Kukla's Korner

Talk'n Hawks

Hawks Woes Continue

It’s hard to believe that only a couple weeks ago, that the Hawks had the BEST record in the NHL and the BEST home record. However, when you only pick up 3 out of the last possible 12 points, with 5 of those games being at the United Center, things are sure to change. The Hawks are now in 5th place (In late October I posted that Shoot Out points are nice, but too many of them will come back to haunt you in the ROW -Regulation / Overtime wins-column). The Hawks, Blues, and Red Wings, all have 53 points, but it’s the ROW that drops the Hawks down to 3rd in the division..

Since the last time I wrote, the boys lost to the Av’s 4-0 and then lost in Overtime to Detroit last night, 3-2. The reasons are simple and I am truly getting tired of writing the same thing over and over, but here we go.
1) Leaving guys open and untouched in front of the net. The goalie should not have to make 2 or 3 saves (I know, control rebounds, but that’s not always possible) especially on the same player, while no one touches him.
2) Failure to score on the Power Play. You have basically 5 All Stars on the first unit, what’s the problem?
3) The inability to hold on to a lead AND starting & finishing periods. By that I mean allowing goals in the 1st and last minute of a periods.
4) And finally, dumb turnovers in your own end.

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Exciting!!! (but 0 points…)

The title says it all. It was a really fun game to watch for 59 minutes, but the Hawks came up empty. It was the first time back to the Wells Fargo Arena since the Cup was hoisted back in 2010, as the Hawks fell to Philly 5-4. The reasons for the loss have pretty much become a theme. Leaving guys open in front of the net and being scored on in the last minute of periods. Read back to the blogs that I have written when the Hawks lose, and you will see those same words over and over.

For the game, Chicago called up forward Andrew Shaw and d-man Dylan Olesen from Rockford. Shaw-2011, 5th round pick & Olesen—2009 ist rounder made their NHL debuts for the game. Along now with Smith, Morin, Pirri, and Hayes, Coach Q shows that he is not afraid to sit regular players to take a look at the AHL hopefuls.

The line ups looked like this; 1) Sahrp, Toews, and Shaw.  2) Stalberg, Kane, Hossa.  3) Bickell, Bolland, Brunette.  4) Frolik, Mayers, Hayes (my favorite 4th line in a couple of years, by the way)  Defensively, the kid Olesen was paired with Sean O’Donnell. Emery got the start in net against the off season acquisition, Bryzgalov.

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Carcillo Suspended / Side Notes

Daniel Carcillo, as every one expected has been suspended by the NHL, Here’s a quote I got from nhl.com.

NEW YORK – Chicago Blackhawks forward Daniel Carcillo has been suspended for seven games and will forfeit $66,158.54 in salary for boarding Edmonton Oilers defenseman Tom Gilbert during NHL Game #571 in Chicago on Monday, Jan. 2, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today.

Carcillo, who was suspended on Nov. 28, 2011, is classified as a repeat offender under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Accordingly, he forfeits his salary based on the number of games in the season (82), rather than the number of days (185). The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

The incident occurred at 7:23 of the second period. A major penalty for boarding and a game misconduct were assessed on the play.

Carcillo will miss games Jan. 5 at Philadelphia, Jan. 6 vs. Colorado, Jan. 8 vs. Detroit, Jan. 10 vs. Columbus, Jan. 12 vs. Minnesota, Jan. 14 at Detroit and Jan. 15 vs. San Jose. He will be eligible to return Jan. 18 vs. Buffalo.

Note that Carcillo is undergoing tests on his knee and would not start serving the suspension until he is considered healthy.

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Oilers down Hawks

The Hawks dropped their second game out of the last three at the United center after losing to Edmonton 4-3. Crawford and his less than impressive 2.77 goals against average (pre game) was in net against Dubnyk (4-9-0). The third defensive coupling was Scott and Lepisto, or the YIKES!!! match up as I like to call it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice match up if you like to practice holding your breath.  Once again, Big Jimmy Hayes remained with the club after being called up from Rockford. The Hawks were looking for some revenge after the last meeting with the Oilers, in which they suffered their worst loss in 4 years, 9-2. Both goalies were in and out of that game.It was, however, the only really bad performance by Emery all season.

In the first period, the Hawks were tested on the Penalty Kill (79% - 27th STILL in the league) with a 4 minute double minor. They prevailed. An unsuccessful power Play (slipping these days to 18% & 12th in the league) later ensued. The Hawks Captain, Toews started the scoring to make it 1-0 on a pass from Carcillo. The Hawks, WERE 14-0-4 when scoring first, up until this game.  With around a minute left, Crawford came up with a big save on Jones, on a break away. I always worry about these guys during the first & last minutes of periods. I don’t know whether it is a lack of focus or what, but they have problems during thoses times every here and again. Either way, both teams headed into the locker room with 10 shots on goal apiece.

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Hawks / Wings FINALLY!!!

I got home a little after 1:00 am from work and went straight to the DVR. (Everyone, by now, that I work with knows not to say a word on the outcome of my DVR’d Hawks games). I planned on watching the 1st period only, and then watching the rest when I woke up today. Yeah, right, who was I kidding. I stayed up and watched the whole game.

The Hawks and Wings met for the 715th time (the most of any 2 NHL teams) with the game being played at the United Center. There were many line changes for Coach Q, as follows. Line 1) Carcillo, Toews, Hossa. 2) Sharp, Kane, Stalberg 3) Bickell, Bolland, Frolik 4) Brunette, Mayers, Hayes. Yes, that’s right, it was the NHL debut for “Big” Jimmy Hayes (6 foot 6 ins). We say the American born youngster all through the pre season. He has been down in Rockford and got his first call up last night. What a thrill it must of been for him, to early on, get into a collision with “for sure” 1st ballot HOF, Lidstrom!  Jiimy Howard (22-8-1) was in net against Crawford (14-8-2)  Also as a side note, it looks more and more like Montador and O’Donnel appear to be the 3rd defensive tandem. Both Scott and Lepisto have been in the 3 spot as well this season.

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Hawks VS Blue Jackets / Kings

Hello everyone! I am back from my Holiday break. I hope that everyone that reads this blog has had a happy, and safe week. While I’m at it, I’ll take the time to also wish everyone a safe and Happy New Year! I will be working (as always) on New Year’s Eve, but I always have a good time doing it.

Now on to hockey. As a side note, I will be doing a couple of blogs solely on the subjects of a “half way” evaluation, and what holes need to be filled to have a successful Cup drive for the rest of this season.The Hawks played 2 games since we’ve talked last, so let’s talk Hawks.

On Monday, the Blue Jackets came to the United Center. I got tickets for this game back in September, on the day that single game tickets were released. It was my Christmas present to me, and the boys did not disappoint. It was funny, the 2 previous games at the U.C. that my son & I attended, the Hawks had scored a combined 13 goals. On the way to the game I remarked that if we were shut out it would be hard to complain (turns out I was off by one game). Corey Crawford was in net against Steve Mason for the contest.

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Hawks Down Habs

The Hawks beat Montreal at the United Center by a score of 5-1. The final tally is much more one sided than the actual game itself. More on that in a minute. The Habs, btw, is short for Les Habitants, a French nickname that was given to the team close to 100 years ago. I mentioned that it is French, just in case their new head coach, Randy Cunneyworth is reading this. (in case you haven’t heard, hard core Canadien fans are upset because their new coach doesn’t speak French) Any way the 2 teams met for the 555th time. (if that seems like a lot, remember that Coach Q just recorded his 600th win).

Before we get into the game, as a side note, Marcus Kruger is out with a concussion.He was hit by Engelland in the previous game against the Penguins. This is the play where after the hit, John Scott jumped to his aid and dropped the gloves WITH (key word here kids) him. There was no penalty for the hit, but Scott got an instigator penalty, along with the 10 minute misconduct. Toews was quoted as saying (and I’m paraphrasing) that every one in the locker room was 100% behind what Scott did. We’ll take that kind of penalty every time. I agree. To balme Scott because he is bigger is just plain stupid.

On to last night, to replace Kruger and Carcillo (now officially on the I.R.) the Hawks have called up Brandon Pirri and Jeremy Morin. These are two really good young prospects who I’m sure most Hawks fans are familiar with.

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A Fun One to Watch!

I don’t even know where to begin on the game between the Hawks & Penguins (in Pittsburgh) on Tuesday night. OK, the score, Pens won 3-2. This however does not even begin to tell the story. I cannot remember the last time, or if even ever for that matter, that I came away from a loss feeling so good. You know you’re watching a special game when the national announcer (Doc) says, “Wow, this is fun!” The energy that the Hawks showed during the 3rd period made the time just fly by.Not to mention the great saves by Fleury, the near misses and the shots off the post!  The last couple of minutes saw the Hawks on the Power Play and an extra attacker for the pulled goalie. However, in the end, the Hawks did come up a goal short for the loss.

Within the game, and especially during the 3rd period there were different line combinations. (To note Carcillo is still out with an injury, Kruger left the game, and Jeremy Morin has been brought up from Rockford, while Ben Smith was sent back down) We saw Kane back at center again for a while with Hossa and Stalberg. Also Toews centered Sharp and Brunette for a while. Both of these are interesting lines. It was Emery, 6th straight start against the 16-7-2, Marc-Andre Fleury.

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Coach Q 600th Win

A slightly embarrassed (by all the attention), Coach Q, stuck around after the game for an extra minute while his milestone was announced. The crowd cheered as the single spotlight zeroed in on the coach, behind the bench. Congratulations coach, quite a feat. This, of course, was made possible by the 4-2 victory over Calgary at the United center, Sunday night. The Hawks made it 5 straight wins and have taken 15 out of the last 16 points. Ray Emery (8-1-2) again was in net against Kiprusoff (!4-10-2). As as side note, Jeremy Morin was brought up from Rockford for the game. He was placed on the first line with Toews and Kane. The Hawks are having a hard time solidifying that wing spot. They have used Stalberg, Carcillo, Ben Smith, and Brunette (off the top of my head) so far this year.  There was also a bit of line juggling, as always, through the game.

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Emery Stays Hot / Hawks Win

Ray Emery continued being the hot goalie that he has been of late. With the Hawks win over the Ducks on Friday (4-1), he now moves to 5-0-1 in his last 6 games. He entered the game with a 1.84 goals against average,  and a .934 save percentage in his previous 5 appearances. Now, for those who like to stir up problems, there is no goalie controversy. Coach Q has, and always will play the goalie who is getting it done. Should Emery start to falter, we will see Crawford again. End of discussion. Jonas Hiller (8-12-5) was between the pipes for Anaheim.

The first period began with an early Hawks Penalty Kill. The Hawks P.K, slowly starting to get better, 27th in the league @ 78%, got out unscathed. John Scott played wing on the fourth line, replacing the ailing Carcillo, with Mayers and Brunette. It would be that line that would strike first. Mayers, on a nifty little back hand, wrap around flip shot, put it in off Hiller. Both Brunette and Scott were credited with an assist.  As a side note, that goal equaled the entire 4th line goal production of the Ducks all year long! The Hawks, by the way, entered the game at 11-0-1 when scoring first.  The Hawks Power Play (19.5%, 7th in the league) got a chance with 1:14 left. It would carry over into the second frame, still 1-0. Hawks out shot the Ducks 8-6 in the period.

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