Blackhawks

Put Up Or Shut Up: Blackhawks Host Minnesota Wild at the UC

Photo: Getty Images

For a view on the Wild, read Bartl’s interview with Wild.com’s Glen Andresen.

The time for moaning and groaning is over. No more excuses. Sure, we’ve had a lot of illness and injuries. Sure, we don’t have a firm handle on who our “starting” goaltender is — like that designation matters. Sure, everyone’s on pins and needles because there might be another trade coming in the next two weeks. Sure, we’re elbow-deep in a tight playoff race with 10 other teams all shooting for the same five slots in a kill-or-get-killed race to an invisible finish line.

Does any of this matter? Verily I say unto thee, it does not. The name of the game is HOCKEY. Pass, shoot, score. Forget the press, forget the rumor mill, forget the standings. Forget everything but the fact that in five seconds it’s your shift, and you had better get your ass out there and give 110%. Head up, stick down, anticipate, don’t forget what’s behind you. It’s time to put the blinders on, fellas. It’s crunch time.

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Joel Quenneville Hospitalized

Blackhawks’ GM Stan Bowman announced at the team’s practice today that Head Coach Joel Quenneville was hospitalized on Tuesday night, having reported being in “extreme discomfort.” Details are being kept private, but Quenneville was apparently kept overnight and will undergo more tests today.

Blackhawks’ team physician Dr. Michael Terry stated that the problem was not cardiac in nature. Quenneville is apparently in stable condition, is resting comfortably in the hospital, and will undergo further testing.

Assistant Coach Mike Haviland will assume head coaching duties for the Blackhawks’ game against the Minnesota Wild tonight at the United Center.

Follow @blackhawksup on Twitter to get the latest news on the Blackhawks throughout the day.

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Behind Enemy Lines: Interview with Wild.com’s Glen Andresen

As Martin Havlat, John Madden, Cam Barker  and the Minnesota Wild once again return to the United Center tomorrow night, I wanted to get a different perspective of the matchup other than the biased opinions that float around these parts.

So, I went to the source. Glen Andresen is the Managing Editor of Wild.com and covers the team through his fantastic blog, View From the Lighthouse. He was kind enough to answer a few of my questions about tomorrow night’s matchup, Minnesota’s playoff push, the impact of the All-Star Havlat and an outsider’s view of the 2010-11 Chicago Blackhawks.

Click the jump for the Q&A with Glen Andresen

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Glass-Half-Empty Boxing: Blackhawks Drop Two More

EDITORS NOTE: Tim and Bartl put together a combo post here. Tim has the commentary, Bartl has your shortened version of Boxing from both the Stars and Coyotes games where he breaks down the summary. Enjoy, ya’ll.

Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? (Getty Images)

Okay, so the characterization in this article’s title is not entirely accurate. Or is it? The ‘Hawks let two points that they could easily have taken from Dallas and Phoenix slip through their fingers. They ended the road trip with two wins, two outright losses, and two shootout losses over the six-game span. That’s not going to do it, folks.

If the Blackhawks continue this level of performance — one period of coordinated hard work and 40 minutes that look like five guys who only met each other when they took the ice six seconds ago — they are going to find themselves searching for Saturday tee times before the grass in Chicago is really even green.

Click the jump for Boxing with ‘Hawks/Stars/Coyotes

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Healing By Degrees: Blackhawks Take On Coyotes

Photo: AP

So what can you say about last night’s game against Dallas? How do you put a positive spin on that? “At least we had a good first period?” “Marty Turco was great up until the shootout?” “We managed to get a point out of it?” “Look on the bright side: we could have been playing the Islanders?”

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Chicago Pucks Cancer Fundraiser / Road Watch /Boynton Screw-up Watch

As most of you have noticed throughout the week on the Facebook page, Chicks Who Give A Puck and Second City Hockey in a joint effort are hosting a fundraising Road Watch on Saturday night. The event will be held at Bottom Lounge (1375 W. Lake St.). If you are in the area and don’t go, you’re an asshole.

Money raised will go to helping the Young Survival Coalition, which is devoted to helping women under the age of 35 who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Since I take the stand of a close friend of mine who lost his mother to breast cancer, I agree with him that cancer “should go play hide and go fuck itself.”

I’ve decided to donate some cash, giving $5 for every Nick Boynton  fuck up in tonight’s game. If he’s scratched, then I will give $20 no matter what. If you add that on to the fact I’m donating $10 just because the ‘Hawks thankfully traded Jack Skille, that’s at least $30 from me going in the pot.

Don’t be an asshole, go visit the official page and donate and come out with all us idiots to watch the ‘Hawks beat Phoenix!

Hopefully Getting Serious: Blackhawks Visit Slumping Stars

Shit! Wrong sweater!

Wednesday was a busy day for the Blackhawks in a couple of ways. The ‘Hawks traded under-performing winger Jack Skille and two forward prospects to Florida for C/W Michael Frolik and what some say is an outstanding young goaltender now playing in Europe. Following that news, the team then took the ice and beat last-place Edmonton in convincing (but by no means impressive) fashion, stopping their losing skid at two games and pulling even on their 6-game road trip.

Hopefully these two events represent a turning point for everyone in the organ-eye-zation. The playoffs are 28 games away, and right now we’re not in them. It appears that Stan Bowman is getting serious, hopefully the team will follow his lead as they head south to take on the Stars.

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Not lacking Skill(e): Boxing with Blackhawks/Oilers

Good riddance, asshole.

I’ve made no secret that I’ve never been a fan of  Jack Skille. He’s a quick skater, but he’s reckless. He can create at times, but he can’t finish. And the last time I saw him make a pass in the offensive zone was when I attended a Rockford IceHogs vs. Chicago Wolves game two years ago.

The only person willing to give up anything of value for Skille was the man who drafted him 7th overall in 2005, Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon. Well Dale, you can have your bust back. And thanks for the depth at center with 22-year-old, back-to-back 21-goal scorer Michael Frolik.

Don’t let the door… No, let the eff-ing door hit your sorry ass on the way out, Skille. Enjoy the giant bugs and white shoes.

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

Click the jump for Boxing with ‘Hawks/Oilers

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The Comeback Trail: Blackhawks Visit Edmonton

"Duncs said what?"

The reaction following Monday’s loss to Calgary was swift and severe. Duncan Keith’s F-bomb from the post-game interview expressed the frustration felt by players, coaches and fans alike: no matter what the solution is, the ‘Hawks need to find it. Fast.

Tonight’s game will most likely tell the tale. Are the Blackhawks going to learn from this, get their shit together and start playing like they are capable of? Or are they going to fold and let the teams in the highly-competitive Western Conference relegate them to the “also-ran” category for the post-season?

Tuesday the Blackhawks were greeted at practice with what’s called a ‘bag skate.’ The precise origin of the phrase is a point of contention, but the definition is undisputed: doing skating drills so hard for so long that somebody starts shouting groceries. Watch the movie ‘Miracle’ for a classic example. In pre-season it is sometimes used to help whip summer-softened players into game shape. With 30 games to go in the regular season, this was punishment.

So the message has been sent, and received. Monday’s performance was crap, it won’t be tolerated, and the time to start playing up to expectations is right fucking now.

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Blackhawks need some luck? Look no further than eBay!

Boxing with ‘Hawks/Flames coming up this afternoon…

As the season nears a stretch in which every game is important for our beloved Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks to simply make the playoffs in the airtight Western Conference, it’s never a problem to have Lady Luck kneeling down in front of you.

Or even Old Man Luck… ?

Yes, ‘Hawks fans, this “Chicago Blackhawks Official Good Luck Garden Gnome” can be yours for the low price of $22.44! And fear not if you’re late reading this post. There’s THREE available! Please do not go running each other over electronically to get your weather-resistant good luck charm as the ‘Hawks fight for a play off spot.

If you’re one of those fans who believes the Blackhawks’ playoff chances are a coin flip, then you can’t lose! Feast your eyes on the “Chicago Blackhawks Good Luck Novelty Lincoln 2010 Penny!” All your luck can be wrapped up in Honest Abe for the low, low price of $3.99!

Happy bidding, ‘Hawks fans. Another losing streak and purchasing these items may not seem so crazy.

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Scorched Earth Policy: Red Hot Flames Host Blackhawks

Yay! Now Mr. Feaster won't fire us!

The Calgary Flames lost in a shootout to Los Angeles on Saturday, ending their 6-game winning streak. In the last 10 games, the Flames are 7-1-2. That’s 16 points out of a possible 20 — more than the last-10-game stretch for any other team in the Western Conference, and topped only by Philadelphia and Pittsburgh in the East. They have earned enough points to now leap-frog the Blackhawks in the Western Conference standings by a single point. To say this team is “streaking” is like saying the sun is kinda warm.

Jay Feaster’s ascension to the GM post has had its desired effect, so it seems.

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Effort ain’t enough: Boxing with Blackhawks/Canucks

QStache said it. I’ve heard and read others say it….

If the Blackhawks play this way the rest of the season, the playoffs will be a lock and they’ll make some noise on top of it.

Me? I’m not buying that for a second.

The problem with that statement is that we’ve said it way too often. There’s a consistent thought among us fans that we need to take the positives out of a season like this, especially knowing how embarrassing it will be for the ‘Hawks to miss the playoffs after winning the Stanley Cup just last season.

Click the jump for Boxing with ‘Hawks/Canucks, 2/4/11

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What, YOU again? Hawks visit Canuckleheads

"I'm telling you, it's KEH-sha! Not KEEE-sha! And she's (*OOOF!*) HOT!

Canada is known for its pacifism, however if you wear a Blackhawks jersey in downtown Vancouver you’re likely to get the snot beaten out of you. Mention the Canucks in Chicago, and the response will likely be, “Yeah, we’ve had their number for years.” Mention the ‘Hawks in Vancouver, and you’re likely to get spit on. They HAAAAYYYYTTTEEE us up there. And with good reason.

We bounced them out of the playoffs the last two years in a row, when they were convinced that they were going all the way.

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Blown away: Boxing with ‘Hawks/BJs

Hey, did anyone realize it’s snowing outside? I wasn’t sure until every single person’s Facebook status told me. My windows that are clear and easy to look out of must be broken.

At least the Blackhawks got their six-game road trip off to a good start, even if they didn’t play like they’ll need to Friday in Vancouver.

The penalty kill continued to shine, the ‘Hawks actually took advantage of a 5-on-3 and Jonathan Toews was, well, Jonathan Toews.  The 7-4 victory wasn’t always a walk in the park, but Marty Turco’s big stop on Jakub Voracek to keep the game tied 3-3 was all I needed to validate a rather surprising start.

I’m going to let Boxing do most of the talking tonight, as it makes it’s triumphant return. Without further ado…

Click the jump for Boxing with ‘Hawks/Blue Jackets, 2/1/11

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Enough Putzing Around: Blackhawks Visit Columbus BJs

Didn't want to draft me, huh Kaner? Wait until we get back to Chicago...

Sure, the Blackhawks had a great time down in Raleigh rubbing elbow pads with the rich and famous. Sure, Patrick Sharp was named MVP of the All-Star Game with a goal and four (that’s right, I saw the replays, FOUR) assists. Sure, Patrick Kane tossed a did-he-just-do-that saucer pass to former mate Dustin Byfuglien that he buried so deep in the net the refs had to use repelling gear to retrieve it. Sure, Jonathan Toews did a spin-o-rama move before potting one of his own. Sure, even former Blackhawk Martin Havlat had a decent night, and every current and former Blackhawk on the ice on Sunday ended up on the scoresheet. And sure, aside from all the shenanigans in Dixie, Brian Campbell got engaged.

Hopefully our arms aren’t still sore from patting ourselves on the back, are they boys? Because vacation’s over. Enough putzing around. It’s time to go to work. Now listen up.

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Hello, Hockey World. My name is Patrick Sharp

"Quick. Come see how good looking I am!" (AP)

Most of  Patrick Sharp’s popularity stems from his good looks.

Now, he’s the most handsome All-Star Game MVP there’s ever been.

This award wasn’t for his victory in a random Internet Sexiest NHL Player contest, nor did Sharp Dressed Man play after any of his accomplishments on a national stage — a goal and two assists. It just so happens his star shined brighter than any other Sunday in Raleigh.

Not bad for a guy who gets roughly the fifth-most attention on his own team.

It’s no secret Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith and Marian Hossa are the most talked-about Blackhawks. The fans voted in the first three, despite Sharp having a better season when the ‘Hawks needed it most with the departures and injuries.

Hell, Sharp wasn’t even on the damn ballot.

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The Daily Phil Esposito (1/27/11)

"Man, I can't stop a nose bleed... oh man I am drunk"

18 former hawks took the ice last night, and the only point was a goal by Mr. Energy Adam Burish. The three goalies lost all their games. Hope you enjoy your last edition until after the All-Star game.

Click the jump for updates from the 1/26/11 games

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The Daily Phil Esposito (1/26/11)

"I scored a game winning goal? Take that Crosby!"

There were eleven former featherheads on the ice last night and they combined to score two points which were both goals. Tonight is the last night which there will be games before the All-Star break until games start back up next Tuesday. I will have an All-Star Espo for former Hawks that do play in the game out next Monday.

With this being the All-Star break, I will put out my two cents of the Hawks this season. First of all after watching last nights game I am sick to my stomach. The inconsistency is killing me. The defense seems to have bad habits of being out of position and have left Corey and Marty out to dry a lot this season.

Another thing that I have beef with is that Kaner needs to put on his big boy pants and step up. He has been better of late but still needs to start racking up points. All season I have listened to Bartl bad mouth Skille and I kind of disagreed with him until the last couple games. He had showed a lot of hustle but he makes dumb mistakes and he looks like he is trying to hard to make things happen and that has led to many mistakes. On top of that Stalberg needs to start playing like the guy that Bowman said he was. Nick Boynton sucks. Lastly Dave Bolland who has been playing well of late, needs to start being consistent on face-offs and act like he cares.

I have a lot more to say but I will leave the rest of the analysis to Bartl and Tim for now. I just wanted to get my frustration of my chest. Hope you enjoyed my rant and the rest of today’s edition of the Espo.

Click the jump for updates from the m/d/11 games

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Stanley Cup Rematch: Chrissy and Company Visit The Champions

Nice gams, ya poodle molester...

Has it really been seven months?

Seven months and twelve days, to be exact. The rosters have changed somewhat, the puck is still missing, and Chris Pronger is still a consummate fucktard. Philadelphia still has goaltending problems, Chicago is still relying on a rookie netminder to carry the load, and I think we’ll see later today that these two teams still hate each other’s living guts.

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Sin And Redemption: Blackhawks Split Weekend Series

"Nice of you to join us, there, Toewsy!"

Another third period collapse cost the Blackhawks a point on Saturday, and it was only due to remarkable goaltending on the part of Corey Crawford that they managed to keep it to one. But the story was different on Sunday, as the Blackhawks erupted for four goals in the third period, turning up the gas and stuffing the previous night’s loss down the Predators’ throats.

Additionally it was a weekend that showed some of the areas of weakness the Blackhawks need to work on: between the two games their superstar forwards scored only one of the ‘Hawks’ eight goals; penalty killing was heinous; and the predictability of the Blackhawks’ shootout participants means everyone but the greenest of rookie goaltenders knows who is shooting, in what order, and where they will be aiming for.

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The Daily Phil Esposito (1/18/11)

"Its been a while since I actually did something positive!"

There were 13 former hawks to take the ice last night amassing a total of just one goal and one assist. The on goalie won his second game in a row and his name is Antti Niemi. Hope you enjoy this edition of the Espo. I don’t know what I am going to do this week without any hawks games… Might actually do homework for once…

Click the jump for updates from the 1/17/11 games

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The Daily (Weekend) Esposito (1/17/11)

"Holy shit... I actually did something? Maybe coach might make me captain again... Nahh I still suck"

This edition of the Espo has the games from Saturday and Sunday night. Saturday the former hawks had a good night. Antti got his first win in a while and the skater had ten points scoring three goals and seven assists. (Pretty good production from these guys.) On Sunday there were seven ex-Feather heads to take the ice. The two goalies split their decisions. The one win came from the goalie who is playing his ass off this season and the other one got a DUI in the crease… The skaters produced four goals totaling 14 points for the weekend, seven of both goals and assists. Hope you enjoy this edition and had a good weekend. Was a loooong weekend for this college kid… But at least the Hawks got 3 of 4 points possible.

Click the jump for updates from this weekends games

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Into The Lions’ Den: Home-And-Home With Nashville

I heard you used to me good, old man...

The Chicago Blackhawks have an important two games this weekend with the division rival Predators, who just had a six-game win streak come to an end with a 3 – 2 loss to Florida. We know this team and their strategy well: aggressive two-man forecheck; three-across modified trap defense; and stingy — but not impenetrable — goaltending.

The Preds are 2nd in the league in goals against, but 24th in goals scored. Their leading scorer Patrick Hornqvist has a whopping 13 goals. Patrick Sharp has 25 goals, and the Blackhawks have 6 players with 10 goals or more.

So the key for this weekend will be breaking out of our zone, smashing through their defense, and pummeling their goaltender. Also mission-critical: ZERO mistakes in our own zone. Having Nick Boynton out of the lineup should help to minimize that problem. We lost the first two games to these guys this season, but took the third in a definitive 4 – 1 victory at home on December 22 — battering goaltender Anders Lindback with 35 shots. Repeat that performance, and we’re golden.

So that’s the Predators in a nutshell: now on to more important matters. There are several things to be on the lookout for with the Blackhawks, first among them rookie goaltender Corey Crawford. Craw-daddy has a 120+ minute shutout streak going, and will start again tonight in Nashville.

First up, let’s dispense with the “gotta be a record” talk. The modern era record is 323 minutes set by Brian Boucher with Phoenix in 2004. But the longest shutout streak in the history of the NHL is held by Alec Connell of the Ottawa Senators back in 1927 — 461 minutes, 29 seconds. Seven and a half games.

But the really interesting talk involves a certain trophy that starts with a ‘C’ that is given to the top rookie in the NHL. This, to my way of thinking, is the Chicago media types getting WAY ahead of themselves and creating something fun to write about.

After all, when Steve Mason won the rookie of the year back in 2008-09 he racked up 33 wins. Corey Crawford is currently at 15, and there are 37 games left in the season. Assuming he gets 4 out of 5 starts, he’d have to win 18 of those 30 games to meet Mason’s mark. Not that 33 wins is the minimum requirement, I’m just saying — it’s a long shot. Let’s be happy that we have a hot starter with a strong, veteran waiting in the wings, and hope it continues.

The other thing to keep an eye on will happen when the puck drops, and will be invisible to the naked eye. Rookie defenseman Nick Leddy is playing his 10th game with the Blackhawks tonight. The minute the puck drops, Nick Leddy is likely to be with the Blackhawks for the rest of the season.

The ten-game threshold is the point at which the team “burns” the first year of Leddy’s entry-level contract. That means that the team has decided that Leddy is ready for the NHL, and is willing to back up that opinion by tossing aside a half-million dollars. From a practical perspective, the team would not breech this limit without a firm intention to keep Leddy in Chicago for the remainder of the season. No sense in blowing 500 large if you aren’t going to get your money’s worth.

Get used to seeing Nick Leddy as the fifth D-man with the Blackhawks. A welcome change.

Game time is 7:00pm tonight in Music City. TV is Comcast SportsNet, broadcast radio is WGN AM-720, and XM subscribers can find the game on channel 239.

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The Daily Phil Esposito (1/15/11)

"Hello Cap-tioon." - Martin Laurenc, Bad Boys ll

There were nine former hawks to take the ice last night. Eight of them were skaters who only were able to produce one goal, which was by a fine Ladd-y. The one goalie to play decided to get off his ass and start playing… and put up an impressive performance.

Click the jump for updates from the 1/14/11 games

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Bumbles Bounce: Avalanche Make Final Visit To Chicago

The Colorado Avalanche are an enigma. They are 3 – 5 – 2 in their last 10 games, the most recent of which were a win over Detroit and losses to the Islanders and Phoenix. But the start of the season they were on a tear, and they currently sit one point ahead of Chicago in the Western Conference standings.

There is simply no telling which Avalanche team is going to show up on any given night with this bunch. They could skate circles around the team leading the league in points, or they could give up 6 goals to some cellar dweller.

However, we know one thing: they’ve beaten the Blackhawks three times already this season, including back-to-back defeats in a home-and-home in mid-December. So the four-game season series is blown: now we’re just playing for the two points, and pride.

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