The Daily Phil Esposito (1/4/11)

I got nothing

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

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Crowning Jewel: Boxing with Blackhawks/Kings, Sweep Edition

"Call it luck again, bitch. I dare you."

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

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Mamas’ Boys: Blackhawks Try To Stop The Bleeding In Los Angeles

The Blackhawks held a team meeting on Monday, likely to discuss the three game losing streak and the most recent loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday night. We will never know exactly what was said at the gathering, though we will get the usual barrage of cliches and platitudes: “Our best players have to be our best players,” and other meaningless Yogi Berra-isms.

But what *should* they be saying? Is it time for a Come To Jesus Meeting about defensive responsibility? Should Coach Joel Quenneville start separating the men from the boys, call out the kids to start stepping things up and show them one-way tickets on the Rockford Shuttle? Should Captain Jonathan Toews start naming names of vets who aren’t pulling their weight and reaming them a new sphincter?

Or, should the team just invite their mothers to the meeting?

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STATS Game: Blackhawks vs. Kings

THE FACTS

The BLACKHAWKS are …

… 20-17-3 (T-4th, Central)
… 8-7-3 on the road
… 4-5-1 in their last 10 (Lost 3)
… 6-4-1 against the Pacific Division
… 16-7-2 when scoring first
… 16-3-1 when leading after 2nd period

The KINGS are …

… 22-15-1 (4th, Pacific)
… 13-4-1 at home
… 5-5-0 in their last 10 (Lost 3)
… 4-5-0 against the Central Division
… 17-4-0 when scoring first
… 12-0-0 when leading after 2nd period

THE MATCHUP

POWER PLAY: Blackhawks, 24.8% (1st) ; Kings, 17.7% (14th)
PENALTY KILL: Blackhawks 79.0% (25th) ; Kings 84.4% (8th)

» The Blackhawks have won the last two meetings in L.A., including a 2-1 victory Nov. 27
» The ‘Hawks haven’t won three straight in L.A. since winning two in 1996 and another in 1997

» Victorious Boxing with ‘Hawks/Kings: Oct. 27, Nov. 27, Dec. 19

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

Click the jump for more STATS

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Sorry, Mom: Boxing with ‘Hawks/Ducks

"I didn't get my ass kicked like this when I was playing offense. WTF, man?!" (Chicago Tribune)

This time, the Blackhawks’ mothers got to witness the ‘Hawks fall into a last-place tie in the Central Division. How sweet of the kids.

The Blackhawks’ 2-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks offered some good things to take away from it. However, despite the fact the ‘Hawks outshot the Ducks 40-19, that disparity is a bit deceiving.

Yes, the ‘Hawks controlled the puck for damn near all of the third period when they held a 19-2 shot advantage. The problem is that most of those 19 shots didn’t offer many quality chances. Rather than being impressed with the ‘Hawks puck possession, I’m inclined to give the credit to the Ducks being able to keep the ‘Hawks from the net for most of the period.

Viktor Stalberg had the game tied when he put a wrister toward an open net from just a few feet out with Jonas Hiller sprawled across the crease. Then  Dave Bolland, who saw Hiller down and watched Stalberg get ready to put the puck on the net, decided an attempt at a re-direct to fool the goaltender who wasn’t there. I can understand Bolland being in the moment, but I can’t remember the last time I saw someone attempt to re-direct a shot taken from that close. Stalberg put his arms up thinking it was a sure goal, then realized what happened. That fucking sucked.

To the ‘Hawks credit, they tried to do everything they could to get another one past Hiller, who played outstanding. Hiller even made a ridiculous initial save on Bryan Bickell’s goal before Bicks poked it through.

As you’ll notice in Boxing, the ‘Hawks were murdered at the dot. The chance of Jonathan Toews playing against the Los Angeles Kings becomes much more needed after witnessing that shit show.

There’s a mystery why Jake Dowell got benched in the third period, and hopefully Q gives us an explanation. Not a mystery? Tomas Kopecky has been playing like a pile of dog shit.

The Blackhawks’ 20-17-3 record puts them at exactly .500 and in last place while the rest of the division has games in hand. The official midway point of the season is tonight, and the ‘Hawks are currently looking up the ass of 10 teams in the Western Conference. I’m not going to hop in front of a Blue Line train just yet, but it’s also time to start realizing our Stanley Cup champs have to fight for a playoff spot in the second half.

Hey, at least we got a break from the sack of nipples that is Nick Boynton.

Without further ado, here’s Boxing. Click the images to enlarge

Click the jump for Boxing with ‘Hawks/Gordon Bombays

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The Daily Phil Esposito (1/3/11)

"Man where did all these people in the UC go? Oh wait, thats right I'm in Atlanta where no fans ever come to the game."

In 8 games played last night there were 15 former Hawks that took the ice, with 13 of them being forwards. The two goalies split decisions while the skaters posted eight points, with three goals scored and five helpers. A hot-headed blue liner also stayed hot by adding a couple tallies. Enjoy. I am unsure if there will be an Espo tomorrow due to myself  my 3rd knee surgery in the past three years today at 2 pm. If I am stable enough to do it, I will have it posted. Hopefully the Hawks can pull a win out tonight too…

Click the jump for updates from the 1/2/11 games

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Bring A Barrel: Blackhawks Arrive In Anaheim for Shooting Practice

Tonight in Anaheim we will witness a meeting of two leaderless hockey teams. The Anaheim Ducks have lost Captain Ryan Getzlaf after he took a puck to the face in the Ducks’ game against the Coyotes on December 28th. He has been diagnosed with multiple nasal sinus fractures, and is listed as being out indefinitely.

Blackhawks’ Captain Jonathan Toews fell awkwardly into the boards with a man on top of him during the Blues game a week ago, and suffered a shoulder injury. He is listed as day-to-day, and was skating at practice on New Year’s Day — a nice present for ‘Hawks’ fans to start 2011. Turns out Captain Serious is also Captain I Dare You To Try To Stop Me From Skating.

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STATS Game: Chicago Blackhawks vs. Anaheim Gordon Bombays

“Bombay was a Hawk?”

Not in real life, thank the higher power. We’ve got enough problems with injuries that an alcoholic attorney with a bum knee wouldn’t quite fit in.

Here’s another edition of STATS Game, breaking down some facts regarding today’s matchup in Anaheim. Enjoy

THE FACTS

The BLACKHAWKS are …

… 20-16-3 (T-3rd, Central)
… 8-6-3 on the road
… 5-4-1 in their last 10 (Lost 2)
… 6-3-1 against the Pacific Division
… 16-7-2 when scoring first
… 16-3-1 when leading after 2nd period

The GORDON BOMBAYS are …

… 20-17-4 (4th, Pacific)
… 12-6-1 at home
… 6-4-0 in their last 10 (Won 2)
… 1-8-1 against the Central Division
… 16-3-2 when scoring first
… 12-0-2 when leading after 2nd period

THE MATCHUP

POWER PLAY: Blackhawks, 25.2% (2nd) ; Ducks, 21.0% (8th)
PENALTY KILL: Blackhawks 78.5% (26th) ; Ducks 79.9% (23rd)

» The Blackhawks are 3-13-0 with 2 ties in the last 18 AT Anaheim
» One of those wins was a 4-1 victory Nov. 26

Click the jump for more STATS

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The Daily Phil Esposito (1/2/11)

"Wow where did this performance come from?"

There were 11 former feather heads on the ice last night. Nine of which were skaters who amassed seven points. Six of those were by teammates who decided to suddenly emerge and combine for three goals and three assists. Also a drunk goalie played well but his offense screwed him again, and the defending Stanley Cup Champion Goalie stood on his head. I have included a little more after each guy in this segment since there were some interesting facts. Hope you enjoy!

Click the jump for updates from the 1/1/11 games

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Your Turn Again: December Mail Bag

There were a rousing lot of questions from you BlackhawkUP-sters last month, here’s a sampling…

The Blackhawks seem to be teetering in and out of a playoff spot. That’s not good. What’s the problem? — Chris, Grand Crossing

The Blackhawks got off to a worse-than-average start, and are only now starting to play the kind of hockey we expect from the defending Stanley Cup Champions. Last season they took the “best defense is a good offense” approach, and it worked wonderfully — because they had nearly a dozen credible scoring threats and the most consistent and stingy top-four defensemen in the league (arguably).

They tried to continue with that strategy this season, and it bombed. Neither the offense nor the defense was delivering. In the 15 games starting October 15, the Blackhawks won only 6 of them. Out of the most recent 15 games, they won 9. So essentially we’re playing far better, and just cleaning up the mess we made earlier this season. They keep improving like this, and not only will we make the playoffs, we’ll start on home ice.

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