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.





Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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?



Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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.


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Chicago Blackhawks – Stan Bowman and team doing work at IIHF WC

Chicago, IL — Since the Hawks are out of the playoffs they are in somewhat unfamiliar territory, early time on their hands. This however maybe a great thing. Why?

Because it gives Stan Bowman and his scouting team a chance to gauge some of the worlds perhaps best NHL ready talents at the IIHF World Championships currently being held in St. Petersburg/Moscow Russia.

If history has shown Blackhawks fans anything it is how inventive, creative and flexible Stan Bowman and his scouting team is.

As Scott Powers reported for the Athletic1 I would suggest you go check that piece out by Scott, Stan Bowman is there as part of the Team USA advisory team but the Blackhawks scouting staff is also on hand I’m sure with their notebooks getting a workout as well as the players on the ice.

That has this Hawks fan very excited. If the scouting staff can find someone there even half as good as Artemi Panarin turned out to be the Blackhawks faithful will be overjoyed. Panarin is an illustration of several things.

  1. Great things come in small packages
  2. Europe has NHL worthy talents and should be looked at hard.

The Chicago Blackhawks know both of these things all too well and with their cap crunch situation item 2 is becoming more and more imperative if they want to remain atop a very competitive league.

The first item in regards to Artemi Panarin, not since Mikhail Baryshnikov was an unknown mostly to the west, with small stature and creative genius been overlooked by so many for silly notions. I’m betting most of these teams would like a do over now.

Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said as much during the playoffs their regret for not listening to Vlady Tarasenko when he tried to get the Blues to get Panarin.

Sorry but Chicago saw something in this budding young star they did not or were not willing to take a chance on. Who knows how high his ceiling can be.  That is another thing Stan Bowman needs to do is lock this kid up for a long time. I would say actually this is priority numbero uno. Patrick Kane is not alone, Chicago loves their Breadman too.

Panarin is not alone the Hawks also saw something is Erik Gustafsson, Viktor Svedberg, Dennis Rasmussen ect..

Scott Powers also reported today that in speaking with Bowman the rumored talks being close with Czech D man Michal Kempny are not a done deal yet but they are working on it. So we see Stan is a busy guy. The article also goes into what type of Dman Kempny is.

There are plenty of jewels to be found if you’re looking correctly. Actually you need look no further than Panarin’s linemates for Team Russia’s Evgeni Dadonov (RW) and Vadim Shipachyov (C). Panarin and his linemates have been burning it up in Russia and both have stated they plan on going to the NHL this year.

Dadonov was originally drafted by the Florida Panthers but was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes and he never really caught on in the NHL despite success in the AHL perhaps now with more seasoning he is ready for the jump to the NHL at 27 years of age.

Shipachyov is a bit older at 29 but has tremendous offensive skills. It is rumored the Montreal Canadiens really want him as they did Panarin. He is currently leading in all points at the IIHF WC with 3G, 7A in only 5 games played. Dadonov has 3G, 5A and Panarin has 3G, 6A.

There is no question the chemistry these guys have, again this is on big ice with international rules. Will their skills be able to translate to the NHL? That is the question if they can make the jump as quickly as Panarin did. Who knows but they are worth a look. Doesn’t Toews need a winger or wingers if Ladd doesn’t return?  And can a team ever have enough centers?

The only problem with them is again the Hawks have cap issues so there may not be enough money for the Hawks to get them and the two-way play that coach Q insists on maybe an issue or at least a development point, unless you’re an offensive dynamo then all is forgiven.

I never count Stan Bowman’s magic out though if he is interested in these players he will make it happen. Who knows what other players on other teams and even Team Russia the Hawks are eyeballing.

I should also mention Barry Smith, you know their Yoda of talent spotting and development is also in Russia. His official title is Director of player development.  Smith was the one who spoke to Panarin about the Blackhawks and what they were all about and how his skills would fit in with the team which probably sold Panarin on the Hawks.

Also this past week Stan was able to sign Swedish prospect sensation Gustav Forsling who will have a great chance at making the roster come training camp. His upside is tremendous.

Stan does have his work cut out for him this summer with moving Bickell contract out, Andrew Ladd and Andrew Shaw can they be resigned? Finding Toews winger/s? Finding that 4th Dman and where does Ryan Hartman, Tyler Motte and Richard Panik fit?  Stan needs to do something with Mark McNeill and sign Nick Schmaltz whew I’m tired just thinking about it.

The exciting thing is the Hawks were two goal post pings away and are still in their prime and only getting better with development and youth influx and some European flavor bringing their speed and skills.

Hawks fans should be excited for next year. Last season when the news broke Panarin was coming to Chicago even though the Hawks were still in the running for the Stanley Cup I could not contain my excitement for seeing Panarin with Kane and he didn’t disappoint, in fact he exceeded my and I think everyone’s except maybe his own expectations.

Will there be another Panarin that the Hawks find this year?  It is certainly possible and maybe there isn’t one quit as special as Panarin but then again you never know and that is the fun of scouting and developing players.

One thing is known for sure, the Blackhawks are one of if not the best at this. Finding hidden talent or bringing out the best in players others have forgotten or were afraid to take a chance on.

What was that saying from Top Gun when Commander Mike “Viper” Metacalf addressed the new class of US naval aviators? “Gentleman, you’re the top 1% of all naval aviators, the elite, the best of the best. We’ll make you better.”


And that is something the Blackhawks offer better than most teams and can sell. They will make you better with the details of positions and letting players use their creative geniuses if you want to work at your craft.

Isn’t that what any competitor wants is to become the best of the best in the world? Besides who wouldn’t want to play with that core.

Even with how great a natural talent Panarin is the Blackhawks will make him a better player when all is said and done.

In a interview with Russian Television Panarin said he wanted to come to the NHL to push himself to accomplish things in his life. I’m sure he wants to be the best of the best and he certainly has gotten off to a great start.

If other players feel the same way then Chicago may just be the ticket for them at least this Blackhawks fan hopes so.


1 Bowman: Signing skilled defenseman Michal Kempny not yet definite for Hawks by  Scott Powers – theathletic.com

2. Top Gun released 1986 Paramount Pictures Producers: Jerry Bruckheimer, Don Simpson Director: Tony Scott

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Chicago Blackhawks – Finding another level


Red Indian head


Chicago, IL — The defending Stanley Cup Champions could be on the brink of elimination and their hopes and their fans of accomplishing something that has yet to be done in the modern cap era – repeating as champions is in jeopardy.

In order for this dream to be kept alive it will take an inner resolve and belief, which we have all seen that this team’s core is capable of. Now is the time that they dig deep and tap that perseverance we’ve witnessed in the past.

For fans we’ve been here before like the team. Keep calm and breath and have belief.

Their execution on the ice will need to be razor sharp because in the NHL playoffs there really isn’t much room for errors and the slimmest of margins separate teams being eliminated and teams moving on.

The Hawks need look no further than to last night when odds on favorite to come out of the west, the L.A. Kings, were eliminated. They found themselves in an eerily similar situation to the Hawks.

They were dismissed from the playoffs from their divisional rival  the San Jose Sharks, that always in the past seemed to come up short and not know how to finish. Well the times have changed apparently and now the student has schooled the master.

The difference however is huge between the Kings and the Hawks. The Kings may have suffered from two things, one of which we’ve seen in the past from them maybe too much confidence bordering on arrogance. The second injuries on their blue line.

The Hawks have never disrespected an opponent and have not so far in this series. What they have done though is maybe lose a little bit of composure and made ill advised decisions and actions. In order to move on those things must be alleviated or they will suffer the same fate as the Kings but for different reasons.

Keep your cool, don’t take penalties and practice patience, don’t get frustrated. Milan Lucic is right frustration is a useless emotion don’t like something change it with execution.

The Blues are a good hockey team but they are beatable. The Hawks have to move the puck out of their own zone as quick as possible and use the middle of the ice.

The boards are where the Blues excel and want to play so avoid them if possible. If you can’t the Hawks have to win board battles which won’t be easy but can be done with support at the appropriate times and place.

The Hawks also have to remember that they are the champions. While Alex Pietrangelo’s comment about looking forward to dismissing the Hawks in Chicago is a psych, it is the Blues that will have the pressure if the Hawks can win Saturday. There is no way the Blues wanted to come back to Chicago so Mr. Pietrangelo can spin this anyway he wants but that’s just what it is, a spin.

That being the case it means the Hawks have already gotten into the Blues heads a smidge and that is where the Hawks excel. Place doubt in their minds but in order to do that you have to execute on the ice yourselves. You can not rely on just the mental edge.

Passing needs to be crisper and skating faster, keep the legs moving boys you’ve got nothing left to save it for now. Get to the Blues net and just be a nuisance.

There is a saying I love and I think it is appropriate in this situation something like “half of being is belief”. I’m not sure where I heard it from but if you believe enough that you can do something you will.

The Hawks know all about this I mean look at their mantra One Goal, which gives me confidence there will be a game 7 where anything can happen in a series and you have to believe all the momentum will be on the Hawks side if they can get there. So the focus now is game 6 and winning it any way you can.

So they really do just need to play one game at a time. Win one game and all bets are off ask Vegas how the odds will change if the Hawks can win Saturday.

The one thing is too if you get a lead do NOT sit back keep pressing but in a smart way don’t give up you solid positioning or make mistakes in your end of the ice.

This year was flawed with inconsistencies and struggles against the Central division. The Hawks know the Blues well just as the Blues know the Hawks well. Now is the time to go to that next level to see if they can keep up. I know the Hawks have other levels I’m not sure the Blues do so push them there, make them try to keep up with you.

The good news is Andrew Shaw is coming back, Jonathan Toews is due to bust out and Patrick Kane is finding space on the ice and Q will get last line changes so the Hawks have to take advantage of this.

The other good things that revamped second line of Panarin, Anisimov and Teravainen is getting more space as is the rest of the lines. The third line with Hossa, Kruger and Ladd have to shut down the Tarasenko line if possible. If they can do that you gotta like the Hawks chances.

So for the Hawks they need to execute and not surrender anything. For us fans we have to believe that the bounces will go the right way and just know somehow the Champs will impose their skill and speed and their will when it matters the most. They always have. If they do we will have Blackhawks hockey on Monday.






Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Chicago Blackhawks – Guess who’s back, back again

Photo by Maggie Avila

Photo by Maggie Avila

Chicago, Il — The Blackhawks don’t have an alternate ego like Eminem’s Slim Shady, but they can sure use his song as their team anthem after every Stanley Cup.

“Guess who’s back, back again, Shady’s (Blackhawks) are back tell a friend “1 every time people write them off here they come storming back again with a vengeance.

The Hawks may have struggled a bit in the beginning of the season but they are serving the league notice that they are back and they fully intend on battling to defend their Stanley Cup Champion title.

They are the darlings of the league and with very good reason. The Chicago Blackhawks can be summed up in one word – excellence.

When you have opposing coaches and organizations looking at you saying how good you are and saying that is what we want to become one day you’re doing something right.

Currently in the midst of another streak of eleven game wins coming back from the hockey hot bed of Canada. The Hawks left Canadian radio stations buzzing with how far away their teams are and what a Stanley Cup Champion looks like and should look like. Even through all the re-tooling the Hawks are still a force and perhaps one that is even more imposing for several reasons.

The Hawks left Canada with Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock fawning over how great a team they are. The fans got a glimpse of what the Kane, Panarin & Anisimov show is about and left Toronto radio saying it just isn’t fair the Hawks got Artemi Panarin. This maybe true but as a hockey fan it’s good for the game to have that line together.  That line shows you what the highest level of the game can look like.

The Hawks beat the Montreal Canadiens twice in a short span and left Habs coach Therrien saying “We just played the Stanley Cup champion – and I believe they look better than last year.” Montreal fans and radio are now calling for his head because they don’t know what to do with their team after seeing how far away they are.

In mid November the Hawks were not looking all that impressive. At that time they were 9 points out of first and in 5th place the last wild card spot by December they were 11 games back of division leading Dallas but were in third instead of fifth spot. This just illustrates in two weeks how quickly things can change.

Now in mid January the Hawks are sitting atop the West and their division and seem to be rolling.

For all the talk of the Hawks and their inconsistency which, is true sometimes in games and from game to game, they are consistent. They actually have a better record now than they did at this point last year when they won the Cup.

48 games in this year the Hawks are 31-13-4 with 66 points. Last year they were 30-16-2  with 62 points with all the changes and fighting a Stanley Cup hangover and off-season issues it is amazing they are where they are.

That is a testament to the players, coaches, training staff and front office. As a Blackhawks fan I just smile and marvel at what they are doing. I feel very fortunate to be witnessing the golden era of this organization.

When I see that second line do things that are near impossible for most NHL talents pull off with such ease and creativity they make me smile.  When I see Corey Crawford battle like he does to keep his net clean I smile.

When I see Andrew Shaw on the first line running around battling for pucks I smile. Every time I see the scars on Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa’s faces I smile because I know they are leaving it all out there on the ice for Chicago, for me as a fan.

When I see that third and fourth lines battle in corners and be relentless on the puck I smile. When Scott Darling comes in after not playing for days and battles it makes me smile.

When I see the defenseman all of them and how they each bring different elements to the blue line I really smile because I know come playoff time they will ratched it up even more. Their gaps, blocks, stick work and skills are just really sights to behold.

When I see the coaches spin their magic particularly with the special teams and specifically the power play I smile.

When I see the fun they are all having now I get a big smile. Yes I smile a lot when watching and thinking about the Chicago Blackhawks and I do appreciate every moment because I know this is rare.

It is possible that the Hawks are even better than they were last year due to Crawford looking  like he is the same or better than last year and should be in Vezina talks.  Patrick Kane is having another career year and should win the Hart which hopefully this time he will stay healthy for the entire year.

Artemi Panarin should win the Calder he’s a phenom & yes he’s 24 but he has never played on North American ice.

But maybe the biggest contribution has come from the front office in scouting and trading. Stan Bowman bringing in Anisimov and Dano for Saad which, at the time you were just hopeful as a fan would work out. Now I doubt there are many fans that would und0 this trade. Anisimov so far has exceed all expectations and then some.

The scouting staff in Europe finding Gustafsson and even though Panarin was not a secret to most  Stan Bowman still had to close the deal which he did. Both Gustafsson and Panarin have been crucial in this re-tooling.

Why this team maybe even better than last year is because of all the young guys who will be around for a long time have stepped up and in without really missing a beat. Somehow the Hawks keep finding the right pieces and the coaches and the core schools them up immediately.

The Hawks are only just a little over half way through the season and there is a lot of hockey left to be played but they have put themselves in a good position. To make the playoffs as they are currently 18 points above the final wild card spot in the west maybe more important than being atop the Central.

The Hawks have 14 games left against Central division opponents and those will be imperative as this is the division where they have struggled and every game is a four point game rather than two points.

Remarkably the Hawks have not lost yet in 2016 but at some point they will. Unlike most teams though you know they will bounce back and how you know this is Patrick Kane’s comments.

It was Kane’s comment but you know he speaks for the locker room and every player in there when he said the Hawks are happy where they are at but not satisfied and that should make every Hawks fan smile. If they think they can be better, and they can be, there still are other levels they can get to – look out. Yes the Hawks are back again.

1- Marshall Mathers aka Eminem song Without Me from the album the Eminem Show released May of 2002 on Interscope



Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized