Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Len Ziehm of the Chicago Sun-Times,
With an 18-6-7 record, the Hawks aren’t just playoff contenders—they’re championship contenders. Defenseman James Wisniewski doesn’t think it’s too early to think that way.
‘‘We’re 31 games into the season now,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s not like we played eight games and started 6-1-1. You look at some of the games we lost. We lost five in shootouts; if we won those, we’d be five points better and right there with [defending Stanley Cup champion] Detroit.’‘
Just making the playoffs would be a big improvement, given that the Hawks haven’t experienced postseason play since the 2001-02 season, but winning the Stanley Cup remains their goal.
‘‘I don’t think it’s too big a goal,’’ Wisniewski said. ‘‘I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but if we bear down in a couple games and shut down San Jose and Detroit, we’re right up there at No. 1 in the [Western Conference].’‘
more on the Blackhawks…
CHICAGO, Dec. 23 /PRNewswire/—Chicago Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane will unveil and use personally-designed skates and sticks during the upcoming Bridgestone NHL 2009 Winter Classic at Wrigley Field in Chicago on New Year’s Day.
Kane, working with designers and developers at Bauer Hockey, designed the skates and stick this past summer for exclusive use during the outdoor game. Only 88 skates and 88 sticks were created for this special event and Kane will personally sign and auction off a portion of the limited edition product to raise money for breast Cancer research in Chicago and his home town of Buffalo.
“It’s something I’ve been interested in from the beginning - designing your own skates and stick is a pretty unique experience,” Kane said. “It’s really exciting to look at a skate and design it to exactly how you want it to be made. To be able to give back to the community makes the whole experience even more special.”
via Rich Hammond at Inside the Kings,
...the Kings were, until late last week, in the running for Chicago goalie Nikolai Khabibulin. No longer, it seems. Talks ended without a deal, but it had nothing to do with Khabibulin’s salary or any injury concerns. But that should answer the question about whether the Kings are willing to go after a veteran goalie this season.
from Hey, Missy at the Chicago Tribune,
In particular, the Red Wings will have to navigate a particularly steep and narrow set of about 15 steps down from the tiny visitors clubhouse and make one of the longest walks in baseball to the dugout and then out to the rink. Three times. For the last portion before getting to the dugout, anyone over six feet (and with skates on, that pretty much applies to everyone), they also have to be careful not to bump their heads.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
1. What do you think of the “code” everyone talks about in hockey?
Code Schmode. It’s like an area code: It changes from team to team, state to state, province to province. In general, the “code” goes something like this:
Don’t be a jerk unless being a jerk on the ice gets the other team off its game and enhances your chances of winning. Don’t embarrass yourself or your teammates, especially in public or to the media, and have your teammates’ backs, even if they are, well, jerks….
5. So, who’s the best team in the NHL at the Christmas break?
It’s almost become rote to suggest it’s the San Jose Sharks. And with good reason. The team has 55 points, more than any team in the league, and has yet to lose in regulation at home (17-0-2).
...But (you knew this was coming, didn’t you?) take a look at the Chicago Blackhawks. The Hawks have almost the same goal differential (114 goals for, 82 goals against) as San Jose (116, 80) and are also dominant at home (10-1-4). Chicago also has seven players with 20 or more points, the same number as San Jose.
more plus other hockey topics…
(Patrick) Kane the first overall selection of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, was asked by NHL.com which players, not affiliated with the Chicago Blackhawks, he would choose to represent the West.
“I think Ryan Getzlaf (Ducks), Jarome Iginla (Flames) and Marian Hossa (Red Wings) would probably be my choices at forward,” Kane said….
“On defense, I’d probably go with Dion Phaneuf (Flames) and Nicklas Lidstrom (Red Wings),” Kane said….
Kane would then pencil in San Jose goalie Evgeni Nabokov between the pipes.
A look at this years NHL’s Winter Classic Event between the Detroit Red Wings and the Chicago Blackhawks from Wrigley Field on January 1st.
from Tim Sassone of the Chicago Daily-Herald,
This is rare air for the Blackhawks - a seven-game winning streak, the team’s longest in 27 years, and an 18-6-7 record that has them sitting with the NHL’s elite approaching Christmas.
“That team right now is the best team in the NHL,” said Vancouver Canucks coach Alain Vigneault following Saturday’s 3-1 loss to the Hawks at GM Place. “They’ve been perfect in December (8-0-1). Their game is real good.”
via Sam McCaig of the Hockey News,
Can the Chicago Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup?
Wow…just the fact I can pose this question without crashing the entire Internet shows how far the Hawks have come in a very short time.
Well, let’s see: a quality coach in Joel Quenneville; top-notch goaltending from Nikolai Khabibulin; hard-rock defensemen in Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith; a true offensive blueliner in Brian Campbell; and plenty of productive forwards led by Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp and a still-healthy Martin Havlat.
The short answer has to be: Yes, the Hawks can win the Cup. The long answer is: Yeah, the Hawks could, but it’s unlikely given their youth and playoff inexperience and then there’d be a long-winded explanation getting into all that.
from Tim Sassone of Between The Circles at the Chicago Daily-Herald,
Where would the Blackhawks be if another team had claimed Nikolai Khabibulin on waivers back in training camp?
They probably wouldn’t be 17-6-7 today and the talk of the NHL.
Khabibulin has been nothing short of sensational for the Hawks, and he was just that again Friday night in the 3-2 overtime win over the Flames. As he has done most of the year, Khabibulin kept the Hawks in the game long enough for the offense to do its thing.
Khabibulin has lost once in regulation, his record now at 10-1-4. Once.
As we walked out of the Saddledome Friday night into the unbearable Alberta cold, Chris Kuc of the Tribune mentioned how Khabibulin should be going to the All-Star Game, and he is absolutely right.
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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