Bushwhacked: To attack or fire upon from hiding ; ambush.
I received an e-mail from a customer while attending a sales meeting Monday morning. It simply read, “I think that Edmonton just scored again!” To say the Oilers, and to a lesser extent the Flames, knocked us off our high horse would be an understatement. In an inadvertent way, I may have contributed to the “narrow” defeats in Alberta over the weekend – more on that later. Suffice it to say the ephemeral joy we experienced in Vancouver two days before being thrown into the depths of despair, dissipated quicker than a cowboy trying to stay on the much ballyhooed bull Bushwhacker. In retrospect, we were bushwhacked in Alberta, there’s no other way to put it. Oh, and weren’t the rubes in the frozen tundra having a time, “We want 10, want 10!” Not satisfied with a win, they wanted to rub our nose in it.
One of the few positives that could be taken away from that game was the Oilers only ended up with 9 – ha!, in your face Edmonton fans, in your face.
In professional Bull riding, 8 is the magic number. The cowboy who can stay on the bull for 8 seconds, has grabbed the bull by the horns so to speak. Currently, there is a bull on the rodeo circuit who has never been ridden, successfully. The closest anyone has come is 6.65 sec. Most ca-boys don’t make it past 3.5 seconds. We caught of first glance of the bull called Bushwhacker a few Sundays ago. My wife hollered down to my son, “Greg come here for a second, this is what a real man looks like,” as the crazy cowboy prepared himself in the chute. You could feel the excitement in the announcer’s voice just prior to the gate opening, waiting for the 1,500# ballerina like bull to be set free. The rider lasted less than four seconds, and Bushwhacker spent at least 3.5 seconds with all four hooves in the air. For the 28th consecutive time, Bushwhacker launched a cowboy into space. As the saying goes, “What goes up must come down,” and as the rider, (I’m going to call him Duncan), flew off the bull, the clowns were sent in to pick up the pieces. Read more »
The Chicago Blackhawks were coming off a four-game win streak and looking to keep rolling atop the NHL. A spotty defensive effort in Calgary Friday night, coupled with two goals by the Flames in the first two minutes of the second period, led to a 5-2 defeat.
In the first period, the pace was to Chicago’s liking. Jonathan Toews took a pass from Marian Hossa in the fifth minute that Miikka Kiprusoff stopped with his pad. Toews hacked the puck into the goal, but it was waved off when the referee ruled the play whistled dead before the puck crossed the line.
The Flames drew first blood just over a minute later. Lee Stempniak came up with a loose puck and went the distance into the Chicago zone. Coming up the right side, Stempniak badly beat Duncan Keith to the inside and slapped it high to Corey Crawford’s stick side, giving Calgary a 1-0 lead.
The Blackhawks returned fire on the following shift. Nick Leddy got it started with a pass across the ice to Toews, and the captain brought the puck across the blue line and powered toward the net. Viktor Stalberg crashed the net, got inside position on Jay Bouwmeester with a nice move, and tapped in the centering pass to tie the contest. Read more »
A bad non-call in favor of the Chicago Wolves and an anemic Rockford IceHogs’ power play told the story Saturday night in a 4-1 Wolves’ victory at the BMO Harris Bank Center.
The crowd of 4,279, on hand for the IceHogs’ second home tilt of the season, witnessed Billy Sweatt clearly redirecting Chicago’s second goal in with his skate and past Alexander Salak early in the middle frame to give the visitor’s a 2-0 lead. However, veteran AHL referee Terry Koharski did not see it that way and allowed the goal to stand. The IceHogs blew a lot of smoke, but never truly recovered.
While they were on their heels most of the night, the Wolves withstood a barrage of IceHogs’ shots. Goaltender Matt Climie made 47 saves in all. One night after his teammate Eddie Lack stopped all 35 Rockford shots in a 2-0 Wolves victory down the road in Rosemont, Illinois.
The shot board tells a story of one-sided dominance for Rockford on Saturday night, but the truth is the IceHogs were not at their best in this game. Read more »
Al Cimaglia, now writing and covering the Blackhawks at MyFoxChicago.com, joined me tonight on episode 93 of TheThirdManIn~Radio.
On the show, Al and I discuss the fallout from Saturday’s 3-2 shootout loss to the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins and the Blackhawks already falling behind the Red Wings’ first-place pace.
We chat about the importance of the Hawks’ immediate upcoming schedule, Duncan Keith’s early season struggles, Patrick Kane’s game, Jeremy Morin’s huge return to the IceHogs’ line up this past weekend and the continued state of befuddlement surrounding John Scott’s place on the Blackhawks.
All this and so much more and this hour-long edition of TTMI~Radio.
–For those wanting to catch a glimpse of Brian Campbell, Kris Versteeg, Tomas Kopecky and their new crew before the Hawks travel to South Florida on November 2, tonight is your chance. Campbell skated just over 30 minutes and had the primary assist on both Panthers’ goals in a 2-0 win on Long Island in Florida’s only game so far. Jose Theodore was in net for the shutout.
The Panthers will make their only national television appearance of the 2011-12 season, and just their third in four years tonight on VERSUS when they visit the Pittsburgh Penguins.
–For those who missed it, I uploaded Saturday night’s Committed Indian column here.
The Blackhawks took the ice Friday night for their second meeting of the preseason with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Pens entered play in Chicago with a 4-0 record in the preseason having defended their home ice in the first meeting between the two teams, a 4-1 victory at the Consol Energy Center on September 22.
Special teams play was the story early on. Pittsburgh’s first goal came from former-Hawk Steve Sullivan on the power play just five seconds into the man advantage. Brandon Pirri had shot the puck over the glass, giving the Pens the extra man. The Pens controlled the ensuing faceoff and Kris Letang’s crossing pass found Steve Sullivan with time at the top of the left circle. Ray Emery didn’t stand much chance with Tyler Kennedy parked in front of the net.
Pittsburgh’s second goal, scored by Matt Cooke, came while the team was down a man. The penalty kill applied constant pressure while shorthanded throughout the game, but it was more of a fluke play that resulted in the goal. Ray Emery skated way out of his crease to play a loose puck, sending it off the boards and into the neutral zone. Cooke was the first one there and fired a slap shot from center ice that skipped over Emery’s stick and through a rather feeble attempt to block the shot from Brent Seabrook. Read more »
Two guys having a pretty decent training camp for the Chicago Blackhawks were knocked out of the team’s return engagement with Detroit Wednesday night. The Hawks prevailed at the United Center, parlaying a host of power play chances into a 4-3 comeback win. However, the availability of Viktor Stalberg and Ben Smith for the start of the regular season is now up in the air.
Smith, who tied the score in the third period with an opportunistic goal, was knocked senseless by a shoulder to head hit by Detroit’s Brendan Smith. The check left Smith face down on the ice for several minutes before he was helped to the dressing room. [Video and more here]
The Blackhawks opened the scoring when Cory Emmerton was called for hooking midway through the first period. Less than a minute into the man advantage, Jonathan Toews dug the puck out of the corner, skated to the right side of the net and flipped the puck back to a streaking Patrick Kane. Kaner’s aim was true, and Chicago led 1-0. Read more »
As you’d imagine, Quenneville is a controlled irate and angling for major disciplinary action on the Wings’ Brendan Smith, a prospect who may not make Detroit’s opening night roster. On the other hand, Babcock is doing his best to defend his player while not coming off as a blind fool. Most won’t like what Babcock has to say, but I’d hold judgement until something like this again happens to one of his players.
While its impossible to say for sure considering this is the NHL, there should be some degree of supplementary discipline stemming from this hit.
As you can see, Brendan Smith makes only a veiled attempt at a pokecheck before launching himself into the drifting Hawks’ forward. Aside from the reckless endangerment of Ben Smith, the Wings’ Brendan Smith makes the porous all-or-nothing defensive decision (in the 3rd period of a 3-3 hockey game moments after losing the lead) in the event he missed his shoulder block attempt, would have allowed the Hawks’ rookie in unabated to Detroit’s goal.
While the league heedlessly focuses their sole attention and new regulation on head shots (while very important its missing the larger triggering issue) the cause of most of these unfortunate collisions are players ignoring the puck to take a run at their opponent. Whether the head becomes a point of contact or not shouldn’t make the play any less of a punishable offense. When two players come together – one who is playing the puck, the other is not – bad things can happen. The one who is (the one playing hockey) is at the complete mercy of the player who has disregarded his defensive responsibility for the sake of the highlight film check or worse, and you’re a fool if you don’t believe this goes on, injuring his opposing player. Any part of the body is at risk, the head, neck, back, knees.
Ben Smith missed a month of last year’s AHL season (Jan 8 – Feb 8th) with a concussion, one that coincidentally occurred against Grand Rapids, the Red Wings’ affiliate. Brendan Smith missed that contest with a knee injury. Ben Smith was set for a possible return a of couple weeks later when he was struck in the face with a puck during a practice, injuring him and re-aggravating the concussion. So, depending on how you want to look at it, this is either Ben Smith’s second, or third concussion in the past nine months.
The hyperbole in Chicago surrounding Ben Smith hit a fever pitch late last season and has carried over into big expectations for the 23-year-old winger. Originally a sixth round pick in 2008, he has made a quick climb up Chicago’s prospect ranks and is poised to move into the NHL full-time this season.
Smith had his fans coming out of the NCAA following a four-year career at Boston College in which he contributed to two National Championship teams. A hard-working, defensively-sound forward, he also had strong production at the college level, including a 50-point season as a sophomore when he played mostly on a line with Buffalo’s Nathan Gerbe. He capped off his impressive career at Boston College with a Frozen Four MVP in 2010 at Ford Field with three goals and an assist in helping the Eagles capture their second National Championship in three years. Read more »
The trio the Chicago Blackhawks sent out to the shootout portion of their exhibition loss in Detroit Sunday was a good indicator of what a young ‘Hawks squad was up against in Joe Louis Arena.
Taking shots for the Red Wings were Johan Franzen, Todd Bertuzzi and Henrik Zetterberg. Chicago sent out Brandon Pirri, Michael Frolik and Brandon Saad.
The Blackhawks gave the vastly more seasoned Detroit squad all it could handle but came out on the short end of a 4-3 shootout. Despite the big advantage in experience in favor of the home team, the young men in the Indian head sweaters were more than competitive.
The ‘Hawks found themselves on the power play five minutes into the contest when a Wings goal was negated by a Zetterberg hooking penalty. Bryan Bickell had a decent shot on goal, but Chicago came up empty. This was a running theme throughout the afternoon, as the Blackhawks were fruitless in three tries with the man advantage. Read more »