Blackhawks

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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