Archive | March 2012

Can Stanley Come to Chicago?

Winning the Stanley Cup is considered one of the hardest trophies to win in all of sports. NHL Players play 82 regular season games, followed by four, best of seven, playoffs rounds.

So, what will it take the Chicago Blackhawks to win their second Stanley cup in three years?

First, the Hawks will have to clinch a playoff spot. Barring a huge collapse the Hawks will finish in the fourth, fifth or sixth seed.

Once in the playoffs, anything can happen, but there are some things the Hawks will have to do to win it all.

The goaltending has got to be better, to give goaltenders some credit, the defense has not helped much this season, but they have to come up with the big saves.

The goaltending only needs to be good, since the Hawks have the ability to outscore opponents. But Crawford (or whoever will be the man in the playoffs) needs to come up big when needed.

The Hawks are going to have to tighten up on the defensive end. Their defense has plague them all season long.

If they get the goaltending and defense going, they will have a chance at winning come playoffs.

The Hawks will have to wait and see if they will get Captain Jonathan Toews back from a concussion. If Toews can come back, and he plays the way he did before being injured, their chances will highly increase.

There are two players that are most important to winning the 2012 Stanley Cup and they are Jonathan Toews and Corey Crawford (if he is the goaltender during the playoffs).

If Crawford can play the way he did in last season first round against Vancouver, chances are the Hawks will be just fine. Every team needs to rely on their goaltending to win them games, the Hawks being no exception.

Another important cog for the Hawks is Jonathan Toews. He is their leader and best player. If Toews can come back in full force, the Hawks can do anything.

It will all depend on whether Corey Crawford can play at his best and if the team will get Jonathan Toews back.

The odds are against the Hawks, but anything can happen once the playoffs start, and once the Hawks get into the post season they will have a good of chance as any to win.

 

Keith’s Suspension

Late Friday afternoon, Brendan Shanahan, the VP for Player Safety for the NHL made a decision that infuriated people from Chicago and Vancouver, but for different reasons.

On Wednesday, in a game between Chicago and Vancouver, defensemen and alternative captain, Duncan Keith elbowed last season’s top scorer, Daniel Sedin. Sedin took only one shift after the hit, and has since been sent home to Vancouver to consult with a specialist due to a concussion.

There is no doubt that Duncan Keith deserved a suspension for the vicious elbow to Sedin’s head, but what caused the controversy between the two cities is the amount of games he received

It was announced Friday that Keith would be suspended for five games, forfeiting close to $200,000.

A lot of Blackhawks fans are baffled at the amount of games, especially because there are only seven regular season games left before the playoffs start. But people from Vancouver our outraged that his suspension was so small.

This whole incident is very strange. It involved two star players for their respected teams and there is a question of consistency of Brendan Shanahan and retaliation.

On Twitter and Vancouver Canucks blogs, some fans wanted more than a ten game suspension and wanted Keith out of the first round of the playoffs, which could equal up to 17 games. They wanted the book thrown at Keith, making an example out of his for hurting their star player.

The are two important things to note here: 1) Duncan Keith has never been suspended in his seven NHL seasons, and is not a “repeat” offender, 2) Vancouver and Chicago, fans and players alike, do not like each other one bit.

Most Chicago fans said that Keith deserved a suspension but only about three games. He has never been suspended before, which is taken into account in the hearings and just a few days before, Shane Doan was suspended for the same play.

Doan, a Phoenix Coyote, was suspended three games for an elbow to Dallas’ Jamie Benn. Benn was uninjured on the play, but Doan was suspended before in his career and was fined for a boarding hit just a week earlier.

So why does Shane Doan, a labeled repeat offender get three games and Duncan Keith, with a clean record, get five?

Some think its due to the lack of injury.  Some say because Dallas and Phoenix are not big market teams with big stars like Chicago and Vancouver.

It will never be fully understood by either side, but what happened, happened. One thing is for sure, Vancouver will have to play without their star until he is healed, and the Blackhawks will be without Duncan Keith for the next five games.

It is a lose-lose for both teams and cities.

Fans can only wonder what will transpire between these two teams if they meet in the 2012 play offs.

Hockey from a Different Perspective

For those who love hockey cannot simply understand how someone would not like the sport. 

But there are a lot of people who do not enjoy the sport of ice hockey.

So, here is an interview with Chicago native, Katie Chamber. Katie says she does not particularly like the sport of hockey.

We hockey fans want to know why.

What do you know about hockey?

I don’t feel like I know too much about it. It’s not sport where you actively play in really when you’re a kid or hear about it because it’s a club sport. It’s expensive to play, so it really isn’t a, I don’t want to say common, but not as popular as other sports.

What are your first thoughts when you think of hockey?

It’s all Canadian people. But I think of big burley guys who are more rugged men. It is a very white male dominated sport. You see NBA rags to riches, but not in hockey, it’s a club sport so you really don’t have that in it.

Why don’t you like the sport?

I don’t know much about it so it kind of loses my interest.

Like I said earlier, I don’t understand much about the game, which is why I think I don’t like it too much…At one time I thought a hat trick was a fancy move, until someone told me it’s getting three goals in a game…There is just a lot to know, and most of it, to me at least, is confusing, especially because I never grew up with hockey being a regular sport in my life.

How many games would you say you have watched?

A decent amount, I’ve also been to a few games at the United Center. I like going to the games, it’s always fun to do stuff like that, but that’s with any sport, whether it’s hockey or basketball, going to games is always entertaining.

Is there anything about hockey that you do like? Hot men. I like the fighting and that it’s a contact sport, that gets my interests. I really like that it’s fast paced. I also really like 24/7. Youu get to know the people and players…. Usually you have no idea about a player, except that they play hockey. You don’t learn stuff in media that you do when watching 24/7. I think it’s funny that I enjoy that series so much without watching hockey on a regular basis.

What do you think the sport could add or take away to make it more enjoyable for people who do not like it?

If it were talked about more maybe I would care and understand more. More advertisments for it, to generate interest.

Do you think you could ever be a fan of hockey?

Yeah, maybe. But I would need to learn more about it first.

 

(this interview was condensed)

How to get Ready for the Playoffs

The NHL season is almost down to single digits and the playoffs start on April 11.

The Chicago Blackhawks should make it to the post season barring a long losing streak.

The hockey audience is hearing the talk of spring hockey and seeing commercials for the Stanley Cup. The excitement is building.

So how can Hawks fan pass the time until the puck drop of game one?

First, Talk.

Talk about the playoffs. Talk about possible teams the Hawks will play and outcomes.

Just talking about the possible outcomes of the play offs will get any Blackhawks fan pumped up and ready to go.

Second, Reminisce.

The Hawks won the Cup only two years ago, one of the best moments in Chicago hockey.

Remembering the 2010 playoff run will only make the fans want the Cup back and the parade again.

Even remembering last year’s first round series will give hope to fans. Down three games to none, the came back and forced a game seven, and into overtime no less. This feat is even greater because the Hawks were an eight seed playing the President’s Trophy first seed, Vancouver Canucks.

Yes, they lost in overtime, but that series should make fans believe this team can do anything if they put enough effort into it.

Third, represent,

Wear Blackhawks gear and show your support. Just wearing something with an Indian Head on it is support enough.

Fourth, watch the remaining games.

There are some big divisional games coming up for the Hawks. Currently, the Hawks occupy the sixth seed, four points behind Detroit and Nashville. There is a possibility for the Hawks

The last few games will determine what seed the Hawks will have come playoff time, along with their opponent. The Hawks have been playing some good hockey lately; hopefully they can keep it up going into spring hockey.

Fifth, hope.

Hope that the Hawks will get Jonathan Toews back from the concussion that has kept him out of the line up.

Hope they will play Vancouver for the fourth straight year and beat them for the third time.

Hope they can advance to the Stanley Cup finals and ultimately lift the Cup high above their heads.

There is nothing like the NHL playoffs. One can do their best to get ready for the playoffs, but it will be a roller-coaster ride for every team and fan.

So gear up Hawks fan and get ready for the post season.

 

 

Unveiling the True Identity of the Detroit Red Wings

Written by: Kelsey Collister 

Who are the Detroit Red Wings?  Let’s start with the basics. They play at the Joe Louis Arena.  Mike Babcock is the head coach and
they’ve won the Stanley Cup Championship 11 times. Their colors are Red and White and the team mascot is an octopus. And no, the mascot wasn’t my idea…

So how did the Red Wings become the Red Wings? James Norris, a grain broker from Chicago bought the team and named it the Red Wings after the Wing Wheelers, a team Norris played for during his youth. Prior to that, the Wings were called the Detroit Falcons and before that the Cougars.

After a five year losing streak, the Red Wings won their first playoff series against the Montreal Maroons 5-2 in 1932. Unfortunately the Wings lost a goal series to the New York Rangers in the semi-finals  6-2.

The following year the Wings won their first Division title claiming the American Division with 24-14-10 record. In the finals they were shut down by the Chicago Blackhawks Goalie Chuck Gardner. And in 1936 they were Division champions. The New York Rangers put up a good fight, but couldn’t pull any fast ones on Wings goalie Earl Robertson. Because of this, the Wings won the Stanley Cup for the second year in a row.

After a three season losing streak, the Wings made a strong comeback and finished in third place with a 21-16-11 record. However, in the Stanley Cup Finals the Wings are swept in four straight games by the Boston Bruins. Disappointing to say the least…

Ted Lindsay, Sid Abel and Gordie Howe finished in the top three scorers for the Red Wings in 1949. The Wings endured a painful loss in game one of the semi-finals to the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-0. To make matters worse, Gordie Howe suffered a serious head injury after sliding head first into the boards. The Red Wings made a strong comeback, and won in the finals in double- overtime thanks to Pete Babando.

Howe returned to the Wings in 1950 and several years later he captures the Hart Trophy for the second straight season with 49 goals.

The Wings dominated the NHL in 1954 and won their seventh straight league title. They held off the Montreal Canadians 42-17-11 record.

More than 20 years later, the Wings played their last game at the Olympia Stadium in December and relocated to the Louis Arena. It took some time for the team to adjust to their new surroundings. In 1985 the Wings hit rock bottom and finished in last place with a franchise worst record of 17-57-6.

And in 1987 they won their first division title in 23 years with a 41-28-11 record. The following year Steve Yazerman finished third in scoring. But the Wings lost in the playoffs to the Chicago Blackhawks.

Eleven years later the Wings finished in first place in the Central Division, and won the third straight Stanley Cup with a 43-32-7 record.

The Wings were appointed a new coach (Dave Lewis) in 2002 and performed well in the NHL despite losing Steve Yzerman for the first 80 percent of the season.

Due to a lock out in 2004, the season was cancelled. Mike Babcock, the new coach led the Wing to victory the first 12 games of the season.

On March 13, 2012 all star goaltender Jimmy Howard returned to play for the Wings. Howard missed the last three games due to a strained groin, yet he still ranks third in the NHL with 33 victories, according to the Miami Herald.

“It could have been a lot worse than it was… The way it happened, and me not realizing how or when it happened, and it just gradually coming on we caught something before it got too bad” Howard said in an interview.

Looking Back at the Winter Classic

In the 2007-2008 season the NHL started a new tradition in the world of hockey, the NHL Winter Classic.

The Winter Classic is a regular season hockey game that takes place outdoors in an outdoor stadium right after the New Year.  It is based off of the success of the 2003 Heritage Classic, which featured the Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadiens.

The Winter Classic is televised on a national stage each year and has been a tremendous success.

So far, through the five years it has been held, it has only featured U.S. teams. But, in the next game in 2013, it will have its first Canadian team.

So, lets look at the five past Winter Classic games.

January 1, 2008 Buffalo

This marked the first game of a hockey tradition. It took place at Ralph Wilson Stadium in New York between the Buffalo Sabres and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

To date, it was the biggest crowd with 71,217 people attending the outdoor matchup.

The Penguins won the game 2-1 in a shootout.

The success of this game led to a second game that would be held the following year.

January 1, 2009 Chicago

Old rivals, Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings took their matchup outside for this regular season game. It took place at the famous Wrigley Field.  40,818 people braced the cold to support their team, as they were many Hawks and Red Wings fans in attendance.

The Red Wings took this game 6-4.

This game was the highest American TV rating for a hockey game in nearly thirty years. The Hawks/Wings game made the Winter Classic an annual event.

January 1, 2010 Boston

Fenway Park played host to the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers on New Years day. The Bruins won the game 2-1 in overtime, becoming the only team in Winter Classic history to win as the home team.  38,112 people attended this Eastern conference matchup.

January 1, 2011 Pittsburgh

The Penguins played in their second game, this time as the home team at Heinz Field. 68,111 people went to watch the Penguins play the Washington Capitals. This also started HBO’s 24/7 series following the two teams as they prepare for the game.

January 2, 2012 Philadelphia

The Flyers hosted the New York Rangers, this time the games were on the second due to conflict with the football schedule.

The Winter Classic has brought hockey back outside, it brings new jerseys for the game and now the HBO series 24/7.

The games are set to continue until 2021.

Next year Detroit and Toronto will play one another in Ann Arbor at Michigan Stadium.

Long Road Home

The NHL regular season is almost over and the Chicago Blackhawks are not a shoe in for the post season.

After Friday’s game the Hawks will have 16 games left, half of those being on the road.

The road to the playoffs is paved with teams that above the Hawks in the standings.

Getty Images

They are also going to visit teams who have amazing home records.  The Detroit Red Wings won 23 straight home games at Joe Louis Arena.  If the Hawks can get a win there on Sunday, it would be a huge boost to the team.

If they don’t win at least 60 percent of the games they have left, chances are they will not make to April hockey.

The Hawks are dominant at home, but are under 500 on the road, which makes the eight roads games they have left so much more important.

And as it is now, they will not have home ice advantage if they make it to the play offs, so they need to get better on the road.

After the All-Star break the Hawks have had a horrid stretch.

They suffered a nine game losing streak, followed that by four wins and then another three losses.

They will need to have a string of wins if they want a shot at the Stanley Cup.

Blackhawks Captain, Jonathan Toews has missed six straight games with an “upper-body” injury that some speculate is a concussion.

The Hawks are not the same without him.  Toews is arguably their best player and their leader and the Hawks need him back if they want to make a deep play off run.

Hopefully Toews can return to the ice soon.

The way the Chicago Blackhawks play in this last stretch of the season will determine a lot.

Players like Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith and the two goalies, Corey Crawford and Ray Emery, need to step it up, especially with the absence of Toews.

The Hawks have a tough road ahead of them, visiting seven different arenas in the six weeks of the season.

The most important games on the road are those against divisional foes, St. Louis, Nashville and Detroit, all are ahead of the Hawks in the standings.

The Hawks will look to try to solidify a playoff spot and maybe even move up in the standings with their final 16 games.

Because once the play offs start, the regular season record is thrown out the window and anything can happen.

Here’s a look at where the Hawks are headed when they are not playing at the United Center.