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Category: Chicago-Blackhawks

Will It Be Chicago Or Philadelphia?

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Chicago Hopes To Get Over The Losing

from Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times,

Even in the best of times, the Hawks have led the league in dysfunction. They reached the finals in 1992 under Mike Keenan. If getting swept by the Penguins wasn’t bad enough, a soap opera ensued in the aftermath, with Keenan giving up his coaching duties to become general manager, then either getting fired or quitting in a contract squabble before the next season, depending on whose side of the story you heard. Keenan resurfaced as coach of the Rangers in 1993-94 and won the Stanley Cup—with ex-Hawks Steve Larmer, Stephane Matteau and Ed Olczyk.

The best way for a Hawk to get a ring has been to leave. That’s how Savard, Troy Murray, Chelios, Dominik Hasek, Belfour and Mike Peluso got theirs.

Even the recent resurgence has been littered with awkwardness. The GM who drafted stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane and acquired the heart of this year’s team—Dale Tallon—was fired. The coach who helped develop those young stars and made the Hawks relevant again—Savard—was fired.

It’s sad that Bill Wirtz’s death is one of the best things to happen to the Hawks since they last played for the Cup in 1992. Sad, but true. And tacitly acknowledged by those who laud Rocky Wirtz for turning things around after succeeding his father as chairman of the board.

more

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Goalies In The Spotlight

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

There are two Cinderella starting goaltenders in the Stanley Cup final, but only one glass slipper.

Someone is about to be exposed in seven games or less.

The question is: Who? And that someone could just as easily be the unlikely Antti Niemi as much as the less likely Michael Leighton.

There has never been a Stanley Cup matchup like this in goal, with a little-known starter for Chicago, an even lesser-known starter for Philadelphia.

This isn’t Patrick Roy versus Martin Brodeur of 2001. This isn’t Ed Belfour vs. Dominik Hasek of 1999.

The last time Chicago won the Cup, Glenn Hall outdueled Terry Sawchuk. The only time Philadelphia has won the Cup, Bernie Parent was in goal, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy and the Vezina in both years.

continued

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A Great Matchup For TV

from Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Daily News,

Two big cities, known more for grit than for glamour, with long histories of ethnic voting and machine-style politics. Two of a bare handful of U.S. markets where the NHL enjoys strong roots and proud tradition.

“Similar? Oh, my God, they’re almost identical,” Jeremy Roenick, never one to equivocate, said yesterday as he ordered lunch in Pasadena, Calif ., before flying to Chicago. Roenick, who starred for both the Blackhawks and the Flyers during his eventful 18-year NHL career, will analyze the Cup finals for NBC, starting tonight.

“Both cities have ridiculously passionate fans, for one,” said Roenick, who came up with Chicago, where he played from 1988-96. Roenick was a Flyer from 2001-05. “The fans are a little different. I think Philly fans are a little more blue collar, wear-your-heart-on-your-sleeve. They’ll let you know what they think of you. Chicago, very, very passionate, but a little more forgiving. Definitely two of the biggest fan bases in the league . . . That’s a great, great scenario for the National Hockey League, and for TV.”

continued

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NHL.com Writers Pick The Stanley Cup Winner

Eight say Chicago, seven pick Philadelphia.

See their picks here.

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Should The Canadian National Anthem Be Played At The Stanley Cup Final?

from CTV Toronto,

A York region hockey fan is hoping to bring some Canadian spirit to the Stanley Cup final.

Sandro Liburdi has started up a petition with hopes of convincing the National Hockey League to play both the Canadian and American national anthem at the games.

The finals will be a best-of-seven games showdown between two U.S. teams – the Chicago Blackhawks and the Philadelphia Flyers. The series starts Saturday at 9 p.m.

“Although there are two U.S. teams in the final, there are 38 Canadian players and only 24 U.S. and international-born players combined,” he said in a telephone interview with ctvtoronto.ca. He also pointed out that the captains of both teams are Canadian.

“Those Canadian players deserve to hear their anthem.”

continued

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A New Face For Chicago Sports

from Rick Telander of the Chicago Sun-Times,

If they win now, could it be that Patrick Kane or Jonathan Toews or Dustin Byfuglien or some other Blackhawks player will become the iconic face and personality and star presence that defines our city?

The position, after all, is vacant.

‘‘The face of Chicago sports?’’ says McDonough, who came to the Hawks after many years with the Cubs. ‘‘I don’t think there is one.’‘

There sure was when Michael Jordan reigned with the Bulls. Go anywhere—anywhere in the world—and people would connect Chicago instantly with Jordan.

Before him there was Mike Ditka, who still rules in a kind of eternal royalty.

There was Dick Butkus, and Gale Sayers. But each of them left town for long periods, and Butkus, amazingly, settled in perhaps the softest place in America, Malibu, Calif.

To be a Chicago sports face, you better hang around town, and you’d better not go Hollywood.

more

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Stan Bowman Four Wins Away From His Cup

from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,

Let’s face it, there’s pressure that comes with being Scotty’s kid and being named after the trophy you’re chasing. Much like their young general manager, the Blackhawks have embraced expectations for greatness rather than wilt under them. Together, they have enjoyed an unforgettable ride.

See, he was there when Blackhawks games weren’t on local television, when they missed the playoffs six times in seven years, when they were nothing. He spent four years as a special assistant to the general manager, whatever that means, and two more as director of hockey operations. He took over for GM Dale Tallon last July.

Now, at age 36, having twice beaten cancer, the Canisius High grad is four wins against the Flyers away from winning it all. The series starts Saturday in hockey-crazed Chicago. The Blackhawks haven’t won the Cup since 1960-61, the longest drought for an Original Six franchise. They have been to the finals once since 1972-73.

“There are passionate sports fans here,” he said. “The Bulls had a great run for a number of years. The Cubs are always beloved. You have the Bears and the White Sox. There are a lot of things in sports that capture people’s attention. For a while, the hockey team wasn’t one of them. Over the past couple of years, you could see it building.”

more

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  Tags: stan+bowman

Blackhawks Use Social Media To Their Advantage

from rian Louis and Tony C. Dreibus of Bloomberg,

The Chicago Blackhawks four years ago were losing fans to the Chicago Wolves, a minor-league hockey team with cheaper tickets.

This season, the Hawks are the National Hockey League’s biggest draw. Team owner Rocky Wirtz is mining the world of Facebook and Twitter to keep it that way.

“People my age aren’t the ones you go after,” Wirtz, 57, said in an interview before heading to his seat, a padded folding chair amid the fans, for the playoff victory that sent his team to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1992.

“The question is how do you get the 20-year-olds?” he said. “We want to work more with social media than ever before. We want to recruit them to be fans for 30 more years.”

The Blackhawks, whose 49-year championship drought is the longest of any current hockey franchise, are schooling others on and off the ice this season as the NHL struggles to boost a fan base that remains the smallest of the four major professional sports.

continued

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Pay Attention To The Goaltenders

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

In what has been a riveting and consistently entertaining NHL postseason thus far, the oddest back story of all focuses on the respective starters in net. And how a series of here-to-fore lightly regarded goaltenders are facing each other, while the big names either missed the playoffs altogether or were quickly dispatched.

Of the 100 goaltenders listed by salary on stats website nhlnumbers.com, Niemi ranks 57th (at $827,000 U.S.) while Leighton is dead last (No. 100). Leighton’s price tag is $600,000, but because the Flyers grabbed him on waivers, they were responsible for just half.

Even in today’s inflated NHL salaries, both represent exceptional value.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: antti+niemi, michale+leighton

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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 pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

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