Archive | March, 2012

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

17 Mar

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from all of us at O’ TTS

TTS

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Blackhawks come out flying, take down Stars in Dallas

17 Mar

“We’ve had poor starts the last three or four games,” Quenneville said. “It’s something we’ve been talking about and it was nice to see the results.”

It sure was nice.  Dave Bolland scored 10 seconds into the game as the Blackhawks came out flying against the Stars in Dallas.  Queneville has been preaching the mantra of getting off to a fast start to his club and for whatever reason it hasn’t been happening.  But not last night.

After Bolland scored 10 seconds in, Patrick Sharp ripped a wrist shot over Lehtonen’s shoulder at 1:42 of the game.

Hawks up 2-0 less then 2 minutes in.  This against a team that the Hawks have struggled against.  This against a goalie who was coming off back to back shut outs!

Sharp and Marion Hossa added goals in the opening two minutes of the third period to put the game out of reach.  Chicago is now 6-1-1 in its last eight games.

Jamie Benn ended Crawford’s bid for his sixth career shutout with 5:50 remaining for his 22nd goal of the season.  Normally that might make me upset especially considering that the Hawks are the only team in the NHL this season without a shut out and this was a good chance to finally get one.  But, I have Benn on my fantasy team so for selfish reasons I’ll not complain.

Kari Lehtonen stopped 27 shots for the Stars before a crowd of 19,099, the largest since the team moved to Dallas in 1993. The count was swelled by about 600 standing-room tickets and a loud contingent of Blackhawks fans.  You gotta love Hawks fans, unless maybe you’re a Stars fan.

With the loss, Dallas remains at 83 points which is only 2 ahead of Phoenix.  They wanted that win.  This could have been considered a trap game for the Stars as it’s the first game of a home stand coming off a road trip.  Those can be tricky for the home team for some reason.

Nice to see that effort from the Hawks against a very possible playoff opponent.  “Anytime you play a team with a potential playoff matchup, you want to make sure you give your best effort,” Sharp said. “But that’s so far down the line. We just want to get as many points as we can to secure a playoff spot and then worry about who we’re playing.”

This team is playing as a team without their leader.  With the win the Hawks split the season series with the Stars.

Patrick Kane, doing an impression of a pink flamingo, took a shot off the inside of his knee.  He was down on the ice, a scary sight for Hawks fans, for several minutes.  He did get up and skate off on his own.  Taking a shot there hurts bad.  You have a lot of nerves down there.  Anybody that has played can tell you how much that hurts.  It hurts even when you take a shot right off the shin guard.  I’ve had huge painful bruises on my leg, even with protection.  A puck is hard, it’s a vulcanized rubber disk flying at speeds up to 100 mph!  Even with protection it hurts.  Kane got it in a spot that doesn’t have great protection.  He’ll be sore but should be fine.  With Toews out, the Hawks can’t afford to lose Kane too.

Nice game from Crawford.  He only had to face 22 shots but he looked good again.  It can be tough when a goalie doesn’t see too many shots.  They can get cold.  He didn’t, he looked pretty good.  The Hawks recalled a goalie from Rockford, Carter Hutton,  since Emery was out with the flu.  Good thing Crawford didn’t need to be pulled.  Also interesting is that Salak was not the goalie recalled.  If you remember in preseason Hawk nation was calling for Salak to get the back up position instead of the experienced Emery.  Good thing Hawks brass didn’t listen.  He was just passed up by a goalie you’ve never heard of.  Apparently he’s been playing really well so remember his name.  This probably won’t be the last we ever see of him.

Good game from Andrew Shaw too.  He got an assist on the opening score and had 4 blocked shots.  He’s quickly becoming a favorite around here.

Next up for the Hawks – Sunday evening on a nationally televised game (NBCSports) when Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals come to town.

TTS

Stars – Blackhawks preview

16 Mar

The Chicago Blackhawks visit big D to take on the Dallas Stars tonight at the American Airlines Arena.

This is a huge game.  Points are at a premium this time of year and both teams want the 2 that are available.

Something for you to digest is that this is a very possible first round match up.  If the season ended today Dallas would host Chicago in the first round.  Both teams have played 71 games so far this season and the Hawks have 84 points and the Stars have 83.  Yet Dallas is in 3rd place and the Hawks are in 6th.

The Stars have given the Hawks fits this year.  They like to play the kind of physical hockey that has troubled the Hawks throughout the season.  The Hawks will need to bring the kind of game they brought the last two games if they want a chance to win.

They also need to play at the start of the game.  Something they haven’t done a whole lot.  They like to start playing in the second period, usually down a goal or two.  The Hawks will have to do without Toews and Hjalmarsson again.

It’s a double edge sword having that kind of talent on your team.  They know they can come back.  Just think if they could come out and play a whole 60 minutes.

The Stars are 8-1-1 in their last ten games and the Hawks are 5-4-1.  Goalies for tonight should be Lehtonen and Crawford.  Lehtonen is coming off back to back shutouts.  Crawford has struggled lately but sure looked good in relief of Emery in the last game.

TTS

Blackhawks rally, beat Blues in shootout

14 Mar

Quite a change of pace from last week when the Hawks got manhandled by the Blues in St Louis.  Last night the Hawks didn’t allow themselves to get dominated.  Even though the first period ended 3-1 Blues the Hawks never quit.  They fought back.

That actually dominated most of the game and stat totals.  In the first period the Hawks scored first and out shot the Blues 13 to 6.  Problem was the Blues left the period up 3 to 1.  That was all for Ray Emery.  In comes Corey Crawford to start the second period.  The Blues would not score again.  It wasn’t that Ray played that bad.  I would say only 1 goal was really his fault but the Hawks sure played better in the 2nd, 3rd, OT and shootout.  Shot totals were 46 to 24.  When was the last time the Hawks out shot someone by that far of a margin?  When was the last time the Blues gave up that many shots?

The best stat from last night was in the hit totals.  The hits were 29-29.  A far cry from last week when they were out hit 27-11.  They also lost that game 5-1.

Not this time.  The Hawks, as they’ve shown in the last few games, have some fight in them.  They were not going to get pushed around by the Blues again.  They were not going to allow the Blues to have their way.

The biggest hit, as far as momentum, must have come from Patrick Kane.  Yes…number 88 delivered a huge hit on David Backes.  Backes is usually the one knocking the Hawks around.  But the Hawks, playing as a team, had everyone contributing.  When Patrick Kane is joining in the hit parade you know this team is all pulling on the rope at the same time in the same direction.

Kane has really picked up the mantel of Leader on this team in Toews’ absence. Oh yeah, and Kane was the only skater who scored in the shootout for both clubs.

“I was talking to (Marian) Hossa on the bench and said, `I think I’m going to go backhand top shelf.’ He said, `No, go backhand, five-hole,”’ Kane said. “I listened to Hoss. He knows a thing or two.”

You guys still want to trade him for a past his prime goalie?

At this time of year points are at a premium and to take two points from the league leading Blues is H U G E.  The Blackhawks passed a huge test last night and this team is rounding into form.  Good time of year for that to be happening.  There are still holes on this team but at least we’re seeing some fight from them.  That’s encouraging.

Even when down by a couple of goals against the best defensive team in the league they fought back and won.  That’s not easily accomplished against teams coached by Ken Hitchcock.

The Blues were going for a record of 53 consecutive kills of a power play.  The Hawks scored a power play goal leaving the Blues 2 short of the NHL record.  Sorry.  That will make any Hawks fan warm and fuzzy inside.  Want another fact to make you feel better?  The Blues have now lost in their last 6 visits to Chicago.

I’ll tell you what.  Back in the old Norris division days this was a pretty nasty rivalry.  The last few games have indicated that this feud might be back on boil.  Nothing wrong with that.

Next up for the Hawks – a trip to American Airlines Arena to face the red hot Dallas Stars.  Even if the Stars weren’t red hot right now (they have won 6 in a row and are 9-0-1 in their last 10 games) they have given the Hawks fits this year.  Tough match up but the Hawks have shown a lot of fight recently.  Hopefully the bring their A game at the start of the game.

TTS

Carcillo extended by Hawks for 2 years

12 Mar

Didn’t see that coming.  The Chicago Blackhawks have resigned Daniel “CARBOMB” Carcillo for an additional 2 years.  Terms were not disclosed.

He is still out for the season following knee surgery but was seen hanging around the United Center yesterday.

I wonder what happens with the 2 games he has left on his suspension?  Remember he didn’t finish his suspension as he went for season ending surgery?  Does the NHL say…well he missed the rest of the season so good enough….. or do they force him to sit out a couple of games to start next year.  Like he had to this year.

Of course there will be no hockey next year when Donald Fehr has his way so this is all a moot point.

TTS

Richards Wins it for Kings in Shootout against Hawks

12 Mar

Full marks to Johnathan Quick and Mike Richards for helping the Kings get 2 very important points at the United Center last night.  Quick was strong and seemed to not give up a rebound the whole game.  Richards scored the only goal in 6 rounds of a shootout.

Ray Emery played well too.  He stopped 5 out of 6 in the shoot out and pretty much gave his team a chance to win.  That’s all you can ask.  He kept the Kings down to only 2 goals scored.  A team with the firepower of the Hawks should be able to give you 3.  That didn’t happen.

Quick also stopped a Viktor Stalberg penalty shot too.

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At least the Hawks showed some fight again.  LA tried to play physical and push the Hawks around but the Hawks stuck in there.  They fought through.  It was a tight checking game, as if you would expect anything else from a team coached by Darryl Sutter.  Goals are offensive to him.  (yes pun intended).

What did the Hawks in was being unprepared to play in the first period.  Once again the Hawks did not come out with guns blazing.  For whatever reason we’ve seen it too many times this year.  They came out flat and not ready to play.  It makes no sense.  How have they not learned their lesson about this?  Especially at this time of year when points are at a premium.

I think they Hawks were out shot 14 to 6 by the end of the 1st.  However they hung around.  Only down 1 after the 1st period and they started showing up in the second and played well in the third.

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The Kings did not allow the Hawks to be their high flying selves.  The only two goals they scored were ugly ones where all 5 Hawks crashed the net.  Why didn’t they crash the net more often?  The Kings were not going to allow the Hawks to show off their pretty offense.

The Kings opened up the scoring on a 4-1.  The Hawks were carrying the play and LA couldn’t get it out of their zone, then the Hawks pinched and a 2-1 break out of the zone turned into a 4-1 on Emery had no chance.

The Kings second goal was on another mistake by the Hawks.  Keith got checked hard off the puck and no one picked up Jeff Carter in front of the net.  He might be a jackass but the guy has some hands.  If you leave him in front of the net all alone he will bury it.  That’s 4 goals in 8 games for Carter as he seems to be settling into LA’s system.

That’s 3 out of 4 for LA against Chicago this year.  The Hawks are not playing well this year against teams from warm southern climates for whatever reason.  A lot can happen between now and then but the Hawks have been hovering around 6th place in the Western Conference and could end up playing Dallas or Phoenix.  Two teams that have had their way with the Hawks this year.

This is a fun time of year.  There are 3 teams tied for the 8th and final playoff spot in the West.  LA being one of them picking up 2 huge points.

Next up for the Hawks, the St Louis Blues come to town on Tuesday.  The Blues manhandled the Hawks last week so I expect a better showing this time.  They better be ready to play from the first face off or it will be game over quick.

TTS

That’s how you score a goal

11 Mar

awfully pretty