Archive for the ‘Chicago Blackhawks’ Category

Looking around the league with…. no colored glasses:

– A very scary moment in the Detroit Red Wings game against The Nashville Predators last night, when a hard shot by Roman Josi caught Patrick Eaves in the side of the head. Eaves was stretchered out of the arena and taken to Detroit Medical Center where he is being treated for a fractured jaw. Hopefully he can have a quick recovery from this very scary incident. The Red Wings won the game 4-1, their 5th straight.

– 2 controversial moments in the game between Pittsbugh and Montreal when Max Pacioretty of the Canadiens hit Kris Letang in OT. This appears to be a head shot. In this guy’s opinion, it appears the head is the principal point of contact, now if it is intentionally aiming for the head, I cannot tell. I believe the hit was going to be shoulder to shoulder before Letang dropped his head for the shot. I do think Brendan Shanahan will definitely be looking at this one, as for a suspension…. I think he might, keyword “might” get a 1 game suspension, if not just a fine. Pittsburgh won 4-3 in OT, easily another controversial moment in the eyes of Habs fans, the referees seemed to fall asleep on that one, but alas, you do not stop playing until the whistle is blown.

– The New York Islanders continued their flip flopping fight with The Columbus Blue Jackets for bottom spot and 29th in the NHL, crawling back out of the basement with a 3-2 win over New Jersey (Thanks to Ilya Kovalchuk)

-The New York Rangers are having a great November so far, going 8-2, including last night’s shutout win against Philadelphia thanks to Henrik Lundqvist, who made 29 saves in the effort.

– Colorado busted their losing streak in a big way, scoring 5 against Edmonton, including a first goal of the season for Shane O’Brien and a first goal in the NHL for newcomer Stefan Elliot.

– Bye Bye Boudreau? The Capitals got slaughtered for the 2nd game in a row, this time 5-1 at the hands of the slumping Buffalo Sabres. The losses are starting to mount, you can bet the rumors are going to start to swirl (if your name starts with an E, and end with a D, computer generated rumors do not count)

– Lightning strikes twice, Tampa won their 2nd straight game against the red hot Florida Panthers last night thanks to brilliant goaltending by Mathieu Garon, and the scoring abilities of one Steven Stamkos. In 2 games, Garon had 47 saves, and Stamkos had 3 goals, and 1 assist.

– The Phoenix Coyotes continued strong play, as did Mike Smith, making 26 saves in a 3-0 shutout of the falling Dallas Stars. Mikkel Boedker scored career goal number 20 in the 1st period, Ray Whitney and Taylor Pyatt also added tallies.

– The Los Angeles Kings are 1-2-1 their last 4 after losing to The Chicago Blackhawks yesterday. Corey Crawford and Jonathan Quick both faced 27 shots, but a Jonathan Toews goal (his 13th this year)  in the 2nd period broke the tie.

-Sit down Luongo! Corey Schneider made his mark last night against San Jose, stopping 43 shots in a 3-2 victory, his 4th straight, only allowing 3 goals in those 4 games. Just think, the goalie making $900,000 is winning games while the guy making $10,000,000 is riding the pine. Silly…isnt it? For Vancouver also, Manny Malhotra, playing in game number 800, scored his 2nd of the year. For San Jose, Patrick Marleau scored his 10th goal, his 20th point on the season, and Joe Pavelski earned his 150th career assist in the game.

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Here are some random news and notes from around The NHL :

– The Boston Bruins ran over Ryan Miller and The Sabres (Literally) for their 5th straight win in a so far perfect November.

-Max Pacioretty of The Montreal Canadiens, talk about a comeback! 3 goals in 4 games, leading the team in Goals (7) and Shots On Goal (61)

-The Columbus Blue Jackets welcomed Nikita Nikitin to the team with 24:57 of ice time, he had 1 assist, Steve Mason had 35 saves, and rookie Ryan Johansen had 2 goals in a 2-1 win over Winnipeg.

– The St.Louis Blues welcomed Kris Russell, who scored the gamewinner in a 3-0 shutout over Tampa Bay. Brian Elliot made 19 saves in the effort.

-The Detroit Red Wings are back on track, winning 4 straight games with last night’s grilling of Dallas 5-2, Jimmy Howard is on fire, making at least 22 saves each game in that 4 game span that included 2 shutouts.

– The Pittsburgh Penguins are still on top of the world in the east (tied for best in NHL) even after last night’s  loss at the hands of Carolina. “Crosby? Crosby!? We don’t need no stinkin’ Crosby!”

– The Blackhawks are tops in the west (also tied for best in NHL) with the usual suspects (Kane,Hossa,Sharp,Toews) leading the way.

-Martin Brodeur became the leader in most regular season losses with 353 (surpassing Curtis Joseph and Gump Worsley). Hey, if you are going to have the most wins, why not have the most losses as well?

Heading into the 2007 draft, there was not one clear cut prospect like in some years, 2008 (Stamkos) and 2009 (Tavares) for example. In 2007, there were plenty of good players,  but towards the draft it filtered down to three prospects at the top of the class.  According to NHL’s Central Scouting, the top three (in order) were Kyle Turris, Patrick Kane, James van Riemsdyk.  It seemed like those three would be the top choices, but in which order? And to which teams?

Turris, from Burnaby of the BCHL, was touted as a great skater with a combination of skill and hockey smarts.  Kane’s biggest knock was his size (5’10, 160) but was a scoring machine for London of the OHL.  Van Riemsdyk was a big scoring winger from the US National Development Program that hadn’t finished growing yet.

Philadelphia was in the midst of their worst season in team history and Phoenix had finished its’ third straight season near the bottom of the standings.  Chicago finished last place in their division, but with a bit of luck, won the NHL draft lottery, giving them the #1 pick, followed by the Flyers and Coyotes.

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Last season: 44-29-9, 97 points. The Hawks entered the playoffs at the 8th seed and lost in 7 games in the first round to the Vancouver Canucks.

Additions: Dan Carcillo, Jamal Mayers, Rotislav Olesz, Brett McLean, Sean O’Donnell, Steve Montador.

Losses: Troy Brouwer, Brian Campbell, Marty Turco.

Offense: The Hawks core remains relatively unchanged from their Championship two years ago. With the re-upping of Patrick Sharp, the team still has three 70 point forwards on their roster. The other spots, it seems, have had a rotating cast of characters since the Blackhawks have had trouble with the cap.
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Here are some thoughts on some of the potential rule changes being looked at in the NHL Research And Development Camp:

NHL Research And Development Camp (Photo:THN)

 Hybrid Icing: Safety is the main issue that gets addressed here (Remember Kurtis Foster’s injury?), without taking away from the game. Easily something I think that should be implemented in the game.  Although some would argue about the officiating on certain calls, which is the only real argument against it.

No Icing While Shorthanded: If the NHL can find a way to boost scoring, they’ll test it out (Remember the idea of round nets?) Now, I understand the want to score more often, but I don’t really like this idea. You should be able to ice the puck while shorthanded, make the other team actually have to work on the powerplay. The other guy has two or five minutes in the box, that should eb enough of a penalty on his team.

Overtime Changes ( 4 minutes 4 on 4, then 3 minutes of 3 on 3): If this gets rid of the shootout (unless the shootout goes to 5 shooters), im all for it. However, I really do not like the idea of 3 on 3 hockey, it should be 4 on 4 minimum.  Would be interesting to do on a test run basis in the NHL.

No Line Change For Team That Is Offsides: Honestly, I like this idea, if a line can’t come into the zone onsides, they shouldn’t be able to change. Honestly, unless the players on the line have been on the ice a while, but, going offsides is their own fault, is it not? But,like the next rule, it could have an impact on the game negatively.

Faceoff In Own Zone After Offsides Is Called: Now this, I do not like, at all. This would encourage dump and chase hockey, which, just isn’t that good  to watch from a fan standpoint. I don’t see this rule making it very far at all, it will not see the light of day in the NHL.

Eliminate The Trapezoid: Yes, yes, and yes. Getting rid of the trapezoid behind the net has my approval. Goalies should be aloud to play the puck, there is no good reason this rule was ever implemented. Goalies doing a bit more work, I don’t see any defensemen who would have to chase the puck otherwise, that would argue against that. Let the goalies be free from the evil trapezoid!

Goal Line Camera: A brilliant idea I can’t believe they didn’t think of sooner! So many close calls, some right , some wrong . Now, if we can work on defining “kicking motions”, that would be another huge step forward. I would really like to see this implemented in the NHL. But I feel it might not be 100% fool proof depending on the camera’s position if say, the goalie was on top of the puck.

In 2006, Ryan Kesler signed a 1 year, $1.9 million offer from the Flyers.  Then-GM Bob Clarke was crushed by the hockey world for violating a “gentleman’s agreement”, in which teams wouldn’t sign other team’s restricted free agents.  Fans were calling for their team to try and poach a young player from the Flyers.  People were wondering if the Canucks would match $1.9 million for a kid who only had 23 points in 82 games in a new, unknown, salary cap era.  (Hindsight would show it was a good move by Vancouver.)  It was the first offer sheet to an RFA in almost eight years (Carolina’s offer to Sergei Fedorov in 1998).  In 1997, Clarke also signed Tampa’s Chris Gratton to a 5 year, $16.5 million offer, with a $9 million signing bonus, fully knowing that Tampa did not have the finances to match that type of offer.

As years passed, more players have been tendered offer sheets.   There have been six players to sign offer sheets since the lockout, with only one (Dustin Penner) changing teams.  Yet, people still believe signing Restricted Free Agents is an unwritten no-no.  The rule has been in place for over 25 years (with changing compensation), and if it is so unpopular, it would have been repealed by now.

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Random thoughts after the NHL Draft this past weekend.

– I believe I predicted only one of my 10 selections in our CSH Mock Draft, and that one was Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

– I am not completely sold on Winnipeg selecting Mark Schleifele when Coutourier was still on the board. This could be a potential reach.

– The fall of Brandon Saad is going to make it an interesting development for his time with Chicago. Did he just have groin issues that messed up the 2nd half of his draft year or is there more to it?

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