The Storm Before the Calm: Boxing (again) with Blackhawks/Avs (12/15/10)

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

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Grow Two Testicles And Call Me On Wednesday: Hawks/Avs Rematch

Photo: AP/Barry Gutierrez

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.

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The Daily Phil Esposito (12-15-10)

"Man I wish I was still in Chicago and not with these retards..."

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

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Blizzard of ineptitude: Boxing with Blackhawks/Avalanche (12/13/10)

"Hey guys, thanks for this rubber disc I'm about to go put in the net now. You've all been so generous tonight." (Denver Post)

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”

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As If We Didn’t Have Enough Snow Already: Double Dose of Avalanche

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.

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The Weekend Esposito (Dec. 10-12)

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.

"If I stay this hot, you guys are fucked."

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Clever headline regarding getting bitten by a shark

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.

Till then…

BONUS COVERAGE: Hawks/Sharks Streaming LIVE Online!

Photo: AP

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.

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Everybody Into The Pool: Blackhawks Swim With Sharks

Photo: CBS

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.

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Tim Bits for Friday, December 10

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.

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The Daily Phil Esposito (12/10/10)

"Yep, I'm still a dick."

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

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The Daily Phil Esposito (12/9/10)

Brandon Spinner will be all set up later today and will post The Daily Espo under his own name tomorrow. Here’s his second edition recapping former Blackhawks’ performances from last night.

"Hm, I used this tongue on that blonde in the fifth row back in May." (Chicago Tribune)

Only a handful of former Hawks were in action, combining for just 1 goal and 2  assists. The return of well-loved Adam Burish to the Madhouse proved to be nice. He received a loud cheer when he started his first shift, but that’s the only noise that was associated with him.

Click the jump for updates from the 12/8 games

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Boxing with ‘Hawks/Stars (12/8/10) and Crawford’s legit tirade on refs

Let’s get down to brass tax here — Dallas Stars coach  Marc Crawford laid into the refs following the game and had a very legit gripe. Whether or not  Brent Seabrook meant to throw his stick at the puck carrier makes no difference. It should have been a penalty shot for Dallas. I’m not even going to attempt to deny that.

Here’s Crawford’s postgame press conference:

While understandable for Crawford to go nuts, he may want to look deeper at his team, which fell behind 3-0 before deciding to play. Then it was too late. The Stars are lucky to have made the comeback in the first place. And I’m sure he’ll realize that once he looks at the tape and takes a step back from the heat of the moment.

Of course, I could say the same thing about the ‘Hawks giving up a goal-against immediately after going up 3-0, then giving up two goals in just over a minute to allow Dallas to make it interesting heading into the third period. The ‘Hawks have been notorious for placing the opposition’s collective mouth on the curb, then forgetting to stomp.

Everything else I have to say is done through “Boxing.” Click the images to enlarge and, as always, enjoy.

Click the jump for “Boxing”

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Shooting Stars. And passing, and checking… Hawks/Stars at the U.C.

"You guys replaced me with John Fucking Scott?"

The Dallas Stars come into tonight’s game sitting second in the Western Conference, three points behind Detroit, and just suffered their first loss in 7 games on Monday. If we’re lucky enough not to get Kari Lehtonen in goal, we get Andrew Raycroft: 3 – 1 record, 1.65 GAA, .951 save percentage. Brad Richards, Loui Eriksson, James Neal, and Mike Ribiero are all comfortably north of 20 points in 26 games.

Dallas is burning as white hot as… as… hmm. What’s a good analogy?

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The Daily Phil Esposito (12/8/10)

I’d like to introduce  Brandon Spinner, who will be updating you on your former Blackhawks each day. Brandon will be posting under his own name soon and will have The Daily Espo up every morning. You can follow Brandon on Twitter @branman111289.

In other site news, FanSided has teamed with SeatGeek, which is a StubHub-like operation where tickets to sporting events are sold. If you’re looking for seats for ‘Hawks games, click on the SCHEDULE tab on the top of the page and find the game you’re looking for. Remember to buy the short blonde guy sitting in Section 326, Row 12, Seat 11 a Bud Heavy when you arrive. Thank you for your cooperation.

Also, you can now “Like” each specific story by clicking on the headline from the main page, then clicking the button in the upper right. You’ll also find an easier way to send each story to Twitter next to it.

All right, enough bullshit. Here’s Brandon’s first edition of The Daily Phil Esposito:

"Damn, there were a lot more empty seats when I played in here." (SportsBlink.com)

Quiet day for former Indian Head Sweater Wearers, in which all scoring came from one guy. A Flame-r…

Click the jump for updates from the 12/7/10 games

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20 cents for your thoughts: Injured Patrick Kane out for three weeks

"Welp, see ya later." (CSNChicago.com)

The news  Patrick Kane will be out for up to three weeks with a left leg injury came without much of an uproar. The general consensus seems to be: “It looked worse than that. Three weeks isn’t so bad.”

Hmm, interesting. It’s funny how we all panic when  Marty Turco lets in a soft goal, yet we’re relatively calm when the Blackhawks’ point-per-game winger will be shelved for nearly a month. If you can figure that out, well, you’re a step ahead of me.

Fact is, a day without Kane is a day too many. There’s been times this season he’s been clearly absent from the game while his Give A Fuck is in the shop. However, at least he’s been on the ice. We all know when Kane decides he’s going to do something spectacular, it happens more often than not. I’d rather have Kane roaming the ice without a care in the world rather than have him watching from the press box.

The It’s-Not-So-Bad mentality may go away quickly tomorrow when the Blackhawks take the ice without both Kane and  Marian Hossa for the first time since Hossa signed with the ‘Hawks. They missed games separately, but not together.  Jonathan Toews put the Blackhawks on his back Sunday against Calgary, and we’re going to be hoping he can do that again for however long it takes Hossa to return.

As I stated after Sunday’s game, the Blackhawks are already dressing  John Scott at forward. Since Scott has the offensive talent of Dennis Rodman, losing both Kane and Hossa — along with Fernando Pisani still out — the attack is considerably less intimidating.

While  Chris Kuc says  Jeremy Morin should be back with the ‘Hawks tomorrow night against Dallas, my assumption is  Ryan Potulny will get his I-Pass and make the trip up from Rockford. Imagine if someone in your fantasy league offered you Morin and Potulny for Kane. You’d probably laugh yourself into a coma.

Maybe I’m not being optimistic enough, or everyone else is lacking the pessimism necessary to be a realist.

But three weeks without Kane? Sounds as fun as a fart in a 100-floor elevator ride to me.

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

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PUCKCAST: Tim and HOCKEENIGHT get their Nick Boynton on

Plus a bunch more. Have a listen and get a laugh rather than killing your boss while you hate your job today.

Injury-riddled Boxing with Blackhawks/Flames (12/5/10)

Prognosis: Negative. (Chicago Tribune)

It’s pretty unfair to  Jonathan Toews to talk about  Patrick Kane’s injury right off the bat, seeing as Tazer put the Blackhawks on his back in their 4-2 win Sunday against the Calgary Flames.

However, the potential long-term absence of Kaner is pretty damning. With  Marian Hossa and  Fernando Pisani already out, losing another offensive weapon like Kane for a team already dressing  John Scott at forward could send the ‘Hawks up Shit’s Creek without a paddle.

Coach Q said he’ll be “out for a bit,” but that it’s “nothing very serious.” I’ve seen on Twitter some NHL media have heard 4-6 weeks. Did he sprain his ankle? Tweak his MCL? Hopefully by the time you read this, we’ll know.

Whether it’s a week, two weeks or more than a month, any time without Kane is going to be a detriment to the offense. Everyone is going to have to step up a notch, and hopefully  Dave Bolland keeps removing his head from his ass.  Patrick Sharp is already carrying more than his weight, but the ‘Hawks will need even more handsome firepower.

Toews showed right away what he means to this team, and you’re bat-shit insane if you don’t think he watched Kane go off the ice and said, “OK, time to beat some fucking ass.” The Blackhawks will need more of that mentality.

Corey Crawford pretty much solidified himself as the No. 1 with his sixth straight win. I know that  Marty Turco hasn’t been playing awful and has the heart of Mother Teresa, but he’ll have to sit and watch until the kid shits the bed.

On that note, here’s your Monday morning edition of “Boxing.” Click the images to enlarge and, as always, enjoy.

Hit the jump for “Boxing”

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Light Them Up: Flames Visit Chicago

There are two reasons for the Blackhawks to kick it into gear tonight against the Calgary Flames. First, getting shut out by Vancouver two nights ago on home ice. Second, the embarrassing loss the Hawks suffered at the hands of the Flames two weeks ago by the score of 7 – 2. That absolutely must be avenged tonight.

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Okay, so that happened: Canucks 3, Blackhawks 0

Photo: AP

Last night there were several Blackhawks lying awake in bed, staring at the ceiling, wishing they had a second chance at the opportunities they missed against the Canucks. Were it not for those missed opportunities — and admittedly white-hot goaltender in the form of Roberto Luongo — the scoreboard would have looked much different when the final horn sounded.

The Hawks threw pretty much everything they could at Luongo, but Bobby Lu was on his game, turning away all 32 shots for his second shutout of the season. Those saves included a breakaway by Patrick Sharp and a point-blank, doorstep chance by Tomas Kopecky the he flipped gently into Luongo’s glove.

The Hawks didn’t play badly, nor did Marty Turco, who turned away 15 of 18 shots. Most of the lines were hustling, we saw signs of the old Duncan Keith re-emerging, and newcomer Jeremy Morin had another solid outing. It was just one of those nights with a hot goalie on the other end of the rink and the bounces not going the way the Blackhawks needed them to. Hard to say more than that.

Next up is Calgary on Sunday, a team we need to get even with following the beat-down we suffered at their hands two weeks back. We’ll preview that matchup tomorrow, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for any team info you need between now and game time.

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Back For More, Eh? Blackhawks Host Vancouver

Photo: AP

We tend to scoff at the Canucks in general, because we have Roberto Luongo’s number and we tend to knock them around like a piñata pretty much every time we see them, especially at the United Center. But we had better take the game more seriously this time: the Canucks come in fresh off a 7 – 2 win over Calgary. That game included a noteworthy hat-trick from Mason Raymond — one tally on the power play, one at even strength, and one shorty. Not often you see that.

So you can bet the Canucks will be feeling their oats and itching for a scrap when they hit Chicago tonight, especially after the bitch-slapping we gave them in GM Place the week before last. We showered the Vancouver net with 41 shots, chased Bobby Lu before the end of the 2nd, and walked out of there with a 7-1 victory. They will be looking for some payback. Expect Vancouver’s Tanner pain-in-the-Glass to be the latest fool to challenge — and get bludgeoned by — John Scott early on.

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The Daily Phil Esposito (12/3/10)

This is a new quick-hitting feature I hope to publish each morning updating a good majority of former Blackhawks playing around the NHL with their performances the night before.

Why the name?  Phil Esposito was traded to the Boston Bruins in 1967 in one of the most lopsided trades in league history. Seems fitting to honor one of the most famous former Blackhawks who had his best years while not playing for the franchise. Hope you enjoy.

"I don't drink ALL the time. Assholes."

A pretty slow night for the former Four Feathered Men, who combined for one goal and one assist. However, a drunk guy stopped a bunch of shots.

Click the jump for updates from 12/2

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End The Controversy: A Tale of Four Goalies

Photos: TSN.ca

The Blackhawks’ rookie goaltender Corey Crawford came off the Circus Trip with three starts, three wins, and a GAA hovering just below 1.00. The calls went out for a third straight start after his wins over the Ducks and Kings, and he got it on Tuesday night against St. Louis. He came away with another win, but I think he showed us exactly why doing a flip-flop for the starting role with Marty Turco is a mistake.

Before we get into that, I want to take you back ten years and revisit the story of two young goaltenders in the Blackhawks organ-eye-zation. Michael Leighton and Craig Anders(s)on — I really should tell that story about the extra ‘s’ — were both drafted by Chicago and came into the AHL in 2001. They played as a tandem in Norfolk, which was then the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate, and over the next three years started to gain confidence at the pro level.

Here and there they would get the occasional call-up, mostly to sit on the bench at the UC and watch Steve Passmore flop all over the ice and get his ass handed to him. Then, disaster struck. Blackhawks’s starting goaltender Jocelyn Thibault injured his hip, underwent surgery and was to miss a total of 60 games during the 2003-04 season.

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Boxing with ‘Hawks/Blues (11/30/10)

All right, it’s really late so you’re not going to get any analysis from me tonight other than what’s in the “Boxing.” However, be sure to check out today’s Daily Esposito below this post to catch up on your former Blackhawks.

Click the images to enlarge and, as always, I hope you enjoy it.

Click the jump for the BOX SCORE

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The Daily Phil Esposito (12/1/10)

This is a new quick-hitting feature I hope to publish each morning updating a good majority of former Blackhawks playing around the NHL with their performances the night before.

Why the name?  Phil Esposito  was traded to the Boston Bruins in 1967 in one of the most lopsided trades in league history. Seems fitting to honor one of the most famous former Blackhawks who had his best years while not playing for the franchise. Hope you enjoy.

"See? I told you I was good." (SI.com)

Well, the meatballs would have a good case tonight. Three Stanley Cup-winning former Blackhawks combined for two goals and three assists. And there’s other stuff.

Hit the jump for udpates from the 11/30 games

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