Dec 012011

By Rich Lindbloom 

“Ow! Ohhhh yeah

I used to think maybe you loved me, now baby I’m sure
And I just can’t wait til the day when you knock on my door
Now every time I go to the mail box, gotta hold myself down
Cos I just wait till you write me your coming around.

I’m walking on Sunshine, wooah
I’m walking on sunshine, woooah
I’m walking on sunshine, woooah
And don’t it feel good!”
 – Kimberly Rew

Ok, I get it. This song was probably the furthest thing possible from anyone’s mind leaving the United Center Wednesday night with their tail between their legs. Perhaps a more fitting song would be the dirge by Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, “There’s something wrong.” However the start of “Walking on Sunshine,” particularly the word “OW!”, reminded me not only of the Hawks’ game. It also brought back a memory of a Chemistry 101 lab and a scorching hot test tube I had heated up. I’m not sure why, but when it was time to clean up and head to my next class, I firmly grabbed hold of the test tube with three fingers. All were instantly blistered. I didn’t even have time to think of a swear word, I just exclaimed, “Ow!” as the test tube flew out of my hand and broke on the floor. The chemistry teacher kind a shook his head and asked if I needed any first aid. In this highly embarrassing situation I said, “No, I’m ok.”

Needless to say, the Blackhawks were not ‘ok’ Tuesday night. I’d imagine their ears were pretty blistered by the time Coach Q finished his assessment of their efforts; or perhaps better put, lack thereof.

Definitely in a Debbie downer mood as I headed to work Wednesday morning, I couldn’t help but notice the bright sunshine. Then the Katrina and the Waves song appeared out of nowhere, battering my sullenness. The song starts out with an infectious, up tempo, drum punctuated by Katrina’s “Ow!” This is followed by a wall of sassy trumpets, a catchy guitar riff and a solid bottom that holds it all together. From the moment you hear the horns blow, it makes you want to dance or at least consider the dance moves you’d utilize on the dance floor.  Royalties from the song still bring in over a million dollars/yr. since its release. The song has the ability to take a walking stiff with zero rhythm, (and I think you know who you are), and in no time transform him into a arms flailing, foot stomping, head a bobbing, hips gyrating, wanna be dancing with the stars stiff, with no rhythm. It is the complete antipode of the way the Blackhawk fans felt during and after the Coyote game, as they trudged like zombies to the parking lot.

Yes Blackhawk faithful, that game gave a whole new meaning to the words, “Coyote Ugly.”

Brad Vandenberk, as usual, wrote a concise wrap up of the game on the thirdmanin website. He noted, “With the scent of Circus still in the air at the U. C., the Blackhawks returned home to play their final game in November.” I think he was trying to say it smelled like elephant dung in the arena. The way the Hawks played a more appropriate song would be, “I’m stepping in dog poop, whoooah, I’m stepping in dog poop whoooah…” Any of you who have tried to clean dog poop off the bottom of your waffle soled shoes will know exactly what I mean. Like the Hawks effort on Tuesday, it was neither pretty or pleasant. It appeared some of the Hawk fore checkers were wearing cement clown shoes instead of Bauers. On to my in depth analysis…

First off, I have to admit that I’m really beginning to abhor games against Phoenix. Their uniforms are starting to irritate me, I don’t like the style they play.  I’m pretty sure they were on some sort of illegal performance enhancing drug and it appears their players do not read the Blackhawk’s all stars press clippings. They also play a disciplined game that takes all the fun out of it, not unlike the clutch and grab style of the old New Jersey Devil teams that almost ruined hockey. To top it off, they’re inordinately lucky and take an unreasonable advantage of every mistake we make. I think many pundits thought when Bryzgalov left, this team was toast. In steps Mike Smith, who currently has a sparkling 2.13 GAA and .935 SA%. Smith, who in my opinion, faced none of the lethal attempts Crawford had to contend with, noted after the game, “We got in their face early…” Isn’t that what the Hawks are supposed to do on home ice? Smith’s considerable puck handling abilities behind his cage were a big reason the Hawks had a hard time sustaining any consistent pressure.

Smith’s counterpart, Corey Crawford once again had the vultures descend upon him. If there were something positive to take out of that game, the fact that only three Hawks should have received minuses for the Coyotes first goal is something to consider. The Hawks got caught up in one of the worst line changes in the history of the NHL.  By the time the Daymond Langkow weaseled a puck into a 3” x 3” space between Corey’s elbow and ribs, it appeared the Hawks still only had three men on the ice. (On a side note, is it possible the ref lost sight of that puck?) I’m no expert, but it seems thwarting four on two’s do not generally end up in your favor. Maybe Niklas Hjalmarsson and Steve Montador should have each received a minus two on that goal. Someone has to do the time. Vandenberk correctly described this first goal as a classic tic-tac-toe effort. The truth of the matter is the Yotes had enough time to form a 7 letter scrabble word on that goal.

While I wouldn’t go as far as to say Corey had his best game of the year, his defense seemed to leave him to the wolves, err Coyotes. Doan’s, Vrbata’s and Whitney’s goals all seemed to emanate from defensive beakdowns. Whitney’s was especially painful. Vrbata must have given one incredible head fake to the left before slithering a pass back to a “wide” open Whitney on the right side of the Hawks cage. (Earth to Stalberg, earth to Stalberg. Come in Stalberg.) I know, I know, Corey’s got to make that save. I agree. If he shut out our all opponents we’d stand a lot better chance of succeeding. Something to think about Mr. Big! I had to smile when reading all the pundits get on the “We need to address our goalie situation now,” train after the game. “Who do we have in the minors?” was a nervously posed question. Some blasphemers even mentioned the four letter “Huet” word. Hurry, get the Ivory soap out.

At the other end of the ice, things weren’t much rosier. The vaunted cycle looked more like a stationary bike down low. There was one time where I started to get dizzy watching the Bolland line keep doing a reverse NASCAR. One can only wonder what would have happened if just one of our forwards made a sudden move to the left. The entire complexion of the game may have changed. And the cycle was one of our better offensive efforts of the night. I felt like I was watching the game from a dental chair, rather than the Lazy Boy. I’m not sure even Novocain could lessen the pain of our offensive efforts.

As usual though, if you look hard enough you can find some positives. It’s just that some nights you have to look harder than others. Carcillo seemed to rediscover his aggressive ways. I thought he worked his tail off on every shift in an obvious attempt to restore himself in Q’s good graces. The only thing I didn’t like about Danny’s play was him crosschecking Daymond Langkow at the end of the game. I know #13 was just trying to stir things up a bit, but after reading Sam Fels’s excellent article on Langkow, I wished Carcillo would have picked on someone else. The Masterton trophy is awarded each year to a player who comes back from a career of life threatening injury. Obviously, Sidney Crosby’s name is plastered all over it at the moment. After reading Sam’s piece and discovering Langkow is back this year after sustaining a broken neck and spinal cord injury, two seasons ago – well it’s really not even a tough decision. Daymond even played four meaningless games for the Flames at the end of last season. I’d say that pretty much falls under the category of love and dedication for the game. [editor’s note: Langkow also missed eight games in November after his mother’s sudden passing at the age of 54.  The game Tuesday in Chicago was his second game back.]

Another positive is that the Phoenix game almost makes us forget about the Edmonton game. And although many bloggers are now clamoring for a shut down defenseman, in addition to Bobby Ryan, Jarome Iginla and Alex Ovechkin, our third line pairing of Montador (16:39) and O’Donnell (12:46) once again played significant minutes with little collateral damage. That bodes well for our keep Keith interested and rested campaign.

Sharpie’s goal did bring a small dose of pain reliever, spoiling Smith’s shutout. Way to get in Smith’s face, Sharpie! That reminds me of a time I was playing in a basketball league. I was guarding an incredible player who had well over 20 points against me, in the first half. In the second half, I finally buried a meaningless bomb and the other guard on our team,”K-3 Jim,” ran up to the guy and hollers, “Face!” It still makes me laugh, although all it did was get the guy ticked off and he went on another scoring spree.

Hopefully we’ll see a scoring spree of our own starting Friday night against the resurgent Islanders. All you “loyal’ fans calling for mass firings and demotions deserve no less. Lace them up a little tighter Friday, eh boys? And I didn’t think I’d be writing this, this year, but there is a huge game in St. Louis on Saturday. I like seeing the Hawks stomp the Blues as much as any team in the league. They’re starting to get a bit uppity on the west bank of the Mississippi River. I think the Hawks need to teach them a few bars of that “Stepping in dog poop” song.

I’d like to leave you with a little sunshine from two of my favorite quotes; ‘Man’s real life is happy, chiefly because he is expecting that it will be so.” – Edgar Allen Poe And for those of you who have given up on several of our players already and want to bring in the hired guns- “Not only so, but we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:3-4

You can wallow in the mire if you want to, today I’ll be walking on a little sunshine!

“I feel alive
I feel the love
I feel the love
That’s really real.

I’m on sunshine baby oh, oh yeah
I’m on sunshine baby, oh

And it’s starting to feel good!”

Now bring in those sassy horns one more time, oh yeah!

Rich Lindbloom

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