Tag Archives: Capitals

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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Blackhawks Celebrate Banner Raising With Win Over Washington

Banner_OpeningNight_2013_Blackhawks

By Jon Fromi

The banner-raising at the United Center gave way to a barn-burner Tuesday night as the Chicago Blackhawks opened the 2013-14 season. A wide open offensive affair with the Washington Capitals was ultimately decided by a gallant shorthanded stand by the Blackhawks. Chicago won an action-packed contest by a score of 6-4.

Brandon Saad was tabbed the game’s first star after posting a goal and a pair of assists. Washington’s power play nearly pulled out the game for the Capitals but on this night the penalty kill came up big when it had to in the late going. Read more »

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Hawks keep rolling, beat Capitals 5-2 at the UC to earn 40th victory of the season

By Brad Gardner

The Blackhawks controlled play for much of the game when they hosted the Washington Capitals at the United Center in the only meeting of the season between the two teams. Andrew Shaw opened the scoring and finished with two goals to lead the way in a complete team effort by the ‘Hawks in which they held Washington to just 18 shots en route to a 5-2 win.

The ‘Hawks scored first for the third straight game on a deflection by Shaw in front of the net. Bryan Bickell carried the puck over the line and hit Shaw with a rink-wide pass. He made a drag move around Brooks Laich to get to the center of the ice, but his shot was kicked out by the pad of Michal Neuvirth. Duncan Keith picked up the rebound and fired it back towards the traffic in front where it deflected off Shaw for a 1-0 Chicago lead.

The speed of Viktor Stalberg helped to extend the lead a few minutes later when he beat Washington defenseman Dmitry Orlov to a loose puck and converted on the breakaway against Neuvirth. Sharp dumped the puck down the ice and Stalberg left Orlov in his dust on his way to recovering the puck and tucking the shot behind a downed Neuvirth. Read more »

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Blackhawks 2011 preseason schedule; Salary Cap up more than expected

Blackhawks announced their upcoming 2011 preseason schedule on Monday.

Chicago will again play seven exhibition games and see home-and-home games with the Penguins and Red Wings, as they did last fall.  The Capitals return to the Hawks’ preseason slate after a one year absence.  The two teams will also play a home-and-home series as they did in 2009.  The Blackhawks other exhibition game will be a neutral site contest against the Oilers in Sasaktoon.

Here goes….

Tues Sept 20 (in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) vs Edmonton Oilers @ Credit Union Centre – 6pm*

Thur Sept 22 @ Pittsburgh Penguins (Consol Energy Center) 6:00pm

Fri Sept 23 vs. Washington Capitals (United Center) 7:00pm

Sun Sept 25 @ Detroit Red Wings (Joe Louis Arena) 3:00pm

Wed Sept 28 vs. Detroit Red Wings (United Center) 7:30pm

Fri Sept 30 vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (United Center) 7:30pm

Sun Oct 02 @ Washington Capitals (Verizon Center) 4:00pm

*Not sure about the time on that Saskatoon game, but that’s what is currently listed.  I’d bet that is a mistake (taken from the Hawks’ official press release).  All other times appear to be central.  Saskatoon is on central time (UTC-6) year round.  So that would mean either mean a 6pm start in Saskatoon and 7pm in Chicago, or a 5pm Saskatoon, 6pm Chicago scenario.  I don’t know why it would be anything other than a 7pm or later start in Saskatoon?  I’d go with that (8pm Chicago). The building holds less than 15,000 and is the home of the Saskatoon Blades (WHL).  Pearl Jam plays the Credit Union Centre the night before.

Last year’s preseason began with a trip to Winnipeg for a neutral site game with the Lightning.  Comcast SportsNet-Chicago gave that game a broadcast because it had the added element of being captain Jonathan Toews’ homecoming.

The September 30th game will be a chance to see about as close to the Hawks’ Opening Night roster as you’re going to get prior to the opener.  Fat chance you’ll get a look at Sidney Crosby in person that night however.

NHL SALARY CAP FLYING HIGHER AGAIN

– Positive news for the top revenue franchises looking to keep their star players, bid on free agents and spend to the cap.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie is reporting that when the salary cap is officially set and announced next week, the upper max will come in at $64 million.  The “upper limit” was previously rumored to be anywhere from 62 to 63.2 million for the upcoming season.  Each of these figures would figure in the NHLPA’s escalator option to automatically push the upper limit up by five percent.

Of course this news also greatly impacts franchise on the other end of the spectrum as well.  The CBA mandates that the lower end, or “floor” (minimum a team must spend on their NHL roster) will be $16 million less than the upper limit.

This year’s “floor” will thus be $48M, an increase of $4.6M from last year’s $43.4M lower limit.

Florida, Phoenix, Dallas and the Islanders have some work to do.  All teams already bleeding money, by the way.  Funny how the system works.

In Chicago, this development likely means Stan Bowman will be in the game on bidding for anything but the few top-level free agents if he’d so choose to.  The extra two or so million also should eliminate any ideas of moving Niklas Hjalmarsson for the purpose of freeing up cap space and maneuverability – Which is a good thing for his regular defense partner Brian Campbell.  Still, that defense needs some tweaking and with Leddy and Campoli in the mix there isn’t a space to plug in another defenseman.  There will be a need for a seventh defenseman, but that won’t be an expensive slot.  Some have suggested Brent Sopel could be brought back but that should only be if he is willing to accept less than a million on a short term agreement. He’d also need to know that he’d start seventh on the depth chart.  If John Scott’s on the NHL roster he’s an emergency forward or defenseman, or specialty option against select teams.  If his skating can improve and he can provide more, great, but it shouldn’t be counted on.  There’s a need for a blue line penalty killer, preferably with some jam to his game that can take some of that responsibility away from the over-taxed Duncan Keith.

– While a decision is said not to be imminent, the Winnipeg head coaching job is down to Blackhawks’ assistant Mike Haviland (Cheveldayoff) and AHL-Manitoba Moose head coach Claude Noel (True North).  Sitting “Thrashers” head coach Craig Ramsey is no longer sitting.  After interviewing for the job he held during the 2010-11 season in Winnipeg on Saturday, Ramsey was informed he wasn’t getting the job.  As was former Oilers’ bench boss Craig MacTavish.

– Wanted to make mention – Since the last game of the Finals was played on June 15th, the CBA dictates that the league-wide moratorium on new player contracts would not go into effect until 48 hours after the conclusion of that game.  The actual wording is “the later of June 15th or 48 hours after the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Finals.” Why new contracts continue to come out five days later (Nicklas Lidstrom) is anyone’s guess.  Its not that teams and agents cannot negotiate, its a moratorium on paperwork filings that make those new SPC’s official.  So perhaps its semantics or the league could be making up new rules and overriding the collective bargaining agreement when they deem fit as they go along?

ChrisBlock@TheThirdManIn.com

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Bold, perhaps foolhardy 2011 NHL Playoff picks

There were some very long, tough deliberations going into a few of this year’s opening round matchups.  Its difficult to isolate a ‘Cinderella’ this year because every one of those teams have gaping holes; major issues.

If the Nashville Predators were facing almost any other team but the Ducks in the first round, I’d pick the Preds to finally solve the first-round victory equation.  The Preds must jump all over Anaheim at Honda Center in games one and two to have a chance.  Pekka Rinne is due for a coming out series and the Ducks will have to get by with Dan Ellis at least for the initial game or two.  It will be a long series though and the Ducks have too much firepower to bet against.  I’m already planning on regretting this, but…. Ducks in 7.

(1) Vancouver over (8) Chicago – 6 games

(2) San Jose over (7) Los Angeles – 5 games

(3) Detroit over (6) Phoenix – 7 games

(4) Anaheim over (5) Nashville – 7 games

The Canucks are deeper up front and their blue line will outperform the Blackhawks defensive six.  Corey Crawford had to start the Blackhawks’ final 27 consecutive games out of necessity and showed signs of wear in the last week.  If the Hawks do get under Roberto Luongo’s hair, the key to the series then becomes Alain Vigneault’s trigger finger.  In Corey Schneider, Vigneault has possibly an equally as good goaltender to Luongo in the back up position.  But if Vigneault waits too long to flip the card, the series’ tide could turn and it could be too late.  The Hawks are 18-10-1-3 versus Western playoff teams and five of those losses overall came to Vancouver and San Jose.  If they can somehow work their Van-magic again and pull past the Nucks, the Hawks could go on another run.  But the Canucks are too deep; special teams are too good and they’re primed to take this series.  In both previous Blackhawks’ postseasons, home ice in the first round was a pivotal factor and they don’t have it here.  Canucks in 6.

Phoenix gave the Red Wings all they could handle last season and now have another chance to pull off the upset.  The difference this year being Detroit has the home ice advantage.  Detroit struggled down the stretch and will start the series without Henrik Zetterberg (knee).  Jimmy Howard has been just ‘okay’ and he stares down the other end of the rink at Ilya Bryzgalov, who is capable of winning three or four games on his own.  Phoenix relies on him and a balanced scoring attack.  The Red Wings need Johan Franzen to get going again and guys like Lidstrom, Stuart, Rafalski and Kronwall must be better than they were in March and April.  Home ice will be a major factor.  Dave Tippett and Mike Babcock are two of the best coaches around.  Experience edge goes to eventual series winner… Red Wings in 7.

San Jose were the league’s best team during the second-half of the season.  Antti Niemi regained his 2010 playoff form and finds himself now behind another deep and top-end talent rich 2-seed.  Los Angeles will be without top center Anze Kopitar.  While Kopitar didn’t do much in the Kings’ opening-round loss to Vancouver last year, his absence is a stinger.  The season-series between these two teams did split 3-3, but the Sharks needed a shootout to win two of those games.  Jonathan Quick and Antti Niemi will wage an epic battle, so the games will be tight.  Which is where Kopitar’s loss looms bigger at a position the team isn’t strong at.  San Jose has two lines that can score every night and a third that will pitch in too.  The Kings secondary scoring line is now its first and thus draws the top checking assignment.  If LA is to win this series, they’ll have to do so with a string of 2-1, 1-0 type victories.  They can pull it off once or twice, but the Sharks are too explosive to shut down four over seven…. Sharks in 5.

(1) Washington Capitals over (8) New York Rangers – 7 games

(2) Philadelphia Flyers over (7) Buffalo Sabres – 6 games

(3) Boston Bruins over (6) Montreal Canadiens – 5 games

(5) Tampa Bay Lightning over (4) Pittsburgh Penguins – 6 games

ChrisBlock@TheThirdManIn.com

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NHLPA Player opinion poll on franchises, coaches, rule changes and peers

Less than half of current NHL players recently participated in a voluntary poll presented by the National Hockey League Player’s Association and the CBC television network in Canada.  Of the 318 players who did return surveys, 11% identified the Chicago Blackhawks as the team they’d most-like to play for.  And 7% choose the United Center as their favorite arena to play in.

Duncan Keith, the reigning Norris Trophy award winner, finished 5th in the category of toughest defenseman to play against.  Keith received three percent of the votes in that query.  Patrick Sharp ranked 3rd in the most-underrated player category, tied with New Jersey center Travis Zajac with each receiving 3.5% of votes.  That’s something of an arbitrary category.  Frans Nielsen, who got the 2nd most votes for most-underrated, is a sneaky-skilled player but he’s not in the league of Sharp or Dallas Stars winger Loui Eriksson, who led the voting by a slim margin over Nielsen (5 goals, 16 assists, 43gp).

In Joel Quenneville, the Blackhawks have the league’s 5th most desired coach, according to players polled.  Quenneville received 6% of votes tallied, behind Guy Boucher (8%), Dave Tippett (8%), Mike Babcock (18%) and Dan Bylsma (21%).  Bylsma was obviously aided by how well he came off in the HBO 24/7 series.

Here’s the entire list of questions and top vote getters: Read more »

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TTMI~Radio e.69: Pucking Around the NHL with Breakout! Hockey

This week we’re joined by Adam Summers of the Breakout! Hockey Program, which you can find at BreakoutHockey.podomatic.com.

With Adam we touch on a ton of league-wide topics including the weekend’s All-Star festivities, highlights, the burden of being Phil Kessel and the man who wakes up every day knowing he traded for him.

We take advantage of Adam’s Montreal Canadiens expertise to delve into that team’s first half.  The P.K. Subban controversies, the decision to keep Carey Price and trade Jaroslav Halak – how that looks so far and if we can expect the preliminary results to continue.

With 28 days to go until the NHL trade deadline and 69 days left in the NHL 2010-11 regular season, we look at early favorites, and possible darkhorses, to come out of the Eastern and Western conferences.  Other topics include HBO’s 24/7 vs TSN’s Oil Change documentary series, the plight of one Ilya Kovalchuk and much more including Summer’s thoughts on the current state of the Blackhawks and who on the IceHogs has impressed him in his visits to the Rockford MetroCentre.

Later in the show we discuss the blatant and unethical salary cap circumvention motives involved in Nick Leddy’s All-Star break supposed “reassignment” to AHL-Rockford.  Hint: Leddy never went there.  We discuss the Blackhawks’ upcoming 5-game road trip; what looks good and what looks to be dodgy.  Some notes on the next CBA negotiations, if Patrick Sharp was the right choice as ASG MVP, upcoming podcasts and much, much more.

And in amongst all of that, on a hockey show, we made space to discuss Snowmageddon!!, Shinsuke Nakamura, Satoshi Kojima, the GHC Heavyweight Champion Takashi Sugiura and the G-1 Climax tournament~!  Awesome.  I challenge you to find another hockey radio show anywhere with that kind of versatility.  Well, aside from Adam’s show.

Anyhow, enjoy, and thanks to all for listening.

TheThirdManIn~Radio, e.69, Right-Click to Download Here
“Pucking Around the NHL with Breakout! Hockey”

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You can also find Adam on Twitter @Adam_Summers
He is also the co-host of the Adam & Mike Big Audio Nightmare, talking hockey, mixed martial arts and mostly Japanese pro wrestling at WrestlingObserver.com

Thanks again to Adam for joining us.  We’ll be back at least once more this week.  Superstar and I will be recording an experimental show on Saturday night talking Blackhawks-Blue Jackets, Hawks-Canucks and UFC-126 “Silva vs Belfort”.  I should also mention we will be drinking (perhaps heavily) during that show.

And we’ll return in our weekly weeknight timeslot next Tuesday, February 8th at 8pm central with a guest who is To Be Determined.

Until then, enjoy the snow and your silly big weekend ball games.

ChrisBlock@TheThirdManIn.com
Twitter.com/ChrisBlock

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