Corey Crawford

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.

0 comments
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

0 comments

#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!

0 comments

It’s been a long time since I last spoke to you.  So much has happened in Chicago sports.  Here’s a look at the busy and unpredictable Chicago sports landscape.

Blackhawks keep winning

Blackhawks keep winning

Blackhawks:  They just keep doing what they do best, see win.  They lost their goalie Corey Crawford after an accident at a concert, but didn’t skip a beat.  Patrick Sharp returned to the ice and their winning ways have continued.  Right now, this organization is a blue print for the other teams in the city.

Derrick Rose makes a statement

Derrick Rose makes a statement

Bulls:  So much was written about the man the team needs in order to win a championship-Derrick Rose.  As long as he is healthy for the playoff run I don’t care if he sits every other game.  He is back, but not completely healed so he takes what the defense gives him.  It seems others are following his lead of letting their bodies heal to be ready for the games that matter.  DRose also made headlines when he showed support for the Garner family by wearing the I Can’t Breathe shirt.  Some local sports media questioned his intelligence and motives.  He knows what he’s doing and the implications; please stop insulting the young man’s intelligence.  Pau Gasol and Jimmy Butler are the team’s MVP and Niko Mirotic has been as good as advertised.  Biggest problem besides health is the defense; they’re giving up more points so far this year.

The newest member of the Sox.

The newest member of the Sox.

White Sox:  The south siders are making moves this off season.  They have signed reliever Zach Duke, closer David Robertson and first baseman/DH Adam LaRoche.  They completed a six player trade with the Oakland Athletics getting starter Jeff Samardzija.  Pitching coach Don Cooper was downright giddy after learning about the move.  So they have strengthened their bullpen, starting rotation and hitting; now the question is will they catch the ball or will they throw away games this season.

The first step in competing in 2015

The first step in competing in 2015

Cubs:  Theo and company made a huge splash getting the best free agent pitcher Jon Lester for 6 years for $155 million, $30 million signing bonus and no trade clause.  There are many who think now that the team signed Lester they will speed up their clock to compete and look to acquire a big bat.  They signed pitcher Jason Hammel and acquired catcher Miguel Montero, with that move some expect Wellington Castillo to be traded.  Theo said they aren’t looking to trade him and apparently he told other teams that shortstop Starlin Castro is not available.  Cubs need offense so keeping Starlin makes sense.

Bears leaders searching for answers

Bears leaders searching for answers

Bears:  I saved the worst for last.  The coaches and players are bad, the front office is bad and the field is bad.  It’s just an all-around bad team.  Mel Tucker may be the fall guy, but I don’t think fans will think that is enough.  After this year many faces will be gone, and I’m not sure any of the young players are any good.  Thankfully the misery of this season ends in 3 weeks.

0 comments
handshake

The Handshake

Well, sildenafil Chicago…We are not dreaming, unhealthy we are not heading back to the Stanley Cup Finals and is it just me or does this one sting like a mother?

We had the Kings on the ropes and I truly felt we were going to get the lucky goal in OT Sunday night. Alas, here the resilience of the Kings was just too much for the Blackhawks.

I know many of us want to crawl back into the bottle of top shelf we enjoyed the other night. The NHL is the toughest league to repeat as Stanley Cup Champions, especially in a post salary cap era. It hasn’t been done since the Detroit Red Wings did it back in 1997-1998 season.  That is why the NHL playoffs are simply the best; you can’t predict them and who would want to? They have been incredible once again. Stanley is going somewhere else this summer…sigh… There will be no parade, #CupTracker , or girls throwing themselves at players for a #selfie with the Cup. However my friends, this season was not a total wash. Coach Q said it best last night “It is hard to get to the big dance”. They sure gave it their all and it was exciting as hell.

There were many improvements and a few disappointments on the team over the last few months, here are a couple of my thoughts about what went right and what was oh so wrong…

Improvements:

 

Ben Smith

Ben Smith

Ben Smith: Is it just me or was it awesome watching Ben Smith progress this season? In the regular season Smith contributed in every way he was asked and watching him in the 75 games he played with 26 points was great to see from the second year forward. Smith also had a great post season, always knowing where to be and had some clutch goals down the stretch. I’m excited to see Smith next season and his continued growth.

The evolution of Corey Crawford: Anyone that says Crawford isn’t a top 10 goalie needs to shut the front door. Crawford was solid once again during the season and kept the Blackhawks in most of their playoff games. Crow is young and is evolving and I like what I am seeing, he is only going to get better and I would take him over the other 29 goalies in the league. Last time I checked it needs to get through five players in order to get to the goalie, so check yourself…. Especially when Crow’s GAA in the post season was 2.53, pretty dang good.

Brandon Saad

Brandon Saad

Brandon Sadd: Another young bun that was really fun to watch this year. Saad with his magical mullet this post season was once again a threat netting 16 points in the post season and igniting a line with Patrick Kane and Andrew Shaw. Saad has the opportunity to be a star in this league and I am giddy with dreams of a Saad & Kane magic mullet legacy.

Disappointments:

Kris Versteeg: I was really hoping that when Steeger came back, it would spark some old steeger2010 magic. Unfortunately it didn’t. Steeger just couldn’t seem to find his role on this team this season, it’s too bad he is a great player. I just don’t see him in a Hawks jersey next year, he barley played over five minutes in each game in this last series and many wondered why Coach Q didn’t scratch him.

Patrick Sharp in the Playoffs: Sharpie had another strong regular season for the Hawks. He stepped up with both Kane and Toews went down and was one of the hottest things on ice this season…. Then came the playoffs and Sharpie was not good… except last night’s game 7, Sharpie was pretty much non-existent in the playoffs and if he isn’t firing on all cylinders, that is a problem for the Hawks.

What Needs to Be Done?

I love Stan Bowman. I think he is one of the best in the business hands down. His idea though of ‘just putting the band back together” last season was a miss though.

  • Michael Handzus

    Michael Handzus

    This off season the Hawks need a second line center. Michael Handzus is just not cutting it and even though Andrew Shaw stepped up nicely it’s not good enough. It is time to part ways with Handzus and get a younger veteran in the door. Boy how good would Derek Stepan of the Rangers or Lars Eller of the Canadiens sound?!?!

  • We need some big bodies. Ones that can get the garbage out of our zone. The Blackhawks couldn’t hold a lead to save their lives in this series and a lot of that came from second chance opportunities. We need guys who can get in there, throw their bodies around and get the puck out.
  • 4th line help… It takes four lines to be unstoppable and the Blackhawks fourth line stunk. Brandon Bollig and Kris Versteeg played under four minutes apiece in game 7 and having to roll three lines down the stretch is tough.
  • Jonathan Toews &  Patrick Kane

    Jonathan Toews &
    Patrick Kane

    Lock up Toews & Kane: Obviously! Both of their contracts are up. This is Stan the Man’s #1 priority this summer and it will get done, if it didn’t all hell would break loose.

What’s Next:

Time to put Chelsea Dagger on the playlist backburner folks. It is going to be an interesting off season for the Blackhawks. I am excited to see what new additions Stan and the crew will bring to Chicago for next season and to start another run for the cup.

For those of you asking, I am not a Rangers fan and I think the two best teams were in the West, with that… Go Kings and until next season Hawks fans; keep it classy.

0 comments

It’s been another long and painful five days since the Blackhawks eliminated the Wild in the second round of the playoffs, viagra and the wait is finally over. The Western Conference Finals begin this afternoon, right in time to close out the weekend with the hottest team on ice looking to get one step closer to bringing my bff Stanley home once again.

It’s hard to believe that the playoffs are half way over and the Blackhawks just need eight more wins, yes just eight to be the first team to repeat as Stanley Cup Champions since the 1997-1998 Detroit Red Wings.

It’s hard not to get excited, however, we still have plenty of work to be done. The Blackhawks next round opponent are the third seeded Los Angeles Kings. The Kings took out the first seeded Anaheim Ducks in seven games in the last round and they are ready to take on the defending champs.

The Blackhawks will once again receive home ice for this series, which makes me giddy with joy our city will be rocking; will you be part of it? The Blackhawks and the Kings squared off three times this season with the Hawks winning all three. Confident? Hold your horses folks, this is NOT the same Kings team, this is for a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. Both teams will bring their A games and this is going to be a fantastic series.

Continue on for the must know details and players of the Western Conference Finals.

What You Need to Know:

  • The Kings are the team that won’t die, they have been down in both their series with the Sharks (0-3) and Ducks (2-3) and they came back to win both. This team is relentless and they play to the end.
  • Patrick Kane is on fire – he has six goals in 12 games and his confidence is at an all time high. Look for him to be great in this series.
  • Crawford & Quick

    Crawford & Quick

    I sometimes repeat myself and this is one of those times. A HOT goalie can make or break you in the postseason. This series will feature two goalies who are on a hot streak. Corey Crawford has been clutch, however so has Kings net-minder Jonathan Quick. Look for a goalie battle in this series and both teams forwards trying to figure out how to put the lotion in the basket.

  • The Blackhawks have had five days rest. While the Kings will just have one day to rest those legs. Look for that to help our boys in game 1 and 2.
  • The Kings have been hurting on defense. The Hawks need to take advantage of this. The Kings Robyn Regehr who is a beast and one of the best in the NHL was hurt in Game 1 against the Ducks and hasn’t played since. Willie Mitchell was hurt against the Sharks; and hasn’t played since, either.

Key Players to Watch on the Kings:

  • Marian Gaborik

    Marian Gaborik

    Right Winger: Marian Gaborik: When the Kings acquired Gaborik they got a big player with all the right stuff. Gaborik has not disappointed in the postseason he has nine goals and six assists. He has found superb chemistry with his line and the Blackhawks will need to know where he is on the ice at all times.

  • Right Winger; Justin Williams:
    Justin Williams

    Justin Williams

    Williams has been the breakout star of the Kings postseason if you ask me. He is a big time player and all he does is score and win game 7’s. He is a two way forward that can do it all and he loves to be on the ice for the big plays and big games and I am ok with that, he is very easy on my eyes. Actually a majority of the Kings roster is (Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, etc.).

  • Anze Kopitar

    Anze Kopitar

    Center; Anze KopitarKopitar is one of the best centers in the league and he and his line mate, the previously mentioned Gaborik, have been one of the best lines this postseason. Kopitar is definitely a guy who should get more credit, but I think he likes to fly under the radar. The Blackhawks defense will have their hands full with Kopitar he is the lead scorer in the postseason so far, the boys on the blue line will be busy.

Key Players to Watch on the Blackhawks:

  • Patrick "Mullet" Kane

    Patrick “Mullet” Kane

    Right Winger; Patrick Kane: The power of the “magic mullet”. I can sum this up in two sentences why Kaner is one to watch this series. He is on fire on the score sheet and his moves on the ice will dazzle even the novice fan.

  • Left Winger; Bryan Bickell: Everyone was worried when Bickell was slumping during the regular season, but not this girl. Every player goes through a funk and the only thing that matters is that Bicks
    Bryan Bickell

    Bryan Bickell

    has started to surge when he needs to! Bickell is tied with Kaner on points this postseason and he hasn’t been afraid to use his big body. The Kings injured blue line will need to find a way to shut him down, if they want to stay in this series.

  • Niklas Hjalmarsson

    Niklas Hjalmarsson

    Defenseman; Niklas Hjalmarsson: Hammer has been the standout defenseman this postseason. No disrespect to the top two Keith and Seabs have been great, however Hammer has been everywhere in every play doing the small things that have set him apart. He is fun to watch and his willing to do anything attitude has Chicagoans smiling from ear to ear.

Western Conference Finals Schedule:

All times Central

Game 1, Sunday: Kings at Blackhawks, 2:00 p.m. (NBC)

Game 2, Wednesday: Kings at Blackhawks, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)

Game 3, Saturday, May 24: Blackhawks at Kings, 7 p.m. (NBC)

Game 4, Monday, May 26: Blackhawks at Kings, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)

Game 5, Wednesday, May 28-*: Kings at Blackhawks, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)

Game 6, Friday, May 30-*: Blackhawks at Kings, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)

Game 7, Sunday, June 1-*: Kings at Blackhawks, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)

What’s Next:

It is go time and this is for a trip to go get Stanley for the second straight year. The city is going to be in full force, don’t be the one left out of the party.

The Kings are the team that refuses to give up with out a fight, they have been down in series 0-3 and on the brink of elimination each of their series and came back to win, sound familiar? These guys are not going to be easy and with two HOT goalies Crawford and Quick this is going to be one hell of a series. I predict the Blackhawks will win this series in seven INCREDIBLE games. It’s the Cup, I don’t have to say anything else folks?!?! Go Hawks!

0 comments
back to top