Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Melissa Harris of the Chicago Tribune,
He orders a chicken Caesar salad and a glass of red wine. Diners nearby turn and stare, and a few snap photos with their cell phones. Ald. Brendan Reilly stops by, and one brave man steps up to the table, apologizes for the interruption and says, “Rocky, thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”
“That’s so nice,” his daughter, Hillary, says after the man leaves. “People are so nice.”
Rocky Wirtz, 57, having turned the Blackhawks into a winning franchise almost overnight, is quite possibly the most popular businessman in Chicago. But it hasn’t always been that way. He says he hasn’t forgotten the local headline that topped a story about his divorce from his first wife: “For Better or For Wirtz.”
Time: One minute into the game; Brian Campbell scores.
from Adam L. Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times,
Six playoff teams from last season are among the opponents on the trip—the Hawks’ longest of the season—including the two they eliminated (the Flames and Canucks) and the one they lost to (the Detroit Red Wings).
‘‘If we can be ... above .500 [on this trip], it’d be nice,’’ Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said.
We’ll say the Hawks go 5-2-1, which isn’t a bad trip by any means. Here’s our breakdown:
from Aaron Portzline of Puck-rakers,
The Blue Jackets knew what to expect in Chicago tonight. They knew the Blackhawks would be amped up, and they did a much better job anticipating the wave than they did two night ago in St. Louis.
And that makes the 3-0 loss in United Center even more troubling….
Interesting quote from Blue Jackets captain Rick Nash when I asked him if Chicago was the new Detroit:
“Yeah, Detroit has changed their style, and Chicago has picked it up. It’s a puck possession game. You don’t see them dumping the puck. You don’t see (Patrick) Kane and (Jonathan) Toews dumping and chasing. They’re making plays.”
Nash is slumping badly. He’s gone 11 games without a goal, matching a record set during his rookie season. But it’s more than that. Nash had one shot on goal tonight, giving him just three shots on goal in his last three game and only nine in his last six games.
more on the Blue Jackets…
Pierre LeBrun of ESPN answers some emails…
I’m so tired of my Blackhawks. I don’t even recognize this team. For years I have come to love their failures and I depend on their lack of offense. I had so much to complain about, and I love to complain. Now they decide to be awesome? Great, thanks guys. Now what will I do with my time?
LeBrun: Ah, so cute. Enjoy it now my friend; the CBA won’t allow your team to be this stacked forever.
more emails answered…
added 3:46pm, from Tim Sassone of the Chicago Daily-Herald,
Don’t believe everything you read in certain places about the Blackhawks having only a small window of opportunity to win the Stanley Cup this season before the team gets blown up because of salary cap issues.
That’s just not true.
While there are going to be some difficult financial decisions to make this summer, the Hawks will be Cup contenders for a lot of years even if the roster for 2010-11 isn’t as deep as it is now.
Duncan Keith, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Brian Campbell, Kris Versteeg and Dave Bolland all are signed long term, and there’s not a general manager in the NHL who wouldn’t love to have that for a nucleus.
No matter how many times the Hawks kill off the Wings, it will never be enough to be sure Detroit is dead. Life after death is an idea that appeals to NBC and its viewers. Osgood simply sits and waits like a vulture, awaiting his turn to feast.
In fact, some NBC officials proudly will be rooting for Detroit to jump with Jimmy Howard out of their coffins (Jimmy was declared officially dead earlier this season) and scare the hell out of the Hawks and their fans this Sunday.
-Mike Kiley of Blackhawks Confidential. More on the Wings and Blackhawks from Mike.
from Crain’s Chicago Business,
Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz has given team President John McDonough a long-term contract as a reward for reinvigorating the once-foundering franchise.
Mr. McDonough is in the third year of a five-year contract. The extension runs through 2016, a source said.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
As they prepare to visit the Boston Bruins in our Game of the Week on Thursday night, the Hawks remind us of another team from recent memory, in terms of their ability to produce wins in a variety of settings: the Detroit Red Wings.
Chicago coach Joel Quenneville, never given to hyperbole, seems flattered by the idea that is the outside view, but points out quickly—and accurately—there’s a long way to go between where the Blackhawks are now and what the Red Wings have accomplished in the last decade (winning Cups in 2002 and 2008, reaching the Cup finals last season and piling up no fewer than 108 points in every season since 2000).
“That’s a heck of a compliment,” Quenneville told ESPN.com this week. “I know how good they’ve been and how long they’ve sustained that, and that’s a greater compliment.”
from David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune,
From the moment Kane saw the kid wearing his jersey at Fenway Park as part of the Jan. 1 ceremony unveiling the U.S. Olympic hockey team, he got an idea. Kane was traveling to St. Louis with the Hawks but felt so moved by the gesture that he immediately contacted front-office personnel to begin tracking down the boy’s name.
A few phone calls later, and Kane arranged through the family to sign the jersey Thursday so the kid would have more than a memory to mark the occasion of making Kane’s Olympic moment official.
“The whole thing was very cool,” Kane said.
In a sports town where life has been decidedly uncool lately, how nice to see a local hero embrace his status and exceed expectations as a person and player. On the current landscape of Chicago superstars as 2010 begins, there is Kane and there is everybody else.
more about Kane…
from Alex Quigley of All Q’d Up at ChicagoNow,
Three years ago I hardly cared that Chicago owned one of the Original Six franchises—and I probably would’ve had to cheat to guess who the other five were. So I guess I gotta come clean: I am a bandwagon jumper….
And in the midst of the biggest collective letdown amongst our pro teams—the Blackhawks shine alone, exceeding already-high expectations. And hey, home games are actually on TV now! I thank Blackhawks fans for not hitting us bandwagon-jumpers with the typical hockey fan response: “Doooood, hockey for life! You’re too late!” Instead, every lifelong Hawks fan I know has been incredibly kind and generous in sharing their hockey knowledge. I even got Blackhawks tickets for Christmas. I laughed and smiled like it was a Red Ryder BB gun.
Now, if one of you could explain to me what that blue line is for, I would appreciate it.
from Tim Sassone of Between The Circles at the Chicago Daily-Herald,
Kovalchuk wants a lot of money, like $9 million or $10 million a year, and it’s hard to believe the Thrashers wouldn’t give him what he wants. Isn’t that a no-brainer, given the state of hockey in Atlanta? If Kovalchuk goes maybe the team does too.
Face it, the Hawks are going to be mentioned in every trade rumor from now well into until next summer because of their salary cap problems, so it’s easy for an exec to speculate he wouldn’t be surprised if the Hawks get involved in the Kovalchuk stuff once there is something to get involved with.
The Hawks do have a lot of assets, but how many of them would it take to get an elite player such as Kovalchuk? I’m thinking possibly two top-nine forwards, a defenseman and maybe a high draft pick or two. That’s a lot to give up for a guy who might be just a rental.
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.
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