Feb 072014

image“Twelve O’clock and all is well.”

“Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow;” Isaiah 1:18

By Rich Lindbloom

All’s well with the exception of severe sleep deprivation. Five O’clock in the morning comes a wee bit too early after burning the midnight oil. A frequent blogger at The Committed Indian site named 10thMountainFire described my sentiments as I stumbled out of bed yesterday. When asked by another blogger how he was doing he replied, “I’m ok, but the alarm clock isn’t doing to well.” 

Of course, two satisfying victories and a shoot out loss to the best in the west, helped offset the lack of rest. And you can pick up alarm clocks pretty cheaply nowadays. Grinding an extra scoop of coffee beans helped to temporarily offset the fatigued mind and general feeling of exhaustion. That brings back memories of a pancake breakfast at our church a few years back.

We had taken a customer out to the dinner and the Bulls game the night before. When we took this particular customer out, we used to term it “jumping on a hand grenade.” Needless to say, it turned out to be a rather long night, packed with laughter and throwing caution to the wind. I think I had about 4 and a half hours of sleep before being subjected to the nauseating aroma of pancakes on the griddle.

Fortunately, I was put in charge of making the big pots of coffee-you know-the coffee that is usually weaker than a politicians promise. I think I pretty much just filled the filter up to the top with coffee – probably the first pancake breakfast where espresso was served. I can’t tell you how many people came up to me and complimented me on the coffee that morning. And it’s rather unusual to get compliments on Folgers coffee.

The Blackhawks have sure put forth a strong effort on this arduous 6 game road trip. Remember BKT, (before Kane and Toews), how we’d be lucky to amass four points on a west coast swing? Something tells me there were a few nights on those road trips (think the infamous Limo ride) when the Hawks could have used my coffee making skills. We all still sort of hold are breath when Disney on Ice rolls into town. However as another blogger named CliffKoroll noted, “submit this datum as Exhibit A in the argument over whether or not this team can ‘flip the switch’.” Your Honor, I rest our case.

Marian Hossa had his switch turned on against the Quackers in Anaheim. On his goal, he put a move on Cam Fowler that may have resulted in a minor knee surgery for the Ducks defenseman. Cam, it’s probably a good idea to play the puck, especially when Big Hoss has it 10 feet away from your door step.

His defensive pick off of a pass in the waning moments of the Anaheim game, and subsequent feed to “The Captain,” probably earned him a cameo on Duck Dynasty. Hossbollah plays defense like Jerry Sloan of the Bulls used to. Sloan used to use all 6 of his allotted fouls in a game. Basically Marion plays with the same mind set; “Not in my kitchen.”

Mighty Mike over at Cheer the Anthem put it best; “…the continued merciless form of Marian Hossa.” Hossa the Merciless does have a great ring to it!

 image(1)“Tazer, we shall take over the NHL. Nothing can stop us.”

Mighty Mike also posted a rare childhood photo of Corey Perry on the Cheer the Anthem website – hilarious – check it out. Dueling Ducks? With only the intensely annoying Coyotes, and their even more intensely annoying uniforms, left on this 6 game trip, maybe Jeremy Roenick might want to reconsider his statement that Anaheim is the most fun team to watch in the NHL.

The Hawks Penalty Kill has been superb lately, stifling the opposition something like 34 out of their last 35 power play attempts. A huge reason for this has been the stellar play of Mr. Big between the pipes. Corey has been a rock lately, temporarily silencing his omnipresent critics. In a page right out of the Book of Isaiah, Crow has made many of the Hawk transgressions, “white as snow.” For sure, there’s a lot of luck that goes into successful goaltending. However Corey’s positioning and rebound control have been as solid as the space between Roman Polak’s ears. Corey is basically doing what he does best – making himself huge in the net.

Let’s just leave it at Crawford has allowed Andrew Shaw to be Andrew Shaw. Chicken Hawk has been sent to the sin bin with a bit too much regularity for many of the Hawk faithful. It’s a fine line between being aggressive and pushing it to far – and Andrew has never been too afraid to test the limits. Maybe his two penalties against the Quackers were meant to send a message to Phoenix goalie Mike Smith – did you eve think of that? Basically, Shaw is saying, “If I were you Smith, I’d stay in the net.”

Shaw centered a line for Bickell and Saad that proved quite effective against the Anaheim. Every time I watch Saad play, I smile a little bit more. Even Bickell seemed to have a pulse in the brief time Coach Q let him out of his cage. Bickell looked quite effective – even throwing his body around a bit. He seemed to be getting his skating legs back also. Can you imagine the monster that would be created if Andrew Shaw could inhabit Bickell’s body? As much criticism as Shaw took for his two error’s of omission on Wednesday, he also threw some thunderous checks.

The PK was also aided and abetted by the tenacious work of “Freddy” Kruger and Benjamin Smith. Being a penalty killer has to be one of the least glamorous positions in sports. You have to work your tail off, and many times stand in front of a blast from the likes of a Drew Doughty. Marcus was diving all over the place and fighting hard along the boards in an effort to keep Crow’s cage clean. It would seem the only one holding their breaths now when B-52/16/28 jump over the boards, is the opposition. They are Q’s elite hit squad. Think Rangers or Navy Seals.

Is it just me, or have the Los Angeles Kings morphed into a version of the Vancouver Canucks team of 2008/09. That was the Canuck team that tried to win games by physically abusing and intimidating the opposition. Maybe it’s just because Willie Mitchell is a common ingredient on both clubs. I recall before last years playoff series, the critics said the Hawks would have a difficult time beating a team as physical as the Kings. “Wait until the playoffs start and the physicality is ratcheted up about 5 notches,” said many Hawk haters. I’m still waiting.

The Hawks are now 9-2 over the last two seasons against the Kings. As big a proponent I am of the hockey paradigm of “Hit Someone!” it doesn’t appear to be overly effective against the Hawks. Eventually you have to put the puck in the back of the cage.

Well all you worry warts who were concerned with the Hawks skid in January, I suspect you’re breathing a bit easier now. By the way, we only flat out lost 3 games in January. It wasn’t as dark as everyone made it out to be. Maybe all Blackhawk fans should be required to take Lamaze classes, eh?

After the last two games that finished close to the midnight hour, all is well. Or close to it anyway. I had to laugh at Cliffkoroll’s assessment of the rest of the season when the boys come back from Sochi – basically he said we have the Soldiers Field game against the Pens and a curb stomping of the Blues left. While I’m always leery of Jerry Garcia singing, “When life looks like easy street, there is danger at the door,” this is one hell of a hockey team we have the privilege of hooting and hollering for. Can we at least agree all is pretty good?

Other important stuff:

While shoveling again after the latest 8 inches of snow, I kept repeating to myself “Climate change is a fact, climate change is a fact, climate change is a fact…”

How cold is it outside? – Colder than a witches tit in a cast iron bra.

I love winter, but even I am about to shout, “Uncle!”

How did Marian Hossa not get one of the stars of the game in Anaheim?

How has Big Hoss never won the Selke award?

Nick Leddy probably should have got a penalty for slashing Beleskey after he bowled over Cor-dawg. I’m not sure we see Leddy due that last year. He definitely seems stronger along the boards this year.

What was Nick Leddy thinking when he skated directly to the bench after exiting the box in the Sharks game? As it was happening I recall thinking, “Hammer should have tried to stop the Sharks last rush.” 10 seconds later Eddy-O echoed my sentiments.

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Beatles first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. It’s hard to describe the frenzy that took place during that space in time. I had a friend who saw them at Comiskey Field and said he couldn’t hear anything because the girls were screaming the entire concert. You could barely here them on the show. The excitement was absolutely palpable. And all my dad could say was, you guessed it, “They need a hair cut.”

Luke Skywalker got nothing on Flash Gordon.

Rich Lindbloom

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