Blackhawks

 

It’s been a while since I’ve written about the Blackhawks and to be honest I needed a bit of a break. Don’t get me wrong, viagra I love the Hawks. However, clinic every writer needs a bit of a sabbatical from their favorite team, sales to get some fresh perspective.

So what did I miss? Kidding!

One of the biggest stories of the season so far has been Patrick Kane and his point streak. The forward extended his point streak to 20 games Tuesday night versus the Wild. Kaner is the first NHL player with at least one point in 20 straight games since Sidney Crosby in 2010. Kane is one game shy of tying Bobby Hulls point streak of 21. Regardless of the outcome, Kaner has been on fire and it is nice to see him in the press in a positive light this season.

The Blackhawks annual circus trip finished at 3-1-2, not bad all things considered, but after looking at the losses the Blackhawks should have come out of the trip with a better record.

Is it just me or do we not know what to expect each night with these Blackhawks? One night resemblance to last year’s Stanley Cup team, the next a mediocre team that may not make the playoffs.

Something is just missing from this team, I can’t put my finger on it but something is definitely lacking…

 

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I am not going to lie. I hit a bit of writers block trying to write about the Blackhawks this week. Therefore, recipe I thought, pills why not check in on one of our favorite Hawks of all time, cialis Patrick Sharp and see how he is doing down in the big D.

The day still haunts me, when Patrick Sharp was sent to the Dallas Stars. We all had a feeling that he was heading somewhere else, as collateral damage in the Blackhawks salary cap crunch situation after their Stanley Cup run last spring.

Now almost a full month into the season Sharpie is starting to heat up. Sharp has four goals and five points in his last three games. Despite the slow start, Sharp now has 8 points in 11 games and the hockey gods are starting to smile down on him. Many saw this coming as Sharp had been a key catalyst on many scoring chances, even though he wasn’t the one putting it in the back of the net. Sharp has also netted four assists this season so far, look for the points to keep stacking up for him.

Expectations were and are still high for the Stars and Sharp. He isn’t afraid to shoot the puck, take hits and get in the middle of the action. Don’t be surprise if he nets over 70 points this season. The Stars currently sit at 9-2-0 and are at the top of many rankings, Sharpie is a big reason for their start. His veteran leadership looks to be rubbing off on young superstars Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin.

Oh Sharpie… How we miss you… If I hit another wall next week, maybe we will check in on Columbus Blue Jacket Brandon Saad (Yeah that still sounds weird). Go HAWKS!

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Duncan Keith

Knee surgery… Chicago fans know all too well what knee surgery means to our superstars and teams, advice it’s pretty much a knife in our hearts. However hockey players are different beasts.

Fans shouldn’t worry too much about the Blackhawks announcement yesterday that defenseman Duncan Keith who is the reigning Conn Smythe winner and two time Norris Trophy Winner, underwent surgery on his right knee to repair a torn meniscus, and will be out four-six weeks.

Keith has played a lot of hockey for Chicago over the last few years. To be honest, Keith arguably puts the most wear and tear on his body and is among the NHL minutes leaders every season. Saturday’s 4-1 victory vs. the Blue Jackets, Keith played 25 minutes, 34 seconds, that is no small potatoes in the NHL.

Keith’s injury is a blow to the Hawks, whose core defensemen have been as reliable and healthy as any other team the last few seasons. The Hawks play in one of the NHL’s toughest divisions, and every point could make a difference at the end of the year. Keith is likely headed for long-term injured reserve, giving the Blackhawks some cap relief. The team, who are already spread thin at the blue line, may look to acquire another blue liner, while Keith is recovering. Keith’s absence will give youngsters Trevor van Riemsdyk and Viktor Svedberg, who have a combined 30+ career games between them, an opportunity to show Chicago and the coaching staff what they can do.

In my opinion I think this rest both mentally and physically will help Keith in the long term, and this isn’t the first time the Blackhawks have had to move along while one of their stars is injured.

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Jonathan Towes & Patrick Kane

It’s hard to believe that we are already over a week into the NHL season, viagra especially when Chicago has turned ALL its focus on the Cubs! And we should, I mean the Blackhawks have three championships in six years, the Cubs on the other hand… This is our year and #WeAreGood

Enough on that.

The Blackhawks currently are 2-2 and are sitting at the bottom of the conference in sixth place. Grant it, it is early and let’s face it, does the regular season really count? Last night the Blackhawks had their sloppiest game losing 3-0 vs. the Flyers. Too many penalties and no offense sunk this ship early in the second period.

The Blackhawks have a chance to bounce back tonight as they visit the Washington Capitals.  The Capitals haven’t started off on the right foot this season. They currently are 1-1, and a “messed up” alarm clock kept super star Alexander Ovechkin out of their second game of the season, a shellacking from the San Jose Sharks. The Capitals are also without Nicklas Backstrom, who led the league with 60 assists last season but was only cleared for contact this week following offseason hip surgery. There’s no timetable for his return. Obviously the Blackhawks need to take advantage of Backstrom’s absence. Scott Darling, who has yet to face the Capitals, is likely to make his second start of the season in between the pipes. He once again stepped up to the call and stopped 28 shots in Saturday’s 4-1 win against the Islanders.

It’s only been a week, but here are a few observations of the season so far.

  • It’s been a Jekyll & Hyde week. The Blackhawks back to back wins versus the Islanders were the Blackhawks of “last season”. Loses versus the Rangers and Flyers, not good. Too many cracks in the lines, the Hawks looked lost. Its early and plenty of time to work through the lines.
  • Say what you will (and I know I have) about Patrick Kane. He is currently leading the team in points, goals and assists. His focus is clearly on the ice, and trying to fly under the radar. However, the fans on the road have been less than kind to Kaner. Chanting “No Means No” and “She Said No” to the superstar. It has to be taxing emotionally; hopefully he can continue to shine on the score sheet for the Hawks.
  • I am really enjoying watching Trevor Daly; Daly was part of the Patrick Sharp trade and was a leader in Dallas. You can tell he is getting use to Coach Q’s system, but I can definitely see him as part of our top four defenseman core.
  • Corey Crawford + Scott Darling = One Happy Hawks fan!

It’s early. A lot of work needs to be done with the lines and chemistry. However, I am really pumped for another run! #GoHawks

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#RaiseTheBanner.

Yes, sovaldi Blackhawks fan’s it’s that time of a year, no rx the kickoff to the 2015-16 NHL season. Before we go into a season preview, tonight is a big night for the Blackhawks. They welcome an original six team when the New York Rangers pay a visit to the UC. They will raise the Championship Banner, get their rings and we all will once again party like its 1999. However, once that banner is up it is back to business for the Blackhawks to defend as Stanley Cup Champions.

The Season Ahead

The Hawks have one of the most coveted groups of core players in the league. These six have had their names engraved on the Stanley Cup all three times. Any team in the NHL would jump at the chance to have any of these guys. Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Marian Hossa and Niklas Hjalmarsson. If the Blackhawks have any chance of repeating these guys will need to stay healthy and all have solid seasons. We know these guys are physically tough, but they need to be more mentally tough this year, especially with the off-ice turmoil regarding Patrick Kane. The thought of him being yanked out of the lineup due to legal proceedings is something that I am sure is in the back of everyone’s mind.

The Blackhawks have to feel good with the 1-2 punch with their goaltenders Corey Crawford and Scott Darling. With two cup rings Crawford should finally be able to silence his critics. He is truly one of the best in the game. Darling just played 14 games last season, but his stellar 1.95 GAA and .936 save percentage shows he is capable of taking a larger workload to keep Crow healthy and ready for the postseason.

The Blackhawks have some new faces and for the champs to repeat these guys have some big shoes to fill with the salary cap situation sending Patrick Sharp, Brandon  Saad, etc. to new teams. Several new faces will play significant roles this season.  Trevor Daley, Artem Anisimov, Artemi Panarin, Viktor Tikhonov and Ryan Garbutt are the new kids on the block and the must know new names on the roster. This group needs to step up to any role coach Q asks them to play, Sharp and Saad, etc. were huge parts of last year’s cup run.

Predictions

The question I keep getting, will the Blackhawks repeat? The diehard fan in me says yes, of course they will. The realist in me knows just how hard it is to repeat as champions. In the NHL the last time that happened was 1997-98 by the Detroit Red Wings. I am foolishly going to go with my heart and go out on a limb here and predict, that in fact the Blackhawks will repeat as Stanley Cup Champions. Place your bets in Vegas now! They will finish with 104 points, 3d in the Central and once again put an incredible cup run together in the post season. Can’t wait to watch this season unfold, Go Hawks!

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The 2015-16 Blackhawks will take the ice tonight for their first preseason game at the United Center vs. The Detroit Red Wings. The Hawks were very busy in the offseason, pharmacy and tonight their roster will look a bit different.

The Hawks made a lot of difficult decisions in the offseason; some involved trading some fan favorites away. Here are some of the faces we said goodbye to and the new faces that will try and fill their shoes.

The Goodbyes:

Brandon Saad is a brilliant player who has shown a ton of potential in his short NHL career with the Blackhawks. However, he was dealt to the Columbus Blue Jackets in a surprising, shocking, mouth to the floor move that also included Alex Broadhurst and Michael Paliotta. In exchange, the Blackhawks received Artem Anisimov (more on him later), Jeremy Morin (Not Coach Q’s, favorite or mine) Corey Tropp, Marko Dano and a fourth-round pick for the 2016 draft. After the deal, the Blue Jackets signed Saad to a $36 million deal over six seasons.

 

The Blackhawks have no issues with goalie duo Corey Crawford and Scott Darling, therefore Antti Raanta was the odd man out. He was set to be the starter in Rockford for the IceHogs, but instead, he will be Henrik Lundqvist’s backup in New York. Raanta was sent to the Rangers in exchange for forward prospect Ryan Haggerty, who spent the 2014-15 season with the Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL.

 

The dealing of Patrick Sharp was the trade that broke ladies hearts around Chicago. Has much as I hate to say it, we all knew that the Hawks were going to move Sharp and his $5.9 million cap hit. Sharp was packaged with defensive prospect Stephen Johns, and the duo was sent to the Dallas Stars in exchange for Trevor Daley and Ryan Garbutt, and the return is being described as crap. If you break this deal down it only saved the Hawks $1.7 million in cap space, and the acquisition of Garbutt is noteworthy, seeing that the Hawks re-signed Andrew Desjardins who plays the same style of hockey.

 

Fresh Faces:

Artem Anisimov was a main piece in the Brandon Saad trade. Anisimov will replace the hole left by Brad Richards, and coincidentally, it is a role reverse for the 27-year-old center. Richards took Anisimov’s spot in the lineup as a second-line center when he signed with the New York Rangers in 2011, and the following summer Anisimov was traded. Anisimov is already posting 40 points a season as a center, and you can expect him to see a jump in points when if he plays with Kaner.

 

The Hawks signed KHL winger Viktor Tikhonov from SKA Saint Petersburg, returning the 27-year-old to the NHL after a six-year absence. He spent 61 games with the Phoenix Coyotes and went to the KHL after spending three years in the AHL. The 6’2″, 183-pound winger tallied 69 goals and 61 assists for 130 points in 207 games, and he will get a chance to play in the top nine for the Hawks, realistically a low risk sign that can turn out to be something huge.

 

In a nut shell the Blackhawks traded Patrick Sharp, Antti Raanta, Michael Paliotta, Anders Nilsson, Kris Versteeg, and Brandon Saad for assets, and lost Brad Richards, Antoine Vermette, and Johnny Oduya to free agency. The Blackhawks re-signed Andrew Desjardins and added Artem Anisimov, Marko Dano, Ryan Garbutt, Trevor Daley and a few other prospects who will start out in the AHL.

It will be interesting to see how these off season moves pay off for the Blackhawks, one thing is for sure when the puck drops tonight it will be odd not seeing Sharp, Saad and Oduya. However, Stan knows what he is doing and I can’t wait to get the season started and to capture the cup once again. Go Hawks!

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