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 email@example.com.
Posts by Bartl
I had planned to come home and write this anyway, but Chris Kuc’s story regarding the Blackhawks’ gap control gave me even more reason.
The problem I have with this article isn’t that it was written, but more so in the way it was written and where the focus of the story lies. The Blackhawks have always emphasized controlling the gap and taking away opponents’ easy entries into the offensive zone. They’re not just starting to put more time into practicing it, it’s simply that they’re doing it better over the past two games.
The story seems to be written as if this is a new thing the ‘Hawks are becoming good at doing. When a topic like this comes up, there’s no question it has to be compared to the way it was done during a championship campaign.
Last season, Duncan Keith won the Norris Trophy disrupting zone entries. Brent Seabrook did a hell of a job at this as well. Brian Campbell and Niklas Hjalmarrson were solid at the blue line, and even Brent Sopel played his part when he wasn’t getting caught flat-footed, though his strengths blossomed when the puck had already been in the zone.
Once again, it’s not a matter of the ‘Hawks just starting to talk about this. I don’t attend practices or hang out in the locker or film rooms, but I can put in a safe guess this has been a topic of discussion all year. The Blackhawks simply aren’t going to forget one of their main strengths which helped them win the Stanley Cup.
If a defensive unit — and back-checking forwards — can disrupt the opposition’s entry into the zone and force more dumps than controlled entries, the game can become a battle for the puck along the boards — another thing the ‘Hawks excelled at winning last season. More dumps, more board battles and less controlled entries leads to fewer shots for the opponent, simply because the offense has difficulty getting into a rhythm and setting up its offense.
Through 35 games last season, Blackhawks goaltenders faced 842 shots on goal. This season? 1,016. That’s a whopping difference of 174 shots, which averages out to roughly five more shots per game. While the latter stat may seem minuscule, remember it only takes one shot to put the puck in the net — as simple and stupid and obvious as that may sound to you.
More statistics after the jump
Beating a bitter rival rather convincingly while undermanned is one thing. Following up that performance two nights later against another contender is downright beautiful.
Without Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane, the Blackhawks have held their own through a stretch when points in the competitive Central Division are becoming a necessity. The ‘Hawks gained four points on Detroit this weekend after the Communists fell to Dallas on Sunday night.
The ‘Hawks have a golden opportunity to continue picking up points on the division when Nashville visits Wednesday, but we’ll get into that over the next couple of days.
After three straight losses and picking up only a single point against Western Conference foes San Jose and Colorado, the Blackhawks needed to respond with the Communists and Kings visiting the United Center — where they’ve played like dog shit at times this season. They’re now 6-2-0 in their last eight at home and giving the crowd something to cheer about after losing four of five at the UC previous to this stretch.
Jonathan Toews continues to play like an animal. Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith are playing better, and Corey Crawford keeps impressing. It’s a shame Crawford’s success is linked with the meatballs’ version of Mary Turco’s so-called failures because Crawford is making a hell of a name for himself with his play this season. I wish we could all just shut up and be happy the Blackhawks have two solid goaltender to go to at any given time, but I keep forgetting this is Chicago. Silly me.
Going along those lines and knowing there’s no in between when it comes to either jumping from the Whatchu Talkin’ ‘Bout Willis Tower or celebrating like the ‘Hawks have repeated already, I’m taking this weekend in stride and sitting in the middle like I’m hoping most of you are.
Two wins against top conference contenders are fabulous, especially because the Blackhawks continue their dominance of the Kings this season. However, there’s still those farts against the Sharks and Big Falling Snow Pile that resonate. Much like I didn’t down a bottle of Advil following those losses, I’m not going to start having celebratory sex with Kaner’s leftovers. I’m strapping in for the rest of the homestand and preparing myself for a more thorough evaluation after the 1st of the year.
With that being said, here’s your “Boxing” from the weekend. First, it’s ‘Hawks/Wings. Then, scroll down for ‘Hawks/Kings. Click the images to enlarge. For those viewing on the iPhone, attempt to enlarge your screen with your fingers like you would for anything else. The reason I say this is because Spinner got an email regarding this, and I want to make sure I can help those out having trouble viewing. If you are, comment here and I’ll figure something out for you.
Click the jump for Boxing with ‘Hawks/Wings and ‘Hawks/Kings.
Here’s to hoping the big shit cloud hovering over the beginning of the week rolls out of town with the passing days.
Once again the Blackhawks urinated through another game, dropping their third to Colorado Big Falling Snow Pile 4-3 on Wednesday night. However, there are more positives that came out of tonight’s trail of stinky skid marks than from Monday’s.
The ‘Hawks outshot the Avs by a large amount — 38-23. Problem is, Craig Anderson decided he wanted to stop damn near everything, unlike Monday.
While I’m damn pissed off about this loss, which dropped the ‘Hawks to 16-14-3 and into 10th place in the Western Conference, I’m not about to start robbing old ladies of their handbags. The ‘Hawks didn’t play a phenominal game, but they didn’t exactly leave road apples on the bed either.
The obvious turning point came on the phantom call assessed to Jordan Hendry, who was simply battling for the puck when Daniel Winnick skated directly into his elbow. There was blood, and Hendry got four minutes in the box when he shouldn’t even gotten two.
Tomas Fleischmann then proceeded to score on both ensuing power plays with Hendry in the box, then added another later to complete his third-period hat trick. Tomas. Fucking. Fleischmann.
Corey Crawford did his best Marty Turco impression tonight by flopping all over the crease and getting caught out of position. The Avs should’ve had another goal on an empty net with Crawford sprawled out, but Brent Seabrook made a block to save his ass. I have a feeling, however, that the meatballs won’t be clamoring for Turco to start Friday because, well, Turco didn’t start the season as the backup. To get more on the goaltending shit, check out Fork’s little write-up.
Onto your latest edition of “Boxing.” Enjoy.
Click the jump for Boxing with ‘Hawks/Avs
What an absolute horrendous loss to have to deal with. I would make the whole team walk home if it was up to me.
Four possible points and the ‘Hawks come away with one on a two-game trip, mostly because the defense couldn’t figure out how to do a goddamn thing in a dog-shit-eating 7-5 loss to Colorado. To make matters worse, Craig Anderson was on fucking fire coming into the game, the ‘Hawks put five in against him, and then they still proceeded to lose.
Before I get to “Boxing,” I have some other thoughts.
√ I want to know why Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith decided to do Jager shots before the game. Seabrook especially was so fucking bad that I can barely type this sentence without my fingers shaking. He seemed so mesmerized by the puck carrier that he completely lost men crashing the net. You’d need a calculator to count the number of Avalanche skaters open in the slot tonight. Pathetic.
√ There are some Jack Skille fans out there, but I’m not one of them. Yes, he got a goal. But the Avs first goal is directly on him for not just chipping that puck out of the zone while deciding to fuck around with it. What’s more is that the guy just looks like he’s skating around the ice without a thought as to what his next move is going to be. Everything is reactionary, when sometimes you need to have a logical plan as to what is going to happen. He just seems too stupid to have that type of brain capacity.
√ If you said one word about Marty Turco being a bad goalie because of tonight, you didn’t watch the game. Turco didn’t have a chance on those goals, and his defense left him hanging. Denis Savard said in the studio after the game that it’s possible the Blackhawks were “holding their sticks tighter” hoping to get a win for Turco because he hasn’t played much. Whatever the case, the ‘Hawks played like hell in front of him. But, the meatballs are going to keep on him mainly because…
√ Corey Crawford played well replacing him. Crawford made some big saves and did play a better game than Turco did. He deserves each minute he’s getting right now, and you’re not going to hear me complain about Crawford continuing to start. However, Turco really isn’t playing horrible either. Rather than bitching about Turco and licking Crawford’s ball sweat, you should be happy the ‘Hawks have two very serviceable goaltenders who can each play when asked.
√ Paul Stastny’s goal was impressive, batting the puck ahead of him with his stick and putting it in the net. Give him credit despite the turnover the ‘Hawks made which helped lead to it.
All right, I’m gonna let “Boxing” do the rest.
Click the jump for “Boxing”
Sorry loyal readers, but there won’t be any “Boxing” for the Blackhawks’ 2-1 loss to the Sharks on Saturday night. I was part of a world-record crowd in Ann Arbor during that day for The Big Chill at the Big House to watch the Michigan Wolverine manhandle my Michigan State Spartans, then had some internet issues on Sunday.
To be very brief, the loss wasn’t all that bad to swallow. Sure, things could have gone better. However, the Blackhawks ran into a very good Antti Niemi and Corey Crawford played very well. Sometimes the amount of goals just don’t work out in your favor.
Jordan Hendry got on the scoresheet and — for a brief moment — out of Q’s doghouse, but that was more out of necessity than anything.
Viktor Stalberg got robbed of a goal and the officiating was suspect all night, but that is one of the few complaints I have.
Oh, and the dipshits who constantly boo Brian Campbell because he played six minutes in a Sharks uniform.
Once again, I apologize for the lack of “Boxing” or more in-depth recap, but that will be coming tonight after the Avs game.
Spinner will be along shortly with the weekend Espo and Tim will have your preview for tonight’s game around 3pm.
Brandon Spinner will be all set up later today and will post The Daily Espo under his own name tomorrow. Here’s his second edition recapping former Blackhawks’ performances from last night.
Only a handful of former Hawks were in action, combining for just 1 goal and 2 assists. The return of well-loved Adam Burish to the Madhouse proved to be nice. He received a loud cheer when he started his first shift, but that’s the only noise that was associated with him.
Click the jump for updates from the 12/8 games
Let’s get down to brass tax here — Dallas Stars coach Marc Crawford laid into the refs following the game and had a very legit gripe. Whether or not Brent Seabrook meant to throw his stick at the puck carrier makes no difference. It should have been a penalty shot for Dallas. I’m not even going to attempt to deny that.
Here’s Crawford’s postgame press conference:
While understandable for Crawford to go nuts, he may want to look deeper at his team, which fell behind 3-0 before deciding to play. Then it was too late. The Stars are lucky to have made the comeback in the first place. And I’m sure he’ll realize that once he looks at the tape and takes a step back from the heat of the moment.
Of course, I could say the same thing about the ‘Hawks giving up a goal-against immediately after going up 3-0, then giving up two goals in just over a minute to allow Dallas to make it interesting heading into the third period. The ‘Hawks have been notorious for placing the opposition’s collective mouth on the curb, then forgetting to stomp.
Everything else I have to say is done through “Boxing.” Click the images to enlarge and, as always, enjoy.
Click the jump for “Boxing”
I’d like to introduce Brandon Spinner, who will be updating you on your former Blackhawks each day. Brandon will be posting under his own name soon and will have The Daily Espo up every morning. You can follow Brandon on Twitter @branman111289.
In other site news, FanSided has teamed with SeatGeek, which is a StubHub-like operation where tickets to sporting events are sold. If you’re looking for seats for ‘Hawks games, click on the SCHEDULE tab on the top of the page and find the game you’re looking for. Remember to buy the short blonde guy sitting in Section 326, Row 12, Seat 11 a Bud Heavy when you arrive. Thank you for your cooperation.
Also, you can now “Like” each specific story by clicking on the headline from the main page, then clicking the button in the upper right. You’ll also find an easier way to send each story to Twitter next to it.
All right, enough bullshit. Here’s Brandon’s first edition of The Daily Phil Esposito:
Quiet day for former Indian Head Sweater Wearers, in which all scoring came from one guy. A Flame-r…
Click the jump for updates from the 12/7/10 games
The news Patrick Kane will be out for up to three weeks with a left leg injury came without much of an uproar. The general consensus seems to be: “It looked worse than that. Three weeks isn’t so bad.”
Hmm, interesting. It’s funny how we all panic when Marty Turco lets in a soft goal, yet we’re relatively calm when the Blackhawks’ point-per-game winger will be shelved for nearly a month. If you can figure that out, well, you’re a step ahead of me.
Fact is, a day without Kane is a day too many. There’s been times this season he’s been clearly absent from the game while his Give A Fuck is in the shop. However, at least he’s been on the ice. We all know when Kane decides he’s going to do something spectacular, it happens more often than not. I’d rather have Kane roaming the ice without a care in the world rather than have him watching from the press box.
The It’s-Not-So-Bad mentality may go away quickly tomorrow when the Blackhawks take the ice without both Kane and Marian Hossa for the first time since Hossa signed with the ‘Hawks. They missed games separately, but not together. Jonathan Toews put the Blackhawks on his back Sunday against Calgary, and we’re going to be hoping he can do that again for however long it takes Hossa to return.
As I stated after Sunday’s game, the Blackhawks are already dressing John Scott at forward. Since Scott has the offensive talent of Dennis Rodman, losing both Kane and Hossa — along with Fernando Pisani still out — the attack is considerably less intimidating.
While Chris Kuc says Jeremy Morin should be back with the ‘Hawks tomorrow night against Dallas, my assumption is Ryan Potulny will get his I-Pass and make the trip up from Rockford. Imagine if someone in your fantasy league offered you Morin and Potulny for Kane. You’d probably laugh yourself into a coma.
Maybe I’m not being optimistic enough, or everyone else is lacking the pessimism necessary to be a realist.
But three weeks without Kane? Sounds as fun as a fart in a 100-floor elevator ride to me.Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.
Plus a bunch more. Have a listen and get a laugh rather than killing your boss while you hate your job today.