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
On the surface, a No. 8 seed and first-round playoff exit seems downright horrific following a Stanley Cup championship a year earlier.
Dig deeper, sift through the preseason overhaul due to cap constraints, and you’ll likely find the Blackhawks’ 2010-11 season most deemed a miscarriage may not be so terrible after all.
The 97 points are more than any No. 8 seed since the NHL did away with divisional playoffs and the Campbell and Prince of Wales conferences prior to the 1993-94 season. That stretch includes the shootout era which began after the 2004-05 lockout, guaranteeing one team will receive two points in every game on the league’s schedule.
That’s nothing to apologize for in my book, especially since a victory over Detroit on the regular season’s final day would have given the Blackhawks the No. 5 seed. If you want to talk numbers, then look at them all – One more win, and there may have been a lot less complaining from the fan base.
I honestly can’t believe this is my third year doing this. But alas, it will never get old quoting Seinfeld. With the Blackhawks making some significant moves to revamp the team and Patrick Kane being in the news once again, it’s time to let Jerry, George, Kramer and Elaine take the reins.
Part I in 2009 featured quotes such as: “Well you know when you break up and say things you don’t mean? Well he says the mean things you don’t mean and he means them,” dedicated to Martin Havlat and his Twitter escapades.
Part II in 2010 brought you: “Have you ever been through an audit? It’s the financial equivalent of a complete rectal examination,” referencing the Capocolypse.
Let’s see what’s in store for Part III, with events in no particular order …
The main problem I’ve had during this offseason for the Blackhawks begins and ends with my four days spent in Boston two weekends ago, when for four days I witnessed Bruins fans with hats and t-shirts bearing their latest accomplishment.
That’s it. Everything else has been smooth, even with Patrick Kane having surgery to fix a broken bone in his wrist. Compared to the Capacolypse beginning mere days after the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup victory, Stan Bowman has given us a very a nice 2011 summer.
To clear my opinion quickly regarding Kane’s injury, calm the flying hell down. If anything, celebrate the fact it was caught at the perfect time to fit in the requisite surgery and recovery time. I broke my wrist in high school and was back on the basketball court at full strength less than a week after the cast was removed. He’s still a kid and recovers much quicker than if, say, Andrew Brunette would if he snapped his wrist. He’ll heal, and we won’t be thinking about this anymore after he’s a point-per-game forward again this season.
It’s the little drama we’ve experienced as fans during an offseason we should be thankful for heading into the season. After Kane’s offseason from hell in 2010, we should be extra thankful he discovered an injury while working out. The Blackhawks are a better team than when Game 7 ended, and that’s what everyone should be thinking about leading up to this quiet time until training camp.
The shift in leverage for Chris Campoliwith the Chicago Blackhawks has been pretty dramatic in a little more than a week.
When Stan Bowman dealt Brian Campbell to Florida on draft night, it seemed Campoli had the ‘Hawks by the babymaker. No other defensemen within the organization to promote worthy of a second-pairing spot and, hell, none seemingly even ready to make the jump to the big club. It looked as if Campoli would be able to demand a significant raise and get it, given the lack of NHL-ready defensive depth.
Then came July 1, followed by a salary abitration filing Tuesday. With plenty of defensive personnel now signed, what’s next for the man whose nuts are surprisingly still attached after committing The Turnover in Game 7?
When fan of the site Jennifer Ciepley contacted me back in April about her husband’s 92-year-old grandfather, I was touched with a wonderful story about a man who is the true definition of an American hero.
Before Game 6 against the Vancouver Canucks, World War II veteran Norval Nelson stood next to Anthem singer Jim Cornelison as the crowd cheered every word. Jennifer gave me the story behind Mr. Nelson, and I felt the need to write a post detailing his experiences as one of the few surviving U.S. Navy divers during the D-Day invasion June 6, 1944.
Jennifer informed me through email Mr. Nelson died Saturday, surrounded by his three daughters after passing away peacefully in his sleep.
Mr. Nelson’s family likely won’t forget the night he was able to be honored by the Chicago Blackhawks’ wonderful tradition, and Jennifer wrote of how much fun Mr. Nelson had that evening.
Here’s to a true American hero. Thank you for everything, Mr. Nelson.
Have a fun and safe 4th, everyone.
You’ve got to hand it to Stan Bowman if you’re a fan of a veteran presence.
After rolling through a disappointing season with an extremely young roster, Bowman added Jamal Mayers (36), Sean O’Donnell (39) and Andrew Brunette (37) to go along with Steve Montador (31).
It’s quite obvious the Blackhawks are trying to balance out the locker room by adding tough, no-nonsense veterans to a roster which didn’t seem to understand the magnitude of their failures last season.
While Duncan Keith admitted packing it in and most others continued with their versions of, “We’ll be fine,” the team pretty much fell apart and nearly missed the playoffs, which would have given Chicago an increased suicide rate.
Now, with a locker room full of guys who likely won’t take much shit, there aren’t many excuses.
I know things look different compared to our last shop, trust me. It’s been a whirlwind few days as Tim, Brandon and I moved here from Blackhawk Up. We refused to let the move get in the way of providing our random idiocy to the loyal followers, so here we – locked and loaded.
Unfortunately, the shift came as Stan Bowman decided to revamp the roster, leaving us out of the loop on the Web to providing our thoughts. Since you’ve heard most everyone else’s already, I’ll summarize mine best I can. The main thing I want to talk about is our new home, which I’ll get to here in a few minutes. Let’s get started:
Brian Campbell, Tomas Kopecky dealt to Florida; Troy Brouwer to Washington
I’m going to start with Campbell, because I’m pretty sad to see that full head of red hair head to The Land of White Shoes. There’s been plenty of talk for a couple years regarding Campbell’s cap hit and how the Blackhawks need to rid themselves of it. At one point, I felt the same way. Then I realized at the times he went down with injuries the ‘Hawks were most always worse without him. With Duncan Keith, Niklas Hjalmarsson, and to a point Brent Seabrook taking major, major steps backward last season, Campbell often played as the Blackhawks’ best defenseman. When a guy who isn’t your overall best player but is being paid like he’s your best player, fans become uneasy.
Stan Bowman (hopefully) has made his first true addition of the offseason, trading a late-round draft pick for the negotiating rights to Buffalo Sabres defenseman Steve Montador.
The ‘Hawks have until 11:59 EST Thursday to strike a deal before Montador becomes an unrestricted free agent, though I can’t see Bowman letting this last that long.
Montador became expendable with Buffalo trading for Christian Ehrhoff’s rights and making a draft-day deal to acquire Robyn Regehr.
Montador had a $1.55 million cap hit last season, and likely will get roughly $2.5-$3 million from the Blackhawks. The 31-year-old is going to be a hell of a pickup for the ‘Hawks given his toughness and willingness to throw his body in front of the puck at any given time. Oh, and he can kick someone’s ass:
The Blackhawks are poised to make some changes after a disappointing 2010-11 season, and with cap space to spare this offseason there’s potential for some quality moves. Blackhawk Up will take a look at who’s available for Stan Bowman to pursue over the next week. However, Bowman cannot negotiate before July 1 – or should he? On the docket today is Atlanta Thra…err, Winnipeg forward Andrew Ladd.
CONTRACT STATUS: Restricted free agent; $2.35M cap hit in 2010-11
2010-11 STATS: 81 GP; 29 G; 30 A; minus-10; 9 PP goals; career-high 14.9 shot percentage
The Blackhawks are poised to make some changes after a disappointing 2010-11 season, and with cap space to spare this offseason there’s potential for some quality moves. Blackhawk Up will take a look at who’s available for Stan Bowman to pursue over the next week. However, Bowman cannot negotiate before July 1 – or should he? On the docket today is Philadelphia Flyers forward Ville Leino.
CONTRACT STATUS: Unrestricted free agent; $800k cap hit in 2010-11 ($825k salary)
2010-11 STATS: 81 GP; 19 G; 34 A; plus-14; 117 SOG
The Blackhawks are poised to make some changes after a disappointing 2010-11 season, and with cap space to spare this offseason there’s potential for some quality moves. Blackhawk Up will take a look at who’s available for Stan Bowman to pursue over the next week. However, Bowman cannot negotiate before July 1 – or should he? On the docket today is New York Rangers forward Brandon Dubinsky.
CONTRACT STATUS: Restricted Free Agent; $1.850 million cap hit in 2010-11
2010-11 STATS: 77 GP; 24 G; 30 A; 100 PIM; minus-3; 2 GWG
Last offseason became one of expected loss as Stan Bowman faced the daunting task of keeping the Blackhawks salary-cap compliant. With that and a disappointing 2010-11 season behind us, it’s time to enter another offseason of change – this one hopefully for the better.
With July 1 approaching and the ‘Hawks possessing some wiggle room under the cap, we’re going to take a look at who they may be able to afford when the time comes. However, Bowman isn’t allowed to speak to potential free agents until the clock officially strikes midnight.
That’s where Tim and I come in. We’ll be breaking down free agents over the next week (maybe longer) to determine who Bowman should risk the fine for to get a jump on other teams, and who he should leave alone until it’s legal – or at all.
Of course, we all know the Blackhawks would never dream of breaking NHL rules and couldn’t possibly ever even think of tampering with a potential free agent. However, for the sake of having some fun, let’s play along.
The posts will start shortly, but we wanted to give you the opportunity to tell us your suggestions for who the Blackhawks may pursue. Make a case and we’ll put together a post.
Fire away, ya’ll.
*Thanks to our friends at Nets are Scorching for help with the idea.
With the next goal determining either a long-awaited championship or an anything-can-happen Game 7, the last thing I ever wanted to experience was confusion.
At 10:06 p.m. on June 9, 2010, those who packed into the tiny J&M at Augusta Blvd. and Oakley were just as bewildered as I. The puck was gone, the Philadelphia Flyers looked stunned and Patrick Kane was undressing faster than a slut on prom night.
It must’ve gone in. Did it go in? I think it went in…
Breaking news via every Blackhawks beat writer on Twitter: Goaltender Corey Crawford has signed a three-year deal. A conference call is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. central time, when more details should be shared on the situation.
After the debacle with Antti Niemi following last season, it’s nice to get this done early to save for any stress. I’ll be on to update things as they come along, including the dollar amount.
UPDATE: Multiple reports say Crow’s deal is for $8 million, making his cap hit $2.6 million per season. Crawford is now making more money than Los Angeles’ Jonathan Quick and Detroit’s Jimmy Howard.
Overall, this is fantastic news for the Blackhawks for a couple of reasons. First, there’s no more wondering who is going to be the starting goaltender, meaning for the first time in four seasons the ‘Hawks will enter training camp without any sort of goaltending questions. Secondly, the dollar amount is slightly more than we may have expected, but it’s not by much.
Between getting Crawford locked up and being able to do it for this price, the Blackhawks did very well on this one.
For those of you familiar with the Boxing feature here at Blackhawk Up, you’re well aware I have the extreme privilege of channeling the mind of ‘Hawks captain Jonathan Toews. Despite the fact the Blackhawks are currently making tee times, I was once again able to get into the mind of the fearless leader and read his thoughts on his individual season.
It was very difficult, I might add. Toews doesn’t much care for singling out players, including himself. If you remember when Toews skated back toward his teammates holding the Conn Smythe Trophy after the ‘Hawks won the Stanley Cup, he clearly reinforced the team accomplishment by stating, “This is for you guys.”
He’s the clear definition of the consummate team player – unselfish, willing to be the voice when needed and perfectly able to lead when asked. And, more importantly, capable of putting an entire team on his back to win for them, not just him.
That Selke Trophy nomination? Great. I’m sure he’d like to add more hardware to an already impressive collection. But it’ll never mean as much to Toews as that big silver chalice or gold medal, simply because it represents team.
Here’s a look at his season stats, followed by Toews’ season review of himself and my grade, since he’s too humble to possibly grade himself.
No time soon will Blackhawks fans forget Antti Niemi and his contributions during the Stanely Cup run last season. What many may not remember is Niemi and Corey Crawford were viewed equally for the backup goaltending job behind Cristobal Huet prior to 2009-10.
With Niemi out of AHL options and Crawford’s contract still at two-way status, Niemi may have won that job simply based off default and not talent. Rather than collecting a Stanley Cup ring, Crawford toiled in Rockford for another season and didn’t give up hope his time would come.
He got his shot this season, and what a hell of an impression he made.
Patrick Kane hasn’t always been the model citizen during his tenure with the Blackhawks. Between cabbie incidents, limo parties and random drunken photos, Kaner has put himself in positions fans – and the ‘Hawks themselves – have frowned upon.
But for all the tomfoolery, I’m stunned at the amount of discussion regarding Kane being shipped out of town. Remember, most of that partying wouldn’t have been possible without his Stanley Cup-clinching goal which sent us fans into many nights of inebriation.
His numbers speak pretty highly of his value. Kane has amassed 303 points in 317 career regular-season games, and another 48 points in 45 playoff contests. Did expectations rise among fans after the cabbie incident? After the limo party? Sure, and he responded with the most famous goal in franchise history.
I’d say those standards were met, and then some. Here’s a look at Kane’s 2010-11 numbers:
There’s no question Patrick Sharp is a very handsome man. His numbers this season were awfully attractive as well.
With secondary scoring taking a hit due to departures during the offseason, Sharp provided the Blackhawks with a boost through to his unfortunate injury toward the end of the regular season. It was evident how valuable his presence was during the stretch run, when the ‘Hawks had to fight to the final day for a playoff spot.
Here’s what Sharp did this season:
For all the deficiencies of the Blackhawks’ defense – which Tim will get to tomorrow – the offense actually played pretty well. Scoring didn’t seem to be the issue, as the ‘Hawks finished fourth in the NHL with 252 goals – just six behind league-leading Vancouver.
Jonathan Toews (76), Patrick Kane (73) and Patrick Sharp (71) each put up a good amount of points, but neither of those three will be on today’s list. The three who made up the top line for a good part of the season – plus Marian Hossa - will be reviewed on their own in the coming week.
Here’s a look at the rest, with a 4-Indian Head grade being the best.
The Chicago Blackhawks’ defense of the Stanley Cup ended a bit more prematurely than we wanted, but the wild ride had to come to an end at some point. Fortunately for you, loyal reader, the site must go on. And us idiots aren’t done yet.
Tim and I have put together a schedule of what’s to come over the next week as we review each player through different types of posts. That means we will be forcing our opinions on you for the next week – like it or not.
The forwards and defensemen will be handled with separate posts including our grades. Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Corey Crawford and Marty Turco will be featured in separate, in-depth reviews.
Here’s the upcoming schedule for reviews over the next week for you to keep track:
Thursday: Sharp (morning), Seabrook (evening)
Friday: Kane (morning), Hossa (evening)
Saturday: Turco (morning), Crawford (evening)
Sunday: Off day
Monday: Keith (morning), Toews (evening)
As you have all season, hopefully you continue to check in with us idiots as we break everything down and spark some discussion amongst you folk. Also, if anyone is interested in live chats on the site for those of you following those day’s games as the playoffs continue, let me know. I’ll also post a feeler on the Facebook fan page.
Thanks again for everyone who made this such a great season by following along with us. We’re not done yet.
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When Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman decided to let Antti Niemi walk rather than match his arbitration award, the fanbase held its breath collectively.
How could Bowman not lock up the only Blackhawks goaltender in 49 years to lead the franchise to a Stanley Cup and turn to a netminder past his prime? Forget the salary-cap constraints, fans said, Niemi is the backbone the ‘Hawks needed to make another run.
Bowman instead signed Marty Turco to take Niemi’s spot in goal, though Bowman’s decision wasn’t as black and white as the critics made it seem. He didn’t choose Turco over Niemi, he chose Corey Crawford – and rightfully so.
Supposedly hamstrung after matching San Jose’s four-year, $14 million offer sheet for Niklas Hjalmarsson, Bowman simply couldn’t afford the $2.75 million salary due Niemi following the hearing. Bowman insisted he made multi-year offers to Niemi and his agent following the Cup run, but Niemi’s camp never bit and took the Blackhawks all the way to the end.
And that may have been Bowman’s plan all along.
UPDATED APRIL 27 @ 10:47 A.M. with Henrietta Sedin’s asshole comment
The Chicago Blackhawks’ defense of the Stanley Cup ended just as it began — with an overtime goal no one saw coming. Fittingly, the Blackhawks’ season ended on an in-zone turnover, which has plagued them all season.
If you’re looking for any “Rah-rah! They came back from 0-3 and that’s great in itself!”, then go somewhere else. You’re not going to find that here. At least not yet. The ups and downs of tonight’s game have put me into a state of depression only alcohol can lift me from. And even that didn’t do much help tonight.
It’s going to take some time for me to gather up any rational thoughts regarding the Game 7 overtime loss, so your best bet is to check back later. I’m in no mood, and I can’t guarantee when I will be.
Not one thing is screaming positive to me, and rather than put up another post like the one I did in last year’s playoffs, I’ll just concede to the night and bury my thoughts deep inside one of the worst sports moments I’ve ever experienced in my 29-plus years on this earth.
UPDATED, APRIL 27 @ 10:47 A.M….
I know first-hand the excitment everyone is feeling after the Game 6 overtime victory, which forced an improbable Game 7 on Tuesday in Vancouver. Battling back from 0-3 to force a deciding game is an accomplishment in itself – and a rather exciting one to boot.
After Ben Smith flipped the winner over Roberto Luongo, I was so excited I couldn’t be cooped up in a cab or on the bus. I live two miles north of the United Center up Damen Ave. in Wicker Park, and I walked every step of the way home. I even stopped in a couple bars to have a celebratory drink.
Some gloating and a nice sleep later, I’ve finally come back to Earth to realize the most important thing: The Blackhawks haven’t won anything yet, and they may have put us fans in a worse position to suffer heart failure than if they were simply swept away.
The roller coaster ride of this series resembles the entire 82-game season nearly as much as the Sedin twins do each other – and it’s been nearly just as ugly. Injuries, storylines, depths of despair, moments of hope, more painful miscues, then a rise to get us all back on the teeter-tottering bandwagon named “Repeat.”
Game 6 had it all. Pregame storylines, dismay, euphoria … then overtime, with the Blackhawks season either continuing or crumbling with the next goal.
Alain Vineauglt displayed his 10-pound sack by benching Vezina Trophy finalist Roberto Luongo in favor of 25-year-old Cory Schneider in a game Vancouver absolutely needed to head back home happy. And even the most daring of moves left Luongo skating off the ice with his hair gel being the only thing waiting at his locker not passing judgment.
Much like the ‘Hawks have been doing thing this entire series, they fought from behind. Down 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2, the Blackhawks tied it each time. Then Ben Smith flicked the end of Game 88 past a sprawling Luongo to guarantee a win-or-go-home Game 89. While Blackhawks fans are celebrating just getting back into this series, hoping to complete a historic comeback in Game 7, Canucks fans are already sending out their mourning letters to their beloved squad, demanding – not hoping for – a victory before all faith is lost.
There’s plenty of bad we can go over. Farting pucks all over the ice, the three third-period shots – two if you don’t count Michael Frolik’s penalty shot – the Canucks seemingly dominating most of the game, and the heart-wrenching which goes along with overtime playoff hockey knowing your team will meet its demise with the opponent’s next goal.
Things need to be fixed before Tuesday, and part of me believes the Blackhawks were lucky to get out of Chicago with a victory knowing Vancouver played nearly its best hockey of the entire series. On top of that, 1:43 of 5-on-3 went to waste, with the kick in the dick coming when Coach Q used his only timeout to draw up a bunch of shit which obviously didn’t work. The fact the Blackhawks’ only lead came after Smith’s goal is indicative of how a good portion of Game 6 played out. While it feels good to celebrate now, Game 7 won’t go as well if the same screw-ups happen as they did Sunday.
For the second time in this series, each member of the Dave Bolland line notched a goal. Bolland played a key role in two, destroying Dan Hamhuis to force the turnover on Bryan Bickell’s goal, then potting his own off Kaner’s feed from Schneider’s piss-poor clearing attempt.
The Blackhawks still will be facing elimination in the next game. But so will Vancouver, which seems improbable after the first three games of this series. The pressure is still on the Canucks, who need to avoid a collapse of epic proportions and the most embarrassing “History Will Be Made” video ever.
I’ll do the rest of my talking in Boxing…
Taking part in the National Anthem tradition Sunday at the United Center will be a bit more special for me after receiving a message from loyal reader Jennifer Ciepley.
Mr. Norval Nelson, one of the last surviving U.S. Navy divers from the D-Day invasion of Nazi-occupied France on June 6, 1944, will be next to Anthem singer Jim Cornelison while more than 20,000 fans at the United Center celebrate the tradition.
Mr. Nelson, 92, is the grandfather of Jennifer’s husband.
“He really is an amazing man and at 92, still is bright and quick to smile and he loves this country,” Jennifer said. “Can you imagine the changes this man has seen in his lifetime?”
Mr. Nelson was 26 years old when he and 199 other divers — or “frogmen” as they were called — crossed the English Channel on D-Day. Though suffering five combat injuries in six days, he was one of only 17 divers to survived the invasion. Nelson is one of only four divers still alive today.
Hungry and seemingly terribly injured, Mr. Nelson said, “I asked God, ‘Please let me die.’”
Mr. Nelson was one of 199 members of Navy Combat Demolition Force O, which had the duty of blowing up obstacles the Germans put on the beach to prevent landings of allied forces. The naval demolition units were precursors of the Navy SEALs.
Westminster Christian High School in Elgin raised money through its basketball team’s Free Throws for Heroes movement to send Mr. Nelson to Fort Pierce in Florida, where he trained before the war and always wanted to visit.
Upon his arrival, he was honored with a celebration.
The Chicago Blackhawks will help provide Mr. Nelson with an experience he and his family likely will never forget, as the United Center cheers during the National Anthem prior to Game 6.
Hopefully the Blackhawks give Mr. Nelson something to cheer about as well.
Thanks again to Jennifer Ciepley for providing the photo and information