Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Len Ziehm of the Chicago Sun-Times,
Cristobal Huet once thought he was the Montreal Canadiens’ goalie for the long term. After winning 37 games spanning two seasons as a part-time player, he had a 21-12-6 record for them last season when he was traded.
Huet made his return to the Bell Center on Tuesday and didn’t get the result he wanted. His Blackhawks teammates gave him little support in a 4-1 loss, another indication a good season might be fading away. The result dropped the Hawks into fifth place in the Western Conference standings—and out of home-ice advantage in a first-round playoff series—with seven games left.
via Chris Kuc of Icing at the Chicago Tribune,
During the melee, Vancouver’s Alex Burrows and the Hawks’ Duncan Keith got tangled and Burrows yanked Keith to the ice by his hair and continued pulling on the defenseman’s mane as they wrestled on the ice.
“That’s not something I’ve ever had happen to me,” Keith said. “My little sister never even pulled my hair when I was a kid. It’s kind of comical when you have a grown man trying to pull your hair on the ice.”
“I don’t know what the ruling is,” Keith said. “I don’t know if the league reviews that or not. It’s pretty blatant he was pulling my hair.”
The pulling of hair is prohibited and normally would draw a match penalty. However, none of the officials on the ice saw it as they were tending to ther other fights on the ice.
“I think it’s silly,” Hawks forward Adam Burish said. “There’s no spot for that. I think that’s stupid the way he was pulling [Keith’s] hair. Especially a nice haircut like Duncan has. I didn’t see it at the time [but] I’m sure I would have been more mad than I was already.”
The video of the whole incident was posted on KK early today if you missed it.
from Tim Sassone of Between The Circles and the Chicago Daily-Herald,
After what happened Sunday night at the United Center, you’ve got to wonder if it would be better for the Hawks to face Calgary in the first round of the playoffs than Vancouver.
The Canucks can be a physical, nasty team with a more complete defense than Calgary, a more intimidating goalie in Roberto Luongo and a more dangerous top line with the Sedins and Alex Burrows.
Then. the fights broke out.
Canucks went on to shutout the Blackhawks 4-0.
You can checkout the boxscore at TSN for all the penalties.
from Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune,
Right about the middle of next month, the Blackhawks are sure to make their first postseason appearance since 2002.
With the season dwindling to its final games, they’re already getting a taste of what that experience will be like. That learning process should continue when the Hawks play their biggest game of the season when they host the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday night at the United Center.
Neil Hayes of the Chicago Sun-Times reminds Chicago fans what the playoffs are like…
When it comes to the excitement level between the regular season and the playoffs, few sports compare to hockey, which remains primarily an arena sport. On any given night, in most NHL cities, those inside the arena make up a significant percentage of that team’s fans. That means ratings are never as high as league and team executives would like. It also means an electrifying playoff atmosphere for those who don’t remember.
These Blackhawks are capable of winning a series or two, which will only ratchet up the intensity. Can they topple the Sharks or Red Wings, the two dominant teams in the Western Conference? Probably not. But the Hawks have won two straight against San Jose, giving them a puncher’s chance.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
We often talk about “the missing piece” when it comes to Stanley Cup puzzles. That one, elusive block to complete the tower, the one snapshot to complete the image.
Usually it’s a player, a puck-moving defenseman, a shut-down forward, a power-play specialist.
Sitting on a bench near the Tampa harbor is the man who may well be the Chicago Blackhawks’ missing piece. He’s 50 years old with a graying mustache and a steely glare and three teenage children.
Joel Quenneville won’t score a goal for the Hawks and he won’t block a shot, but he is the man who holds the key to a team and a city aching to win its first playoff series since 1996.
NEW YORK/TORONTO (March 21, 2009) – Chicago Blackhawks forward Ben Eager has been suspended for three games, without pay, for a blow to the head of an unsuspecting player during NHL Game #1068 against the Edmonton Oilers on March 20, the National Hockey League announced today
The incident occurred at 7:30 of the third period and involved Oilers forward Liam Reddox. No penalty was assessed.
from Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune,
Their March swoon allowed the surging Vancouver Canucks to leap-frog the Hawks in the race for home-ice advantage. But with a game in hand, the Hawks had their chance to reclaim fourth Friday night with the Edmonton Oilers at the United Center, a team the Hawks had defeated three previous times this season.
But when things are going bad, it doesn’t matter who comes to town as the Hawks fell 5-4 in a shootout in a back-and-forth contest before a crowd of 22,151. The loss was the Hawks’ fifth consecutive and seventh out of their last eight games, but they did manage a point to pull even with the Canucks in the West with 12 games remaining.
from Tim Sassone of Between
The Circles, Coach Q said after Friday’s morning skate that it was time to ride goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, starting with Friday’s game against Edmonton.
“We want to get him playing games here,” Joel Quenneville said. “We need to give him the net for a while to get on a roll here. I think just prior to him getting hurt it looked like he was going to get the ball and go. The first time he got hurt the same thing.
“He’s positioned himself to get this opportunity and we’re going to rely on him to get the net.”
more on the Blackhawks…
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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