Tag Archives: nhl

Hawks Keep Rolling

18 Feb

Yes it got a little frantic at the end of the game but the Hawks held on to win the game and remain unbeaten in regulation.

The Blackhawks (12-0-3) matched the 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers for the league’s second-longest streak, and are one away from the tying the mark set by Anaheim in 2006-07.

Who do they play next? The much hated Vancouver Canucks. What a time for those jerk-stores to come to town. Could it get any better then beating them? Of course I’m sure they are saying something similar about being the team to beat the Hawks and keep them from making history. Should be a fun one.

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The Hawks got a good start and an early lead on the defending Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings. Up 3-0 and that was enough. Nice to see Sharp get a goal. He went nearly a month between tallies. He was still productive and was racking up the assists but goal scorers like to get goals. Imagine if that guy heats up.

Ray Emery was solid all night. Looking like a legit number 1 goalie instead of a number 2 or a guy on his last legs….or last hip in his case.

The 2 goals that the Kings scored were power play goals that Ray Emery was screened on. Full marks to the Kings. The earned those goals and grabbed momentum off of them. Hey Blackhawks did you hear that? The Kings scored power play goals by having a man in front screening the goalie. It’s not rocket science guys.

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”What’s important to us is getting home-ice advantage, making the playoffs,” Toews said. ”Those are our goals. Once you get there, the real season starts. When you get to that point, no one really cares or remembers those streaks at the start of the season.”

”I thought we had a great first 40 minutes and they got some momentum off their power-play goal early in the third,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. ”They had a great third period. We had 40, they had a great 20, and the clock ran out, which was nice.”

”We probably didn’t play well enough to win this game,” Richards said. ”The slow start kind of cost us. We gave them a lot in the first period with penalties and some turnovers and they scored some goals, which put us behind the 8-ball pretty quick.”

Before the game, Quenneville said Crawford was ”progressing” and is day-to-day. When asked if Crawford’s condition might be long-term, Quenneville replied, ”I don’t foresee that yet.” Crawford – who has a 7-0-3 record, 1.65 goals-against average and .935 save percentage – has not skated since sustaining his injury, apparently in a 3-2 shootout loss to Anaheim last Tuesday. It’s alleged that Bobby Ryan injured Crawford when he ran into him in that game. With no penalty called for some weird reason.

TTS

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

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

 

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.

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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 hockey-reference.com 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.

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…..no I don’t.

TTS