Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times,
Most of us can tell the difference between a professional hockey player and a choirboy. I don’t actually know any choirboys, but I’m guessing the vast majority of them are in possession of all of their teeth and many of their brain cells.
Along those same lines, lots of us cling to the idea that hockey players should not look as if they’ve been imagined and packaged by a boy-band manager.
Am I offended by the Internet photos showing some shirtless Blackhawks in a limousine—a limo that also carries several fully dressed women?
No, I’m offended that the players look like members of ‘N Sync or Backstreet Boys in the photos.
Adam L. Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times digs a little deeper into the pictures. And yes, KK received the photos too, I tossed them in the garbage.
“Our goaltending is not a concern for our group at all. We’re second in the league in goals against (2.23 before Tuesday) so it’s tough to make an argument our goaltenders haven’t played well.’‘
“There’s nothing I can say that will change people’s minds because they’re going to think what they think. But if you look objectively at the way our goaltenders have performed, they’ve been dynamite this year.”
-Chicago GM Stan Bowman. More on the Blackhawks from David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune.
from Mike Kiley of Blackhawks Confidential,
Either Niemi or Huet should beat Edmonton. But the bigger point is what statement Q makes in picking who wins, since both guys know they are likely to a notch an easy W if Q just lays the finger of fate on them rather than giving one guy the finger.
Maybe it’s true the Hawks are blessed to have two dependable goalies. Maybe it’s also true a team without a clear-cut No. 1 goalie won’t win the Stanley Cup, as Jeremy Roenick contended recently.
Q has to start cutting through the haze of what ifs with his goalies and decide what now and what will be. I know he isn’t likely to name his Stanley Cup championship starter today. But Tuesday would be a hell of a time to start parting the fog so we can see clearly.
from Tim Sassone of Between The Circles,
There are so many of the Vancouver Canucks for Blackhawks fans to dislike - Willie Mitchell, Kevin Bieksa, Rick Rypien, the hair pulling Alex Burrows, even goalie Roberto Luongo.
But Ryan Kesler might now be at the top of their list.
Kesler called out Blackhawks winger Andrew Ladd after Saturday’s 5-1 win by the Canucks at GM Place during which Ladd got the best of Kesler in a first period fight.
Kesler was looking for revenge for what he said was a hit from behind from Ladd in last spring’s playoffs and wound up taking a punch to the face that opened a cut under his eye. Instead of trading punches with Ladd, Kesler’s only response was to wrestle Ladd to the ice.
“He’s a coward, he’ll always be a coward,” Kesler told reporters after the game. “At least he was man enough to hit me when I was looking this time.”
continue for a look at last night’s game and watch the quick fight below…
from Tim Sassone of Between The Circles,
It’s obvious the Canucks still remember what happened in the playoffs last spring when the Blackhawks knocked them out of the second round of the playoffs in six games.
Either that or they’re sick and tired of hearing everyone in the hockey world praise the Hawks up and down as one of the best teams in the NHL along with San Jose.
“I feel we’re up there with these teams,” Canucks center Ryan Kesler said. “Chicago is obviously a good hockey club, but we’re a good hockey club, too. I don’t think we get enough respect around the league. So this is going to be a good statement game for us.”
Added Canucks tough guy Darcy Hordichuk: “We want to send a message to them that we’re a different team this year.”
from Tim Sassone of the Chicago Daily-Herald,
Already there have been whispers of the Hawks possibly getting involved in the Ilya Kovalchuk sweepstakes should the Atlanta Thrashers decide before the deadline they can’t re-sign their star winger.
Bowman didn’t come out and say flatly the Hawks would have no interest in Kovalchuk.
“I’m not going to comment on individual players, but what we’re going to do over the next few weeks is meet and figure out where we think it makes sense to add, whether it’s that type of a player or a different style or a different position,” Bowman said.
“At that point we’ll see what the price is to get that guy, and we’ll see if it’s going to make our team better. I don’t want to rule anything in or rule anything out because we really haven’t gotten down the path that far.”
According to Bowman, the Hawks have enough money under the cap to add a player without giving up one.
from Mike Milbury of CBC,
As we approach the Olympic break, it is evident that the Western Conference has two teams a cut about the rest.
That’s not to say any one of a number of teams can’t make a push, but there is a reason the San Jose Sharks and Chicago Blackhawks have a double-digit lead on the rest of the bunch.
How do they stack up and will either team’s general manger - Doug Wilson in San Jose or Stan Bowman in Chicago -get creative down the stretch to gain the advantage?
Coaching: Todd McLellan in San Jose has done a fine job with the Sharks, but lacks experience. Joel Quenneville has the Hawks hogging the puck on most nights but their goals against is pretty impressive: Edge: Slight tilt to Chicago based on the experience factor.
from George at Let’s Go Hawks,
It is not unfair of anyone to evaluate and comment upon the strengths and weaknesses of a team. And it is a reasonable criticism that the Hawks’ goalies are not as spectacular as their groups of forwards or defensemen. That does not mean, however, that the goalies are terrible. To the contrary, Huet and Niemi have been above average for most of the season. A team does not challenge for the Presidents’ Trophy with crappy goaltending. Sure, the Blackhawks play some of the best two way hockey in the league, but no team has a 2.20 GAA without some solid backstopping.
Hossa probably still wondering how the puck did not hit the back of the net.
from Wayne Scalan of the Ottawa Citizen,
Forty-three years after hockey’s bold 1967 expansion, the Original Six teams still resonate with hockey fans.
The classic logos, the tradition, rivalries that go back 80 years and more, still matter in today’s NHL.
And so when the Chicago Blackhawks come to town tonight, sitting in first place overall with 72 points and 34 victories, the grand indian head logo on the distinct uniform has rarely looked as proud.
It’s still somewhat early when it comes to establishing 2010 Stanley Cup favourites. There is an Olympic tournament to play, with all its ramifications, and plenty of experts believe Chicago still has to firm up its goaltending if it plans to end a 49-year Cup drought.
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at email@example.com