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Blackhawks DL - A Chicago Blackhawks blog | Page 26

Why Can't We Be Friends?

Written by Andrew Bernier on .

Pictured: Not what the internet should look like

Good morning boys and girls.  I hope everyone enjoyed themselves after the game last night.  I'm sure there were plenty of celebratory drinks in Chicago, along with quite a few "make myself forget I watched a hockey game tonight" beverages in Vancouver.  Regardless of your alcohol intake or team allegiance, there's something I'd like to address today.  The play on the ice finally turned nasty, like everyone had predicted the series would go, last night.  That's just how rivalries go.

There's just a little something that bothers me.  As the players got nastier on the ice, the fans got nastier both in the stands and on the interwebs.  At the end of the game Canucks fans littered the ice with...well litter.  Fine by me if they want to throw garbage on the ice.  After all, I'm pretty sure I heard a "Refuse Sucks!" chant during the game.  The other half of the suckage was on twitter.

Now, I know that a vast majority of the people who I interact with are pretty awesome.  I'm not talking just Hawks fans either.  There's some really nice and really funny Canucks fans who I've talked to (I literally almost peed myself when @thomasdrance said "Man I hate Dustin Bfuglien, even if he was really good in Precious.").  Its the small minority that ruins it for every fan base, though.  Personal attacks on people and hating on a city or an entire country based on differing opinions is absolutely ludicrous.

So where do I start here?  We'll start off with the broad topics and progress into the more more specific stuff.  First up is the people who for some reason saw a bunch of people on the ice playing with a little piece of rubber and came to the conclusion that they hated the entire country of Canada and wanted everyone else to declare their hatred for the Great White North.  If I were to write a letter to this person, it would read: "Dear moron, 59% of the players on the current active roster of the Chicago Blackhawks are from Canada. Please remove your head from your anus."  I could also go into the economic reasons, such as Canada being the largest trade partner of the United States, but I'm sure you'd all fall asleep.  Point is, Canada is really cool and hating on them is hating on your own team.

Then there was the Anti-Vancouver movement.  Maybe these people missed those 2 weeks in February where the NHL stopped playing.  I watched as Vancouver put on an awesome show to the entire world.  Even if you were in a drunken stupor for those entire 2 weeks, you must have heard what the announcers think of the city.  They love travelling there and so do the players (although John Madden's wife might not be a fan of the city after those limo photos).  The Economist named it the best place to live IN THE WORLD and Forbes placed it at #4 on their list.  Simply stated, Vancouver = awesome and I can't wait to visit.

Now onto the most indefensible stuff.  Twitter has been a great way to connect with people and get news in real time.  Its a great tool, but its not perfect.  People get upset and all of a sudden everyone grows a huge pair of internet balls.  Its really easy to sit behind your keyboard and make personal threats at someone.  Some people need to grow up.  Honestly, there is not one thing that I can think of that would be acceptable grounds for a personal attack.  Someone hates a player you like? Big deal. Would you like me to call the whaaaambulance?  I hate Alex Burrows as a hockey player because he agitates me and the Hawks.  Other people hate Burish and Eager for the same reasons.  Its just opinions.  If you can't live with people having a different opinion, then maybe you shouldn't be able to use the big boy internets just yet.  You know who attacked anyone with a differing opinion? Hitler.  Don't be Hitler.

It got to the point where Canucks fans and Blackhawks fans were bashing someone who roots for both teams (when they aren't playing each other).  I know everyone gets really passionate about the game.  Its one of the things that makes it so great.  But why start fighting about who has the better anthem tradition?  What will you accomplish through that?

Allow me to interject some words here.  I'm sure there's at least one person out there thinking "well they started it."  In the words of my mother (which I heard a lot growing up), "I don't care who started it. Neither one of you is in the right here."  Both sides spewed hateful nonsense all night.  I know most of you are good people, just please stay that way and represent your team with tact and dignity.

So now you're thinking "Well what can I say?"  My answer: be funny.  My #1 rule is if you can't make fun of yourself, you can't make fun of other people.  I'll be the first person to make jokes about being a scrawny white kid.  My favorite jokes are about Ben Eager eating glue.  Be able to laugh at jokes about your own team.  Be able to make jokes about the other team (like noticing that Luongo looks a hell of a lot like Borat).  And keep it about hockey.  Nobody will think you are tough if you threaten to fight someone over the internet.

Besides, nobody needs any more enemies than they already have.  Isn't everyone talking about how business is going global and that connections are extremely important?  Well, I'm making the best connections of all: hockey fans who love the same game that I do who I'm going to drink heavily with when I visit Vancouver.

Special Note: If anyone can explain to me how to put a caption on that picture up there, email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

A Little Bit of History Repeating: Blackhawks at Canucks Game 3 Preview

Written by ChiBlackhawks on .

After game 2, it would be nice to believe that the momentum for this series has swung in the Blackhawks' favor. It would be nice to imagine that game 2 was a demonstration of the kind of hockey we'd see for the next few days.

It would be nice, but we've been here before, and should know better. Anything can still happen tonight, and the thing is, whatever does happen tonight may not affect the outcome of the next game, or the one after that. That's how wild momentum can swing, especially in a tied series.

As with round 1 against Nashville, as with the series against Vancouver in last year's playoffs, a tied series only means we're back to square one, with home advantage maybe shifting back to the Canucks. Split the next 2 games and home ice returns to us. Lose both and we'd be digging our own graves. Win both, and we could conceivably close the series out at the United Center again.

But we can't look too far ahead. There's a trick to this balancing act, to finding the line between keeping perspective in spite of possible adversity and playing balls out hockey because each game is important, every 60 minutes or more on the ice needing to be played.

In game 1 the Blackhawks failed to show up. In game 2 the Canucks may have stopped skating for the last 55 minutes.

In terms of lineups, expect to see Buff on the first line with Toews and Kane, although Kesler's line seems to be winning that match-up. Bolland's line is set up against the Sedins, and the Hawks' third line seems to have had more success in game 2 against the twins, so hopefully that continues to happen. The second line of Sharp-Kopecky-Hossa is due to break out soon, because they're up against Kesler's line half the time, and Demitra's line the other half.

With Buff on the first line, Brouwer in the doghouse (what came first, getting benched leading to his mental state, or his mental state causing him to get benched?), and Johnsson's whereabouts still unknown, I guess we'll be seeing Jordan Hendry back on the blue line tonight. I thought Quenneville actually did a good job managing his defensemen's TOIs--Hjalmarsson led blueliners with 24:58, while Keith was a close second with 24:44. That was with Buff switching back to forward halfway through the game and leaving the team with 5 defensemen.

As for the result, who knows? We won't know how the boys will play until we see them skating, although for the sake of having some breathing room, it would be nice to break out of the Hawks' pattern for once, and just come out with a win tonight. (Stating the obvious, much?)

Whew. Blackhawks Tie Series Against Vancouver

Written by ChiBlackhawks on .

I like to think that part of the appeal of sports is how, from the chaotic and almost coincidental ebb and flow of the game, narratives emerge. Heroes and villains make themselves known. Storylines are exploited, history made, and so on and so forth.

Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals between the Blackhawks and the Canucks was supposed to be the Hawks re-establishing themselves, their game, coming out hungry and desperate and taking a much-needed win before they returned to Vancouver--instead, the first five minutes came out looking like the forgotten epilogue of the shellacking the team faced in game 1. The Blackhawks found themselves in a 2-0 hole within the first five minutes of the game thanks to Mason Raymond's perseverance in front of the net despite three Blackhawks standing around him fully capable of clearing the rebound if they wanted, and a 5on3 tally by Mikael Samuelsson.

It was enough to suck the life out of the United Center, but somehow it seemed to turn a switch on for the Blackhawks. Two minutes after that 5on3 goal, a streaking Brent Seabrook poked the puck past Luongo. Dave Bolland had intended to center it for Ladd, but it bounced over and found itself on the right end of Seabrook's. The Hawks had pulled themselves up by one, and seemed to be awake again. Unfortunately--and you'll notice this by the way NHL's highlight saves of last night's game included only 2 of Niemi's to 8 of his--Luongo was as well. Throughout the rest of the first and all of the second, the Hawks weren't able to score just one more goal to tie the game, despite more or less dictating the pace.

By the third period, Hawks fans were on edge. It definitely did not help matters when Keith was called for holding the stick, but as it turned out, the Hawks' PP was masquerading around as the Hawks' PK. Sharp--with the help of Kris Versteeg, who cleared the shooting lane for him--got one past Luongo shorthanded. It looked like the game was headed to overtime, though, and late in the third Kris Versteeg overplayed the puck and lost it in a goalmouth scramble, but somehow the puck found its way back to his stick and, with a semi-clear shot to Luongo's net, he swung wild. The Hawks pulled up to their first lead in the series, 3-2, with 90 seconds left. Luongo is pulled for the extra man but a Kane backhander found the empty net, and both teams head over to Vancouver with the series tied 1-1.

Notes:

  • That was easily one of the most physical outings I've seen all year. Every minute and a half, it seemed, somebody was getting laid out against the boards, on the ice, over the benches... In the end, the Hawks outhit the Canucks 38-31, and Seabrook was accountable for 8 of them. Eight.
  • Also, Seabrook had 1 goal and 2 assists. Hot damn.
  • Patrick Sharp is so hot he makes the Sahara Desert look like the North Pole.
  • I'm really, really glad to see the much-maligned third line generating the chances that they did, and being on the ice for 2 of the 4 Hawks goals.
  • There was better puck-clearing as the game progressed, which is good, because the Canucks could have capitalized on a few more chances with the puck in the crease while Niemi was facing the other way. There also seemed to be a little more improvement when it came to the Hawks crashing the net.
  • Buff started out on D, but ended up on a line with Toews and Kane. I'm not sure what's mentally wrong with Brouwer, but I'm guessing we'll be seeing Hendry back up on D next Wednesday.
  • That being said, I have to admit even I couldn't keep up with Q's line juggling. I should be used to this by now.
  • Frankly, after all is said and done, I'm just relieved. We were thisclose to going back to Vancouver down 2-0 in the series. Whoever said last night wasn't a must-win would have been technically correct, but we all know that would have still been bullshit.

Mulligan: Blackhawks vs Canucks Game 2 Preview

Written by Andrew Bernier on .

I'm not calling tonight a must-win.  It just wouldn't be my style to go all alarmist on everybody.  But it would certainly be nice to get a win here.  That would mean the Hawks would be 1-1 at home and only need to win 1 in Vancouver to take back home ice advantage.

I know game 1 felt like the end of the world.  The Hawks got outskated up and down the ice all night.  That's in the past now.

Coach Q and all the players have been guarding the secret of tonight's lineup like they're auditioning for the DaVinci Code II. (Yes, I know what Angels and Demons is. Now go away, you nerds).  There's been speculation that Buff could be moving back to defense, which I'm not completely opposed to.  I think inserting Burish at forward will bring a spark (and possibly herpes).  Hendry looked brutally out of place on Saturday so maybe he should sit this one out.  I feel like Burish is just much less of a liability when on the ice than Hendry.  So if Buff moves to D, the honus is on TKO and Brouwer to play big and drive to the net.

Niemi will be back in net.  I like that Q didn't hesitate to say that in the post game.  The last thing we need is for our goalie to be questioning his #1 spot while trying to stop the Canucks.  He plays best when he's loose, confident, and challenging shooters.  He was on his heels last time out and spit out some "buxom rebounds."  That crap has got to go.  You can't expect the goalie to steal all of the games for you, but he is going to have to step up at some point in this series and keep the defense from pooping away a game.

Sadly, I'm not even sure if I'll be able to watch this one.  I have two finals tomorrow that I'm freaking out about.  I'll do my best to catch as much as I can. (Honestly I'll probably watch the whole game and pull an all nighter, but I'm trying to avoid having to sleep-deprive myself again.)  After today, my only other final is Monday, so don't worry, I'll be back for the rest of the series.

Let's Go Hawks!

Guest Perspective Part 2: The Royal Half

Written by Andrew Bernier on .

Hello boys and girls. Today we have a very special guest.  Chris Kontos (Edit: my appologies for confusing Chris with a Canucks fan. That is one of the most insulting things a person can have happen to them.) from The Royal Half is here to tell us about his experience watching his team play the Canucks.  Its been a while since the Hawks have played the Canucks so who better to hear from than a guy who just watched 6 games against them.  A very big thanks for writing this since both I and ChiBlackhawks have been very busy lately, plus it can't be easy to re-live the butt kickin' the Kings received.  We have no pity though because The Royal Half gets to write about Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson all season.  They'll be back plenty in the future.

So without further ado, I'll turn over the floor, followed by some of my comments at the end.

Pay no attention to that man in the net, Chicago Blackhawks. This Vancouver Canucks team lives and dies by those redheaded genetic freaks, the Sedin Twins. When the Los Angeles Kings were able to shut them down… they looked like they could take the series from the Canucks. But when the Kings let them dance and float and pass behind the back all over the ice like they do so well… the Kings didn't stand a chance.

Sure, Roberto Luongo is a world class goalie. But except for 2 saves during the entire series, he looked pretty mortal against the Kings. But oh what a 2 saves they were.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MI8Dd6oouqM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGVD3F5H84E

You stop the Sedins, you stop the Canucks. I don't care what Canucks fans will tell you about secondary scoring or Ryan Kesler or Steve Bernier… stop the twins or you stop nothing. Okay well… I will say, Mikael Samuelsson is pretty good too… you should definitely keep your eyes out for him.

This is why the Blackhawks signed you, John Madden. This is your time to shine. Use all that trap magic you learned during your tenure in New Jersey to keep those twins from scoring in this series. Shut down the twins, throw a ton of pucks at Luongo and make sure that beast of a man, Dustin Byfuglien, is standing in front of him the entire time.

Oh, and one more thing that the Chicago Blackhawks might want to think about for their series against the Vancouver Canucks. Apparently, the Los Angeles Kings did pretty, pretty, pretty well on the Power Play. Like 38.5% well… like 10 out of 26 well. So you might want to look to pick up a power play chance when you can, ok? This series has all the makings of an NHL Playoff Classic… so neither one of these teams better disappoint otherwise Drew Doughty's gonna come to both your cities and break some heads.

Andrew's observations on those points:

  • From everything we've heard so far, take the over on every game.  Between Luongo turning into a mere mortal this year and the lack of defensive depth on the Canucks, this could turn into a shootout of a series.  Besides being extremely exciting hockey, that style of play fits the Hawks really well.
  • Mikael Samuelsson has had an amazing playoffs, especially in relation to his playoff career before this year.  He was playing with the Sedins at times against the Kings.  Keith and Seabs are going to see a whole lot of time against that line and it will make or break the series.
  • I'm a bit worried about relying on John Madden to win the series and be the shutdown factor.  He just hasn't looked the same since the limo incident (and what I'm assuming turned into a "lower-body injury" from his wife when he got back from that road trip).  Maybe its age, maybe its injury, maybe its a combination of both. Regardless, this is my biggest concern.
  • Crap. I hope we don't have to rely on the power play to win this. Its been total garbage all season.

This is What Rivalries are Made of: Blackhawks vs Canucks Series Preview

Written by ChiBlackhawks on .

Tomorrow night the puck drops on what is arguably going to be the best match-up in the Stanley Cup Conference Semi-Finals. There is surely no bigger rivalry among the semifinalists than the one that exists between the Blackhawks and the Canucks. The teams don't like each other, and with a bulk of the animosity coming off from games in the last two seasons, everything is fresh in everyone's minds.

I could write a whole post detailing all the transgressions the teams have against each other, but I'm sure you, our dear readers (yes, all three of you--hi, Mom!), are fully aware of all the elements. The line brawl. The hair pulling. Patrick Kane, "PP specialist". "Old man Willie." Byfuglien's ass getting intimately acquainted with Luongo's face. The hat trick. The tears. The hit on Toews. The "cowardly" Ladd and his Kesler takedown. "I'll see you in the playoffs."

And Saturday night? Western Conference Semi-Finals, Round 2. The Canucks are hungry for redemption and vengeance. The Blackhawks would like nothing more than to put them in their place. If you thought the first round was a heart-stopping roller coaster ride, then you better bring out the AEDs for this one.

Here's a quick preview so you know what we can expect from our second round opponents:

Goalies:

Although pulled in one of the games against LA, Roberto Luongo can be expected to backstop the Canucks throughout the series. Andrew Raycroft has been more than serviceable as a back-up, but this is Luongo's show through and through. Some Canucks faithful believe he's established himself as a big game winner since usurping the starting spot from Martin Brodeur and winning the gold medal for Canada in the Olympics. The problem with that is he didn't exactly steal the game for the Canadians then. His most excellent outing is Game 6 against the Kings, though he got pulled and laid a stinker in one of the games preceding that.

Other Canucks fans, of course, have come off the idea that Luongo needs to be at his best to take the Canucks far. Growing in popularity is the sentiment that the Canucks only need Luongo to be solid, not spectacular, and the Canucks' depth will do the rest. (Sounds a little familiar, don't you think?) So for all the talk about Byfuglien planting his ass firmly in Luongo's face, the focus of the series may be shifting from a single "savior" to a more distributed team effort.

Defensemen:

That being said, I'm not entirely sure how Luongo's expected only to be solid with the defense corps the Canucks are dressing. With Mitchell shelved for concussion, Vancouver will be dressing a blue line that isn't as strong as the one the Blackhawks faced last year. The top pairing will be composed of Sami "Made of Glass" Salo and Alex "I guess I'm kinda okay" Edler. Christian Ehrhoff, who came from the Sharks, isn't bad for a 3rd defenseman either, but he's going to be paired up with Shane "Party at the Roxy" O'Brien, who fans of his own team have nicknamed SOB.

And then there's Andrew Alberts, who had something like 23 PIM in his first 2 games, but who we're supposed to expect to dress to get Byfuglien off his game. Because he's "big", even though Buff has about 30 pounds on him. We'll see, though. He'll be skating with Kevin Bieksa, whose minutes have dwindled since Edler stepped up.

However unimpressive the defense looks like, though, it would help to remember that the Blackhawks were stifled to a sad 5-1 score back in January, when the Canucks were without Mitchell, Salo, and Bieksa. A team that manages to play better than the sum of its parts is always a threat.

Forwards:

Where the Canucks also enjoy a modicum of depth is in their skaters. The top line of Twinkie 1 and Twinkie 2 with Mikael "Fuck you, Sweden" Samuelsson is lethal, and even against our top pair they have managed to break through in dangerous ways. Keith and Seabrook, along with whoever Quenneville is able to match against them, will have their work cut out for them just trying to contain Vancouver's top line. Twins and disgruntled Olympic snubs are creepy like that.

Ryan Kesler, meanwhile, will be centering the second line possibly with Mason "What's the opposite of name-dropping?" Raymond and Alexandre Burrows. They could be matched up against the Blackhawks' top line and at least Kesler will be working his two-way magic there.

After that, the Canucks get a little murkier. Kyle Wellwood is the team's third-line center, and he'll probably be skating with Bernier, who is enjoying a bit of a break-out season, and Pavol Demitra, who broke out during the Olympics and then returned to a life of mediocrity immediately after. Kinda like Superman, only it would have been nice if he saved his heroics for the Canucks instead of Team Slovakia. Rypien, Grabner, and Hansen are your likely fourth-liners, and here's where we hope the Blackhawks truly take advantage of the dropoff in talent, especially if Quenneville is sticking to a fourth line of Madden, Brouwer, and Byfuglien. Granted, Brouwer's play has dipped somewhat, but one would hope that it hasn't regressed beyond the skill level of the Canucks' fourth line.

In this series, the heroes could very well be the third- and fourth-liners, so let's hope the ice remains tilted in the Blackhawks' favor.

Special Teams:

I'm not sure what to tell you about special teams--after the first round, I'm more convinced now that the strength or ineffeciency of power play and penalty kill units are maybe more influenced by match-ups than regular season statistics. The league's best PP clicked at a 1-for-33 rate against a Canadiens' team that seemed to adjust and respond well to the way the Capitals ran the power play, and something in the Kings' set-up allowed them to capitalize and capitalize aplenty on their chances against the Canucks--except, sadly, when it mattered most.

We know that last year the Blackhawks were able to make the Canucks pay for their bruising style of play by scoring on the man advantage, but against the Preds the Hawks' record was nothing to write home about. Hopefully the return of Campbell, and the personnel adjustments done during the last practice, will help remedy the holes in the Hawks' power play.

The Hawks' penalty kill, on the other hand, remains the one consistent aspect of the Hawks' play. The boys have allowed just 1 power play goal against in 27 chances, and while I don't expect them to maintain that record throughout this series, it would help if the Hawks are able to stay strong on the kill.

Many penalties are expected in this round, thus strong special teams could play a huge part in who advances in the next round, and who heads to the golf course in two weeks' time.

Bold Prediction:

By game 3, NBC executives will wonder why they decided not to pick up this series for any of their broadcasts.

Conversations with the Enemy: Answers from Benched Whale

Written by Andrew Bernier on .

Editor's Note: We talked a little with Dani who runs Benched Whale, Bloguin's Vancouver Canucks blog.  Here's some things you should look for heading into the restart of the rivalry on Saturday.  We'll let you know when our side of the convo goes up over there.

BHDL: What is the Canucks biggest strength?
BW: Their biggest strength this year is that they have more depth than they had last year. All four lines that Vigneault puts on the ice can score so even if the opposing team shuts down our big line, there's still another line that could put pucks in the net. The Sedins have been able to elevate their game and when they haven't, players who have been MIA during the regular season somehow stepped it up in the series against the Kings.



BHDL
: What is the Canucks biggest weakness?
BW: Defense. A couple months ago I was complaining about how bad Aaron Rome was, now I'm wishing for him to be in the lineup to replace Andrew Alberts because he's even worse. That statement there should tell you about the state of the defense right now. Without Willie Mitchell the Canucks defense is missing a key shut down guy which will hurt them in this series.


BHDL
: The Blackhawks Olympians experienced a dip in play after the games. How has Luongo played since the Olympics, especially in the playoffs?
BW: In short: terrible. Well he wasn't that good coming into the Olympics and he was mediocre during the Olympics, so his play afterward could be thought of as being consistent with his play before. But he's been pulled a ton of times after the Olympics and was the number one question mark going into the series against the Kings. Luckily he made some clutch saves, and will hopefully carry this form into the series against the Blackhawks


BHDL
: What are you looking forward to most in this series?
BW: Rivalry. I love a good rivalry in a playoff series and have a feeling that this one will live up to my expectations. Also, during the Olympics I have come to appreciate Toews so much more and I am really looking forwards to watching him play against the Canucks.


BHDL
: Does Canuck Day cancel out the bad mojo caused by the Toews Cup mural?
BW: Canuck Day? What? Oh that event that I refuse to acknowledge even occurred because they are jumping the gun on this? Oh that. No bad mojo but it just was jumping the gun and makes non-bandwagon fans cringe because it just gives other fans/bloggers ammo to make fun of us with. It was a way for the city to show support to the team, but the end result just ends up looking like we are celebrating prematurely.

Dispatching the Preds: Blackhawks Win Series 4-2

Written by Andrew Bernier on .

Honestly, I'm so glad to be done with this series.  That's not a knock on Nashville.  Actually, I think its more of a compliment to them.  We knew going into the series that the Predators that they were going to frustrate the Hawks, but I don't think anyone really understood the extent to which that would happen.

The Preds played a very disciplined series.  They played their system to near perfection.  Looking at the games they won, you'll notice that they won those games with the forecheck.  The Hawks defense was frustrated and turned a lot of pucks over.  I don't think there's any way Brian Campbell would have came back early if the Hawks weren't in such desperate need of his breakout skills.

Pekka Rinne played a pretty great series and its hard to find too many goals that you can fault him for.  The deflection off Kane at center ice on a dump in was unfortunate for him and kinda flukey.  This won't be the last time he drives Hawks fans towards the deep end.

The Hawks turned the tide of the series when they started getting bodies towards the net.  Kane's tying goal in game 5? Rebound goal.  They'll need to keep driving to the net if they have hopes of beating the Canucks.

We're still waiting on full confirmation of what the schedule for round 2 is going to look like, but we expect it to start on Friday (as has been rumored).  If you're on twitter, you should start following @BenchedWhale for all the info you'll ever need regarding the Canucks.  We encourage some smack talk and a good, heated rivalry, but as Jim Carr said in Slapshot, "Please remember to keep it within the boundaries of good taste."

Keep on Rollin': Blackhawks 5 - Predators 3

Written by Andrew Bernier on .

Madden Toews Dance

Madden and Toews have a celebratory dance party after
clinching round 1. (Nuccio DiNuzzo, Chicago Tribune / April 26, 2010)

That was pretty awesome.  No recap just yet because I'm a busy person right now since this is my last week of school before finals.  I'll get you guys a recap tomorrow some time.  Not like you need one to realize that it was a fun game to watch.

Hats off to the Preds, they made it a very interesting series and I don't think many people had them pegged to walk into the United Center and take game one.  They're probably a few scorers away from contention, but they've got some good prospects rising through the ranks. Not the last we've seen of them.

Looking at the calendars for the UC and GM Place, looks like game one will end up being Friday.  This is just my estimation though, so don't start booking any flights or anything like that.

Last but certainly not least, we'll be talking to Canucks blog Benched Whale about the upcoming series and getting our smack talk on.  This is certainly turning into quite the rivalry between Vancouver and Chicago, eh?

Don't Let Me Down: Blackhawks vs Predators Game 6

Written by Andrew Bernier on .

Before Game 5, we noted that the Hawks were creating a pattern of winning every other game.  Well I've been quietly noticing a pattern throughout the playoffs so far.

Blackhawks

Red Wings

Game 1

Loss: 4-1

Loss: 3-2

Game 2

Win: 2-0

Win: 7-4

Game 3

Loss: 4-1

Loss: 4-2

Game 4

Win: 3-0

Win: 3-0

Game 5

Win: 4-5

Win: 4-1

Game 6

???

Loss: 5-2

So here's to hoping the Hawks break out of this cycle, since the Wings and Yotes are going to a game 7.  Really, I don't know if my heart could take it.

There are two ways the game can go tonight.  The Preds will either play like the Devils or the Coyotes.  Both teams were facing elimination games.  The Devils, the 2 seed in the east, lost 3-0 and never mounted much of a fight.  The Coyotes battled the Wings in game 6.  It was a close game the whole way and the Coyotes won it.  Expect the Preds to fight like the Yotes.

The Hawks can smell blood right now.  It'll be very interesting to see how they respond to the end of game 5.  They probably feel pretty lucky to have pulled out the win.  The Predators were clearly deflated after the game.  Now I doubt they feel that depressed right now as they've had a day to put it behind them, but there has to be a feeling of desperation in the Nashville locker room.  The Hawks need to play smart and convert on the power play.  We've seen a strong penalty kill all series and that needs to stay that way tonight.

The Hawks roster should look the same as last game.  Hornqvist is a game time decision for the Preds.  If he doesn't play tonight, I think the Predators front office will announce that they've been pulling a "Weekend at Bernies" during the morning skates and he's really beed dead since the beginning of the series.  You don't sit your team's leading goal scorer in a do-or-die game unless something is seriously wrong with him.

Getting pucks and bodies to the net can win this one tonight.  Scoring one early can go a long way to pulling the Preds out of the trap as they get desperate.

Its worth noting that if the Hawks win this series (either tonight or Wednesday), they'll play the Canucks in the next round.  Vancouver sealed the victory yesterday over LA.  But we're not there just yet.  Let's take care of business here first.


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