Vladimir Tarasenko

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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chicago-blackhawks-vs-st-louis-blues

Bring on the Blues

Folks, online the NHL playoffs are finally here; let the quest for the repeat begin. After an incredible, healing season, it’s time for our beloved Blackhawks to get down to business, and bring Lord Stanley back to Chicago once again. Let’s face it, Stanley likes to party in Chicago.

Yes, the Blackhawks had another exciting season going 46-21-15 and finishing third in the Central Division. However, as the saying goes, it isn’t how you start but how you finish. As we have seen many times before in the NHL playoffs, regular season records will get you good seeding in the playoffs, but do not guarantee a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals.

The Blackhawks are the third seed in the Central Conference and unfortunately don’t have first round home ice advantage; that goes to the Blues. Their first round opponent is the second seeded St. Louis Blues, who the Blackhawks went 2-1-2 versus during the regular season.

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

What You Need to Know:

  • The Blues lost their final six regular-season games. They were outscored 22-5 during that span, #woof. They had a seven-point lead on the Colorado Avalanche in the Central as of April 7. They wound up finishing second in the Central and many aren’t even taking the Blues as a threat.
  • St. Louis Blues

    St. Louis Blues

    In the Blues defense they were without EVERYONE… David Backes, T.J. Oshie, Patrick Berglund, Barret Jackman, Brenden Morrow, Vladimir Tarasenko, Alex Pietrangelo and Vladimir Sobotka all sat out due to injuries in their regular-season finale. The Blues are expected to return some of their stars for Game 1 Backes, Oshie, Jackman, Pietrangelo and Sobotka are all listed as a go.

  • The Blackhawks will welcome back both Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane…Can you say YAHOO?! Both have been out due to injuries the last few weeks of the season. Kane has been skating for more than a week while Toews returned to skating on Thursday. The whole city of Chicago is excited for these two to be back.
  • Brian Bickell & Andrew Shaw

    Brian Bickell & Andrew Shaw

    When everyone is out there, the Blackhawks are loaded. Toews and Marian Hossa are as good as they come in terms of two-way forward play. Patrick Sharp had one of the best seasons of his career. And you know guys like Andrew Shaw and Bryan Bickell will score big goals at some point in this postseason.

 Goalie Matchup:

  • Blues goaltender Ryan Miller has lost his last five starts. He had a 3.60 goals-against average and stopped 107 of 125 shots for a .856 save percentage in that span. He was on fire when he was first traded to the Blues from the Sabres. Blues fans are hoping he returns to prime form.
  • We all know the story… Goaltender gets hot and grows bigger in his net. Once a team gains energy, it can tilt the ice against their rival and skate to the crapper. Corey Crawford had a solid season going 32-16-10. His goals-against average was an impressive 2.26. If Crawford can get in the zone early. He is one of the hardest goalies to beat in the league.

Key Players to Watch on the Blues:

  • David Backes

    David Backes

    Center; David Backes: Backes has been missed by the Blues. He is a dominating force on the ice. Frankly, no Hawks fan can stand Backes. You hate playing him, but would love to have him on your team. He is a big defensive-forward and he makes his presence known with some serious hits. Note to our guys… Keep your head up when Backes is on the ice.

  • Right Winger; T.J. Oshie: The Sochi Olympic sweetheart is
    T.J. Oshie

    T.J. Oshie

    another Blues player that has been bitten by the injury bug. He is listed as day-to-day. Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock is confident that Oshie will play in game 1. The Blues are better with Oshie on the ice. This season he had 21 goals and 39 assists. He is one of the most skilled right wingers in the league. He can create space and make a shot happen when you think there isn’t one. Look for the Blackhawks to try and get Oshie off balance with Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook.

  • Jaden Schwartz

    Jaden Schwartz

    Left Winger; Jaden Schwartz: One of the many reasons the Blues were so lethal when they were healthy was the depth of their offensive ability. The upsurge of Jaden Schwartz as rapid scoring threat off the wing gave them a element they did not have in last spring’s first-round exit against the Los Angeles Kings. Schwartz must continue his strong sophomore play against the Blackhawks. If he can, he is going to be one you need to watch in this series.

Key Players to Watch on the Blackhawks:

  • Patrick Sharp

    Patrick Sharp

    Left Winger; Patrick Sharp: We have come to expect the clutch performances from Patrick Sharp; he has once again proved how valuable he is. He led the team with 34 goals during the regular season, including 10 power-play markers, and 78 points. His play elevated down the stretch when Kane and Toews went down. Look for Sharpie to elevate his game this series and be a one not to miss on the ice.

  • Defenseman; Duncan Keith:
    Duncan Keith

    Duncan Keith

    Keith is having another fantastic year. He is once again in the conversations for Norris Trophy winner (best defenseman) and he should be. Six goals, 55 assists and a +22. Keith is crucial to the Hawks repeating. There is no better assist man in the league and he is dangerous when he has the puck. The Blues need to be worried if Keith gets hot.

  • Patrick Kane

    Patrick Kane

    Right Winger; Patrick Kane: We can finally say that Kaner is back! Kaner, one of the two franchise forwards is integral to getting past the Blues. We all know the Hawks have depth, however when Kaner went down. The Hawks defiantly were in a funk. Kane loves the big games and series, weather the NHL Playoffs or Olympics. If he finds his grove, the Blues better watch out.

First Round Schedule:

Game 1: Thursday, 7 p.m.; Blackhawks at Blues (CSN)

Game 2: Saturday, 2 p.m.; Blackhawks at Blues (NBC)

Game 3: Monday, April 21, 7:30 p.m.; Blues at Blackhawks (CSN)

Game 4: Wednesday, April 23, 8:30 p.m.; Blues at Blackhawks (CSN)

Game 5 (if necessary): Friday, April 25, 7 p.m.; Blackhawks at Blues (CSN)

Game 6 (if necessary): Sunday, April 27, 2 p.m.; Blues at Blackhawks (NBC)

Game 7 (if necessary): Tuesday, April 29, TBD; Blackhawks at Blues (CSN)

What’s Next:

Get ready for playoff beards to pop up all over our city and the Blackhawks bandwagon to get very crowded once again.  It’s time for the Hawks to put together another magical Stanley Cup run just like last season.

The injury situation makes predicting this series difficult. On paper the Blackhawks have the upper hand versus the Blues who are coming into the playoffs with a mental block. However, playoff hockey goes to another level, and if there is anything to get a team out of their funk it is a chance at hoisting Stanley.  This series is going to be a good one; I mean a knock down drag out one. Full of physical battles left and right. I predict the Blackhawks will win this series in seven games. Let’s get rowdy again Chicago… because it’s the Cup! Go Hawks!

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Hawks vs. Blues

After 283 days since the puck dropped at the United Center, physician the Madhouse on Madison will be rocking tonight with Chelsea Dagger and Blackhawks Hockey when the Hawks open up their season at home against the St. Louis Blues.

For many of us that thought tonight may never happen, buy cialis thanks to the ridiculous NHL Lockout, salve tonight’s home opener is a celebration and a reminder of how much we missed and how much we love hockey in Chicago.

The Blackhawks (2-0) open up at home against one of their biggest Central Division rivals, the (2-0) St. Louis Blues. Both teams are coming off back-to-back victories in their first two games of the condensed NHL season and sit atop the Central Division. One of the teams will suffer their first lost tonight. I am talking to you St. Louis.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

  • The Blackhawks had a huge weekend on the road with two explosive offensive outings versus the Stanley Cup Champs, the LA Kings and the Phoenix Coyotes.
  • Marian Hossa is on fire! Since coming back after his serious concussion that knocked him out of the 2012 playoffs and ended his season early, Hossa has scored 4 goals in 2 games and is on track to score 96 if he keeps it up. Look for the Blues to use their top defense-man Kevin Shattenkirk and Alex Pietrangelo on Hossa and the Hawks’ top line.

    Marian Hossa

  • Corey Crawford will be back in net after getting Sunday night off in Phoenix. The Blues will start Brian Elliott for the first time this season. St. Louis won last night at Nashville, and top goalie Jaroslav Halak will get the night off.
  • Keep an eye out for Blues’ rookie Vladimir Tarasenko. The 21-year old baby-faced Russian has already scored 3 goals in the Blues’ wins over the Red Wings and Predators this season.

    Vladimir Tarasenko

  • As part of the Blackhawks fan appreciation launch there will be a red carpet ceremony that will be held prior to tonight’s game. Beginning at 4:30PM this afternoon, the team will arrive at the arena in their finest attire and sign autographs. #nicetouch

YOUR TAKE AWAY PIECE:

“Make no mistake about it, getting off to a hot start is essential in this condensed NHL season. The Hawks are coming out HOT, but so are the Blues. Look for tonight’s game to be a hard hitting and an offensive fireworks show.”

WHAT’S NEXT:

Both the Blackhawks and Blues want to sit alone on top of the Central. One team will fall tonight, and I have a feeling its going to be classic hockey at the UC. If you weren’t lucky enough to score the hottest ticket to the Madhouse so far this season, be sure to tune in at 7:30PM on CSN to catch all the action.

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