, but with no cap in the playoffs and this being one last run with this group, that’s probably how you’d do it. You probably won’t ever see Danault, McNeil or someone like Klas Dahlbeck in a Hawks sweater though.

3.) This Kane injury is going to give Joel Quenneville and Stan Bowman a free pass for this season, isn’t it? Should it?

mMD: Both are untouchable anyway. Two Cups etc etc. But yes, there’ll be an Escape Goat (sic) for the season (assuming we don’t have a parade in june and I still believe that’s a distinct possibility)

LePac: It should not. I don’t remember the current estimate for how many goals equals a win, but I know it’s not enough to conclude that losing Kane’s hypothetical goals over the next 21 games would significantly affect the standings. And if we’re talking about individual game heroics in a first round he misses, well . . . that’s just guess work. Maybe he would have been Kane of the L.A. Hat Trick. Maybe he would have been Kane of the Games before the L.A. Hat Trick. Who knows. It. Is. About. The. Defense.

Bartl: It will, but it shouldn’t. It’s going to overshadow all the lineup mismanagement over the course of the 61 games that Kane played. And if the Hawks bow out early in the playoffs, people will say it was because either Kane wasn’t playing or the team lacked enough time to jell while he was out.

Tom: Sure is. No it should not. As I said earlier, this team has significant issues and this is just going to give them a free pass to not acknowledge those.

Nakis: No. The failure to work in young players like Teuvo Teravainen and Klas Dahlbeck is now coming full circle. I, for one, will not forget this.

Adam: I’m with everybody else and this is probably the most heated I get about something that spins off from Kane getting hurt other than the injury itself obviously. Quenneville and Bowman will both get a pass no matter the season outcome. If they’re able to swing a big deal before March 2nd and Quenneville assimilates those parts well while also actually using Teravainen effectively then they’re heralded as heroes. If they don’t make an upgrade and bow out early, you just point to the fact that your best player got banged up.

4.) Is Teuvo returning and likely getting significant minutes a silver lining to you?

mMD: It’s a Platinum lining. Q is going to be forced to deploy real offensive talent in the top-six and… oh, shit, Gorilla Salad is going on the 2nd Line, isn’t he?

LePac: Well, he’s back of this writing which is great. I hope that whatever Sharp did to anger Q is still alive and well and burning Q’s whiskers enough that Q’s unwillingness to slot Teuvo in with a decent line intersects with his fiery hate for Sharp and we get a Teuvo-Sharp. How good is that fucking buddy cop movie?

Bartl: I have to find out with whom he’s playing first. And no matter where he’s place, it needs to stay that way consistently so he’s not being flopped around the lineup constantly.

Tom: No. I hope he comes up here and dominates for a few weeks and our TWO CUP GUY Quenneville looks like a dumbfuck for sending him down in favor of the talentless Joakim Nordstrom and the ever-redundant Ryan Hartmann.

Nakis: Yes. The Blogger v. Hockey Buzz commenter war on this issue has been raging for years now without any real hard evidence. LET’S GET IT ON.

Adam: Nope. Doesn’t mean I don’t want him to have success in his second stint this year but this is not how I wanted him recalled.

5.) Which numbskull is going to do something stupid in Sunrise today?

mMD: See above. Although you’ve got to believe that the players know it wasn’t as bad as some fans are calling it.

LePac: Frankly, I hope Go’Sal takes a run that looks awful, causes no real injuries to anyone, but earns himself a long suspension on account of being an insufferable waste of our time, money, and meagerly apportioned existence.

Bartl: I’m afraid the list of numskulls on this team is long than of those who are playing well, so I could name more than half the roster.

Tom: Nobody. This team is too damn soft to do anything stupid. Carcillo knows that if he does, he’s done so he won’t.

Nakis: Bryan Bickell will take several runs at Petrovic, only to pull up at the very last second. In all seriousness, the Hawks don’t do revenge. We saw it when Ovie hit Campbell in 2010. We saw it when Orpik hit Toews last year. It just doesn’t happen.

Adam: Patrick Sharp




Cheer The Podcast: Episode 24

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On the Bob Probert episode we chat with Sirius Chicago Blackhawks correspondent Al Cimaglia about the Hawks’ recent slide. We try and understand the roster construction, where blame should be placed, and what can be done to get the Blackhawks back to being a perennial powerhouse. Jim’s computer dies.


Blackhawks 2 – Red Wings 3 (SO): Argento and Scarto

I was entertained. If you weren’t please seek medical attention immediately.

It felt like the Chicago Blackhawks controlled this contest tonight for the better part of 45 minutes of game action. The thing is, they really didn’t though. The Red Wings seemed to get their legs underneath them in the final frame and it was the right time considering the game was tied heading into the that last period of play. This game was pretty much flipped on its head. Even the shot totals reflected that with the Blackhawks hammering Detroit 17-6 in the first period, an 8-8 even second period and the Wings having an 11-7 advantage in the last period.

But back to how I opened this: this was a hell of a hockey game and it really is a shame we only play these guys twice a year anymore.

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Cheer The Podcast: Episode 23

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It’s the Kris Versteeg episode of Cheer The Podcast. The guys discuss the past week of Hawks games, whether or not they have enough depth to compete in the Western Conference, and the moves that have already been made by Nashville.


Fuck Heroes – Devils v. Hawks Preview


We all wanted Hossa to be a hero. He didn’t need to score the winning goal against Vancouver. He sent the game to overtime. That was enough. We hailed him for it.

Then, early in OT, Sedin offered a silent objective rebuttal to homophobes and ingrates. The Hawks lost. Hossa got a loser point and a fine harangue. We’ll call him a fucking hero.

All around the league losses are rotting on the ice. Points left behind. Some days we anoint heroes. Other days we damn them all. Who is just a loser? Who is a fucking hero.

We decide, based on nothing. Hossa is a fucking hero. Hossa still lost. So did the whole team. They all lost.

Maybe you claim Hossa as a hero because you need something beautiful to cling to in the wee hours. Maybe you claim Hossa–especially in the aftermath of embarrassing defeat–because simply accepting that even the best teams skid sucks the meaning away. I know I do.

No matter what your reason, it is selfish. It means nothing. The Hawks still lost. They still left two points rotting on the ice. But he’s a fucking hero.

And now what? After the Canucks game, Teuvo earned a ticket to Somewhere in Illinois that is Not Chicago. LIke I said in our Round Table, even the Pope admits he can’t explain how his supposedly loving God permits the suffering of innocents. Where does that leave Hawks fans, drenched as we are in pride and avarice? It leaves us with our Golden Boy clipping coupons for the Olive Garden.

Which begs the question: do we try and force meaning into this game tonight? We can hue and cry but we cannot affect the front office. We can contort a February skid into a narrative of challenge and grit. We can write off losses to a bored team that maybe, just maybe, isn’t placing hockey at the top of its daily To-Do list.

Whatever path you choose, know that it is meaningless. The season will grind on, wins and losses accumulating whether we swear blind allegiance or boycott, the end result of countless events too obscure to measure. We are powerless to affect change.

So I choose to rage against the heavens. I don’t want a fucking hero. I want a team. I want Carcillo and Shaw off my team. I want Teuvo back from Nebraska or wherever the fuck they sent him. I want whatever happened one spring evening at the penalty box door in Detroit two years ago. I will not be happy until this team’s name rings from the throats of choirs raised in triumphant measure.

You keep your fucking heroes. I want a fucking team.