Blackhawks Confidential

Hawks get 6th straight vs. Flames

A dousing of the Flames led by Jonathon Toews gave the Blackhawks their season high 6th straight victory last night. In a tightly contested Western Conference the Hawks now find themselves sitting 4th, looking at home ice advantage for a first round matchup.

Morale is high, the bandwagon is gaining steam, so where do I go with this? Should I talk about how a repeat may be in order? Or about last night's game? Or should I find something negative to discuss during the Hawks most positive stretch this year? How about all of the above...

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Hawks Soar to 5th in the West

What a difference 5 games can make...After falling as far down as 11th in the West, the Blackhawks have used solid goaltending and brightly shining stars to fuel their propulsion into 5th place.  If the Hawks can keep up their play of late, a 3 seed is by no means out of the question for last year's Cup champs.

We all know the schedule doesn't get any easier from here on out, but this team has slowly put together a formula for winning that will pay divedends as we head down the stretch. Although they may seem somewhat obvious, I want to spend some time today to take a deeper looker at why the Hawks have found themselves coming out on top lately.

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Ulcers, Karaoke, and Talk Radio


Blackhawks Confidential has faded into the blogging abyss and there is no one to blame but myself. Time has been sparse for me as of late, for a whole multitude of reasons, but I'm not one to make excuses. I apologize for the lull in posts the past few weeks; but this isn't about me, it's about our Hawks, so let's get to it.

I considered doing a pregame but what is there to say about facing Nashville? Coach Q better not be lying when he says his ulcer is completely unrelated to stress.  Facing off against Barry Trotz's trap is enough to give any man gastrointestinal problems.  Jack Skille seemed to show up big vs. the Preds so it only makes sense that Michael Frolik is the obvious pick to click for tonight.

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Hawks vs. Stars Tonight!

Hawks vs. Stars tonight from Big D, Michael Frolik is set to make his debut wearing the Indian head. I was rather disheartened to see that he will be playing with Kopecky and Brouwer, (because Hossa is out with the flu) but a new face with some upside is something Hawks fans have been craving for weeks now.

Best of luck to you Jack Skille, I hope you find some good sunscreen for your pasty white skin down in Florida.  Sorry you were tied down here in a fourth line role.  You said it best in your exit interview, "Dale knows I'm more than a fourth liner."
I wish you the best wearing those ugly Panthers blues.

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Hawks get burnt by Flames...

Man these are getting painful to write. Hawks lose at the hands of a red hot Flames team tonight(no pun intended) by a score of 3-1. As former Hawks 4th liner Rene Bourque buried the empty netter with seconds left I found myself wondering why I hadn't spent the previous 2 hours watching the Bulls. I guess my initial reaction is to blame the power play.  Calgary had at least 3 quality scoring chances while shorthanded. And why was Hossa was moved off the top unit? I can't say I believe it would have made things any different but it seems odd to tinker with what was recently the best powerplay in the NHL. 
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Hawks Follow Up All Star Game with Win vs. Columbus

 

 

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So much lost time to catch up on where do I even begin... With the All Star game I guess. It was an interesting attempt to make the game more exciting this year. Capatains, a draft, revamped skills competetion.  I give the NHL tons of props for trying something new but in the end I can't say I enjoyed this year's game more so than any other season.

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A Weekend Gone Bad

What a weekend to be a Chicago sports fan! A Saturday afternoon Hawks victory over the Red Wings paired with an evening win from the Bulls set up what could have been one of the best Sundays in Chicago sports in a long time. Unfortunately the carry over into Sunday's matchups only lasted one period.  After a solid start to a meaningful matchup against Philadelphia, the Hawks were outworked and overmatched by the Flyers in their first meeting since last years Stanley Cup finals.

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Hawks hang tough versus Preds

And the roller coaster ride comes to end...Behind a monstrous third period from Brouwer and Co. the Blackhawks were able to snatch up 3 out of a possible 4 points from the Predators this weekend.  It would have been nice for Sharp to roof the puck on that breakaway Saturday night in OT, but then again we were lucky to see the extra frame considering how the Preds manhandled the Hawks in the 3rd period.  In both matchups the team with the better 3rd period came out on top. The momentum and style of play varied wildly for 6 periods against Nashville but the end goal of maintaining optimism heading towards two big games next weekend was definitely met.  With Barry Trotz in the rear view mirror I'd like to take a moment to reflect on some things I saw this weekend. 
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Crawford Shuts Out Avs

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Things are looking up...for real this time.  A 4-0 victory over Colorado can only help prove my point that the Hawks are coming to form.  Behind Corey Crawford's second consecutive shut out the Blackhawks avoided a season sweep at the hands of the Avalanche.  There are a handful of good things I want to say so I'm not going to beat around the bush. Let's get to it...

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Let's Get Physical....

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It's about time get that bandwagon rolling again here at Blackhawks Confidential.  Sorry for the absence of late folks, work and other things have pulled me away from one of the things I enjoy most, writing about the Blackhawks.  But it's never too late for a New Years Resolution so here's my promise to stay with you guys to the best of my ability as the Blackhawks go for a repeat.

The new year has to some extent replenished my optimism on the Hawks.  I realize Sunday's 5-0 victory came at the expense of a lowly Islanders team but confidence boosters are very welcome right now in a tightly packed Western Conference.

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Hawks top Kings...

Finally a victory!  Ever since witnessing their pathetic effort in St. Louis I have been down on the Hawks.  It's been tough enough to watch games let alone write about them.  It's been quite a while since I posted so I'm going to keep it simple.

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Hawks vs. Bluuuuues...

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Twas the night before St. Louis and Cam Janssen was down, how could he be happy, John Scott was in town...  Okay so maybe poetry isn't my thing. But it still feels like Christmas for Blackhawks fans.  Four straight convincing victories.  Hossa back in action.  Kane to return Tuesday (hopefully).  A good shelacking of the Blues is all that remains to get the bandwagon rolling into 2011.

Everyone knows Blues games are my favorite.  That's probably why I'm making the 287 mile trip to watch this one live from the Scottrade Center.  This rivalry is finally starting to form into what I always dreamt it would.  The players, fans, and to some extent the cities hate each other.  White Sox fans get a chance to see why we hate Cardinals fans.  Blues fans get a chance to see why we hate White Sox fans.  It all balances out into what will hopefully be 60 minutes of great hockey.

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Oh Captain, My Captain

 

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Ever wonder what makes someone tick?  Take Jonathon Toews for instance.  22 years old, Stanley Cup, Conn Smythe, Olympic Gold, best Olympic forward, Blackhawks Captain, his own Lake in Manitoba...the list goes on and on.  Oh and let's not forget that he's a superstar for one of the most storied franchises in all of sports; playing in one of the biggest markets in all of the world.  I guess it also couldn't hurt to mention that he makes $250,000.00 every two weeks.  Toews has got it going on. 

But this isn't news to anyone.

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And the 2010-2011 Norris goes to....

 

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The posts at Blackhawks Confidential have been few and far in between as of late, kind of like the readers.  That being considered, it's probably not in my best professional interest (although typing at work behind my boss' back probably isn't either) to sit down and write another article about one of my favorite NHLer's, Dustin Byfuglien.  But this one is different.  The Big Buff Bandwagon has become too large.  Instead of pleading with people to hop on for the ride, today might just be the day I abandon ship...probably not, but I'll at least try. 

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Hawks fall victim to Avalanche...

What a difference two and a half minutes make... What seemed to be a hard fought, character building win ended up being nothing more than your average disappointing losss from the Blackhawks.  Despite a huge effort from Troy Brouwer the Hawks failed to close out the Avalanche. 7-5 was your final with Matt Duchene burying the game winner with a minute and change left to play.

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Hawks Top Stars...

I couldn't help but chuckle today while driving home from work and listening to Troy Brouwer on the radio.  "We'll be fine without Hossa and Kane, this team has had plenty of secondary scoring this season.  We will continue to do that and carry this team in their absence."  So I paraphrased a bit but the message is the same.  I can't honestly say I know what scoring Troy is referencing but his statement held true tonight.  Behind goals from Bickell, Morin, and Brouwer the Hawks beat the Western Conference leading Stars by a score of 5 to 3.  Toews and Sharp scored as well, the latter being an empty netter.
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Hawks Win Wild One

Wow, what a night.  The Blackhawks defeated the Blues 7-5 in debatably the most enetertaining game at the United Center this season.  I was hoping to get a blog up pregame but I could not pass on the opportunity to view this one live from the 300 level.  Everyone who reads here has proabably picked up on my hatred for the Blues.  I hate Cam Janssen, I hate Barrett Jackman even more, and I hate the way the Blues always seem to impose their will on the Blackhawks.  None of those were issues tonight though as the Hawks rolled to their 3rd straight victory.
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Blackhawks vs. Sharks Tonight!

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What a difference a year makes!  365 days ago we were all gearing up for a clash of the titans.  Two teams were to meet at the HP Pavilion, winner ready to take on the title of "Best in the West."  It was Marian Hossa's debut as a Blackhawk.  NHL gurus everywhere were calling it must see tv.  Ah, the good ol' days!  Let's snap back to reality.  The Blackhawks will get their first look at the Sharks tonight, this time the winner will get to claim the title of being a .500 hockey team (Counting OT losses as L's, as they should be).  Instead of winning to prove dominance over the entire NHL, tonights victor will have a much needed W as it tries to get its season on track.  I've heard all of the Blackhawks excuses for their poor play, but what gives with the Sharks?  Are they too struggling from a lack of consistency? Or is there something more?  I know there's plenty of subplots to this game.  Western Conference Finals rematch, Niemi faces his former team, blah blah blah.  Instead of going one of those routes I want to take this opportunity to tackle a broader topic that has been on my mind.
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Blackhawks have a rotten core...

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Well, we're three games into what I had hoped would be an enlightening circus trip for the Blackhawks. Unfortunately for me the room is still pretty dark.  There are so many questions being thrown around concerning the Blackhawks.  For me there's only one, who the hell are these guys? Blowout Edmonton, get blown out by Calgary, stomp on Vancouver...  It's been 23 games and the only thing the Hawks have shown me is that they are consistently inconsistent.  Yea it's a new team, and yea they lost a lot this off season.  But with it's core still intact how can a team go from a puck possession machine to a Jekyll and Hyde win by 5 or lose by 5 skating circus. 
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Blackhawks vs. Flames tonight!

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Game 2 of the Cirucs trip tonight, hopefully we see the same effort from the Blackhawks as we did Wednesday.  In their dumping of the Oilers the Blackhawks showcased something we haven't seen since last season, team speed.  Everyone was flying.  Added into that was a compete level that hasn't been there very often this season.  Those two things combined offered a very enjoyable 60 minutes for Blackhakws fans.  Let's hope for more of that against the Flames tonight...

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Blackhawks get much needed vacation while clowns come to town

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It's that time of year again.  The Blackhawks have packed up and hit the road, not to see home ice again until November 30th.  Although the first 20 games or so have shown some serious similarities, the real circus is in town now.  The Blackhawks will sweep through Canada and then down through California; bonding, learning all there is to know about each other, and most importantly, winning.  At least that's the plan...

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Blackhawks to dress full squad tonight...

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The Blackhawks return to the Music City tonight for a tilt with the only team worse than themselves in the Central Division.  The last time the Bridgestone Arena hosted a meaningful matchup between these two foes it was the Blackhawks who eliminated the Predators from Stanley Cup contention.  Maybe that memory paired with the embarassing final minute loss earlier this year will be just the combination the Hawks need to get going...but don't hold your breath.

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Blackhawks vs. Blackhawks tonight...

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There is so much racing through my mind when I think about tonight's matchup vs the Thrashers.  Unfortunately, formulating thoughts into well written articles isn't quite my strong suit so prepare yourself for some word vomit...  For a multitude of reasons, tonight's tilt versus Atlanta is the Blackhawks biggest game to date this season.  The most obvious reason is because we've lost 5 of 7 and the Hawks faithful are growing rather hungry for a long string of W's.  But aside from the ever increasing need to accumulate some points, tonight is the 2010-11 Blackhawks chance to show us that we are not all wasting our time blogging/watching/talking/reading about them.

Skille, Stalberg, Pisani, Scott, and whoever else is new this year should be chomping at the bit for the opportunity to embarrass some former Hawks.  These guys couldn't dream of a better chance to gain acceptance from the (to this point very skeptical) Blackhawks fanbase.  Outperforming the very people they were brought in to replace will provide a breath of fresh air that has the potential to finally right the ship.  And I believe Morin is getting his first shot tonight too!  If he buries 2 goals and gets an assist maybe we will forget that that 6'5" 250 lb. D-man dressed in baby blue who hits like a freight train but has the skill of a top 6 forward ever donned a Hawk's jersey.
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Hawks Lose...Again...

I tried to sleep it off but it appears a new day isn't enough to alleviate my frustration over last night's loss to the Devils.  A Devils team that entered Chicago at 3-9-1, with Zach Parise!  I keep thinking to myself, "The Hawks are fine, they're at .500 and they have yet to suit up their entire roster for a game this season."  But one can only be optimistic for so long without results.  I'm beginning to think Mike Kiley abandoned ship at exactly the right moment, leaving me to digest what was once a championship caliber team.

I don't want to get too abusive here because the season is not a sprint but a marathon.  I just really hoped that at mile 5 we'd be off to a more promising start.  We're tied with Detroit and 1 point ahead of St. Louis and they have 5 and 6 games in hand respectively.  If the Blackhawks can't accumulate points while playing teams like Edmonton and New Jersey they may soon find themselves battling for an 8 seed.

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Campbell Returns to Face Rangers

 

 

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Alot has been said about Brian Campbell over the past couple seasons.  He's overpaid, he's too soft, he doesn't produce enough...the list goes on and on.  But so far this season, more so than anything else, he's been missed.  "Soupy" will make his season debut tonight agains the Rangers as the Blackhawks look for their 4th win in 6 games away from the United Center.  

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Coach Q hits the random button...

 

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Nothing better then typing a blog at work when the power flashes on and off,  causing the office computer to intstantly reboot, making your well thought out unsaved masterpiece disappear like a scoring chance when Tomas Kopecky has the puck.  Okay, that was a little harsh, but so was ComEd's decision to cut the power right before I could click publish.  Instead of retyping it all I'm going to briefly summarize what was on my mind when I originally sat down.

Coach Q has activated the Blackhawks shuffle for tonight's game with the Kings.  Skille is on the top line, Kopecky is the #2 center, and Kane has been rightfully demoted to the third line.  I'm all for mixing things up, but sometimes it's better to make a new playlist than just continuing to reshuffle the one you already have.

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Blackhawks need to bond during 3 day break...

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Finally a break for the Blackhawks.  After playing 10 game in 17 days the Hawks are getting some much needed rest (hopefully) as they prepare for LA on Wednesday.  I'm still not convinced that 10 games is a large enough sample to make lasting judgements so I want to focus on something other than the on ice play of Blackhawks. 

Brent Seabrook hosted his 3rd Annual Ice Bowl Sunday to raise money for inner city school kids.  Being an avid bowler myself, combining one of my favorite sports (yes, bowling is a sport) with my favorite team seemed like the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon.  Cost of admission aside, my desire to attend the event was severely dampened when Mr. Mike Kiley handed me the expected guest list.  No Kane, no Hossa, maybe Sharp, but don't worry because Viktor Stalberg, Nick Boynton, and John Scott will be in attendance.  It was at that moment it struck me.  The Blackhawks aren't nearly as "cool" as they used to be.
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Blackhawks vs. Blues Part Deux

The Blackhawks will shoot for their 5th consecutive victory tonight as they take on the St. Louis Blues.  One has to believe the mighty music notes have spent all week drooling over the chance to wash the taste of Marian Hossa out of their mouth.  Just like the Blues are in search of revenge,  the Hawks are in search of an identity.  Yea the wins are beginning to pile up, but even as the point total continues to grow my sense of who these Hawks are is not.  Are we really going to give up 40 shots every night?  Are Hossa and Sharp bigger pieces than Kane and Toews?  Those are just a few of the questions that many are asking about this Hawks squad.

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"Stanley Cup Favorite" Vancouver to play the Blackhawks Tonight...

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Nothing better to cap off a hard working hump day then a matchup between the 'Nucks and Blackhawks at the United Center.  Let take a look at tonight's storylines: Can Buff get into Luongo's head?  Will Ladd and Kesler duke it out over a 2 year old playoff beef?  Will Eager grab hold of a Canuck's pants and body slam him to the ice?  Woops...give me a second while I pinch myself.  Okay, back to reality.  Are we even rivals with Vancouver anymore?  It seems most of the fuel that made this rivalry burn resides in Atlanta now.  The only memory I have that still has some relevance is the one of tough guy Alexandre Burrows yanking on the hair of Duncan Keith. Man I hope that's not what this rivalry has come to.  With Burrows and the Sedin Sisters I'm not sure we can win in a cat fight against Vancouver.

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Blues vs. Blackhawks Tonight!

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About 4 years ago I made the decision to attend college at St. Louis University.  It was the perfect place.  300 miles was an ideal distance from home, no snow in the winter, warmer weather year round; those were all positives in my mind.  The only drawback (besides having horrible pizza and not serving Italian Beef anywhere in the city) was being forced to constantly defend the sports teams of the city I called home.  Cubs vs. Cardinals, yea, there's not much to say there.  Even though I bleed Cubby Blue with the best of 'em, no argument I could muster really held water against a 10-0 World Series rings advantage over the past 100 years.  But it was never the Red Bird that got to me.  It was that blue and yellow music note that never failed to get my blood boiling.
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