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.
It is that time of year again when our beloved Blackhawks pack up their Hugo Boss luggage and hit the road for the Annual Circus Trip, cialis or as I call it… the saddest time of the year.
Why, help you ask? The annual Circus Trip, which this year includes seven cities in 13 days, means no Blackhawks hockey on home ice at the United Center for two, yes two weeks!
This time every year the Circus comes to town, and I don’t mean the mayor of Toronto, eh? Ringling Brothers rolls in and sets up shop at the United Center, not only sending our Hawks on the road but the Bulls too. I was at least hoping to get my stadium fix with our first place Bears at Soldier Field and alas screwed again, they are on the road two for the next two weeks.
We Chicago gals have to deal with a lot in the winter and the past few weeks. Balls cold temperatures drying out our hair, or skin and do I even need to talk about the static shock every time we touch something. We’ve had to suffer through the Bears injuries (Cutler, Briggs and Peanut) and the playoff carousal. I feel every damn day there is a soap opera around Derrick Rose and if he is going to play or not. I mean we can only take so much, and now you are telling me I can’t see cold steel on ice for a full two weeks!
Low blow NHL schedule makers, low blow!
This is the time to get friendly with your local bartender and to start learning to function on less than six hours of sleep, as many of these games take place in Western Canada. A girl has to do what a girl has to do, at least hockey loving girls do. Don’t worry though; we have you covered with a few must know details about every road matchup to talk the pants off any Blackhawks fan at the bar for the next few weeks.
Circus Trip Schedule
Tue, Nov 19 @ Avalanche 8:00 PM (CT)
Thu, Nov 21 @ Jets 7:00 PM (CT)
Sat, Nov 23 @ Canucks 9:00 PM (CT)
Mon, Nov 25 @ Oilers 8:30 PM (CT)
Wed, Nov 27 @ Flames 9:00 PM (CT)
Fri, Nov 29 @ Stars 7:30 PM (CT)
Sat, Nov 30 @ Coyotes 7:00 PM (CT)
Stop #1: Tuesday, November 19 @ Avalanche 8:00 PM (CT)
Who and What to watch for on the Avalanche: Patrick Roy’s Avs are one of the surprises of the western conference. The Avs were terrible last year; they brought in some excellent veteran leadership bringing back left winger Alex Tanguay and center Max Talbot.
New coach Patrick Roy has lit a fire under his young team and they are hungry and ready for the spot light themselves. The resurgence of goalie Semyon Varlamov has been a big reason why the Avalanche post a 14-5 record and sit in fourth place in the central division. They may sit fourth, but they are a strong fourth and the Blackhawks need to be ready for them. This will be the first time these teams face each other this season.
I have a feeling the Blackhawks are going to come out guns a blazing. The Avalanche, were the team to upset their record last season.
Stop #2: Thursday, November 21 @ Jets 7:00 PM (CT)
Who and What to watch for on the Jets: Oh the Jets… You would think a team of former Blackhawks would be stellar. The Jets just can’t seem to get it together. They currently sit in sixth place in the central division with a record of 10-10-3. This will be the third meeting of these teams with the Blackhawks winning the first two outscoring the Jets 9-2. Center Bryan Little has continued to produce solid numbers leading the team in points (19) and goals (11). This is a game the Blackhawks should win easily.
Stop #3: Saturday, November 23 @ Canucks 9:00 PM (CT)
Who and What to watch for on the Canucks: Get ready for the bad blood! I don’t think I have to tell anyone how much these two teams HATE one another. Anytime these two teams play, it is one bad ass hockey game. Hair pulling, poking, fists a blazing and scoring too! This will be the first meeting of these teams this season and this girl can’t wait for the fireworks.
The Canucks are 11-8-3 and sit fifth in the Pacific Division. The usual suspects to watch in this one the Sedin Twins, Ryan Kessler who leads the team in goals with nine and Roberto Luongo the underachieving overpaid goalie, yup I went there…I am not sorry.
Stop #4: Monday, November 25 @ Oilers 8:30 PM (CT)
Who and What to watch for on the Oilers: This will be the second time these two teams face-off this season. The Oilers almost upset the Blackhawks on November 10th but our guys pulled out a 5-4 victory. The Oilers are not good, their 5-15-2 record reflects that, this is a game the Blackhawks should and must win.
Right Winger Jordan Eberle continues to be the Oilers’ bright spot leading the team in points (16), goals (5), and assists (11). However, when you leading scorer only has five goals, you know you have problems. On top of that, Edmonton’s goaltenders have been horrific, each posting over 3.03 goals against average (GAA). The Oilers have always played the Blackhawks tough at the Rexall Place and many Blackhawks hail from Western Canada, expect the energy to be in full force.
Stop #5: Wednesday, November 27 @ Flames 9:00 PM (CT)
Who and What to watch for on the Flames:Another bottom feeder of the Pacific division the Flames are 7-11-3 and sit just ahead of the sad Oilers in sixth place. You would think this game would be an easy win for our boys. However, the Flames beat our boys on November 3rd 3-2 in OT.
The Blackhawks have no excuse to lose this game; they are the better team on paper, ice, etc. To the Flames defense their team is loaded with young players, still trying to figure out the speed of the game, defense, etc. One to keep an eye out for is Sean Monahan the center man is just 19 years old and leads the team in goals. This kid will be one to know for a while.
Stop #6: Friday, November 29 @ Stars 7:30 PM (CT)
Who and What to watch for on the Stars: I thought the Stars were going to be a lot better this year, their record 11-7-2 and sitting fifth in the Central is not what fans were anticipating. The Blackhawks took care of business versus the Stars on November 9th crushing them 5-2.
Party boy and former Stanley Cup winner Tyler Sequin is my pick to watch in this game. He was traded in an unexpected move by the Bruins in the off season. Many think they gave up on Sequin too soon, however not many organizations have the patience like our Blackhawks did with Patrick Kane.
Sequin is only 21 and already a Stanley Cup Champ, if he can find a way to mature on and off the ice. He can be the face of the Stars franchise for the rest of his career.
Stop #7: Saturday, November 30 @ Coyotes 7:00 PM (CT)
Who and What to watch for on the Coyotes: The Blackhawks will finish their circus trip in the desert against the rival ‘Yotes. These two teams just tussled on November 14th and the Blackhawks squeaked out a 5-4 victory in a shootout and it was no easy feat.
The ‘Yotes are currently sitting in third in the Pacific division at 14-4-3; they are a tough team to beat. This game is going to be intense. It is the last game of the trip and I am sure the boys will be eager to stick it to them and get home back to Chicago. This one will have a lot of action considering how much these two teams don’t like each other. Center Martin Hanzal is the one to watch in this game not only does he lead the team in points with 18, but penalty minutes too (25), yeah, that is hot ladies…
Who to Keep an eye on for the Hawks During the Circus Trip:
Our Blackhawks are sitting pretty at 14-3-4 and first in the central division. This trip is going to be a fun one to watch, the guys are gelling well and two weeks on the road is only going to strengthen that bond. I think the guys to watch on this trip are not Toews, Kane or Sharp but Brandon Pirri, Kris Versteeg and new call up Antti Raanta.
Since his call up from Rockford Pirri has produced solid numbers (six goals and five assists). The thing about Pirri is his maturity and wanting to get better after every game and practice. He is logging over twelve minutes of ice time, if he continues to progress and make smart plays. Look for Coach Q to utilize him more on this trip.
Versteeg, how we’ve missed you and what you bring to the table. Versteeg, our current HAM of the Week, is a great two way player and the Blackhawks saw the need for that as the season goes on. It will be great for old and new fans to get reacquainted with Versteeg on this trip. I think he will come up with some great plays and goals, and it will be fun to see.
Look for recent Rockford call Raanta to get some time in the net on this trip. In an ideal world Crawford would start every game, however that simply can’t happen. Look for Raanta to get the start against the Flames, Oilers and Stars. He has put up decent numbers down in Rockford. The 24-year-old is 7-5-0 with a 2.83 goals-against average and .914 save percentage for the IceHogs. His call up has had many Blackhawks fans cheering. Not that anyone wanted Khabibulinto get hurt, but he has been the pain point in many Blackhawks fans sides having a 5.01 goals against average is just not OK.
Blackhawks Grey Reversible Burnout Long Sleeve by Retro Brand, Clark Street Sports: $49.99
Your Take Away Piece:
“The circus trip has set the tone for the rest of the season, in seasons past. It is a great road trip for the guys to bond and get out of Chicago. However, make no mistake this trip is all about business. The Blackhawks have a tough road test on this trip facing the Avalanche, Canucks and Coyotes. They need to win the games they are expected to win (Jets, Oilers, and Flames) and come away from the trip over .500 which will be no easy task going into these hostile road arenas.”
Get ready for some UC withdrawal, it is going to be a long two weeks for Blackhawks fans. However, the boys can continue their domination in the western conference and this Circus Trip is just the place to do it. Check your local television listings many games will be on Comcast SportsNet and NBC Sports Network. Hunker down my friends with a cold one and GO Hawks!