That’s right, CtA now has a Photoshop/parody guy. We are more than excited to welcome Michael Devine, who will be posting as regularly as he would like on this site and gracing us and you readers with some hilarity.
Firstly, go follow him on Twitter @brightblack76. Then, double-check to make sure you’re following him, because you’re missing out if you’re not. He already has some stuff up here for you to check out when you get the chance.
Michael, who also has gone by mightymikeD, describes himself as such: “Irish, lives in London and goes through horrific sleep-deprivation to watch Hawks games at Ass O’Clock in the Morning!”
And you thought YOU were a die-hard fan.
Have you been wondering how Stan Bowman is “wooing” Jarome Iginla to come to Chicago? Well, without further bullshit, here’s Michael’s first contribution to CtA:
“Iggy: A Morality Play”
Scene: Morning. A luxury Chicago hotel room. Jarome Iginla wakes up. He appears to be in the bathtub. His head is pounding and there is a funny taste in his mouth. He groans and looks at his watch, realises, with horror, that he is late for his flight and tries to climb out of the bath.
Iggy: “Oh, heck, Bob’s going to kill me. Without me being there the guys will just be milling around aimlessly in the terminal and Kipper has probably got himself deported!”
He catches sight of himself in the bathroom mirror and freezes in horror.
Iggy: “What in the fudge? Why am I wearing make-up? What are these bruises on my arms? WHY DO I HAVE “PK RULEZ YO” WRITTEN IN LIPSTICK ON MY CHEST??!?”
There is a loud knocking at the door. Iginla hurries to get dressed. His clothes appear to be missing except for his suit pants, although they have been cut off inexpertly at thigh-height, and his tie; which has some odd stains on it.
Iggy: “I’m coming, I’m coming. Oh, fiddlesticks, where is my shirt?”
The knocking continues, louder and more insistent. Iginla gives up and opens the door.
Stan Bowman stands there, smiling strangely.
I’ll tell ya where he’ll go. Someplace warm. A place where the beer flows like wine. Where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano. I’m talkin’ bout a little place called… Rock-ford.
No word yet on a possible call up. Does this mean Jimmy Hayes or Ben Smith comes up? Is Steve Montador actually going to play hockey again? We have no idea.
So, what was your favorite memory of the Brandon Bollig era?
It’s not rocket surgery. Getting off to a good start in a season shortened because of children’s antics is paramount. And after three games, the Blackhawks have done what’s necessary.
Sweep a back-to-back against the defending Stanley Cup champions and the team that knocked them out of the playoffs? Check.
Dominate the majority of a home-opener versus an annoying division rival? Check.
It’s difficult to say “There’s a long way to go” when we’re already at the 45-game mark. And if you did, it’s really only half-true anyway. While 45 games means there’s plenty of time for the standings to shift, it also means there’s little margin for error if a team isn’t on pace with the rest of the conference’s top eight from the get-go.
Here’s a look at the 2011-12 playoff picture after each team played 48 games:
*Detroit – 32-15-1 – 65
*Vancouver – 29-15-4 – 62
*San Jose – 28-14-6 – 62
St. Louis – 29-13-6 – 64
Chicago – 29-13-6 – 64
Nashville – 28-16-4 – 60
Los Angeles – 23-15-10 – 56
Minnesota – 23-18-7 – 53
Colorado – 25-21-2 – 52
Dallas – 25-21-2 – 52
Calgary – 22-20-6 – 50
Phoenix – 21-19-8 – 50
Anaheim – 18-23-7 – 43
Edmonton – 18-26-4 – 40
Columbus – 13-29-6 – 32
*Rangers – 31-12-5 – 67
*Boston – 32-14-2 – 66
*Washington – 26-19-3 – 55
Philadelphia – 29-14-5 – 63
Pittsburgh – 27-17-4 – 58
Ottawa – 26-16-6 – 58
New Jersey – 26-19-3 – 55
Florida – 22-15-11 – 55
Toronto – 24-19-5 – 53
Winnipeg – 22-20-6 – 50
Tampa Bay – 21-23-4 – 46
Montreal – 18-21-9 – 45
Islanders – 19-22-7 – 45
Buffalo – 19-24-5 – 43
Carolina – 16-24-8 – 40
Take a quick look at the final standings. While 15 of the 16 playoff teams remained the same (Phoenix replaced Minnesota, we’ll get to that in a minute), the playoff matchups were much different.
If last season ended after 48 games, Detroit would have ended up with home-ice advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs, starting with a Minnesota team in the midst of what would turn out to be a horrible collapse.
Instead, Detroit ended up as the No. 5 seed and went on the road to start its series with Nashville, which it lost in six games. Rather than Minnesota parlaying its hot start into a playoff berth, it fell completely apart and ended up 12th in the conference.
On the other end of the spectrum, Phoenix would have been headed home after a rough 48 – three games before it began an 11-0-1 tear that propelled it back into contention. The Coyotes wound up winning the Pacific and making the franchise’s first appearance in the conference finals.
Save for Philadelphia-Pittsburgh, each first-round playoff matchup would have been different in both conferences in a shortened season.
Simply put, a quick start leaves less time to blow it (Minnesota). And if you struggle off the bat, there’s less time to make an epic run and recover (Phoenix). It’s not groundbreaking, but important to note nonetheless.
If last season ended after 48, we wouldn’t have had to endure that shitty nine-game losing streak that began with Game 49 and contributed to the Blackhawks dropping to the No. 6 seed to face a red-hot division winner in the first round.
It’s not so unfathomable to be discussing how their 3-0-0 start to this season is a solid move toward a nice playoff standing by shortened-season’s end. Yes, there’s plenty of time left and a bitch of a six-game road trip upcoming.
Still, there’s no reason to dismiss how far the Hawks’ fast start can take them in the grand scheme of things. But if the ‘Hawks fart away nine games again with little time to recover, it could be the difference in hosting the opening playoff game to watching the postseason on their expensive couches.