Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Len Ziehm of the Chicago Sun-Times,
Like it or not, the 17-day trip is here.
After practicing today in Bensenville, the Blackhawks take off on their longest road trip in eight seasons and the second-longest in the 82-year history of the franchise.
The stretch of eight consecutive road games begins Wednesday in Anaheim, and the Hawks won’t return to the United Center until Feb. 14.
Make sure to catch “Ice and Ivy” All Access: 2009 Winter Classic tonight on the NHL Network. followed by replays from both NBC & CBC of the Winter Classic. The shows will be broadcast in the US and Canada and the progamming begins at 9:00pm ET.
from Tom Fornelli of NBC Chicago,
Nikolai Khabibulin has also played well while minding the net this season, but he’s in the last year of his contract, and the team actually tried to move him before the season. The fact he’s in the final year of his contract will make him more appealing to teams looking for somebody to help them make a playoff push—not to mention the fact he’s already won a Stanley Cup in Tampa—and that means the Hawks can get something they need in return. Whether that would be another scorer or a center—preferably someone whose both—or another enforcer to help protect Patrick Kane, we’d have to wait and see.
Losing Khabibulin wouldn’t be that big of a blow to the team either, as Corey Crawford has played very well for the Hawks AHL affiliate Rockford Icehogs this season, and would be more than capable as a backup.
The point is that while moving Khabibulin would be somewhat risky, with a young team losing a player with a lot of playoff experience, the Hawks really have nothing to lose.
from Tim Sassone of the Chicago Daily-Herald,
“It doesn’t matter how we feel out there,” Toews said. “There are going to be tough times during the schedule with little things nagging at you like injuries, fatigue or whatever it is.
“We need to figure out those little excuses don’t matter and we all need to step up and play better in those moments and learn how to play through adversity.
“We know what kind of team we are and showed it in December. We want to keep going down that path and keep getting better. Obviously the way we’ve played the last two games is a setback.”
The Hawks still are fourth in the Western Conference, but it’s a team in a downward trend, particularly offensively.
Quenneville questioned the Hawks’ work ethic in the last little while.
“The mind-set is we have to think of checking,” Quenneville said. “A lot of things are going to be resolved by checking and simple plays and getting opportunities off it.
“I think we’re probably sick and tired of people telling us how good we are instead of how hard we work, and that’s going to get us out of it.”
more on last night’s loss to the Blues…
via Chris Kuc of Icing,
Martin Havlat made one Blackhawks fan very happy during Monday night’s Blackhawks game.
You see, if a Hawks player scores at the 10:00 mark of the second period, an Illinois Lottery promotion awards one lucky fan $1 million.
The winner met Havlat outside the Hawks locker room following the game and looked a bit stunned (go figure) as he thanked the Hawks winger.
from Tim Sassone of Between The Circles,
Just when you think maybe Havlat could be moved, he wins a game like in St. Louis on the kind of play few forwards can make.
If the Hawks do move Havlat, they MUST get a top-six forward in return.
As for Khabibulin, this two-goalie system is the strength of the team and offers great security for the playoffs. Granted, Huet is playing well, but what if he were to get hurt after Khabibulin was traded? Then everything is shot.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
The Blackhawks’ 2008-09 slogan is, “One Goal.”
Perhaps that should be amended to include, “Plus Two Referees.”
Look, the Rangers New York Rangers have brought a lot of adversity on themselves this season, but the mindless, bush-league exhibition here last night by officials Mike Hasenfratz and Dean Morton was impossible to assimilate. The referees somehow saw their way to awarding Chicago five distinct five-on-three power play advantages amounting to 5:15 of time.
“I haven’t seen anything like this in my 15 years in the league,” Markus Naslund said after the Rangers somehow surmounted it all to register a 3-2 victory…
added 10:15am, Tom Renney wasn’t too happy either, watch below…
from Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune,
After Buffalo’s Drew Stafford leveled defenseman Duncan Keith in the Sabres’ zone and appeared to get his elbow up in the process, Ben Eager drew penalties while retaliating. The Hawks controlled the Sabres’ power play, limiting Buffalo to just one shot.
Keith was wobbly after the hit and didn’t return to the game after making his way to the bench. But afterward, Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said he was OK.
The Hawks killed off all seven of the Sabres’ power plays, but it was Stafford’s hit that had the most impact.
“I thought it was a completely dirty hit,” Eager said. “That team has been through it. They have seen their fair share of head shots, and that guy doesn’t have many hits all year. He’s a skilled guy, so I’m sure [the league] won’t do anything to him. I’m sure if I was the one who hit him I probably would be sitting out for a while.”
more on the game last night and watch the Stafford hit on Keith below…
added 12:55pm, via Tim Sassone of Between The Circles,
Watch the replay of Drew Stafford’s hit on Duncan Keith and it’s clear his elbow caught the Hawks’ defenseman in the head at the last minute.
Referees Paul Devorski and Brian Pochmara blew it by not penalizing Stafford, who said after the game Keith should have had his head up.
Shots to the head continue to be ignored by the NHL. A head shot should be an automatic penalty, whether it’s intentional or not.
from John Vogl of the Buffalo News,
Campbell’s new team meets his old one tonight in the United Center, where the atmosphere will mimic that of HSBC Arena three years ago. Fans who stayed away for a generation are lining up to fill the building, standing alongside newcomers who want to be part of the ride. A bunch of kids are winning and igniting the city’s spirit, and Campbell is there to tell them how special the moment is.
“It’s a lot like Buffalo was right out of the lockout,” Campbell said Tuesday. “The only difference is this started right at the start of the year, while Buffalo took about 10 games before it just was blowing up. There’s so many similarities that I see in my head about these guys that it’s unbelievable. It’s nice to relive it again that way.”
From the Canadian Press via NHL.com:
The Winter Classic drew the biggest American television audience for a regular-season NHL game in nearly 34 years.
The Detroit Red Wings’ 6-4 win over the Chicago Blackhawks at Wrigley Field on New Year’s Day attracted an average of 4.4 million U.S. viewers on NBC, the network said Monday.
That’s the most since a Philadelphia Flyers-New York Rangers game on Feb. 23, 1975, according to Nielsen Media Research.
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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