Patrick Sharp

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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#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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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.

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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.

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preview

Let’s do this…

It’s been a long five days since the Blackhawks eliminated the Blues in the first round of the playoffs, viagra and the wait is finally over. The second round of the playoffs begin tonight, right in time to kickoff the weekend – we couldn’t have planned that one any better.

The playoffs are a quarter of the way over and the Blackhawks just need 12 more wins to bring Lord Stanley back to Chicago.

However, let’s focus on the next four. The Blackhawks next round opponent are the fourth seeded Minnesota Wild. The Wild took out the first seeded Colorado Avalanche in seven games in the last round and are firing on all cylinders.


Our Blackhawks are the third seed in the Central Conference and receive home ice for this series; can I get a “Heck Yeah”?!?!  These two teams meet once again in the playoffs for the second straight postseason, however there’s a much different finesse about this Minnesota Wild team than a season ago, when they squeaked into the postseason, and let’s be honest our boys took care of them easily in five games. The Blackhawks went 2-3 versus the Wild during the regular season, and our neighbors to the north were quite a pain in the ass for our boys.

Continue on for the must know details and players of this second round matchup.

What You Need to Know:

  • The Blackhawks offense is on fire! In the final four games versus the Blues the Hawks outscored them 14-6. Many say the realigning of Patrick Kane with Jonathan Toews added additional juice… you think?!?!
  • Patrick Kane

    Patrick Kane

    Six Blackhawks players scored more than once in the series versus the Blues, 12 players had at least one goal and they were pure perfection in games in which they scored first. I would say our offense is HOT HOT HOT

  • Our boys are coming off four straight wins against the St. Louis Blues after dropping the first two games in overtime losses, and they have shown no early signs of a Stanley Cup hangover. The Wild, meanwhile, dropped the first two against the Colorado Avalanche, trailed 3-2 in the series and then in Game 7 won it in overtime. To give credit where credit is due, this is a team that’s got tons of heart.
  • Darcy Kuemper

    Darcy Kuemper

    Who will be in net for the Wild? Russian Ilya Bryzgalov (BRIZ-GAL-OFF) or Darcy Kuemper? Bryzgalov was average as the Wild fell behind 2-0 in the series, to the Avs, allowing eight goals and turning in an .822 save percentage. What does that mean? He was not good. Bryzgalov was replaced by rookie Darcy Kuemper, who had been bitten by the injury bug. Kuemper led the Wild back into the series with three wins in four games. Just when the Wild thought their goalie issue was solved…. The bug bit Kuemper again he was hurt in the third period of Game 7, imposing Bryzgalov back into the net, and sent the Avs packing in the first round. Anything can happen in playoff hockey, so we will see who the Wild start in game 1.

  • No goalie troubles for the Blackhawks. Corey Crawford found his sea legs after two sub-par performances in game one and two versus the Blues. He was a BOSS in between the pipes in the four victories for the Hawks. I have said it before. If Crow gets hot, he is one of the best in the game. The Wild will need to give it their all and more to beat him.

Key Players to Watch on the Wild:

  • Zach Parise

    Zach Parise

    Left Winger: Zach Parise: Parise (PAR-EE-SAY) was a beast in the first round. Leading the team with 10 points, the assistant captain stepped up and the rest of the team followed. If he continues to be the driving force and energizes the rest of the team, the Blackhawks are in trouble. Everyone will need to step up when Parise is on the ice. He makes so many good things happen for the Wild. Also, he is so easy on the eyes. Enjoy watching him ladies…

  • Defenseman; Ryan Suter: Another fine looking… hockey player, I meant hockey
    Ryan Suter

    Ryan Suter

    player! Suter plays gigantic minutes for the Wild, he’s averaging 29:47 of ice time during the playoffs. When Suter is on the ice, which is clearly a lot of the time the Wild get a bit more swag. Maybe, it is because Suter is not only one of the best defenseman in the NHL, he can score, fight, you name it and Suter does it.

  • Dany Heatley

    Dany Heatley

    Left Winger; Dany Heatley:  There is something about the playoffs that reinvigorates former snipers to be relevant again. Heatley has been in the league for a long time. Bouncing from Thrashers, Senators to the Wild. He has been an offensive surprise so far notching five points. He may not be the star he once was, but the Hawks shouldn’t take their eyes off him. He can create offense and still has a wrist shot like no ones business.

Key Players to Watch on the Blackhawks:

  • Patrick Sharp

    Patrick Sharp

    Left Winger; Patrick Sharp: I know, I know I said Sharpie would do BIG things last round. He only had one goal and no assists in six games. However, his goal was mega in game six. Sharp is a money player and comes to play. He will make his existence known in this series sooner than later. Look for him to have a big game 1. You heard it here first.

  • Center; Jonathan Toews: I mean all that Towes has done is score three game
    Jonathan Toews

    Jonathan Toews

    winners last series. Toews is clearly in the playoff zone, he is making his presence known all over the ice. Weather it is scoring or sticking up for his teammates, he is everything that a captain entails. You hear me Ovechkin?!?! Yeah, I went there.

  • Brent Seabrook

    Brent Seabrook

    Defenseman; Brent Seabrook: I love the way Seabs steps up in the postseason. Seabs had six points, even though he was suspended for half of the series versus the Blues for his hit on David Backes. Seabs and Duncan Keith will again be tasked with shutting down the Wild’s first line of Parise-Mikko Koivu-Charlie Coyle. If anyone can shut them down its Seabrook, he is a big body and isn’t afraid to jump up into a play and shoots to score. He will be critical in this series.

First Round Schedule:

All times Central

Game 1, Friday: Wild at Blackhawks, 8:30 p.m. (NBCSN)

Game 2, Sunday: Wild at Blackhawks, 2 p.m. (NBC)

Game 3, Tuesday: Blackhawks at Wild, 8 p.m. (CNBC)

Game 4, Friday, May 9: Blackhawks at Wild, TBD

Game 5, Sunday, May 11-*: Wild at Blackhawks, TBD

Game 6, Tuesday, May 13-*: Blackhawks at Wild, TBD

Game 7, Thursday, May 15-*: Wild at Blackhawks, TBD

What’s Next:

The social scene in Chicago revolves around our sports teams, especially when they are winning. Look for bars to be even more crowded, especially now that the Bulls are out of the playoffs. Blackhawks fever is getting hot once again, and it will continue to grow as they go deeper into the playoffs.

As I mentioned earlier the Wild were a pain in the ass for our boys during the season. The Wild are the underdog once again and I think they are enjoying that role. The Blackhawks are the superior team on paper. If their offense can continue to be lights out and a strong Crawford in net, I just don’t see the Wild getting it done. It once again will be a physical series and one not to be missed.  I predict the Blackhawks will win this series in six games. It’s the Cup, is there another reason to get Wild?!?! Go Hawks!

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