Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Ben Klayman at Reuters,
However, many thought Wirtz’s coup was the late November hiring of John McDonough, president of the Chicago Cubs baseball team, to the same position with the Blackhawks.
“We need to take that beautiful arena and we need to bring back the roar and fill that building every night,” McDonough, 54, said. “Expectations are sky high.”
He moved quickly to repair relations with alienated former Blackhawks stars still beloved by fans, hiring Hall-of-Famers Hull, Mikita and Tony Esposito as ambassadors.
“It was embarrassing for a while there. Things were looking real dismal,” said former star goalie Esposito, 65, who was the face of the franchise in the 1970s. He said the club is now being run like it was in its heyday.
more… *a detailed look at the evolution of the Blackhawks franchise
As I’ve written in the past, the changes in Chicago represent one of my favorite NHL stories this season. A remarkable turnaround in effect there.
From Chris Kuc at the Chicago Tribune,
“I knew this day was coming—I think we all did,” said Eric Rabbers, a season ticket-holder in the 300 level of the United Center for three years who saw his tickets increase from $13.50 per game to $25. “We realized, especially in my section, the prices we were paying were pretty cheap.
“The problem I have is [accepting] an 85 percent increase for my tickets in one year. I think that’s out of line, especially seeing the team didn’t make the playoffs. I have a buddy who sits in the 100 level and his seats went up from $67.50 per to $115. I know the prices have been cheap for the past 10 years, but to try to make it up in one off-season is kind of ridiculous.”
Today’s NHL media conference call brought together Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks, and Nicklas Backstrom from Washington. Earlier today all three were named as finalists for the Calder Trophy Award for the NHL’s Rookie of the Year.
Here is a transcript from that Q&A session.
Q. For Patrick and Jonathan, going after the same award, how do the two of you feel about that?
From Steve Rosenbloom at RosenBlog (Chicago Tribune):
Jonathan Toews will be the Hawks’ next captain, and I’ll be surprised if Jonny T. Good doesn’t get the “C” by noon today.
And also from Tim Sassone at the Daily Herald:
They didn’t do it this season because the Blackhawks wanted Jonathan Toews to focus on being a rookie in the NHL. But by opening night next season, it’s more likely than not that Toews, at age 20, will be wearing the “C” as captain of the Hawks.
from SCF PressPoint,
CHICAGO – The Chicago White Sox and Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey League (NHL) today announced a unique partnership between the two sports organizations. The new marketing partnership, one-of-a-kind among sports franchises, gives the Blackhawks a significant presence within U.S. Cellular Field, home of the White Sox, during the 2008 season.
Throughout this season the White Sox will incorporate the Blackhawks during in-game activities, including a “Shoot the Puck” competition held once a game atop the home dugout. The White Sox also will hold “Blackhawk Night” at the ballpark on Saturday, August 23. That night will include appearances from Blackhawks players and legends, and fans will have the opportunity to purchase Blackhawks game tickets for 2008-2009.
from the Chicago Tribune,
The Hawks are off Thursday night and will be rooting for the Blues. Even if the Predators fall to the Blues, the Hawks still need to win their remaining two games—Friday night at home against Nashville and Sunday in Detroit—and have Vancouver lose one of its final two games to reach their first postseason since 2002.
“Hopefully St. Louis can give us a win [Thursday night] and that game Friday night would mean something,” Kane said. “It would be unbelievable to play in a game like that with playoffs on the line and our playoff hopes remain in [our] hands.”
read on for more on the Chicago win over Detroit…
from the Chicago Sun-Times,
The NHL Alumni Association has rolled out a Signature Wine Series, a 12-bottle collection—six Chardonnays, six Cabernet Sauvignons—featuring the likeness of some of hockey’s greatest players.
In Chicago, the two wines, produced by Ironstone Vineyards of Murphys, Calif., are Bobby Hull’s “Golden Jet” 2007 Chardonnay and Tony Esposito’s “Tony O” 2005 Cabernet. The wines are sold at Binny’s and in the United Center’s restaurants and suites….
Quigley said it was a wise move for the hockey world to expand its demographic reach by making hockey-related wine. Though beer is enormously popular among sports fans, “wine should have its day as well,” he said.
Those demographics already might be changing. Fans in the United Center’s pricier seats and luxury boxes can order wine from waiters. The old Chicago Stadium “[smelled] of 70 years of beer that had embedded itself in the concrete,” Quigley recalled almost wistfully.
from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
On Monday, as the Blues were preparing for tonight’s game against Detroit, some took exception to Savard’s comments.
“Deni Savard trying to question our toughness or question our methods is beyond me,” Jackman said. “He played in a day and age when there was a fight every whistle and gloves in faces. If he’s got a problem with it, then he’s just not looking at what he played through.
“Those are their two best players. If they want to play in this league a long time, it’s going to be a situation where they’re going to have to face some adversity and that’s having to play through things. Kane had his stick on our goalie every whistle and Toews was standing in front of the net. If they want to go to the net, it’s a physical game. Sorry that we hurt their feelings.”
from the Chicago Tribune,
“I’m just ticked off about a bunch of their players taking free shots at us,” an upset Savard said after the Hawks’ 4-3 victory over St. Louis. “After whistles, taking cross-checks behind their heads and behind their backs.”
Savard singled out the play of the Blues’ Barret Jackman and David Backes.
“Our game is a great game; let’s keep it that way,” Savard said. “We have two young kids ( Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews) who are playing their hearts out. If it’s [Pittsburgh’s Sidney] Crosby or [Evgeni] Malkin, I don’t see any difference. We have to protect them….”
Watch the post game press conference with Savard…
from Icing at the Chicago Tribune,
The Blackhawks’ Martin Havlat is scheduled to undergo surgery on his injured left shoulder in Cleveland on Thursday, according to coach Denis Savard.
It will be the third time the winger has had surgery on the shoulder, the second while with the Blackhawks. He injured it twice this season, missing 22 games after suffering a dislocation during the first game of the season and hasn’t played since re-injuring it Feb. 27.
Savard said Havlat’s rehabilitation should last, “at least four months. Part of it is he’ll have to be in a sling for three weeks doing nothing and then start rehab from there. They’re going to solve that problem that’s in there.”
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.
Email Paul anytime at email@example.com