All Right, Let’s Not Get Cocky: Blackhawks host Kings

Photo: AP

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.

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Too Many Men on the Site

The Daily Phil Esposito (12-19-10)

"Wooo Hooo"

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

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The Daily Esposito (12-18-10)

"Martin Erat... You're My Hero"

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

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Out Of The Frying Pan: Hawks Host Motor City Mucous

Photo: AP

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.

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The Daily Phil Esposito (12-17-10)

Here Ya Go Kiddies

"Eager Angry, Eager Want FIGHT!"

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

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The Daily Phil Esposito (12-16-10)

"Who are all these Old Guys on the Ice?"

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

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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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