Bickell emerges as frontrunner for John Druce Award
By Rich Lindbloom
OK, you can breathe now. With seconds remaining on the jobing.com Center’s scoreboard, the Blackhawks managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Despite outshooting the dogged Coyotes 50-33, the Hawks were quite fortunate to emerge triumphant over a tenacious, disciplined Phoenix squad. Bryan Bickell scored two goals, including the game winner in overtime late Saturday night; or was it early Sunday morning? He’s clearly the front runner for the John Druce Award, named after a role player who scored 14 goals in 15 games for Washington in the 1990 playoffs. Although goals are an obvious mark of a player’s efficacy, they often overshadow the less refined parts of the game. Refined is not generally a word associated with Bickell; he’s more like a working man’s hero. Just prior to his game winner, Brian started throwing his body around like dat Buff-lin guy did a few years ago. (Now that’s hockey.) I believe on one shift he clobbered three different Coyotes, seeming to take a sadistic delight inflicting pain upon his unsuspecting prey. Read more
By Brad Vandenberk
Instead of white t- shirts on the seats of the Jobing.com arena, Game 2 of the western conference quarterfinal saw white pom pom’s riddled throughout the arena. The Chicago Blackhawks needed a big win to avenge the loss they suffered on Thursday night in overtime. Martin Hanzal’s tip past Corey Crawford gave the Coyotes and 1-0 lead in the series. The Hawks were looking to head back to Chicago with a split in the series. Read more
Posted in Blackhawks, Game recap, Stanley Cup Playoffs
Tagged Adrian Aucoin, Andrew Shaw, Antoine Vermette, Brandon Bollig, Brent Seabrook, Bryan Bickell, Charging, Corey Crawford, Coyotes, Dave Bolland, Jonathan Toews, Mike Smith, Patrick Sharp, Phoenix, Raffi Torres, Sami Lepisto, Shane Doan, Viktor Stalberg
By Jon Fromi
Jonathan Toews made an impressive return to the lineup Thursday as the Chicago Blackhawks opened their Western Conference Quarterfinal in Phoenix, tallying a goal and assist. Despite Toews and a late surge to the tie the contest, the Hawks succumbed in overtime as the Coyotes bested Chicago 3-2.
The Coyotes tried to establish a physical tone from the opening faceoff, but it was Andrew Shaw who registered a bit hit on Radim Vrbata that sent Phoenix’s leading goal scorer to the dressing room. Shaw had an open look on a rebound on the ensuing trip down the ice, but Coyotes goalie Mike Smith turned it away.
Toews got the scoring started with his play in the fourth minute. Gaining control of the puck behind the Phoenix net, the captain attempted to center to Patrick Kane. Toews wound up gathering in the failed connection and shoveled a backhand that escaped the grasp of Smith. At the 4:04 mark, the Blackhawks led 1-0. Read more
Posted in Blackhawks, Game recap, Jon Fromi, Stanley Cup Playoffs
Tagged Adrian Aucoin, Andrew Shaw, Antoine Vermette, Brent Seabrook, Corey Crawford, Coyotes, Jonathan Toews, Martin Hanzal, Mike Smith, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Phoenix, Radim Vrbata, Raffi Torres, Taylor Pyatt
By Brad Vandenberk
The Chicago Blackhawks tried to go for their third straight win Monday night, as they were host to the Phoenix Coyotes. No more then six days ago those same Coyotes out played the Hawks to a 4-1 victory. This was the third game in 4 nights for the Hawks.
This game was carried nationally on TV through Versus and TSN2 with US Hall of Fame inductee Mike “Doc” Emrick and Eddie O on the call, with Pierre McGuire between the benches. Corey Crawford and Mike Smith started in their respected nets, which turned out to be the same goalie match up as 6 nights ago.
The lines mimicked what coach Q put together in St Louis on Saturday night. Dan Carcillo was on the top line with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. Marcus Kruger was still centering the second line with Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp on the wings. Dave Bolland centered the third line with Ben Smith and Michael Frolik and finally Viktor Stalberg was on the fourth line with Jamal Mayers and Andrew Brunette. Bryan Bickell, Sami Lepisto and the mighty John Scott were the scratches. Read more
Posted in Game recap
Tagged Ben Smith, Blackhawks, Corey Crawford, Coyotes, Duncan Keith, Jonathan Toews, Keith Yandle, Marian Hossa, Mike Smith, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Patrick Kane, Radim Vrbata, Raffi Torres, Ray Emery
Much has been made of the physicality in this year’s Blackhawks-Canucks series. While the Canucks hold a substantial (+46) advantage in the overall credited hits column, they also (according to official scorers in Vancouver) collected a hefty 40 to 14 margin over Chicago in Game 5. This on a night the Canucks were shutout in their home rink and have worked themselves into a situation where they could see their season slipping away if they don’t get their act together fast.
Now one aspect sometimes overlooked when analyzing hit counts is that if one team has the puck, they’re not looking for hits or finishing checks. So if one team owns the puck for a great majority of the game, or is sitting back protecting a hefty lead (which the Hawks were in Game 5 as well) they’re not forechecking as hard and thus not finishing as many checks. Thus why hit counts can oftentimes be misleading.
By periods in Game 5, Vancouver out-hit Chicago 12-4. 17-5 and 11-5.
From a Blackhawks’ perspective you can see how certain players such as Bryan Bickell and Viktor Stalberg have dug into their roles and pressured the Canucks when they’ve been on the ice. They along with Troy Brouwer (the Hawks regular season hits leader) and Chris Campoli on the blue line have been the most physical Hawks. Read more
Posted in Stat Analysis
Tagged Alexandre Burrows, Ben Smith, Blackhawks, Brian Campbell, Bryan Bickell, Canucks, Chris Campoli, Dan Hamhuis, Jannik Hansen, Kevin Bieksa, Max Lapierre, Michael Frolik, Mikael Samuelsson, NHL Playoffs, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Raffi Torres, Ryan Kesler, Viktor Stalberg