Tag Archives: Red Wings

Blackhawks blow two-goal 3rd period lead in Detroit, win 3-2 in a shootout, finish 6th in West, await Pacific winner

By Brad Gardner

The sixth and final meeting of the season between the Blackhawks and Red Wings went down to a shootout, where Patrick Kane scored the deciding goal to give the visiting ‘Hawks a 3-2 victory. Corey Crawford played a strong game, despite giving up a pair of third-period goals, and did not allow a goal in the shootout to register his 30th win of the season.

Detroit’s third period comeback secured one point in the standings, thereby sealing up either the fourth or fifth seed of the Western Conference and a first round match-up against Nashville.

Despite the two points, Chicago settled into the sixth spot with 101 points (45-26-11 record) on the season. They will open the playoffs on the road against the winner of the Pacific Division.

The game played much like the rest of the season series. Each game between the two Central Division rivals has been decided by one goal. It was the fourth time in six games that the final score was 3-2 and the fourth time Chicago came out victorious. The ‘Hawks ended up taking 10 of a possible 12 points out of the season series against the Wings with a 4-0-2 record. Read more »

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Hayes, Kruger lead Toews-less Hawks over Detroit

By Brad Gardner

The Chicago Blackhawks managed to keep their win streak alive against the rival Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night at the United Center, despite playing without captain Jonathan Toews. With Detroit entering play riding a six-game winning streak of their own, it was the home team that held onto a 2-1 lead to pick up their fourth consecutive win.

Corey Crawford started his fourth game in a row and allowed just one goal for the third straight game. He faced Jimmy Howard in net for the Wings, making his first start since missing time to a broken index finger. Both goalies loomed large in this one, but Crawford was able to spoil Howard’s comeback and earn his fourth win in as many starts.

Marcus Kruger put the Blackhawks down a man in just 34 seconds into the game with a tripping penalty in the offensive zone. Crawford was able to handle Detroit’s first few opportunities, including a shot from Jiri Hudler through traffic. Dave Bolland picked up the rebound but whiffed on the clear. The puck eventually found Valtteri Filppula at the right circle and he was able to wrist one past Crawford far side to put the Wings up 1-0 just 2:22 into the game. Read more »

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Podcast Tuesday night

TheThirdManin~Radio returns Tuesday night, January 17th at 8pm central.

You’ll be able to listen live here.

On this week’s show, we’ll compare and contrast this year’s Chicago Blackhawks to the 2010-11 team.  Also, we’ll take a look at the Rockford IceHogs’ weekend, why Brandon Pirri and Jeremy Morin were benched in Texas, an update on some injured Hogs and a look at Rockford’s goaltending.

It will also be the long-awaited return of the email bag including questions on trade possibilities, Kyle Beach, Akim Aliu, the Hall of Fame, Toews vs Datsyuk, my puppy dog and the terrible twos.  We’ll have an update on my retirement, how our resolutions are progressing and much more.  Join us on our road to 100.

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TTMI~Radio, e.95 – In the Meantime

How’s this for self-promotion….

It’s a show.  I don’t really know what to say about this one other than the Superstar and I got back together for e.95 of TheThirdManIn~Radio.  Usually when he and I do these things you never know what we’ll talk about and the reason is – neither do we.

We talked about some things, I don’t recall too much exactly.  We had a show outline but it was aborted during the music intro.  I enjoyed myself though.  We discussed the Blackhawks getting better today, how awful traditionally they’ve been in Philly (Stanley Cup aside), a few New Years resolutions, Andrew Shaw and some other stuff I can’t recall at the moment.

I’d say its completely missable unless you’re desperate for time killer or background noise at work.  Its probably best for that.

I’d say we’ll do better next time, but that’s too lofty a goal.

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ChrisBlock@TheThirdManIn.com
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TTMI~Radio, e.93, Chris Block and Al Cimaglia of MyFoxChicago.com talk Kane’s prominence, Keith’s struggles, Scott, Morin and 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.

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ChrisBlock@TheThirdManIn.com

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Hossa and Kane Return, But ‘Hawks May Have Lost Stalberg and Smith

photo credit: Yahoo! Sports

By Jon Fromi

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 »

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Detroit’s Brendan Smith Puts Ben Smith to Sleep

Sun-Times Adam Jahns has quotes from Joel Quenneville and Mike Babcock.

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.

ChrisBlock@TheThirdManIn.com

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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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TTMI~Radio, e.80, Hawks-Habs Preview & NHL Awards

For at least the initial fifty minutes I think we have a really great show for you this week.

Our friend Adam Summers of the Breakout! Hockey podcast returns to help us breakdown Tuesday night’s epic battle in Montreal between the Canadiens and Blackhawks.  Adam’s allegiance is oddly divided between these two Original Six combatants and he provides us with some great insight on the Habs in particular, but Blackhawks as well.

Join us for a line-by-line detailed overview on the Canadiens (who are captained by three Americans); what to look for Tuesday night; who’s been pulling the wagon and who hasn’t and which of this year’s Habs aren’t expected back next season.

We’ll also get Adam’s take on the Zdeno Chara-Max Pacioretty incident, supplementary discipline and Gary Bettman’s dilemma. We also get the latest on the Whizzinator James Wisniewski, an ex-Hawk heavy Canadiens bunch; Habs on the mend, a little bastard on the Bruins, Blackhawks’ playoff odds, Rockford IceHogs Hockey and so much more.

There’s a hot topic state of pro wrestling discussion as well.  Don’t tell Vince!

In all, its a great Tuesday game primer and we thank Adam very much for his insight.

Check out Adam’s show, the Breakout! Hockey Program each week at BreakoutHockey.podomatic.com & Tuesday night about an hour after the Hawks-Canadiens game for his recap, plus all the latest from around the National Hockey League.

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In honor of another NHL Playoff season beginning, we have some special audio planned for you next Monday night.  Whether the Hawks care to partake in the postseason or not.

Next Monday night, April 11th, We’ll be joining forces with CT and “the Forklift” of Hockeenight.com fame along with Dieter Kurtenbach for a special HockeeNight PuckCast.  Its become an annual playoff tradition at this point.  I’m sure Fork will have plenty of wit and surprises in store.  Or he may have neither.  And as always, stop by their site for their unique take on Blackhawks hockey.

So that’s next Monday night.  TTMI~Radio will sometime in the next week or two with playoff talk and a 2010-11 Rockford IceHogs season recap show and special guests.

ChrisBlock@TheThirdManIn.com

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