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Posts Tagged ‘Martin Havlat’

Chicago Blackhawks Better Gear Up For The Muscle

Posted by sportsmaven on January 4, 2009

Indications from the last 3 games (the two Detroit games and tonight’s 5-2 victory against the Calgary Flames) appear that teams are now trying to take the Chicago Blackhawks out of their game by muscling them around on the ice.  Coming off their recent 9 game winning streak, the Detroit Red Wings were unbelievably physical in blanking the Hawks 4-0 on Tuesday.  The Wings came hard at young Hawks RW Patrick Kane and C Jonathan Toews, injuring Kane and clearly disturbing Toews on many occasions.  The Hawks enforcers were silent in protecting their stars, something that will need to change for the Hawks to keep moving forward.

Calgary Flames' Mark Giordano, left, fights with Chicago Blackhawks' Colin Fraser during the first period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Calgary Flames' Mark Giordano, left, fights with Chicago Blackhawks' Colin Fraser during the first period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

The Red Wings continually sent ex-Hawk and RW Daniel Cleary after Kane, eventually forcing Kane out of the game.  This will become the new strategy of teams taking on the Blackhawks, as teams used to be able to beat the Hawks on talent alone, but now the times have changed.

With the emergence of RW Patrick Sharp and D Duncan Keith, along with the rapid development of youngsters Toews and Kane, the steady play of a surprising healthy RW Martin Havlat and the addition of now three time All-Star D Brian Campbell, the level of talent on the Hawks has shot through the roof of the United Center.  The addition of Calder Trophy contender LW Pat Versteeg has made the Hawks the youngest, most dynamic new team and propelling them into the top non-division leader in the Western Conference with 49 points, but 8 points behind the Central Division leading Red Wings but 9 points ahead of the team directly below them, the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The good news for the Blackhawks are that teams can no longer just show up and beat them any longer.  The gap of talent that has existed over the last few seasons has been closed, virtually eliminated through very shrewd work by Hawks GM Dale Tallon, assisted by assistant GM Stan Bowman and new special advisor Scotty Bowman, as well as the addition of veteran coach Joel Quenneville.  When the gap of talent is non-existent, teams like the Red Wings often resort to physical intimidation, imposing their will on their opponents.  For a young team such as the Blackhawks, this tactic is quite effective, displayed by home and home victories and the 0-4 record against the Red Wings for which the Blackhawks are proud owners.

The next step for the Blackhawks is to begin learining how to match physical play with physical play without taking themselves out of their game plan.  Tonight’s victory over the Calgary Flames was a start.  Hawks D Colin Fraser, RW Ben Eager, D Matt Walker, and RW Dustin Byfuglien set the tone tonight with 5:00 fighting penalties (Byfuglien with a 10:00 game misconduct penalty at the end of the game).  With the success of the 2009 NHL Winter Classic on New Year’s day, the 3 Hawks starters on the All-Star team, and the overall rise of an Original Six team deep in the ashes of despair, the young Hawks are now a target for teams to take their shots.  How the Hawks respond to that challenge is what will determine if their success will continue.

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Chicago Blackhawks Win — Again?

Posted by sportsmaven on February 2, 2007

Don’t look now, but the surging Chicago Blackhawks have won two games in a row. The Blackhawks started a 7 game road trip of their own with a 3-2 win over the equally hapless Los Angeles Kings tonight in a battle of the Western Conference cellar dwellers. The Blackhawks moved 5 points ahead of the Kings in the battle for last place in the conference…..how pathetic is that?

Blackhawks Beat Kings 3-2

The Hawks power play struggled yet again tonight, getting 7 power play opportunities before cashing in on their 8th power play of the game with a Jeff Hamilton goal. Martin Havlat also scored (shock) and Lasse Kukkonen scored the winning goal in OT.

I like Denis Savard as the Blackhawks coach. I believe he is a guy the Blackhawk players can relate to and he is a strong fundamental coach. He has put his time in as an assistant and knows the game well. The Blackhawks lack consistent scoring punch, with Martin Havlat as the only real threat to score at any time. Having the worst power play in the league is indicitive of the scoring problems, but this problem has got to be fixed for next season. Do whatever it takes to find another good goal scorer. Bringing in a Peter Bondra doesn’t cut it. He would be a great addition if you had some other goal scorers, but obviously Bondra’s best days as a scorer are behind him.

The Hawks also need to work on finding good defensive pairings in front of G Nikolai Khabibulin. Too many turnovers in front of the goal, uncontested shots, and what seems to be lacksidasical play in front of the goal have really killed the Blackhawks.

GM Dale Tallon is really on the hook at this point……

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Chicago Blackhawks Lose — Again

Posted by sportsmaven on January 28, 2007

The Chicago Blackhawks are a franchise in distress. It doesn’t matter which players they bring in our who coaches this team. It doesn’t matter who the GM is, this team is lousy. Bring in Nikolai Khabibulin and he gets crushed every night. Adrian Aucoin — injured and ineffective. Brian Smolinski — invisible. The only one performing consistently is Martin Havlat. The Blackhawks got a little bit of a bump when Denis Savard was named head coach, and I definitely like his style over that of the very unmatched and bad hire, Trent Yawney. (who’s team play mirrored his last name) Last night’s loss to the Nashville Predators is the Blackhawks 10th winless game in a row, and they are virtually out of the playoff race.

So what to do to fix this team? Who knows what this team needs. It definitely needs more talent on the rise. It definitely needs more goal scoring. Ultimately, the team needs a refreshing new view from ownership. Top to bottom, this team is not getting the job done.

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