Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.
Well the benches, penalty box, scorers table and broadcast facilities (left and right center field wall) are up.
Dan Craig hopes to have about an inch to an inch and a half of ice ready by Monday.
Wrigley is starting to look like a hockey rink. Watch a 15 minute delayed stream here....
Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks took part in an NHL tele-conference today.
Q. Just wondering if you had been to any outside rinks to acclimatize yourself for January 1st at Wrigley.
PATRICK KANE: No, I haven’t seen any rinks around here, but you know, that day, it’s just throw it up in the air what the weather is going to be like. You don’t really know. You don’t really know what you want as a player, either.
I guess you want it to be a little cold so the ice is better and all of the ice complications are worked out. But at the same time, you don’t want it to be too windy where the wind is blowing in your face the whole game.
I’m sure it will be a cold day, but a fun day overall, so looking forward to it.
from Len Ziehm of the Chicago Sun-Times,
Coach Joel Quenneville’s ‘‘team-building activity’’ on the Blackhawks’ first day in Calgary turned out to be an afternoon of curling at a nearby rink.
If ever the Hawks were entitled to a day of fun away from hockey, it’s now. They’ll take a season-high five-game winning streak into their game Friday night against the Flames. They play the following night at Vancouver leading into the NHL’s Christmas break.
The Hawks are the league’s youngest team, but game by game, they’re getting stronger and more confident. Just 29 games into an 82-game regular season, they’re even developing a bit of a swagger.
from Tim Sassone of Between The Circles,
How good are the Hawks?
OK, it’s still somewhat early, but in my book they are the third best team in the Western Conference behind San Jose and Detroit, in whatever order you want to put them.
The Hawks have a terrific offense, terrific goaltending, a mobile and deep defense and a good coach.
Do the Hawks have weaknesses? Of course. They are somewhat small and don’t play overly physical, but those are things to worry about more come playoff time when it all tightens up. But for right now, with the rules as they are in today’s NHL, a fast, quick, high scoring team such as the Hawks, with their great goaltending, can be dominant.
from Fran Spielman of the Chicago Sun-Times,
Last month, rooftop owner Tom Gramatis told the Chicago Sun-Times that demand for rooftop tickets to the Winter Classic was “the biggest thing ever — bigger than any Cubs game” when the event was announced last summer.
But Gramatis said “the buzz” died down when the economy went south and the stock market tanked. That forced him to cut his price in half— from $400 a head to $200, including food and drink.
“There were rooftops asking $750 a head [at one time]. Some are still at $500. They’re smoking a crack pipe. They’re not gonna get it. The economy sucks. It’s also Jan. 1 at noon — not an ideal time for somebody to wake up and go to a hockey game after New Year’s Eve,” Gramatis said.
from Mike Spellman of the Chicago Daily-Herald,
The trucks carrying all the equipment for the next Winter Classic are scheduled to arrive in Chicago this week. A crew of a couple dozen will unload and assemble the boards for a couple of days, clearing the way for Craig and Company to build 1 to 11/2 inches of ice before a short Christmas break. When they return, if everything goes according to plan, all that will be left to do is spruce things up and paint the ice. Even with a warmer-than-normal Christmas Day forecast, the refrigeration system can get the job done.
“It’s awesome,” he said. “You know that it’s coming and you try to prepare yourself for it, but then when everyone gets there, it’s an unbelievable feeling to see so many people enjoying such a great event.”
But Craig realizes there’s no celebrating until he gets that ice just right, which can be a tricky proposition.
“Natural ice freezes from the top down. Artificial ice freezes from the bottom up,” he said. “We want to make sure that you can’t have the top freeze before the bottom freezes.”
from Hawkey Challenge,
Winners of three straight and four of their last five games, the Hawks are at last an NHL team to be reckoned with.
Chicago’s success has largely been due to the aggressive philosophy of General Manager Dale Tallon to land hockey talent in the Windy City, as well as Joel Quenneville’s success since taking over the job behind the bench….
Detroit lost tonight, 3-1 to Dallas, so the Hawks are just seven points back of the Red Wings now with a game in hand….
The excitement continues, as the Hawks not only remain poised to finally return to the playoffs, but also look to give Detroit a serious push for the top spot in the Central Division.
from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,
Total cave job by the mediocre, middlin’, muddlin’ Colorado Avalanche tonight, folks.
Had the night off, but I still watched the contest on the House Channel. Rest assured, Avs fans, it was just all “bad luck” tonight for the local according to the House Men (and I really do think Mike Haynes and Peter McNab are top-notch at what they do. I just wish they could speak their minds more. A shame, really. The real villains in this are the overly sensitive, we-can’t-take-any-criticism-so-we-self-produce-our-own-propaganda-on-house-channel sports team owners).
This is what mediocre teams do in big home games, games that could pivot a season toward the playoffs: they get out to a little lead early on, then have chances to build on it, but don’t do it. Then the mediocre team starts to tighten up a little, and, boom, the game is tied. Then the medidcre team starts to tighten up a little more, then gets a call go against them. Finally, the mediocre team has the BIG PLAY happen against it and falls behind.
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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