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

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Streakin’ Gone Wild: Boxing with Blackhawks (5) and Wild (3)

Credit: Brian Cassella, Chicago Tribune

Credit: Brian Cassella, Chicago Tribune

“I’m running out of words to say here. I don’t know how many ways I can describe this 10-game winning streak. It’s exciting. We’re having fun.” – Jonathan Toews

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

The Streak hit 23 games – how awesome is it to see 20-0-3?! – and the streak within The Streak hit a franchise-record 10 straight victories with Tuesday’s 5-3 win over Minnesota. Are there enough positive adjectives to describe this run? I think everyone is running out of them.

And how fitting is it Marian Hossa scored on the night the ‘Hawks honored him for playing in his 1,000th career game Sunday?

(Quick note on that: Here’s where I have issues with the separation between the regular season and playoff statistics. Hossa also has played in 130 postseason games, which weren’t taken into account. If he played a game in the NHL, he played a game in the NHL. I think all of them should be recognized. Just my opinion.)

Some quick thoughts before Boxing…

– The third line guys – Bryan Bickell, Andrew Shaw and Viktor Stalberg – came through again. Bickell scored twice, though one came with Brandon Saad delivering the pass you see in the picture above. Bickell’s first goal had him being in the perfect place at the right time, with Shaw and Stalberg picking up assists.

– Brandon Saad. That is all.

– Patrick Kane came through with another clutch goal, scoring on one of the only four shots the Blackhawks had in the third period. And to that point…

– The whole let’s-sit-back-and-just-ride-this-thing-out mentality when the ‘Hawks get a lead of two goals or more nearly came back and bit them in the ass for the fifth time this season. If there’s one thing to change when it comes to this team, it’s that.

The Blackhawks are so successful because of their puck position and the aggressiveness that comes with it. That’s where their talent shines. However, when they decide to sit back and let the game come to them, things nearly unravel. Here’s a quick snippet of the other times that’s happened this season:

Opponents-Comebacks

Solution? Stay aggressive. Role the lines until the final horn sounds and keep attacking. The Blackhawks are being outscored 19-18 in the third period this season.

The rest is in Boxing. Right-click on the image, then click ‘view’ to enlarge…

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Brandon Saad, Jonathan Toews, Josh Harding

Weather or Not, Here They Come: ‘Hawks Shoot for 10th Straight Win vs. Wild

Brandon Saad, Jonathan Toews, Josh Harding

Supposed to get a shitload of snow in March? Why not. It’s Chicago. I’d also like to point out that anyone who mentions how “beautiful” the snow is obviously owns a fucking garage. And tell me how beautiful it is when you take your first giant step into the shit-covered slop that awaits you in the street the next day.

Despite Mother Nature’s continuous attempts to piss us off, we still have our beloved Chicago Blackhawks, who will be going for Jordan in a row for their season-starting point streak when the Minnesota Wild visit the United Center tonight.

While we’ve all basked in the beauty of The Streak, we’ve also been given a mathematical breakdown on just how rare it is.

Oh, and another record-setting streak is on the line, too.

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Sunday Matinee: ‘Hawks-Red Wings Primer

Jimmy holds grudges.

Jimmy holds grudges.

As Adam wrote in his wrap Friday night, the streaks inside the streak get lost on us – and understandably so.

The Blackhawks will be going for a ninth straight victory for the first time since Dec. 7-28, 2008 – the year hockey was invented, according to some of the fanbase. It’s easy to forget this team has picked up two points in each game for as long as they have when The Streak simply focuses on gaining at least one.

And that’s one of my problems with the streak, as I’ve mentioned before. There’s so much more going on with this team than just that arbitrary streak. The stars are playing like stars, the bottom six is contributing more than anyone expected, and both goaltenders are thriving when their number is called.

Does it get better than this? Yes – by extending The Streak with a win over those douchenozzles up north (or northeast, as some have liked to point out).

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Boxing-Blues

A Cool 20: Boxing with ‘Hawks (3) and Blues (0)

Credit: Jeff Curry, USA TODAY

Credit: Jeff Curry, USA TODAY

I saw a bunch of “experts” predict the Blackhawks’ record-breaking streak would end in St. Louis, because apparently they need to be tough with their Blues-are-my-favorites-to-win-the-Stanley-Cup-so-I-need-to-pick-them-in-every-game mentality.

Well, they can all eat shit.

Jonathan Toews delivered the Death Blow a mere 12 seconds in, and the ‘Hawks ran their record to a disgusting 17-0-3 by shutting out Chicago Jr. 3-0 on Thursday night.

Ray Emery completed the shutout after Corey Crawford suffered what is said to be an upper-body injury after appearing woozy heading to the locker room after the first period. The team is saying Crow is day to day at this point, so hopefully we’ll get an update soon.

And even if it is Barry Melrose, it’s still pretty awesome to listen to him on Sportscenter calling the Blackhawks the best team in all of sports.

I’m tired, so the rest is in Boxing. Right-click the image, then click ‘view’ to enlarge…

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Extra Special: Overtime Boxing with Blackhawks (3) and Oilers (2)

CT Hawks05998.JPG

The one thing I don’t like about this streak is the waiting. We all know, at least those of us who are logical and realistic, that the Blackhawks eventually are going to lose in regulation. And the past two nights, there were points in time I felt it was going to happen, and it almost was a relief to know it would finally be over.

I hate writing that as much as you likely hate reading it, but discussing an ultimately arbitrary record is somewhat taking away from what we need to focus on moving forward this season and into the playoffs. I actually found myself thinking against Columbus, “Well, if the BJs score here at the end, at least we can get a point and keep the streak going.” Then versus the Oil I thought, “Cool, at least if they lose in OT the ‘Hawks get a point and the streak hits 19.”

I became sick to my stomach after each of those thoughts, because that’s simply not looking at the bigger picture. After this streak is over, I won’t be thinking like that anymore. I’ll go back to being pissed off about some little mistake that cost them points. And honestly, I prefer not to think of this team as being perfect – because it’s not.

But with all that said, I can’t help myself. The streak is fantastic, and it’s clear this team is on a fucking mission and the rest of the West is just tagging along. No matter the ‘Hawks seemed to be cruising and just waiting for the perfect moments to come to them, the excitement after Hossa potted the winner in a 3-2 OT win over Edmonton was through the roof. Simply awesome.

Some thoughts before Boxing…

– I saw a tweet after the game suggesting a possible goalie controversy. Jesus Christ, please stop trying to create drama. Just accept the fact both goaltenders are playing well, be happy with who played well that given night and move on. Let it play out. This should be the least of anyone’s concerns right now.

– Seeing Carcillo on the top line makes me want to inflict pain upon myself. In fact, I’d rather sit around all day and smell Oprah’s farts than watch that asshole skate with Toews and Hossa. I understand Saad didn’t play his best game and took a couple bad penalties, but it wasn’t all Saad’s fault the ‘Hawks were down a goal heading into the third. Please, Q, stop this. Stop it now.

– Sharp deserves as much credit for the winner as Hossa. Strong move to the net, stuck with the rebound and let Hoss clean it up. Boom.

– Did I mention watching Carcillo on the top line is vomit-inducing?

– While I mentioned a part of my just wants this streak to end so we can get back to normal, if that happens in St. Louis on Thursday I may have to punt my cat. And my fiance’s cat.

Boxing. Right-click the image, then click ‘view’ to enlarge…

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That’s Just Enough: Boxing with Blackhawks (1) and Blue Jackets (0)

Credit: Nuccio DiNuzzo, Chicago Tribune)

Credit: Nuccio DiNuzzo, Chicago Tribune)

Firstly, I’d like to apologize for not having a recap up after the Blackhawks set the NHL record for best start to a season with Friday’s win over San Jose. I received a few emails wondering why the hell I didn’t put up a post, but the fact is I simply didn’t have the time this weekend. I should have mentioned something ahead of time, so it falls directly on me. To the loyal readers who thought enough to drop a line, I’m sorry and we’ll do our best from here on out to make sure we at least get something up for you.

Well, no one said they’d all be pretty.

Corey Crawford posted his second shutout of the season in his first game in nearly two weeks, Andrew Shaw scored the lone goal despite a nut shot from known fuckbag James Wisniewski and the Blackhawks extend their NHL-record start with a 1-0 win over lowly Columbus.

It’s a lazy Sunday night so tonight’s recap will all come in Boxing. Despite Crawford’s solid performance, I’d have to guess Ray Emery is back in net to face the Oil, with Crawford starting the front of another back-to-back at St. Louis on Thursday.

JesusMarianHossa will be along in the afternoon with your preview of the Edmonton game, but here’s Boxing for now. Right-click the image, then click ‘view’ to enlarge…

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Jannik Hansen Suspended 1 Game for Hit on Marian Hossa. Yep, 1 Game. That’s It.

There’s the video from Brendan Shanahan, who may have been drunk when levying this suspension.

Jannik Hansen getting only one game for a deliberate elbow to the back of Marian Hossa’s head is unbelievably pathetic, especially given the penalties he’s handed out. How Hansen’s actions are somehow viewed as less threatening than what Duncan Keith got a whopping five games for last season when he hit Daniel Sedin is absolutely amazing to me.

Let’s just hope Hossa is OK.

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So It’s Like That, Eh?: Boxing with Blackhawks (4) and Canucks (3)

(Credit: Chris Sweda, Chicago Tribune)

(Credit: Chris Sweda, Chicago Tribune)

Sorry for the delayed wrap, but by now I’m sure you all know the Blackhawks (13-0-3) tied the NHL record by acquiring at least one point in the first 16 games of the season.

What we don’t know are two important things: 1) The status of Marian Hossa after he left the game when Jannik Hansen hit him with a deliberate elbow to the back of the head, and 2) What kind of disciplinary action, if any, has been handed down to Hansen by Brendan Shanahan.

There is a hearing schedule with Hansen for 2:30 p.m. CST, so we will be back after we get updates on Hossa and Hansen. Until then, here’s Boxing to help recap the rest of last night’s contest…

Right-click the image, then click ‘view’ to enlarge:

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Crown Their Ass: Boxing with Blackhawks (3) and Kings (2) – Plus Bonus PUCKCAST!

Seabrook feeling much better than he would later. (Credit: Nuccio DiNuzzo, Chicago Tribune

Seabrook feeling much better than he would later. (Credit: Nuccio DiNuzzo, Chicago Tribune

It’s been a long day, so I’ll offer most of what I have in Boxing below. At this point, you’ve probably read everything else anyway.

– The next time you say or hear anyone else utter the words, “Man, I would give my left nut for (insert wish here),” you better think of Brent Seabrook. It’s not like they had hookers back in the locker room ready to massage the twig and berries that were in the exact air space of a Drew Doughty slap shot. He headed off the ice because the extreme pain felt something like getting an underground sex change operation from Edward Scissorhands.

And thanks to the refs, he got to lie there with his face on the ice for about 15 seconds while sharp blades passed right by his nose because they jammed their whistles up their asses. Act like you’ve never been hit in the nuts, assholes. Seabrook’s first star was well deserved, and not just because of his goal and assist.

Marcus Kruger and Michael Frolik simply are playing fantastic hockey. I bitched at Kruger once from the 300 level to get it deep as he lost the puck trying to enter the zone through two Kings, but other than that they continued playing at a level I don’t think any of us expected.

– The Blackhawks have allowed three goals in regulation twice all season – at Phoenix and at San Jose. Their plus-22 goal differential is by far the best in the NHL, and their 28 non-shootout goals allowed are second to Nashville’s 25. Ray Emery wasn’t outstanding, and I’m hoping Corey Crawford is healthy enough to go Tuesday, but both of these guys simply are getting the job done to this point.

– You’ve heard by now: If they ‘Hawks win or get to overtime Tuesday versus Vancouver, they tie the 2006-07 Anaheim Ducks for the NHL record of earning a point in the first 16 games of a season. I’m not one for celebrating shit like this knowing it means nothing come playoff time, but there’s no arguing that would be pretty damn sweet.

– Nakis and I appeared on the HOCKEENIGHT Puckcast following the game, discussing a plethora of topics ranging from meatheads to Tecmo Super Bowl. I had to take off about an hour in because of work-related shit, but Nakis stuck around for the full 90 minutes. It’s not like you do any work on a Monday anyway, so have yourself a listen and get paid to waste company time.

I’ll leave you with Boxing, which won’t appear again until Friday. Nakis will be by with your Vancouver preview, and JesusMarianHossa hopefully will be recapping another victory. Right-click the image and hit ‘view’ to enlarge…

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Credit: Jim Young, Reuters

After Dominating Sharks, Blackhawks Look to Keep Rolling Against Kings

Credit: Jim Young, Reuters

Credit: Jim Young, Reuters

Let’s start this out with a quick stat.

The Blackhawks’ 14-game point streak to begin a season is tied for the third longest in NHL history with the 1943-44 Montreal Canadiens, behind only the 2006-07 Anaheim Ducks (16) and 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers (15).

As for the other three teams mentioned? They all went on to win the Stanley Cup.

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