Blackhawks Confidential

To New Beginnings


Tonight marks the beginning of similar journeys for 2 Chicago franchises.  The 2010-11 Blackhawks and their blogging counterpart (Blackhawks Confidential) have kicked off their respective seasons with high hopes and a lot of questions that remain unanswered.  Can our Hawks silence the nay sayers and repeat as Cup Champions?  Can Mike Kiley be replaced?  I'm not sure of either, but tonight signifies the end of the speculation as both the Blackhawks and myself take to the ice.

As Mike mentioned in his swan song, my name is Paul Czerwien and I have taken over the reigns here at Blackhawks Confidential.  I am a recent college grad with an undying love for the Hawks.  Mike has left some very large shoes to fill, along with a lot of empty bottles, but I am excited for this opportunity and promise to do my best to keep this blog at the top of its game. 

Over the next few weeks we will be forced to encounter things we are not used to.  The dekes and dangles we remember of Kris Versteeg will become become dumps and chases from Fernando Pisani.  Likewise, the poetry that flowed from Mike's keyboard will become my attempt to retain the great fan base he has collected here.  Change is upon us, let's keep our minds open and hopefully 12 months from now we will be celebrating my 1 year anniversary as well as the start of the Hawks quest for a Jordanesque 3-Peat.

But that's enough of that, let's get to business.  The Hawks defense of the Cup hit a minor speed bump tonight with a 4-3 OT loss at the hands of the Avalanche.  Paul Stastny netted his 2nd goal of the contest 3:40 into overtime to end all specualtion of an undefeated season for our boys.  The pace of the game was unbelievable, with nearly 80 shots being fired on net.

My first itch in need of scratching is the play of Marty Turco.  It was hard to tell in the first period whether the Avs were generating constant quality scoring chances or if Marty was in the mood to flop around like a freshly reeled in small mouth bass.  His intentions for moving the puck also seemed to clash with those of the D-men, but that's nothing a few more games to gel shouldn't fix.  

Nick Leddy looked unbelievably polished for a 19 year old, showing composure on both sides of the ice.  I'm already curious to see what will happen when the 7 million dollar man returns from injury...  Regardless, the defense needs to tighten up as a unit because I'm not sure my heart can handle watching Marty fend off 40 shots a night.

The offense showed promise.  The loss of depth from last season was obvious as the top 2 lines ate up a majority of the ice time in the 3rd period.  Kane and Toews didn't impress much on the stat sheet, but one post and an amazing save from Craig Anderson were all the stopped the dynamic duo from collecting 3 points apiece.  Hossa got off to a good start for his push for 40+ and Patrick Sharp is making me eat crow for saying was more replaceable than my playoff hero Big Buff.

Despite the bitter taste of defeat, tonight's game has given us reason to believe the mold of the 2010-11 Champs is being cast.  Let's just hope Mr. Kiley didn't raid the Champagne closet before he left...
                

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16 Comments

iplagitr said:

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Welcome Paul! Looking forward to another great season on B.C.!

I didn't get to see the whole game last night, but what I did see didn't answer a whole lot of questions. Were the Avs that fast, or was the Hawks D that sluggish with all those speed-created chances against them? Was Turco brilliant for much of the game, or was he (and the team) just fortunate that more pucks didn't go in? Did any of the original Q-lines really click very well? Only time will tell.

The Hawks did show a lot of grit in rallying from 3-1, and hit a couple posts, but from what I saw, it seemed they were out-hustled -- however I wouldn't expect the Hawks to come out hitting on all cylinders at game one. There were a lot of things to be happy with, but I think they got their first good taste of being the targeted team everyone ramps up to beat. There will be plenty of that to come.

Hostile Hawk said:

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The Hawks were in breakdown city last night. Hi Paul, welcome.

Sharpie did the complete opposite for me. He added weight to the nick-name I gave him, "The 60 goal scorer that never was." The defense was lost and much of it might be a result of not getting used to Turco, but most was a result of an offense not getting deep enough in their own zone. They seemed happy to let 2 guys bail them out while waiting for an outbreak pass. Like I have said, this year is all about coaching. Hopefully things will come together soon.
There were many positives as well. Hossa and Sharp had stunning games, in fact the whole Toews line looked poised to score at any moment. Kopecky is proving me right as he takes his spot on that line. I thought Stalberg looked really strong. He is my new candidate to replace the loss of Ladd. Bickell was impressive too, making some huge hits, but someone needs to sharpen his skates, he spent a good deal of time on his ass.

VegasHawksFan said:

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Hey Paul, thanks for taking over. It's so good to have somewhere to come and be obnoxious again. Many thanks again to Mike

Colorado to me looked like a team picking up where it left off and the Hawks looked like a team with a bunch of new guys. Some of the breakdowns were pretty ugly but I also saw a lot of things I liked. Many times last year, I thought the Hawks relied too much on their talent but overall I wasn't upset with the hustle level last night. The one thing I will bitch about is the power play which was absolute clown shoes for most of the night. At times they moved the puck well but far too often gave up an odd man rush the other way. Q seems stubbornly committed to having wings on the point so I dont' know that bitching about it is going to help. With the amount of new guys this team has, pre season is going to last awhile longer.

Paul said:

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Absolutely agree

menofmags said:

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Welcome Paul and look forward to your insight while the "Hawks" go for repeat.

My only concern with last night is with our enforcer position. First of all I believe D-men are to valuable and that an enforcer should come from the ranks of the forward position. In addition D-men must be able to skate along side the talented forwards in the NHL. With that said, I truly believe a weakness was exposed.

Paul said:

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I actually debated bringing this point up last night. I'm curious to see what the future holds for Scott and Boynton. If Leddy and Hendry can prove worthy along with the return of Campbell, is it possible that Scott and Boynton become healthy scratches? Maybe if the top two lines can lay it on really thick a spot for a forward enforcer could be made for Scott on the 4th line as you somewhat suggested?

CRB said:

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I have been watching tonights game against the red wings and during one of the intermissions i took a quick glance at the blog to see what everybody has to say. So far the game looks like its going a little better than their first game against Colorado, the commercials are definitely funnier. But when i read about someones curiosity of Scott i had to comment, because it has been frustrating watching him tonight, the future for Scott is not looking to bright. From what i have heard, Scott is suppose to be some kind of defensive enforcer and i have yet to see it. Tonights game, Scott has looked like a fish flopping around the ice, he has the size but before someone can hit a guy, one has to be able to stand on his skates. If he doesn't get his shit together he will not have a future on the hawks once Campbell is back in the lineup i think he will be the first one back to our farm team. I think that Leddy and Boynton can have a future with us, Leddy stands out to me, i think he is similar to Hjalmarsson and can grow into a solid defensive defenseman. Another thing that i noticed was Bickell having another solid great game, he knows how to put the pressure on the other team by shooting, he has an awesome hard shot and is doing a great job getting the puck on net. Skille has been putting Scott to shame, he is doing what Scott should be doing, Skille has been going after guys and finishing his checks strongly. Skille has been awesome these past two games, he has awesome speed and he's not scared to rough things up. How can two games pass and we have not one fight, the hawks are missing some key ingredients and if we can not get our toughness back or at least start throwing some punches we will not be able to bounce back from loosing periods.

VegasHawksFan said:

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An enforcer is not going to turn our power play around. If you burn a team frequently when they take penalties against you, they are going to play a different game. It sucks not having a guy like Ladd around any more who could lay some pretty big hits on people, but the cap is what it is. Everybody wants that big guy who can both hit and score, but not everyone can afford him.

beaverwarrior said:

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I didn't get to see the game last night but listen in on WGN. I heard a lot of "the Avs are outworking the Hawks"....

KingXerxes said:

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Paul - Great to see you back. I look forward to your razor sharp observations and intelligent insight as our beloved Blackhawks start on the long march to defend their honor.

Nice to see the moronic Chicago Tribune pick the Blackhawks as the 4th best team in the West, but then again this newspaper recently endorsed Jan Schakowsky so, to be fair, maybe they're not morons..........they're clueless morons.

King Xerxes

OneTeam said:

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Hello Paul. (And all) I am your resident Red Wing troll and instigator. I live here in the city of Chicago and since I have to be surrounded by so many "newly veteran" hockey fans all day, I like to use this forum to return that annoyance that I must endure almost daily. I have had a lot of fun reading and commenting on this blog last year....well that is… until the Hawkey's had the last laugh. Good for you. I enjoyed many of the "spirited" back-n-fourths with the regulars here in the peanut gallery and hope this year that the “spirit” will continue while taking my turn to get the final laugh!

It’s a new season and the Confidential has a new host. I guess the only thing that will remain the same is myself/OneTeam and my quest to get the general Hawkey nation to see the light and kneel before the mighty Winged Wheel! Haha! No? Ok, well perhaps that may be a lofty goal but at the very least, I hope to spark some good ole fashion trash talk. The Wings have already spoiled the banner raising night (Check!) Beat the Hawks in their first meeting (Check!) and have taken the spotlight as the Cup favorite. (Check!) Looks like my team has drawn first, second and third blood! The road to Lord Stanley’s Cup STILL goes through Detroit. I hope you enjoyed the free ride and easy detour last year because it aint gonna happen again.

Anyone wanna compare lines? Nah, I didn’t think so. The Wings are rested, restored and more powerful than ever! Let the games begin!!

Hawkeyeverynite said:

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Paul, she forgot to mention she's 5'1" 210 lbs, and has a bad case of acne and acute halitosis from a steady diet of liquid UC stadium nacho cheese. She verifiably spends her time impersonating trolls from most other NHL teams, so she surely isn't even a true Wings fan. She also loves conversing with herself using her own made-up aliases of multiple Hawk fans on this blog. She also assured us all many times over last season that the Hawks weren't ready to win the Cup. Good call on that one. She sure knows her stuff, so we better listen closely.

Paul said:

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Great to have you here OneTeam, I'm always down for some good old fashioned trash talk. Let me be the first to congratulate you on beating a pathetic Anaheim team, squeezing by us in the perfect trifecta of events (Scott blows an edge, puck goes through Hjalmarsson, Turco gets caught daydreaming), and then looking very average against a surprising Colorado team.

Did you happen to pick up your mike mAdano jersey yet?

OneTeam said:

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Excuses for losing already?? Wow, that didnt take long. I figured we would at least make it to November!

I didnt get a Modano jersey yet, but I do have a red and white Turco jersey. I figured since the Wings own him and all, it was worth the three dollars!

Thanks for the warm greeting Paul. I look forward to some good battles - Good luck with the blog this season!

OneTeam said:

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Paul- Not all those in the peanut gallery are as bitter and paranoid as Hawkey. But at least now you can get a taste of the liveliness my presence can inspire! He is correct; I along with fans of 29 other teams in the NHL were incorrect in predicting the Hawks improbable Cup run. You see, not everyone outside of this particular Hawks circle knew that their game plan was to ride that piece of garbage Huet all the way through the month of March and then roll the dice on a rookie goalkeeper that you would later dispose of over the summer. It’s all so clear now; I guess I am pretty stupid for not seeing the grand scheme back in December 2009!

BTW- Hawkey is obsessed with me and suffers from fregoli delusional and ganser syndromes. He also has a serious case of head lice. He doesn’t make much sense but he tries really hard and his doctor said we should encourage him to express himself verbally otherwise he’ll just spend his days hitting himself violently in the head. The good news is that his mother only allows him to use the computer for an hour a day which is why sometimes it takes 24hrs until we hear back from him. (He lives in his mother’s basement) We affectionately refer to him as the James “Buffalo Bill” Gumb of this blog. (Have you seen Silence of the Lambs? Yeah, he’s the guy that tucks it……well you probably remember who it is now.)

Hawkeyeverynite said:

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Glad to see you're finally coming to an understanding of how stupid you are. Thanks for letting us know you agree with all of us on that one.

So from your description of me, it sounds like we're actually a lot alike. Plus, who ever said I was a guy? You should know better than anyone that not all hockey fans and trash-talking bloggers are male...

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