Tag Archives: Dave Bolland

Back to Back Shootout Losses

2 Feb

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That picture pretty much sums it up.

Crawford played good. Not good enough to win. How confident are you in him when the hawks go to a shoot out? Yeah I’m not very confident either. For his career he is batting .500
Not bad, but not great. Not great as in he can win a game for you. You play well enough in front of him he will keep you in but he did not match Roberto LOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUongo last night.

I am probably in the minority here but I don’t think Luongo is a bad goalie or a choke artist. Usually when things blow up in a hawks – canucks game it’s the team in front of him that’s letting him down. Not the other way around. But he’s in net and that’s who people blame. Interesting story unfolding here as the Canucks have him on the trade block but the team is playing better in front of him rather then in front of Schneider.

It was a good game last night against the Canucks but it didn’t really feel like a full blown rivalry game. Just two good teams playing hockey. I suspect the rivalry only exists in the fans minds now.

At least the Hawks took a point out of their building which is always a tough place to play. The Hawks were down and could not solve Lou he played very well. Then a great play happened. Andrew Shaw appeared to fill in for Dave Bolland who went out with what appears to be a right knee injury, and he filled in quite well. Grabbed the puck in the corner off a turnover and fed the puck to Patrick Kane in front of the net in the third period to salvage a point.

I don’t have a problem with going for Nick Leddy as the 4th shooter in the shootout. Apparently he does really well in practice. Other then Kane and Toews, no hawk has a good shoot out percentage. Sharp is only shooting at like 20% career wise. They never use Hossa. He must never score in practice.

Oh well, the Hawks still don’t have a regulation loss and now they go to another tough building in Calgary. The saddledome will be clad in red tonight. Should be a good battle. Hopefully the Hawks come away with 2 orat least 1.

Since back to back shootout losses don’t leave you with a good feeling I’ll leave you with this.

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TTS

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Looks like Coyotes + Toews update

9 Apr

So it looks like the 6th seeded Chicago Blackhawks will take on the 3rd seeded Phoenix Coyotes/Quebec City Nordiques/Seattle whatevers.  The Blackhawks, who had more points than the Coyotes in the regular season, will be considered underdogs.

Most of the hockey worlds “experts” are picking The Coyotes to win.  They have cited things such as:

  • Home Ice Advantage
  • A Red Hot Goaltender
  • Winning the regular season series 3-1
  • A system that can frustrate the Hawks

All those items are true.  However, crazy things can happen in the playoffs.  It’s why they play the games.

Let’s address those issues.

Home Ice Advantage- Have you watched a Hawks – Coyotes game on TV?  It looks like a home game for Chicago when they play in Phoenix.  Over half the crowd is dressed in Chicago Red.  Not Coyote red which is a few shades darker.  Only the line matchups will favor Phoenix as the Hawks will have plenty of fans with huge lung power.

A Red Hot Goaltender- True.  He is burning up right now.  The team is playing well in front of him and more importantly…they believe in him.  This will be a huge challenge.  However the Hawks do have the firepower necessary to make him look human.  It all depends on if they Hawks can stay patient, not get frustrated and take advantage of their opportunities.

Winning the Regular Season Series- Throw that out the window.  Regular season stats mean di** in the playoffs.  Also don’t forget that the Hawks played Phoenix 3 times before the Johnny Oduya trade.  The Hawks are much more solidified on the back end now.  Plus Andrew Shaw only played in one game against the Coyotes….and you know that guy is fired up and ready to go.

A system that can frustrate the Hawks.  This is the biggest area of concern for the Hawks.  They did get frustrated against the Coyotes system which is designed to smother the life out of a run and gun offense.  The Coyotes are trying to channel their inner New Jersey Devils of 10 years ago.  However, if the Hawks can stay patient and not get frustrated then they will be fine.  They have the talent to pounce on their opportunities when they present themselves.  Just keep their cool and it will be fine.  They can beat these guys.  They have more depth on offense, and with Oduya on defense too.  The only advantage Phoenix has is in goal.

According to 650 AM today, Jonathan Toews did a regular practice on the first line today.  He centered a line of himself, Patrick Kane and Marion Hossa.  Hey Phoenix it looks like Toews is playing in the playoffs.  Good luck on that.  The team was playing really well and now you add that guy.  A guy who can win a game on his own sheer will.  Have fun matching that up Tippett.

The 2nd line was left alone having Sharp play with the two Swedes, Stalberg and Kruger.  If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.  Leave that line alone.

Dave Bolland and Andrew Brunette also returned to practice today.  Both should be playing in Game 1.  It appears everyone should be back for the Hawks except for Steve Montador.  I’m real happy to hear about #36, that guy has an extra gear in the playoffs.  He’s like a current Claude Lemieux.  That’s going to help the Hawks out a lot.

“This is a fun time of year,” Hawks center Patrick Kane said. “When you’re coming into the first round of the playoffs, you feel you have a good team and you feel you have a chance to go far in the playoffs. Hopefully, we can do some special things. I think we can with this group and have a long postseason.”

Game 1 is Thursday at 9PM Central Time.  In Chicago the game will be on CSN, the rest of the US will have the game on NBC Sports.

Prediction – Hawks win the series in 6.  I know I’m biased, but I think the “experts” are forgetting what this team can bring.  Not to mention how well they were playing at the end of the season without their best player.  The cup core is still here.  They know what it takes and the team is healthy.  Hawks in 6.

TTS

See you tomorrow with picks on the rest of the matchups.

Hawks win wild one in Nashville

1 Apr

Whew!  After it looked like a runaway for the Blackhawks,  the Predators decided to make a game of it.

The Blackhawks got off to a 4-0 lead.  There were a lot of Hawks fans in attendance and they made a lot of noise.  In between periods Patrick Kane said it almost feels like a home game.  But then something happened.  Dave Bolland took a penalty.  The Predators scored on the power play and grabbed the momentum.

Speaking of power plays….are you sitting down?  The hockey team from Chicago scored 2 power play goals.  Go check the stats yourself if you don’t believe me.  But they did.  Sharp and Bolland both had pp tallies.  It was the first 2 goals of the game for the Hawks.

After those 2 pp goals was a gorgeous breakaway by Patrick Kane who went in for the score.  3 nothing.   Viktor Stalberg decided to join the party with his goal.  He showed his break neck speed and missed on his shot, however he followed the puck and then banked it in off the back of Pekka Rinne.  4-0 Hawks.

That’s when things changed.  That’s when the Predators joined the party.  All of a sudden it’s 4-4 and the 17,113 at Bridgestone Arena had a game to watch.

TTS favorite, Andrew Shaw, made a great play once the game was tied.  He took the puck on the boards behind the net, fired a back hand pass to Brent Seabrook crashing the side of the net and bam!  5-4 Hawks.  That would be the last score of the game.  It was 1:09 after Nashville tied it up to.  Way to answer.  That’s what you want to see out of a team.  That’s the response you’re looking for.  Oh…did you tie up the game after we had a 4-0 lead?  That’s ok, we’ll get another one.  Beauty.

Don’t forget, this was done without Toews or Keith.  Against a team that owned the Hawks so far this season.  That’s huge!  This team is rounding into form quite nicely at the right time of year.

Not much to complain about on this one.  3 of the Predators goals were because Crawford was screened.  Too much traffic in front of him.  Hawks will look at tape to see that they need to clear bodies out in front of their goalie.  The other goal was a nice breakaway by Prodigal son of the Predators, Alex Radulov.  I think Seabrook should have juked his stick but hey, things happen fast out there.  It is the National Hockey League.

Sorry Mrs. Fisher.  Maybe we will see you again in the playoffs.

Last nights win clinched a playoff spot for the Hawks.  They can finish no lower than 6th place in the Western Conference.  Who will they play?  Who the hell knows with the craziness that is the Pacific division.  The San Jose Sharks showed up last night and posted a 3-0 shutout.  Now Dallas is sitting in 9th place.  Who will end up in 3rd?  Who will end up in 7th and 8th.  Dallas, Phoenix, Los Angeles or San Jose.  One of these 4 will not make the playoffs.  One will play the Hawks.  One will get St Louis and another gets Vancouver.  What a fun time of year.

Next up for the Hawks – A battle with the Minnesota Wild tonight at the United Center.  No rest for these Hawks as they play again tonight.  Hopefully this isn’t a trap game.  Teams that have already been eliminated from the playoffs love to play spoiler this time of year.

Last game of the suspension for Keith.  Toews has been cleared for contact and hopes to get in a game before the end of the season.

TTS

Blackhawks take down league best Blues in a shootout

30 Mar

Needing a win to get closer to a playoff berth against the team with the most points in the NHL, Chicago turned to Dave Bolland.

Bolland, 0 for 3 in shootouts this season before Thursday, responded with a nice fake before scoring the only goal in the shootout Thursday night as the Blackhawks edged the Blues 4-3.

“You’ve got 20,000 fans screaming,” Bolland said. “You’re thinking of so many moves in your head. For me, it was go down and whatever came to my head, try to put it in. You’re not really sure. Should I shoot? Should I deke? Should I just bury my head and put it through him. Halak’s a good goalie.”

Actually it was 21,659 (109.8% full).

Bolland had been 0-7 in his shoot out career before this 8th attempt of his.

“The extra point was important,” said Hawks coach Joel Quenneville, who took the advice of assistants Mike Haviland and Mike Kitchen to insert Bolland in the shootout. “We … did a lot of good things.”

In regulation, the Hawks got goals from Bryan Bickell, Andrew Brunette and Patrick Sharp and looked like they would cruise to victory before they coughed up a two-goal, third-period lead when Jason Arnott and David Perron scored for the Blues.

The Hawks dominated most of the play but the Blues sure turned it up in the last 10 minutes of the game.  Shots were 40 for the Hawks and 20 for the Blues.  The Blues only had 11 shots after the 2nd.  That’s impressive play by the Hawks to keep the leagues best team down like that.

“We were outplayed bad. I don’t even know how we got a point, to be honest with you,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “We didn’t compete at a high level. It looked like we wanted the game to be easier.

“We jacked it up for about 10 minutes in the third period and got two goals because of it, but . not going to win many games against that team playing like we’re playing. This is two games in a row in this building where we really haven’t competed for 60 minutes.”

But that 2nd goal.  You just can’t have that.  Crawford fell asleep on that one.  I can’t blame him on the first goal, even though I’d like to.  You really want your goalie to bail you out on that.  You score the first goal of the game and the Blues come down and tie it up 9 seconds later.  9 seconds!!!!  However, it was a hell of a shot.  A fast rising bullet to the top corner.  But that 2nd one.  Come on.  That’s garbage.  The third goal was a redirected screen shot.  Can’t fault Crow on that one.  However, if you didn’t let that garbage 2nd goal in we probably would not have seen OT or the shoot out.

But the Hawks got the 2 points.  If Phoenix would have lost last night in regulation the Hawks would have clinched a playoff spot.  But the San Jose Sharks (who were playing against Phoenix)  lost…in a game they HAD to have.  How could they?  What is with that team?  I’ll tell you what is with them.  Mike Smith.  He has been a nightmare for the Sharks this year.  He has beaten them 5 times out of 6 and shut them out 3 times.  Quebec City should love this team.  The loss dropped the Sharks to 9th in the Western Conference standings.  They were in 3rd a couple days ago.  Tight race.

Back to the Hawks.  Strong games from Stalberg, Sharp and Leddy.  Leddy is looking better and better the last few games.  Stalberg has really been rounding out his game.

Only 2 more games left in the suspension on Keith and Toews has been saying all the right things about coming back.   He has been practicing with the team and says he “feels great right now”.  We will see, he has not been cleared by team doctors for anything.

Next up for the Hawks.  Saturday night in Nashville.  The Predators have pretty much had their way with the Hawks this year.  The last time they met was at the United Center and the Preds won 6-1.  You have to think the Hawks will want to send a message.  It’s very possible the Hawks will see Nashville in the playoffs.

Until then,

TTS

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

1/3 of the 9 game trip done

5 Feb

and it hasn’t been good.

Since no Blackhawk player was worthy of getting his picture posted tts will go with these instead.

1 point out of a possible 6 for the Chicago Blackhawks.  A close game against Vancouver, the only game they took a point out of, and none in Alberta.  Calgary and Edmonton have been a house of horrors for the Blackhawks this year.  The hawks have lost 9-2 and 8-4 this year in Edmonton.  Why?  Everyone else seems to be able to beat them.   They managed to get Sam Gagne tying a franchise record shared with Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey.  I assure you he is not the kind of player who should get mentioned in the same breath as those two hall of famers.  Gagne had 21 points up until this game.  Then boom….4 goals and 4 assists.  8 points!  How is that possible?

Need to pad your offensive stats?  Then go play the Blackhawks.

They don’t look like themselves at all right now.  Fans are freaking out and calling for a trade.  What is that going to do?  There is no magic bullet out there.  It’s not like they are one good defensive player from being good.  There is something wrong here.  They don’t want it bad enough.  Kane looks like he woke up but where is the rest of the team?  The Blackhawks won’t have success if Dave Bolland and Marion Hossa keep up these disappearing acts.  Where have they been?  If they are not going at 100% then the hawks can’t win.

TTS heard a crazy rumor that the Blackhawks are involved in a trade with the Buffalo Sabres sending Patrick Kane and getting back Ryan Miller.  No way, that’s a terrible deal.  Kane is still young and offensive players don’t usually hit their peak until around 27.  He is the most talented offensive player the Hawks have.  He also knows how to score clutch goals in high pressure games.

Here is something else to consider.  Have you noticed that the Sabres have not been the same since that game against Boston?  Miller got run over, received a concussion and no one from the Sabres made anyone on the Bruins pay the price.  How does that happen?  You can breathe too hard near a goalie and teams get in your face.  No one went to the defense of their goalie?  That’s not a good sign at all.

Hopefully the players look in the mirror and realize that this has to get fixed in the locker room.  I know they will care more about defense come playoffs but they can’t wait that long.  Not with the ultra competitive Western Conference.  They don’t want to be in the same position as last year praying for another team to lose on the last day just to make the playoffs.

The next three games of this trip have become huge.  Next up is the Colorado Avalanche, San Jose Sharks and the Phoenix Coyotes.  It’s not too late to still have a successful road trip.  The Hawks need to look in the mirror and commit to winning.  They have the talent to do it.  It’s up to them.

TTS