The holidays are upon us and the FanSided Sports Network is thrilled to announce a charity drive to get in the spirit of giving. We’ve teamed up with our outstanding host company Site5 in an effort to raise money for the Boys and Girls Club of America.
In case you’re not familiar with the Boys and Girls Club of America, they’re an outstanding organization aimed at helping young boys and girls. Is there any group more deserving of your generosity than kids in the holiday season? The mission of BGCA:
To enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.
A Boys & Girls Club Provides:
A safe place to learn and grow…
Ongoing relationships with caring, adult professionals…
Life-enhancing programs and character development experiences…
Hope and opportunity.
So what can you do to help? Visit the official charity drive page and help us reach our goal of raising $5000. Any amount will do. Even a couple of dollars will help us reach our goal!
Only five former feather heads took the ice last night, combining for just three points. Two of those came on the goal variety. Two of those skaters were on the ice at the Madhouse last night and combined for a minus 3. Glad to see that our boys came out to play and took it too the boring Nashville Predator defensive play. Also I want to send a thank you to Brendan Hayes who sent me an email informing me that I have not included Ethan Moreau in the Daily Espo. I will include him from now on. Thanks to those who have emailed me as well. I want to also say that if anyone has anything else that they see I miss or think I should be adding please let me know. Thanks. So without waisting anymore time, heres last nights rendition of the Daily Espo. Enjoy!
Click the jump for updates from the 12/22/10 games
Did you hear? Jim Balsillie came to Nashville! Who? Jim Balsillie! The owner of the company that makes BlackBerry smartphones who has more money than Daddy Warbucks and wants desperately to buy an American NHL team and move it to Hamilton, Ontario except he’s pissed off enough owners of existing teams that nobody will ever let him buy controlling interest in an NHL franchise and even if he somehow weaseled his way into buying one they would never EVER let him move it to Hamilton because Gary Bettman is a butt-munch and has convinced the owners that he should get whatever he wants and he hates Jim Balsillie’s guts! That guy! He was in Nashville!
Does this mean he’s trying to buy the Predators? Is he trying to assemble various minority interests to form a majority stake? I think you’d have better luck trying to pick which reality TV show Kate Gosselin is going to show up on next.
Last night there were nine former Hawks in action. Between seven skaters there were two points which were both goals, which both came from former Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks. Both goalies dropped their games. Pretty low key night for the ex-hawks.
Click the jump for updates from the 12/21/10 games
I had planned to come home and write this anyway, but Chris Kuc’s story regarding the Blackhawks’ gap control gave me even more reason.
The problem I have with this article isn’t that it was written, but more so in the way it was written and where the focus of the story lies. The Blackhawks have always emphasized controlling the gap and taking away opponents’ easy entries into the offensive zone. They’re not just starting to put more time into practicing it, it’s simply that they’re doing it better over the past two games.
The story seems to be written as if this is a new thing the ‘Hawks are becoming good at doing. When a topic like this comes up, there’s no question it has to be compared to the way it was done during a championship campaign.
Last season, Duncan Keith won the Norris Trophy disrupting zone entries. Brent Seabrook did a hell of a job at this as well. Brian Campbell and Niklas Hjalmarrson were solid at the blue line, and even Brent Sopel played his part when he wasn’t getting caught flat-footed, though his strengths blossomed when the puck had already been in the zone.
Once again, it’s not a matter of the ‘Hawks just starting to talk about this. I don’t attend practices or hang out in the locker or film rooms, but I can put in a safe guess this has been a topic of discussion all year. The Blackhawks simply aren’t going to forget one of their main strengths which helped them win the Stanley Cup.
If a defensive unit — and back-checking forwards — can disrupt the opposition’s entry into the zone and force more dumps than controlled entries, the game can become a battle for the puck along the boards — another thing the ‘Hawks excelled at winning last season. More dumps, more board battles and less controlled entries leads to fewer shots for the opponent, simply because the offense has difficulty getting into a rhythm and setting up its offense.
Through 35 games last season, Blackhawks goaltenders faced 842 shots on goal. This season? 1,016. That’s a whopping difference of 174 shots, which averages out to roughly five more shots per game. While the latter stat may seem minuscule, remember it only takes one shot to put the puck in the net — as simple and stupid and obvious as that may sound to you.
More statistics after the jump
Ok kiddies, 14 different Ex-hawks took the ice last night, and they actually were pretty productive. The Blackhawks South (Atlanta Thrashers) thrashed their opponent for the second straight game. In their last two games they have outscored their opponent 13-4. Also we saw a couple more shutouts in the league. Eight points were scored by the former hawks, four of each the goal and assist variety. A former Stanley Cup Champion hawk also matched and surpassed his point total of last year in his game.
Click the jump for updates from the 12/20/10 games
Very quiet night for the former Featherheads. No points scored with just just three skaters taking the ice including a red hot goaltender. Combined minus-2 with just six shots on goal.
Click the jump for Updates from the 12/19/10 Games
Beating a bitter rival rather convincingly while undermanned is one thing. Following up that performance two nights later against another contender is downright beautiful.
Without Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane, the Blackhawks have held their own through a stretch when points in the competitive Central Division are becoming a necessity. The ‘Hawks gained four points on Detroit this weekend after the Communists fell to Dallas on Sunday night.
The ‘Hawks have a golden opportunity to continue picking up points on the division when Nashville visits Wednesday, but we’ll get into that over the next couple of days.
After three straight losses and picking up only a single point against Western Conference foes San Jose and Colorado, the Blackhawks needed to respond with the Communists and Kings visiting the United Center — where they’ve played like dog shit at times this season. They’re now 6-2-0 in their last eight at home and giving the crowd something to cheer about after losing four of five at the UC previous to this stretch.
Jonathan Toews continues to play like an animal. Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith are playing better, and Corey Crawford keeps impressing. It’s a shame Crawford’s success is linked with the meatballs’ version of Mary Turco’s so-called failures because Crawford is making a hell of a name for himself with his play this season. I wish we could all just shut up and be happy the Blackhawks have two solid goaltender to go to at any given time, but I keep forgetting this is Chicago. Silly me.
Going along those lines and knowing there’s no in between when it comes to either jumping from the Whatchu Talkin’ ‘Bout Willis Tower or celebrating like the ‘Hawks have repeated already, I’m taking this weekend in stride and sitting in the middle like I’m hoping most of you are.
Two wins against top conference contenders are fabulous, especially because the Blackhawks continue their dominance of the Kings this season. However, there’s still those farts against the Sharks and Big Falling Snow Pile that resonate. Much like I didn’t down a bottle of Advil following those losses, I’m not going to start having celebratory sex with Kaner’s leftovers. I’m strapping in for the rest of the homestand and preparing myself for a more thorough evaluation after the 1st of the year.
With that being said, here’s your “Boxing” from the weekend. First, it’s ‘Hawks/Wings. Then, scroll down for ‘Hawks/Kings. Click the images to enlarge. For those viewing on the iPhone, attempt to enlarge your screen with your fingers like you would for anything else. The reason I say this is because Spinner got an email regarding this, and I want to make sure I can help those out having trouble viewing. If you are, comment here and I’ll figure something out for you.
Click the jump for Boxing with ‘Hawks/Wings and ‘Hawks/Kings.
The big news out of Los Angeles has been the arrival of newly-acquired Bruins forward Marco Sturm — which hasn’t really happened yet. Sturm has not played a game this season because of surgery to repair torn ligaments in his knee, and he is not expected to be in the Kings’ lineup until their return to LA next week. Boston gave Sturm to the Kings for absolutely nothing, and that’s not a joke or an exaggeration. The Bruins moved him simply to stay compliant with salary cap restrictions. Officially the other side of the deal was “future considerations,” but Boston GM Peter Chiarelli confirmed that they received literally zilch in return.
Welcome to Gary Bettman’s NHL.
So with a new sniper not quite in the lineup, the Blackhawks will be staring down essentially the same team they faced on November 27th. The Blackhawks came away from that tilt with a 2 – 1 victory behind 21 saves from Corey Crawford.
The Kings are mired in that mud puddle of teams scratching and clawing for the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference, finding themselves shy by two points at the moment. There’s a worst-kept secret about Los Angeles, and it’s this: 55 of their 82 goals — fully two-thirds of their offense — have been scored by five guys. So if we can manage to keep Anze Kopitar, Justin Williams, Dustin Brown, Jarret Stoll, and Ryan Smyth off the score sheet, we’re golden. We’ve beaten each of their goaltenders once this year, but you can bet they’ll throw Jonathan Quick and his 1.98 GAA at us this evening. It will not be easy to get pucks past him.
The good news in the last two days for the Chicago Blackhawks is that they are coming off a WIN! No, that’s not a typo: we WON! And against Detroit (*spitting noise*) of all people. I guess we shouldn’t be all that surprised: this is the season of miracles, after all.
And while we cherish the rafter-rattling cheers of “DEEE-TROIT SUCKS!!!” raining down on the Scum as we send them home with their tails between their legs, the challenge now becomes to keep this momentum going against the Kings tonight.
Now, let me just say this before we go too much further. On these “heritage night” events, we have to find some way to keep Pat Foley and Eddie Olczyk away from the bar before the broadcast. From the way they sounded at the opening face-off, here’s what I believe happened. They got to the rink around 4pm, went straight to the hospitality suite and rubbed elbows with all the Ambassadors on hand for the event. They joked and laughed, told war stories from the “Golden Era,” and slugged back a bottle or more of Glenfiddich between the two of them. By the time they got on the air, they were in no shape to water a plant, let alone do the play-by-play for a hockey game. During the third period they were calling Wings netminder Jimmy Howard “Corey Crawford” and not even having the presence of mind to correct themselves. It was pretty embarrassing.
The Blackhawks, however, were on their game from the start. They played 60 minutes of hockey without once going short-handed against the Red Wings, something they would do well to repeat as the rest of the season continues. They also managed to play if not an excellent defensive game, at least an above-average one. This, too, is something that the Hawks could use night in and night out.
No changes to the roster from Saturday’s game, though watch for Coach Joel Quenneville to continue his game of musical wingers as he tries out various combinations with newly-signed center Ryan Johnson. Wingers Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa and Viktor Stalberg are all confirmed to be out of the lineup, and Corey Crawford will get the start in net. Let’s have another game like the last one, and we should have ourselves a winning streak.
Family-friendly Sunday night start time of 6:00pm this evening. Second straight national broadcast on the NHL Network, blacked out in Chicago in favor of WGN-TV. Broadcast radio is WGN AM-720, and XM subscribers should look for the game on channel 206
Special note for tonight’s game: Up in Section 318 you’ll find a knockout brunette with the most gorgeous blue eyes you’ve ever seen. Lord only knows why she married the loser she did, and he mooches Hawks tickets off her too. But hey, he writes for BlackhawkUp.com, so he can’t be all bad. Drop by and shake his hand, he’ll be wearing the Duncan Keith home jersey and probably talking somebody’s ear off.
19 Former Hawks took the Ice last night with 3 Goals and 4 Assists scored. By the way, another one of our former netminders is doing well. Check it out.
Click the Jump for Updates from the 12/18/10 Games
6 Former Featherheads took the ice last night and there was only one point scored which was a goal. Small bit on how a former hawk who never skated with the Indian head on his jersey is putting together a decent season.
Click the Jump for Updates from the 12/17/10 Games
I looked back at the Blackhawks’ schedule several times, and still couldn’t believe that we had only met up with Detroit (*spitting noise*) once so far this season. It seemed unreasonable, since we play them six times during the campaign. But then I remembered what a typical season schedule looks like, and I looked ahead to April. We play them three times in the last eight games. And, we play them tonight.
The Hawks are coming off two emasculating losses to the Colorado Avalanche, which I won’t go into for fear of tearing my laptop apart like a spiral notebook in fits of barely-controllable rage. They now must look ahead to tonight’s game with the team that is leading the Central Division and sits first overall in the Western Conference by a sizable margin. Oh goodie.
Here Ya Go Kiddies
Last night we had 20 Former Blackhawks, 19 PIM, 8 Former Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks, 7 Points, 5 Assists, Minus 4, 2 Goals, and a Partridge in a Pear Tree. Oh and a Drunk Goalie who got a rare win.
Click the Jump for updates from the 12/16/10 games
Sixteen former Chicago Blackhawks took the ice last night, and the 14 skaters combined for 8 points (3 G, 5A). A couple of guys had some big games while others seemed like they were out to have fun and skate around with their girlfriends. Of the 2 goalies who played, one came away with a heart-wrenching victory that we all want to forget, and the other who left us for “more” money to play with the Sharks lost his game.
Click the Jump for updates from the 12/15/10 games
Here’s to hoping the big shit cloud hovering over the beginning of the week rolls out of town with the passing days.
Once again the Blackhawks urinated through another game, dropping their third to Colorado Big Falling Snow Pile 4-3 on Wednesday night. However, there are more positives that came out of tonight’s trail of stinky skid marks than from Monday’s.
The ‘Hawks outshot the Avs by a large amount — 38-23. Problem is, Craig Anderson decided he wanted to stop damn near everything, unlike Monday.
While I’m damn pissed off about this loss, which dropped the ‘Hawks to 16-14-3 and into 10th place in the Western Conference, I’m not about to start robbing old ladies of their handbags. The ‘Hawks didn’t play a phenominal game, but they didn’t exactly leave road apples on the bed either.
The obvious turning point came on the phantom call assessed to Jordan Hendry, who was simply battling for the puck when Daniel Winnick skated directly into his elbow. There was blood, and Hendry got four minutes in the box when he shouldn’t even gotten two.
Tomas Fleischmann then proceeded to score on both ensuing power plays with Hendry in the box, then added another later to complete his third-period hat trick. Tomas. Fucking. Fleischmann.
Corey Crawford did his best Marty Turco impression tonight by flopping all over the crease and getting caught out of position. The Avs should’ve had another goal on an empty net with Crawford sprawled out, but Brent Seabrook made a block to save his ass. I have a feeling, however, that the meatballs won’t be clamoring for Turco to start Friday because, well, Turco didn’t start the season as the backup. To get more on the goaltending shit, check out Fork’s little write-up.
Onto your latest edition of “Boxing.” Enjoy.
Click the jump for Boxing with ‘Hawks/Avs
Now that all of our loved ones are letting us have sharp objects without supervision again following the manic-depressive episode that was the 7 – 5 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Monday, it’s time to load up on mood stabilizers and settle in for the re-match: Blackhawks vs. Avalanche at the United Center tonight, 7:30pm.
As for me, they’ve taken off the restraints, I’ve written an apology to that bus full of pre-schoolers (most of whom won’t need counseling, it turns out), and my lawyer thinks he can get the charges dropped as long as I promise never to go within 1000 yards of a meat packing plant again. Something tells me they’ll leave the restraining order in place, however.
Just 2 games last night which saw just 6 former Hawks in action. A combination of just 1 goal and 2 assists from 2 players was all of the scoring. Tonight also featured one Goaltender who needs a couple of drinks before he drives home, and another who is absolutely on FIRE.
Click the jump for updates from the 12/15/10 games
What an absolute horrendous loss to have to deal with. I would make the whole team walk home if it was up to me.
Four possible points and the ‘Hawks come away with one on a two-game trip, mostly because the defense couldn’t figure out how to do a goddamn thing in a dog-shit-eating 7-5 loss to Colorado. To make matters worse, Craig Anderson was on fucking fire coming into the game, the ‘Hawks put five in against him, and then they still proceeded to lose.
Before I get to “Boxing,” I have some other thoughts.
√ I want to know why Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith decided to do Jager shots before the game. Seabrook especially was so fucking bad that I can barely type this sentence without my fingers shaking. He seemed so mesmerized by the puck carrier that he completely lost men crashing the net. You’d need a calculator to count the number of Avalanche skaters open in the slot tonight. Pathetic.
√ There are some Jack Skille fans out there, but I’m not one of them. Yes, he got a goal. But the Avs first goal is directly on him for not just chipping that puck out of the zone while deciding to fuck around with it. What’s more is that the guy just looks like he’s skating around the ice without a thought as to what his next move is going to be. Everything is reactionary, when sometimes you need to have a logical plan as to what is going to happen. He just seems too stupid to have that type of brain capacity.
√ If you said one word about Marty Turco being a bad goalie because of tonight, you didn’t watch the game. Turco didn’t have a chance on those goals, and his defense left him hanging. Denis Savard said in the studio after the game that it’s possible the Blackhawks were “holding their sticks tighter” hoping to get a win for Turco because he hasn’t played much. Whatever the case, the ‘Hawks played like hell in front of him. But, the meatballs are going to keep on him mainly because…
√ Corey Crawford played well replacing him. Crawford made some big saves and did play a better game than Turco did. He deserves each minute he’s getting right now, and you’re not going to hear me complain about Crawford continuing to start. However, Turco really isn’t playing horrible either. Rather than bitching about Turco and licking Crawford’s ball sweat, you should be happy the ‘Hawks have two very serviceable goaltenders who can each play when asked.
√ Paul Stastny’s goal was impressive, batting the puck ahead of him with his stick and putting it in the net. Give him credit despite the turnover the ‘Hawks made which helped lead to it.
All right, I’m gonna let “Boxing” do the rest.
Click the jump for “Boxing”
As Chicago finishes digging out from the fluffy white present Old Man Winter dumped on us over the weekend, the Blackhawks arrive in Denver for the first of a home-and-home series with the Colorado Avalanche culminating on Wednesday at the United Center. The first meeting between these two clubs was also in Denver for the season opener, when the Hawks fought back from a 3 – 1 deficit but still managed to come away with a 4 – 3 overtime loss.
A harbinger of the season to come, it would seem.
Former ‘Hawks were busy this weekend. Here’s your recap for the weekend of Dec. 10-12. Enjoy. Or don’t. I don’t care.
Sorry loyal readers, but there won’t be any “Boxing” for the Blackhawks’ 2-1 loss to the Sharks on Saturday night. I was part of a world-record crowd in Ann Arbor during that day for The Big Chill at the Big House to watch the Michigan Wolverine manhandle my Michigan State Spartans, then had some internet issues on Sunday.
To be very brief, the loss wasn’t all that bad to swallow. Sure, things could have gone better. However, the Blackhawks ran into a very good Antti Niemi and Corey Crawford played very well. Sometimes the amount of goals just don’t work out in your favor.
Jordan Hendry got on the scoresheet and — for a brief moment — out of Q’s doghouse, but that was more out of necessity than anything.
Viktor Stalberg got robbed of a goal and the officiating was suspect all night, but that is one of the few complaints I have.
Oh, and the dipshits who constantly boo Brian Campbell because he played six minutes in a Sharks uniform.
Once again, I apologize for the lack of “Boxing” or more in-depth recap, but that will be coming tonight after the Avs game.
Spinner will be along shortly with the weekend Espo and Tim will have your preview for tonight’s game around 3pm.
Thanks to Twitter follower @DatGuy83 for pointing out that the Blackhawks/Sharks game is streaming live, nationwide, on Yahoo! Sports. So you out-of-market Blackhawks fans can find the game here starting at 10:30pm Eastern, 9:30 Central. This is in addition to local TV coverage in San Jose and (of course) Chicago.
Antti Niemi has been confirmed as the starting goalie for San Jose, so it’s shaping up to be a good old-fashioned smash-mouth rivalry game, the Blackhawks looking to avenge the previous loss and rub a little salt in the wound of their former netminder.
We have yet to see the San Jose Sharks in the United Center, but the oddities of the NHL schedule have the Blackhawks climbing aboard a plane to visit the HP Pavilion on Saturday to take on Todd McLellan’s squad once more. Hope the boys brought more than just their Speedos.
Our last time swimming with the Sharks they smelled chum in the water, sunk their teeth into Marty Turco and wouldn’t let go, potting goals from Dany Heatley, Joe Pavelski, Jamal Mayers and Patrick Marleau. Antti Niemi had the last laugh against his former team, making 30 saves and coming away with a 5 – 2 win.
Some quick news flashes for Blackhawks’ fans as the team wraps up activities for the day in San Jose:
Multiple sources on the scene are reporting that Corey Crawford will be in net for the Blackhawks when they take on the Sharks on Saturday. This should not be a surprise to anyone.
It was also suggested by Coach Joel Quenneville that Jordan Hendry may return to the lineup against San Jose. We haven’t seen him wearing the Indian Head sweater since November 7th against Edmonton. And few people were complaining. Hendry is a big goose-egg on the scoresheet and a -2 in 11 games this season.
There were 13 former Blackhawks who took the ice last night, and apparently they believe they are still on the Blackhawks and had a day off. Of the 13, there were 11 skaters who combined to score 0 points, and had a rating of minus-7. Eeeek. The only positive came from a guy who played 15 games as a Hawk and went 1-10-3.
Click the jump for updates from the 12/9 games