Archive | January, 2012

Hossa, Kane at the all star game and 9 game road trip

30 Jan

Patrick Kane and Marion Hossa each had a goal helping Team Chara to victory over Team Alfredsson Sunday afternoon at the all star game.  Hossa added 2 helpers along with his goal and created magic with Gaborik and Datsyuk.  That line is in unfair.  That line is unfair to all stars.  They looked like they have played together for 20 years.  Gaborik and Hossa have played together on the Slovakian team during international play before but didn’t look like this.  The more I see Datsyuk play the more I am amazed.

Patrick Kane had a goal which I’m hoping will help his confidence in regards to his low goal output this year.  He had a lot of time and space which he won’t get in regular season games.  Hopefully that goal, and his “Superman” during the all star skills competition, will get him going.  He only needs one good game to get on a hot streak.  We’ve seen him get on hot streaks before and now would be the perfect time.  Against the hated Canucks would be even more delicious.

9 game road trip

It’s back to business for the hawks on Tuesday embarking on a historic 9 game road trip.  The Blackhawks will be the 17th team in league history to take on such a lengthy trip.  The San Jose Sharks will make it 18 next month when they take on their own 9 game trip.  Grueling.

The hawks have taken a smart approach with this trip breaking it into 3 segments.  They will play Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton and then fly back home.  This gives the players a chance to go home, sleep in their own bed, see their families and recharge the batteries.

That first trio of games is worrisome.  It’s always nasty up in Canuck-land but the hawks are usually up for it.  Edmonton and Calgary have embarrassed the hawks this year.  You would think that the hawks would have been up for the Oilers the last time they came to the United Center but they were not.  The hawks, coming off a 9-2 drubbing which had Oiler fans chanting “we want 10”, couldn’t get the hawks up for a game at home.  Now they have to play them in their building.  A building they lost 9-2 at.  After that it’s the Calgary Flames and newly acquired Brendan Morrison’s chance to play his former team.

The 2nd segment will feature games against the Colorado Avalanche, San Jose Sharks and Phoenix Coyotes.  Colorado was playing great hockey for a few weeks up until the all star break.  San Jose is always difficult with a goalie (Niemi) who would love nothing better than to send a message to the hawks.  Then there is Phoenix who have just owned the hawks this year.

The 3rd portion of the trip features games against the Nashville Predators, New York Rangers and Columbus Blue Jackets.  Nashville beat us in a home and away before the break.  A rare Original Six match up against one of the better teams in the east and then the lowly Blue Jackets.

The hawks need to play at least .500 hockey during this trip.  Any lower and the hawks will drop too far in the ever tightening Western Conference standings.  We don’t want to see a repeat of last year where the hawks needed help just to grab the 8th seed.

Should be a fun final 32 games.

TTS

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Blackhawks assign Hayes to Rockford

28 Jan

 

The Chicago Blackhawks assigned rookie forward Jimmy Hayes to Rockford of the American Hockey League on Saturday.

The 22-year-old Hayes had four goals, three assists and six penalty minutes in 13 games with the Hawks after being recalled Dec. 29. The Dorchester, Mass., native had two multiple point games and picked up his first NHL point with a goal on Jan. 2 against the Edmonton Oilers.

 

tts thinks that newly acquired Morrison will take this slot for the time being.  According to hawks GM Stan Bowman they expect Toews to play in the first game after the all star break.  No word on when Patrick Sharp will return.

Blackhawks acquire Brendan Morrison

27 Jan

From the Chicago Blackhawks website:

The Chicago Blackhawks have acquired center Brendan Morrison from the Calgary Flames in exchange for defenseman Brian Connelly.

Morrison, 36, has appeared in 923 career National Hockey League regular-season games over parts of 15 seasons, collecting 200 goals, 601 points and 446 penalty minutes. The Pitt Meadows, British Columbia, native, has spent each of the last two years with the Calgary Flames, which includes notching seven assists and 11 points in 28 contests this season. He collected his 200th career NHL goal on January 1 against Nashville and his 600th career NHL point on December 29, 2011 against New Jersey. Morrison also tied a career-high earlier this season with a four-point effort on December 6 against Carolina.

Morrison has reached the Stanley Cup Playoffs nine times during his career, racking up 29 points (8G, 21A) and 40 penalty minutes in 58 postseason tilts. He has skated for the New Jersey Devils (1998-2000), Vancouver Canucks (2000-2008), Anaheim Ducks (2008-09), Dallas Stars (2008-09), Washington Capitals (2009-10) and Flames (2010-2012). Morrison has collected at least 51 points six times in his career and has reached the 20-goal plateau four times.

Prior to turning pro late in 1998, Morrison played four seasons at the University of Michigan (CCHA), amassing 284 points (102G, 182A) in 155 career games, which includes helping the school to a National Championship in 1996 and winning the Hobey Baker Award in 1998 after finishing as a finalist in 1996 and 1997. Morrison’s career marks in points and assists are still a school record. He netted the overtime winner to clinch Michigan’s National Championship in 1996 and was named NCAA Tournament MVP.

Connelly, 25, has spent parts of the last four seasons as a member of the American Hockey League’s Rockford IceHogs, tallying 126 points (21G, 105A) in 211 regular-season games. He originally signed with the Blackhawks on June 8, 2009.

tts looks forward to the veteran presence as a defensively responsible center who can chip in points.

He did play for the Canucks from 2000 to 2008 but that was before the hawks – nucks rivalry boiled over.

Blackhawks assign Smith, Pirri to Rockford

25 Jan

The Chicago Blackhawks have assigned forwards Ben Smith and Brandon Pirrito the American Hockey League’s Rockford IceHogs.

Smith, 23, has recorded two goals in 13 games with Chicago this season. Additionally, the Avon, Connecticut, native shares second on the IceHogs with 12 goals and has posted 21 points (12G, 9A) and a +2 plus/minus rating in 22 contests with Rockford.

Pirri, 20, has registered two assists and a +2 rating in five contests with the Blackhawks this year and paced Chicago with four goals and five points in four games during the 2011 preseason. The Toronto native also leads the IceHogs with 18 goals and a +12 rating, and ranks eighth in the AHL with 41 points (18G, 23A) in 41 tilts this season.

 

Neither of these moves are surprising.  What is interesting is that Shaw and Hayes are sticking with the big club during the all star break.  This seems like a Stan Bowman move, send the boys down to save on cap space, but they are sticking around Chicago instead of Rockford.  They gotta be happy about that.

Hawks lose again, OVI and Thomas

25 Jan

That pretty much sums it up.  Hawks fall to the Predators for the 2nd game in a row.  Falling from first place in the Western conference to 6th!!!  Such is life in the Central division.  4 of the top 6 teams in the West are all in the Central.  At least we don’t have to worry about the Blue Jackets who should turn into sellers very soon.

Nashville played a perfect road game.  They stifled the life out of the Hawks offense and pounced on the 2 mistakes our defense made.  Thank you O’Donnell and Leddy.  Nashville is a good team and they were certainly the hungrier team last night.  They won all the little battles that don’t show up on the stat sheets.  Hats off to them.  I sure hope we don’t see them in the first round in the playoffs.

Our Rockford kids looked good again.  It’s the veterans that are letting down this team.

Goes to show how much we miss the leadership and offense provided by Toews and Sharp.  Let us hope that this is good timing with the All star break.  We will need them back for our first game after the break against the very HATED Vancouver Canucks.  Let us pray for a speedy recovery off the I.R. (injured reserve)

Alex Ovechkin was suspended by the NHL on Monday for a “launching head shot” on Zybnek Michalek of the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Now “Ovi” is skipping the all star game this weekend by claiming that his heart is not in it and that he does not deserve to go since he is suspended.  Come on.  He is one of the most entertaining players in the game.  He is the most entertaining player in the snore fest that has become the all star game.  Remember his antics?

Don’t feel too bad for “Ovi” check out the house he just bought.  http://www.businessinsider.com/alex-ovechkin-house-2012-1#

Why is the NHL letting him off the hook.  Last year Lidstrom and Datsyuk got suspended 1 game for skipping the all star game.  Why does Alex not face the same discipline?

Random thought for the all star game.  Instead of playing this game that no one wants to go to or watch, why not make a mini iron man tournament?  5 teams of 4 players playing 5 minute periods.  No changes, no whistles, no penalties….just skate pass and shoot baby.  Why not?  What are your thoughts?

Tim Thomas skipped the White House visit for Stanley Cup winning teams.  He posted his reasons on his facebook account but for the most part he feels that government has gotten too big and too intrusive in peoples lives.  He may have a point.  I also fully support his right to protest in this manner.  That’s the great thing about this country, you can protest against the government and not be taken out and shot.  The problem is that this now becomes a distraction for his teammates.  You know the media is not going to just let this go.  They will want to talk about it.  That’s unfortunate and unfair but it is what it is.  I wonder if Timmy thought about that before making his decision.  What are your thoughts on it?

tts

Toews, Sharp – out!

24 Jan

As you may have heard Jonathon Toews is out for tonight’s game against Nashville.  Toews’ 27 goals is good for 2nd best in the NHL and 7 ahead of his next closest teammates – Hossa and Sharp.

His face-off winning percentage is 61.1%  best in the whole league.

“You miss his leadership and how important he is to our team,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said of Toews sitting out Tuesday night’s game against the Nashville Predators. “It changes the complexion of what our options are.”

Toews was slashed in the left hand by Florida’s Erik Gudbranson on Friday, and though Quenneville said there was no “defining blow” causing his injury, that slash is believed to have played a part in his ailment.

With Toews and Sharp out we should expect some line changes.  Apparently Dave ‘the rat” Bolland out will move up to the first line.

This puts even more pressure on GM Stan Bowman to acquire a legit number 2 center.

Nashville is always difficult to play against and lately they are on a roll.  In between beating us 5 to 2 on Saturday night they took down another Central division rival – The Columbus Blue Jackets 4 -1.

No Toews, no Sharp and facing a red hot Predators team is a real kick in the……

tts

Chicago Blackhawks, Florida Panthers and the legend – Andrew Shaw

21 Jan

I had a chance to see Andrew Shaw in person last night.  While he didn’t make the score sheet, he made a big impact on the game.  Taking a hit to draw a power play for his team, skating with energy so infectious the bench can’t help but get excited for their shift.  Very telling was how coach Quenneville  had him on the ice at critical times.  1:30 left in the game with Florida’s goalie Jose Theodore on the bench for an extra attacker and Q has that much faith in the 20 year old to be on the ice.  Huge for a guy playing in his 10th ever NHL game.

Nice to see Patrick Kane put in a goal, he shot that puck with confidence and didn’t look like a guy struggling to score goals.  That was a beauty.

Nice to see so many hawk fans brave the elements.  That stadium was close to full which was amazing considering we had about 7 inches of snow dump on us yesterday.  Rush hour was a disaster.  Patrick Kane lives about 15 minutes away from the United Center and it took him an hour and a half.  The Florida Panthers bus showed up at 6:45.  Generally opposing team buses show up around 5 or 5:30.  Way to go hawk fans!

One question, is there anyone better than Jonathon Toews?  I know some people will say Malkin has more points but there is way more to hockey then leading the league in scoring.  Just ask the Sedin sisters.