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Cheer the Anthem Roundtable: Previewing the Sochi Olympics

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(Chicago Tribune)

With 10 Blackhawks and 149 NHL players taking part in the Sochi Games, the fellas decided this would be a perfect time to get together for a roundtable “discussion” of the internet variety. I think Mighty Mike is the most excited out of any of us given that he finally gets to watch NHL-level competition without having to stay up until all hours of the night. The rest of us? Well, that’s why they invented DVR.

Let’s get to it:

Who will win the gold medal and why?

Mike: I’m going to make myself popular and say Canada. There’s a shocking amount of firepower there, even without Stamkos, which also extends to their Defensive corps: when you can ice Keith, Doughty, Weber and Subban you are bringing some serious Offensive upside. Obviously Crosby, Toews, Getzlaf, St Louis and Tavares are all-world elite forwards and the supporting cast is terifying too. I’d expect Drinky Price to do the heavy lifting in goal and he’s in wonderful form, despite the Habs’ struggles of late. Bob and Flopper are more-than capable backups. I really don’t think there’s anyone to touch them, if I’m honest. But I tend to get these things wrong, too.

Adam: Canada, because they’re better than everyone else. Their B-Team would probably make it to the medal round. If the Canadians fail to make the gold medal game, it would be a major upset.

Nakis: Canada. This #analysis is based on that fact that their roster seems to have better players on it than any of the other teams participating in the tournament. They’re so deep they aren’t even dressing Matt Duchene. They’re so deep that they literally buried Marty St. Louis. They’re so deep that Roberto Luongo doesn’t even matter.

Bartl: Let’s take a quick look at some of the players left off Team Canada.

Claude Giroux (11th in NHL with 58 points), Joe Thornton (2nd in NHL with 48 assists), Tyler Seguin (24 G, 32 A), Logan Couture (14 G, 21 A in only 43 games due to injury), Eric Staal (14 G, 31 A).

You could create a new country like Peter Griffin, use these guys as five of your top six regardless of position and you’ll have a potential medal contender on your hands. Not to mention, it’s highly doubtful any of them would have been left off Team USA.

I will take Canada.

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Cheer the Podcast: Episode 8

Cheer the Podcast Episode 8 (2.9.14): As we enter the Olympic break the guys talk about Shaw’s recent march to the penalty box, upcoming Olympic hockey, the playoff races around the league, possible landing spots for Ryan Miller (no, really), another DERP of the week and go off the rails a bit about killer whales.

Audio after the jump.

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Mike Smith sold his soul to the Demon Child on the lower left in exchange for his first NHL goal.

Raising Arizona : Coyotes 2 – Blackhawks 0

Mike Smith sold his soul to the Demon Child on the lower left in exchange for his first NHL goal.

Mike Smith sold his soul to the Demon Child on the lower left in exchange for his first NHL goal.

It’s hard to put a lot of stock in that one. I can’t remember the last time an actual hockey game felt secondary to other external events like this. Patrick Kane’s absence, the Olympic break, Brandon Pirri’s demotion to Rockford and the Peter Regin deal all seemed to converge to make the last game of this road-trip a tedious afterthought.

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Punk Rock Saved Our Lives: Hawks 2 Ducks 0

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At the outset of this Road Trip, that we’ve all been nervously eyeing for months, the general consesus was that eight points out of the six games would represent an excellent return. Well, with only the game in Glendale to come, the Hawks are at that mark already and, more importantly, have negotiated the Californians with only a SO loss in San Jose to rue. Granted, it’s helped that the three teams at the top of the Pacific Division have chosen this moment to hit slumps of their own, but it’s with a sense of relief and a hurdle negotiated that the Hawks can turn to Arizona and then either Sochi or nearly three weeks off before they arrive at MSG on the 27th.

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Fenwick chart for 2014-02-03 Blackhawks 5 at Kings 3-1

Like a Hurrikane: Boxing with Blackhawks (5) and Kings (3)

Chicago Blackhawks v Los Angeles Kings

(Chicago Tribune)

Maybe it was the death of his grandfather that motivated him, or maybe it’s just that Patrick Kane is one of the most lethal offensive threats in the NHL, but his performance Monday was one that we’ve been dying to see again.

Kaner scored twice and added an assist in a 5-3 win over Los Angeles as the Blackhawks improved to 2-0-2 on this hell of a road trip. It’s late, so here a couple of thoughts before Boxing…

– The goals aside, Kane’s pass to Bryan Bickell was equally as stellar. Bickell had been scratched for three of the previous four games, and it seemed as if Kane was looking for him the whole way. It was part of a fantastic night just hours after his grandfather passed away.

Kane’s 26th and 27th goals brought him to within three of his career high set in 2009-10.

– After the ‘Hawks largely dominated the first period due to a plethora of Kings penalties, here’s how the rest of the game played out:

Fenwick chart for 2014-02-03 Blackhawks 5 at Kings 3-1

Corey Crawford would probably like to have a goal or two back, but his performance in the second and third period helped hold off the Kings attack. It wasn’t his best game, but he made some solid saves to give the ‘Hawks a chance to finally pull away.

Patrick Sharp took a double-minor high-sticking penalty, and also had a couple of other run-ins. He’s seemed overly frustrated lately and getting into skirmishes, but I think some of the reaction is a bit overblown. He has at least one point in six of the last eight games, so his production is there. If he wants to mix it up a little bit more, so be it. It isn’t quite hurting anyone.

– Another solid game from the fourth line, including the goal from Kruger off of a shot from Leddy, who also had a goal and led the team in Corsi %.

– The Blackhawks allowed their first power-play goal in nine games when Doughty scored in the first period.

Ok, I’m very tired. Here’s Boxing…

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Corona: Hawks @Kings Preview

The Hawks are having something of a torrid time lately. A “Blip”, a “Stutter”, call it what you will. But if you’re planning on calling it a “Slump” then you might want to take a look at tonight’s opponents and thank your lucky stars, because the LA Kings are having one hell of a slump right now.

 

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Southbound To Loop

click here

Click the image to go to the store

If you’ve listened to the latest Podcast (and if you haven’t, why not?) or are misfortunate enough to follow me on Twitter, you may have heard mention of a line of T-Shirt (and other) designs that I’ve come up with and am now bothering innocent people about.  Well, here it is. 

The store is run & maintained by the folks at Redbubble, who handle all the details

Alternatively, if you let your gaze wander directly above this article, you’ll notice a new button called, of all things, “Southbound To Loop” which is also a link to the store. Do take a look and feel free to let me know what you think.

The plan is to add to this all the time, new arrivals will be posted on my Twitter account

 

OK. thanks for listening/looking and reading!

 

Kings preview will be up closer to game time.

Cheer the Podcast: Episode 7

Cheer the Podcast Episode 7 (2.2.14): The fellas answer e-mails, mostly pertaining to Bryan Bickell, and add a new weekly segment entitled “Derp of the Week.” They also discuss Mighty Mike D’s new commercial venture, Marty Havlat vs. Marian Hossa, the mid-point of the West Coast road trip and then delve into non-hockey topics Phillip Seymour Hoffman and the Super Bowl.

Audio after the jump.

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Halfway Home, All The Way Gone: Blackhawks 1 – Sharks 2

While I don’t much care for Joe Thornton, his beard is all that is man. (Photo credit: Don Smith, NHL.com)

I’m writing this the morning after and little has changed in the way I feel about this game. Full admission: I tweeted this last night and it actually happened. Upon waking up this morning I found out they the Hawks had failed to get the extra point and had to watch the skills competition on my DVR. That basically encapsulates my feeling about shootouts. That a game like this, while only two goals were scored, was decided by this method is meaningless in deciding who was the better team tonight.

This game was a tie for all intents and purposes.

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Hertl

This Ain’t No Picnic: Hawks @ Sharks Preview

 

Saturday in San Jose.. and the part of the Road Trip that we’ve been looking forward to (and/or dreading) kicks in as the Hawks start the first of three dates with the Californian heavyweights.  San Jose are one of several teams now right in the Hawk’s rearview mirror, but they’ve hit a bit of a wobble themselves, having dropped the last three games to somewhat temper a recent hot-streak (they are now 6-4-0 in their last 10)

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