Author Archives: Brad Vandenberk

Hawks prospects drop rookie tourney finale: Teuvo, McNeill shine; Full report from London

LondonRookieTournament_2014

By Brad Vandenberk

The last game of this year’s three-game rookie tournament saw the Blackhawks and Senators faceoff. Teuvo Teravainen, Mark McNeill and Kirill Gotovets worked their way back into the lineup, with Cody Caron, Ryan Van Stralen and Justin Holl all out for this one. Mac Carruth was in between the pipes for the Hawks with Chris Driedger on the Ottawa side.

Highly touted Ottawa rookie Curtis Lazar did not dress, nor did Matt Puempel, another top Sens prospect who scored in each of Ottawa’s first two games. Read more »

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On location report of Hawks prospects shootout loss on Sunday in London

By Brad Vandenberk

Well the smell of hockey is in the air with the annual Rookie Tournament hosted by Budweiser Gardens in London Ontario. This is the stage for the future up and comers to prove what they can offer the big club with every bit of the organizational brass in the stands looking down. The teams involved are the Pittsburgh Penguins, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Blackhawks.

The Hawks met a very quick Toronto team on Saturday night, losing 4-2.

On Sunday afternoon they took on the Penguins prospects. Teuvo Teravainen, Mark McNeill and Kirill Gotovets did not dress for Sunday’s affair. Oshawa General’s Ken Appleby started in net for the Hawks. Read more »

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Running play-by-play of Game 7: Blackhawks lose heartbreaker to Kings in OT

By Brad Vandenberk

There is not a lot that needs to be said heading into this Game 7 between the Hawks and Kings. Momentum has been on either side this series, but the Hawks are riding a 2-game winning streak coming back from a 3-1 series deficit.

The Kings are no strangers to a game 7 on the road, as well as how you can build momentum coming from behind in a series. The Kings are looking to make history. With a victory, they can be the first team to win their first 3 series in game 7 on the road. It’s time for the Hawks to prove to their fans that this team does smell of a dynasty and use all your experience and get a win.

Corey Crawford played a huge game in LA on Friday night and hoped to keep that in this game. At the other end Jonathan Quick had his follies last game when Ben Smith banked one off the tenders skate and in the net. Kris Versteeg worked his way back on the ice replacing Sheldon Brookbank. Read more »

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Game 4 Recap: Hawks fall 5-2 at Staples; Now must win 3-straight elimination games

By Brad Vandenberk

It’s time to put up or shut up for Game 4 in LA. The Hawks now see themselves in the midst of a 2-game losing streak in this Western Conference Final. The good news is it wasn’t that long ago that the Hawks lost both games in Minnesota the previous series. Now the difference being a loss tonight in LA could spell doom for this dynastic Hawks squad.

There are a few observations from the last 2 losses that we can dissect. First of all paging Corey Crawford, Mr. Crawford, you’re needed between the pipes.   Yes, the Hawks net minder has played some outstanding games, but it seems like he has dropped off a little bit in this series. Let’s not forget the third period meltdown that occurred at the end of Game 2. Normally Crow bounces back from a bad performance, but Saturday night’s contest didn’t fare well either for the visiting tender. Read more »

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Blackhawks too much for Kings in Game 1

By Brad Vandenberk

Let’s start round three with a question? Who held their hand high in October when the whispers of repeat were in the air? Did we honestly think that we would be facing the exact same team, this time last season for the same title?

This proves to the NHL, especially the Western Conference, this is what a competitive franchise flirting with the dynasty headline looks like. The Kings have wowed the entire NHL with their story book playoff season thus far. Both of their series ended in a game 7, beating both Shark and Ducks to win the Pacific title. It wasn’t easy being down in both scenarios and finding a way to win on the “road”. I really don’t want to use air quotes, but let’s be honest, driving down highway 1, 45 minutes to play a road game, doesn’t quite constitute as a road game. Read more »

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Stars shine in Game 5, Hawks take series lead in 2-1 victory over the Wild

By Brad Vandenberk

Leaving Minnesota with the series tied at 2 was not part of plan A in this second round match up. The Wild showed their talent using their speed and forecheck to trouble the Hawks and 2 loses were the result. They took it to the Hawks out shooting them in two games holding the Hawks to less than 20 shots per game.

Matt Cooke returned for game 4 and gave the Hawks a lot of problems as he was involved on 2 of the Wilds 4 goals. The Hawks depth is being challenged and the employees needed to come to work Sunday night in Chicago.

Don’t get me wrong, the stars or core of this team also needs to pull up their sleeves and not allow the Wild to possess the puck. Brandon Bollig was reprimanded for his hit on Keith Ballard, being suspended for 2 games. Keith Ballard and Matt Moulson did not travel with the team to the windy city. Andrew Shaw did not dress for his 4th straight game and has yet to begin skating. Read more »

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Kane 3rd period Showtime deflates Wild push, Blackhawks take series opener 5-2

By Brad Vandenberk

Just as the bikini girl puts down the “round 2” sign, you can’t help but ponder, is this the same Minnesota Wild team the Hawks faced last year in the first round? The answer is simple. No. This Wild team comes slightly different with some glaring similarities.

Remember during the warm ups in game one last season when Niklas Backstrom took a puck off the knee and was helped off the ice deeming him finished for the series? In came Josh Harding, who played real well before hurting himself as well, and then came in Darcy Kemper to finish the series off in a losing cause as Minnesota were eliminated 4-1. Well not a lot has changed with the Wild’s goaltending carousel.

Minnesota’s hope this series seems to rest on Ilya Bryzgalov’s universe. Read more »

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Kane evens series at 2 in dramatic, OT fashion

By Brad Vandenberk

After an absolute stellar performance from Corey Crawford on Monday night at the UC, it was time to bottle up that momentum and save it for a pivotal Game 4 also hosted by the Blackhawks. Crow made 34 saves to record his 2nd career playoff shutout in front of 22,000 strong. The absence of suspended defensemen Brent Seabrook was barely even noticeable.

The Hawks found a way to win on the backs of their strong defense, fearless power play and tremendous net minding. Now breathe with me. There is still a lot of hill left to climb in this series and most of it to be done without #7. Read more »

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Regular season wraps in wild 7-5 Hawks loss in Nashville

By Brad Vandenberk

Game 82 is upon us, finally!  Not that this season has been a bad one, but after mailing it in against the Capitals last night, it’s hard to get excited for this game.  As I stated last night, Chicago can’t move up from their current third seeded position.

Even though most fans and players are looking toward the post season the Hawks are looking to avenge some pride with the season series owned by the Preds 3-1.  It’s amazing to think – would the Preds be making the playoffs if Pekka Rinne played the entire season?  Several players may be playing their final game tonight in the likes of Jeremy Morin and Joakim Nordstrom.  Once Toews and Kane return those two seem to be the odd men out.  It does prove the depth that Chicago does have available if needed to be called upon.  Another situation that will be solved on Sunday evening is who is the Hawks first round opponent?   After both Avalanche and Blues taking a loss last night, it seems that it will come down to the final day of the NHL.  The Avs finish their season against the Ducks while the Blues have an afternoon affair against the Redwings at home.  Read more »

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Hawks wash out in our Nation’s Capital

By Brad Vandenberk

With the last weekend of the NHL season upon us, it is reassuring to know that the Hawks will be going to the playoffs and cannot get into a higher spot than the 3rd seed.  Over the past few weeks it was the Avalanche that the Hawks thought they would face for the first round, but with the Blues latest slide it could be either opponent.  Being the third seed means that they will not have home ice for the first round.  So now it’s time to sit back and let me be your host for the final 2 games of the year.  The question now is, do the Hawks rest a few players, Olympic athletes, or do you ride the momentum you are currently on?

The ‘Hawks are on a 4 game winning streak without 2 of their stars, Kane and Toews.  Good news is both players are skating and look to be 100% for the first game of the playoffs.  Read more »

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