Coming home for the first time in three weeks, having their coach in the hospital and sitting in 11th place in the Western Conference after winning the Stanley Cup a year prior seemed enough to motivate the Blackhawks on Wednesday night.
It’s about time.
At this point, whatever it takes to get the job done is fine by me. Granted, no one wants to see Joel Quennivelle in the hospital. We can bitch about how he’s handled the team all season, but his absence was still missed.
The Blackhawks’ 3-1 win against the Minnesota Wild was the resurrection of sorts in a few different ways. The ‘Hawks played to their talent, beating a team they needed to beat despite getting hit in the jaw through the first 20 minutes. Marian Hossa was an absolute beast on the ice, and was simply stoned by Jose Theodore to keep him from netting a goal. Some of the shaky goaltending we’ve seen? Not tonight, as Corey Crawford single-handedly kept the ‘Hawks in the game and up a goal in that first period.
Despite all that, the Blackhawks are still four points behind eighth-place Calgary, which beat Dallas 4-2 last night. That may seem pretty bad upon first hearing that, but there’s good news. They’re also only four points out of fourth, as the No. 4 seed and No. 8 seed are all just a single point behind third-place Phoenix.
That’s tighter than Alyssa Milano during her “Who’s the Boss?” days.
And with that, I present your latest edition of “Boxing.” Get well, QStache.
Click the jump for Boxing with ‘Hawks/Wild
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.
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.
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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
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.
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
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?”
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!
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.
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
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.