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
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.
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
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”
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?