Tag Archives: Stan Bowman

Chicago Blackhawks – Deconstruction to a Picasso?


Image result for picasso cubism paintings

Chicago, IL — Pablo Picasso is one of the foremost twentieth century creative minds. His visionary art pushed the artistic envelope more than any other.

Not only did Picasso explore more different types of styles with his periods of Blue, Rose, African, Cubism, Classism & Surrealism but he employed different mediums as well.

Picasso used not only painting but sculpting, collage and ceramics this also illustrates an ingenuity with flexibility to change.

The Chicago Blackhawks can only hope to achieve some of this type of creativity and success with their recent changes.

Think the Picasso Bull deconstruction when thinking of the Blackhawks right now and Stan Bowman may only be on plate 4 in his abstract deconstruction.

What the final picture will be who knows. One can only hope it ends with a silver Cup.

Part of the deconstruction was the trading of Artemi Panarin for Brandon Saad which will definitely give the Hawks a much different look.

There is no question part of what will be leaving with Panarin is 20 offensive points but what the Hawks will gain is more of a two way play with Saad which hopefully leads to better possession numbers.

The other benefit to Saad’s game is he also had more D-zone starts as opposed to Panarin which gives the Hawks more flexibility as well with lines and players.

The other thing losing Panarin his points coming from the power play.

This leaves a spot there as well along the left half wall which will most likely be filled by Patrick Sharp.

Welcome back Patrick Sharp. I have no question about Sharp’s hip injury and his ability to be ready come day one.

I am a little more concerned with his concussions and I hope this is not an issue going forward as no one really understands what goes on with this.

For this reason I would prefer to see Sharp on the third line rather than the second line with more exposure being with Patrick Kane.

There is the possiblity of getting more hits with more visibility but we shall see how this plays out.

I’ve got to say Sharp has a great attitude any young player should watch him and learn. Sharp also brings more speed up front.

What will be missed is Hossa in a lot of different areas. He had 26 G and 19 A last year.

The Hawks are looking for Nick Schmaltz, Tomas Jurco  and maybe some youth in Alex DeBrincat or Graham Knott or Alex Fortin to step up and surprise. All of this will have to be sorted through come training camp.

With the Hossa departure it should not be forgotten his work on the power play and penalty kill which both Saad and Sharp should help with these.

Speaking of special teams in particular the penalty kill had a rough start and really never recovered due to the poor start.

With the departure of Kruger, Hossa, Rasmussen and probably Desi an entirely different look for Pk will be forthcoming. Sharp, Saad and newcomer Tommy Wingels can all fill in on the PK.

Speaking of which Stan Bowman really has changed the bottom six look with bringing in Tommy Wingels from Ottawa and Lance Bouma from Calgary both bring more physicality and direct straight line play. Hopefully more net front presence than what the Hawks have had as well.

How the bottom six shakes out will be interesting Bouma, Jurco, Hinostroza, Dauphin, Hayden will all be vying for spots in camp which again should be interesting to watch how this develops.

My concern is at the face off dot because outside of Jonathan Toews there is no one even now at center that is over 50%.

Coaching here will be the key. Wingels, Sharp and Bouma can all play center so we shall see who can improve here.

Perhaps though the scariest part of this deconstruction is the defense.

Outside of Keith and Seabrook there is a tremendous leap of faith that younger unproven guys can step up and in without giving up too much.

Eyes will be on Connor Murphy who will have to fill in for a great dman in Hjalmarsson leaving fair or not.

Murphy is more physical and younger but it remains to be seen what and how all the changes on the back end will affect the overall team defense.

Murphy, Rutta, Kempny, Forsling, Gustafsson and Jordan Oesterle like the forwards will all get their shot to show what they can bring and make the Hawks see they can’t do without them.

Toss in the Hawks also have new assistant coaches and you really aren’t sure if we have the next Picasso masterpiece or dogs playing poker poster.

To go from a known substance in how it looks and how it feels to an unknown new look that makes the surreal esthetically pleasing takes guts and skilled craftsmanship.

Unlike art tho sports depends on elements outside the artists control, making this endeavor extremely bold.

Only time will tell but one has to have faith and believe these decisions will work out the best maybe not this year but in the long run.

Question is can the critics (fans) see the vision or end game if there is no initial success to their standards?

If the Hawks make another first round exit or heaven forbid don’t even make the playoffs what changes will then be made and where? To the front office, coaching, players?

It’s scary to deconstruct for everyone but it is probably the least scary for the fans because they know they’ll be back the following year regardless of how the team does.

The others can’t say the same which should provide plenty of motivation this year.

So Hawks fans if your feeling scared or unsure remember, to forge into greatness risks always need to be taken especially if they’re not initially understood.

In season changes and finer brush strokes also can be applied as well. Another thing you can never say the Chicago Blackhawks are dull or uninventive that’s for sure.
 

image is Picasso Cubism period

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Chicago Blackhawks – Stan Bowman what did you do?


Chicago, IL — Hot time, summer in the city. Yes it is time for block parties, beach volleyball, outdoor concerts, sailing with the smell of tanning lotions and barbecue in the air. Should be a fun time right?

Well not necessarily if you’re a Chicago Blackhawks fan. This past few days have been a whirlwind of changes.

It took me until now to process everything that happened and that is not even counting we had a draft here as well.

Several things you can say about the GM of the Chicago Blackhawks Stan Bowman:

1) He is a man of his word

2) He’s all business first

3) He has the audacity of youth.

Stan Bowman vowed changes would come at his post season presser and boy he was not joking.

I think as fans we all knew changes would come down the pike just maybe not these moves which are either suicidal or genius. Only time will tell on this but I am leaning toward the latter.

Bowman I believe has said in the past he doesn’t get attached to players and he was not lying here either.

Stan reminds me of a professional assassin think Daniel Craig James Bond.

He is vigilantly ready if needed to swing his sword despite the cold breeze it may generate afterwards and the finality that ensues with potential repercussions.

I mean this as a compliment it takes a great deal of strength to do this for the greater good of team to put head before heart.

Us fans usually put heart before head but if there is any fan base that has had to get used to losing beloved players it’s Blackhawks fans.

I slowly am becoming detached not sure that is good or not. I try now to look at the business of hockey but I hate it.

He made moves which are bold and yet at the end of the day because of these changes we are still not sure and either is he how the results will be and that is what is scary – the unknown.

The team definitely got younger, faster, bigger and more like the direction the NHL is going in and for that you have to applaud him.

To lose three key players like Marian Hossa, Nik Hjalmarsson and Artemi Panarin is gut wrenching but when I take my heart (believe me that is difficult I love these guys) and look logically and on paper all of these moves make sense for a cap strapped team.

Let’s look at the forward situation first.

The first tumble down the rabbit hole of change came with the Marian Hossa announcement that he would not be playing this year due to medical reasons and I have to say I still have not wrapped my head around the fact we may have seen Hossa play hockey in a Blackhawks uni for the last time already.

With Hossa’s departure that leaves a huge void for a two-way playing winger and also someone who can play on the PK too which no doubt factored into the trade of Artemi Panarin for Brandon Saad 2.0 excursion.

Believe me Hossa brings so much more than that and again not sure Saad or anyone can fill those skates or if it’s even fair to ask them to.

I adore Artemi Panarin but Saad brings a different look to the team.

He is more a two -way player w blazing speed as we have all seen and in this new NHL everything is about speed and North/South play inside the dots and getting to the net.

There is no question in my mind the Hawks will miss Panarin’s offensive brilliance and I wish him the best of everything, that boy was thrill for sure both on and off the ice.

Someone or a committee of someones need to fill this offence void and it’s a big one points wise and the chemistry that 2nd line had.

If I look logically Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad and whoever is with them will have a lot of pressure on them to help fill this void.

All eyes right now are on Toews who for two years has let’s be honest not been good for the contract he has. Yes I’m putting that out there as a challenge to 19 and his line because I know they can step up and will.

You have to think also part of dealing Panarin was the hope that Schmaltz, Hayden, Hartman, Jurco, Panik and I will throw in Alex DeBrincat and Graham Knott can come in and help fill the points production deficit when Hossa & Panarin left.

DeBrincat and Knott may need time in the AHL but don’t be surprised if they make the team straight out.

DeBrincat is small but that boy has grit in him and so much skill offensively.

Knott is just huge and fast and skilled if he can get to the net with his big frame goals will be scored I guarantee.

Now will they need time to ripen and grow of course that is also why the Hawks wisely hired Asst. Coach Don Granato. Boy he is going to be one busy man with all the youth and schooling them up.

I have no doubts whoever plays with Patrick Kane will be all the better for it.

It sounds like it will be Schmaltz who gets first crack all I can say is get Kane the puck and get to the net or open ice and just follow his lead and you’ll be fine. If you have a shot don’t think take it especially if it’s open to the net.

The other forward gotten in trades was Laurent Dauphin from AZ. Dauphin think Kruger/Danault like which one has to think will be Kruger’s replacement and see him gone as well for cap reasons.

Dauphin is a projected 3rd line Center with good speed and two – way play and a lot cheaper than Kruger. He will be a RFA next year and I believe his cap hit is only in the 750K range this year and he is only 22 yrs old and also plays on the PK.

The Hawks definitely got younger, bigger and faster and I see them doing even more moves with moving Kruger out and maybe bringing in another winger depending on how the kids above do or possibly another contract gets moved out so brace yourselves for more possible sword swings Hawks fans.

Now onto the Defense and boy this one is difficult.

Losing a warrior like Hammer is going to be hard to replace.

The Hawks some what started earlier with signing Kempny and Rutta from Czech Republic which I already said in another blog I really like these two guys but they will need to get NHL ready with the speed and skill that NHL shooters have again this is where Granato and Samuelsson will have a big impact.

The big factor will be Connor Murphy that was exchanged in the Hammer trade from Arizona.

His contract goes to 2022 so that was a big consideration here along with he is only 24 yrs old. He brings physicality and great skating ability also he has a great first pass out of the dzone.

What you lose though is a warrior who was a shot blocker, team player and tough physically. Murphy I believe has already had some health issues so we shall see how that plays out.

The Hawks are placing a lot on young Dmen but they have Keith and Seabrook to look to for guidance and I can’t think of two guys any better to learn from and get coached up from.

So the Hawks have lost in 72 hrs a HOF All Star Winger, a Gagarin Cup Champion/Calder Trophy Winger and a 3X Stanley Cup Defenseman yeah Chicago it is ok to cry, throw things or just get sick to your stomach.

What the Hawks gained remains to be seen and how it will all come together and the moves that are yet to be made.

One thing we know for sure is this team will certainly be a lot different from the one last year come October.

The good thing is they don’t need to really come together immediately its 2018 they need to but stay close in 2017 til they figure it all out.

Coaching up these young players will be the key this year for sure. Coach Quenneville and his staff are certainly going to earn their pay checks this year.

Change is a difficult thing for everyone and again it only reinforces to me one day what’s left of this core 2,7,19 & 88 will no longer be on the Hawks and will retire.

What we are seeing now is a slow transition and if you hated like me seeing 81, 72 & 4 gone it could be worse at least some of the core is still here and there is still a small window the next 2-3 years to get another Cup here at least that is what I am telling myself.

Did Stan Bowman make this team better in the long run?

Hard to say there is a lot of work still to be done by all but I do think in the long run these were the right moves no matter how much my heart hates them and probably needed to be made with a new youth infused NHL if you want to compete.

It took guts to make these moves for sure.

Still Bowman will be looked at and questioned if the Hawks don’t even make the playoffs this year or are bounced again early which is a good possibility with all the young players on the team.

It is now on the shoulders of the coaches and the players to step up and in whether the Hawks succeed or fall this year Hawks fans will support we may fuss and question but only because we are fans and want the team to do well.

I will close with these from those far more eloquent than I:

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” – Charles Darwin

“We know what we are, but know not what we may be.” – William Shakespeare

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Hockey, NHL

Chicago Blackhawks – IIHF Men’s Worlds Day 12 Team USA vs Team Russia


Chicago, IL — Day 12 had scheduled another match-up of Team USA vs Team Russia for the bragging right of being #1 in Group A and maybe more importantly for the winner to plant a seed of doubt should they meet again.

Whenever you have these two teams playing each other it always has the potential to be a classic and this one did not disappoint. It was everything I thought it would be and more.

I had some questions of my own I wanted to see and hoped I would get answers to and I did.

Firstly could a young fast USA team beat a seasoned Russian team on big ice?  Would the NHL/North American game translate to big ice?

How would our Blackhawks on both sides do? I was really curious how Artemi Panarin would do against an NHL team and how Nick Schmaltz would do against a skilled veteran Russian team.

Team USA maybe young, but they are fast, resilient and most of all fierce. Facing what was a Russian favored crowd and having to come back from being behind three times they answered the call and stepped it up when they needed to. When they took the lead they never looked back.

You basically had a NHL team in Team USA against a mix of NHL/KHLers for Team Russia but you would have to say that the USA would be an underdog on big ice. Well taking away time and space I guess works no matter what ice you are playing on.

Team Russia is very good in transition which did burn Team USA on several occasions. This is something they will need to tighten up going forward. Watching these two great skating teams was fun.

Coming into the game Artemi Panarin was the tournaments leading scorer with 13 points and Team USA kept him from getting any points while handing Team Russia its first defeat.

What I found interesting was Panarin and his line of Nikita Kucherov and Vladislov Namestnikov were put up against Schmaltz’s line with Dylan Larkin and Brock Nelson.

Now I’m not sure if this was Team Russia’s decision or Team USA’s choice,  but we all see how this turned out. For the most part Schmaltz covered this line pretty well he had one slip up where Kucherov schooled him but in the end it was Schmaltz’s line that had the final say.

Schmaltz had no points himself but either did Panarin. Larkin and Nelson ended up with goals so Artemi’s line was -2. I’d say they did pretty well defensively covering Team Russia’s only true NHL line.

Panarin had a glorious chance late to tie up the game when shorthanded he stepped on the ice and sticked the puck past a defender and was stopped on a breakaway by Jimmy Howard. From there with Vasilevski pulled Nelson potted an empty netter for the 5-3 final.

I’m sure no one feels worse than Panarin for missing what was a golden opportunity.

As a side note Team USA management is Stan Bowman and Dale Tallon. Yeah I’m sure Bowman was there taking in this one.

Trevor Van Riemsdyk only played one minute yes that is correct. Must be punishment for his getting turned inside out the day.

Team Russia took to many stick penalties and were a bit undisciplined. There is no question Team Russia plays with passion maybe a little too much passion and emotion and Team USA made them pay. They played like professionals all the way. Team Russia was getting frustrated as the Americans kept them pinned in their own zone which is not where Team Russia wants to play.

But if these two teams meet up again which is highly likely don’t expect Team Russia to make these same mistakes.

In paying attention to Panarin and Schmaltz I think while they both are very talented they each can still improve their games.

Artemi Panarin is so gifted but he does need to play in the NHL. Watching this tournament he will only be challenged in the NHL,  and if he wants to keep developing his game the NHL is where he can achieve this. He just needs to learn how to make room when none is given on the ice and maybe work on the defensive side of the puck.

For Schmaltz I’d say he needs to get stronger on the puck on the boards and shoot baby shoot. He may need to bulk up a bit but other than that he is good. His on ice vision is very good and tournaments like this will only help him in development.

With this win Team USA now will play Team Finland who ended up fourth in Group B.  Team Russia will now take on Team Czech Republic who finished third in group B. Team Sweden who finished third in Group A will now play team Switzerland who finished second in Group B.

The medal rounds start on Thursday. Good Luck to all the Blackhawks!

Video taken from You Tube IIHF

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Hockey, International hockey, KHL, NHL

Chicago Blackhawks – Another long summer


Chicago, IL — For the second straight year the Chicago Blackhawks will have a long summer to think about a great many things that went wrong and how to fix them.

Twenty four hours after the team cleaned out their lockers and met with the local media, the entire organization used words like unacceptable, disappointed, shocked, mad, frustrated and embarrassed. None of these words are positives in any way.

What is concerning as a fan is that from the management down to the players they all seemed lost and confused and uncertain as to what had happened and that is a bit worrisome as a fan.

One can only hope after initial feelings and they review what took place what happened to them will be realized and addressed appropriately.

Now I am not a sports psychologist but I didn’t like what I was hearing before, during and yes even after the series from the entire team. To me their heads were not in the right place at all both on or off the ice.

I won’t single out comments other than to say I actually didn’t like anything any of them had to say which to me is huge warning signs that Stan Bowman and Joel Quenneville will have to sort through.

I previously blogged that the Hawks needed to forget their championship pedigrees and approach these playoffs as if they were new and the first time they had ever been in the playoff but I guess that is easier said than done.

Stan Bowman was asked if the team lacked hunger? His response was essentially if there is any player that thinks that, he will not be here long, I’m paraphrasing. I’m not sure hunger is the correct word as much as maybe the Hawks are victims of their own successes.

It’s human nature to think what worked for you before will work for you again. Except the game has changed from even 2015 so those same things may not work any longer. I think from top to bottom and maybe even us spoiled fans got a huge wake up call.

There was a comment made by several players that they did not reach the level or gear you needed for the playoffs. If not why not? that is either effort or being unprepared/misjudging your opponent .

Or perhaps maybe they could not reach that gear which is something Stan Bowman will need to address with a tight cap. Either scenario is not good.

Here is my amateur observations made out of love for this team as a fan.

The game is different now. I watch a lot of IIHF junior hockey when I can. The NHL network thankfully has started to broadcast these events in the States and team USA just won Gold in the under 18 tourney. How?  With speed, speed, speed and skill. As Craig Button said pressure and attack. Hmmm sounds like what the Predators did.

Also if you look the young teams like the Oilers and Maple Leafs are doing really well which is scary for the rest of the league.

The game has gotten faster, younger and stronger. It is a more North/South game and inside the dots game and you have to have net front presence especially in the playoffs which the Hawks really didn’t do.

Crisp passing is essential and speed makes up for a lot of defensive mistakes if you can track opponents down from behind. Personnel is something Stan Bowman will need to assess and address.

The faster team usually wins now a days. That includes mobile fast defensemen which is something the Hawks may need to address or maybe the wrong Dmen were played and younger D was warranted against the Predators.

Jonathan Toews alluded to this when he stated he would look more at his off- season training and maybe add more speed and skill to his game which is the right track. Ryan Johansen owned him with more speed and power.

Jonny you are not the only one.  More team skating speed and skill is needed across the board and passing tape to tape would help with this as well. What is that legs feed the wolf?

Jonathan Toews wasn’t the only player to get beat by speed and strength or no space was given.

I’m beginning to think Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin smell like fresh meat to wild dogs because they attract everyone and get no space any more. 

I think they all need to as Stan Bowman said look at the mirror and make changes individually.

What is the Hawks game anyway puck possession right?  But how can you be a puck possession team when you are not good at face-offs, one on one board battles or puck management. That is a recipe for disaster in my opinion.

The Blackhawks Corsi numbers were actually worse when you consider how many shots they blocked. They give up way too many shots against and that happened in the regular season too. There were tons of games their goalies bailed them out but that is unsustainable as we see.

I’m not saying the Hawks should or have to be a puck possession team in fact the NHL teams that had great Corsi either didn’t make the playoffs or were also booted quickly. Just throwing that out there.

I do think though they need to take a look at their overall game and how it fares or translates to today’s game against younger, faster teams and make player or game plan adjustments if need be.

The Neutral zone Trap ah yes “Red Rover” as Coach Quenneville called it as reported by the local sports media. I’m shocked adjustments were not made to deal with this.

I don’t need to tell the Hawks how to adjust to this they know what to do. Why they were reluctant to do it or were they not good at the adjustments I’m not sure.

You better practice how to overcome all traps 1-3-1, 1-4 ect because now every team knows this is not what you like to do and it frustrates you. Until you can beat this it will continue to be thrown at you.

The other team in the playoffs using this the Ottawa Senators are also having success with it against the Bruins and are on the verge of knocking them out in the first round, so this will be a thing now teams try to employ.

Personally as a fan I hate it. It is boring to watch so I can only imagine playing against it. Some how some way you need to figure out how to beat this if you want to go far next year and make it a fun offensive challenge not something to dread. Coaches I look to you to address this.

Play 60 – no this is not the NFL program for kids but a call out to the team not only in the playoffs but the regular season to play a full game. Honestly in the playoffs I don’t think there was one game they played a full sixty minutes a bad habit that carried over from the regular season. This needs to change quick.

Scorched Earth – or maybe it is sloppy ice if you skate over a team too many times. Blackhawks I’ve got news for you other teams particularly in the West hate you and revenge and vengeance is a very powerful motivator.

The Wild, Blues, Predators, Ducks, Sharks, Kings have all had their seasons and Stanley Cup hopes dashed by you not just once either by some of these teams, so now they are looking for payback big time.

The media even doesn’t want you to succeed as people call it “Hawks fatigue”. You have no idea how much all the other fan bases hate you.

I see it all the time when you win on my twitter feed “I hate the Blackhawks”. Not sure what that says except why do people hate on success or excellence? I guess envy. I usually laugh. So know you are hated by other teams, their fans and media.

The one good thing going out early is why get all the way to the final to lose. Maybe this is the slap in the face the entire organization and fan base needed and now there is plenty of time to adapt to changes.

I have no doubt changes will be made and rightfully so when you don’t meet your goal.

As Stan Bowman said to keep repeating the same thing over and over and expect different results isn’t going to happened and well isn’t that the definition of crazy?

Look you were right there for two years now you just have to address the Central teams first and then the West as a whole.

Remember also they adjusted their teams specifically to play the Hawks. You’ve been studied more than probably any other team.

Even I know how to beat you and I’m not a professional coach or player.

As a Blackhawks fan I still love you guys, thank you for a great regular season I was highly entertained. I have faith the necessary adjustments will be made and next year at this time the story will be entirely different.

In the meantime the next few months should be telling as to the future direction of this team.

I’m only writing this because I know you guys have more Cups in you. Enjoy Summer and GO HAWKS!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Hockey, NHL, sports

Chicago Blackhawks – Road continued for Panarin


Chicago, IL — Yesterday the official word came down that the Chicago Blackhawks and Artemi Panarin agreed on a 2 year (bridge) contract that keeps him in a Chicago Blackhawks sweater til 2019. Who won this deal?

Chicago Blackhawks, NHL and hockey fans did. It means we all get to see this phenomenal talent continue on his journey.

We get to see what he and his line mates, country-man Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane can continue to create going forward and that should make all hockey fans happy.

I for one was overjoyed. Thanks Stan Bowman for once again finding ways to make things work, Thanks Artemi Panarin’s agent Tom Lynn for assisting in working this out.

Thanks Artemi Panarin for so many things. Chicago I think fell in love with you the moment we saw your unique talents on ice of which there are many.

Taking what is a home town discount just makes Chicago love you more and with comments like “I like everything about the team and environment here. You can’t earn all the money in the world.” will endear you to Chicago forever. 1 Too see the entire Panarin interview go to Chicago Blackhawks site BHTV.

It is refreshing to see and hear someone who is not all about money grabs. It also is a smart move for both the organization and Panarin.

Panarin is a smart guy he understands that this team is cash strapped with the cap and if the team is going to continue to achieve success they need certain players in place to do so.

In the long run Artemi will get a huge payday as he continues to just get better. We forget he is still developing and learning North American style hockey.

Who knows how high this kid can go. He is currently sitting in 5th in the entire NHL in points behind Malkin, Tarasenko, Crosby and McDavid.

Now that is impressive. The guy has only been here 18 months and had to adjust to a new style of hockey, rules, language, culture and everything this fast is mind blowing.

Maybe the difference from Russian style hockey to North American style isn’t that much after all at least not for special players. To be a point per game player in the NHL is really stunning and something I don’t think anyone expected, well maybe Panarin did.

Of all the great things he does on ice and his remarkable stats what has really caught my attention was his intangibles and why he fits so well with the Blackhawks.

Those intangibles are character, discipline, sacrifice and simply wanting to be the best. These attributes got him here and I have no doubt when all is said and done he may very well end up with the same numbers statistically as Patrick Kane.

Like the other core players on the Blackhawks that drive to be the best and win is also very much instilled in Panarin which is why I can’t think of a better NHL team for him to be a part of.

What a coo for the Blackhawks, I doubt they ever thought they would find another Patrick Kane not with where they are drafting from and yet they did from a place no one would have guessed.

Personally I never heard of Korkino, Russia until Artemi Panarin came to the Hawks. Korkino is a small town in Russia located by the Ural Mountains.  Now I will never forget Korkino.

Panarin is a long way from home but then again maybe not.

For hockey players home is on the ice, any ice,  be it in a rink or on a pond and now even in the middle of a desert like Las Vegas. From day one Panarin  was home at the United Center  just playing hockey. We here in Chicago are lucky enough to see him play and just enjoy his talents.

We are already spoiled with all the talents on the Blackhawks but to get to see him with Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov is just surreal what they can do is just magical.

There are so many similarities between him and Patrick Kane not in just how they play and see the game but in their backgrounds. Both were told many times they were too small to play competitive hockey. Thank the Lord they stuck with it.

Recently Russian TV MAT4 did a documentary on Panarin and his path to NHL, which in itself is the material for a movie or at the very least a book.

His story is just incredible with all the things he and his family had to overcome to get to the NHL and he’s only 25 years old and still writing chapters in his life.

As a side note I absolutely love his grandfather and grandmother. I hope they get to come to Chicago and get to see Artemi play one day and how fast and skilled he is and this team is.

Here are the links to YouTube documentary with English subtitles 2:

part 1

Part 2

part 3

If you watch this you will see it was not an easy road but then again the path to being great never is.

It’s nice to see that Artemi Panarin is finally getting to reap some of the rewards of all his hard work and sacrifices he and his family made to get him here at the pinnacle of the hockey world.

Congratulation Artemi it is well earned and deserved. Enjoy.

The only thing that would make this a complete Rocky type movie is the Chicago Blackhawks need to win another Stanley Cup and Artemi getting to raise it.

I don’t think there has ever been a player that has won both a Gagarin Cup and Stanley Cup as a player.

I know Mike Keenan did as a Coach for the NY Rangers in the NHL  and Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL but I do not believe there has ever been a player to do it.

Somehow I have a feeling that Artemi Panarin may accomplish this feat. His accomplishments are limitless and as a hockey fan and a Chicago Blackhawks fan I’d love nothing more than to see that dream made reality in an Indianhead jersey.

 

  1. taken from interview on BHTV
  2. taken from YouTube documentary done for Russian TV MAT4

 

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 – Inking in another leader for awhile


Seabs practice

 

Chicago, IL — The only thing that will be different this year with number 7 on the Chicago Blackhawks is his jersey will now don a A after being named assistant captain.

The other very good news from last night for Hawks fans was that the Blackhawks extended Brent Seabrook’s contract for another eight years starting next season.

Every Blackhawks fan should be happy to keep Seabrook in Chicago for quit a long time. Players like Seabrook are not easily found and had he have went to free agency he would have been gone or cost a lot more for sure.

Forget his physical size, to be respected and looked up to by a locker room filled with leaders is a testament to what a great leader and teammate Seabrook is and speaks volumes to his value to the organization.

As a fan, I have always admired him not only as player and the way he plays but how he comports himself off the ice.

He always is leading the charge and has demonstrated a positive attitude and team first demeanor. He always works hard and seems to know when his team needs him the most.  It is one of the reasons he has always been my favorite player. Let us not forget either, Seabrook along with Keith were in Chicago in the dark times so to see him rewarded is fitting.

The thought that Seabrook will retire a Blackhawks most likely along with Duncan Keith should keep the Hawks competitive for a very long time. Champions and Championships are still determined by defense as we saw throughout last years Stanley Cup run.

Everyone, fans, media and other teams kept asking the question can a banged up defense, granted anchored by three world-class defenseman be enough to win a Stanley Cup? Well as we all know now the answer was yes. The three world-class Dmen though are not only great hockey players with extraordinary hockey skills they are superhuman physically as we found out to wink wink.

More importantly they possess something maybe even more impressive than their hockey skills. They know how to win and what it takes to win and they never back down or away from any challenge, in fact they not only embrace it, they own it.

Brent Seabrook has really always been like this it’s just people started to take notice a couple of seasons ago in the Detroit Red Wings series when he settled down and led maybe one of the greatest leaders in the NHL. That spoke volumes as to the type of leader Seabrook is and what kind of team-mate he is and how much of a pulse he has on the Blackhawks and what they need in the locker room and on the bench. Priceless.

It was another easy decision for Stan Bowman and the Blackhawks to give Seabrook and extension probably one of the easiest this organization has had to make.

You also as a fan have to love how Seabrook in speaking to the media said “I’ve got a lot of winning left to do”.  That attitude pretty much sums up him as a player and team-mate. The Blackhawks now with the blue line solidified give the Hawks a chance to win Stanley Cups every year which should thrill fans. You know he will be doing everything he can to get this team in position to win Cups within his powers.

On a personal note it is good also to see in this day and age  that the Keith/Seabrook brotherhood can continue on the ice in Chicago. The chemistry and the balance they bring to the blue line is something that only comes with time so why lose that if you don’t have to. They have remained loyal to Chicago and the Hawks so it is only fair that the favor be returned.

As Stan Bowman said if the Blackhawks didn’t have Brent Seabrook they would be looking for a player like him so why not just keep him here. Bravo Blackhawks and Stan Bowman for keeping not only a great defenseman here but a great leader which maybe actually harder to find. The league has some great defenseman but how many of them have three Stanley Cups and counting? Not many if any.

Brent Seabrook

 

As we have all witnessed he is clutch especially in moments that are the most crucial and that in another intangible that can not be replaced.

Congratulations to Brent Seabrook on getting the A officially on the jersey even though you were in spirit and to the extension it is well-earned and deserved. As a Blackhawks fan I am thrilled for you and to see you remain on anchoring Chicago’s defense. Have a great season!

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized