Archive | January, 2013

Franchise Record 6-0-0 Start for Blackhawks

29 Jan

The Chicago Blackhawks are red hot. Hard to believe that in 85 years of existence they have never been 6-0-0. Not even the cup winning team of a couple years ago got off to that good of a start. But here they are. However Chicago sports fans know that a team getting off to a hot start doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Bears fans would be quick to point that out.

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Next up for the Hawks is a matchup against the Wild. The Wild of course being the big name in this years offseason signings. They gave monstrous contracts to Suter and Parise then had a hardline owner in the negotiations in this years lock out. Doesn’t make sense. However they hunted the big elephants in this years free agent sweepstakes and got the trophies. Will it pan out? Let’s see. The Wild are playing well. But so are the hawks.

Speaking of the Hawks being hot. Check out this from “In the Box” by Steve Lepore.

here are the top five highest-rated Blackhawks regular season games in the history of Comcast Sportsnet Chicago.

1.Detroit vs. Chicago, 1/27/13 – 6.31
2.St. Louis vs. Chicago, 1/22/13 – 5.40
3.Chicago vs. Dallas, 1/24/13 – 5.13
4.Chicago vs. Columbus, 1/26/13 – 4.39
5.Vancouver vs. Chicago, 3/5/10 – 4.35

That’s insanity. Four of the five highest-rated regular season games in the history of their regional sports network have happened in the last week! With the Hawks undefeated, the shortened season could make Chicago one of the league’s highest-profile television markets. Who’d have thought we’d see this, when nearly 5 or 6 years ago the Blackhawks still didn’t televise home games.

*Incidentally, look for large ratings for the next Blackhawks game against the Wild. It will be carried nationally by NBC Sports Network, and won’t be blacked out in the Chicago market. With the Hawks as hot on TV as they’ve been since the advent of digital cable, and the Wild as hot as they’ve ever been in the Twin Cities, could that game draw enough national interest to match the 956,000 viewers NBCSN drew for last week’s “Wednesday Rivalry” between the Rangers and Bruins? The regional audiences will be there, but it’ll depend on whether or not folks outside those two markets deem the game worth their viewing time. I think the ratings will be big, but maybe not 956,000 big.

I was at the game Sunday night. I was pretty unhappy about the whole lockout but let me tell you it felt really great to be back watching live NHL action. I was even a little emotional when the anthem was sung and Hawk fans did the ritual cheering during the song. My girlfriend is from Canada. So she doesn’t really get the whole cheering through the anthem thing. I do. I was so happy to be back. Let’s go Hawks.

TTS

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Blackhawks are 4-0 to start the season!

25 Jan

Well this is pretty fantastic.

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What’s great is that the Hawks are getting strong play from their best players. You need that if you want to make some noise. Getting off to a good start is key in a short sprint of a season like we have here.

If you haven’t seen the highlights, make sure to catch the OT winner. Kane’s no look behind the back – basketball type- pass was incredible. He totally froze Lehtonen who could not get over to stop Hossa’s one timer blast. Great points if you have Hossa on your fantasy hockey team. Power play game winning goal. Hossa is on fire with 5 goals already. He is a horse of a man. No sigs of last seasons crushing concussion from Piece of Shit Raffi Torres. Keep sitting on that bench Raffi. Dick.

”First really big test coming from behind and I think we didn’t quit,” Hossa said. ”Huge goal by Toews at the end kept us in the game.”

The Blackhawks, who matched the franchise’s best start set during the 1972-73 season, overcame a 2-0 second-period deficit. Corey Crawford made 21 saves and stopped Ryan Garbutt on a penalty shot.

”We just kept sticking to the same play, kept going, and our guys did a great job not getting frustrated,” Crawford said. ”All the missed opportunities or big saves sometimes gets to you. But tonight was great. We got some big goals and an amazing play by Kaner at the end there.”

”We’ll talk about that one for a long time, like he had eyes behind his head,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said of Kane’s pass. ”He saw Hoss and everybody thought it was on the left side, including me, and then he pulls that off and Hoss doesn’t waste it and buries it. It was a special ending.”

Chicago’s high-powered offense, which racked up 14 goals in the previous three games, needed the man-advantage to score all three Thursday night.

Part of that was due to an outstanding performance by Lehtonen, who made 38 saves after coming within 3.4 seconds of a 39-save shutout Tuesday in a 2-1 win at Detroit.

”If Kari isn’t there, there is no game tonight,” Dallas defenseman Stephane Robidas said. ”There’s no chance we get a point. We just got lucky that we hung in there for that long. We’ve just got to tighten up defensively. You can’t play like that all the time.”

Dallas coach Glen Gulutzan was not happy with the performance of his team, which was outshot 41-23 and fell to 2-1-1.

”Lost battles and turnovers,” Gulutzan said. ”If you lose one-on-one battles all night, and if you turn the puck over all night, then you’re going to be on the wrong end of things, and that’s what we did.”

With Eric Nystrom in the penalty box for boarding, Toews tied it at 2 with 5:53 left in regulation on a wrist shot from the left circle that beat Lehtonen over the blocker.

The Stars had a prime opportunity to win when Niklas Hjalmarsson’s tripping penalty with 1:18 left in regulation gave them a chance to end it on the power play. But even though the man-advantage carried over into overtime, they were unable to capitalize.

Ray Whitney’s second goal of the season midway through the second period gave Dallas a 2-0 lead, but the Stars continued to get into penalty trouble, allowing three goals on their last four trips to the box.

”We didn’t change too much of our approach,” Quenneville said. ”We didn’t get away from our game, just tried to get on the offensive side of things, drew some penalties, and the power play cashed in. It was a real solid game for us.”

Loui Eriksson put the Stars up 1-0 with a short-handed goal on a spectacular effort with 1.4 seconds remaining in the first period. He fought his way around defenseman Brent Seabrook at the Chicago blue line and fired a wrist shot that Crawford initially appeared to stop, but the puck came loose and slid just over the goal line.

Garbutt was awarded his first career penalty shot early in the second when he was pulled down from behind by Seabrook on a breakaway, but Crawford made a glove save on his backhand attempt.

Following a turnover by Michal Rozsival, Whitney found himself alone in front and his point-blank backhander over Crawford’s shoulder gave Dallas a two-goal lead at 10:41.

The Blackhawks finally solved Lehtonen on a power play at 15:57 when Sharp attempted a pass through the crease that was inadvertently deflected in by Dallas defender Trevor Daley.

”To us, it was almost fun to watch how good he was playing,” Kane said of Lehtonen. ”Just making acrobatic save after acrobatic save.”

Dallas forward Jaromir Jagr, who had two goals and two assists on opening night but has been held off the scoresheet since, left with an undisclosed injury late in the third period.

”I don’t think it’s anything big, but I haven’t spoken to our training staff,” Gulutzan said.

NOTES: During the game, the Stars announced that they signed restricted free agent center Jamie Benn to a five-year contract worth $26.25 million. … The last time the Blackhawks opened the season with at least three straight victories was back in 1972-73, when Hall of Famers Tony Esposito and Stan Mikita led them to a 4-0 start en route to the Stanley Cup final. … Dallas has allowed just one goal during 5-on-5 play through its first four games.

Ratings Records and Hawks off to 3-0 Start!

24 Jan

Ratings across the United States and Canada have shown record setting ratings for NHL games. So much for the fan backlash from the lockout.

CBC in Canada had record ratings for Saturday night. St Louis reported it’s higher ever ratings for a blues game which was a Tuesday night Shootout thriller against the Nashville Predators. Here in Chicago, the story is the same. From the Chicago Tribune:

CSN delivered its highest Hawks regular-season game rating for its coverage of Tuesday night’s home opener against the Blues. The 5.40 household rating means approximately 188,169 households tuned in for the entire game and eclipsed the previous mark of 4.35 set March 5, 2010 against the Canucks.

Also, NBC’s coverage of the NHL on Saturday produced the league’s most-watched regular-season broadcast in 14 years, excluding Winter Classics, according to The Nielsen Company.

Regional coverage of the Hawks taking on the Kings and also the Penguins facing the Flyers was watched by 2.77 million viewers (1.6 household rating).

Hawks off to a great start.

Hard to believe but the Blackhawks are off to their best start since 1972-1973 season. Can you believe that the Hawks have not had a 3-0-0 start in the last 40 years? Not even the 2010 cup winning team did that! Crazy eh?

The Hawks themselves have said their is a feel to this team that’s similar to the cup winning team. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves but i’m pretty happy with what I’ve seen. Not that there aren’t things that can improve. Plus I expect LA and Phoenix to have a better showing the next time we see them. Especially from their goaltenders who both gave up a couple of week ones. However beating the blues was impressive. The Blues smoked the Red Wings 6-0 the first game of the season and then won a shootout against tough divisional rival the Predators.

From the Hawks themselves:

“It’s a good start but you can’t think about it too much,” winger Patrick Kane said. “One of the things about this season is you’re playing so many games in a short amount of time so it’s almost like you win one, ‘all right, think about the next one.’ If you keep doing that you’re going to have a good recipe for success.”

“It was a lot of tough opponents right out of the gate, but I liked the focus of our team,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “We’re happy, but let’s keep trying to get better.”

Added defenseman Duncan Keith: “It’s definitely a good feeling but we know it’s three games and it’s all about what have you done for me lately.”

Tonight, the Hawks face the Dallas Stars who have been a bit of a surprise so far in the early season.

TV/radio: 7:30 p.m. Thursday; CSN, WGN-AM 720.

Series: First meeting.

Last meeting: Hawks won 4-1 March 16, 2012 in Dallas.

Probable goaltenders: Hawks, Corey Crawford, 2-0-0, 2.00 goals-against average; Stars, Kari Lehtonen, 2-0-0, 2.00.

Team comparison

Averages per game (NHL rank)
HAWKS (3-0-0) CATEGORY STARS(2-1-0) 4.67 (3) Goals for 2.00 (20) 2.67 (17) Goals against 1.67 (7) 23.1 (17) Power-play pct. 20.0 (19) 90.0 (3) Penalty-kill pct. 83.3 (11)

The Hawks will look to continue their strong play on the road after opening the season with victories in Los Angeles and Phoenix. Marian Hossa (four goals, one assist) and Patrick Kane (two goals, three assists) have come out of the gate strong to lead the Hawks’ high-powered offense. The Stars are led in scoring by 40-year-old Jaromir Jagr, who has two goals and two assists. Lehtonen has stopped 36 of 40 shots over his two starts.

Hockeys Back Baby!!!

21 Jan

Hockey is Back!!!

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and boy does she look good.

I heard from plenty of fans who swore off hockey and insisted that they would never be back.  Could have fooled me.  Saturday night, the first night of games for the league, showed the rinks housing NHL teams at 97% attendance.  Even teams in the south, Dallas, Florida, Tampa Etc. had full houses.  I guess the owners and players know their audience.  We are all junkies that need another fix.

Also back is fantasy hockey.

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I know none of the guys in my fantasy league had any issue with the lockout. They couldn’t wait to get it going. They just wanted it over and to have hockey back. I’ve heard similar stories from other guys in fantasy leagues.

My beloved Blackhawks are off to a 2-0 start. Nice work boys, 2 down and 46 to go. Also nice was getting some revenge on the Coyotes or as I call them the new new jersey devils. On another pleasant note the Canucks are 0-1-1. That’s just lovely. Even better, they pulled Schneider and put in Luongo. How’s that too high asking price working out for you now? Probably should have traded him in the offseason.
If they did would Burke still have a job with the Leafs?

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I know these pictures don’t necessarily have anything to do with hockey other then hockey is BACK and these are the backsides of some lovely ladies.

So hockey is back and so is TTS. I’ll try to get back to my regular blogging schedule. Where was I during the lockout? I was here. I didn’t see the sense in blogging about a bunch of idiots. I might have been the one hockey fan out there that doesn’t just solely blame this on Bettman. I know a lot of you hold him and only him personally responsible. Me? No I blame this on the owners, you know…the 30 bosses telling Bettman what to do, and the players. The players get a big part of the blame. Why? First off: hiring Donald Fehr. Are you F***ing kidding me? That’s why this took so long. The deal was done and accepted in the summer. We had to miss this much time because Fehr wanted to squeeze a few more sheckels out of the owners. The whole time giving a huge middle finger to the fans. Then I hear the players come out and say it’s good to be back to show the fans that we care. Are you kidding me? You care? If you cared about hockey instead of the almighty dollar then you never would have hired D Fehr. The biggest joke of the whole thing is that the union was fighting for contracts that the majority of players would never see (the 12 or 15 year joke of a contract with a few pennies in the final years to bring down the cap hit for a team). Or the famous refrain…..we are fighting for the next generation of fans. That’s not how sports unions work. The F*** the guy that’s not even there yet. That’s how it works.
I digress. I said I wasn’t going to do that and here I go on a rant. Let’s just go back to enjoying the sport we love so much and I’ll throw in some pictures of hot chicks since you guys seem to like it so much. At least according to the hits I receive when I do place some pics of some ladies.

So hockey is back and I’m happy. See you here in this space as the season goes along.

TTS

poutana