Matt McClure of Second City Hockey sent out a few questions for us idiots to discuss now that we have just passed the midway point of the season. The answers come from myself, Forklift of Hockee Night, Sam Fels of The Committed Indian, SCH and NBC.com’s Madhouse Enforcer, the Fifth Feather and Chris Block of The Third Man In. Enjoy, ya’ll.
McClure: All right men, it’s been far too long since we’ve done one of these. It seems like it’s a decent point in the season to do one so let’s get at it, shall we?
1) What do you see as being wrong with Duncan Keith to this point in the season, and can it be fixed?
Forklift: I’m hoping it’s something as simple as him being a little overwhelmed at being paid $8 million, and is trying to do too much. You can see where he’s just not simplifying his game – looking for that one extra pass, shooting where there’s no lane, playing with the puck too much. All things that are not part of the Duncan Keith game.
I’m envisioning the solution being R. Lee Ermey walking into the Hawks’ dressing room and yelling at him “What’s the matter with you, boy? You’re DUNCAN KEITH!!! Start playing like you’re DUNCAN KEITH!!! Do you understand me???”
Fifth Feather: At this point in the season, other than blasting shot after shot off shin guards, he’s been alright. His start to the season is what everyone remembers now, but the mistakes Keith has been making lately (poor angles, firing the puck away without looking, etc.) are all things he’s been doing his whole career. So I’m not sure those things will ever be wholly rectified.
The difference between last year and this year was his shot finding the back of the net with a bit more regularity and his mistakes weren’t as glaring because when he did make them, it was Huet’s fault or the opposition didn’t capitalize on them.
Bartl: I’m inclined to side with The Feather here, because a lot of his mistakes are things we’ve seen before. The difference seems to be they’re happening a lot more frequently than last season. Maybe he’s over-thinking, trying to anticipate the opponent’s forecheck rather than than reacting to what it gives him to work with. The blind passes are more frequent, and when he does hold possession, he seems to be holding it too long. Far too many times he’s been caught dilly-dalying with the puck as the opposition moves on in him force a turnover or at least slow down the ‘Hawks attack. Then there’s the obvious blind shots without finding a lane before firing. Whether or not it can be fixed depends on him dealing with the mental side of getting over his mistakes, in my opinion.
4 Games last night, in which 6 former featherheads played. One point was recorded which was an assist from Kris Versteeg. Oh and Detroit *Spitting Noise* lost, making me a very happy guy. Enjoy folks…
Click the jump for updates from the 1/2/11 games
As usual, Mondays after two weekend games gets you a double dose of Boxing. Boom
I can sit here and say, “Yeah we got four points, but look at the competition,” but I may be in the minority of people who say the Blackhawks could be turning a corner.
The reason I bring up the possibility of a stretch of improved play is simply because of momentum. Sometimes, a couple of crappy wins can turn out to be the saving grace for a struggling team. The reason? The players remove the word “crappy” and look at the bare basics: A win is a win.
There won’t be any bold predictions from me guaranteeing this, nor will I say it cannot happen. But I’m leaning more on the side of this weekend being good for the Blackhawks’ 2011. Maybe it’s just the meatball in me.
Patrick Kane looks like he’s finally fully healthy. More importantly, he looks like he cares. His Give A Fuck has been broken for most of this season, so hopefully that got repaired along with his ankle.
The penalty kill still blows, though they killed their one against the Isles. That ended five straight de-pants-ings on the kill.
And how about dat der Corey Crawford guy der. First shutout of the season Sunday, and it was well deserved.
Not gonna waste a ton of time going over two games you’ve already seen, so here’s Boxing. As always, click the images to enlarge.
First up, ‘Hawks/Sens from Friday…
Click the jump for Boxing with ‘Hawks/Sens, followed by ‘Hawks/Isles
Go to the Senators home page, click on “News.” You’ll laugh your ass off.
“Senators Working Towards Major Turnaround.” “Alfredsson: We believe that we can be better.” “Sens GM Maintains Belief Turnaround Is Possible.” “Senators Carrying Optimism Into Season’s Second Half.”
Translation: “We know we suck, we’ll try to do better.”
The damn image loader in WordPress isn’t working tonight, meaning Boxing will have to wait until it’s fixed. So, I’m going to give you a piece of my mind without the pretty pictures.
I’m going to focus on fan response to last night’s loss, then get into a couple of other things. So, yes, you’re right … this is going to be an all out Bitch Fest directed pretty much toward everyone.
I received emails and heard people talking about a couple of things after last night’s game, and here’s how I feel about it:
There were nine former feather-heads to take the ice last night. All the scored came from Laddy… which was two assists. Couple other notes in there, as well as a little rant on the hawks game from last night… I have been pretty cool about them all season, but last nights game really got under my skin and ticked me off… Hope that the Espo lightens your mood. Also thank you to all those who have emailed me with the kind words and get well wishes. I am doing great and I am very glad that you enjoy the daily post.
Click the jump for updates from the 1/5/11 games
There’s never a dull moment when the Dallas Stars come to town, and their last visit was no exception. The last time they were in town, Chicago managed to blow a 3-goal lead, ride a 1-goal advantage through the entire third period before potting an empty-netter with one tick left on the clock.
In admist all that was the scene shown above, where Jake Dowell had Dallas meat-hole Steve Ott bent over and squealing, but let him stand up before clocking him another few times for good measure.
But the most bizarre event of all was the scoring opportunity by Stars forward Trevor Daley in the final minute of the game. While attempting to defend his own zone, Blackhawks’ defenseman Brent Seabrook fell over backwards. Here’s where things get strange. When Seabrook’s hand hit the ice, his stick — for lack of a better term — was released from his grip. The loose stick interfered with Daley and he was unable to get a decent shot off. There was no call on the play.
Dallas Coach Marc Crawford went non-linear, screaming a barrage of obscenities at the officials that would make Russell Crowe cringe. He continued on his way into the locker room and later in the post-game press conference. His contention was that a penalty shot should have been awarded, but Coach Crawford needs to review his rule book.
The BLACKHAWKS are …
… 21-17-3 (T-2nd, Central)
… 12-10-0 at home
… 5-5-0 in their last 10 (Won 1)
… 7-4-1 against the Pacific Division
… 16-8-2 when scoring first
… 16-3-1 when leading after 2nd period
The STARS are …
… 23-13-4 (1st, Pacific)
… 11-7-1 on the road
… 5-3-2 in their last 10 (Won 1)
… 8-3-2 against the Central Division
… 17-2-0 when scoring first
… 10-0-0 when leading after 2nd period
POWER PLAY: Blackhawks, 25.5% (1st) ; Stars, 17.1% (17th)
PENALTY KILL: Blackhawks 79.0% (25th) ; Stars 79.2% (24th)
» The Blackhawks beat the Stars 5-3 on Dec. 8th (Boxing, with Marc Crawford’s tirade)
» The Stars are 2-5-2 in Chicago in their last nine trips.
Click the jump for more STATS
In five games total last night there were seven former hawks who took the ice and they all shit the bed. The six forwards combined for a minus four rating, without scoring a single point. The one goalie that played lost to the hottest team in the league despite making it an impressive game. Sorry there isn’t more, after surgery I have no energy to write about every single player.
Click the jump for updates from the 1/3/11 games
King me, please.
The Blackhawks completed a four-game season sweep of L.A. with a 4-3 victory that came with a few surprises, including:
» The sweep itself. Who the hell saw that coming, especially with the ‘Hawks struggles
» Jonathan Toews’ early – and welcome – return from injury
» Jake Dowell being scratched with no explanation yet if it relates to his 3rd-period benching against the Ducks
» Patrick Sharp’s fifth career two-goal game against the Kings. That’s, like, a lot.
The Captain’s return proved to be not only timely, but also not rushed. Most of us were worried about whether or not he’d be fully ready to go, and he quelled those worries with a solid performance. Toews’ “lucky” goal that bounced in off an errant clearing attempt by Drew Doughty happened because he was in front of the net like he should have been.
Sharp had another very handsome night, potting a goal on the power play and adding another off an aggressive forecheck by him and Tomas Kopecky. Nifty passing on the PP goal, as Kane made a nice pass across while Marian Hossa baited Jarrett Stoll into sinking toward the net, opening the passing lane.
Cash. Money. Hoes.
The Blackhawks did everything they could to attempt to lose this game, however. They were outplayed in the first period until Hossa tied it late, then took three shitty penalties in a row in the third period. The too-many-men call is flat out stupid, Duncan Keith was sleep-skating on his dipshit toss over the boards, and Toews’ high-stick shouldn’t have happened. It led to the equalizer until Toews’ shin scored the winner.
A few more thoughts here:
» Patrick Kane is still being bothered by his injury, I’ve decided. I came to this conclusion when he skated in with Dave Bolland on a 2-on-1 and did not once even consider putting the puck on net. Confidence? Well, maybe, given that he’s still getting back in the groove after sitting out eight games. More importantly, he looks a bit shaky on his skates, and I believe it may hurt him to plant and twist that ankle in order fire off a decent shot. Kane glided into the zone and looked at Bolland the whole way. Kane is a scorer, and that’s what we need from him. The cute pass on an odd-man rush is not what anyone wants to see. If it’s the ankle like I believe it is, maybe a night off for Kane would do some good.
» Brent Seabrook did his best Nick Boynton impression by making a blind, dipshit clearing attempt that resulted in a turnover and a Kings goal. Overall, he played like a pile of shit.
» Corey Crawford got another win, but hopefully he made out with the posts on the Staples Center nets after the game. Those red, iron bastards sure helped deflect the pucks outwardly. I’d count and tell you how many posts the Kings hit in the game, but my calculator is broken. However, he made a great save on Anze Kopitar’s chance with under a minute left and Jonathan Quick on the bench in favor of the extra man.
» The minutes of Jack Skille and Viktor Stalberg were next to nothing after a decent night in Anaheim, when QStache benched Dowell. Skille and Stalberg rode the pine most of the game, and Dowell watched from the press box as a healthy scratch. Granted, Skille did have a turnover that led to a Kings goal, but it would be nice if people with credentials would ask some questions about all this.
And now for Boxing. Click the images to enlarge:
Click the jump for Boxing with ‘Hawks/Kings