By Rich Lindbloom
One of life’s simple little pleasures is a great shoe shine. That along with a freshly detailed car, (c’mon, admit it, some of you have McDonald wrappers in your back seat), a good night’s repose or a smile from your wife tend to inordinately lift one’s spirits. The above picture was taken last Saturday before the Bruins game. I’ve had my shoes shined by Haywood for numerous years now. Trust me when I tell you he can bring the dead back to life! If you’re like me, getting the shoes shined gets put on the back burner in my busy life. In fact, if you ever notice that my shoes don’t match my outfit, it’s because I finally decided, after 4 months, to get them shined no matter what the fashion disaster. (Haywood recommends 6 weeks by the way.) Think about it for a second – do you think Hossa would let those bad boy white loafers go that long? Forget about it!
In a related story, I took two customers to a Hawks game a few years back with my boss. With about 5 minutes remaining in the 1st period, I came to the calculated conclusion I could not wait until the end of the period to relieve myself. As I came out of the bathroom I noticed Haywood in his chair. H’mmm, I thought, maybe I’ll get a quick shoe shine. Unfortunately, I forgot how thorough Haywood is, and found myself sitting in his chair a little longer than anticipated. It was then that my boss emerged from Sec 101.
He took a quick glance at the shoe shine stand, and then did a double take. As the saying goes, “Busted.” You have to understand Franco is the epitome of a salesman – Professional down to the core. Abandoning your customer, even momentarily, was a Bozo no-no. I wasn’t too surprised when he hollered, “What the hell are you doing!” When we went back to our seats, he of course had to blabber where I was. For the duration of the next two periods I was mocked by everyone around me, including my customers, for the best looking shoes in Sec. 101. Everyone except the ladies of course, because as we all know, “Every girl crazy about a shoes shined man.” Take it away ZZ Top.
One player who continues to shine for the Hawks is Corey Crawford. Crow continues to put the murmurings of a sophomore slump to bed. Redirects and forwards arriving a little too late to the party seem to be his only weakness at the moment. Both Mr. Big and Thomas were outstanding last Saturday. On the Bruins first goal, Brad Gardner made a great observation; “Brent Seabrook “sailed a tight angle shot over the net and the puck took an unpredictable carom as it went around the boards.” It was unfortunate, and really a quirky bounce led to the Bruins excruciatingly painful shortie. In the shootout, I noticed Corey stumbled momentarily as he started to skate backwards on Seguin’s tally. He regained his balance, but I believe it threw him out of synch. Crow was probably thinking, “Damn, I almost feel down there-that’s not good.” Thomas was stone cold solid in the shoot out, although Toews appeared to have him beat. My son told me on the replay it appeared the puck took a weird bounce as Jonny B Good failed to elevate over Tiny Tim’s pad.
Right before Bickell solved the enigma between Boston’s pipes, I was going to mention to Adam Fels, (the good looking Fels brother), that maybe we need to go 5 hole on Thomas. He left Kaner scratching his head on a couple of uncontested backhanders. Actually we had numerous odd man rushes, especially in the 1st period, but we kept getting thwarted when we tried to go upstairs. Watching Bickell slide one threw Thomas’s legs sort of verified my uneducated hunch. And then Kaner solved Thomas in the same manner. After Kaner’s goal I said to Adam, “I believe with one more goal we can tie Vancouver’s goal total in the Cup Finals last year.
“hairhelmet” a blogger at the SCH web site came up with a good name for the Bolland line – “Bolbick Frokins is an exciting Middle-Earthian-named line. It’s becoming our preciousssss.” The Hannibal Lechter led line played the #1 line of Boston and pretty much stifled them all night. Bolland got into a little tit for tat discussion with the Bruin quickly becoming one of the most annoying punks in the league, Bradley Marchand. (and yes, I’d probably like it if he played for the Hawks.) I think even Marchand started thinking twice about messing with Hannibal when he started giving him the demon possessed eye look. Can you say Keyser Soze? This line produced a little fire power themselves, as Bickell just missed a tip in that appeared to hop over his stick. And is it just me, or is Bickell’s skating look vastly improved from last year?
Along with an inordinate amount of criticism for the Duncster, even the play of Toews and Sharp was being extensively scrutinized after the Bruin game. When I said I was sorry to see Smith heading back to the Big R because I’d like to see him play with Toews and Sharp, another blogger named cdz3210 made a comment; “the way Toews and Sharp have started the season, I think they should be making the trip to Rockford with Smith.” Another idea that crossed my mind was to use Toews as trade bait to land that secret to the universe, a true second line center for the Hawks. This is just my opinion, but anyone worried about 10/19, well trust me, you can come in off the ledge now. It’s going to be ok! That story will have a happy ending.
While on the subject of second line centers, Kaner continues to amaze and befuddle. One thing I notice is the puck seems to be on his stick a lot more. He seems to be able to skate through center ice with the greatest of ease. (You old timers, think Perrault, Beliveau or Savard) While obviously Hossa adds an exponential element of danger to this line, it was still effective with Carcillo and Stalberg on his wings. His spin-o-rama move that sent him in all alone on Thomas was black magic. If it were possible, Carcillo seemed to have a pretty quiet night. After his frenetic game against the Jets, he seemed to be slightly less physical and much less vocal. Stalberg played ok, and I’m guessing he’s playing hurt. However, he needs to quit throwing the Obama passes. (relying too much on hope.) Several times he just blindly dumped the puck towards the middle like it was a hot potato. Those type of passes tend to lead to dangerous odd man rushes towards our net. These type of plays in football are known as “The Look Out” block, when the lineman who’s been beat turns around and yells to Cutler, “Look Out!” Viktor, just think about that statement I’m sure your mother drilled into you many times as a youth; “Look before you cross the street.”
Fifth Feather did a very good analysis of our short fusing power play. Basically we have to decide whether we’re going to dump and chase or try to skate it in. And for heaven’s sake, knock off the homerun passes on the PP. There was one play where I think Seabs tried this with Toews. The problem was no one on the Hawks was ahead of Toews and there were four Bruins within spitting distance of him. That, to me, was the worst turnover of the evening. If Seabs or Duncs, want Toews to remain with the big club, they better quit setting him up for failure. Our PP will come around, although with a 2 for 17 record I can almost understand the frustration of one caller on Judd Sirott’s post game show. The caller in so many words said that Q should think about declining the penalty until we get it figured out. I usually want to slam my head into the dashboard when I hear a comment like that – but I’m beginning to grasp the utter despair of the caller.
I’d like to add a new feature to my mental meanderings. At first I wanted to call it “out on a limb.” Then thought “the Insane Clown Posse Corner” was more appropriate. At any rate two mindless predictions. The Oilers and Islanders will make the playoffs this year. I was going to wait another week on this gambit; however they both won their last game. Obviously, it doesn’t take much for me to get on the bandwagon. I’m not taking any bets at this point, but both squads excite me – “Speed Kills.” Both teams can be an accident waiting to happen in their own zone, but they seem to have that mindset that Killion once noted about Big Buff; “Cover me, cuz I’m going in.” Ride em cowboy!
Two final notes. The Kiss Cam seems to really excite the ladies in the crowd. Watch the females around you next time they have this feature at the U.C. The fairer sex was playing closer attention to the Kiss Cam than any other timeout diversion at the game, including the Blonde Bimbo moment. And, although Sam came down a tad hard on our three new rockers, my daughter Taylor liked them. Personally, I’d like to hear them take a stab at “Purple Haze.’ Oh yeah, you know that’s right-“Scuse me why I kiss the sky.” Play it at a crucial moment during a timeout in the 3rd period and then set your guitar on fire. You’ll have a job for life!
In closing I’m reminded of a song by Elvin Bishop called “Sure Feels Good”:
“I’ve worn about nine pairs of shoes walking this old floor
Never sang nothing but the blues.
Now I’m singing me a brand new song
Standing in a new pair of shoes.
Sure feels good feeling good again,
sure feels good feeling good.”
Stop by and say hello to Haywood this season. By the time he’s finished, you’ll be humming this Elvin Bishop song. Tap dancing is not out of the question. With the Bull season in jeopardy, his salary has been cut, if I calculate correctly, by 50%. Five minutes before the end of a period is usually a good time to stop by and get those puppies looking like new again. Trust me, you’ll feel like a million bucks.