Saddle up: Wild Stanley Cup Final continues with Game 4

While I’m still stinging a bit over the Game 3 OT loss, I’ve calmed myself enough to focus on tonight. These Cup finals have been nuts so far — 11 goals in Game 1, two goals in 28 seconds in Game 2, a third-period lead blown in 20 seconds, two reviewed goals and shitty line change in Game 3 …. what the hell could we possibly get in Game 4?

Well, probably much of the same. Both the Blackhawks and Flyers are saying all the right things and letting their play on the ice relate the substance of their words.

There’s been some talk around town of possibly changing the lines up to get  Dustin Byfuglien  off the top line, which would then draw  Chris Pronger  off the ice to create better opportunities for  Jonathan Toews  and  Patrick Kane.  As much as I hate QStache’s panic-switch changes, I don’t think this one would qualify as such. It’s no secret Pronger is a complete and utter pile of dog shit, but the bastard is a good hockey player and has limited Byfuglien from … well, doing much of anything through the first three games.

If this would happen, I would like to see  Patrick Sharp  on the top line. However, we have to wait and see about  Andrew Ladd’s  status for tonight, which now stands as him being a game-time decision.

Bottom line? The Blackhawks need to win this one to save the collective heart of Chicago. We’ve gone from thinking this series was a sure thing to wondering about the worst. I, for one, never said Philadelphia would be a cakewalk. But, that doesn’t change my mentality from being extremely nervous about tonight’s game.

Puck drop is 7 p.m. CST from Philadelphia, with Doc and Eddie-O calling the action on VERSUS. Also, be sure to make it out to Second City Hockey’s watch party at Bottom Lounge tonight. If you like fun, you’ll be there.


*** and the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Illinois are offering readers of Blackhawk Up a 10% discount on a specialty set of Blackhawks commerative pucks. Don’t be cheap — all proceeds go to a kids’ charity. Here’s the detail:

Only 5,000 sets will be made…priced at $39.95 and comes with a separate display case.  One puck commemorates history of the Blackhawks franchise, the other is a salute to the 2009-10 season and includes a series-by-series recap of the post-season games.  Really a nice, historical collectible for that special Hawks fan.  To order, call 1-800-345-2868 or visit  Officially licensed by the NHL….made by Sherwood Hockey, the SAME pucks used in the Cup series!!!

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Again, don’t be a cheap-ass. It’s for kids. Plus, you get 10% off just for reading this Internet rag. 

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Everything sucks right now: ‘Hawks drop Game 3 in OT

There are so many ridiculous, un-edited thoughts running through my mind right now. I’d like to find  Bill McCreary and flood his hotel room with billions of fire ants while I watch in ecstasy as they chew his face off little by little. I hope Q-Stache is laying face down in his pillow with tears pouring out of his eyes wondering why he called a line change 2 seconds after a neutral zone face-off loss which led to the losing goal — and all this after the ‘Hawks had lost over 60 percent of the face-offs all night.

More importantly, I’m hoping the ‘Hawks are all languishing in the fact they’ve played like dog shit for three games in the Stanley Cup finals and that it finally caught up to them. Taking a third-period lead off of what should be a deflating-to-the-home-team breakaway goal on the road from your star player,  Patrick Kane, who hasn’t been on the score sheet all series should last more than 20 goddamn, motherfucking seconds.

Alas, I’ll hold back until tomorrow. I’m getting drunk. Fuck it. Right now, all I can do is be a pessimist and tell you this series is as good as fucking tied, and we’re going to be watching a critical Game 5 on Sunday at the United Center praying the Blackhawks don’t have to go back to Philadelphia down 3-2 — because right now, it seems completely feasible.

I’m not ready to look at any positives. I want to destroy everything in my path and will probably smoke an entire pack of cigarettes within the next 45 minutes.

Fuck everything. We’ll catch up tomorrow with some more relaxed, coherent thoughts.

Act or fact: Down 0-2, why do Flyers seem so relaxed?

Remind a Philadelphia Flyer he’s two losses from the golf course and you may hear him respond casually, “Yeah, and we’re four WINS away from it, too.”

No matter their 0-2 deficit to the Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final, the Flyers seem at peace with their play and stance in the series. They’ve been down before, picked themselves back up and marched through the Eastern Conference and into the finals. Now on hockey’s biggest stage, the Flyers don’t seem to mind the curtain could be drawn in 120 short minutes.

Are the Flyers simply playing opossum, hiding frustration and disappointment waiting to pounce tonight in Game 3? Or is it fact Philadelphia is immune to such situations?

Peter Laviolette and the Flyers have displayed the laid-back approach before, acting relaxed in the face of playoff adversity. Maybe it’s all about image. But with the amount of smirking, joking and shrugging done publicly, any hockey mind merits the right to wonder when Philadelphia’s sense of urgency kicks in.

If it’s all an act,  Chris Pronger plays the role of First Star Jackass to perfection. He’s cross-checked and jabbered his way through the first two games of the finals and trashed every question from the media with a smug answer. Pronger’s latest spat with  Ben Eager on the surface seems childish. Who takes a puck hoping the other team will be upset?

Maybe Pronger continues to bury his frustrations with small-minded antics in hopes of baiting the Blackhawks into stupid hockey. Or, maybe the guy is just trying to have a little fun and take the pressure off his teammates by deterring the media attention from them.

Whatever the case, the Flyers seem to be eating it up and following his lead. Laviolette acts ignorant to each question asked, and  Mike Richards did so much smiling at yesterday’s press conference you’d think he was at a photo shoot. And I’m sure if  Dan Carcillo had a soul, he’d muster a toothless smile as well.

The Flyers seem to hold hope of lulling the Blackhawks into their relaxed state of mind and getting the ‘Hawks to sit and bask in a 2-0 series lead heading into a raucous Philadelphia crowd. Rather, the Flyers may be attempting to confuse the ‘Hawks into wondering how a team facing such a deficit isn’t showing more desperation.

The Blackhawks don’t seem fazed, nor do the Flyers seem to be tipping their hand anytime soon. The starring contest continues in Game 3 tonight at 7 p.m. CST at the Wachovia Center.

Let’s see who flinches first.

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Not so sunny in Philadelphia: ‘Hawks edge Flyers 2-1, take 2-0 series lead

Two. For the first time since 1971, the Blackhawks are two wins away from bringing the Stanley Cup back to Chicago. While the ‘Hawks sure as hell haven’t won a damn thing yet, the feeling is incredible.

Analyze Game 1 and 2 all you want, but once the final horn sounds the only thing that counts is the scoreboard. The Flyers have scored six goals in the series, but have zero wins to show for it. A couple of “One Goal” games have the Blackhawks in control heading to Philadelphia. In fact, the ‘Hawks are coincidentally 5-0 in “One Goal” games in the 2010 playoffs. That’s what matters.

Here’s what I’ve got…

Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Dustin Byfuglien all missed the score sheet again tonight. You know who cares? Not this guy. While I’m a tad vexed Toews went 13 straight games with a point but is scoreless for the first two games, Toews doesn’t have to carry this team every single night. If the only thing Toews lifts when this series ends is 35 points of silver, I’m a happy man.

– I watched Game 1 with a bunch of Red Wings fans, then listened to their bitterness regarding  Marian Hossa. I heard for roughly an hour how Hossa was brought into Detroit last season to specifically score goals against Pittsburgh in the Cup finals — something he didn’t do. Now, they all hate Hossa and placed a great deal of blame upon him for the Red Wings losing to the Penguins.

Needless to say, it was complete justification Hossa got on the board tonight with his first goal and third point of the 2010 Stanley Cup Final. It’s almost as if Hossa woke up in the middle of the night and knew some bitter Wings fans were talking shit and said to himself, “That’s it, I’m fucking scoring in Game 2.”

Done and done.

– Toews came into the series as the consensus leader for the Conn Smythe. If  Antti Niemi continues to put in performances like Game 2′s 33-save gem, the Finn may be getting some hardware. Giving up five goals in Game 1 wasn’t ideal, but he bounced back with some key saves and withstood the Flyers’ furious comeback attempt Monday in the third period. The Blackhawks once again played well in front of him, but Niemi is doing a hell of a lot all by himself in these playoffs.

– Finally, after nearly 75 minutes of apparently PERFECT hockey, Philadelphia got whistled for a penalty with 5:12 left in the first period which drew sarcastic cheers from the crowd at the UC. In Game 1, the Flyers were the first team since Boston in 1953 to play a flawless Stanley Cup game.

– Speaking of penalties, I want to know how Chris Pronger hasn’t been called for shit through these first two games. He even broke Byfuglien’s stick while battling him for position in front of the net tonight, and got away with it. He continuously cross-checks the shit out of everyone within site of him. I hope he rots in hell.

Dan Carcillo and his so-called intangibles were supposed to make a difference tonight. The best thing he did all night? He checked the shit out of  Jeff Carter. Carter plays for the Flyers. Nice job, dickweed.

– I’ll say it:  Ben Eager has had a hell of a playoff run. He takes a lot of shit for being a bonehead half the time, but no one can ever question the kid’s effort. After scoring his goal in the second period, 28 seconds after Hossa’s, the excitement he displayed is what the Cup finals are all about. However, if I have to hear one more time how he used to play for the Flyers, I’m going to strangle myself. Taking it further, if I have to hear one more dipshit reporter ask him what it’s like to play against the Flyers in the Cup finals and/or have someone ask him what it’s like to score a goal against his former team, I’m going to hang myself with dental floss.

– Other than getting faked out of his strap at one point,  Brent Sopel played a heck of a game tonight. He made some nice checks, moved the puck fairly well and got a few more bruises by blocking shots. Like Eager, he takes a lot of shit. Overall, Sopel’s been a rock in these playoffs.

– Chicago is buzzing with this series lead, and rightfully so. But also acknowledge what I said before the series started: The ‘Hawks will win this series, but it won’t be easy. Philadelphia has proved it can compete in this series and won’t be pushovers like 80 percent of the hockey world thought. The Flyers don’t seem all that concerned with improving their play heading into Game 3. Both of these games could’ve gone either way with a couple bounces.

– With all that being said the Flyers should probably consider winning Game 3, or else they’re pretty much:

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