2013 Game Recaps

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Good Friday… Ducks 2 Hawks 1

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Well, then.

The guys on this site who actually know about Hockey are all otherwise engaged (something called “Having Lives”.. must look that up) so it’s very much down to me to recap tonight’s action.

Tonight seemed like the flip of the Calgary game: another meaningless mid-season tilt, although this time between two teams whose eyes are fixed firmly on the Playoffs, with the coin landing on the side of the OC Mallards.  It was the sort of game that you start forgetting seconds after it ends. The Hawks were not very good tonight but the Ducks were worse.. there is no sign that their regression is going to stop anytime soon, whereas the Hawks will have Sharp & Hossa to call in the near future (unless those rumours of Hoss going on IR are true: which they had better fucking not be)

Anyway, the top two teams in the West went head to head in a battle that will not resound through the ages. First period was even-stevens.. the teams exchanging a couple of chances, Kane hit a post and Brandon Saad showed us all why we love him so much by getting stuck the fuck in. . That kid has wheels, brains and balls. He’s a keeper, despite what Jackass says. Ended up 9 each for shots and, strangely, only 8/7 in favour of the Ducks at the dot.

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Iginla’s Audition?: Boxing with Blackhawks (2) and Flames (0)

Holy Toews Face. (Credit: Chris Sweda,  Chicago Tribune)

Holy Toews Face. (Credit: Chris Sweda, Chicago Tribune)

The worst-kept secret in the NHL is that Jarome Iginla has submitted a list of teams he’d be willing to waive his no-trade clause for by the April 3rd trade deadline, and the Blackhawks are one of them.

While Iginla didn’t exactly shine in Tuesday’s visit to the United Center with his awful team, count me in as someone willing to part ways with a couple of second-tier prospects and a pick to bring him to Chicago as a rental. The main reasons? Dave Bolland is beginning to infuriate me, and the thought of Iginla in a Hawks sweater gets me more excited than a 13-year-old boy seeing his first set of tits. He’s got plenty left in the tank.

The Blackhawks ended their two-game “losing streak” by holding woeful Calgary to just 16 shots in a 2-0 victory, making an easy night for Ray Emery as he set an NHL record by winning his first 12 starts of the season. Miikka Kiprusoff helped out by allowing Nick Leddy’s weak shot slip through before a Brent Seabrook shot was deflected off Iginla’s stick for the other goal.

Patrick Kane assisted on each score and played another stellar contest. If not for a guy named Crosby, the Hart Trophy likely would be coming to Chicago for the first time since Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita each won back-to-back awards from 1964-68.

A couple quick thoughts before Boxing…

– Seriously, what in the flying fuck is going on with Bolland? I am going to admit that I’ve never been his biggest fan and always felt he was a bit overrated. But man, he’s just not getting it done. Besides being ridiculously injury prone at the age of 26 (he’s missed seven games this season, six the year before, 21 in 2010-11 and 42 in the Stanley Cup season), he’s a second-line center who can’t win a fucking draw to save his life. Bolland went 8 for 22 at the dot Tuesday, dropping him to 44.6 percent on the season. He needs to get his shit together, and quickly, because his awful percentage at the dot is keeping the puck off of Kane’s stick.

– Only in Chicago would meatballs begin thinking there’s a goaltender controversy. I saw posts on social media to the tune of, “WHYS DAT EMERY GUY NOT DA FULL-TIME SHARTER IN THE DA NET FOR DEM HOCKS? DAT CRAWFORD LET IN GOALS DE UDDER NIGHT AND EMERY DIDN’T LET ANY GO IN DA NET SO HE SHOULD ALWAYS BE IN DA NET. CRAWFORD SUCKS, MY FRENTS!” Crawford has a 2.02 GAA and .922 save percentage, while Emery sports numbers of 2.09 and .920. What the fuck is wrong with simply having two goaltenders who are both playing fantastically? Just shut the fuck up and appreciate it. Thank you.

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

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Coffee is for Closers: Blackhawks 5 – Avalanche 2

Two for Flinching

This is the type of game you want to see the Blackhawks play against a team that can match them in the speed department. Getting in shooting lanes, not committing penalties, controlling possessions and forcing the other team to either get a goalie win or score more while being outshot by nearly double. There was never a point during this contest where you ever thought Chicago wouldn’t win.

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Bye, Bye, Bye: Shootout Boxing with Blackhawks (2) and Blue Jackets (1)

Credit: Paul Vernon, AP

Credit: Paul Vernon, AP

At least the Central Division “rivalry” with the Blue Jackets ended in style.

Johnny Oduya scored his first goal of the season on a sick pass from Patrick Kane before Jonathan Toews and Kane scored in the shootout to give the Blackhawks a 2-1 win to kick off their four-game road trip.

Kaner also notched his 400th career point with the assist in his 426th career game.

Thursday marked the final time the ‘Hawks and BJs would meet as division foes due to the realignment that will send Columbus to the Eastern Conference beginning next season. And the Jackets gave the ‘Hawks all they could handle in the four meetings. Each were decided by one goal, with two going past regulation.

And who knows? Maybe that won’t be the last time the Blackhawks see Columbus this season after all. The BJs are making a push for the playoffs after earning a point in their ninth straight game.

They didn’t have enough, though, to get past the ‘Hawks (22-2-3), who had dropped their previous two games following The Streak. It’s late so I’ll just leave you with this before Boxing: One concern? The Blackhawks’ penalty kill has allowed six power play goals in 10 chances over their last three games after giving up another one to Columbus.

Otherwise, Boxing has some more positive stuff. Right-click the image, then click ‘view’ to enlarge…

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One Bad Frame: Oilers 6 – Blackhawks 5

You Again?

We failed to recap the first regulation loss (my fault) that bucked the point streak to open the season but the difference in both that contest and this one against the Oilers was the same. One bad period where the Hawks surrendered four goals and it put the game out of reach. The difference between Friday and Sunday’s game was that Chicago battled back and nearly completed the comeback against the Oil.

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And So It Continues: Dramatic Boxing with Blackhawks (3) and Avalanche (2)

"I AM GORILLA SALAD!!!!" (Credit: Chris Sweda,  Chicago Tribune)

“I AM GORILLA SALAD!!!!” (Credit: Chris Sweda, Chicago Tribune)

Marian Hossa is out. You’re in the midst of an extended stretch without Patrick Sharp and Andrew Shaw due to in-game injuries. Who are you going to turn to for some late-game heroics?

Of course you’re going to go with… Gorilla Salad?!

Yep, Dan Carcillo became the 13th different Blackhawk to score a game-winning goal when he slipped one into the net with 49.3 seconds remaining to give the ‘Hawks a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over Colorado on Wednesday night that UC.

The Streak is now at 24 – Jesus H. Christ, they’re fucking 21-0-3 and haven’t been beaten in actual hockey halfway through the season – and the streak within The Streak is at 11 straight wins.

Shit, even LeBron James is taking notice:

LeBron-Tweet

Quickly before Boxing…

– While Q was optimistic regarding Hossa and Shaw following the game, it seems a near certainty that Sharp will be out at least a few games after taking a hard hit into the boards. The ‘Hawks already have dealt with Brent Seabrook and Dave Bolland missing time, and now Q will have to adjust his lines for at least the near future.

The Bryan Bickell-Andrew Shaw-Viktor Stalberg third line has been fantastic, but there’s a chance Stalberg will be bumped up to play with Bolland and Patrick Kane with Sharp being out. We’ll know more once the call-up is announced – Ben Smith? Jeremy Morin? Jimmy Hayes? – but then again it’s Q, so who really knows what to expect? Gorilla Salad may start in goal for all we know.

– Speaking of Carcillo, he mentioned after the game how he’d “like to be more than just an enforcer on this team.” Hey buddy, thanks for the late goal and the two points and all that jazz, but we’re still not overlooking the fact that you’re, well, not good at hockey. You are what you are, and that’s a below-average player who should spend most of his time in the press box making some expensive suit look as stylish as footy pajamas. Enjoy the moment while it lasts.

– Ray Emery did not have his best game tonight, but who the fuck really cares at the point. He allowed only two goals – again, for Christ’s sake – and set an NHL record by winning each of his first 10 starts to begin a season. His post-to-post movement is suspect, but that’s nothing new. He’s getting the job done when his number is called.

– Thanks, Jamie McGinn, for deciding to try and box out Bolland after you lost your stick rather than attempting to stop a determined Jonathan Toews on his way to a short-handed goal. Yeah, that wasn’t smart.

We get to see the Avs again at their place on Friday night, and Adam will be along with your wrap for that one. For now, here’s Boxing.

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

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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:

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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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NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at Detroit Red Wings

Heart Attack Hockey : Blackhawks 2 – Red Wings 1

NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at Detroit Red Wings

Sorry for the delayed recap. Sometimes it’s just your mom’s birthday. Let’s get to it because it’s late and I’m pining to watch ‘The Walking Dead’ tonight. Somthing actually has to happen this evening after the snoozer last week, right? *Update: Solid episode.

What. A. Game. The Blackhawks were awarded two points for their efforts. The Red Wings got one. But the real winners today were anyone who watched this game and the game of hockey in general. Holy shit. While the game was largely irrelevant in the grand scheme of things for the Blackhawks, every single point these days matters for Detroit. I’m glad the ‘Hawks were able to rob them of at least one. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t depressed we’re not going to be able to witness these games six times each season anymore. Re-alignment blows. To the fun stuff.

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hawks toews fans

Minimum Payment: Blackhawks 4 – Blue Jackets 3

Viktor Stalberg: Swedish Limbo Champion (photo credit to Jonathan Daniel, NHL.com)

I’ll be honest with you all in saying that I definitely missed the first goal of the game. While driving to the destination that I was watching last night’s game, we had a little user error and had to listen to the first five minutes on the radio. I did rewatch the game today so now that I’ve seen it twice I feel I can competently comment on what transpired.

That was about as bad as I’ve seen this team look this year and still get a win.

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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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