By Rich Lindbloom
I’m going to take a wild guess and assume most of you have never heard of Maypo. It was a maple flavored, hot oat cereal from the 1950’s.
Initially, the cereal was not making any inroads into the cereal market. However, after a heavy advertising blitz featuring Marky Maypo, the cereal saw an increase in sales of 78%! I googled the commercial just for the heck of it the other day, still finding it highly entertaining. The fact that I can recall the famous shouts of Marky, (“I want my Maypo!”) as his dad wolfs down his cereal, is proof of its effectiveness. (or a sign of me watching way too much TV as a kid.)
All that to say, “I want my Bolland, Frolik, Stalberg and Emery!” I know it’s early, but it appears our Stanley Cup Champions third and fourth lines took a substantial hit when the offseason dust had settled. I was starting to become pretty fond of the Frolik/Bolland/Kruger line.
Saying goodbye to some pretty integral parts of the 2012/13 Stanley Cup Champions is easier said than done. Even if Michael Frolik never scored a goal, I could be highly entertained just watching him skate. Out of all the players that went on their merry way, I believe Frolik has the most potential. Viktor Stalberg made huge strides this past season, (no pun intended), never ceasing to bring a smile to my face as a defenseman realized he could not skate backwards as fast as Viktor could skate forward. I’m going to miss uttering that saying from the Dr. Seuss book, Go Stals, Go! Viktor also helped confirm that Coach Q is certifiably insane when Coach Q benched him in the playoffs for the muscle, Brandon Bollig. Insane in a genius-like way that is -like mad scientist insane.
I’m really going to miss my main dawg on the porch, Sugar Ray Emery. Although it was only one game, his incredible one-man performance in the game against Calgary was a powerful catalyst in the amazing 24 game win streak. It seemed from that point on the Hawks started putting forth a solid effort every night in an effort to keep the streak alive.
Instead of a “we can lay back now because we have a huge lead in the standings,” they started approaching each game as a must-win. There is no doubt in my mind “The Streak” helped to forge the team into the champions they would eventually become. Not only in the Calgary game, but throughout the season, Razor held serve when his number was called-even if he couldn’t go post to post!
The Blackhawk I will miss the most though, was #36. I recall shaking Dave Bolland’s left hand back in the Dynamic Duos rookie season after a practice at The Edge in Bensenville. His right thumb was heavily bandaged, one of the many injuries he sustained while wearing the Indian head on his chest. The standard joke back then was Dave Koci spent all day in the workout room in front of a mirror and Bolland was still trying to locate the workout room. However, the saying big things come in small packages never rang truer.
I went back and perused what I had penned about our little Mighty Mouse, over the years. (After his cup clinching goal he is no longer a Rat) Interspersed with the “There was a Dave Bolland sighting” or “He’ll never be a #2 center” or “He can’t win a face off to save his soul” or “He must be injured” type comments, were some huge moments in Blackhawk hockey. Actually, the 2009/10 playoffs read like a Dave Bolland highlight reel.
He and his various band of thieves shut down some of the top lines in hockey. When you get a Sedin, (not sure which one, does it really matter?), trying to castrate you or Jumbo Joe Thornton trying to chop your hand off, you must be doing something right. I’m not sure if it’s true but the rumor has it the reason Sedin got so mad at Bolland was right before the faceoff Davey told him his brother was ugly. It made me laugh when he feigned biting Bradley Marchand’s ear off while skating by him in last year’s Final – that play needs to be on a highlight reel! Yet King David was much more than your typical grinder.
One of my favorite hockey pictures of all time is when Tribune photographer, Scott Strazzante, captured the moment before the roof came down in Game Three against the Sharks in 2010. “I heard Buff screaming for the puck and he’s pretty hard to miss,” Bolland would note after the game. Big Buff had just ripped one by Nabakov in OT, and his arms were lifted in exaltation. Tucked away behind Buff and Douglas Murray, all you can make out of the player who teed it up for Buff was the #36 on his arm and part of his left leg. In a way, it sort of summarized Bolland’s time with the Hawks – always lurking in the shadows of our superstars. As David Byrne sings, “Those slippery creatures, what is on their mind…”
When we split up season tickets this year, the first game I selected was October 19th against the Maples. Obviously, Dave Bolland will have no idea I’m even there. However, there was never a doubt which game I would take first though. (Knock on wood, but given his history, there’s a good chance Bolland could be on injured reserve by then!) It just seemed like the only way I could in some small way show my appreciation for his considerable efforts while wearing “The Sweater.” Make no mistake about it Hawk fans, “The Rat” was no secondary piece of the puzzle in the Blackhawk’s Stanley Cup victories. I’m guessing trading Bolland had to be one of Stan Bowman’s hardest decisions. It sure would be nice to see a little tribute to Dave Bolland on October19th John McDonough – hint, hint! How about a Hannibal Lechter bobble head give away? A Rat mounted on a pedestal-c’mon John, this is a no brainer.
More than any other Blackhawk on the 2012/13 roster, the #36 car will be associated with those glorious 17 seconds – a story book ending to his time with the Blackhawks. You may be a Maple Leaf now Dave Bolland, but in so many fans hearts you will always be a Blackhawk. At least until the first time you slash or elbow Tazer!
So who’s filling in the gap on lines 3 and 4 this season – good question. Let’s just say the Random Line Generator will be smoking early on this season.
The season opener against Washington was a very entertaining affair. I’ve never witnessed Alex Ovechkin in person – that alone was worth the price of admission. In warm-ups, he was flying around the ice like a bat out of hell. I recall thinking to myself, “I would die if he ever ran into me at that speed.” I had a choice between Ovechkin and Stamkos this year in our Fantasy League, and opted to go with the Bolshevik. Seven out of eight people I asked said they would have selected Stamkos. So far, so good with my “gamble” on Ovechkin. I’m just thankful I don’t have to pay his $9.5 million dollar salary. (Getting more and more concerned about resigning 19 and 88).
The game itself was a seesaw affair that forced both goalies to earn their keep. The third and fourth lines for the Hawks appeared to be as mixed up as Pedro’s breakfast – I recall saying a few times throughout the night that Bollig is not a third line player. It seemed to me that Kruger’s talents were being wasted centering a line for B-52 and Joakim Nordstrom. (I first read the B-52 moniker for Bollig in a Hockee Night wrap up-those guys are borderline genius or at least idiot savants) I believe against Tampa Bay, Freddy was centering for Saad and Ben Smith – I can live with that line, in fact I highly endorse it. As we all know though, parts are parts in Coach Q’s mind. Expect a lot of tinkering with our bottom two lines. With a boatload of talent licking their chops in Rockford, at the very least expect whatever combination of Shaw-Bollig-Hayes-Kruger-Nordstrom-Saad-Smith is promulgated for consideration, to be working their tails off when they jump over the boards.
The final two minutes of the game proved a bit nerve wracking for the Hawk faithful. With Patrick Sharp serving time in the hoosegow for a spurious goalie interference call, Nordstrom sent a clearing attempt damn near over the net behind Holtby. Does that count as a shot on net? It led to a furious 5 on 3 assault for 86 seconds that saw Toews and Kruger playing a sick game of tag in between face offs. With 30 seconds left to go in the 5 on 3, the United Center erupted in a show of appreciation for our penalty killers and Crow. The ovation seemed to super charge the penalty killers, who had already been bested three times that evening.
We all breathed a sigh of relief when Hossa was awarded a penalty shot that actually turned out to be a freebie. Admittedly, I learned a new rule that evening. I recall feeling short changed though in not getting to see Hossa try to score on Holtby. After his shootout attempt against Bishop on Saturday, well, the saying beggars can’t be choosers came to mind!
The loss to Tampa Bay in the post-game tiddly winks could best be described by a chess move known as the fianchetto. This move is characterized by moving ones bishop one space to kn2. He commands the powerful diagonal bisecting the center of the board, yet is surreptitiously sequestered away behind the cover of self-sacrificing pawns. The bishop lurks throughout the game, and if not mindful can spring an attack that leaves your opponent scratching his head. I couldn’t help thinking that about that plan of attack watching Ben Bishop thwart the Blackhawks parries on Saturday. No other way to put it, in a game we mostly dominated, we were fianchettoed by a dastardly Bishop on Saturday. Was it just me of did it seem like Stamkos and St Louis were on the ice for 18 of the 20 minutes in the third period?
In closing, I’d like to run an advertising idea by y’all. Clever advertising without a doubt can boost the sales of one’s product – The Maypo commercial is a prime example. The idea of course is to get the brand name stuck in shoppers’ heads when they peruse the myriad of options available on all products now a days. I’ve often thought about approaching the brain trust at Jay’s potato chips with the following idea.
Most of you have probably heard or read the Jay’s plug, “Can’t stop eating them!” I’d use that clever base and take the advertising up a notch. Picture this; someone is devouring the potato chip until they can get no more down. At his point the person throws up repeatedly, yet the chip is so tasty he “Can’t stop eating them.” After each time he gives the previous chips the old heave ho, he goes back to the bag again and again exclaiming, “I can’t stop eating them!” I know your first reaction to this idea would be negative, but if you think about it awhile, it will start making sense. At least it will give you something to do while Coach Q figures out our 3rd and 4th lines this year.
-Other important stuff:
Duncan Keith remains the best defenseman in the NHL – who would you take above him if given the choice? He’s a master of the little things.
I’m really going to regret not picking Brandon Saad up with my 19th pick in our Fantasy League.
I did pick up Ben Bishop on Saturday night. The dude can play.
What is the over/under in minutes elapsed in the first period before Bollig and Reaves drop the mittens tonight?
The parking is an absolute mess at the U. C. right now – get there early.
Patrick Kane is a top five Fantasy pick. Jonathan who?
Brent Seabrook seems to be skating on a fresh set of legs.
The Blues are a much revamped team this season. Do you think they are turning over a new leaf this fall-becoming a kinder, gentler, more effective hockey team? (Naw. Me neither)
I think my advertising career is finished!