Bartl

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 jeffrey.bartl@gmail.com.


Posts by Bartl

Roundtable: Blackhawk Up, SCH, Hockee Night, Fifth Feather, TTMI

Matt McClure of Second City Hockey sent out a few questions for us idiots to discuss now that we have just passed the midway point of the season. The answers come from myself, Forklift of Hockee Night, Sam Fels of The Committed Indian, SCH and NBC.com’s Madhouse Enforcer, the Fifth Feather and Chris Block of The Third Man In. Enjoy, ya’ll.

McClure: All right men, it’s been far too long since we’ve done one of these. It seems like it’s a decent point in the season to do one so let’s get at it, shall we?

1) What do you see as being wrong with Duncan Keith to this point in the season, and can it be fixed?

Forklift: I’m hoping it’s something as simple as him being a little overwhelmed at being paid $8 million, and is trying to do too much. You can see where he’s just not simplifying his game – looking for that one extra pass, shooting where there’s no lane, playing with the puck too much. All things that are not part of the Duncan Keith game. 

I’m envisioning the solution being R. Lee Ermey walking into the Hawks’ dressing room and yelling at him “What’s the matter with you, boy? You’re DUNCAN KEITH!!! Start playing like you’re DUNCAN KEITH!!! Do you understand me???”

Fifth Feather: At this point in the season, other than blasting shot after shot off shin guards, he’s been alright.  His start to the season is what everyone remembers now, but the mistakes Keith has been making lately (poor angles, firing the puck away without looking, etc.) are all things he’s been doing his whole career.  So I’m not sure those things will ever be wholly rectified.  

The difference between last year and this year was his shot finding the back of the net with a bit more regularity and his mistakes weren’t as glaring because when he did make them, it was Huet’s fault or the opposition didn’t capitalize on them.

Bartl: I’m inclined to side with The Feather here, because a lot of his mistakes are things we’ve seen before. The difference seems to be they’re happening a lot more frequently than last season. Maybe he’s over-thinking, trying to anticipate the opponent’s forecheck rather than than reacting to what it gives him to work with. The blind passes are more frequent, and when he does hold possession, he seems to be holding it too long. Far too many times he’s been caught dilly-dalying with the puck as the opposition moves on in him force a turnover or at least slow down the ‘Hawks attack. Then there’s the obvious blind shots without finding a lane before firing. Whether or not it can be fixed depends on him dealing with the mental side of getting over his mistakes, in my opinion.

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Better than your worst: Twice the Boxing with ‘Hawks/Senators/Islanders

As usual, Mondays after two weekend games gets you a double dose of Boxing. Boom

"That's my puck, baby! Don't you EVER touch my puck!" (Chicago Tribune)

I can sit here and say, “Yeah we got four points, but look at the competition,” but I may be in the minority of people who say the Blackhawks could be turning a corner.

Now, that doesn’t mean it’s because the ‘Hawks played spectacular in Friday’s 3-2 shootout win against the Ottawa Senators and Sunday’s 5-0 win against the New York Islanders. They didn’t.

The reason I bring up the possibility of a stretch of improved play is simply because of momentum. Sometimes, a couple of crappy wins can turn out to be the saving grace for a struggling team. The reason? The players remove the word “crappy” and look at the bare basics: A win is a win.

There won’t be any bold predictions from me guaranteeing this, nor will I say it cannot happen. But I’m leaning more on the side of this weekend being good for the Blackhawks’ 2011. Maybe it’s just the meatball in me.

Patrick Kane looks like he’s finally fully healthy. More importantly, he looks like he cares. His Give A Fuck has been broken for most of this season, so hopefully that got repaired along with his ankle.

The penalty kill still blows, though they killed their one against the Isles. That ended five straight de-pants-ings on the kill.

And how about dat der Corey Crawford guy der. First shutout of the season Sunday, and it was well deserved.

Not gonna waste a ton of time going over two games you’ve already seen, so here’s Boxing. As always, click the images to enlarge.

First up, ‘Hawks/Sens from Friday…

Click the jump for Boxing with ‘Hawks/Sens, followed by ‘Hawks/Isles

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This is who we are, unfortunately.

The damn image loader in WordPress isn’t working tonight, meaning Boxing will have to wait until it’s fixed. So, I’m going to give you a piece of my mind without the pretty pictures.

I’m going to focus on fan response to last night’s loss, then get into a couple of other things. So, yes, you’re right … this is going to be an all out Bitch Fest directed pretty much toward everyone.

I received emails and heard people talking about a couple of things after last night’s game, and here’s how I feel about it:

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STATS Game: Blackhawks vs. Stars

THE FACTS

The BLACKHAWKS are …

… 21-17-3 (T-2nd, Central)
… 12-10-0 at home
… 5-5-0 in their last 10 (Won 1)
… 7-4-1 against the Pacific Division
… 16-8-2 when scoring first
… 16-3-1 when leading after 2nd period

The STARS are …

… 23-13-4 (1st, Pacific)
… 11-7-1 on the road
… 5-3-2 in their last 10 (Won 1)
… 8-3-2 against the Central Division
… 17-2-0 when scoring first
… 10-0-0 when leading after 2nd period

THE MATCHUP

POWER PLAY: Blackhawks, 25.5% (1st) ; Stars, 17.1% (17th)
PENALTY KILL: Blackhawks 79.0% (25th) ; Stars 79.2% (24th)

» The Blackhawks beat the Stars 5-3 on Dec. 8th (Boxing, with Marc Crawford’s tirade)
» The Stars are 2-5-2 in Chicago in their last nine trips.

Click the jump for more STATS

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Crowning Jewel: Boxing with Blackhawks/Kings, Sweep Edition

"Call it luck again, bitch. I dare you."

King me, please.

The Blackhawks completed a four-game season sweep of L.A. with a 4-3 victory that came with a few surprises, including:

»  The sweep itself. Who the hell saw that coming, especially with the ‘Hawks struggles
»  Jonathan Toews’ early – and welcome – return from injury
»  Jake Dowell being scratched with no explanation yet if it relates to his 3rd-period benching against the Ducks
»  Patrick Sharp’s fifth career two-goal game against the Kings. That’s, like, a lot.

The Captain’s return proved to be not only timely, but also not rushed. Most of us were worried about whether or not he’d be fully ready to go, and he quelled those worries with a solid performance. Toews’ “lucky” goal that bounced in off an errant clearing attempt by Drew Doughty happened because he was in front of the net like he should have been.

Sharp had another very handsome night, potting a goal on the power play and adding another off an aggressive forecheck by him and Tomas Kopecky. Nifty passing on the PP goal, as Kane made a nice pass across while Marian Hossa baited Jarrett Stoll into sinking toward the net, opening the passing lane.

Cash. Money. Hoes.

The Blackhawks did everything they could to attempt to lose this game, however. They were outplayed in the first period until Hossa tied it late, then took three shitty penalties in a row in the third period. The too-many-men call is flat out stupid, Duncan Keith was sleep-skating on his dipshit toss over the boards, and Toews’ high-stick shouldn’t have happened. It led to the equalizer until Toews’ shin scored the winner.

A few more thoughts here:

»   Patrick Kane is still being bothered by his injury, I’ve decided. I came to this conclusion when he skated in with Dave Bolland on a 2-on-1 and did not once even consider putting the puck on net. Confidence? Well, maybe, given that he’s still getting back in the groove after sitting out eight games. More importantly, he looks a bit shaky on his skates, and I believe it may hurt him to plant and twist that ankle in order fire off a decent shot. Kane glided into the zone and looked at Bolland the whole way. Kane is a scorer, and that’s what we need from him. The cute pass on an odd-man rush is not what anyone wants to see. If it’s the ankle like I believe it is, maybe a night off for Kane would do some good.

»   Brent Seabrook did his best  Nick Boynton impression by making a blind, dipshit clearing attempt that resulted in a turnover and a Kings goal. Overall, he played like a pile of shit.

»  Corey Crawford got another win, but hopefully he made out with the posts on the Staples Center nets after the game. Those red, iron bastards sure helped deflect the pucks outwardly. I’d count and tell you how many posts the Kings hit in the game, but my calculator is broken. However, he made a great save on Anze Kopitar’s chance with under a minute left and Jonathan Quick on the bench in favor of the extra man.

»  The minutes of Jack Skille and Viktor Stalberg were next to nothing after a decent night in Anaheim, when QStache benched Dowell. Skille and Stalberg rode the pine most of the game, and Dowell watched from the press box as a healthy scratch. Granted, Skille did have a turnover that led to a Kings goal, but it would be nice if people with credentials would ask some questions about all this.

And now for Boxing. Click the images to enlarge:

Click the jump for Boxing with ‘Hawks/Kings

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STATS Game: Blackhawks vs. Kings

THE FACTS

The BLACKHAWKS are …

… 20-17-3 (T-4th, Central)
… 8-7-3 on the road
… 4-5-1 in their last 10 (Lost 3)
… 6-4-1 against the Pacific Division
… 16-7-2 when scoring first
… 16-3-1 when leading after 2nd period

The KINGS are …

… 22-15-1 (4th, Pacific)
… 13-4-1 at home
… 5-5-0 in their last 10 (Lost 3)
… 4-5-0 against the Central Division
… 17-4-0 when scoring first
… 12-0-0 when leading after 2nd period

THE MATCHUP

POWER PLAY: Blackhawks, 24.8% (1st) ; Kings, 17.7% (14th)
PENALTY KILL: Blackhawks 79.0% (25th) ; Kings 84.4% (8th)

» The Blackhawks have won the last two meetings in L.A., including a 2-1 victory Nov. 27
» The ‘Hawks haven’t won three straight in L.A. since winning two in 1996 and another in 1997

» Victorious Boxing with ‘Hawks/Kings: Oct. 27, Nov. 27, Dec. 19

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

Click the jump for more STATS

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Sorry, Mom: Boxing with ‘Hawks/Ducks

"I didn't get my ass kicked like this when I was playing offense. WTF, man?!" (Chicago Tribune)

This time, the Blackhawks’ mothers got to witness the ‘Hawks fall into a last-place tie in the Central Division. How sweet of the kids.

The Blackhawks’ 2-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks offered some good things to take away from it. However, despite the fact the ‘Hawks outshot the Ducks 40-19, that disparity is a bit deceiving.

Yes, the ‘Hawks controlled the puck for damn near all of the third period when they held a 19-2 shot advantage. The problem is that most of those 19 shots didn’t offer many quality chances. Rather than being impressed with the ‘Hawks puck possession, I’m inclined to give the credit to the Ducks being able to keep the ‘Hawks from the net for most of the period.

Viktor Stalberg had the game tied when he put a wrister toward an open net from just a few feet out with Jonas Hiller sprawled across the crease. Then  Dave Bolland, who saw Hiller down and watched Stalberg get ready to put the puck on the net, decided an attempt at a re-direct to fool the goaltender who wasn’t there. I can understand Bolland being in the moment, but I can’t remember the last time I saw someone attempt to re-direct a shot taken from that close. Stalberg put his arms up thinking it was a sure goal, then realized what happened. That fucking sucked.

To the ‘Hawks credit, they tried to do everything they could to get another one past Hiller, who played outstanding. Hiller even made a ridiculous initial save on Bryan Bickell’s goal before Bicks poked it through.

As you’ll notice in Boxing, the ‘Hawks were murdered at the dot. The chance of Jonathan Toews playing against the Los Angeles Kings becomes much more needed after witnessing that shit show.

There’s a mystery why Jake Dowell got benched in the third period, and hopefully Q gives us an explanation. Not a mystery? Tomas Kopecky has been playing like a pile of dog shit.

The Blackhawks’ 20-17-3 record puts them at exactly .500 and in last place while the rest of the division has games in hand. The official midway point of the season is tonight, and the ‘Hawks are currently looking up the ass of 10 teams in the Western Conference. I’m not going to hop in front of a Blue Line train just yet, but it’s also time to start realizing our Stanley Cup champs have to fight for a playoff spot in the second half.

Hey, at least we got a break from the sack of nipples that is Nick Boynton.

Without further ado, here’s Boxing. Click the images to enlarge

Click the jump for Boxing with ‘Hawks/Gordon Bombays

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STATS Game: Chicago Blackhawks vs. Anaheim Gordon Bombays

“Bombay was a Hawk?”

Not in real life, thank the higher power. We’ve got enough problems with injuries that an alcoholic attorney with a bum knee wouldn’t quite fit in.

Here’s another edition of STATS Game, breaking down some facts regarding today’s matchup in Anaheim. Enjoy

THE FACTS

The BLACKHAWKS are …

… 20-16-3 (T-3rd, Central)
… 8-6-3 on the road
… 5-4-1 in their last 10 (Lost 2)
… 6-3-1 against the Pacific Division
… 16-7-2 when scoring first
… 16-3-1 when leading after 2nd period

The GORDON BOMBAYS are …

… 20-17-4 (4th, Pacific)
… 12-6-1 at home
… 6-4-0 in their last 10 (Won 2)
… 1-8-1 against the Central Division
… 16-3-2 when scoring first
… 12-0-2 when leading after 2nd period

THE MATCHUP

POWER PLAY: Blackhawks, 25.2% (2nd) ; Ducks, 21.0% (8th)
PENALTY KILL: Blackhawks 78.5% (26th) ; Ducks 79.9% (23rd)

» The Blackhawks are 3-13-0 with 2 ties in the last 18 AT Anaheim
» One of those wins was a 4-1 victory Nov. 26

Click the jump for more STATS

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STATS Game: Blackhawks vs. Sharks, By the Numbers

Let me know if I should keep doing this or not …

Well, it’s the regular season and that means  Joe Thornton may actually be visible on the ice tonight. And unless you’ve been preoccupied with your plot to murder Nick Boynton, you know that Jonathan Toews won’t be suiting up for a couple weeks.

So, before the Blackhawks take on the Sharks for the third time this season after dropping the first two at The Tank, let’s breakdown the matchup with some statistics from the recent regular season history between the two teams.

THE FACTS

The BLACKHAWKS are …

… 20-15-3 (2nd, Central)
… 12-9-0 at home
… 6-4-1 in December
… 6-3-1 in their last 10 (Lost 1)
… 6-2-1 against the Pacific Division
… 16-7-2 when scoring first
… 16-3-1 when leading after 2nd period

The SHARKS are …

… 19-13-5 (3rd, Pacific)
… 9-8-2 on the road
… 8-5-1 in December
… 5-4-1 in their last 10 (Lost 2)
… 5-4-1 against the Central Division
… 13-2-3 when scoring first
… 15-2-2 when leading after 2nd period

THE MATCHUP

POWER PLAY: Blackhawks, 24.6% (1st) ; Sharks, 23.1% (6th)
PENALTY KILL: Blackhawks 79.0% (26th) ; Sharks 82.3% (13th)

» The Blackhawks are 0-for-20 on the power play in the last 7 vs. the Sharks
» The Sharks are 7-0-2 in their last 9 visits to the United Center

Click the jump for more STATS

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Hits just keep on comin’: Blues take it to ‘Hawks as Toews gets hurt

NOTE: Sorry, but there won’t be any Boxing this morning. My usual box score I use through my big-boy job wasn’t accessible because of a system error and I didn’t want to use another one. Boxing will return Thursday.

"Either you guys are a bunch of pansies, or Kaner banged Lady Luck and never called her again." (Tribune)

Welcome back, Patrick Kane. Goodbye,  Jonathan Toews.

There hasn’t been an official word as of 8:33 a.m. regarding the status of the Captain, but it’s hard to imagine having Tazer suit up Thursday after watching him go down clutching his shoulder.  It pains me to say it, but I’ll stick by my stance when I mentioned last night on the Facebook fan page that  Matt D’Agostini’s hit wasn’t dirty.

Unfortunately, the Toews injury has to be the story after that shitshow that was a 3-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues that dropped the ‘Hawks to eighth in the conference. When the whole squad is finally healthy and then Toews goes down, it’s starting to look like Lady Luck wants to be a fucking bitch this season.

Marty Turco’s performance in net is the only goddamn reason the Blackhawks didn’t lose 10-1. I don’t know what it is about the ‘Hawks, but when No. 30 gets between the pipes they forget how to play hockey. At one point, the Blues were out-shooting the ‘Hawks 25-8 and were dominating in a fashion I haven’t seen in quite some time.

Oh, and this was on a night when the Blackhawks got what we thought was a belated Christmas gift when  Ty Conklin got the nod instead of  Jaroslav Halak. Unreal.

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