Lindbloom’s View: Schwantzstookles & Frozen peas

image001(2)Dr Frederick Frankenstein : “For the experiment to be a success, all of the body parts must be enlarged.”
Inga: “His veins, his feet, his hands, his organs vould have to be increased in size.”
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: “Exactly.”
Inga:  “He would have an enormous schwantzstuker.”
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: “That goes without saying.”

By Rich Lindbloom 

My wife and I went on a vacation with some good friends in Whistler, B.C. several years ago. While there, we mountain biked, golfed, hiked and horseback rode in that beautiful neck of the woods. Now normally on horse rides, you follow the horse in front of you at a very casual pace. On this ride however the cowboy asked us “do you want to trot?” Everyone was up for it, including myself, despite having what I called at the time, a groin pull.

Well, after the first trot I realized I couldn’t really squeeze my legs together to stay firmly on the horse. I found myself bouncing up and down on the beast, and most of the time I was coming down when Mr. Ed was going up. Not good. To compound matters I think the ca-boy, in a sick display of sadism, rigged my saddle so my stirrups were hard to reach. When we took a break, I quietly asked him how he dealt with the constant pounding and he just smiled and said, “You’ve got to learn to suck-em in.”

That solution proved to be quite ineffective because those things just don’t retract like an airplane landing gear. Maybe Canadian cowboys are different; all I know is I was in constant pain. By the last trot we did that day, I had enough.  I tried to make my horse come to a stop, but he was ignoring my pleas of “Whoa!” (Hell, it worked for the John Wayne) The cowboy looked back and hollered “Is everyone ok?” I hollered as loud as I could, “No!”  It was then our friend Pat shouted, “He said go!” Apparently her shouts of “Go!” were louder than my pleadings of “No!” because we kept loping along until we spotted finally spotted the stable. Pat was about as funny as a flash flood in a Fizzies factory.

After assessing the damage over a beer or two, my friend Bob and I decided to pre-rent mountain bikes for the next day. The guy in the shop asked us if we wanted the regular bike, or if we wanted to upgrade to the one with dual shocks. I explained the dilemma I faced earlier in the day and gladly forked over the extra money for the smoother ride - if there is such a thing when your barreling down a mountain over logs and rocks. With a smirk on his face the young salesman said, “You got a bit out of time, did ya?” He suggested a frozen bag of peas as a sure fire remedy.

All that to say, Brent Seabrook got nothing on me. Although I’m not sure if that “one size fits all” axiom rang true for Seabs the next morning. Many fans and commentators were lauding Biscuits bravery and self-sacrifice as he blocked a Drew Doughty blast from the point. Are you kidding me, the truth of the matter is, Brent couldn’t get out of the way. Fortunately, Brent participated in practice on Thursday and appears to be ready to return to the ice Friday when the Hawks try to enter the NHL history book. Who knows when a feat like this will ever happen again – there’s a real good chance it won’t happen in any of our lifetimes. If they set the mark on Friday, Ray Emery’s game against the Flames where it appeared he faced a 5-1 assault for most of the night will go down in Blackhawk lore.

The Hawks almost squandered their comfortable leads in the third periods of both the Kings and the Canucks game. I swear the refs were trying to make a game out of Sundays contest. By the way, please be in prayer and fasting for Drew Doughty as he tries to recover from the violent whiplash caused by the breeze of Tazer’s stick as he skated by Doughty in the third period. For a second there, I thought Drew’s head might snap completely off. Oddly, like that evil creeper weed from the early 70’s, it appeared the violent whiplash was delayed a second after the initial impact. The referee fell for this Academy award winning performance hook, line and sinker.

It also appeared the innocent looking Dave Bolland was hauled down as he emerged from behind the Kings net. Then with the Kings desperately trying to get the equalizer, Justin Williams bowls over Ray Emery like he’s a ten pin. One of the Hawks got robbed of an empty net goal as a result of the non-call on Williams. I hope Oduya’s slash at least resulted in a welt on the annoying winger’s torso. In the end though Ray “He’s a Brick, House” Emery weathered the onslaught of a desperate King’s team. That set the stage for Tuesday’s cookie exchange with Vigneault and his henchmen, when the Hawks would seek to tie the record of the best start in NHL history. Of course Vancouver and their delusional fans would have liked nothing better than to play the spoiler.

To say there is no love lost between the Hawks and Canucks is an understatement. As if there weren’t enough bad blood between the two adversaries already, Tuesdays tussle added more than a little fuel to the fire. As Greg Boysen noted, “You get to feel the full spectrum of emotions when these two rivals clash; frustration, joy, love, hatred, relief and excitement.” I think strong emotion is a great way to describe the atmosphere when these bitter rivals face-off.  There are certainly a lot of carry over grudges.

The game was played at a breakneck pace with break a ways and odd man rushes galore. Both Schneider and “Commodore” Emery made sparkling saves, eliciting nervous ooohs and aaaahs throughout the night. Razor let a seemingly innocuous backhand by Thing One or Thing Two, doesn’t really matter, that many of the arm chair goalies in the 300 Section would have had no problem snagging. The Canucks went to the locker room with a 1-0 lead after one period. The dark cloud of worry engulfed Chicago, as many wondered if the rabbit’s foot had finally fallen out of Emery’s pocket.

In other first period action, Dale Weise ratcheted up the animosity at the 6:43 mark when he attempted to annihilate Marcus Kruger along the right half boards. This is the intimidating type of play that Vancouver thrives upon. In my mind, Wiese’s play was a bit more than a good clean check. I know the great majority of knowledgeable fans will continue to point out the seeming senselessness of the enforcer trying to straighten out a wayward opponent. I get it. But nothing in that game excited me as much as Bollig opening yet another can of whoop-ass on a Vancouver thug who thought he could take liberties with our diminutive skill players, skating away with impunity. More and more the role of Bollig watching after 16 and 67 makes sense to me. Keep coming in with those guns a blazing Deputy Sheriff Brandon “bing bing bing” Bollig!

The second stanza proved to be all Blackhawks, or should I say Marian Hossa, as the good guys tallied three times against the goalie known as Ginger in Vancouver. If the Canucks have nothing else going for them, you would be hard pressed to find a better one/two punch at the critical goaltender position in the entire league. Hossa’s back hander was a brilliant play, that barely sneaked by Schneider’s big toe. If he had worn a skate one size bigger, he would have made the save. As the Hawks headed to the locker room after two, the fans began to think about parting with their fedoras in anticipation of a Hossbollah hat trick.

However, the breakneck pace of the game was halted early in the 3rd period when Yannik Hansen literally “appeared” to try and break Marian Hossa’s neck. It was a strange play that really stoked the vitriol of the two teams blog sites. Let’s just say F-bombs abounded in the ensuing discourse. Watching Hossa lie in almost the same spot where Raffi Torres clobbered him last year, cast a dark, sickening pall throughout the United Center. To be honest, I don’t think Yannik, in the split second that the whole play unfolded thought, “Hey here’s a good spot to knock Hossa out for the season.”

Was it a stupid, reckless play? – Absolutely.  However, Sean Zanberg – the editor of the Vancouver website Nucksmisconduct, pointed out that a while back Hansen actually crosschecked a referee. (I did see the video of that play and couldn’t stop laughing – it brought back memories of when Lysiak got suspended for over 20 games when he accidentally tripped a linesman.) He also noted Hansen sounds like a muppet when he talks. Maybe he’s just not all there, if you know what I mean. After all, he is a Canuck.

While I am ready to give Hansen the benefit of the doubt, it will be interesting to see if the Hawk players feel the same way the next time we meet. At any rate, the Hawks and our “Bro in the Know” survived a furious Vancouver onslaught to head into OT and eventually the game of Tiddly Winks that would decide this exciting contest. I’m sure the fans in attendance were emotionally drained by the time Razor gloved a bullet off the stick of Ryan Kesler. I don’t like Kesler very much, but it’s great to see him playing again-he’s a critical member of the Vancouver Diving team. It makes the victory that much sweeter when he’s in the line-up! Actually, tying the record against Vancouver could only be exceeded by breaking the record against them. I may be getting a little ahead of myself here, but can you think of a better  match up in the NHL Conference finals than the Hawks/Evil Canucks?

To add salt to the wound, Andrew Shaw, tallied the deciding blow when he completely undressed Schneider with a slick back hand move. The goal was typical of Shaw’s indomitable style of play – full speed ahead. After a spirited celebration before the adoring home town throng, Shaw went and picked up Gingers athletic cup which was lying on the ice at this point. “I figured Seabrook would need this when we set the record against the Sharks on Friday,” said the hometown favorite. I’m assuming he did this because goalies need larger support in this vital area. No doubt Chicken Hawk figured Seabrook and his enlarged schwantzstookle would be needed against Jumbo Joe and the rest of Jerks, err, I mean Sharks.

As we head onto tonight’s potentially record shattering tussle, I was thinking about what a great accomplishment that would be. You know the Sharks don’t want to be remembered as the team the Hawks beat to set the record. And they do have that guy in the net who played for Chicago a few season backs-the one Tazer once referred to as “their goalie.” Yes Ringo, you know it don’t come easy. In fact to set a record like this takes a pretty enormous schwantzstookle. Dr. Frederick Frankenstein noted, “That goes without saying.”

Perhaps our lads could learn a thing or two from what that old cowboy told me in the Whistler area several years ago, “suck em in Blackhawks, suck em in!” I’m sure coach Q is stocking up on bags of frozen peas.

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Rich Lindbloom

Rich Lindbloom is the author of the book War Drums in the Distance: Special Moments in a three year quest for hockey’s Holy Grail, a collection of pieces written on the Chicago Blackhawks return to prominence and up to the team’s 2010 Stanley Cup Championship.  It is available for purchase on Amazon.com or for the Kindle.

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