Lindbloom’s View: The Dew Drop In

Lindbloom_DewDropInThe Many (Ugly) Faces of St. Louis Blues Hockey

“Now the last I wanted was to get into a fight
in Jackson Mississippi on a Saturday night
especially when there was three of them and only one of me.” – Charlie Daniels
(From the song UneOasy Rider – many of you will know it as The Do Drop Inn)

By Rich Lindbloom

I’m not sure two games with those hated rivals, the St Louis Blues, is just what the doctor ordered as we head into the playoffs. Let’s just say there’s always a possibility of a full blown donnybrook breaking out when these two bitter rivals meet. Sometimes it’s on the ice, sometimes it’s in the stands.

My friend Bobby went to a Blues vs. Hawks game a few months after the 1984 NLCS game, where Leon Durham miss played a sharply hit ground ball. In ABC announcer Don Drysdale’s words, “Ground ball hit to Durham…RIGHT THROUGH HIS LEGS…we’re tied at three.” Bobby was attending the game with a friend and their two dates, politely applauding the righteous Blackhawks efforts that evening. Some knucklehead Blues fan kept repeating Drysdale’s words, in a obvious attempt to stir things up. Read more »

Johnny to the rescue, Hawks get by Sabres 4-3

By Michael Calvert

In a game where the Hawks could really use the win and the Sabres really could use a loss, this game wound up developing into a nail biter, go figure.

1st period: The Hawks jumped all over the Sabres to begin the game, as anticipated. Keith netted the first goal only 2:16 into the game on a slapper glove side with Bickell providing the screen.

The Hawks maintained pressure for the next few minutes and at around the 4:00 mark really started pouring it on. The Sabres managed to weather that storm keeping the score at 1-0.

At 8:36 in the first, Sharp put a beauty of a move on the Sabres hapless d man and beat Lindback with a nice wrister, at this point it’s 2-0 and looks as though the rout is on. Read more »

Hawks clinch playoff berth in 3-1 win over VAN

By Brad Vandenberk

After winning a tough back to back against Winnipeg and LA, the Blackhawks looked to continue the momentum on Thursday with a visit from the Canucks. Vancouver was also in a playoff battle hoping to lock up a playoff spot with a victory last night.

But it was the Hawks that would be guaranteed a spot in the 2015 postseason with a 3-1 win behind the strong net minding of Corey Crawford. He stopped 36 shots making some great saves on most of the Canucks stars. Teuvo Teravainen, Jonathan Toews and Marcus Kruger all the put puck past Eddie Lack. Kruger picked up an assist and the second star of the game. Read more »

Special Audio: Tim Sassone Tribute podcast with Chris Kuc, Brian Hedger, Al Cimaglia and Lindsey Willhite

Sassone_Foley_Savard_461x334

By Chris Block

On Wednesday, I was honored to be joined by four friends of the late, great 25-year veteran of the Chicago Blackhawks beat, Tim Sassone.

Sassone was 58 when he succumbed to illness on March 25, 2014.

53 weeks from that day, his friends, former colleagues and competitors assembled to pay tribute to Sassone, one of the greatest sports writers Chicago has known.

I am joined by Al Cimaglia [Sirius/XM Radio] and Brian Hedger [NHL.com] for the bulk of the show. Cimaglia and Hedger swap stories of Sassone’s influence and generosity, while sharing their personal experiences and thoughts on the man each called a friend.

Then I welcome Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune, Sassone’s closest friend on the Blackhawks beat. Kuc and Sassone worked alongside each other from 2007 up until Tim’s passing.

For the first ten minutes of his segment, Kuc helps us dissect the big news of Wednesday. We discuss Patrick Kane participating in his first Blackhawks practice since fracturing his collar bone five weeks ago, and speculate as to what Kane’s timetable for return looks like now.

Then, Kuc shares his experiences working alongside his great friend.

Hedger and Cimaglia stay with me a give their reactions to Kuc’s comments and more on Sassone at and away from the rinks.

Finally, I sit down with Lindsey Willhite, formerly a teammate of Sassone’s at the Daily Herald. Lindsey is now the Public Relations Director for the Chicago Wolves. He shares his experiences meeting and learning under Sassone, following Tim around the day the Blackhawks won the 2010 Stanley Cup in Philadelphia and the time he answered Sassone’s desk phone at the Daily Herald offices and it was Jeremy Roenick on the other end of the line.

In closing, I give my thoughts on the impact Tim Sassone had on me and talk about having the opportunity to work alongside him myself and my regret in the last interaction I had with Tim.

Click to listen below, or Right-Click Here to Download the MP3 file

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Lindbloom’s View: Miss P and the Darlings

Lindbloom_2015Apr01_MissPMeet Miss P!

By Rich Lindbloom

There are rare moments in life when the stars align, those nights when you fill those inside straights. Remember Patrick Kane’s hat trick in Game 6 against Vancouver on May 11, 2009 – that’s what I’m talking about! PK, my main dawg. It helped seal a wild, 7-5 victory over the vile, loathsome, hated Canucks in the waning moments of the third period.

Kaner scooped the puck up along the left boards and headed unimpeded towards Lu’s net. Kane rifled a wicked back hander over Luongo’s right shoulder to vault the Hawks into the Conference Finals against another group of mutts, the Wings. That game would probably rank third on my all-time favorite list, just behind “The Edmonton” game on Dec 23, 2007, and the first game I ever went to back in the early 60’s against the Leafs.

While not on par with the aforementioned games, Monday’s game at the United Center, against a desperate LA King squad, was one of those that send you home smiling. Read more »

3 unanswered Hawks goals do damage to Kings’ playoff hopes

By Jon Fromi

The Chicago Blackhawks dug down for some extra giddyup Monday night, subduing a more rested Los Angeles Kings squad at the United Center. The Blackhawks posted wins in back to back games, following up Sunday’s win in Winnipeg with a 4-1 besting of the defending champs.

First Period-Goalies Scott Darling and Jonathan Quick were on their toes early as the action was back and forth. Brandon Saad was denied by the Kings keeper on a power move around the net in the fifth minute. A few seconds later, the young forward was the catalyst for the Hawks first goal.

Saad got control of his own dump-in at the end boards, came around the net into the slot and fired at the L.A. goal. The puck was redirected by Bryan Bickell and then glanced off Bickell’s skate. Tumbling past Quick and into the Kings goal, Chicago took a 1-0 lead 5:31 into the game. Read more »

Fantasy Chatter: Week 25 – Hard Times, H2H Finals, Roto League Aggression and an Andrew Shaw Sighting

DustyRhodes_HardTimes_500x378You Think You Got Hard Times?

The Week Ahead: March 30 – April 5

4 Game slates: BUF, CHI, COL, DET, EDM, FLA, MON, OTT, STL, TB, TOR, VAN, WASH
3 Game slates: ARI, BOS, CAL, CAR, CLB, DAL, LA, NJ, NYR, PHI, PIT, SJ,
2 Game slates: ANA, MIN, NASH, NYI, WINN
Back to Back games: ARI, BUF, CHI, COL, DAL, DET, EDM, FLA, MON, NJ, OTT, PHI, PIT, SJ, STL, TB, TOR (x2), VAN, WASH

By Lane Myer

It is fingernail reduction time, regardless of what medium of scoring comprises your league(s) as we hit the final stretch. For those in H2H leagues, it’s same as it ever was. Turn over your fringe players for other fringe players who have the scheduling advantage.

As for those in Roto style leagues, chances are there are multiple players who have either already abandoned their rosters, or have been paying minimal attention to their hockey league as the result of their poor finish and the looming fantasy baseball season. That can either be a good or bad thing for you. Good if you need to gain ground and can take advantage of “ghost” teams. Bad if you’re trying to protect stat categorical leads and your competition is gaining ground due to your league’s filthy layabouts failing to set their daily rosters. Read more »

Hawks get a bounce, a late Toews goal and one huge win in Winnipeg

By Chris Block

It wasn’t pretty, but the Blackhawks survived a Jets onslaught and pulled out a huge win Sunday night in Winnipeg that may have solidified the Hawks a playoff spot.

The third period began with Winnipeg leading 3-2 after Dustin Byfuglien power play goal in the final minute of the second period gave the Jets their second lead of the night.

Patrick Sharp tied the contest at 6:27 of the third, pouncing on a loose puck and a breakaway from near center ice after Jets defenseman Tobias Enstrom became entangled with linesman Don Henderson and lost his stick with Sharp in pursuit.

The Hawks then won the game with 31 seconds left in regulation after some cycling by the top line and a Jonathan Toews re-direct on a Niklas Hjalmarsson shot.  The goal was Toews’ 25th, which marks the 6th time in Toews’ eight year career that he’s scored 25 or more goals in a season. And in one of those seasons, the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign, Toews posted 23 goals in 47 games played.

Byfuglien tallied two goals on Sunday, his 17th and 18th, against the Blackhawks organization that raised him.   Blake Wheeler potted his 25th of the season in short-handed fashion in the second period on a 3 on 2 break after Andrew Shaw took off for the bench on an ill-advised change. Read more »

Interview with Antti Raanta on his demotion, the trade deadline, his future and playing for a Cup in Rockford

Raanta_IceHogs_2015Mar06_OKCAntti Raanta, March 6, 2015 in Rockford vs Oklahoma City
Photo courtesy of Rockford IceHogs

By Chris Block

“When they said I was going down (to Rockford) – you just have so many questions inside your head. You try to figure it out, like ‘what did I do wrong?’” – Antti Raanta

Antti Raanta couldn’t have done much better for the Blackhawks this season.

In 12 starts and 14 appearances overall, the Blackhawks’ backup goalie went 7-4-1 with a 1.89 goals against average and .936 save percentage. He posted two shutouts, which is the same number of shutouts as Corey Crawford has tallied through 52 starts in 2014-15.

But after parts of two seasons under Joel Quenneville’s watch, the six-foot one inch Raanta fell down the depth chart in some key decision makers minds with the emergence this year of the 6’6” Scott Darling.

Quenneville was one of those minds.

Raanta last appeared for the Hawks in relief duty of a 6-2 drubbing by Boston at the United Center on February 22. Raanta entered more than halfway into the second period when the Hawks were already down 4-1. Read more »

Lindbloom’s View: On Questions and Gimmees

Lindbloom_1_20150328

By Rich Lindbloom

The gimmee in golf is often described as an uneasy agreement between hackers who have no clue what to do when grasping the magic wand. Many golfers take issue with this stroke shaving device, calling it a blatant bastardization of the rules of golf. They would claim you’re making a mockery of the game. I suppose it is hard to honestly say you shot an 89 if you’ve “picked up” 3 or 4, two footers in a round. Always with the caveat of course that you’re just trying to speed up play or you “know” you could make it.

Some golfers feel no compunction when given the opportunity to avoid stressing over a putt that is often times “outside the leather.” My friend Ken could drive the ball a country mile. Like many long ball hitters though, putting was not Ken’s forte. Although many golfers struggle with their conscious a bit when accepting a gimmee, I remember one of my friends once saying, “You never have to tell Herme twice to pick a putt up.” The truth is the ball would be in his pocket before you finished the phrase, “That’s good.” With a big smile on his face! Read more »