Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Blackhawks vs. Blues Post Game

Blackhawks fall to the St. Louis Blue 2-4, fall into 3-game losing streak

Jeff Gordon, Columnist for the STL Today, opens his column stating, "Blue's fans are understandably frustrated by their team's failure to climb into the middle of the Western Conference playoff bracket this year." Well if the Blues fans are, "understandably frustrated," how would you say Blackhawks fan are currently? Every week we hear the same thing, Hawks need to have better net minding, better puck handling, better passing, better defense, more stability from the goalies, be more physical... whatever it is we need, it's being addressed but not implemented on the ice.  

The first period wasn't a disaster like the last 40 minutes were and I actually have some positives that came from period 1. As a team we were taking shots, and more than our opponent, which we have struggled with as of late, out shooting the Blue 12-10. We were getting off with better passes and shots on goal and ACTUALLY getting rebounds! I say rebounds, did anyone hear me? The Blackhawks actually had enough net minding/puck minding to get a REBOUND. That however, changed during the course of the game.

Sharp showed Chicago that there is still some skills when it comes to shooting on this deflated Blackhawks team as he sticks one top shelf off a break away to give the Blackhawks the lead. It's didn't take long before the Blue tied the game up however, and yes that seems to be a re-occuring theme in these Hawk's games as of late; hawks chalk one up but never keep it up.

Later in the first, Toews causes a turnover and had a great break-away chance on goal. Mason had a great pad save on the shot, however, Hossa got the rebound as he was skating right in front of the net to put the puck in the net behind Mason and put the Hawks up, again; 2-1. The Blues with only 5 minutes into the 2nd tied the game up with a slap shot from the right side of the ice and like I said, this is a re-occuring theme.

The 3rd period began all tied up as the Hawks couldn't respond to brewer's tying goal earlier in the period. Hawks tied the Blues in shots during the 2nd period but against the Blues who lead the NHL in goals allowed in the 2nd period, the Hawks weren't able to make anything of it.

I won't go into much detail because the 3rd period was just a heartache. With only 2 minutes left in the period Q-Stache had on the ice at one point: Toews, Kane, Hossa, Sharp, Keith, and Byfuglien after he pulled Niemi from goal... and we still couldn't score! I don't think there is any team in the entire NHL that could create a better line up than that at the time, but leave it to the Hawks, as of late, to not capitolize on the opportunity.

Niemi was struggling tonight, I don't know exactly what it was, but it seemed as though his positioning was a little off. He looked as if he THOUGHT he knew where the net was in proximity to his body but he was leaving these holes/sides of the net open the entire night. It wasn't a large hole/side, but the Blues were getting the shots in and Niemi wasn't playing the puck at times thinking he probably had the net covered. It was just a rough night over all for Niemi. 

On defense, Hjalmarrson had an unforunite turnover in the 1st which lead to an STL goal, but after that I thought he had a solid performance, he had some nice blocked shots by getting in front of the puck with his body or stick, and in one instance actually got control of the puck after his block, which was nice. The defense was getting dominated (physically) and I don't know if it was due to the lack of having big man Byfuglien in the same line-up as before due to a Q-stache line change or what. Blues just had an overall more physical game, not allowing us to clear the puck out of the D Zone or even allowing simple passing. 

The Blue's PK teams rank #1 in the NHL and they shut us out cold. Hawks had only 5 shots during our power plays ending with no points on the board. With 8 minutes left into the 3rd the Hawks had almost double the amount of chances than the Blue did (13-7) but once again couldn't make anything of it. The Hawks out shot the Blues, 34-30, which use to be normal but hasn't been the case since the Olympic break. All of these are good stats to have during a game, you would think, but in a 2-4 loss, it really doesn't help our case.

There were certain players who showed us that the skill is there, we just need to some how implement it better on the ice. Hossa's 1v2 which left both Blues defensemen on the ground was beautiful, but didn't lead to a goal. Keith's 1 on 1 performance at the end of the game against Backes was beautiful and ultimately prevented a goal, and once again, Sharp's goal in the first was a very nice shot. So what do we take away from this? The Hawks showed some glimpses of improvement in SMALL areas but when we put everything together as a team, were too minor to make a difference. We need to step this thing up TOGETHER! Hawks play ex-teammate Martin Havlat tonight against the Wild, we'll see how they do tonight.

Thanks for following Windy City Sportz, I'm ChiN8 and we'll see you next time.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Bulls finish out weekend on a two game win streak

 Bulls bounced back: finishing out the weekend on a two game win streak
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After a dissapointing loss to the Miami Heat on Thursday, the Bulls bounced back in a big way by blowing out the New Jersey Nets (106-83) and edging out the Detroit Piston (110-103) to finish out the weekend on a two game win streak. The Bulls couldnt have picked a better time to start winning and playing better than right now as they enter the week only 1 game behind the Toronto Raptors for the final 8th playoff seed in the Eastern Conference.

After being embarassed at home on Thursday by Dwayne Wade and Co., the Bulls were looking to put the past behind them in a big way. The Bulls used a hot Janero Pargo to run the lowly Nets out of town on Saturday, who started for injured rookie James Johnson (foot), posting a season high in minutes played (40) as well as points (27). Derrick Rose had a rare off night shooting, finishing 3-12 from the field, 1-2 from the charity stripe ending up with 7 points but excelled in getting others involved by dishing out 9 assists. It was nice to see the reserves picking up the slack, although Pargo did start, also seeing Joakim getting more minutes (13) than previous game (10) was also a good sign that the energetic big man is returning back to form.

Looking to build off a strong outing against the New Jersey Nets, the Bulls visited the Detroit Pistons in hopes of sweeping the Pistons for the first time since Michael Jordan and the 95-96 team did the same. The Bulls started off on fire, posting an 18 point lead at halftime. However, the Bulls had to hold off a come back as the Pistons outscored the Bulls by 10 in the 3rd quarter. The Bulls again used their bench to help assure another victory with former Piston Ronald Murray, shooting a red hot 9-14 from the field (3-5 from long distance), 2-4 from the foul line while grabbing 3 rebounds and dishing out 4 assists coming off the bench. This time the Bulls got a lot of help from Derrick Rose, who rebounded quite nicely from a previous dissapointing perfomance, posting 21 points; shooting 7-13 from the floor, 7-8 from the foul line while grabbing 3 rebounds and dishing out another 9 assist. Taj Gibson continues to be a beast on the boards as he sees more actions with Joakim playing limited minutes still.

Joakim's minutes continue to increase with each game, this time racking up 17 minutes as opposed to 13 minutes the night before. Seeing Joakim completely dominate Jason Maxiell is always good to see from an injured player. Playing more minutes in back-to-back games is a great sign for the Bulls as they look to make their final playoff push before the season comes to a close.

On Monday, the Raptors narrowly held off the Charlotte Bobcats, increasing their lead on the 9th place Bulls by 1 game. As the Bulls enter the final stretch of their season, with only 9 games left, they must be focused on playing their best basketball if they want to make it into the playoffs. Looking ahead at the schedule, this weeks games are very managable for the Bulls. Starting off the week on Tuesday facing a strong Phoenix Suns team, ending the week at the New Jersey Nets then starting the final week against the Toronto Raptors which could be a pivotal matchup as the Raptors have an easy week after defeating the Bobcats tonight, against the Clippers and the 76ers.

If the Bulls want any hopes of playing in a post season, they have to focus on winning their games and not about what the Raptors are doing. The first road block to the post-season is a red hot Phoenix Suns team on a 7 game win streak with a determined Amare Stoudemire heading the domination. The Bulls defeated the Suns the only time they have met previously this season, pulling out a shocking road win 115-104. Although the Bulls had a healthy Joakim Noah (19 pts 8rebs) and Loul Deng (23pts 6rebs) then, the Bulls can defeat the Suns on Tuesday if they play disciplined and strong defense through all 4 quarters.

The playoff push is on for the Bulls, hopefully the pieces fall into place for the post season- setting them up for an action filled summer of 2010 with a market of impending free agents keeping an eye on how this young team finishes the season.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Blackhawks vs. Blue Jackets Post Game

Patrick Sharp, looking defeated after the Hawks' 4-2 loss Against the Columbus Blue Jackets
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Blackhawks lose back-to-back games against the Columbus Blue Jackets, losing 4-2 in the United Center tonight. With Niemi back in net, I think we can all agree that we had higher hopes for him, as well as the entire team, after the disastrous performance by Huet and the rest of the Hawks in the prior CBJ game earlier in the week. And the fact that Niemi had two shut outs in his previous 3 games.

However, after letting up four goals and making only 16 saves on the night, we are right back where we started with our goaltender instability.

I will say this though, I cannot sit here and put all of the blame on Niemi, much like I do when Huet is in net (A little one-sided, maybe). I will point my finger at each and every player on that active roster. For the first game in a while, Kane hasn't gotten at least one point, and was also on the ice for three of the 4 Blue Jackets goals. He couldn't even get a decent pass off throughout all three periods of play, which says a lot coming from one of their top playmakers.

Hawks almost double CBJs in shots (Hawks with 35, Blue Jackets with 20), but still cannot put the puck in the net, which seems to be a re-occuring theme. Prior to this game, the Hawks have out-shot their opponents 60 times. This game just made it 61. They even had assistance in scoring their first goal, in which the Blue Jacket's Antoine Vermette ever so gracefully put the puck in the back of the net after Dave Bolland tried tapping it in and hit the post. A big thank-you from all of us Hawks fans.

The Hawks' special teams did their job correctly by holding the Blue Jackets throughout all four penalties. The Blue Jackets went on a nail-biting 5 on 3 power play after a Toews penalty and a subsequent one by Versteeg. Q-Stache went with Bolland and then Madden as the only forwards, both of which did a tremendous job killing the two penalties. Both players had extremely active sticks and applied pressure when the Hawks were feeling it the most.

The tides appeared to turn late in the game with 3 minutes left in the third. With a nearly perfect pass up the middle of the ice from Brent Seabrook, Patrick Sharp scored the only goal that I will give the Hawks credit for, which was shorthanded none-the-less, making it his 23rd goal of the season. It appeared the Hawks had the momentum going for them after that goal. After pulling Niemi to get the 6th attacker, the intensity level reached the ultimate high for the first time all night. But after a missed shot attempt by Byfuglien, the Blue Jackets led a 2 on 1 into their offensive zone, and scored an empty netter, making it 4-2 with eight seconds left in the game.

It seems like the Hawks do not have a lot to say about their poor play post-Olympic break (the team is 5-6-2 since then), not even from team leaders Toews and Kane. Versteeg tried to offer his input saying that the team as a whole is "giving the game everything they have to give." I'm not sure which game he was watching, as the team looked flat and deflated. There was no fire, no spark to ignite the lifeless team. Maybe Steve Konroyd is right, maybe the post-olympic toll is more mental than it is physical. But with eight games left before the playoffs, and five of them being on the road,this team better find their rhythm before they are extinguished for good.

5 Keys to the Game:

1.) Take Quicker shots boys. Also, TAKE THE SHOT. And try to make them slightly more accurate.

2.) Hold teams. Especially while leading. Teams have been scoring late, very late in periods. Does the end of the second period ring a bell?

3.) Catch the passes. But the passes must first be catch-able.

4.) Enough with the turnovers. They are just getting out of hand.

5.) We need a dependable goalie. With this comes dependable defense.

Padres vs. Cubs: Post Game (Pre-Season)

Tyler Colvin Shines in 2-2 F/OT Tie Against The San Diego Padres
Photo property of WGN &

Only 3 innings would decide the outcome of this afternoon's match up between the Chicago Cubs and the San Diego Padres. Though the game wasn't that exciting, Tyler Colvin, who was just called up to the Major Leagues late last September, showed Chicago he is defintely ready to fight for that roster spot he's been eyeing since the Cubs drafted him in '06. 

Entering into the top of the 4th the Cubs only had 3 hits on the day, two of which coming from left handers; Tyler Colvin, Jeff Baker, and Mike Frontenot. Frontenot didn't have a bad game either, but Colvin stole the spot light coming through when the Cubs needed him most. 

Colvin's hitting today got all of the attention even though Colvin had a minor glitch in the 3rd. A line drive down the right side fair line bounced away from him as he couldn't attack the ball soon enough which ended with Venable putting up a triple. Luckily for Colvin, Silva was able to grab the 3rd out of the inning as Hairston tipped the ball which conviently bounced his way for an easy throw to first.
Before we get to the exciting stuff there is one player who will definitely be feeling it tomorrow when he wakes up. Center Fielder, Marlon Byrd was on first base and taking a good lead, he got the hips swaying back and forth egging on Clayton Richard, the Padres Pitcher. Richard tried to throw Byrd out with what would have been a great throw if, first baseman Oscar Salazar would have caught the ball, instead as Byrd dove back to the bag the ball hit him square in the temple. As Byrd walked off the hit, he turned towards the camera to reveal an immediate golfball sized knot! he will defintely not be happy with the discomfort of sleeping on that side tonight.
In the bottom of the 5th, Colvin, would strike first for the Cubs as he hit the only home run of the game; a solo shot to deep right field. That would basically end the inning as Jeff Baker grounded out and Derrek Lee struck out. The Padres caught their own fire as a Triple by Salazar, a double by Hundley, and a throwing error by catcher Geovany Soto would put the Padres up 2-1. This hurt seeing as by the 6th inning Chicago had, what, 4 hits on the day? However, Colvin was not done for the day.

Here we go into the bottom of the 7th, Fontenot strikes first with a single on a fly ball to right field, the Cubs didn't want to leave Fontenot stranded alone on that desert island as Pinch hitter Micah Hoffpauir stepped in, only to ground out. Colvin, then stepped up to bat and cranked out a triple with a fly ball to left field. Fontenot scored on the play giving Colvin the RBI to tie the game and ultimately end the game that way.

In other news, Aramis Ramirez struggled greatly today, with 3 at bats ending with no hits and 2 strike outs on the day. In the top of the 4th, while playing a ground ball off third, he bent down for a quick grab and throw and completely wiffed the ball as it rolled passed him. Ramirez must have been seriously 3-6 inches off from where that ball was, and looked like something out of the Triple A league. Yesterday, Silva was awarded a spot in the pitching rotation and rewarded the Cubs by allowing the Padres only 2 runs in the game. Silva played for just over 5 innings allowing 7 hits, he had some nice pitches and then he had some, like in the bottom of the 3rd, with a man on third base, Silva pitched a fast ball that hit 4 inches before home plate, luckily, Catcher Soto was able to back hand the ball down to not allow for a steal home.

Even though the cards are stacked against Colvin for a roster spot it was a great outing for Tyler Colvin, and the Cubs hope it will only get better.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Hello Peppers, goodbye... Brown?

 Hello Peppers, Goodbye... Brown?

Sources say the Bears recently placed veteran defense lineman Alex Brown on the trading block. If the Bears cannot move Alex Brown by the draft, they are expected to release the 30 years old, 9-year lineman.

Some say the writing was on the walls, especially after the blockbuster signing of Julius Peppers this offseason.. but does this move really make sense? Why would the Bears further weaken one of the most disappointing aspect of an overall underachieving defense?

Recently Bears head coach Lovie Smith stated that Israel Idonije would move from defensive tackle to defensive end, with the expectations of young defensive tackle Mark Anderson and the plethora of draft picks that have yet to see the field.. there just simply isnt enough snaps for everyone. Why though?

Why take a chance on playing younger, inexperienced players when you have a proven veteran and vocal leader already on your current roster who has shown he can still produce at his age?

The only reason this would benefit the Chicago Bears would be if they received a decent WR in return, a decent draft pick(s) or if they used the cap for Browns 2011 season (5.5 million) and spent it on one last free agent signing (a veteran safety). The cap they would save, along with the money they have saved by cutting players like Nathan Vasher, should be enough to pry someone like O.J. Atogwe away from the Rams.. something that even the Chicago Bears players are being vocal about.

In the end, this is a sticky situation for the Bears. Alex Brown has given everything he has to the Chicago Bears Organization for the past 9 years, since he was drafted in the 4th round, and desereves to retire a Bear. Let's hope the Bears organization has a bigger plan that will improve this team immediately, because expending a proven player such as Brown for late round draft prospects (potential busts) will only waste another year of a defense that is getting older and closer to rebuilding an entire team. The window is closing for this Bears team.. Let's hope they know what they're doing.

Blackhawks vs. Blue Jackets Post Game

Blackhawks suffer worst lost of the season at the hands of Cristobal Huet
Photo courtesy of AP Photo/Terry Gilliam
Yes you read that headline correct, the Blackhawks would have been better off with Rockford Ice Hog's goalie, Corey Crawford, in net tonight after Huet allowed 7 goals on 27 shots. This was by far one of the worst defensive performances I've seen by the Chicago Blackhawks this year, Huet isn't the only one to blame even though he actually found a way to GIVE the Blue Jackets 2 goals all by himself. 

Huet was pulled in the second after allowing 5 goals, he was replaced by Annti Niemi who faced only 5 shots but allowed a bouncer which ricochet off skates and sticks like a pinball before slipping past him. Q-Stache, for whatever reason, put Huet back in goal in the 3rd period to face the music. Quenneville more than likely put Huet back in goal to try and rise his confidience level hoping for at least 1 good period out of the already 40 minute disaster. The game, however, got even more out of hand and to add insult to injury, Huet, while trying to "clear" the puck from behind the net, passed it directly to a Blue Jacket who had an easy pass towards the front of the net for a goal, TWICE!

Huet, couldn't track a puck to save his life, moved slower than molasses, skated post to post as if he were on sandpaper, and basically told Q-Stache through his performance tonight he didn't want to be goalie for the Blackhawks this post-season. I said it in the preview for the game and I'll say it again, I am a proud member of the facebook group; "For the love of God! Why isn't Antti Niemi the Blackhawk's starting goalie?" <--- and that is my final statement about the goalie situation.

Offense even looked like something out of the AHL today as well. While in the offensive zone, I swear, Hossa couldn't get a good pass along the blue line to anyone at any time. We weren't thinking, and I can't blame them, they didn't try to set up anything they just thought about being down 5,6, or 7 and only wanting to shoot no matter how bad of a shot it was. We MIGHT have got 3 shots on goal before Blue Jackets cleared it out and were on our end in no time. It was just a poorly played game by all parties, and I thought our loss to the Coyotoes was hopefully our rock bottom, boy was I wrong.

There is nothing much to take from this game except EVERYTHING needs work, improvement, and serious evaluation. We have 9 games left and can't be doing this roller coaster stuff at this time, keep Niemi in goal for the rest of the season, let him be the anchor and start building out. It is crunch time, and I really hope Q-stache will re-evaluate his statement to choose a starting goalie for the playoffs around the "5 games left" point.

It did however, bring a smile to my face to see Duncan Keith take the reigns at the end of our 3rd period PP and push the puck through the zone, grab his own rebound, and almost score. 
So did anything good come out of this? Well, the Blackhawks clinched a playoff berth with the Calagary Flames losing today, we actually scored during a power play, and....... that's about it. 
I'm sorry about all the negativity, I normally sleep on my blog for a night before posting to make sure I am thinking with a clear head that is not clouded with emotions, but this game hurts to much already and I know it's just going to be an even worse hangover tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Blackhawks vs. Blue Jackets Preview

The Low Down in The Chi Town: Blackhawks vs. Blue Jackets
Photo courtesy of

Mathematically it seems the Blue Jackets are out of the 2010 playoff picture but the Blackhawks should not take this game for granite. Chicago coming off of a huge and much needed win against the blazing hot Phoenix Coyotes will be playing the deflated Columbus Blue Jackets. The Jackets look for a win to snap a 2 game losing streak, and on the other side of the puck, the Hawks look for their first 2-game win streak since the beginning of March.

Hossa said in a post-practice interview today, "a few games before the playoffs we need to get better and better," when comparing the two games the Blackhawks just finished against the Coyotes, they did get better but is it enough? The Blackhawks probably will not be sweating the Blue Jackets as much as they did the Coyotes last game, which many Blackhawks called, "One of the biggest games of the year," but with only 10 games left in the season our defense needs as much competition to gear up for the playoffs as possible.

This will be the 5th time these 2 franchises have met this year and the Blackhawks have taken a "W" home in every game so far. Over the last 4 meetings the Blackhawks have chalked up 18 goals vs. the Blue Jackets 12 this year, 2 games ended in a shootout, while the other 2 the Blackhawks won in regulation.

Huet will get the start in goal for the first time since Saturday, March 13 against the Philidelphia Flyers. Chicago fans remember that heart-breaking loss all to well as Chris Pronger scored the game winning goal with only 3 seconds left in regulation; Huet went 31/34 in saves in the 2-3 loss.

Even though these 2 teams are 29 points apart from each other, the Blackhawks and Blue Jackets Power Play percentage is about the same. Even though the Blue Jackets are in a 29 point deficeit to the Blackhawks their 81.8% Penalty Kill percentage is quiet good and with the Blackhawks only scoring rought 1:6 PPs could put up quite a challenge for the Hawks.

Quenneville said in today's post-practice interview, "Huet hasn't played since phili game and did well and we want to get him going as well." Is Q-Stache looking to give Niemi a rest after Niemi posted 2 shutouts in his last 3? Doesn't really make sense if you ask me, but I am not really the best person to answer that question, for last month, I joined the Facebook group "For the love of God! Why isn't Antti Niemi the Blackhawk's starting goalie?"

When asked about a starting goalie for the playoffs, Quenneville said he might make that decision with about 5 games left in the season but did say, ""We might go with one guy" ... "we want both guys confidient in net." With our defense as questionable as it is currently, I can't argue with Q-stache even though I do believe Niemi made a huge statement last game against the Coyotes.

It was GREAT to see Q-Stache smile when discussing the defense's last performance against the Coyotes, however, Quenneville did say "We need do a better job clearing pucks, Knocking people down" he also said, "we could manage the puck a little better, " and ""awareness was in place, execution could be better." Seabrook played great and really got everyone pumping as Byfuglien follow closely and Hjalmarsson had great net-minding.

Kim Johnsson hasn't skated since 3/13 due to an upper body injury and is still day-to-day but more than likely will not play against the Blue Jackets tomorrow. Every game is important to the Blackhawks now, however, this game is not worth risking further injuries to Kim Johnsson.

Passing, puck control, and fewer turnovers will always be concerns of the Blackhawks and tomorrow will hopefully be a great opporunity to work on all of our concerns. The Offense always does a great job and they need to keep that going. The only thing I would like to see is our Power Play to improve and actually get some good PP goals in. Defense, as Q said, needs to keep being phyiscal, keep pressing the puck, force turnovers, get and keep the puck out of the D zone and fast. If we hit rock bottom Saturday against the Coyotes, this incline is coming at the right time.

If the Blackhawks keep improving upon their defense and overcome their multiple challenges this game will result in a win, which is what everyone wants in life! So put on your Blackhawks jersey, grab a Miller Lite and gear up for a much needed and quite possible 2-game win streak as THE Chicago Blackhawks head to Columbus to face the Blue Jackets!

Coyotes vs. Blackhawks Post Game

Blackhawks Make a Statement in 2-0 Shutout Win
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Niemi stamped his signature on a 28-shot shutout against the Phoenix Coyotes last night at the United Center. The Chicago Blackhawks addressed many weak points that have been evident over the last couple weeks and played a great game in, what Niemi called, "One of the biggest games of the year."

I don't know if Q-Stache read my blog or not but it was almost as if I read into the future. The Chicago Blackhawks had so many positive notes about yesterday's game, as a fan, it was a great game to watch. I'm not saying that this game means that from now on we will be the same hottest Chicago Blackhawks that we were mid-season but it is a great feeling to know that when the Blackhawks buckle down and set their mind on a "W," they can get it.

First issue, passing, and let me tell you it improved greatly! Sure, there were still minor turnovers and Niemi had to make some tough saves because of it but we're not perfect... not yet. In Kane's goal early in the 2nd, the passes by Brouwer and Keith out of the zone were fast and tight, exactly what they needed to be. Even though our forwards were much faster than the Coyote's defensemen, Kane did exactly what I said we needed to do, he didn't look for a pass, HE PULLED THE TRIGGER, and it worked! Bryzgalov seemed to be caught off guard as Kane put the puck high in the 4 hole, which would be the game winning goal!

Our defense, which has been struggling greatly as of late, had many highlights on the night. Brent Seabrook played for the first time since Wisniewski's hit, and Seabrook was amazing! Seabrook started strong with a huge check against Fiddler and that set the tone for the rest of the night as Byfuglien had many great hits in the zone as well.

While watching the game you could just see the Hawk's passion and drive for the win. Keith was advancing the Coyotes forwards, forcing bad passes while they were crossing the blue line. Once the Coyotes were in the zone the Blackhawks would do anything to get the puck out of the zone including multiple dives by Byfuglien and Brouwer. Everyone on defense had great overall net-minding as they blocked many shots and Hjalmarsson showed everyone how to get in front of the puck late in the 3rd as the Blackhawks made a huge defensive statement.

Niemi was purely brilliant, I don't know if he was just so fired up still over last game but he played great. Niemi was diving, sliding post-to-post, getting great stick and glove saves and was just the anchor the Blackhawks needed. This performance definitely made a statement that Niemi is ready to be our goalie this playoff season.

The PK was amazing as Captain Toews shined while tieing the puck up in the Coyotes zone and ultimately drawing a penalty to basically kill a Coyote Power Play more than a minute early. The Blackhawks really did play 60-minutes tonight and played right on through the 2nd out shooting the Coyotes 16-8.

Overall, it was a great game for the Chicago Blackhawks, a great game to watch (for a Blackhawks fan), and exactly what Chicago needed. I don't know what this means for us from here on out but if this game is to reflect our future performances, I believe we will be alright and ready for the playoffs. As Madden said after Monday's practice, John Madden said, "Some teams are in playoff mode already and we have to get there," this game helped a lot!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Coyotes Vs. Blackhawks Preview

The Low Down in the Chi Town; Coyotes vs. Blackhawks
Photo property of

"Coyotes Expect to Win Every Game," is the title of Dave Vest's The Desert Dog Blog this week. If Brent Seabrook, who could play tomorrow against the Coyotes, has anything to say about the outcome of tomorrow's game the Coyotes will hopefully not make it to double digits in their recent win streak.

Dave Vest, author for the Phoenix Coyote's blog The Desert Dog Blog, later states in his blog that the Coyotes, "regardless of the opponent, the site, the travel schedule and/or the start time," really do "EXPECT" to win every game. He says this mindset comes from the coaching staff, and "The results speak for themselves."

I will say one thing about that, a win-streak is a beautiful thing. When the Blackhawks were the hottest team in the NHL this season there wasn't even an All-Star team that could have mentally been more prepared to win than the Blackhawks. The Blackhawks have to remember what it felt like to play with that mind set and counter it.

In a Post-Practice interview on Blackhawks TV, John Madden commented on a lot of the practice was focusing on the D Zone. Q-Stache being a former Defenseman himself, I'm sure had a big part in Monday's practice. Seabrook, Versteeg, Quenneville, and madden all had a segment on the Blackhawks TV where they touched on Defense starting with the goalie. Niemi will have another opportunity to redeem the team's 3rd quarter break down tomorrow against the Coyotes and I am glad Q gave him this chance.

Quenneville stated in Monday's Post-Practice interview that Brent Seabrook is "Likely" to play tomorrow against the Coyotes if he looks as good as he did today. Seabrook, who was concussed after a deliberate head shot from Wisniewski against the Ducks, I'm sure is eager to get back into the action especially after watching his team throw a win away Saturday against the Phoenix Coyotes. If Seabrook does play tomorrow it will be a great addition to the defense as Johnsson is still out with an upper body injury.

After listening to all the reports and interviews it seems that everyone is very optomistic about tomorrow's game and I am right there with them. We played great during the first 40 minutes Saturday vs. the Coyotes, Versteeg called the 3rd period break down a "mental lapse," and with everyone's mind set on starting to win again, I'm feeling good. This slump has dragged on long enough, we have a great team that can overcome anything and I believe we have what it takes to bring home a "W" tomorrow.

In Monday's Post-Practice interview John Madden said, "Some teams are in playoff mode already and we have to get there." It's not that we can't score, we have proven that we can against any team, and with some needed emphasis during today's practice on defense, I think the time is now. So put on your Blackhawks jersey, grab a Miller Lite and gear up for what may be a preview of an exciting playoff game; Phoenix Coyotes vs. THE Chicago Blackhawks!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Blackhawks vs. Coyotes Post game

Coyotes Gut-Check the Blackhawks in a 5-4 Loss That Ended in a Shootout.
Photo courtesy of

"Disappointed, Embarrassed, Deflated" I just can't find the word to describe what I've seen from the Hawks these past 2 weeks. I'm sure everyone has kept up with the team's lack of ability to finish a game with a "W" so I won't go into detail.

After going up 2-0 against the Coyotes whose confidence has been at it's highest while on their longest win streak since '99, I knew this would be a test for our painfully absent defense. In this case, I hate when I'm right because only 1:11 into the 3rd the Coyotes tied the game up. After that, well, I can basically Copy + Paste what I just said because that is EXACTLY what happened; Up 4-2, then lost the lead and ultimately the game.

For the first time in a while we actually out played our opponent in the 2nd period; out shooting the Coyotes 16-7, however, in the 3rd period there was just a lapse in teamwork all together. I can't imagine how former defenseman Q-Stache feels while watching his team crumble to pieces. Niemi was great in the 1st and 2nd period, but once again our defense allowed passes, holes, and shots that could have been avoided. Our offense is not free of fault, as we had MANY MANY MANY turnovers by poor passing and puck handling around the blue line.

There were 3 Hawks in front of the net on Wolski's goal all able to poke the puck away, however, instead set up an easy grab for Wolski. I am, however, interested in what Wolski said to Kopecky after the goal though....

All in all, we lost this game as a team. Offense is making terrible passes and mis-handling the puck way to much. The Offense is not pulling he trigger fast enough and once again we have a game where we out shot our opponents only to lose. We have some of the most talented shooters in the NHL, so tell me why aren't they pulling the trigger instead of passing into 2-3 opponent's sticks?

I am not about throwing people under the bus, especially in a TEAM sport but ever since these injuries occured, Brent Sopel has become just an eye sore. He is by far the slowest person on the ice and gets out skated every game. Our zone defense is hurting and to have someone that can't keep up with the puck or play hurts a lot. Byfuglien is 3 inches taller and weighs like 40 lbs. more and out plays Sopel on Defense... Come on!

Ladd stated in a post-game interview with Jesse Rogers for ESPN 1000; “It’s like a broken record,” Ladd continued. “It’s the same thing every night. We mix in one good game and everyone starts thinking we’re a perfect team again but [it’s the] same old stuff pretty much.” Let's just hope they fix this "old stuff," and QUICK!


I first wanted to introduce myself and my look on Chicago sports.

I was born and raised just outside of Chicago in the south suburbs, I hold Chicago dear to my heart but more importantly, Chicago sports! I wear my heart on my sleeve and express my love for my Chicago teams in a very heated/emotional manner. So as this blog grows we all will become very close friends.

There is not a single city that can claim such a great history (when pertaining to sports) as Chicago can. Walter Payton, Michael Jordan, Bobby Hull, Chris Chelios, Gale Sayers, and Mike Ditka are just a few names to mention but in addition to our hall of fame players; the 1985 Chicago Bears were arguably the best team in the history of the NFL, the Jordan-Era of the Bulls will never be topped as they stamped a 72-10 record in '95-'96.

Maybe I'm too harsh and you can determine whether I am or not, but I hold Chicago to quiet a high standard due to the fact that we can, have, and should be concidered the best. So when the Blackhawks give up a 3-0 lead and lose to the Capitals in the 3rd, or the Chicago Bears allow the Atlanta Falcons to march the length of the field to kick a game-winning field goal with <30 seconds in the 4th. I get UPSET and I let everyone know how I feel.

I try to keep everything entertaining as well as informative, I will try to keep this as family friendly as I can but I will give everyone fair warning... sometimes I let my emotions get the best of me when it comes to my beloved teams!

****As I said before I love my Chicago sports, but I do work every day 9-6pm EST as I just recently relocated to North Carolina. I don't have the ability to keep up with ALL Chicago teams 24 hours a day 7 days a week, so I will do my best to keep everyone informed but I am going to personally focus on the Chicago Blackhawks and the Chicago Bears. I will be looking for more writers to help cover all Chicago Sports. Once we have enough subscribers and writers, I will purchase some web space and a URL as well as outsourcing mobile applications for Android and Apple (I put Android first because I am a Moto Droid user.... and it's the bomb!)