The Daily Phil Esposito (3/16/11)

"I don't do this often but I decided to score some points this game"

Photo: thirdage.com

Twenty two former featherheads took the ice last night. Three were net-minders who had a record of 2-1-0 on the night. The one loss came from the goalie playing in Ottawa. The other nineteen skaters scored nine points including three goals and six assists. Couple of guys who normally don’t tally goals scored the goals to get their fifteen second celebrations in. Enjoy.

Click the jump for updates from the 3/15/11 games

More >

STATS Game: Rest Corey Crawford

What’s the best thing about Corey Crawford starting every game for the past month? The meatballs haven’t been able to voice their blind hatred for Marty Turco.

OK, OK … it’s not the best thing. Crawford’s 10-2-3 record and 2.66 goals-against average takes that title. But despite those numbers, I’m still going to lobby for him to don the baseball cap Thursday in Dallas.

Here’s part of the reason why:

More >

The Daily Phil Esposito (3/15/11)

"That Hossa guy gives me the hibbi-jibbies... The Smoke Monster..."

Photo: Chicago Tribune

Five former ‘Hawks were in action last night notching just one point on the board which was an assist by Tim Brent. The one goaltender was SHELLED, to say the least, in the 2nd period and didn’t even make it halfway through the game. Very good night for the men in the Red Sweaters.

Oh and at the game last night I counted and the ice crew had a total of 13:36 TOI, which is almost 4x if not 3x the amount of time David Koci averages every night. Haha. So it looks like we has sorted out that ordeal. Hope you enjoy todays edition!

 


Click the jump for updates from the 3/14/11 games

 

More >

It’s not show friends, it’s show business: Boxing with ‘Hawks/Sharks

"Have a seat, please." (Chicago Tribune)

Finally, the Blackhawks got to Antti Niemi.

The 6-3 win Monday night boosted the ‘Hawks up to the 4th spot again in the West and ended a three-game losing streak which had many talking “Must Win” against San Jose. I don’t care how bad ass or bleak things look, every game is “Must Win.” Get used to it.

Patrick Sharp had four assists in the second period alone, tying Jim Pappin’s franchise record set in 1973 – with two of them coming on the power play to Marian Hossa, who put both through Niemi’s five-hole. Hossa’s goals gave him at least 20 for the 11th straight season. Boom.

And who better than Jonathan Toews to provide the goal which ran Niemi. The Captain seems to have his hand in everything, setting a career-high with 71 points in the victory.

Seeing Niemi trudge toward the bench was bittersweet, in a way. Him getting the hook tonight gave me little satisfaction. Yes, it was nice to get back at him for the three defeats earlier this season. However, I would’ve felt the same way if it was Antero Niittymaki getting pulled. Going out for revenge at this point in the season is senseless. Sharp admitted it was nice to get to Niemi, but everyone made a point to say the win is what matters. There’s just always going to be a soft spot for a guy who really, truly wanted to stay in Chicago.

Speaking of goaltenders, Corey Crawford gets yet another win despite pretty much everyone lobbying for him to get a rest. Though he got the W tonight, he’s given up 16 goals in the last five games. And if he lost to Niemi, wouldn’t you believe Crawford’s confidence would have been completely shot, especially heading into the playoffs? Well, David Haugh sure as hell believes it.

Here’s what sent me into a rage:

Yet of all the Hawks, rookie goaltender Corey Crawfordperhaps can benefit most from having success on a night defined by Niemi’s failure. Crawford was coming off one of his roughest weeks mentally. Had Niemileft town with a 4-0 record against the Hawks, Crawford could have spent the next month awaiting the playoffs suffering by comparison.

(Begin rant)Want to talk about suffering? How about seeing Haugh’s byline next to anything Blackhawks-related. When you’re being read simply so people can laugh at whatever loads of bullshit you want to make up that day, that’s when you need to stop writing about a sport you know nothing about. (End rant)

Patrick Kane hit a milestone with his 100th career goal, Viktor Stalberg even got in a nice whack in to contribute.

And with that … BOXING:

More >

Fishing For Two Points: Blackhawks Host Sharks

How many times can we use the phrase, “must-win” in a single year? What about “do-or-die?” Or “crunch time?” It seems I’m typing those phrases almost daily now, and this is no exception. With the Blackhawks’ OTL to the Capitals on Sunday, Chicago dropped into 7th in the Western Conference standings, just two points from having to fluff the throw pillows before playoff games.

And look who we’re playing! The San Jose Sharks, who sit first in the Pacific Division, four points ahead of us, and who are looking for a sweep in their season series against the ‘Hawks.

Long and short: if we thought Washington was a hard-fought game, this one is going to be even worse.

More >

The Weekend Phil Esposito (3/14/11)

Who would you rather have on your team?

OR

Who Gets more Ice time?

Photos: thesportsbank.net, echl.com

Hiya Pals! Lots-o-action this weekend in former Hawkey world.

Friday saw sixteen ex-blackhawks, which were all skaters, take the ice producing one goal and three assists for a total of four points.

Saturday there were seventeen former ‘Hawks who dressed and played. The sixteen skaters scored seven points off of five goals and two assists. Most of the goals coming from unlikely sources, while one goal and assist came from the guy I believe the ‘Hawks are really missing from last year. The one goalie had his second straight loss in a shootout, not saying who it is but hopefully tonight he does the same thing in the UC but its in regulation. (Hint Hint)

Yesterday, Sunday, nine former featherheads took the ice, with the one goalie having a rough outing but didn’t get a decision, and the eight skaters combined for one goal and three assists amounting to four points.

Hope that you enjoyed this weekend and that tonight’s game makes you even happier. If there is anyone going to the game tonight buy the guy wearing the Away Jonathon Toews Jersey sitting in section 327 , row 11 , seat 10, a bud heavy if you so choose and I may even give you a shout out in tomorrow’s post.

Click the jump for updates from the weekend’s games More >

Capital Punishment: Boxing with Blackhawks/Capitals

Credit: Chicago Tribune

Once again, Jonathan Toews summed it up:

“That’s two overtime losses in the last couple of games. We can’t be happy with just getting one point in each of those games. If you look at the games ahead and we keep getting to overtime, it doesn’t do us any good. It’s just about getting beyond that point of satisfaction and finding a way to win.”

And just like that, the Blackhawks are back down to 7th in the Western Conference - one point up on eighth and two up on ninth – after a 4-3 overtime loss to the Washington Capitals. Games like this aren’t going to cut it. And the fact of the matter is that the ‘Hawks were lucky enough to salvage that one point on a 6-on-4 power play with an empty net.

We can make excuses. No Dave Bolland. Limited action from Brian Campbell. But the ‘Hawks gave up a short-handed goal and got pretty damn lucky with good bouces on all three of their goals. The Capitals scored on defensive breakdowns and were much more solid the entire day.

Oh, and the Blackhawks didn’t get ONE SINLGE SHOT on net in nearly four minutes of overtime. Crap.

I’ll send you on your way to Boxing with this thought: Please, for the love of God, play Marty Turco tomorrow, Q. Please. Crow needs a break heading into another two-game trip. The game is too big and means too much to be strolling out a tired goaltender. It won’t mean you’ve lost faith in Crow, Q. It means your guy needs a break. Give it to him.

If I could do some hockey betting on this, I’d say Q still starts him. Damnit.

More >

“Grab Yer SAC!” Umm, no thanks, Bruce…

Any of you who watched the “Penguins/Capitals 24/7″ show on HBO got an earful of Capitals Head Coach Bruce Boudreau hitting below the belt on his team in the locker room following the latest in a string of humiliating losses due to lackluster play. The quote above was the most memorable of the diatribe.

As if getting checked for a hernia wasn’t humiliating enough, now we have this ringing in our heads.

More >

Who’s Free Monday? We’re Giving Away Hawks/Sharks Tickets!

Once again, the generous folks at StubHub.com have hooked us up ~big time~ with some tickets to a stretch run game against the Western Conference rival San Jose Sharks– and YOU can have a chance to win them!

We’re having a random drawing tonight (Friday) at midnight CST.

All you need to do is: go to our page on Facebook, find the status announcing the ticket giveaway, and “Like” that status. Simple!

Winner will be chosen at random and notified soon thereafter about ticket delivery.

It’s Blackhawks vs. Sharks, Monday night at the United Center. And you could be there!

Big “thank you” again to our friends atStubHub.com for making this possible. Thanks for participating, and good luck!

The Daily Phil Esposito (3/11/11)

"All I needed was a change in scenery."

Photo: blogspot.com

There were seventeen former ‘Hawks to take the ice last night. Of the fourteen skaters there was only one point recorded and that by Shawn Thornton which was an assist. The three goaltenders combined for a 2-0-1 record, with two really good performances and one not so good performance. Oh yea, and Bonehead Boynton made his Flyer debut, lets just say it was nothing special. Enjoy your weekend!

Click the jump for updates from the 3/10/11 games

More >

Confederacy of Dunces: Overreaction To Chara Hit On Pacioretty

The last 48 hours have seen one of the most staggering displays of emotional overreaction, knee-jerk stupidity, and just plain moronic behavior, all because of 0.15 seconds of hockey that took place at the Bell Centre in Montreal.

Below is the video of the check that Boston Bruins’ defenseman Zdeno Chara leveled on Montreal Canadiens’ forward Max Pacioretty. If you have not seen this, and are squeamish in any way, take a pass. I don’t want you to vomit on your keyboard.

The end result was about what you’d expect. Pacioretty is currently at Montreal General Hospital with a severe concussion and a non-displaced fracture to the 4th cervical vertebrae. Non-medical interpretation: he broke his neck, but not enough to cause paralysis.

So that happened. And then, following the league’s disciplinary hearing with Chara, it was announced that Chara would not receive a fine or suspension. And then, IQ’s all over Christendom dropped by 50 points, and all hell broke loose.

More >

The Daily Phil Esposito (3/10/11)

"Some days I choose to be an idiot and asshole on the ice, last night was not one of them"

Photo: http://sports.gearlive.com

There were thirteen former ‘Hawks on the pond last night. The one goalie came back from a devastating eye injury (yea right), and took a huge loss, while the skaters provided just two points. One goal coming from the only Flame-r and one assist coming from an unlikely source ending a scoreless streak.

On other thoughts, I am unsure whether or not St. Louis’s goal was legal. I mean it was a great shot and move, but I think the puck stopped there for a second. Oh well, that just shows you need to be able to score in the shootout and not lay and egg… Enjoy today’s post.

Click the jump for updates from the 3/9/11 games

More >

Shake It Off: ‘Hawks Try To Stay Grounded Against Bolts

Photo: Getty Images

It was one game. And really, it was just one period. The Blackhawks ran circles around the Panthers and launched 29 shots on goal in the second and third on Tuesday night. They just didn’t get the bounces and were up against a very talented, very lucky goaltender guarding the twine.

So, that happened. Cough it up, spit it out, and forget about it. Tonight we’re playing one of the hottest, most talented teams in the Tampa Bay Lightning. We’re going to have to put together a 60-minute performance that looks like our 40-minute performance last night.

The LAST 40 minutes.

More >

The Daily Phil Esposito (3/9/11)

Who the hell is this guy...

Photo: bleacherreport.com

There were twenty-two former featherheads to swarm the ice last night. The two goaltenders picked up wins while the skaters added four goals and five assists to amass nine points. Big stand outs were Travis Moen, Martin Havlat, and Tim Brent, each one posting two points. Disappointing to see the ‘Hawks lose to a team like Florida, but hopefully it lights a fire under their asses for tonight’s game! Enjoy!

Click the jump for updates from the 3/8/11 games

More >

Trapped at Del Boca Vista: Boxing with Blackhawks/Panthers

"Mr. and Mrs. Seinfeld, please, turn the air conditioner ... on!

Well, what are you gonna do? Shit happens, move on and be done with Tuesday.

Everyone knew the Blackhawks were going to lose, and sadly I said before this past weekend even started this will be the game it happens. I’m not trying to show off, but it’s a game like this streaking teams often fall victim to.

3-2, Panthers. Onto Tampa Bay.

Corey Crawford needed the entire night off, not just the last two periods. I’ve been clamoring for this, and if he starts Wednesday I’m going to sic Jack Klompus on Coach Q. While each goal can be attributed to a defensive lapse, Crawford gave up a couple of juicy rebounds which he normally snags. The game was lost too quickly for me not to believe Crawford’s start tonight was the major contribution to it.

Marty Turco got a nice easy go of it as Florida sat back with the lead and proved why it has the 3rd-ranked penalty kill in the NHL. When I say Turco should start, it’s because he’s the next in line and not because I’m licking his bunghole over a few saves. If what’s left of Rick DiPietro’s rotting corpse was wearing the baseball cap, I’d be asking for him to start. Crawford needs a break.

Speaking of goaltenders, Tomas Vokoun withstood a two-period barrage from the Blackhawks and he deserves a ton of credit for nearly single-handedly winning the game for the Panthers.

Boxing will do the rest. Enjoy

More >

Team Record In Sight: Hawks Take On Pus—- uhh, Panthers

There’s a back-story with the Chicago Blackhawks and the Florida Panthers, as most of you know. Former Blackhawks player/broadcaster/scout/general manager Dale Tallon was hired to take over the GM post down in Miami. It can be argued that Tallon orchestrated the drafting and roster moves that won Chicago the Stanley Cup, and some people love him for that.

It can also be argued that Tallon accepted the GM position in Chicago despite being completely unqualified, was thrown into the deep end without a life jacket, made the draft picks any idiot could have made given the same circumstances, and got lucky with trades. I think the next five years in the Florida organ-eye-zation will illustrate exactly which of the two is closer to the truth.

More >

The Daily Phil Esposito (3/8/11)

"Yup I'm a badass"

Photo: suntimes.com

Only four former featherheads took the ice last night between the three games that took place. Adam Burish came away with the only point which was an assist. The standings are all jumbled up and hopefully our boys can keep the 4 see with another win tonight. Lets take em’ down boys! Stay tune for Tim’s preview of tonight’s matchup!

Click the jump for updates from the 3/7/11 games

More >

The Daily Phil Esposito (3/7/11)

"We are good."

Photo: Zimbio.com

This weekends the former Hawk’s were very busy, and this Espo is jam packed.

On Friday there were nine former featherheads to take the ice scoring two goals and one assist for three points. The one goalie who played was cooled down losing for just the second time since switching teams.

On Saturday twenty-one ex-‘Hawks played. The lamp was lit several times because of these guys, four goals and seven assists totaling eleven points. The big scorers were in the Atlanta vs Florida game where the three former hawks who played added eight points, including big games from Big Buff and Andrew “The Captain” Ladd. The one goalie who played lost his first game in nearly three weeks.

Wrapping up the weekend on Sunday, there were seven former Blackhawks who played tallying just two assists. The goalie lost his decision for a team who has struggled in it’s last couple games. The goalies this weekend didn’t fare to well.

Thank you to Tom Leonard for the kind email as well as pointing out that I was missing a couple of former ‘Hawks in my daily post. You will see a couple of new names in this post. Also thank you to all who read the post everyday! I am glad that you like the post! If you see that I am forgetting anyone else or have a idea to help the Espo or even just want to say hi send me an email at brandon.spinner@valpo.edu and I will try to get back to you! Hope you had a great weekend and that you enjoy today’s post!

Click the jump for updates from this weekend’s games

More >

Lending A Hand: Blocked Shot Creates Another Mystery

Photo: Getty Images

During the third period of the Toronto matchup on Saturday, Blackhawks’ defenseman Duncan Keith blocked a shot with his right hand and appeared to get hurt. Today in Florida he was not on the ice for practice, however we got a heaping helping of zilch regarding the full extent of the injury.

More >

Two Unstoppable Forces: Winning Streaks Clash in Toronto

Photo: CBC

What the Blackhawks have done the last 10 games in the Western Conference, the Toronto Maple Leafs have done in the East. With who’s-THIS-fucking-guy goaltender James Reimer between the pipes, the Leafs have surged to a 6-1-3 record over their last ten games. After having been written off for another year by pretty much everyone as recently as the All-Star Break, they are now within 4 points of a playoff spot.

Tonight the Leafs play host to the similarly-resurgent Chicago Blackhawks, setting up a Clash of the Titans in the NHL’s broadcast media Coliseum: an Original-Six matchup on CBC’s Saturday night edition of Hockey Night in Canada. The only thing that would make this more perfect is if it were at Maple Leaf Gardens. But alas, time marches on.

More >

We’ll See Who Gets Rocked: Hawks Host Hurricanes

Photo: Official Scorpions Web Site

“Hear about the Hurricanes?” Ask this question, even in Raleigh, and the answer usually comes back, “No! Was anybody hurt? Are they coming here? Do I need to board up the house?” Ask 100 random people on the streets of Chicago who Eric Staal is, about 3 will know he’s the Captain of the Hurricanes. I doubt you’ll find more than 2 who can answer that question correctly within a 10 block radius of the RBC Center.

Carolina’s about chitterlings, NASCAR, basketball and good ol’ Southern hospitality. Not exactly hockey country. Easy to explain why, like most teams south of the Mason-Dixon line, the ‘Canes are in the bottom half of the league for nightly attendance, filling only 17 out of every 20 seats on average. Shame, too: because even with a team put together with a $10 million salary cap cushion, they are in 7th place in the Eastern Conference and will likely make the playoffs.

More >

The Daily Phil Esposito (3/4/11)

"Hey I finally scored a real goal! I am awesome."

Photo: ESPN.com

There were twenty two former ‘Hawks in action last night. The twenty skaters combined to score three goals (two of which came from Kris Versteeg) and five assists totaling eight points. The two goalies remained on fire winning their two games stopping an impressive sixty-eight shots combined and only allowing two goals. These guys are smoking.

The standing were jumbled up again after these games but the Blackhawks still remain in the 4th seed. With Detroit’ loss last night, if the Hawks win the game tonight they will pull within seven points of the Wings, which I think is attainable, this season isn’t over yet but crazier things have happened.

Enjoy your weekend and hopefully the ‘Hawks can help you enjoy them more by extending this winning streak and bringing home four more points. GO HAWKS!

Click the jump for updates from the 3/3/11 games

More >

The Daily Phil Esposito (3/3/11)

Good for you Johnny, we miss you here! Well at least I do.

Photo: http://www.baynews9.com

Six former Blackhawks skated last night compiling four points, three were goals the other was an assist.  The two who stand out are John Madden and Rene Bourque. That flamer got lucky that the puck fell in his lap twice while he was near the net or had an open net… Bum. On the other hand, good to see John Madden having success, I always did like him, hes just too expensive to keep… :(

Enjoy fourth place for the day as well as Boxing from Bartl. Have a good one guys!

Click the jump for updates from the 3/2/11 games

More >

Captain’s Log: Sixth straight victorious Boxing with Blackhawks/Flames

"Want a little captain in ya? Not you, fatty. I meant the hottie four rows up." (Chicago Tribune)

My best bud sent me a text during an intermission: “Jonathan Toews is on a drug. It’s called ‘Jonathan Toews.'”

I couldn’t have put it better myself.

The addiction has seem to spread to the Blackhawks, who are playing their best hockey of the season following a 6-4 win against Calgary on Wednesday. The best part? The Flames were just as good. There’s no question the better team won.

Both of Toews’ goals were gorgeous, with the first even more handsome after Patrick Kane hit Patrick Sharp cross-ice, leaving Toews wide open in the crease. The second? Just the captain being the captain.

Marian Hossa capped it with a goal in his fifth straight game.

There was plenty more in between, including a mini-breakdown at the beginning of the third period, but Boxing will do the rest of my talking. Have at it:

More >

Behind Enemy Lines: Q&A with the Calgary Herald’s Vicki Hall

Photo: CNNSI.com

Welcome back to the return of Behind Enemy Lines! Today, Vicki Hall of the Calgary Herald answers a few questions regarding the Flames’ surge up the Western Conference standings, the previous three matchups this season and the resurgence of Jarome Iginla.

It’s clear Vicki put a lot of thought into her answers. If this is one interview you read all the way through, make sure it’s this one.

Bartl: The fluctuating Western Conference standings reordered again Tuesday with Calgary’s win against St. Louis, moving the Flames back ahead of the Blackhawks. Can you shed some light on how Calgary has responded to what’s at stake with each game as it shoots to return to the postseason?

Hall: The Flames have basically been fighting for their playoff lives since Christmas. Seriously. They languished in 14th place at the time and had little, if any, chance of clawing back into the race. Somehow, they’ve done just that by breaking the season into three-game segments and pledging to win at least two out of every three. They’ve accomplished that goal, thus far, but much work remains.

Click the jump for the rest of the Q&A

More >