NHL

Would we want it any other way?

The Blackhawks will start their repeat dreams and open the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the St. Louis Blues tomorrow night at 8:30pm at the Scottrade Center.

This will be one of the most fascinating series of the first round that will guarantee a legitimate cup contender is going home early.  These two teams are the big dogs in the central division. They hate each other and that makes it even more exciting to watch.

The Hawks and Blues met five times this season. Chicago won two games in the five-game season series, but recorded a point in every game as St. Louis’ three wins came in overtime.

The last time these two met in the playoffs was the 2014 series and come on who could forget that! Big hits, overtime wins and tons of trash talk, I can smell it already!

As we examine this series a bit more we can’t help but look at the Blackhawks playoff experience it is one of their biggest advantages. They have played a lot of bonus hockey the last few years and with the core group of Toews, Kane, Seabrook, Keith (will miss game 1, he is still serving his six game suspension) and Crawford their experiences is a huge advantage here.

Home-ice in this series is not going to be that big of a deal. The Blackhawks travel extremely well, and St. Louis is literally a hop, skip and a jump away. No advantage here. The Blues edge is that they are big as F*, their physical play and size are apparent in the teams previous meetings; the Blues have the edge on the offensive and defensive side of the puck. Hopefully, they won’t play dirty and try and take any of our guys out. Who can forget the hit David Backes took on Brent Seabrook in the 2014 series.

Two players that you need to know in this series are.


Vladimir Tarasenko
: Tarasenko has played very well against the Blackhawks this year. In the five games these teams played he scored five goals, not too shabby. He is also becoming a playoff animal for the Blues. He netted 10 goals in his last 12 playoff games, and in just five games in April he netted four goals. Needless to say the Blackhawks top defensive pairing are going to have their hands full with Tarasenko. He is just getting started. If the Blues have a chance, he needs to continue his hot streak for the club in the postseason.


Patrick Kane
: Where should I start?! Kane comes into the postseason even hotter than Tarasenko, with seven goals in his last five games. Kane is going to win the Hart Trophy for regular season MVP, it’s locked down.  Kane won’t slow down; look for big things from his line with Artem Anisimov and Artemi Panarin. Yeah, try not to confuse them either!

The schedule for this season series (All times are Central): So you don’t miss a moment of the action

Game 1: Wednesday 8:30 p.m. @Scottrade Center

Game 2: Friday 7 p.m. @ Scottrade Center

Game 3: Sunday 2 p.m. @United Center

Game 4: Tuesday 4/19 8:30 p.m. @United Center

Game 5: Thursday 4/21 TBD @Scottrade Center

Game 6: Saturday 4/23 TBD @United Center

Game 7: Monday 4/25 TBD @Scottrade Center

It’s almost been two decades since the NHL last had a repeat champion. This is going to be a phenomenal series. The hardest thing to do in the playoffs is eliminate a champion that just knows how to win in the postseason. The Blues won’t pull it off. Blackhawks in 6.

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Raise your hand if you could care less that the NFL Pro Bowl is on Sunday night?! Let’s be real. Not many people on God’s green earth give a crap that the Pro Bowl is this Sunday at 7pm ET on ESPN. You know it’s going downhill when Jameis Winston replaces Tom Brady.  You add in that JJ Watt isnt playing, mind 10 Panthers are prepping for the Super Bowl and let’s face it they really don’t “play” in the Pro Bowl.

It’s kind of a joke… no seriously it is.

Since no one cares about the Pro Bowl, discount is it a surprise that the NHL will be hosting its All Star game on Sunday night as well?!? Well this is one game you should turn in for; here are a few reasons why you should.

The Blackhawks will have Patrick Kane representing them. Jonathan Toews was selected to the team. However, viagra he just pulled out this morning because of and illness (James Neal of the Predators will replace him). He will also be suspended for one game for pulling out of the All-Star game due to NHL rules. However, there are plenty of other amazing players to keep your eyes on.  I hate to play favorites, but let’s focus on the Central Division team. Including the above mentioned Blackhawks superstar Kaner, the Central division is bursting with some of the most amazing talent in the entire NHL.

Let’s start with the stacked defense. Shea Weber (Nashville Predators) and Dustin “Big Buff” Byfuglien (Winnipeg Jets) give the Central two of the toughest and big guns on defense. You add in Roman Josi’s (Nashville) advantage on offense too and this defense is definitely has the upper hand versus the other teams.

On offense the talent is even fiercer; the six Central forwards have combined over 140+ goals… Say what now?! You throw in both young guys from Dallas Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn with Kane. Sprinkle in some Matt Duchene (Colorado Avalanche) and top it off with St.  Louis Blues Vladimir Tarasenko and you have a recipe for goals, goals and more goal scoring.

Your goalies between the pipes are Devan Dubnyk (Minnesota Wild) and Pekka Rinne (Nashville). These two are solid but I still feel Crawford should be there.

One of the things that the NHL All-Star Game does better than any other league is really focusing on changing the format and making it into a true competition, this year they are switching to a 3-on-3 format for the big game.

What does this mean you ask?

Eleven players have been selected from each of the four divisions of the NHL, and those divisional teams will compete for a winner-take-all $1 million prize, because let’s face it that shit goes down when you are playing for some coin….

How does this work, you may be asking?

The Central Division will play the Pacific Division in one 20-minute semifinal game, and the Metropolitan All-Stars will play the Atlantic team in the other. The winning conference in the skills competition gets to decide if it will play first or second in the semifinal. Then the winners of the semifinals will meet in the 20-minute championship game, to determine this year’s All-Star Champion.

Confused? I was as well, but with the always entertaining skills completion and the best of the best actually playing. Tune in and you won’t be disappointed.

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Patrick Kane

Like it or not Patrick Kane is continuing to grab NHL headlines, buy cialis thankfully this time for the right reasons.

Last night versus the Nashville Predators (thanks to an open net), recipe Kaner extended his franchise record streak and recorded his 600th NHL point and the Blackhawks dominated the Preds winning 4-1.

The Blackhawks were already up 3-1 in the third period and many wanted to see the streak continue. Luckily with 1:36 remaining, healing Kaner crushed a shot from inside the neutral zone.

It is hard to ignore that in 604 NHL games; Kaner now has 600 points, and is just 27 years old. This puts him sixth overall in points per game among active NHL players. Since his 23-game streak started he has 14 goals and 37 points. He is at the top of the NHL scoring race and it may make some stomachs turn but he is being mentioned for the Hart Trophy (NHL MVP) left and right.

You may think that, that conversation needs to stop based off of Kane’s legal issue at the beginning of the season. The investigation was closed early last month, and no formal charges were brought to Kane.

I am not going to say that when the news broke, I wasn’t one of the first people saying that Kane needed to be withheld until the investigation ran its course. Do I stand by that, I do.  Whatever happened happened and it is a serious issue in our society. However there are no moral clauses attached to awards in any of the major leagues. MVP, is the most valuable to his team and what Kane is doing is showcasing he is the most valuable to the Blackhawks at this time.

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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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Hi friends. How are you? It’s been a while. Luckily for you, online the SDI family was never too far from my heart. Every time I saw some asinine sports atrocity, nurse I kept it in my mental rolodex (i.e. my Twitter favorites) just in case I was able to share it with you guys. And now the opportunity has finally come to share my thoughts on random sports stories with you.

So here we are. It’s football season. Baseball season. I’m sure hockey might be on (???). Or table tennis. Maybe curling is happening…in Canada or Russia or wherever they watch that. The Cubs are good (right?). The Bears have a two-time-Super Bowl-appearing coach (he lost, cialis but still….he was in the building). Everyone’s favorite Bull may or may not have been involved in a gang rape (I. Can’t. Even.) And the Blackhawks dismantled their championship team and have deflated the hopes of another ticker tape parade in Chicago for like a decade.

Eesh.

So what have I been up to sports-wise? Well, I learned to golf. Ok, well not like actually learned to golf. I got golf clubs, try hopelessly to hit the ball with either my driver or my nine iron, and give up at around the third hole to focus on keeping score and getting drunk. You have no idea how difficult it is to count when you’re six mimosas in. I am a great humanitarian.

I also moved to Pittsburgh and have spent the past five months devising a plan to bribe bartenders to play Bears games when the Steelers are on. In addition to that, I am trying desperately to become the best amateur binge-watcher in America: I devoured four seasons of Game of Thrones in two weeks. If I keep this up, I’ll surely qualify for the Olympics. Because America.

But enough about me. Let’s talk about other people. So pop the cork on the Cabernet, light your pumpkin-scented candle and let’s talk proper sports.

The NFL

I really don’t want to talk about Deflategate but since I have a column with thousands of readers (right? RIGHT?!), I’ll throw in my two cents. Here’s the thing: the Patriots are known simultaneously as champions and cheaters. So it’s very difficult to believe that Belichick and Brady wouldn’t do this. That’s the thing about lying; get caught doing it once and everything else you say comes into question. Do I think they did this on purpose? I sure hope not. I would like to believe that what we are witnessing is a great team headed up by a brilliant coach and a seemingly terrific owner in Bob Kraft who are playing a brutal, unforgiving game as fairly as possible. But I will say this: it wouldn’t exactly surprise me if this ended up to be true.

In other news, Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson is dating singer Ciara. And that makes sense for both parties. Russell probably never got any action with chicks as ridiculously gorgeous as Ciara. And now, because she’s on his arm, Ciara is introduced as an R&B star (which – name three unaccompanied Ciara tracks not called “Goodies”… exactly.)

The NCAA:

So, two things:

  1. Kansas has a football team! WHO KNEW?!
  2. Students at the University of Kansas cannot name the head coach of said football team.

Yep. Moving on.

Golf

I am very confident in my relationship, but if some heifer EVER asks my man out on a date with me standing right there?! {link: http://thebiglead.com/2015/08/21/miss-texas-jordan-spieth-girlfriend-rangers-game/} No ma’am. In the illustrious words of Tupac, ‘you betta back the duck up before you get smacked the duck up.’ Because no rapper rant will ever beat the one at the end of Hit ‘em Up. {link: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=41qC3w3UUkU}

Aside: can someone tell the people in charge of autocorrect over at Apple that I literally never mean duck? Thanks.

Tennis

Drake and Serena Williams have been a thing for a while, so this is not news{link: http://m.bleacherreport.com/articles/2554239-report-drake-and-serena-williams-seen-making-out-at-cincinnati-restaurant?utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=programming-national?is_shared=true). I compare this to having a real boyfriend, breaking up with him occasionally and hooking up with the side piece. Who is Drake in this scenario? Side piece.

One last thing…

Im currently drinking my way through Italy so I feel it would be remiss not to talk about soccer. JUST KIDDING! Thanks for reading. Until next time!

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Happy Thanksgiving, store Divas!

Aside from a certain Chicago football team (hey, viagra sale at least they won two games in a row), we definitely have a lot to be thankful for. Derrick Rose is healthy again and the Bulls are riding high at 9-5, but more importantly, our Chicago Blackhawks are 12-8-1 (2-1 in their annual circus trip). With rookie Trevor Van Riemsdyk out for three months, a new face stepped up to take center ice: 22-year-old Adam Clendening, our HAM of the Week.

Adam Clendening, http://www.bleacherreport.com

Adam Clendening, http://www.bleacherreport.com

In his first NHL appearance last Thursday’s 4-3 win over the Calgary Flames, Clendening scored his first goal on his first shot against goalie Jonas Hiller.

The 5’11”, 195-lbs defenseman is certainly stirring up buzz, so we’ve got the 411 on the newbie:

Clendening began his career with the U.S. National under-18 team during the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons, both of which he was a member of Team USA’s gold-medal winning team at the World Junior Championships.

He was selected by the Blackhawks in the 2011 NHL draft–in between playing two consecutive seasons (2010-11 and 2011-12) at Boston University.

Adam Clendening, www.theahl.com

Adam Clendening, www.theahl.com

Following BU, Clendening went to the AHL and played for the Icehogs. In his first season, he was named a second-team AHL All-Star and Rockford’s Rookie of the Year, along with finishing third among all AHL defensemen scoring with 46 points. In his current season, he’s set an AHL record for goals and points by a defenseman with 12 goals and 59 points. He’s also the leading scorer in assists for the Icehogs franchise.

Flashback to 2012, when Clendening talked about his readiness with the organization:

Well, with a goal on your first shot in the big leagues (and an away game), consider us impressed.

The native New Yorker was ranked as the #2 Prospect by NBC Chicago (and Bleacher Report) this past June and is “proficient at quarterbacking the team’s power play from the blue line”. The Blackhawks have the best PK percentage for the 2014-15 season with 90.3%, and adding “Clenny” to the lineup will make that penalty kill play even stronger on the second power-play unit with co-anchor Michal Rozsival.

Though he’s taken, Clendening has the wit and charm like many of his teammates. He loves a good chicken parm and has an affinity for Lululemon clothing, and even knows how we feel about first world problems:

The Blackhawks continue their circus trip tomorrow versus the Avalanche, Friday versus the Ducks and Saturday versus the not-so-deserving 2014 Stanley Cup Champs (yep, we’re still bitter about it). If Clenny & co pull off another stellar performance, they should have no trouble finishing strong. The team returns to the United Center Dec. 3 versus the Blues.

Follow Adam Clendening on Twitter at @Clenny5.

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