Blackhawks

Teeter-totter in the Wild West: Boxing with Blackhawks/Wild

Photo: Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE

You just can’t make it easy can you, Blackhawks?

When Tomas Kopecky decided to be, well, Tomas Kopecky, and flick the puck over the boards for absolutely no justified reason, I thought for sure the league’s 26th-ranked penalty was going to let Minnesota tie it.

It was a welcome surprise to not only see a solid kill, but then have Jonathan Toews make a perfect pass to Marian Hossa for the game-clinching shorty.

From 9th to 5th in a matter of a couple hours. Five straight wins allows for such things. Most importantly, Monday’s 4-2 victory against the Wild came in regulation to avoid handing over an extra point to a team the Blackhawks are fighting in the constantly fluctuating Western Conference standings.

I’m very tired tonight, so I’m going to let Boxing do most of the talking. Enjoy, ya’ll.

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Attention Blackhawks: You Were Not Traded. Now Go Win.

Photo: blackhawks.nhl.com

With all the attention on the NHL trade deadline today (when the Blackhawks picked up defenseman Chris Campoli from the Ottawa Senators for pathetic minor-league flame-out Ryan Potulny and an exchange of draft picks) it was easy to forget that the ‘Hawks have a game tonight. The Men of Four Feathers are in Minnesota to take on the Wild, a team with an identical record but by virtue of the screwy tie-breaking system sit just ahead of them in the Western Conference standings.

This is a must-win game, the fourth in a stretch of 22 must-win games for the Blackhawks. But we’ll add another requirement to the Blackhawks’ job tonight: win in REGULATION.

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Take It for What It’s Worth: Boxing with Blackhawks/Coyotes

"Thank you, Lord, for making me rich." (Chicago Tribune)

The funny thing is the points awarded to each the Blackhawks and Coyotes somewhat relates to the scoring of a boxing match.

The Blackhawks won periods one and three, dominating like we haven’t seen nearly enough of this season. Phoenix took the second period when the ‘Hawks left their talent in the locker room.

Two points for Chicago, one for the Coyotes.

I guess the main point, however, is that we need not necessarily worry about HOW the points are earned right now – just that they’re earned. Obviously handing over a point to a team we’re chasing in the West isn’t anywhere near ideal, but progress was made – even if it’s not the amount we really wanted.

Oh right, the astoundingly good things. Well, I’d like to know how many true fans of other teams can look at one player on their roster and say, “I know that he’s not going to let me down tonight,” each time their team hits the ice. Blackhawks fans are fortunate enough to have Jonathan Toews be that guy. It never gets old to praise the Captain, and he proves worthy of it each night. The fact that he’s not discussed more is a testament to just how ridiculously solid he has been this season, almost as if he’s willing this team to get into the playoffs.

Oh, and  Marian Hossa is once again nearing man-crush status. He’s scored a goal in three straight games for the first time since Oct. 15-18.

Other stuff…

♦   Fels already beat me to it, but I was thinking the same thing as him when Jordan Hendry went down: Stan Bowman is most likely going to overpay for a defenseman today. It’s going to happen, we just have to hope it’s no one like a Troy Brouwer who will be the price. I never, ever, ever, ever in a million years thought I’d say this, but releasing  Nick Boynton may have come at the wrong time. While I absolutely and genuinely think he brings nothing positive to the ice, it would be nice to have that extra defensive body who has at least had experience playing with these guy be available. If Bowman ends up farting away a top-6 forward or harming the future by dealing a top prospect for a rental defenseman, The Curse of Nick Boynton will continue …

♦   Hi, penalty kill. Any chance this improves in my lifetime? Combine the extreme problems the ‘Hawks had tonight – which all but led to them blowing a pair of two-goal leads – with Hendry’s injury, and Bowman has 60 minutes of film to justify being as desperate as virgin one-legged midget come the deadline. It’s going to take some restraint from him to not make a reaction trade to tonight’s events. Hopefully he slept on it rather than making calls immediately after the ‘Hawks left the ice.

♦   Corey Crawford is second in the NHL in goals-against average. If any of you out there, even those who believe Crawford was ready to play in the league, say you believed this would happen this year, you’re lying and it’s not funny.

Boxing will take you from here ….

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All-Out Assault: Pummeling Bryzgalov Key To Beating Coyotes

Photo: Phoenix NewTimes

Today is the kick-off to the most grueling part of the Blackhawks’ season: five games over seven days, starting with three opponents hovering just above them in the Western Conference standings. Today’s opponent is the Phoenix Coyotes, who recently wrapped up an 8-game winning streak that included a 3 – 2 shootout win against Chicago. It was this stretch of solid play that propelled them to fourth place in the West.

This is a big one for the Blackhawks, and we owe these pukes. But how do we derail this train?

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Locking Him Up: Seabrook Signs Contract Extension

Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook has signed a contract extension for 5 years and a reported $29 million. This takes one of the biggest restricted free-agent headaches off the Blackhawks’ plates as the off-season approaches.

This puts the focus on GM Stan Bowman to acquire the penalty-killing defenseman he has been in search of, and he has roughly 24 hours to put a deal together. Stay tuned to BlackhawkUp for details.

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Too Many Men on the Site

Working For The Weekend: ‘Hawks Have Day Off

Photo: Chicago Blackhawks

Some quick items to pass along as you head into your weekend.

The Blackhawks took the day off from practice, as they get ready for a 5-game-in-7-day stretch that starts this Sunday at home against the Phoenix Coyotes. From there it’s up to Minnesota to face the Wild, back home to host the Calgary Flames and Carolina Hurricanes, then up for a rare trip to Air Canada Center to take on the Maple Leafs in Toronto in a nation-wide broadcast of CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada on March 5th.

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Blackhawks Place Nick Boynton On Waivers

Photo: AP

It has just been announced that Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Nick Boynton has been placed on waivers by the team as of noon EST today. Boynton joined the ‘Hawks late last season and has played 41 games this season, amassing 1 goal, 7 assists, 36 penalty minutes and a +1 rating.

He and his $500K salary are eligible to be claimed by any team in the league until noon EST tomorrow.

Follow us on Twitter and keep up with us on Facebook to get all the latest news as the trade deadline approaches.

Visit the NEW Blackhawk Up Store with new designs!
Follow BlackhawkUp.com
@blackhawksup and on Facebook
Download Blackhawk Up’s FREE iPhone and Droid apps
Visit FanSided’s NHL page,
Too Many Men on the Site

A Smile Can Make the Pain Go Away: Boxing with Blackhawks/Preds

Credit: Frederick Breedon, NHLI via Getty Images

Put a log on whatever fire is currently lit under the Blackhawks’ collective ass.

The Blackhawks finally realized that a regulation NHL  hockey game lasts 60 minutes, rather than pretending this was Kindergarten and there was nap time after the milk gets passed out.

A few thoughts before we get into Boxing:

♦   You’ll hear this a lot, I’m sure, but Duncan Keith played his best game of the season. I’d love to know why he decided to save it for this long, but we got back our Norris Trophy winner for a night. Keith was all over the place, made smart passes and looked more aggressive and smart than I’ve seen him in awhile.

♦   Niklas Hjalmarsson played only three minutes in the third period after suffering an upper-body injury.

♦   Hi, Marian Hossa, I like when you’re awesome. Pekka Rinne  may as well have been Ray Charles  on that breakaway, because he had no chance. I like this Hossa. I want more of this Hossa. Please can I have more of this Hossa?

♦   No more bitching about calls from that Vancouver game a few weeks ago. I’ve heard people bring it up once a week since how the Blackhawks got hosed. That makes two phanton goaltender interference calls that negated goals for the opposition, and we won both games. We’re all even. Drop it now.

♦   Why Viktor Stalberg continues to see less than 10 minutes per night boggles my mind. What’s he done so wrong? This looks like another instance similar to when Q got something in his head about Jordan Hendry and he got scratch more than an instant lotto ticket for two months.

♦   Corey Crawford played very well tonight, and his save on Martin Erat right off the initial faceoff to open the game kept Nashville from taking early momentum. If that goal goes in, I might be writing something completely different tonight.

And now, Boxing:

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This Is Getting Old Already: Blackhawks Must Win in Nashville

Photo: LIFE/Getty Images

The Nashville Predators sit in a 4-way tie for the 5th through 8th spots in the Western Conference, with the Blackhawks nipping at their heels only 2 points behind. A win for the ‘Hawks tonight puts them into that pile as well, with momentum on their side. Put simply, it’s another must-win game. Just like the last one, and like the other 21 left to be played after tonight.

I’m investing in a defibrillator. This is getting ridiculous.

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Blackhawks Beat Writers Seem Reluctant to Ask Tough Questions

Before I get into this, I would like to first say I know the difficulties that come with being a beat writer for a team. I’ve done it professionally. There’s a very thin line between being accepted and being banished, and it can often be extremely hard to tight-rope that line.

Never do you want to overstep your bounds. However, you also cannot let certain things detract from your job: Bringing the public to the forefront of issues going on within the team. There’s a reason journalism is competitive in terms of being “first to report.” Every ad for a big-market  journalism job, especially in sports, says candidates must have the “ability to break news and develop sources.”

It’s just the way it goes. Do your Blackhawks beat writers do a good job overall? I’d say yes. Can they go deeper and ask tougher questions? Without a doubt.

Are they afraid of being banished by John McDonough? It’s something we’ll probably never get a straight answer about.

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