Well then.. After an uncertain 1st Round against the Preds, the Hawks appear to be rounding into Championship form this series. They’ve won both handily, the stars are shining, the supporting cast is doing its job, their goalie is solid (yes, really) and the lines and lineup are about as optimal as they can be. The Wild have not had a lead for a single second thus far and are heading back home without the smash & grab win you feel they really needed. Of course, it’s only been two games and this time last year the Hawks headed to St Paul with a similar advantage and promptly got their asses handed to them so we’ll not be getting the Corey Perry photoshops out just yet. But there’s reasons to be cheerful this morning and we’ll get to them directly.
This series was very much a Ugandan action movie: part entertaining, part excruciating, mostly just glad it’s over and I don’t have to look at it any more. Nashville chased Newport News, IL (or is that Lemont, Va?) native Scott Darling then blew a two-goal lead and really didn’t look like they wanted to be there, much less go to the 2nd Round (considering they’d have to visit either St Louis or St Paul, that’s completely understandable). The Hawks got it done, in regulation no less, and can take a few days off while pointing and laughing at the Blues & the Wild. let’s get into it:
Before we go any further, that headline refers to this which led my web-designer brother to create this .
Anyway, Nicolas-Cage based antics aside, this series is now 2-1 and the Hawks now have a chance to make the return to Nashville an elimination game (Which sounds like a tortuous setup for a urine -based pun, but I won’t go there…heh, heh). Despite some reversals , especially in the immediate aftermath of scoring a goal, and some curious coaching decisions, the Blackhawks dominated this one for long stretches and were well worth the win. Shall we address the matter at hand? We shall.
You know it’s the playoffs when the Tribune’s Dumbass-In-Chief, David Haugh, stops fretting about Kris Bryant long enough to give we mere mortals the benefit of his wisdom. Yesterday, he pinched off a real steamer about the “Goalie Controversy” ahead of Game 2. Needless to say, it’s down to his usual level of gibberish but fear not, intrepid reader, I’ve gone behind the paywall so you don’t have to.
Hello and welcome to Narrative Heaven. Last night had a bit of everything, didn’t it? A first period meltdown, Roszival and Shaw being terrible, the goalie getting pulled and replaced by the “local” boy, the comeback, the fourth year in a row we go to overtime in the Hawks’ Game 1, action, drama, redemption, MOAR OVERTIME and finally Victory and a win on the road that starts this series off the Flahavans’ Way. In addition, I was kept up until 6am by Playoff hockey.. oh, how I’ve missed that.
“…to really mess something up for yourself (rather than for someone else) with an unnecessary and/or stupid act….The origin of the expression is from the scenario in the UK of a guy buying some takeaway chips (french fries for any US readers) after an evening’s drinking.
Finding that he then needs a piss on the way home, the inebriated guy finds a quiet spot somewhere then and puts his chips on the ground nearby while he relieves himself. In his drunken state he then accidentally pisses on his chips, thus depriving himself of his meal through his own carelessness and stupidity”.
A better definition would be the highlights of last night’s game, with special attention paid to Michal Roszival.
It gets really grim when the Blackhawks have a day off after a particularly demoralising defeat. As a fanbase we take to social media and comment threads en masse in order to tear our hair and each others throats out. Considering that this specific defeat is the third really bad one in the last four games, the angst levels have been redlining. That’s not to say this is without good reason: losing three out of four is never a Good Thing, but losing them to non-playoff teams in abject fashion makes it far worse. It isn’t even so much the lowly status of the Stars, Flyers and Beej that stings, it’s the patheric capitulation by the Hawks in those losses (and you can include the win over the Canes in that, too: the Hawks did their level best to fuck that up as well). just four games ago we were coming off a successful trip to New York talking about a run at the Division. Now the Hawks are (at least temporarily) in the Wild Card mix and we’re looking anxiously over our shoulders at Winnipeg.
This effing Hockey Team.. right after I bigged them up in relation to the Central (and by default, Western) title race, on the back of a shutout of the Rags, the Hawks go and #Cube one up against the out-of-it-even-if-they-don’t-believe-it-themselves Stars. Guess those are the breaks. What made it doubly annoying was the Wings making it three straight losses (albeit with loserpoints involved) for the Blues. Boy, St Louis must be looking forward to a playoff series against Minnesota the way one looks forward to a proctological examination. Anyway, stuff:
OK, that one felt pretty good, despite it not being a “classic” but rather a tight, disciplined effort from both sides, backed up by excellent goaltending. Could have gone either way but Brad Richards popped up late in the 3rd and clearly greatly enjoyed his goal against the team that scratched him in the playoffs ahead of buying him out last offseason (although I’m sure he enjoys cashing the checks they’ll be writing him till the sun goes supernova more), Scott Darling earned his first NHL shutout and the Hawks leave the Empire State with four points from two games against two of the East’s best.
That was a short recap, hey? Let’s talk more stuff, specifically how the rest of this season looks..
That one was annoying. Granted, the Rangers are one of the top teams out East but last night felt like a squandered opportunity to close in on the floundering Predators and the stuttering Blues, not to mention putting a little distance between the Hawks and the Wild, who are riding Devan Dubnyk right back into the postseason picture. If there was going to be a bounce from the new acquisitions, it was going to be here.
And so it begins: the Hawks head out on the annual Western swing, a road trip that is overblown in importance (points are points) but nonetheless throws up enough quality of opponent to keep the players interested (until they get bored and inevitably lose to the Jets). It’s a shorter trip this time, only playing the Californians with no jaunts to Arizona or Western Canada before heading back to Central opponents in Minnesota, Winnipeg and St Louis. Last time out the Hawks clocked the Kings and Ducks yet barfed one up to the Yotes before heading to Sochi. The year before saw the first dropped points of the season to the Wild and the Nucks and, of course, a sweep thereafter. 2012? Let’s not go there.
We’re coming off the All-Star Break and gearing up for a swing out West. Since there’s little to write about right now, here’s an article I wrote for the print edition of The Committed Indian a few weeks ago, concerning another NHL gimmick and what might not be a bad idea for its future. As ever, thanks to Sam and the guys for letting me contribute and you can subscribe to the digital version right here. Or just pick it up at the UC on game nights. Do yerselves a favour, innit?)
I’m not sure when or why it happened.. it may have been the Yotes beating the Hawks in the 1st round in 2012, maybe it was the Torres hit on Hossa and the idiotic attempts to defend it.. more likely it was the complete inability of their oversensitive fans to take a joke about moving to Quebec. Then there’s the flopping and histrionics of Mike Smith. Maybe it’s the intense jealousy because the “AAAARRRROOOOOO” goal celebration has been rightly restored to Chicago. Whatever, in recent years the Coyotes have gone from “Minor Irritant” to “Douchenozzles” and are now sliding back into irrelevance again.
Hanging six on the Yotes, especially with the aforementioned Smith in goal for all of them, was fun at any rate.
I’ve got a test on Aggression for my Social Psychology module on Friday, so I spent a lot of today watching videos of chimps killing each other and Nazi propaganda films, also reading about the Rwandan Genocide, the Stanford Experiment and Abu Ghraib. Reckoned that sitting through an hour of the Devils skating around couldn’t be any worse, so you’re stuck with me for the recap. No Fatso, of course, but Jaromethuselah Jagr was there to bring the average age up by 3,619 years. Jaromethuselah has been very quiet against the Hawks of late, getting zero goals in the 2013 playoffs as a Bruin and recording exactly one shot in the Hawks’ two games against him last year. So, how did it all pan out?
Funny old game, Hockey. Also occasionally deadly boring and generally forgettable. Last night was a prime example of this. Once upon a time, a game in Vancouver would have been circled on the calendar in red ink with “Buy moar booze” written underneath it. Now, however, it’s just another late night. Let’s talk about it a little, shall we, and then get on with our lives.
This article originally ran in the Committed Indian a couple of weeks ago. In light of the recent news that the salary cap may not rise as expected next year, it seems apposite to share it with you. But you should still subscribe to the Committed Indian here.
In the happy glow surrounding Marian Hossa’s 1,000th NHL point, we should really have been bracing ourselves for the Hot Takes on his HOF candidacy from the Hockey Meeja. Sure enough, The Hockey News’ Blowhard-In-Chief, Ken Campbell, was quick to get the crayons out today to let us know that he has his doubts.
While it’s always good to see the Hawks dishing out a thumping to one of the league’s basement dwellers, it’s worth bearing in mind that this is likely going to be the worst team to visit the UC this season. Buffalo, despite some unconvincing talk about how they’re ‘not in the business of tanking’ this year, are terrible. That said, there’s enough promise in some of their young players that they’ll not be that way for all that much longer. Their time will surely come, but that time is not now.
Six different Blackhawks got their names on the scoresheet and yes, one of them was Gorilla Salad, which has surely got the droolers yelling “TOL YA SO, DAT CARCILLA IS GRATE AND HAS HEART AND GRIT”. The fact that he scored by going to the net had Edzo in raptures and likely in need of drycleaning his suit.
Anyway, there’s not an awful lot more to say about last night, so let’s get to some talking points and you can all go back to your Sunday hangover.
Well then, that was quite the 48 hour period, wasn’t it? With a devastating left/right combo the Hawks’ management landed a knockout blow square on the chin of any fans who had lingering hopes that this was the most progressive organisation in hockey. Dan Carcillo is back, Nick Leddy is gone, Peter Regin is on his way out via waivers and two of the brightest prospects are back in the AHL. And now? Now the Hawks are finally cap-compliant, but at what cost?
Prepare yourselves for some rampant speculation: we’re into August, the Cruellest Month for Hockey fans (with apologies to TS Eliot) and there is very little happening. However, what we do know for sure is that,somewhere between now and the puck drop in Dallas on the 2nd of October, there is going to have to be a change to the Hawks roster.
As of this writing, Chicago are $2,216,795 over the Salary cap (all figures from Capgeek). This count includes Teuvo Teravainen’s $894,167 but even if he starts in Rockford and someone like MANSHITTER or Nordstrom comes up instead, the Hawks will still be over the cap by nearly $2 million. So, clearly, something is going to have to happen and by far the most likely (but not the only, as we shall see) outcome is that a player gets moved to free up the neccesary cap room.
Which leads us to the question, of course: who is it gonna be?
Let’s have some wild guesses that will doubtless be proved utterly wrong, shall we?
Generally speaking, we here at Cheer The Anthem are of a “Live-and-let-live” mentality when it comes to other blogs. There is little value in calling out other fans of the team we follow. However, sometimes, something is written that is just too monumentally awful and wrong and dumb to avoid commenting on it. One of those things was written today by John Jaeckel over at Hockeybuzz, the place where braincells go to putrefy. Now, JJ is apparently a good guy and I’m happy that that’s the case.. but he doesn’t half talk some complete bollocks on his website. So, in time-honoured fashion, I Fisked his latest pronouncements.