Editor/founder of Cheer the Anthem, season ticket holder in Section 326 and full-time sports writer who lists June 9, 2010, as one of the greatest days of his life. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posts by Bartl
My best bud sent me a text during an intermission: “Jonathan Toews is on a drug. It’s called ‘Jonathan Toews.’”
I couldn’t have put it better myself.
The addiction has seem to spread to the Blackhawks, who are playing their best hockey of the season following a 6-4 win against Calgary on Wednesday. The best part? The Flames were just as good. There’s no question the better team won.
Both of Toews’ goals were gorgeous, with the first even more handsome after Patrick Kane hit Patrick Sharp cross-ice, leaving Toews wide open in the crease. The second? Just the captain being the captain.
Marian Hossa capped it with a goal in his fifth straight game.
There was plenty more in between, including a mini-breakdown at the beginning of the third period, but Boxing will do the rest of my talking. Have at it:
Welcome back to the return of Behind Enemy Lines! Today, Vicki Hall of the Calgary Herald answers a few questions regarding the Flames’ surge up the Western Conference standings, the previous three matchups this season and the resurgence of Jarome Iginla.
It’s clear Vicki put a lot of thought into her answers. If this is one interview you read all the way through, make sure it’s this one.
Bartl: The fluctuating Western Conference standings reordered again Tuesday with Calgary’s win against St. Louis, moving the Flames back ahead of the Blackhawks. Can you shed some light on how Calgary has responded to what’s at stake with each game as it shoots to return to the postseason?
Hall: The Flames have basically been fighting for their playoff lives since Christmas. Seriously. They languished in 14th place at the time and had little, if any, chance of clawing back into the race. Somehow, they’ve done just that by breaking the season into three-game segments and pledging to win at least two out of every three. They’ve accomplished that goal, thus far, but much work remains.
Click the jump for the rest of the Q&A
Shhhh… Come closer…
I’m not going to say this too loud. I’m preposterously superstitious, and the jinx factor is as strong as using the word “sh****t” when a goalie is going into the third period with no goals against. So lean in…
The Blackhawks have a winning streak going. Five games and counting.
You just can’t make it easy can you, Blackhawks?
When Tomas Kopecky decided to be, well, Tomas Kopecky, and flick the puck over the boards for absolutely no justified reason, I thought for sure the league’s 26th-ranked penalty was going to let Minnesota tie it.
It was a welcome surprise to not only see a solid kill, but then have Jonathan Toews make a perfect pass to Marian Hossa for the game-clinching shorty.
From 9th to 5th in a matter of a couple hours. Five straight wins allows for such things. Most importantly, Monday’s 4-2 victory against the Wild came in regulation to avoid handing over an extra point to a team the Blackhawks are fighting in the constantly fluctuating Western Conference standings.
I’m very tired tonight, so I’m going to let Boxing do most of the talking. Enjoy, ya’ll.
The funny thing is the points awarded to each the Blackhawks and Coyotes somewhat relates to the scoring of a boxing match.
The Blackhawks won periods one and three, dominating like we haven’t seen nearly enough of this season. Phoenix took the second period when the ‘Hawks left their talent in the locker room.
Two points for Chicago, one for the Coyotes.
I guess the main point, however, is that we need not necessarily worry about HOW the points are earned right now – just that they’re earned. Obviously handing over a point to a team we’re chasing in the West isn’t anywhere near ideal, but progress was made – even if it’s not the amount we really wanted.
Oh right, the astoundingly good things. Well, I’d like to know how many true fans of other teams can look at one player on their roster and say, “I know that he’s not going to let me down tonight,” each time their team hits the ice. Blackhawks fans are fortunate enough to have Jonathan Toews be that guy. It never gets old to praise the Captain, and he proves worthy of it each night. The fact that he’s not discussed more is a testament to just how ridiculously solid he has been this season, almost as if he’s willing this team to get into the playoffs.
Oh, and Marian Hossa is once again nearing man-crush status. He’s scored a goal in three straight games for the first time since Oct. 15-18.
♦ Fels already beat me to it, but I was thinking the same thing as him when Jordan Hendry went down: Stan Bowman is most likely going to overpay for a defenseman today. It’s going to happen, we just have to hope it’s no one like a Troy Brouwer who will be the price. I never, ever, ever, ever in a million years thought I’d say this, but releasing Nick Boynton may have come at the wrong time. While I absolutely and genuinely think he brings nothing positive to the ice, it would be nice to have that extra defensive body who has at least had experience playing with these guy be available. If Bowman ends up farting away a top-6 forward or harming the future by dealing a top prospect for a rental defenseman, The Curse of Nick Boynton will continue …
♦ Hi, penalty kill. Any chance this improves in my lifetime? Combine the extreme problems the ‘Hawks had tonight – which all but led to them blowing a pair of two-goal leads – with Hendry’s injury, and Bowman has 60 minutes of film to justify being as desperate as virgin one-legged midget come the deadline. It’s going to take some restraint from him to not make a reaction trade to tonight’s events. Hopefully he slept on it rather than making calls immediately after the ‘Hawks left the ice.
♦ Corey Crawford is second in the NHL in goals-against average. If any of you out there, even those who believe Crawford was ready to play in the league, say you believed this would happen this year, you’re lying and it’s not funny.
Boxing will take you from here ….
Put a log on whatever fire is currently lit under the Blackhawks’ collective ass.
The Blackhawks finally realized that a regulation NHL hockey game lasts 60 minutes, rather than pretending this was Kindergarten and there was nap time after the milk gets passed out.
A few thoughts before we get into Boxing:
♦ You’ll hear this a lot, I’m sure, but Duncan Keith played his best game of the season. I’d love to know why he decided to save it for this long, but we got back our Norris Trophy winner for a night. Keith was all over the place, made smart passes and looked more aggressive and smart than I’ve seen him in awhile.
♦ Niklas Hjalmarsson played only three minutes in the third period after suffering an upper-body injury.
♦ Hi, Marian Hossa, I like when you’re awesome. Pekka Rinne may as well have been Ray Charles on that breakaway, because he had no chance. I like this Hossa. I want more of this Hossa. Please can I have more of this Hossa?
♦ No more bitching about calls from that Vancouver game a few weeks ago. I’ve heard people bring it up once a week since how the Blackhawks got hosed. That makes two phanton goaltender interference calls that negated goals for the opposition, and we won both games. We’re all even. Drop it now.
♦ Why Viktor Stalberg continues to see less than 10 minutes per night boggles my mind. What’s he done so wrong? This looks like another instance similar to when Q got something in his head about Jordan Hendry and he got scratch more than an instant lotto ticket for two months.
♦ Corey Crawford played very well tonight, and his save on Martin Erat right off the initial faceoff to open the game kept Nashville from taking early momentum. If that goal goes in, I might be writing something completely different tonight.
And now, Boxing:
Before I get into this, I would like to first say I know the difficulties that come with being a beat writer for a team. I’ve done it professionally. There’s a very thin line between being accepted and being banished, and it can often be extremely hard to tight-rope that line.
Never do you want to overstep your bounds. However, you also cannot let certain things detract from your job: Bringing the public to the forefront of issues going on within the team. There’s a reason journalism is competitive in terms of being “first to report.” Every ad for a big-market journalism job, especially in sports, says candidates must have the “ability to break news and develop sources.”
It’s just the way it goes. Do your Blackhawks beat writers do a good job overall? I’d say yes. Can they go deeper and ask tougher questions? Without a doubt.
Are they afraid of being banished by John McDonough? It’s something we’ll probably never get a straight answer about.
Welcome to a special follow-up edition of Behind Enemy Lines. Today we get the perspective of St. Louis Blues beat writer Jeremy Rutherford, who covers the team for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Jeremy had a busy weekend and it gets busier tonight, with the Blues playing their fourth game in five nights. He was kind enough to answer a few questions.
Click the jump for the Q&A with Jeremy Rutherford
Apparently, Jonathan Toews agrees with Blackhawks bloggers and tells the team things the beat writers should be asking about.
After a rather horrible first period, The Captain did his job and spoke up. The result? Four points in roughly 24 hours and a five-way tie for the No. 7 seed. Here’s what he had to say, according to the Chicago Tribune:
“Maybe I got after the boys a little bit too much, but we saw the guys responded to it,” Toews said after the Hawks’ 5-3 victory Monday over the Blues.
“What’s frustrating (is), we say things before the game that we have to do and we go out there and play the way we did in the first 20 minutes. It was unacceptable and the leaders in the locker room held the rest of the team accountable and everyone stepped up to the plate in the second 20 (minutes).”
Here’s what Bartl said in “Boxing”
Click the jump for Boxing with ‘Hawks/Penguins/Blues
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How is it possible these Blackhawks make the playoffs?
Tell me. I want to know. How is anyone supposed to have any sort of faith in a team that hasn’t played up to its talent at any point this season?
Oh, and our Stanley Cup-winning goal scorer is once again a being thrown out there as a drunk piece of shit. I don’t care if these pictures are from over the summer, nor do I care if they were from three years ago. Patrick Kane’s immaturity is so ridiculous it’s beyond wonderment how or why Jonathan Toews hasn’t literally beat the shit out of him yet. Like Fels of SCH said, this story isn’t going away.
Kane can deny it all he wants, but there’s too much evidence against him for me to give him the benefit of the doubt. Why? If you need more reason, Andrew Ladd has more goals than him this season.
Anyway, to the game recap:
The Blackhawks sucked. Here’s your Boxing, where I’m more descriptive.