By Jon Fromi
With Stan Mikita gracing the Forest City (more specifically the BMO Center) Saturday, my pal and I made it our goal to be among the first go-getters to cue up in the signing line. I’ve found myself waiting outside the season-ticket entrance on occasion, most notably an extended wait on Tony Esposito last February. Three hours? No problem. Yeah, right.
Mother Nature provided an optimal day on that February afternoon, with sunny skies and spring-like temperatures. I didn’t expect to be so lucky Saturday, and of course the weather told a different tale.
Did we have to be there at 1:45 p.m. to wait for the doors to open at 5:45? Of course not, but think of all the conversation I would have missed.
The odyssey (or not, since we stood in the same place for the bulk of it) began with our arrival to find that five individuals had beaten us to the front of the line. As the line began to lengthen over the course of the afternoon, conversation naturally fixated on the IceHogs. Read more
By Brad Gardner
The Blackhawks and Avalanche met for the second time in three nights as they took the ice for the back half of their home-and-home series. Corey Crawford and Semyon Varlamov again started between the pipes after an excellent duel Thursday night in Colorado, but neither would have such a strong showing in Saturday’s tilt.
After the Blackhawks carried play for a bulk of the first period, Colorado began to turn the tables in the second half of the frame. The Avs eventually took the lead at the 16:09 mark of the first on a redirect in front of Corey Crawford. Paul Stastny beat everyone to a puck on forecheck and passed back to his blue line. Working his way across the slot, Stastny got his stick on a puck from Kyle Quincey and redirected it past Crawford to put Colorado on the board first.
The Avs took the one goal lead to the locker room, but it would not last long in the second. Michael Frolik brought the game even just 46 seconds into the middle period. Erik Johnson attempted an ill-advised pass up the center of the ice that was picked off by Frolik. He was wide open right in front of Varlamov’s net and buried the chance for his first goal of the season. Read more
Posted in Brad Gardner, Game recap
Tagged Avalanche, Blackhawks, Bobby Hull, Corey Crawford, Dan Carcillo, Jamal Mayers, Joel Quenneville, Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, Michael Frolik, Nick Leddy, Semyon Varlamov, Stan Mikita, Viktor Stalberg
Stan Mikita feeling good in spite of cancer battle [Brian Hedger, NHL.com]
Mikita meets his doctors in ten days to find out where he’s at with his Stage 1 oral cancer.
“I’m looking for very favorable comments from him (the doctor),” Mikita told Hedger. “The treatments went well. It wasn’t really bad for me. It’s been coming along real well.”
–More from Hedger’s Blackhawks’ notebook – Stuff on Marian Hossa’s math, Patrick Kane’s on-time wrist recovery and David Bolland loving Daniel Carcillo.
Video of Mikita speaking to media at Monday’s Blackhawks Alumni golf event at Medinah Country Club. [CSN Chicago] Comments from an antsy Bolland and Stan Bowman as well in that clip.
–Assistant general manager Marc Bergevin in an interview on a Toronto radio station Monday, talked about this summer’s roster shakeup, the addition of what Bergevin termed, “personality” to the team’s core roster.
“We felt we are skilled enough to get us into the playoffs. We just need the character to get us through the playoffs,” Bergevin explained.
“And that’s what we had when we did win. Then we lost guys like Ladd, Byfuglien, and Versteeg and Sopel. Guys who were warriors, that did the little things to make the other team accountable. They made the other team realize ‘this is going to be a battle tonight.’ That’s what it takes to win a Stanley Cup.
“You can’t win with twelve skilled forwards and six skilled defensemen, because there is dirty work that needs to be done and there are only certain players that are willing to do that.” he concluded. Read more
Posted in News and Notes
Tagged Alexei Yashin, Brent Sopel, Bryan Berard, Chris Campoli, Dave Scatchard, David Koci, Duane Sutter, Ethan Moreau, Fernando Pisani, Igor Radulov, Jason Strudwick, Jim McKellar, Justin Hodgman, Kent Simpson, Marc Bergevin, Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane, Stan Bowman, Stan Mikita, Ted Dent, Third jerseys, Tim Keon
2010-11 was great year for avid consumers and readers of hockey books. At this point we’ll take a wait and see approach to measure this coming year’s crop, but there are a few standouts hitting your favorite book outlets before Christmas.
–First, though – Gamers, NHL 12, via EA Sports, for Xbox and PS3 hits stores on Tuesday, Sept 13th. Steven Stamkos is this year’s cover boy, succeeding Jonathan Toews. Among the additions to this year’s game are Wayne Gretzky and the Winter Classic game at Heinz Field.
Wiley Publications has three new books hitting the market before the end of the year.
Adam Proteau has a book coming out in December. The title, “Fighting the Good Fight: Why On-Ice Violence is Killing Hockey,” is sure to ruffle some eyebrows. Proteau is a staunch advocate of eliminating fighting in hockey. While I’m not really on board with that idea, I am looking forward to this book. It’s listed at 288 pages, so hopefully it’s an all-encompassing look at the violence issues plaguing the game, not limited to goonery, and possible steps to be taken to curb those, instead of steering it mostly towards fighting.
Former Maple Leafs general manager Gord Stellick also has a book forthcoming on November 8th. Stellick is now a sports talk radio personality in Toronto. Stellicktricity promises to be chock full of wit, anecdotal insight on some of the game’s biggest names. Sounds like it will be similar to Steve Ludzik’s book Been There Done That. – Read more
Posted in News and Notes
Tagged Adam Proteau, Al Strachan, Bob Probert, Bobby Hull, Books, Borje Salming, Damien Cox, Don Cherry, Eddie Shore, Gare Joyce, Gord Stellick, Hockey books, Jonathon Jackson, Kirstie McLellan Day, Michael McKinley, Slap Shot, Stan Mikita, Ted Leonsis, Theo Fleury, Todd Deneault
It appears Cristobal Huet will ride out the final year of his Blackhawks’ contract in Europe again this season. Huet is apparently in negotiations to rejoin Fribourg-Gotteron of Switzerland’s National-A league for their 2011-12 season. There had been reports in French and German newspapers indicating Huet was set to join the team for a second season. However, a statement released by Fribourg-Gotteron on Tuesday stated that a loan agreement with the Blackhawks is not yet finalized.
Should a deal be worked out, Huet would again be teammates with former Chicago Wolves’ winger Simon Gamache. He’d also have a new one. Former Blackhawk defenseman and 2003 2nd round pick (59th overall), Michal Barinka has joined Fribourg-Gotteron after time in the Czech and KHL (Yaroslavl) leagues last season.
Despite a strong 2010-11 campaign, Huet was unable to carry a lackluster Fribourg-Gotteron roster above their 22-22-3-3 record, good enough for an 8th place finish out of 12 teams. Huet did not play well, nor did he get much help, in the team’s brief 4-games-to-none playoff exit at the hands of eventual Swiss league champion, HC Davos.
Fribourg opens training camp this week. Their regular season begins on the road, September 9th against Jussi Markkanen, Andy Wozniewski, Glen Metropolit; members of EV Zug. Read more
Posted in News and Notes
Tagged Becky Conner, Bobby Hull, Brent Sopel, Bryan Bickell, Chris Chelios, Colin Fraser, Craig MacTavish, Cristobal Huet, Gary Suter, Jake Dowell, Jimmy Hayes, John Torchetti, Kevyn Adams, Kyle Beach, Mike Peluso, Novokuznetsk, Ryan Kesler, Stan Mikita, Tony Amonte
TTMI~Radio returns tonight at 8pm (central). We’ll try to make sense of these Blackhawks, and the Rockford IceHogs inconsistencies, part one of the ‘Circus Trip’ and look ahead to this week’s games with the three California teams. We may have a special guest but it isn’t confirmed.
– Dustin Byfuglien is acquitting himself quite well so far in Atlanta.
Byfuglien ranks 3rd among NHL defenseman in scoring with 19 points (7 goals, 12 assists) in 21 games. Nicklas Lidstrom and John-Michael Liles are tied for first, each with 20 points. Byfuglien (E), Ron Hainsey (E) and Brent Sopel (+3) are the only three Thrasher defenseman not in the negative in the plus/minus category. Byfuglien is currently paired with Tobias Enstrom. Byfuglien is tied with Steven Stamkos and Rick Nash for most game-winning goals (4). And he’s tied with Ilya Kovalchuk at the top of the board in overtime goals with two.
For comparison’s sake:
Dustin Byfuglien: 21gp, 7g, 12a, 19pts, E +/-, $3,000,000
Dave Bolland: 17gp, 1g, 3a, 4pts, +2 +/-, $3,375,000
Rockford IceHogs notes:
– Following the impressive 1-0, Hannu Toivonen-led victory on Thursday in Winnipeg, the IceHogs dropped Friday’s rematch with Manitoba 3-1 before 14,134 fans at MTS Centre. After flying back to Chicago on Saturday and busing back to Rockford for the night, the IceHogs traveled to Peoria on Sunday where they battled hard but lost a 3-2 shootout decision to the Rivermen. I did a combined recap of these two games Sunday night, which I’ll post on the site once I figure out how to undo the laptop. Read more
Posted in Game recap, IceHogs, News and Notes
Tagged Andrew Ebbett, Bill Mosienko, Brian Connelly, Chris Chelios, Denis Savard, Doug Bentley, Dustin Byfuglien, Gaye Stewart, Glenn Hall, Harold March, Harry Dick, Jeremy Morin, Kyle Beach, Nick Leddy, Pierre Pilote, Sam Fels, Stan Mikita, Steve Larmer, Tony Esposito