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Blackhawks offense doesn't add up to anything good

I have never been a math whiz. My old teachers, such as Plato and Aristotle, will attest that a lot of what I do and say doesn't add up.

But I have just examined the Blackhawks' books and I can tell you this. They are bankrupt, a team on the point of extinction if there is no bailout forthcoming, no infusion of offense.

Of their eight leading scorers in the regular season, five of them have combined in the playoffs for 2 goals, 9 assists total.

Divide seven playoffs games into 11 points and you have...hell, you got fractions. I really don't do fractions.

Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp have 10 goals, 14 assists among them this postseason.

Marian Hossa, Duncan Keith, Kris Versteeg, Troy Brouwer and Brian Campbell have the 11 points among them. Hossa has a goal, 6 assists and Keith a goal, 1 assist. The other two points belong to Versteeg, both assists.

Versteeg, Brouwer and Campbell are goalless. In fact, Brouwer and Campbell are pointless.

I have not examined the Vancouver books as closely, but without doing so, I would suspect a look at their eight top scorers show a considerably better accounting.

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"Scared" Blackhawks get booed and blown away in frightening loss to Vancouver

Why should Ryan Kesler stop with Andrew Ladd? Go ahead, Ryan, call all the Blackhawks cowards. You've got a free head shot. Might as well take it.

Hell, Versus studio analyst Keith Jones basically did. "They look scared to me," Jones said during the second intermission.

Scaredy cats. Going into a series that was ballyhooed as a knockdown, drag-out fight, none thought the Hawks would be called scaredy cats after one game of the Western Conference semifinals against Vancouver.

The Hawks will be called a lot of bad names after losing 5-1 to the Canucks at United Center Saturday night. What's the worst one?

Losers. Not one-game losers. Big-time losers. For sure, second-round losers based on this performance.

Watch this game and it's laughable to think a team like this can win anything except maybe some beer league where all the players drink during the games, too. Forget Game 2 Monday night. All the Canucks must do is win both games in Vancouver to go up 3-1 at worst, based on the presumption the Hawks can win Game 2.

Maybe that's wishful thinking. At this point, a Vancouver sweep isn't out of the question.

How bad was it? Cristobal Huet is back. Down 5-0 after two periods, Antti Niemi was pulled from harm's way by coach Joel Quenneville, who didn't want to bury his goalie's confidence beneath a deluge of negatives with no end in this game.

Huet played the third and perhaps benefitted from the fact the Canucks were just trying to play the clock more than the goalie.

Some of this debacle was Niemi's fault. Some was his defense's fault. Some of it was his forward's fault. Everybody's bloody fingerprints were on this travesty.

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Personally, I hate the Blackhawks-Canucks hatred theme; let's blow it off

Whether you are going to United Center, a bar, a couch, a car, or your favorite easy chair to take in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals Saturday night between Vancouver and the Blackhawks, don't forget to act angry, steamed, pissed off, irate, mightily insulted and offended.

Otherwise, just no possible way you can appreciate the intricacies of this Stanley Cup blood feud. Try and enjoy yourself by embellishing your venom and hostilities, sharpen your animus and abhorrence.

Up your animus, too.

At what should you be angry, steamed, pissed off, irate, insulted, offended, venomous and hostile? Well now, give me just a second here to put a match to my furnace's pilot light.

I'm getting old and can't get my hate worked up and inflammed as quickly as I used to. Damn, my spitefulness is on the blink, just when I needed it most. As much as I try to keep myself lubricated and intoxicated, never thought I'd let my venom run dry.

Even though I have been accused on many occasions of being a hater, I am sorry I can't blindly lash out with a handy profanity and jump right into the scrum. It is being promoted in opposing media as not just a game, not a mere competition, but a clash between foes who just detest, berate and denigrate their scumbag opponent on the other side.

They like to say dislike. But we have a better dictionary than that.

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Canadiens-Blackhawks seek Stanley Cup championship rematch--39 years later

The path has been cleared a little more for the Blackhawks to win a Stanley Cup.

Removing Washington from the map is like erasing the Appalachian Mountains. When the Hawks-Vancouver series finally commences Saturday night, everyone knows that their chances to be a champion just got easier with the Capitals capsized.

The Montreal Canadiens pulled off a miracle. I doubt God will grant them another one and allow them to be in position to face Chicago in the Cup finals. In these tough times, however, maybe even heaven is offering a 2-for-1 deal.

Isn't it a lovely thought? Canadiens-Hawks, the sequel, 39 years down the road.

There would be so many old-timers at that championship series you would need to staff United Center with ambulances, nurses, scotch and Viagra. And insist that Patrick Kane quit hosting all the after-hour parties until after he has the one true Cup firmly in his grasp and stop horsing around by riding all the geezers' wheelchairs up and down the hotel hallway.

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Canucks' Kesler bans his Detroit family from Hawks' game to save their lives

Turns out the Vancouver Canucks don't just hate the Blackhawks. They hate you. And you. And you. At least Ryan Kesler does.

He says Hawks fans hassled his family and he refuses to let them come back for a game in Chicago because of it. I will get back to this breaking news after a few paragraphs of stirring another pot.

As a public service I'll try and bring you late-breaking bulletins for this series of the century, since we live in the age of instant news being disseminated in the blink of an eye.

For a guy who grew up when instant coffee was all the rage, I'm trying to join the electronic hip crowd, just before I need to have that hip replaced.

Anyway, STOP THE PRESSES...Actually I don't really have to do that at Chicago Now, where the ghostly, ghastly presses seem to just stop all on their own two or three times a day. Must be a bug in the air.

Maybe the same bug Ryan Kesler has up his ass every so often.

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Vancouver's Iron Mike Samuelsson goes for the gold in Chicago series

Seconds after beating the Los Angeles Kings in their first-round series, Vancouver began baiting the Blackhawks.

"Ask everyone in this room who was here last year, they'd tell you we'd love another shot at them," Shane O'Brien said in the Vancouver Province. "That's kind of been on our mind for a year now."

Winger Mikael "Iron Mike" Samuelsson doesn't have that motivation, though, and he could be the scariest Canucklehead of all, having beaten the Hawks in the Western Conference finals last year and with nothing more to prove than he has changed to somebody from nobody, from just a guy named Sam to a gorilla named Iron Mike.

The former Detroit Red Wing, quite familiar with knocking off Chicago when he was just a small cog in a big wheel, is new with Vancouver and has seven goals and 11 points so far this postseason, sustaining a career-year offensively for him. From 19 goals last year to 30 this year has Samuelsson in superman form.

This playoffs already has Mikey surpassing the 10 postseason points from 23 games with Detroit last year.

So Iron Mike is bringing something dramatically changed to this party that could rain on the Hawks' parade. Apparently, he is still pissed off at Swedish Olympic officials for not picking him to play with the 2010 Olympic club.

Considered a man of few words, Samuelsson at least had a few real good words for Team Sweden and coach Bengt-Aake Gustafsson. "I pretty much have one comment and maybe I'll regret it, but they can go fuck themselves," he said.

The Hawks better keep a close eye on a guy who can make a point so well and so succintly.

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Enough with the Duncan donut holes--Keith needs to goose Blackhawks offense

The Blackhawks ask a lot of Duncan Keith. I ask a lot of Duncan Keith. Duncan Keith, I'm certain, asks a lot of Duncan Keith.

So I take it upon myself once again to ask this: why is no one holding Duncan Keith's skates to the fire? A little goose might be good for the gander. Some burning blades might be just what the doctor ordered to get him up and on his feet, setting the ice aflame again with his speed and pinpoint passing.

Is it too much to ask this offensively-challenged team's second leading scorer this season to score a goal Saturday afternoon for just the second time in his last 22 games? The clock is ticking and for a second straight year Keith is in slow-motion mode to open the postseason, making our watch list as a player who needs to be closely monitored or he might just blow us to hell and back.

Patrick Sharp, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, who along with Keith comprised this team's top four scorers, have done their part. They are the leading Hawks scorers in the playoffs, while Keith is stuck at the bottom of the barrel with zero points and too many miscalculations to count.

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Sleeping Beauty awakes as the Blackhawks, Niemi kiss off Nashville 3-0

Cinderella last year. Sleeping Beauty this year.

But it was nothing but fantasy for anyone who thought these sweet princes wouldn't go down without a fight and come to the realization they are better than they have shown.

Their first-round series with Nashville is now tied at 2 after the Blackhawks showed increased energy and passion and poise and pursuit in beating the Predators 3-0 Thursday night.

If Antti Niemi can pitch a shutout every two games this postseason, the Stanley Cup will be Chicago's. Niemi earned his second shutout of the playoffs, also winning 2-0 in Game 2.

The Hawks need to add a second straight victory Saturday afternoon with Game 5 on NBC at United Center to seize control. Or else they would be facing elimination in Nashville Monday night. That's not a prospect we want to see.

All they need to do is sustain the improved team performance from Game 4. That shouldn't really be all that hard with Chicago fans cheering them on to give their best. A win Saturday would put this series firmly in the Hawks' hands.

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Here's your Blackhawks guarantee for Tuesday--Hossa scores once or twice

After watching the Blackhawks' unpredictable offense scrape, suffer, scratch, scour, sour, sweeten, swagger, slip, slide, surge, slug, suffocate, struggle and survive--all within a mere two games of the playoffs--I am now prepared to make a fearless prediction with the series and our hopes still knotted at 1.

In a humanitarian effort (just my usual charitable bent) to comfort an unsettled Blackhawks nation, which was fully ready to sit back and enjoy a 16-game winning streak to secure the Stanley Cup, I come with assurances that are more solid than a Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme.

Given only my brief and vanishing time-and-space, a quite valuable commodity I am told by far too many NHL broadcasters and NHL writers is so damn precious, I just can't hold back any longer.

So let's not waste any ticking seconds. My time-and-space is melting more quickly than the red-and-black-colored ice cream will be at June's Stanley Cup parade in Chicago.

Marian Hossa will score in Game 3 Tuesday night in Nashville. Guaranteed. Take it to the bank. All money refunded if you're not satisfied within two days. There, I slipped it right through your bowlegged 5-hole with my collapsing time-and-space.

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Marathon man Keith needs one goal (and a few pluses) for Blackhawks to win

Duncan Keith was the Blackhawks' second leading scorer during the regular season, but has never scored a postseason goal in the NHL.

Does that compute to feeling confident that this postseason is far from over and the hounds of hell will be unleashed for Game 2 Sunday night?

In 18 playoff games, the Norris Trophy-contending defenseman has six assists and is a very mediocre minus-2. He was minus-3 in Friday night's 4-1 loss to Nashville, but he spent just over 29 minutes on the ice, so when bad things happen good chance he will be somewhere nearby and it's not always going to be his fault.

And yet, innocent bystander that he may sometimes be, he is going to get blamed until he develops a postseason reputation that is beyond reproach, and he hasn't done that so far.

Would a Norris win for Keith really be notable if he can't solidify a reputation as a go-to guy during the playoffs?

Keith didn't score a point in last year's first-round triumph over Calgary. He contributed five assists in overcoming Vancouver in the second round before his offense again went on the blink for that Western Conference finals shortfall against Detroit.

If your team's second-leading scorer doesn't score in the postseason with some regularity, explain to me again how the Hawks are destined to be Stanley Cup champions? I'm quite eager to hear both sides of the story.

If you have a point in rebuttal, I wish you'd share it with Keith. He needs all the points that could boost his credentials.

In fact, Keith is a combined minus-8 in his last eight playoff games. Hockey purists hate it when you mix and match analogies with other sports, but since Keith is the quarterback of this team, isn't that like watching your quarterback get sacked eight times?

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