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Posts Tagged ‘NHL’

The 2013 Chicago Blackhawks Live Chicago Tough — And Earn A Stanley Cup!

Posted by sportsmaven on June 24, 2013

We are Chicago….we are not known for our championships from our major professional sports teams. We have lost more than we won, that is if we even make the playoffs, which we typically don’t. A Chicago sports fan is a breed accustomed to disappointment and despair and wait until next years. It is nights like tonight that Chicago fans appreciate and love more than any other sports fans in any other city in the world. Tonight, our Chicago Blackhawks completed the fan’s dream — bringing a championship home to the City of Chicago.

A Chicago sports fan is personified by Blackhawks F Andrew Shaw. In tonight’s Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals, Shaw took a puck to the face, appeared to be knocked out cold on the ice. Yet he stood up, got his stitches in his cheek and his eye. Bleeding throughout the game, he just kept coming and coming. Win or lose, he was going all out. He was a warrior tonight, wearing the pride of Chicago on his bloody sweater. If the Bruins rallied around Boston Strong, the Blackhawks and all sports fans were Chicago Tough. It describes our fans, our athletes, and the persona of a city that leaves it all on the table, ice, court or field.  That’s how we roll, win or lose.

Tonight, we in Chicago can go to bed, awake in the morning and call ourselves champions along with our beloved Blackhawks. Win or lose, we would still be Chicago Tough. Put an asterisk on our season or leave it off.  Either way, we are tough and can roll with it.  Tonight, the Cup comes back home to Chicago.  And I’m glad to be part of it in any meaningful way.

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Do The Chicago Blackhawks Keep Both Khabibulin And Huet?

Posted by sportsmaven on February 9, 2009

The most pressing question that the Chicago Blackhawks face in the near short term is whether to keep a pair of goalies, mainly Nikolai Khabibulin and Cristobal Huet.  The goalie position for the Blackhawks has been an ongoing sticky issue since Huet was signed as a free agent in the off-season.  Many thought the signing was the end of the line for Khabibulin in Chicago.  The Blackhawks were close to the salary cap and had over 20% of their budget wrapped up in goaltenders.

Chicago Blackhawks goalie Nikolai Khabibulin (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Chicago Blackhawks goalie Nikolai Khabibulin (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

I believe the Blackhawks intention was to trade Khabibulin before the season began, but there were no takers and the Hawks were not going to give Khabibulin away just to get rid of him.  The pre-season and early regular season was a showcase for Khabibulin and he did not disappoint.  Khabibulin was incredible in comparison to the last 3 previous lackluster seasons , starting out hot, mixing in the occasional cool game.  He had a chip on his shoulder and something to prove.  He was not going to go down without a fight.

Huet, on the other hand, started out a bit slower, with the team winning only 3 of his 10 games in goal.  Huet gave up 6 goals to the San Jose Sharks on 11/26 in a loss.  Huet spent the bulk of the early season on the bench watching Khabibulin.  In December, Huet made the most of his playing time, at one stretch, winning 7 of 9 games to close the calendar year on a hot streak, but that ended abruptly in the Blackhawks 6-4 loss to the Detroit Red Wings in the New Year’s Day 2009 NHL Winter Classic.

Blackhawks Coach Joel Quenneville has been playing the hot hand in goal and that strategy seems to be working well for a very young team that is navigating it’s way through the unfamiliar waters of competing for a playoff spot in a tough NHL Western Conference.

The questions of late have focused on the possible trade intentions of Blackhawks GM Dale Tallon and the rapidly approaching March 4th NHL trade deadline.  Tallon wanted to move Khabibulin since the pre-season, but at this point,  does he look to move Khabibulin again?  With the way the Blackhawks have been playing, the last thing Tallon wants to do is upset the delicate balance of a team that is steaming towards what could be the second post-season appearance since 1997-98 season. Khabibulin can ride a playoff hot streak about as good as anyone out there and veteran goaltending is a huge plus for going deep in the playoffs.

Look for Tallon to make a trade elsewhere, maybe picking up a veteran scorer or a second line center, as the Blackhawks start focusing in on moving to the third seed in the NHL Western Conference playoff race.

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Winter Classic Is Chicago Blackhawks Coming Out Party

Posted by sportsmaven on January 1, 2009

It can be very easy to say that the star of this afternoon’s NHL 2009 Winter Classic is Wrigley Field, and even easier to say the game is a showcase for NHL power, defending Stanley Cup Champions, and this year’s Stanley Cup favorite, the Detroit Red Wings.  But lets not be mistaken any longer than needed.  The NHL Winter Classic is the coming out party for Rocky Wirtz/John McDonough led, new, improved, and revived Chicago Blackhawks team.  And it’s exactly what the NHL needs for an Original Six team that has been down on it’s own luck.

(Tribune photo by Charles Cherney / December 31, 2008)

(Tribune photo by Charles Cherney / December 31, 2008)

Of course, the young Chicago Blackhawks team has been doing it’s part, especially of late, winning a franchise record 9 games in a row.  That streak was broken yesterday in Detroit, with the Red Wings pitching a shutout, adding to the already incredible hype of today’s game, making it into a nationally televised grudge match.

At least two generations of Hawks fans have been disenfranchised by the draconian methods of management under long time owner Bill Wirtz.  When the older Wirtz died in September of 2007, his son Rocky was tapped to run the team, and it seemed that Rocky learned all the “lessons” of his father’s mismanagement.  In 188 sweeping days, Rocky has reversed all the negativity of past mismanagement, with his first move, stealing the marketing genius McDonough away from the Chicago Cubs.  That move alone signaled to Hawks fans that Wirtz was committed to reviving the sagging fortunes of the once-proud Blackhawks franchise.

The rest is marketing history.  As we ring in what we hope to be a better year in 2009, hope springs eternal in the City of Chicago, for the Chicago Blackhawks, and their fans.  Regardless of the outcome of today’s game, the Winter Classic marks the coming out of a young Chicago Blackhawks team, the unveiling of a new, historic direction for a historic Original Six team.  For those not fortunate enough to secure tickets for the Classic, the game will be brodcast on television, as will every single game the Blackhawks will play this season.  This is a first in the 82-year history of the team.

So let the celebrations begin, hopefully the first of many celebrations for the new, improved Chicago Blackhawks.

Blackhawks Extras:

ESPN has extensive coverage of today’s NHL Winter Classic:

On the local front, the popular stories of the week on the Winter Classic:

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Chicago Blackhawks Need A Taste Of Home

Posted by sportsmaven on February 15, 2007

The Chicago Blackhawks are desperate for some home cooking. Ending a 7 game road trip, the Hawks rolled in to Pittsburgh to play perhaps the hottest team in the NHL, the Pittsburgh Penguins and came away with a shootout loss tonight, 5-4 at Mellon Arena. The Hawks fought and battled, but Pittsburgh was a bit too tough tonight. Pittsburgh is the hottest team in the NHL right now. They won yet again without any goal scoring from the NHL’s leading scorer, Sidney Crosby.

Blackhawks Lose to Penguins 5-4
(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

For the Blackhawks, it’s good to see guys like Patrick Sharp and Martin St. Pierre get on the board. They will need strong play from players like that to move to the next level. I would love to see Patrick Sharp get more playing time. If Sharp gets ice time, I feel he will play more aggressive and start to realize some of his massive potential. I believe one player that hasn’t stepped up this season is Tuomo Ruutu. Ruutu was expected to have a breakout season, but was sidelined early once again with an injury and is fighting to get back to form. If the Hawks are to show drastic improvement, Ruutu will need to fulfill his potential as a player. Does Tuomo have what it takes? Only time will tell…..

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Chicago Blackhawks Deliver On National Television

Posted by sportsmaven on February 12, 2007

The Chicago Blackhawks were on national television today, believe it or not. So were their opponents, the Columbus Blue Jackets. How this game got on national television, i’m not sure. Both these teams entered today with losing records. So this is what the NHL wants to showcase in a limited national television opportunity? I’m not sure what the NHL braintrust (or maybe it was the networks, who knows these days?) was thinking on this one, but the Hawks game out smoking in the first period with 3 goals and hung on for a 5-4 victory in Columbus, Ohio.

Blackhawks Beat Blue Jackets 5-4
(AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

Martin Havlat led the Hawks with 3 points on a goal and two assists. Nikolai Khabibulin back between the pipes made some key saves down the stretch to preserve this victory. The Hawks are 4-2 on the seven game roadtrip with their last game on Wed. in Pittsburgh against Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Martin Havlat clearly sets the pace for this Blackhawks team. When he plays well, the team tends to play well and it shows on the scoreboard and the standings. The Hawks stuggled mightily when he missed 19 games with a high ankle injury earlier this season. The Hawks are now at .500 (15-15-5) under Denis Savard since he took over for Trent Yawney as head coach.

The goals should be simple now, get back to .500 as soon as possible and then make a push for that 8th spot in the playoffs. Currently the Hawks are 15 points out of that last spot, a longshot, but anything could happen.

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