NHL – Entering the eye of the tiger; 2018 Olympics should they go?


Chicago, Il — This week it was announced that the NHLPA rejected the NHL proposal to go to the 2018 Olympics if the CBA was extended. What it did bring up again was the question will the NHL be going to the 2018 Olympics in PyeonChang, South Korea and should they?

The NHL & PA need to make a decision soon like early 2017. The BOG will be meeting to discuss in the coming weeks.

We all know that money makes the world go round and the financial costs for travel, insurance, injuries and shutting down the league mid-season are huge considerations. If the financial aspects of this gets straightened out and that is a big IF I can think of several reasons why the NHL should go.

The biggest of which is not since Marco Polo and his travels to the East has there been a bigger opportunity for the West to meet the East and exchange cultures.

Sports is a microcosm of cultures so why not share and see?

Marco Polo wrote his travel logs,which guess who read them and inspired him to travel? A Mr. Christopher Columbus and we all know how that turned out.

You never know what larger things may loom with the opportunity. The NHL can reach out to the world on a huge scale with the entire planet watching.

The NHL has a huge window to seize the moment to be the first North American professional league to show off their sport to Asia in winter games.

The NHL owners for the most part are businessmen.
I’m sure I don’t have to tell them the big picture of the potential audience here in what I call the penetration of the big three China, India & Japan to give them a taste of the greatest sport in the world.

China & India both have a population of 1.3 billion people. Yes that is correct billion. Korea has a smaller population of  50mil and Japan 126 mil. So we can all see the gigantic merchandising potential here in this area.

I don’t see how you can go to the Beijing 2022 Olympics but can’t go to Korea it sends a bad message and is disrespectful to Korea, and if there is one thing the East values it is respect.

Also how are financial considerations not in play for 2022 but they are for 2018?

Big picture you can see why any sports league would want to penetrate the Asia markets but why the NHL? How can hockey become popular in these non-traditional hockey countries?

Well there are a couple of reasons. Korea, Japan & China all have as their most popular sport and I’m not even sure I’d classify these as sports, Tae Kwan Do, Sumo wrestling & Martial Arts respectively.

China is big into board games like chess and they like ping pong but team games maybe baseball or soccer but as you can see this is wide open.

The one thing is Martial Arts demands speed and agility. It also does not matter what size a person is to be good in Martial Arts. What North American sport has speed, agility and size is not a consideration? Hockey.

With the NHL moving more towards speed and skill and having smaller players now more than ever it has never been a more appealing game to entice the East. If you value roundhouse kicks I’m sure you can appreciate spin-o-rama’s or just the pure speed and power of the game.

As a huge Bruce Lee fan (he also tried to bridge East & West) he incorporated all styles of Martial Arts including Tae Kwan Do into his no style, style Jeet Kune Do, which is based on fluidity of motion, improvisation and speed to drive power. Kind of sounds like hockey.

 

Another reason to go is the current players are getting older and may not be able to go to the 2022 Olympics so this will be some players last chance to play on the biggest stage for their country so you know all the players want to go. Ovi you are not alone trust me.

You know the coaches and fans along with the players want to see them go. It really is just the owners that don’t want this.

As a fan I want to see Team USA represented with Patrick Kane, Joe Pavelski, Ryan Suter, Auston Matthews, Johnny Gaudreau, Zach Parise ect. For some of these players this maybe their last time to go.

Now the other complaint is the time differential I believe Korea is 15hrs ahead of Chicago time so 14hrs ahead of NY and 17hrs ahead of LA.

Granted that is not ideal but let’s be real NHL fans are loyal and nuts. I say that lovingly because I am one. I would wake up at 3-5AM to see Team USA and I’m sure Canadians would as well to watch Team Canada.

Another reason to go isn’t the NHL’s broadcasting partner NBC sports carrying the 2018 Olympics?  What better way to give back to one of your partners and have them highlight the NHL.

Bring in the ref cams and also I would suggest offering games being done on multi-cams and with option to take out the broadcast and just hear and experience the sounds of the ice. Honestly this game sells itself if you are into speed and skill.

Another objection is the three week stoppage of the NHL when they won’t be making money which is true but you have to look long term. What is three weeks if you can intrigue Asia? A mere drop in a vast ocean.

Injuries has also been given but honestly injuries can happen during the season so I would not use that as a reason.

Also the NHLPA did the World Cup for the league thus owners so time to repay and do something for the players and let them go to Korea if they want.

Lastly the best ambassadors I could think of to go to the East would be hockey players they are all so likeable and affable and skilled they will represent well to cultures that value politeness, respect and traditions.

The East believes in the collective. In other words what we do as individuals impacts the whole of humanity and isn’t that team sports?

Also the symbol being used by PyeongChang is one of ice and snow hum sounds hockey to me.

As a fan I really hope they go I will be tuned in no matter if the sun is rising in the East or setting in the West.

Video taken from YouTube opening scene of Enter the Dragon released in 1973 distributed through Warner Bros in the US, Producers Raymond Chow, JerryWeintraub, Bruce Lee & Paul Heller.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Chicago Blackhawks – Quarter grade (The Blackhawks are still the Blackhawks)


Chicago, IL — We are just about a quarter of the way through the NHL regular season. The Chicago Blackhawks record is an impressive 13-4-2 which is good enough for not only tops in the Central but tops in the West and second overall in the NHL only behind the Montreal Canadiens.

While the above record and stats is very impressive what is truly impressive is this year the Hawks had to integrate a bunch of young unproven talent into the mix. Considering that, it makes what the Blackhawks have done even more impressive.

The biggest takeaway for me so far is that the Blackhawks are still the Blackhawks. I’m not sure if it’s the coaching, that core or there really is magic in that Indianhead sweater as depicted in The Orchard video.

The Hawks have proven time and time again they are never out of a game and the belief they have in each other and their game is really a testament to the players, coaches & organization and I will throw in the fans as well.

If there is one thing I’ve learned never count this team out. If you notice be it at the United Center or on the road you rarely see Blackhawks fans leave early even when the team is losing why?  We believe in you Hawks that you will find a way to win.

The champion’s pedigree is still in that locker room and behind the bench and it seems no matter who comes in, that core and coaches gets everyone’s buy in.

Belief is half of being I once wrote that I heard and it is so true. Now they still have to execute on ice but I still don’t think there is a team that once they put their minds to it turns it up to a level other teams just can not. Maybe the LA Kings had that once but I’m not sure they still do.

The Hawks last two games in Calgary and Vancouver were just WOW especially Vancouver. Three on Three hockey OMG love, love, love. To be able to come back in games is not something you want to make a habit of but boy is it thrilling and sometimes I think the Hawks prefer these challenges but guys it gives us fans ulcers.

The problem is you may encounter teams that are too good that won’t let you come back or bounces don’t go your way. Hockey is a strange game in that sometimes things are out of your control so you don’t want to tempt the hockey Gods too much. That said if there is any team that can do it still it’s the Chicago Blackhawks.

Marian Hossa are you a Demi-God?  Did you come down from Mount Olympus? Was Kris Versteeg right you are a Greek God, are you Zeus?

This guy is unreal and is playing lights out right now with two GWG in Calgary and Vancouver he has not lost a step in fact he may have gained some and not lost any of his two way play. Mr. Hossa you are an inspiration for us all.

The youth infused on the team are gaining invaluable experience that will pay dividends come spring. You can see their confidence grow and they are making good decisions. My only suggestion to the young guys take your shot if you are in a good position shoot ask questions later.

People ask me who is  Schmaltz, Hartman, Hinostroza, Forsling, Panik & Motte? My response — They are Chicago Blackhawks watch them grow and shine and that is exactly what they are doing.

Maybe even more kudos to the boys, you somehow have the coaches trust which is huge. If they feel they can put you out there is tough or bad situations and you shine that will only help the development process speed up. Thumbs up guys you’ve earned wearing that sweater whether it’s first line or fourth or in between do your things.

The other takeaways so far has been stellar Goalkeeping from both Corey Crawford and Scott Darling. Honestly without these guys the Hawks may not have the record they do. So many of the 19 games the Hawks did not get rolling until later in the game which means the goalies had to keep the team in the game til the offense got going.

We all know in Chicago how great Crawford is and the guy just keep proving it over and over and Darling having to come in with just practice under his belt and do what he does 4-0 he is amazing.

And let me just say despite not playing together regularly Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin are just extraordinary. They are just magic together and so much fun to watch.

I really am starting to think they must have been brothers in another life due to  their innate abilities to know where each other are at all times and more remarkably, where they will be is just a level of telepathy rarely seen especially on a hockey rink. I also would not be shocked if they both can use telekinesis to move hockey pucks as well.

Finally my last take away came in the most recent game against the Canucks. The Hawks had to over come a call, this one was correct, that they thought had ended the game only to be overturned and they had to regroup themselves mentally and still go out there and try and win a game which they did.

This just shows the Hawks still have that nail tough mentality and determination. They can put aside obstacles and still focus enough to overcome them in game which is huge. It is a quality that is needed to be a Stanley Cup contender and champion and I’m happy to see they have not lost this.

This year the Western Conference so far appears weaker than it ever has been in recent memory which if the Blackhawks can keep up this pace bodes well for them. They do have some areas that need cleaning up (special teams) but they have 63 more games to get this stuff straightened out.

They have all the tools and then some inexplicable ones (I.e. magic, telepathy, manifestation ect) as well to go far not only in the regular season but into the spring.

My Quarter Grade is an A- they have exceed my projected start and overcome obstacles. I can’t give a flat out A as they aren’t perfect due to the horrid special teams, at least not yet.

Chicago was fortunate enough to see one of their baseball teams play well into the fall.

I have a feeling if things continue like this for the Hawks the cosmos may see another Chicago sports team play into a season beyond their normal ones.

 

 

 

 

 

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Chicago Blackhawks – return of favored sons


Chicago, IL — There are some NHL games that don’t need any pomp and circumstance as they are event all by themselves without sales pitches or marketing schemes. Tonight’s game at the United Center against the Montreal Canadiens is one of them.

If it was not enough the most iconic NHL jersey’s will square off in an original six cross conference match-up.

For the youth of today go look up the 1960’s/70’s Chicago Blackhawks and of course the hallowed Flying Frenchmen of Montreal. The history and tradition that the NHL was built on are captured in those sweaters that will don the ice once again.

If that was not enough both clubs are currently ranked #1 & 2 in the NHL. The Montreal Canadiens have come out of the gates flying that would make the Rocket proud.

The Hawks had a little bit of a stumble at the gates due to new faces and finding themselves particularly on the special teams.

Now though the Hawks seem to have found themselves and are currently sitting #1 in the West and 2nd in league overall sitting only behind these same Montreal Canadiens.

Putting aside traditions, legacy and best club statuses perhaps what is more impassioned will be the return of Phillip Danault and Andrew Shaw.

Now I for one did not like at the time the trade of Danault and my opinion of that trade still has not changed. I’m admittedly biased for Danault. I remember seeing him in prospect camps and loved the guys passion and sheer love of the game and nothing has changed that.

I understand the Hawks have a window and they needed to bulk up last year for another playoff run but damn I want Philly back but I guess that is hockey baby.

Danault has come out of the gates flying and has seemed to have found the net. He already has more goals with Montreal than I believe he did the entire time he was here in Chicago in a limited stint.

Ironically he is centering Andrew Shaw and Max Pacioretty and that line I believe has as many points as Kane, Toews  and Panarin combined.

Danault is a Montreal native so the trade seems to have worked out great for Phillip. I wish the kid nothig but success and a bright future there as I’m sure anyone who was at those prospect/rookie camps, Icehogs games & Hawks games do as well.  Meilleur de tout Phillip.

Andrew Shaw has not had that easy of a transition to the hockey club de Montreal but seemed like his ole Shawzy self in yesterdays game vs the Detroit Red Wings.

Don’t feel bad Shawzy I’m sure your team mates, coaches and fans here in Chicago have had problems as well adjusting to life without the Mutt.  Again thank the cap, oh why can’t hockey be like baseball.

Remember coach Quenneville said that Shaw was irreplaceable prior to the trade and as far as I can recall he has never said that about anyone. So we all miss Shaw.

Chicago will never forget him helping bring two Stanley Cups here in 2013 & 2015. I for one will always have that indelible image of a puffed up black and blue eye and blood running down his cheek while hoisting the Cup in my head. That pretty much sums up Shaw, determination, energy and above all grit.

If you didn’t love Shaw already he dedicated the goal he scored yesterday to his friend Bryan Bickell when I saw that I almost melted into an emotional pool of mess.

Speaking of which, the news yesterday of Bryan Bickell was surprising and heart wrenching. It also explains a lot for those that thought he got complacent with the big contract. I may have been guilty of that thought myself. It now seems it was because of medical reasons and we should never judge because you have no idea what a person is going though at the time.

I wish Bryan nothing but the best, be strong, hang in there and I know with the great support system you have you will somehow thrive in a new chapter of life.

Ok back to hockey, I’m really not sure as I’m sure most fans and team mates are how i’m going to feel seeing Shaw and Danault with the C on their chest repping Canadiens not Chicago.

The game itself will be a good measuring stick for both teams to see how they will fare against a strong opponent who they will not see much unless somehow they manage to both make it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final. Oh that would be a dream but first things first.

This will also be the last home game for the Hawks for a while as they head out on their annual circus trip. So to say a win here would be nice to put further distance between themselves and the Blues who happened to lose on Saturday to Columbus.

It’s highly unlikely we will see Carey Price this game being the second of back to backs but one never knows.

So if you are a fan of tradition, fast skilled hockey and emotional reunions tune into this one folks it has all the earmarks of a classic.

Welcome back boys it’ll be good to see you and hopefully we can see you again in June. Chicago wishes you both well just not tonight.

 

 

 

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2016 World Cup of Hockey, the future of hockey?


Chicago, IL — I have to admit I was one of the people who thought this tournament was pointless, but now having watched the tourney mostly in it’s entirety I have to also admit I was wrong on several counts.

Congrats to Team Canada you were the best and still are.

That was one of my objections. That it would be wrote with Canada winning everything and that sports is not supposed to be predictable, otherwise it is not fun to watch.

Yes Canada did win and was far and away the best most complete team, but what I didn’t count on was how thrilling Team North America would be. Or Team Europe their professionalism, passion and impact on perhaps the world as a whole far out weighed the eventuality of Canada winning.

We are also witnessing the golden age of Canadian hockey, enjoy it Canada I have a feeling the world will catch up soon.

I have to say probably the most thrilling games to watch as a fan was the games Team North America played against Sweden and Russia.

That three on three was insane and so much fun to watch thank you NHL and players for that.

The game against a long time powerhouse in Russia even though North America fell short, was at a pace that we normally to not see and team Russia was right there so thank you both for that.

Team North America captured the youth of a continent and shows the future of what this game can be and maybe should be – speed and skill and maybe a lot of abandon of fears.

If they inspired young children to watch or better yet play hockey even better. This team was so easy to get behind because of the passion and skills that were allowed to be unleashed wereon display. The only problem was I wanted more.

NHL you addicted me and then forced me into a cold turkey withdrawal why why? I want to see McDavid, McKinnon with Matthew, Eichel, Saad or Gaudreau and I’m now feeling I may never see this again and I am very sad.

And I know Team North America is not what the NHL is, oh but if it only could be, then again that is what made it so special and this tournament different from all the rest including the Olympics.

It also did illustrate how great three on three hockey can be and that the NHL does have.

Now I don’t have anything to go on but my hunch is that team North America actually sold the most in merchandise sales in Canada. I don’t know this for a fact but I’m betting they actually boosted the merchandise sales by a bunch just based on the shirseys I saw in the ACC stands.

Team Europe may do for smaller European hockey country players what Team North America did for youth.

If one person in non traditional hockey countries watched and will continue to watch or think hey I would like to play hockey or possible make the NHL then this is far from meaningless.

Coach Krueger we are not worthy. You brought together a group of players that never played together and put them in a position to win against a hockey powerhouse.

This team also gave players from countries that do not normally get to compete at this high level internationally and boy they seized their opportunities. Well done.

Also don’t tell any of these players or coaches this was meaningless and maybe that is another take away from this.

Hockey players regardless of what country they come from or play for or their age have one thing in common, they love to play hockey and watching their joy and skills make watching hockey fun.

If you enjoy international hockey you still had to enjoy teams Canada, Russia, Chech Republic, Sweden and Finland compete for their countries. I actually bought a team Russia Panarin shirt and I’m American but I am a Blackhawks fan and hockey fan.

Ah team USA the biggest disappointment by far, still leaves one with hope. That hope is Kane, Pavelski, Matthews, Gaudreau et al. As long as management selects the right roster and coaching USA hockey will be just fine.

Please get out of the Neanderthal hockey mindset and do us all a favor, speed, skill and yes some grit but not all next time.

Next tournament I’m betting the USA will have much better results.

What I was happy to hear was Commissioner Bettman say there will be a 2020 World Cup. I’m glad to see the NHL is sticking with this.

One outing is not enough to judge success on. I think you need to stick with this it takes time to reach the entire world especially if your looking to capture the east & China.

The other great thing was seeing the NHL partner with someone other than NBC in the states. I think you need multiple media outlets ala the NFL.

Was ESPN perfect, no but I did love the ref cams, the technology that was used with player tracking and I love, love,love the multicam. That multicam makes you feel like you are on the ice with the players well done ESPN.

Again this should be the future of hockey broadcasting. Since hockey wants to reach a younger and maybe more international audience the multicam can  be appreciated regardless of language that one speaks.

Please NHL you need to have your local markets in the USA have the ability to be streamed wifi on mobile devices as well as TV and radio broadcasts. This is the future people are always on the go and we rarely are by TV’s any more so please look into this thanks.

The digital advertising along the boards was not as bad or distracting as I thought. If it brings in more revenue to the league or increases the salary cap I’m all for it as a Chicago Blackhawks fan I know all too well the cap crunch and anything that can be done I’m all for it.

I’m glad they will be opening up the event to other cities to bid I have to say I was a bit disappointed in Toronto there were empty seats for the supposed hockey hot bed the bed was cold.

Now I realise the Blue Jays were playing but come on this was Team Canada playing for a championship.

I hope that by cities this also includes international cities as well and if the tourney is played on big ice so be it. If you really want this to be the “World” Cup you have to be able to play everywhere in my opinion.

I hope teams North America and Europe stay in the format and if not then maybe a Ryder Cup or Continental Cup event with North America vs all European nations.

I don’t know you’d have so many players maybe make it a 23 and under for each side, a regular team for each side with side Alumni games being played. I don’t know NHL you’ll figure this out with the NHLPA.

I know purists did not like that this included North America and Team Europe as gimmicks but it made the tournament much more competitive.

The NHL is trying to sell this game around the world and the more competitive it is the better in my opinion.

It was more competitive than the Olympics with teams that are not hockey hotbeds. I still think the Olympics are a different thing and whether or not the NHL players go is an entirely different topic.

For those that don’t like the World Cup or a Ryder Cup well, all I can say is take a look at the below video.

What’s not to like if you like hockey at all. NHL, the tournament was not perfect but your on the right track keep with it please for all of us that love this game.

 

 

 

 

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2016 World Cup of Hockey – Team USA what were you thinking?


Chicago, IL — I’m not piling on but I am writing this because I care about USA hockey and the players that don that jersey. I don’t like seeing grown men cry if at all avoidable and that is why I’m writing this.

Not to kick when your down but to hopefully point out a few things that will never be repeated again as long as I view a jersey with USA on it.

As much as you want to say this team was constructed with the right players please be honest with your selves and please do not take USA hockey fans as idiots of course it was not constructed right.

The entire notion of putting this team together to beat Canada with grit is not only disrespectful to all the other teams in this tournament but also ignores the fact that Team Canada’s players are not just skilled but they have grit as well.

Have you watched Corey Perry or Brad Marchand play?

I’m sure the powers that be when constructing this team were patting each other on the back. They however forgot some very basic principles and rules of not only hockey but of life.

I’m a huge Game of Thrones fan. There is one scene which, I think is appropriate here where Cersei Lannister, the Queen Regent is speaking to Machiavellian Petyr Baelish aka Littlefinger who has risen from nothing. Here is their contentious exchange that includes some wisdoms.1

Just as Cersei states power is power, skill is skill and there really is no substitute for it. It is as simple and basic as that.  Perhaps speed could trump skill but team Canada has that as well. You want to beat power,skill?  than you need more power and skill not less.

I’m not sure what NHL your watching but the last couple Stanley Cup champions (Chicago Blackhawks & Pittsburgh Penguins) were built on skill & speed.

I bet you thought I wanted to blow up team USA with Wildfire like Cersei did with the Sept didn’t you? HA.

In a short best on best tournament you should be fielding your most skilled athletes and to say they don’t have the skill to match Canada maybe that is true, but they probably would have had the skills to beat other teams.

In a short tourney one never knows what can happen but you must at least try to field your best all around team that can play different styles. It also was dismissing the skilled athletes America has.

The upper management and the coaches as well never looked at the talent pool they had and how to put their players in the best possible positions to succeed. Instead of focusing on Canada they should have focused on the talent available in the US and how best to get them to reach their potential in the tourney.

Don’t get me wrong a team needs some grit but not all grit. Speaking of which if you wanted to play bang the boards hockey why was Dustin Byfuglian not played in the game versus Team Europe? I’m speechless. Please explain that to me.

Also the coach starting off the entire tourney with a it’s my way or the highway threat of benching if the anthem was disrespected in whose view, his?

Well I guess everyone attending a Blackhawks game would be benched. Please don’t treat grown professional men like they are children. This probably set the tone for the entire locker room and team. I don’t know this for fact but it couldn’t have helped.

By having so few offensive threats a huge target was placed on the few skilled offensive players you had. Every team knew stop the skill and you stop the US.

But the defense was not good either. The position fundamentals was sloppy and just not good. The goaltending was alright but you can’t expect one person to consistently bale out an entire team.

The really frustrating and frankly annoying thing about this whole mess is that after going 0-3 during the tournament upper management and the coaching is still insisting that they had the right plan and construct in place. Stop please stop you look silly and you are disrespecting USA hockey.

Please just be men enough to admit you made mistakes, you’ll take stock, make adjustments and vow going forward this will not be repeated. It is a valuable learning opportunity if you let it.

The great thing about the USA is we forgive if you humble yourself and admit your faults. Please for USA hockey, this sport and this country is too great to be so short- sighted.

Please as management do not engage with players (Phil Kessel or whoever) in a media war you make USA hockey look bad and that most of us will not forgive.

You are supposed to be leading by example and pettiness and name calling is not an attractive quality anyone will want to follow.

At a grass- roots level USA hockey is in a good place look at Team North America and World Juniors USA teams. In a few years the USA may very well compete with and maybe be better than Team Canada, Russia or Sweden.

For now go back to the drawing board and please do not insult us again with a fiasco like this. Now GO USA!

1 taken from HBO’s Game of Thrones season 2 episode 1 The North Remembers written by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss for the show but originally taken from George RR Martin’s A song of Ice and Fire novels

 

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Chicago Blackhawks – Kane/Panarin big winners in Vegas


Chicago, IL — Last night the NHL held their annual awards to wrap up the 2015-2016 season and it was no surprise that both Patrick Kane and line mate Artemi Panarin left Las Vegas with several awards.

Congratulations to both and let me say it was a thrill watching you guys and your insane skills all season long. I was very much entertained as was all of Chicago.

Artemi Panarin came away with the Calder Memorial Trophy for being the Rookie of the Year and it was not even close.

Panarin was visibly happy and is living proof to never give up on your dreams and that with hard work and sacrifice and belief in yourself anything is possible.

Seeing his smile makes you smile and overcoming the odds to make it to the highest stage and get recognized makes it all worth it.

If you think of all it took Panarin to come not only to the NHL but the US and overcoming language, cultures and game styles and to do so brilliantly and seemingly smoothly is a testament to Panarin’s desire and competitive edge.

Panarin is a perfect fit for the Blackhawks he is with a team & fan base that can appreciate his talents and let’s face it the boys personality is just delightful.

His charm is something that does need to be shared with the world. I know Russia wants him there but he’s too precious to not be shared.

The best part is he will only get better which is really exciting for Hawks fans and Russian fans.

Personally I can’t wait to see what he and linemates Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov do this year. It will be tougher no doubt as everyone now knows what to expect. So expect less ice and time and space but as we see Panarin and that line will find ways I would bet on it.

Now the big hauler of the night was Patrick Kane walking away with the Ted Lindsey Award, Art Ross and the Hart Memorial Trophy and he deserved them all.

Overcoming obstacles is nothing new for Kane either, there is no quit in Kane. There really isn’t much to say about Kane that hasn’t already been said.

What impresses me is his respect, knowledge and love of the game of hockey. This probably was instilled by PK Sr., who he gave a I love ya Dad which even the most jaded had to love.

His constant desire to improve himself and his skills even with all of his success is why Hawks fans love this guy. He is always working for the Hawks.

Kane has always been an extraordinary talent but he is now consistent which is hard to do when everyone is gunning for you.

As a Blackhawks fan you have to love these guys crazy skills and you just know this year they will work even more to improve their line.

Both Kane & Panarin gave props rightfully so, to Anisimov who was the glue on that line. You gotta have net front presence which Anisimov provides.

We in Chicago know how great these guys are but its nice to see the league realizes it too. So congrats again boys on stellar seasons, can’t wait to see what else you boys come up with.

Now is it October yet?

 

 

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Chicago Blackhawks – saying goodbye


Chicago, Il — If there is one thing that the Chicago Blackhawks and their fans have had to get used to over the years is saying goodbye to some very talented and popular players in the salary cap era.

Of course that doesn’t mean we have to like it.

This past week again the Hawks had to bid adieu to a couple of players when they sent Bryan Bickell and Teuvo Teravainen to the Carolina Hurricanes for picks but more importantly for salary purge.

The upsetting thing as a fan is this may still not be enough to keep Andrew Shaw who is a RFA this year. I’m praying it is and that the cap will at least go up a bit and not the rumored decrease. If it decreases well I don’t even want to think about that and I’m sure Stan Bowman and the Blackhawks don’t either.

I remember like it was yesterday when Teravainen was in prospect camp and thrilled all of us in the stands with his slick stick handling skills and vision.

We never really got to see Teuvo fully develop, which is a shame, but again thank the cap.

I console myself with the thought that next year he would have needed to get paid along with Artemi Panarin and there probably would not have been enough cap space then for both.

I also console myself with the notion he will get a better opportunity in Carolina on the top 6 whereas here is Chicago that did not seem like it was going to happen. Still I for one will miss Teuvo and wish the kid nothing but the best.

Now Bryan Bickell is a different story. We did see him develop and maybe what’s more disheartening with Bickell is he went from playoff dynamo, the Hawks would not have won the 2013 Cup without him, to a casualty of injuries and maybe satisfaction that I’m not sure.

Hopefully for Bickell he will get a new start in Carolina and can regain some of his old form back. Either way the guy was a great person and did much for the community.

So where does that leave the Blackhawks now?  Waiting, waiting like an ingénue at home for her love to come calling.

The Hawks are waiting for the NHL to disclose what the cap number will be for the 2016-17 season and until then they are at a standstill as to what their next course of actions will be.

Yes I said actions even if they are able to re-sign Shaw it is almost certain more moves will need to be made if not now then through out the year if the Hawks want to have any room at all at the trade deadline before the 2017 playoffs.

The window to win Cups is now so they need every advantage to achieve this. The good news is Mr. Bowman and his staff have some beautiful minds ala John Nash without the paranoid schizophrenia.

No Stan Bowman and his staff are all to aware of the realities they face and some of the hard choices that may still need to be made. I’m sure their work room boards with all the various dizzying options look like one of Mr. Nash’s problems/theorems.

The good news is salary was cleared and one problem averted with dealing Teravainen now. I’m just glad I didn’t have to make the choice between Panarin and Teravainen although I think the Hawks made the correct one it’s still a tough one and there is no guarantee they still can re-sign Panarin but I must hope that they will.

The other good news is they were able to land Michal Kempny who I did get a look at IIHF Worlds. The guy did everything well. I saw no flaws in his game on either side of the puck and his price tag is right so again props to Stan Bowman and his staff for another pick up from Europe.

I also caught Tyler Motte for team USA and was really impressed with the kid who knows he may make the team in bottom 6 capacity or special teams i.e. PK.

So while we say goodbye to some, you must remember we said hello to others like Anisimov, Panarin, Panik ect. We still don’t know the heights these players can achieve and that should give every Hawks fan reason to put a smile on their faces.

The next few months should be interesting to see how the Chicago Blackhawks get reshaped yet again due to necessity. The one thing you can count on though changes will be constant and if there is any fan base used to this it is Chicago.

So well wishes to Teravainen and Bickell and here’s to the newbies whoever they may be and from where ever they may come.

 

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