Oct 302014

Lindbloom_2014Oct30_ELawrence“There are two ways to live your life. One is though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein

By Rich Lindbloom

Is it just me, or does it seem we’ve been treated to more vibrant Fall colors than usual? While reflecting on this flash mob of color, Einstein’s poignant observation always evokes powerful emotion within me. I realize I’ll probably offend a lot of people by attributing such beauty to our Creator. However, with each tree that becomes inflamed, I can’t but help see the fingerprint of God. Certainly, what I view as a miracle, many people merely see as a physical process whereby chlorophyll stops masking the yellow pigments, (xanthophylls), the orange pigments, (carotenoids), and the red and purple pigments, (anthocyanins).

They would quickly point out that the vivid colors in the trees can be explained merely by a natural, scientific process. Nope, nothing miraculous, just a changing of the pigments. 

Try as they may though, at the end of the day I doubt that they say “Wow, look at the carotenoids, anthocyanins and xanthophylls.” No, like me, I highly suspect they are astounded by the vast array of red, orange, yellow, gold and purples splattered about the countryside. How is it that a tree, silently exposing its colorful undergarments, has the ability to quiet even the most tempest tossed soul?

At that moment, as we momentarily soak in such extraordinary natural beauty, I can’t help but to send a little thank you note upstairs. My favorite moment is when the sun peaks through on an overcast day and illuminates a tiny grove of colorful trees in the distance. It’s as if God is saying, “Do I have your attention now?” Perhaps William Cullen Bryant put it best; “Autumn, the years last, loveliest smile.” Yep, with each year that passes in my life I relish with increasing awe, one more Fall Spectacular – almost as much as the start of the hockey season!

Although paling in comparison to the Greatest Show on Earth, the start of the 2014/15 hockey season has brought about a few minor miracles of it’s own. Although I’m sure the Advanced Stat Freaks can scientifically explain all the goings on, here’s what yours truly sees as somewhat miraculous…

First off, it was a miracle for the Quacks that they emerged triumphant on Tuesday. Clearly, that’s what is known in the hockey world as sneaking out of Dodge.

The Hawks outshot the Quacks, 38 to 25, with several prime opportunities being repelled by Josh Gibson at the end of the second period. I can recall Morin, TVR, Hossa and Saad, narrowly missing striking pay dirt. (by the way, pay dirt was a term that started during the 1849 gold rush in California – you kept digging until you hit the dirt with gold in it.) Hell, the Hawks outshot the Quackers 18 to 5 in the third period. Against one of the better face off teams in the league, they won 34 faceoffs to Anaheim’s 22. The Quacks also blocked 18 shots!

Truly, that was a shallow victory for Anaheim. HockeeNight’s critically acclaimed feature – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly – should have been retitled, The Good, The Good and the Bad. Actually, the play of Trevor van Riemsdyk, heretofore known as TVR because I’m tired of looking up how to spell his name, has been somewhat miraculous. He seemed to make the team this year out of nowhere. Clendening, Johns, Svedberg and Dahlbeck all seemed to have a better shot than TVR.

What are the odds that Coach Q gives the keys to the car to a 23 year old kid who will join the rush as quickly as the gold diggers in 1849?! Or that he has apparently given him the green light to join the rush? He’s beginning to make Dustin Byfuglien look like a stay at home defenseman. TVR’s play, at both ends of the ice, has clearly been a minor miracle. In fact he’s so bad he’s got to be good – thus HockeeNight‘s feature should actually have read The Good, The Good and the Good in their wrap up on Wednesday morning.

In another miraculous event, Jeremy “Jet” Morin was allowed to play over 10 minutes for the first time this season! He had four shots on goal and had two others blocked by the muscle in front of Gibson. He also seems to be taking a greater interest in the defensive zone. He hightailed it back to stop a certain 2 on 1, I believe in the second period. He also drew two penalties, only one of which was actually called. He’s also gaining some poise, not rushing as much. Now I don’t want to go bragging on myself, but I wrote about the possibilities of a Smith/Kruger/Morin line back on September 14th. I do know hockey! (LOL)

While it’s a bit unfair, and may seem like unjust criticism of Car Bomb – who has acquitted himself with considerable aplomb so far this season, Carcillo’s knee injury may prove to be miraculous. I say this for no other reason than it will give us a good look at what “Jet” can do given a little more playing time. If he keeps playing the way he has, Morin will give Coach Q a few more options’ when spinning the Random Line Generator – which brings me to the next miracle…

Coach Q’s line adjustments, for one game at least, can only be explained by Divine Intervention. For whatever reason, Bryan Bickell seems to play quite well with Tazer. Hell, Bickel’s coast to coast rush up the ice in the first period was a bit of a miracle in itself. Bickell’s skating abilities have always impressed me for a big guy. Maybe he’s getting back a little of that underrated speed after recovering from last year’s knee injuries. He’s also pretty good at clobbering people.

Another one of Q’s brainstorms, Versteeg/Richards/Sharp, was clearly a stroke of genius – think Rembrandt. In my opinion, Richards had his best game wearing the Indian head. This line brings speed, skill and a lot of veteran wiles to the table. If Q keeps them together for a game or two, (and as we all know that’s a big “if”), we won’t be lamenting the lack of goal scoring for long.

As Steve Konroyd pointed out after the game, the Hawks have only dented the twine 6 times in the last 4 games. Both Morin and Richards deserved to be rewarded for their play against the Ducks – it was a miracle they weren’t. However, if they keep their noses to the grindstone it is clearly only a matter of time before the lamp is lit. Watch out for 10/91/23 though – they appeared to be bonding, coalescing into a lethal third line.

Foley and Olzcyk pointed out that Brandon Saad was a minus 4 in his last three games during the telecast. Anybody really worried about Saad? – I didn’t think so. Acquiring this 22 year old man child in the 2011 draft was a miracle. I actually thought he was hooked with on his breakaway that narrowly missed striking pay dirt. I think it was Eddy-O who noted it, but Saad’s brute strength helped keep his balance to narrowly miss putting the Hawks ahead. Saad may have the strongest skating strides on the team – no other way to put it; they are powerful, graceful and thrustful. Yep, no better way to describe Saad than the word “thrustful.”

While on skating abilities, I ask you – is there a better skater in the NHL than #2 on the Hawks. I’ll admit my views are somewhat skewered by being the Co-Founder and President of the Duncan Keith Admiration Society. Yet, at a little over $5 million/year thru the 2022 season, the Hawks have the best defenseman in the league – period. I often wonder if he’s a little ticked about the Chevy Boy’s enormous contracts. If I had to make a choice between Kane, Toews or Keith, the Duncster would be the one.

His partner in crime, Brent Seabrook, seems to be skating with a renewed vigor this season. You might say he’s been reincarnated. (And I’m not saying he was bad last year, let’s just say he seemed to be a bit off) His unfortunate play at the blue line that lead to Smith-Pelley’s breakaway aside, Seabrook had another strong game against the Ducks. If the truth be known, I wasn’t too ticked off about that goal because Smith-Pelly picked up a shortie and a game winner in the Fantasy League I’m in.

Watching Seabrook try to regain his balance was actually pretty funny. Obviously there would have been a lot more laughter had the Hawks emerged triumphant. Somehow though, I can imagine his teammates pulling out a chair or one of the cones that the young kids use at free skate’s, to help maintain their balance at the Hawks practice Wednesday morning.

The last miracle I’m going to note was the Ent between the nets; behold Scott Darling.

Lindbloom_2014Oct30_TheDarlingTreeThe Darling Tree

Darling has had two great outings in relief of Corey Crawford. Although it appeared he lost his net a bit more against the Ducks, his GAA is a sterling 1.02 with a .966 save percentage. Even more importantly, he is has been given high flying colors as far as the eye test goes. I’ve been following Darling career since the first preseason game I saw him this year. I really liked what I saw in that game though. Besides covering a huge portion of the net with his 6’6″ frame, he seems to be pretty quick. He certainly bears watching down in Rockford when Crow returns.

While I’m not saying I see the finger print of God in regards to the Hawk’s fortunes thus far this year, it certainly appears some minor miracles are taking place. In BSF this year, we are studying The Life of Moses. There is absolutely no doubt something supernatural was taking place in 1280 BC! Burning bushes, 10 plagues, Passover, parting of the Red Sea and manna falling down from heaven can’t readily be explained away by science. Miracles do happen. (Bolland’s goal in Game Six anyone?!)

As the fall season begins to depart us, and the long throes and grind of winter and the NHL season begins, I’m hoping miraculous events keep unfolding for the Hawks. I realize that most fans believe it’s all skill and hard work – there’s a lot to be said for that – no doubt. Yet, as Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead sings, “I need a miracle every day.” (if you read the lyrics to the song, I think you’ll find mine and the Dead’s idea of a miracle are a slightly different.)

As I soak in the last remnants of the Fall Season, I’m sure we’d all like to soak in a Hawk victory tonight. Let the goals rain down like manna from heaven.

Other important stuff:

On a side note, when a politician resorts to the statement, “The science clearly points out…” why is it I want to run for the hills. They obviously have no knowledge of science yet espouse the views of those to whom they award grants. At any rate, get your butts out and vote Tuesday. Early and often – it’s the Chicago tradition!

I reluctantly have to admit that Lane was right concerning the demise of Hurricane goalie, Cam Ward. Although, keep Brock Nelson until he is moved off Tavares and Okposo’s line.

If Ryan Getzlaf is so good, why is he so bald?

Did Getzlaf and Perry seem to play the 2/3rds of the third period?

You had to love Kesler lining up Oduya only see him check his face into the plexi-glass. I think he wanted the ref to call a penalty on Oduya for getting out of the way.

How does Kaner pick so many clearing attempts out of the air? Try that sometime, it’s a lot harder than it looks.

Doesn’t Scott Darling look like he should be felling trees in the Great Northwest – “I’m a lumberjack and I’m ok…”

Shaw’s call for an embellishment penalty was ludicrous. I won’t go all out and say the ref sucked, but they weren’t very good.

Everything is a miracle.

Rich Lindbloom

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  2 Responses to “Lindbloom’s View: Minor Miracles on Madison Street”

  1. If someone would have ever put odds on a writer dropping a “thrustful” into a hockey article, I’m certain I would have sat higher on that list than Rich Lindbloom. Well done, sir.

  2. I was thinking more along the lines of a “Lets get out of here Scotty, full thrusters” – Captain Kirk – I’m guessing you had a different kind of thrustfullness in mind…

    i almost thrust something at the TV last night when Coach Q benched Bicks and Morin for the third period. Sometimes Q bites his nose to spite his face

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