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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.


Giving Bettman Credit

27 Dec

reposted from The Sporting News – written by Jesse Spector

and I totally agree.  Most people are too short sighted (or too angry) to see what is actually happening.  They just want to blame one person and shoot their venom toward the commish.  Idiots.  Do you tell your 30 bosses how to run their company or do they tell you?  Exactly.


Gary Bettman hasn’t had many reasons to smile lately, but he got one on Thursday, when the United States opened its campaign at the World Junior Championships in Ufa, Russia, with an 8-0 romp over Germany.

The NHL commissioner gets to feel a sense of pride not only because he is American, but because Team USA shows why Bettman is right to stick with a methodology that garners him an unfair amount of criticism. It isn’t about his handling of labor negotiations with the NHLPA — don’t worry, that’s still a mess — but about his larger-scale stewardship of the league.




Earlier this month, Time magazine became the latest outlet to skewer Bettman with an argument that shows even less forward thinking than shutting down a $3.3 billion industry over a desire for a few extra millions.

“There’s a strong argument to be made that there are too many NHL teams, or at least too many in places where ice hockey is not exactly a native sport, i.e., the American South,” Gary Belsky wrote in a Dec. 19 article. “This is the fault of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, long a champion of NHL expansion. But hockey in the U.S. is not a national sport … and not enough fans in the American Southwest and Southeast are as enthusiastic about hockey as they are about football, baseball, and basketball.”

The support for this argument is that the Atlanta Thrashers’ franchise value skyrocketed as soon as they became the Winnipeg Jets. Of course it did — the Thrashers were a miserably-run organization that, in 11 seasons win Atlanta, won zero playoff games. There might as well have never been a team there in the first place. How many kids in Georgia in the 2000s grew up with dreams of being the next Ilya Kovalchuk or Slava Kozlov as they headed to the golf course April after dreary April?

Non-traditional markets don’t become successful overnight, nor do they gain prominence in their communities simply by showing up. Tradition takes time to build, and it takes hard work to establish a sports franchise as part of the community. Pennsylvania did not get NHL hockey until the Flyers and Penguins joined the league as expansion teams in 1967. While Philadelphia was a quick success story, with Stanley Cup victories in 1974 and 1975, Pittsburgh had to wait until 1991 to win a Cup, and even after that, there was a time when the Penguins’ future in western Pennsylvania was in doubt.

Now, the Penguins and Flyers, formerly teams in non-traditional markets, are among the NHL’s most successful clubs, and Pennsylvania is becoming a more common source of NHL talent. Of the 28 players in league history listed on as being born in the Keystone State, 19 were born after the NHL’s 1967 expansion, including 16 who were born after 1980 and thus grew up with the Flyers-Penguins rivalry on full blast. Youth participation in hockey rises every year in the state, and the hockey culture becomes more and more ingrained.

The success of the Flyers and Penguins is such that on Thursday, the on-ice rivals announced that they are banding together to send “Team Pennsylvania” to compete in the 2013 Brick International Super Novice Tournament in Edmonton, a competition for 10-year-old players.

“The state of Pennsylvania … has become a hotbed for incredibly talented hockey players,” Comcast-Spectacor president Peter Luukko said in a statement. “We are excited to be working with the Penguins to have the Keystone State proudly represented at the upcoming Brick Tournament in Edmonton. We hope to showcase some of our region’s aspiring players to the youth hockey world.”

Think about that, then take a look at the box score from United States 8, Germany 0. The Americans had eight goals from eight players, and those players were born in six different states: Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin.

Now, take a look at the most famous Team USA there ever was, the 1980 Olympic team. The entire roster was composed of players from four states: Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

The new geographic diversity of Team USA is not only because star defenseman Seth Jones’ father Popeye was playing for the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks when he had a son. There had to be something that drew the young Jones to hockey, and in fact, he became a fan of the Colorado Avalanche while his father was playing for the Denver Nuggets. The Avalanche, of course, arrived in Denver under Bettman’s watch, and it was smart to put a team there even though the Colorado Rockies had previously failed, and moved to New Jersey to become the Devils.

It’s also not a fluke that this particular group of young American players is from different places. The U.S. national Under-17 team’s roster features players whose previous squads include the Boston Junior Bruins, Carolina Junior Hurricanes, Los Angeles Junior Kings, and Washington Little Caps. The Under-18 team has as many players from California (two) as it does from Massachusetts.

This is only the beginning. More American kids than ever are growing up with hockey in their lives, which means that more American kids than ever are seeing hockey as a sport worth playing. That’s because Bettman was willing to go to places where hockey had not gone before, and has been willing to stick with those franchises. It won’t work everywhere, as the California Golden Seals, Cleveland Barons, and Kansas City Scouts can attest, but the only way to turn non-traditional markets into traditional markets is to — surprise! — let tradition develop.

Of course, the only way to do that is to actually play games and be part of the culture, so Bettman’s smile from watching Thursday’s game should only be a quick one. The lockout is still a disaster for everyone involved.

More Paulina Gretzky Halloween Pics

31 Oct

You asked for em you got em….more of everyone’s favorite daughter of hockey royalty…Paulina Gretzky.  Enjoy.

Happy Halloween


Happy Halloween

31 Oct

Happy Halloween from all of us at TTS.

Canadian, Hockey fan and Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster as the coach to last weeks charity hockey game here in Chicago.  The Blackhawks Ice crew girls as referee’s.

Below is everyone’s favorite daughter of a famous hockey player – Paulina Gretzky in her Halloween costume.



Baby Hawks vs Baby Canucks

15 Oct

So there is no NHL due to the Lockout.  What’s a hockey junkie to do?  Find some other hockey to watch.  In Chicago we have an AHL team called the Chicago Wolves.  They opened up their season on Saturday night against the Rockford Ice Hogs, which is the affiliate team for the Chicago Blackhawks.

I got to the game about 20 minutes before puck drop.  I bought a ticket, in row F for only $ 20.50.  That’s it.  No extra fees of any kind.  Try doing that at your local NHL game.  Oh yeah you can’t.

14,505 people had the same idea as I did.  That’s a healthy crowd for an AHL game.  That’s a healthy crowd for an NHL game in some markets.  I don’t know what the attendance is for AHL games in Canada but I bet 14,505 wouldn’t look bad at all.  We love our hockey here in Chicago.

Some notable attendees of the game were Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz, Coach Joel Quenneville, GM Stan Bowman and his dad the legendary Scotty Bowman.  As I was walking through the hallway to get to my seat I almost bumped into Alain Vigneault.  It was after all the baby Canucks.  I was like should I say hi or punch him in the face?

Speaking of that, the Canucks affiliation, that transition happened last year.  The Wolves used to be the farm team for the Atlanta Thrashers.  When the Thrashers moved to Winnipeg the new owners already owned an AHL team.  The Mannitoba Moose.  They wanted that team to be their affiliate.  Can’t blame them.  The Moose were the farm team for the Canucks.  So that left the Canucks without an AHL team and the Wolves without an NHL team.  So it pretty much had to happen.

Now we all now about the rivalry between the Blackhawks and the Canucks so this just adds spice to the mix.  The Canucks farm team is now in Chicago.  How’s that for good times?  So the Wolves and Ice Hogs have that going for them.  However there was already quite a rivalry building here.  They play in the same division.  The AHL keeps travel costs down with an in division heavy schedule.  These teams see each other often.  That builds bad blood in hockey.  They are also in the same state.  How many times have we seen that?  Ever see a Flyers – Penguins game?  Rangers – Islanders?  Oilers – Flames?  You get the idea.  So two teams that had a brewing rivalry now gets to add a sprinkle of the two big clubs rivalry.  Good times!

So what kind of amazing game for the ages was it?  Not too exciting.  0-0 that went into a shoot out which the wolves won.

There was plenty of  players who put on the indianhead.  Leddy, Olsen, Pirri, Morin, Smith, Kruger and TTS favorite Andrew Shaw to name a few.

One fun moment was when they had the kiss cam on.  It went through the crowd and it was good fun.  Better fun when they put the kiss cam on 2 Ice Hogs.  It was Bollig and someone else.  Bollig sees himself on the big screen kiss cam, grabs the player next to him and plants a big old kiss on his face.  The crowd went nuts for that.

Both goaltenders were the real stars of this game.  Both were great.  Andrew Luck starred for the Wolves and won the game.  He is from a Chicago suburb and reports are that he will back up Schneider if and when the Canucks can ever trade Louuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu.

The Ice Hogs goalie was Hutton who looked pretty good himself.  He got called up late last year when Emery was hurt.  He didn’t get in a game but looked good in this one.  Maybe that’s why Stan Bowman never went out and got a goalie?  Maybe they think they got this guy waiting in the wings for whenever NHL gets back on the ice.  In the mean time I’ll keep watching AHL.

Reminds me of that one Simpsons episode, the one where Maude Flanders dies.  Right before that they are giving out shirts.  Who wants a T Shirt?  I do I do I do.  Wait a minute… I don’t.


Hey Fatso!

12 Sep

Looks like Big Buff is really living up to his nickname.
check out this photo from Jai Girard Photography

This picture is from Dave Bolland’s wedding this summer.  This Girard guy does a pretty good job, check out this slideshow of pics from the wedding.  You’ll want to see Dave’s bride she is Smoking hot.

Your girlfriend will want a wedding like this, not to mention a ring like that, so don’t let her see the clip.

There are some great shots with Chicago in the background too.  It’s worth a look.

Back to Big Buff, he always had his weight go up in the summer.  He had weight issues as a prospect before he ever made the team.  He’ll get his weight down before and during training camp for the Jets like he usually does.  Fans in Winnipeg better hope that happens sooner rather than later.  Buff looks like he’s had enough trips to the fridge this summer.



We Will Never Forget 9-11

11 Sep


God Bless America