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.

 

 

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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.

Bolland’s Charity

Written by: Caroline Kaszycki

Blackhawks center David Bolland is set to launch a new charity

For the Blackhawks, success isn’t just about the fame. David Bolland, center for the Chicago Blackhawks, is set to launch “The David Bolland Foundation” in 2012.

The foundation is dedicated to helping marginalized and at-risk youth.

Bolland hopes to raise awareness and funds by focusing on three main projects: Chicago’s Beyond the Ball, Toronto’s The Remix Project, and the international disability charity Easter Seals.

In an interview with Red Eye Chicago, David Bolland said, “Chicago gives to us. They come to our games, they treat us like kings in the city, and it’s great for us to help out and give back in any way we can.”

Bolland grew up in a working class neighborhood in Mimico, ON. His passion and commitment to social causes grew out of a strong desire to work hard and take care of the people around him.

David Bolland first became involved with the Chicago community by working closely with the ISSA Family Foundation, participating in various food drives and events throughout the city.

On Dec. 20, 2011, Bolland and teammates Brent Seabrook and Marian Hossa volunteered at a food drive with ISSA to raise more than $20,000 and 8,000 pounds of food for the Chicago Food Depository.

The Remix Project is a program originating in Toronto aimed to help level the playing field for young artists from disadvantaged and marginalized communities that want to pursue careers in the creative industry.

Bolland became an official ambassador for The Remix Project in 2011, and hosted the first annual David Bolland Golf Classic to gain fundraising support for the program.

Beyond the Ball is a Chicago initiative to provide quality sports-based youth development programs to foster leadership.

Bolland believes that providing kids with a safe area to play is the first step toward building a positive culture of opportunity and developing values of social responsibility. They sponsor youth basketball leagues in participating schools throughout the city.

The Easter Seals disability service provides funding for medical services for autism, rehabilitation patients, and military veterans, among others. David Bolland, through the Sledge Hockey Program, wants to support kids with disabilities that have an interest in playing hockey.

For many who have only dreamed about getting into the ice rink, sledge hockey allows them to actively engage in the sport much like wheelchair basketball.  Avril Lavigne also partnered with Easter Seals and takes a closer look at how children with disabilities are looking beyond their limitations and doing what they really love.

You can get involved with any of these programs by visiting David Bolland’s website and getting more information.

 

National Anthem Tradition

If you have ever been to a Blackhawks home game, then you know exactly what tradition happens before each and every puck drop at the United Center.

If you have not been there, well then your missing out on something spectacular.

Cornelison and U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Kevin Chaskalson and U.S. Army Veteran former Sergeant Donald Diebold

What takes place during the national anthem is a tradition unlike any other in sports.

Right before most sporting events, some rendition of the national anthem is sung, it’s nothing new.

But when the lights go down and Jim Cornelison hits the ice with numerous ARMY vets and troopers and starts singing, the tradition comes alive.

The tradition being the crowd cheering and clapping so loud you can barely hear Cornelison.

This may not sound like a big thing but until you have experienced it, you can never understand.

This small but powerful ritual is said to have begun in 1985 in the old Chicago Stadium.  The Blackhawks were playing the Edmonton Oilers in the play offs.  The Hawks were down in the series and the crowd was so excited for the game and tried to pump up the players that they began cheering during the anthem, which started a controversial but electrifying tradition in Chicago Blackhawks history.

Since that playoff series, the crowd has cheered at every home game during the Star Spangled Banner.

The annual NHL All-Star games were being held in the Chicago Stadium in 1991, which two days before “Operation Desert Storm” was declared.

Before the All-Star games started, the whole hockey world got a taste of what was transpiring in Chicago during every game.

The cheering during that anthem was not for the hockey, but for the troops, making it the patriotic act it is today.  It was probably the most special and emotional anthem in all of hockey.

In an interview with Chicago Blackhawks writer, Bob Verdi, former NHLer Wayne Gretsky, who was there for the games said “I was standing next to Mark Messier during the anthems.” I said to him, ‘this is unbelievable.’ I’ve heard it as loud here before when we came into Chicago with the Edmonton Oilers. But never as emotional. The flags of both countries, the banners, the vibrations. You could tell that the fans, like us, were thinking of other things.”

Almost 30-years later, the tradition in Chicago is still alive and well, the sell-out crowds constantly overpowering the singer.

Although some people think it is unpatriotic and disrespectful, a lot of people see it as a sign of support for the troops.

If there is one thing a person should do, its go to a Hawks game and witness, in person, the powerful, national anthem in Chicago.

Top Moments of the 2010 Playoffs

On June 9, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pa. the Chicago Blackhawks won their first Stanley Cup in 49 years.

April 24, 2010 Game 5

When the play offs started in April, they were up against their divisional foes, the seventh seed, Nashville Predators.

On April 24th, the two teams faced off with hopes to win game five and take a three game to two lead.

What happened in this game became arguably the best moment of the play offs for Chicago (minus the Cup winning game).

The Hawks were down 4-3 with about a minute left. Marian Hossa took a five minute boarding penalty, which left the Hawks short handed and in a desperate situation.

With 30 seconds left the Hawks got the puck out and pulled the goalie to even the field at five players apiece.

What happened next will forever be remember by Hawks fans.

13.6 seconds left, Patrick Kane scored a short-handed goal to tie the game.

April 24, 2010 Game 5 Overtime

In overtime the Hawks killed off the remaining penalty time, and a few seconds later, Marian Hossa scored the game winning goal to take a 3-2 series lead.

The Hawks won game six, which finished the series and moved on to round two, but things could have been a lot different had the Hawks not won the all-important game five.

May 7, 2010 Game 4

Round two feature some very familiar foes, the Vancouver Canucks.  During game four Captain Jonathan Toews scored his first career play off hat trick, all power play goals.  He added two assists to end the game with five points.  This was the second game in a row a Hawks player netted a hat trick.

May 23, 2010 Game 4

In the conference finals the Hawks were up against the number one seed, San Jose Sharks.  The Hawks entered game four with a 3-0 series lead. The Hawks defeated the Sharks and swept them in four games.  In game four, Duncan Keith lost seven teeth after the puck hit him in the face.  This victory ensured them a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals.

June 7, 2012 Game 5

With the series tied at two games apiece, the Hawks and Flyers squared off in game five.  The Hawks came out and played a huge game and scored three goals in the opening period.  The victory that night was win number three, the Hawks just needed one more to win it all.  Chicago fans knew it was coming after this game.

June 9, 2010 Game 6

This game would end up going into overtime and the rest as they say…is history.

Patrick Kane forever ingrained himself as the hero in Chicago and had probably the most unique finishes to a series.

June 11, 2010 Parade

Over two million people lined the streets of downtown Chicago to celebrate the Hawk winning the Cup

October 9, 2010 Home Opener

The following season at the home opener at the United Center, against rivals Detroit Red Wings, the Hawks players skated their Championship banner and Stanley Cup onto the ice, a historical moment in Chicago.  A great video to celebrate a unforgettable season. This video sums up the entire season and play off run.