Feb 292012

Elmore James got nothing on me

“Well, I’m going down,
Down, down, down, down, down
I’m going down
Down, down, down, down, down
I’ve got my head out the window
And my big feet on the ground.” – Jeff Beck

By Rich Lindbloom

For those of you who’ve never heard Jeff Beck’s classic song “Going Down,” you-tube it. I guarantee, momentarily at least, the sun will shine in your back door. Initially the “bass” player for the Jimmy Page led Yardbirds, Beck’s inimitable guitar work soon became readily recognizable over the air waves. It always amazes me how many different sounds various guitar players coax out of their instruments. “Going down,” actually escaped from the cobwebs when the Hawks plunged in the standings during the 9 game losing streak. After a false summit, that had many gleefully hopping back on the band wagon, we once again appear to be heading in the wrong direction.






After we “suffered” our third straight loss to a bunch of Quackers, many were left with no recourse but to, “Cry out in our anguish and our shame, I am leaving, I am leaving, but the fighter still remains.” Anytime I reference Paul Simon, I know that mental torment is in the vicinity. Clearly, if you’re an ardent follower of the Hawks, you’re not feeling “groovy” or singing to lampposts at the moment. However, Blackhawk fans if nothing else, are a resilient lot. Depressed as we were after getting thwacked by the Ducks, there were over 1000 entries at secondcityhockey.com on Monday as the trade deadline approached. Following are a few of the items brought up for rumination;

1.       Assess blame – clearly the best, tried and tested, method of coping. “Someone has to do the time.”

2.       Gave advice on how to fix the man advantage. (At this point, we officially can no longer term it a “Power Play.”)

3.       Hope against hope that we would pick up “The spawn of Bobby Orr or Denis Potvin,” at the trade deadline – as John at the Fifth Feather noted.

4.       Trade Kane, although this is usually accompanied by the caveat, “It’s not all his fault.” He never has been and never will be tough enough.

5.       Praying Toews returns like Gandalf the White.

6.       Rejoicing at the departure of Big Bad John – truly one of the more bizarre moves in the history of the trade deadline. Let the analysts chew on that one for a while. After watching Milan Lucic take what appeared to be three consecutive penalties on one shift in the Ottawa game last night, I suspect Scott will be dressed for any Ranger/Bruin affair.

7.       Resolving ourselves to the fact that the season is over – but next year should be better because Stan will bring the spawn of Denis Savard or Wayne Gretzky on board by that time. (Also known as the Cub defense – “Wait until next year.”)

8.       Rejoicing we didn’t give up any of our highly touted prospects in the minors for a fourth line grinder named Burr-dawg.

9.       Demanding Q be fired; again.

10.   Send an S.O.S. out to Switzerland. The evidence is incontrovertible that the Hawks have not been the same since Cristobal Huet left town.

Actually, with all the “bitchen” taking place over at SCH, it would seem that we are down to the defibrillator stages of resuscitating the Hawks season. Shall we consider what the boys and three toothless girls at Second City Hockey have to say?

The blame game has surprisingly been fairly evenly distributed among the following.

Stan Bowman has no clue and is here because Scotty said if you want me – you have to take him. He dropped the ball by not acquiring a few $4 million dollar players who could overcome our powerless play. Forget the fact that he would have had to ransom the Hawks future or trade a worthless, no good bum like Kane. Actually, if you’re a poker player, Stan made a pretty safe bet. He certainly didn’t go all in like those nasty Predators did, but he did acquire perhaps the best possible option of available blue liners in Oduya. I’m thinking his relationship with ex-hawk assistant general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff helped pull off that needed acquisition. Maybe a B-, although a lot of fans would give Stan an A just for trading Big Bad John.

Coach Q has been relying too heavy on the core. Although he never came right out and said it, speculation had it that he considered Scott part of his core. Another common lament was the Random Line Generator is messing with the Hawks Feng Shui. Nothing has been done to repair a Hawks power play that resembles an Alfred Hitchcock movie. (Has anyone officially determined who is in charge of the PP? “Norman!”) He has kept Sammy Lepisto locked up in the catacombs of the United Center, sustaining him on stale bread and water. In Joel’s defense, Lepisto is on his fourth team in five years, (Wash, Phoe, Clb and the Hawks). Apparently some other coaches saw some flaws also. In a particularly hilarious post at SCH questioning Q’s mental state, someone noted Q had dyed his mustache blue and was listening to Culture Club CD’s. “Boy Q” anyone?

Our goalies are apparently the worst ever, (since Huet left), in the history of the NHL. For all of you still clamoring for Niemi, his February stats left a bit to be desired – 3.88GAA and an .868SV %. Perhaps successful goaltending has something to do with the 5 players floating around in front of you, eh? Someone said the solution may be to have four Hawks stand in the crease with Corey and have Kane cherry pickling about 150 feet away. (Wait a minute…isn’t that our current power play?) Truth be known, in the last three losses, Corey and Razor weren’t terrible. (In a meatball moment, I loved how Razor went after the Anaheim forward – if you can’t win, at least kick some ass.) We scored a grand total of two goals. How would you like to be Corey or Razor and be thinking, “Geez, if I let one by we lose.” At least it seems that the Bro and the Crow are not letting in any soft ones. And I’d certainly take issue that Selanne’s goal was a soft one.

The Core is on the floor. Let me explain. During my college years, we went to this saloon called Wimpy’s in Harvey. It was a New Years Eve and I wasn’t feeling particularly secure at this particular establishment. It was not exactly the Piano Bar. For one reason or another I took a few bucks out of the wallet and stowed it away. Suddenly I heard a “I ain’t gonna tell you but one more time, get on the floor.” Three masked men went around taking everyone’s wallet. When one of the gentlemen got to me I handed him around $6. “I said give me your wallet!” he barked. I explained to him that I didn’t have one, which might have not been the best ploy with a 38 Special pointed at me. He let me slide though and on the way out exclaims, “Used been robbed by professionals. Used been robbed by the best dare is.” It was then that his ski mask got caught on the door hinge and he was unmasked. All that to say, “Get off the floor, core!”

Although it may be harder to fix our power play than stopping Iran from nuking the Middle East, a lot of people are taking a stab at it. In my opinion, Brunette belongs in front of the net on the number one unit. I’m not calling Bruno a refuse collector, yet the crease area is clearly his domain. You don’t have to be very fast to pocket some loose change. Also, did anyone else notice how fast we looked in the Wing game compared to the next 3 debacles? Speed kills. I realize that Dallas, LA and Anaheim might not like to play the wide open games the Wings do, but things appeared a bit congested in those losing efforts. On the power play, it appears are forwards lose whatever head of steam they have mustered as they spin out of our zone and then watch someone stickhandle into a trap. This is also known as the Fido power play technique – Go Fetch. Also, and this is really a radical idea, we need more movement. Other than Bruno, the other four forwards should constantly circle a fast as they can, sort of like Apollo Ohno. This will make the defenders dog tired (Reverse Fido) and actually cause dizziness in our opponent’s net minders.

Well, we didn’t pick up the spawn of Bobby Orr, so were pretty much stuck with what we entered into this mess with. I recall one desperate blogger saying, at the 2pm cutoff, “That’s not it; right? They could still announce a trade later in the day where all the details hadn’t been quite worked out.” His sense of desperation was palpable. Although the addition of Oduya is not a Sawzall solution, it was a solid pick up; especially with Hjarmal’s and Monty still in Never Never Land with Peter Toews. Personally I’m glad the man with the plan, did not try to pull a rabbit out of his hat. We needed another energy player like we need an abscessed tooth. Although Burish made us look bad in the Dallas game – he isn’t the answer to all that ails us.

I know many of you are familiar with the nursery rhyme, “Humpty Dumpty.” Since that scintillating moment in June two year ago when we sat high upon a mountain top, Blackhawk hockey has had a great fall. Try as we may, it appears were a piece or two away from putting Humpty together again. For those of you hanging out on the ledge, you might be well advised to watch the classic movie, The Other Guys. Aiming for the bushes is not really an ideal strategy. As I see it, there are two options for the remainder of this season.  We can hang our heads down, back down, stay down for the count, fall down or take the easy route-pessimism. Pessimists generally are not disappointed – they tend to enjoy living down in the dumps. They enjoy dragging every one down with them.

As we get set to face another Original Six opponent tonight, I prefer the Jeff Beck approach – “Get down.” As a good friend once told me “It’s always darkest before pitch black.” In closing we’d be well advised to take Michael’s advice, from the sitcom The Office. Although this will drive my 16 year old son crazy because there is no way a 58 year old can be cool,

“Let’s do this thing!”

Rich Lindbloom

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