Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mike Kiley of Blackhawks Confidential,
There is no logical reason to drop the Hawks from 1st to 6th other than the sheer pleasure of being obstinate and a pain in the ass, a quality of which I was often accused (sometimes quite accurately) when I was a member of that august group of lummoxes.
For instance, ESPN’s Scott Burnside (who undoubtedly must be related to Union Gen. Ambrose Burnside, who bungled a few Civil War battles) decides to rank Pittsburgh, Los Angeles and Colorado ahead of the 6th-rated Hawks.
Even though Chicago slapped the Penguins 2-1 in overtime, tipped the Avalanche 2-1 in three shootouts and split home-and-home with L. A. in November, including a 2-1 loss in L. A. at the end of a taxing trip west when the Kings had a physical advantage if nothing else.
Explain to me how the Kings are better than the Hawks? Bet you can’t.
from Mike Kiley of Blackhawks Confidential,
Individual Hawks are succeeding, but no one has stood out singly more than others. The mug shot has been replaced by the mass hysteria of team harmony, where the monster lumbers and looms ominously as one.
If that’s a cliche, so be it. But the Hawks are a collective nightmare with a very diverse group of stars coalescing rather than being a star-driven team that needs a few guys to be at their best or else fail day after day.
That’s why there should be no goalie controversy now or ever this season. It matters not whether it’s Cristobal Huet or Antti Niemi in goal, because the team defense rules. It matters not that Dave Bolland and Adam Burish are healing, the defense is driving the momentum game-in, game-out.
Do we miss Bolland and Burish? Hell, yeah. But the tumor of terror waits for no man.
Put them together and Cris and Andy spell C-Andy in net, but they aren’t as sweet as Tony Esposito or even the demented Ed Belfour by themselves. They don’t have to be. They have help unlike previous Blackhawks’ clubs where it was every man for himself.
Marian Hossa catches the puck, tosses it down and puts it in the net before it hits the ice.
Antero Niittymaki gets the puck with his stick before it completely crosses the goal line.
thanks to DayWalk3r (Twitter) for the pointer.
from Tim Sassone of Between The Circles,
You thought the Hawks caught a break when Sabres coach Lindy Ruff decided to rest Ryan Miller and start Lalime with his 4.54 goals-against average and .836 save percentage. But the Hawks are in such a funk offensively that it didn’t matter.
The Hawks lost 2-1 a game they should have won. That’s 10 goals scored in the last seven games.
“That’s a team that’s beatable, in my opinion, and we just didn’t play well enough coming in here,” Jonathan Toews said….
I’m still willing to give Marian Hossa the benefit of the doubt, but are the Hawks paying him $7.5 million this season to cycle pucks? Hossa’s not going to score 30 goals from along the boards.
Dustin Byfuglien with the OT goal last night.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
If anyone is searching for a reason why the Rangers have the NHL’s 29th overall record since Oct. 17, their 2-1 overtime loss last night in which they were overwhelmed by the Blackhawks stands as Exhibit A.
Despite getting a point on the strength of Henrik Lundqvist’s brilliance—in the match in which Chicago not only had 41 shots to the Blueshirts’ 18, but an overwhelming 75-32 advantage in attempts—the Rangers lacked the size, strength, speed and commitment to handle one of the NHL’s most powerful teams.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
Keith, 26, will earn an average of $7.913 million over the first four years, $7.55 million for the next two years, $5.5 million for another two, $4 million for two more, and then slightly more than $2 million for the final three. Total: 13 years/$72 million, for a cap hit of $5.54 million. If you’re still holding on to your calculator, it exceeds the 12-year/$62.8 million deal, in both gross dollars and cap hit, that career marksman Marian Hossa pocketed with the Hawks in July.
OK, it’s a good bet that neither Keith nor Hossa will reach full term on their deals. If Keith retires after 10 years, he’ll have earned just under $66 million. They’ve still paid out huge money for a guy who, though well-conditioned and both a solid citizen and performer, is by no means considered an elite NHL defenseman. OK, they like him, and most teams have a guy like that - someone hauling in A-list money for what most of the world perceives as something less than A-list talent.
But Keith, even if out in the free agent market July 1, 2010, would not have commanded a $72 million commitment from anyone.
more plus other hockey topics…
from Jay Zawaski of ChicagoNow,
So why are Predators so uninteresting? They’ve been competitive at times. They’ve battled the Hawks for playoff spots before.
The answer is Nashville. At least to me, there is a mental block that a team from Nashville Tennessee doesn’t frickin’ matter. It’s the most un-hockey place on the planet.
Hell, when the Preds score they play Tim McGraw’s, “I Like It, I Love It, I Want Some More of It” song. Way to buck the stereotype hill rods.
I simply can not get excited about a game against the Predators. There will never be a rivalry between these two teams…ever.
The author should take a little trip back in time and remember where the Blackhawks were then.
from Spector’s Hockey,
For now, I think Bowman will be praying his team stays healthy. As for the off-season moves, forget about Huet or Campbell going anywhere, especially the latter with his huge salary (over $7 million per season) and “no-movement” clause. Byfuglien, Sharp or Barker are the likely trade candidates and they’ll certainly attract considerable attention.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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