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
This game, nor this season, started like we wanted it to start. Before anyone finished mixing their after-work cocktail, the ‘Hawks fell behind 2-0 and seemed headed toward their third straight loss to open their title defense.
But this is what champions do — they fight back. Monday’s win won’t go down as the prettiest — unless you’re counting Patrick Sharp being back in the lineup — but it’s a win nonetheless which gets the ‘Hawks on the board.
Also, good to hear Jason Pominville only suffered a concussion. For a minute there it looked like he would be making a tee time on Cloud 9 with Kim Johnsson.
Here’s what I’ve got…
♦ Marian Hossa is the motherfucking master. His two goals tonight made Ryan Miller look like Cristobal Huet‘s little sister, and he’s got five points in the first three games. Hossa also set up a chance for Jonathan Toews while lying on his testicles by somehow sliding the puck over with his stick to a cutting Toews. Watching this guy play is a thing of beauty, and everyone better start appreciating how lucky we are to be able to witness this until he retires before his 300-year contract is up for the next 11 seasons.
♦ Despite the two quick goals, Corey Crawford played very well tonight and made some good saves — especially on scrambles in front of the net. Sharp stood and watched Drew Stafford skate right past him up the middle of the ice and put a dart on net 14 seconds into the game. Then every ‘Hawk on the ice supervised while Derek Roy positioned himself in front of the net to put a rebound past Crawford just a couple minutes later. It could’ve shaken the kid up, but he hung tough and finished strong.
♦ Niklas Hjalmarsson didn’t intend to nearly kill Pominville, but he’s going to get suspended — it’s just a matter of how many games. It was simply a timing play Hammer mistimed. But with the NHL dying to make an example of someone other than people who make blowjob gestures on the ice — Very classy, Wiz — Hammer will have some extra time to film his Ikea commercials.
♦ Another half hour-plus (31:42) of ice time for Duncan Keith, with Brent Seabrook adding close to that (28:30). Not trying to make excuses from their sometimes spotty play, but I’m wondering if these two are feeling the effects of so much time on the ice. Granted, Seabrook looked absolutely lost a few times tonight, most notably on the Sabres’ third goal which slipped right past him. But with Brian Campbell out, Hammer getting booted, John Scott being a complete boner and the inexperience of Nick Leddy, the ‘Hawks are relying heavily on Keith and Seabs and it’s tough to expect them to make every single play.
♦ Speaking of Leddy, congrats on your first goal, kid. Even if it was uglier than a Brent Sopel look-a-like contest.
♦ Patrick Kane netted a power-play goal to pull the ‘Hawks within 2-1, scoring a goal in Buffalo for the first time since 2007.
♦ The fourth line of Jack Skille, Jake Dowell and Viktor Stalberg had some great shifts tonight, which is becoming a trend. Now, if they can just put one in the net …
♦ Dave Bolland needs to get his head out of his ass. He was 3-for-9 on the faceoff dot and looked like a complete moron most of the night. I’m not sure what’s wrong with him, but through three games he’s done nothing but aggravate me.
♦ Toews’ numbers: 21:09 on-ice, +3, 14-for-25 in faceoffs and one good deed, bringing Leddy the puck for his first NHL goal.
That’s it for now. The latest edition of “Boxing” will be up around noon tomorrow. You’ll read it.
My nice new job allows me access to screenshots of the box scores, so I thought I’d take advantage and try to put something together for last night’s Blackhawks opener vs. the Colorado Avalanche.
I’m going to try and do this as much as I can this season. Can’t guarantee I’ll get to it every single game. Sorry if the font is a bit small, but it’s definitely readable. Let me know what everyone thinks.
It’s pretty amazing how emotions shift so quickly. Until yesterday, I was still enjoying the Stanley Cup victory. Hell, I haven’t even gotten my season-ticket holder time to grope the thing. That happens Oct. 14.
But as soon as the VERSUS coverage shifted to Denver, I forgot everything that happened in June and during the Summer-long celebration. We’re back to reality, and the Colorado Avalanche made sure the Blackhawks know that, too.
The ‘Hawks showed flashes of their potential to repeat as champs, but also played like they were wearing slippers at times. It’s what comes with defending a title and having a target on your back. And there’s 81 more of these to go.
Though I would have loved to get started with a victory, the Blackhawks came out with a standings point from a game in which they trailed 3-1 and looked left for dead. So, there’s that.
Here’s the rest of what I’ve got for tonight…
♦ Before everyone starts leaving skid marks in their undies, Marty Turco is the reason that game even went to overtime. I wanted to get that out of the way just in case there’s a meathead reading this saying, “We should’ve never let Niemi walk.” Turco made some great saves tonight on good chances for the Avs — and more importantly, on good shots as well. There’s not much to complain about on any of those four goals.
♦ Turco’s athleticism is something we’re not used to, and it may cause heart failure for one or two people this season watching him chase the puck all over the place. Yes, he almost got burned getting caught in Bumblefuck deciding whether or not to chase down a loose puck entering the zone. But I’m convinced Turco’s ability to play the puck will be an asset for the ‘Hawks rather than a detriment. Minus the Chris Stewart goal, Turco snuffed the Avs on a couple more odd-man rushes because…
♦ … the ‘Hawks were noticeably different without Brian Campbell. The Avs had enough short-handed chances tonight to make me want to strangle a small child. Part of the reason for that is Campbell’s speed wasn’t around to make up for the blue-line shortcomings of the forwards at the point. Aside from that, Nick Leddy’s blunder which led to the Stewart goal may not have happened, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
Oh, and the Blackhawks gave up 41 shots. This can’t keep happening. And if it does, it’ll be a long season.
♦ Marian Hossa is a fucking animal. He just does everything right. Even forgetting his deflection goal and beautiful assist on Bryan Bickell’s tally, Hossa makes such good decisions and plays an outstanding defense for a forward. If he wasn’t known so much as a scorer and playmaker, I have no doubt he’d be getting more consideration for the Selke Trophy.
♦ Patrick Sharp is not only a very handsome man, he also played fantastic tonight. Even during the preseason, Sharp looked like a man just dying to get back on the ice and get the season started. Not a bad way to get going: Goal, assist and seven shots on goal.
♦ Getting back to Leddy’s miscue in the offensive zone that lead to Stewart’s goal: It was a 19-year-old play made by a kid seeing his first NHL action. Leddy turned a routine cross-ice pass into hacky sack. Niklas Hjalmarsson was forced to saucer it to Leddy, who had time to either settle the puck down with his hand — a la Duncan Keith – or simply let the puck slip past him and let the boards settle it down for him. Overall, Leddy didn’t play all that bad for a guy no one really figures is ready to play at this level. He made a rookie mistake.
Let’s just hope there’s not many more of them.Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.
A couple non-’Hawks-related things…
For those who may not have noticed the names on certain posts, Tim Currell has jumped aboard to help me out with some thoughts and keep this site updated with insightful words. My fault, Tim, for not announcing this earlier. But be sure to check the names on the posts to know who’s writing and who to direct your feedback to. You can find each of our email addresses on the “About” page.
Holy. Fucking. Shitballs. Look at this fucking goal by Jordan Eberle, the Edmonton Oilers rookie making his NHL debut. I couldn’t go without posting this:
For the first time this pre-season, we’ll all be relegated to our smart phones (or in my dad’s case, his U.S. Cellular handout flip phone) checking on updates. The Blackhawks will get their first glimpse of the new Console Energy Center in Pittsburgh when they take the ice against the Penguins at 6 p.m. CST. Judging by the look of the lineups, we shouldn’t be missing too much with this game not being televised.
Sidney Crosby will once again dodge the Blackhawks as he ices down his vagina this evening, but Evgeni Malkin will man up and play (though probably pretty sparingly). The ‘Hawks are also going pretty thin, with Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa, Duncan Keith and both Marty Turco and Corey Crawford taking a night off.
The best news of the day came when Jeff Taffe was sent down to Rockford so I don’t have to watch that shithead stumble all over the ice for the time being. With 19-year-old Jeremy Morin looking pretty damn good for a roster spot and Jack Skille playing exactly like he needed to in order to stick with the big club, Taffe and Evan Brophey are easy-to-live-with casualties.
As McClure of SCH pointed out, it would be nice to see more out of Makarov Cocktail and Viktor Stalberg in this one, especially since the coaching staff is giving them every opportunity to show what they can do with the studs on this team.
Short and sweet for tonight. I’ll be keeping up on my Droid. GO ICEHOGS ‘HAWKS!!
Watching the replay of the Blackhawks’ 4-2 pre-season loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, I noticed something very strange. Pat Foley and Eddie Olczyk clearly were announcing the game the entire time. Apparently, Comcast disagreed. Have a look:
Much like the Blackhawks, Comcast isn’t immune to needing some exhibitions. Luckily this intern will have another chance tonight to prove his/her worth before Comcast makes it’s first roster cuts.
Igor Makarov has received such high praise through the Prospects Tournament and beginning of camp, you’d think some people have actually forgotten about the off-season purge — if only for a minute.
Tonight, we’ll see how Makarov fares against some established pros and others fighting for roster spots.
I can only think to nickname the Russian-born forward Makarov Cocktail (Get it? Like Molotov Cocktail?) the way he’s exploded onto the scene with the big boys after being destined for Rockford when camp broke. Because of all the hype, Cocktail is giving me more of a reason to plan my night around a Blackhawks preseason game.
There’s no reason the kid can’t make the roster with what he’s shown so far according to QStache, who’s been singing his praises. Though I haven’t seen him in person, the talk I’m gathering from his speed and quick trigger sounds like a Kris Versteeg-type guy, which means there will be a lot to be desired in other aspects of the game. But if Cocktail can put the puck in the net over the course of the preseason like he’s been doing so far in camp, he’ll get his shot with the big club.
But let’s not pencil in Makarov just yet. Given Makarov’s raw skill set, players like Bryan Bickell and Viktor Stalberg rank ahead of Cocktail in the competition for a top-6 spot. If Cocktail doesn’t crack the top-6 when the preseason concludes, look for him to be sent to Rockford to develop his scoring touch a bit more while working harder on the defensive end. There’s a possibility Cocktail gets a shot on the third line if Patrick Sharp centers the second line, leaving Dave Bolland centering the third. Makarov will need a solid passer who can find him at the right moments to score, and Cocktail may only be trusted with either Sharp or Bolland — and of course Jonathan Toews, but the top line is out of the question.
Cocktail gets another chance to impress QStache tonight when the ‘Hawks take on Tampa Bay tonight in Winnipeg. Look for Tim Currell’s preview later this afternoon.
√ Anyone have a few million bucks lying around? Lame-duck goalie Cristobal Huet has listed his River North condo for $3 million. Later, dude.
√ Tim Sassone puts in his two cents for Bickell.
√ Just so everyone doesn’t go around hanging themselves after a loss, Fifth Feather has your Idiot’s Guide to the Pre-Season.
Multiple reports surfaced this morning the Blackhawks have signed coach Joel Quenneville’s mustache to a contract extension, which will be announced at a 2:30 p.m. CST news conference. QStache was entering the final year of his current deal with the ‘Hawks.
No question QStache deserves it. He’s 97-44-19 since taking over the ‘Hawks from Denis Savard four games into the 2008-09 season in which QStache led the team to a Western Conference Finals appearance. He won a President’s Trophy in St. Louis, had good success in Colorado and shook the playoff-choke label by winning the Stanley Cup last season. QStache obviously knows what the hell he’s doing, and I’m happy he’ll be doing it here in Chicago for at least a few more years.
As I wrote the other day, QStache faces a difficult test behind the bench this season with a revamped roster. But I’ll say this: There’s not many other coaches in the world I’d rather have doing it — despite his constant renditions of Musical Lines.
Congrats, Coach Q.
The most I’ve seen and heard of Joel Quenneville this off-season came in the form of the split-second clip of him dancing like an idiot with the Stanley Cup during a commercial advertising the Blackhawks championship DVD. Other than a couple of public appearances, QStache has been relatively unseen and unheard from.
He better enjoy the dark now, because the spotlight will be shining on him shortly.
The salary cap casualties led to open positions still relatively unsettled. QStache’s established roster of Stanley Cup champions is now filled with a plethora of question marks — both on the ice and in the locker room. It’ll be QStache’s job to help develop chemistry between his returning core and incoming newbies.
It’s no real secret QStache was handed the keys to a Blackhawks team already switching into high gear. Following the dismissal of Denis Savard, QStache had a roster filled with continuity and talent. While there’s no doubt his experience behind the bench helped push the Blackhawks to their Stanley Cup victory, a lot was already put in place the past two seasons.
Subtractions in the past couple off-seasons were met with more-than-welcome additions, namely the signing of Marian Hossa. Though I’ve stated many times I still believe the Blackhawks have more than enough talent despite the departures to defend the Cup, it’ll take chemistry on the ice with a large amount of new signings and Rockford Icehogs to jell into the contenders they were last season.
For that, QStache is responsible. We all know he has a quick trigger when it comes to changing the rotation. Musical Lines may be seen more than ever this season in order to keep his stars like Jonthan Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp and Hossa playing to their full capabilities, while also putting together the correct combination of role players on the third and fourth lines. I won’t even venture a guess right now on who should be where because camp hasn’t even opened. There’s a reason he has the job.
Don’t forget the fact QStache will have nightly decisions once again on when to play/sit his veteran goalie, Marty Turco, in favor of a young, inexperienced backup in Corey Crawford. The goaltending became the biggest story surrounding the Blackhawks last season. If Turco poops himself the first few games, you can bet he’ll be hearing “Cor-ey, Cor-ey,” from the UC crowd.
Bottom line, the 2010-11 season will be QStache’s toughest behind the ‘Hawks bench. And it’ll take more than a fantastic lip brow to get this team playing like defending Cup champs from the get-go.