2013 NHL PREVIEW: SOUTHEAST DIVISION

nhlshield

 

Finally, after months and months of everyone involved being morons, causing 113 days, 625 games, and the biggest outdoor hockey game in history to be cancelled, hockey fans can finally say “Game On!”  The NHL has a new 10-year labor agreement, and is set to start the shortened, 48 game 2013 season on Saturday, January 19.  Find out what you need to know about every team in the NHL for the upcoming season, this time featuring the Southeast Division.  Continue after the jump to find out where your team will finish.

[Read more…]

2012 NHL Awards Spectacular

 

It’s that time of year again.  The actual playing of the great game of hockey is done for another season, with hockey going Hollywood this season with the Los Angeles Kings winning the cup.  And what big time star hasn’t made the trek through the Mojave Desert to Sin City?  The NHL will be on Wednesday, June 20, in the Encore Theater at the Wynn Casino.  While it allows us to look back at the stars of this past year, unfortunately it brings the sadness of having to see Nickelback perform.  Who was nominated? Who will win the awards?  Who should actually win the awards?  Find out all this after the jump.  This article is a Nickelback free zone.

[Read more…]

Sharp Out 3-4 Weeks; Is it Panic Time for Stan Bowman?

 

Patrick Sharp in pre-game warmups

After going largely unscathed on the injury front for the first half of the season, the Chicago Blackhawks have been getting bitten by the bug in a big way in recent weeks. You have Marcus Kruger out with a concussion (although he is skating now and should be back soon), Daniel Carcillo down with a knee injury that he sustained on his incredibly stupid hit on Tom Gilbert against Edmonton, and Steve Montador just came back from the injured reserve list. Although those guys are all supporting characters in the narrative the Hawks have written so far, one of the prime time players is going to have to be replaced with an understudy for a while.

[Read more…]

Tuesday’s Three Stars: Several Hawks Shine, But Oilers Get Last Laugh in Saskatoon

Tuesday night may not have mattered in the standings to the Edmonton Oilers and Chicago Blackhawks, but you wouldn’t have been able to tell by the high level of play that was displayed as the two teams met in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in their respective preseason openers. Rostislav Olesz and Jamal Mayers netted goals for the Blackhawks, but it wasn’t enough to overcome two tallies by Josh Green and the game winning goal by Jordan Eberle late in the third period as the Oilers beat Chicago 4-2.

[Read more…]

Training Camp Primer: Recapping & Grading the Blackhawks’ Offseason

In contrast to the 2010 off-season, the summer of 2011 was a relatively quiet one for the Chicago Blackhawks. Sure, there were still trades that took place and signings galore, but the attachment that fans felt to the players who had so recently won the Stanley Cup made it more difficult to see guys like Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien go to other places.

With more fans tuning in to see what the Blackhawks are up to as they prepare for the regular season, which is only 18 days away, The Sports Bank is here to give you a quick and dirty recap of all the moves that the Blackhawks have made since Alex Burrows swiped the puck from Chris Campoli and scored the series winner that sent Chicago home.

[Read more…]

2011 NHL Entry Draft Recap

 

nhl draft recap

2011 NHL ENTRY DRAFT RECAP

 

The dust has settled on the floor of the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota, as the 2011 NHL Entry Draft has completed.  The hometown Minnesota Wild made the first big splash at the draft, trading Brent Burns to the San Jose Sharks.  The rest of the NHL Entry Draft weekend saw more trades, a lot of picks, and the loud and celebrated return of the Winnipeg Jets.  To find out everything that went down at the center of the universe, the winners and losers, continue on after the jump.

 

Bryan Vickroy

[Read more…]

Hawks’ Brian Campbell could return in 7 weeks

brian campbell all star

By Paul M. Banks

You all saw Alexander Ovechkin’s big hit on Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell. You all discussed whther you thought it was a clean hit, a cheap shot, or something designated by a term residing in a grey area somewhere. To quote “Fletch”…”how gray? charcoal!” But enough about the past, when is “Soupy” returning? Well, the Hawks will have to advance a couple rounds in the Stanley Cup playoffs for Chicago to see him in action again this season.

[Read more…]

NHL Western Conference Finals Preview

By Aylin Diaz of Chics Hockey and the Big Hair Hockey Show

The Chicago Blackhawks have lifted themselves to their first Western Conference Finals in 13 years.  They are matched up against their hated rival and reigning Stanley Cup winner, the Detroit Red Wings.  The Chicago Blackhawks are topped off with a corps of young players such as Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Jonathan Toews and Kris Versteeg.  They are lead by solid goaltending in veteran Nikolai Khabibulin. 

The Detroit Red Wings count on experience with seasoned veterans such as Nicklas Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Marian Hossa.  Their goaltending performance is topped off with Chris Osgood as he continues a stellar playoff performance.

Even though age and experience plays a factor, the Blackhawks can count on Khabibulin’s experience on goal.  The prior Stanley Cup champion (2004 Tampa Bay Lightning) now with years of experience playing for the Blackhawks, hadn’t beaten the Vancouver Canucks in eleven years prior to this past playoff run.  He notched 4 out of 6 games in the semifinals against the Canucks maintaining a .896 save percentage in a total of 12 postseason games.

Detroit Red Wings’ Chris Osgood baffled many spectators and quieted his critics.  He began the season with a .887 save percentage that evolved to .921 during the playoff season.  Only Detroit General Manager Ken Holland kept confidence in his performance following Osgood’s disastrous season start.  Relying on solid goaltending, the Detroit Red Wings were able to eliminate the Anaheim Ducks in seven games.

The series is slated to be an Original Six special relying on traditional gritty plays mixed with the new NHL factor of speed.  The Blackhawks will count on their quick skating and physical play against the Detroit Red Wings.  Similarly to the early games against the Anaheim Ducks, the Red Wings must watch out for their capable goal scorers being shut down by heavy checking.

And the Blackhawks will definitely focus on hits during this series.  They are third in the playoffs with Dustin Byfuglien holding a record 55 hits and Brent Seabrook totaling 45.  The team also counts on Dustin Byfuglien, Samuel Pahlsson and rookie Kris Versteeg to produce against the Detroit Red Wings.  The so called “energy line” has combined for a total of 7 goals, while Martin Havlat, Dave Bolland and Andrew Ladd have totaled 11 goals.

The Detroit Red Wings will also take firepower from their defense. Nicklas Lidstrom has averaged a point-per-game through the first playoff two rounds while Brian Rafalski tied with his teammate for third in defensive scoring during the regular season with 59 points proves similarly.

Offensively, the line consisting of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp has generated 17 of Chicago’s 44 goals.  Patrick Kane alone has achieved 12 points and a team-leading eight goals in 11 games. He notched his first career playoff hat trick during game 6 placing the team ahead of the Vancouver Canucks.

To outplay the Blackhawks, Detroit will attempt to outshoot their opponent.  In fact, the Detroit Red Wings have outshot their opponents by an average of 13 shots a game so far in the playoffs.  Their offensive capabilities count upon less heralded players such as right wing Daniel Cleary and center Darren Helm.   Daniel Cleary is fourth in the playoffs in scoring for the Detroit Red Wings with 9 points and team best plus 10 rating.   Darren Helm, who has never scored a goal in 23 career regular season games, has achieved 4 in 29 playoff games spanning two seasons.  These players are keeping the Detroit Red Wings going.

Furthermore, the Detroit Red Wings powerplay as that of the Blackhawks is superb. However, both teams have struggled with penalty killing.  The return of Brian Rafalski to the lineup has generated the best defensive opportunities for the Detroit Red Wings on the penalty kill this past playoff run.

Despite the even matchup, the Blackhawks have the advantage of now having Scotty Bowman, who coached the Detroit Red Wings for 15 years.  Bowman serves as an adviser to the Chicago Blackhawks.  Coach Joel Quenneville finds his insight useful and Detroit Red Wings’ coach Mike Babcock knows the implications of his influence on the young team.  He will be a huge asset to preparations.  In fact, Babcock said to the Canadian Press:  “Scottie is a book of knowledge. Number one, he’s got to be willing to share with you. Number two, you got to want it.”

The Chicago Blackhawks really want to win and can achieve it in 7 games if their speed, production and new Bowmanian tactics work in favor against the Detroit Red Wings.

Inaugural Blackhawks Exchange

Brian Campbell Talks About All-Star Game & Break

By Paul M. Banks

Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell was the leading vote-getter among Western Conference blue-liners for the NHL All-Star game in Montreal. This will be his third all-star appearance, in 2007 he was the leading vote getter among Eastern Conference defensemen or “defencemen” as they would say in his native Strathroy, Ontario.

In 07-08 Brian led the league in games played as one of only two players to appear in 83 games, or one more than a team’s full schedule, as based on his trade to San Jose (the other being Jeff Halpern. On Canada Day, Campbell signed an 8 year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks for roughly 7.1 million dollars a year. Fox Chicago reported that Campbell chose to sign with the Blackhawks despite allegedly receiving better contract offers from other organizations.

After the final game of the first half of the season, “Soupy” spoke openly about All-Star experiences and his thoughts on the state of his current team

On partaking in the NHL All-Star Game experience…

“It’s exciting I played in the last two, and they were in Atlanta and Dallas, and they’re not the biggest hockey hotbeds…so Montreal is really something that I’m looking forward to. It’s always fun to spend with your parents, and my brother and sister-in-law are coming down, so it’ll be fun to enjoy that spend some time with four teammates as well and I’m going to try and take home that car”

What it means to get his family involved in the All-Star fanfare…

“For me when your Mom and Dad sacrifice everything in the world for you to get myself, and my two brothers, and for them to go in and enjoy it and to see the smiles on their faces, it’s great. I know the NHL has a cooking class, my mom’s so excited about that. She loves those sort of things, so they can enjoy a weekend like that and obviously for the work they’ve done and obviously they are proud of myself for my accomplishments.”

On becoming a regular fan of the hockey, not just a player during the All-Star game…

“It’s fun to go with guys from your team and get autographs from other players, and something special to look back upon later in life and obviously we’re starting and we owe a lot of that to our fans who’ve been great all year long.”

Discussing his habit of collecting memorabilia from other All-Stars…

“I’ve gotten jerseys signed by everybody. I’d like to get the team stuff signed, I think it’ll be fun to play with Scott Niedermayer I need to get something from him signed I’ve looked up to him a lot, you try to collect things, I’ve got a stick already signed by Pat Kane and Jonathan, and myself, so you know that’s something that’ll be going up on the wall back home or here in Chicago.”

Giving a possible reason as to why the Hawks are now in this current funk…

“I think we’re working hard, were just not working hard and smart at the same time. I think we’re not in the right lanes sometimes or out of position or maybe we’re working too hard- you got to play it with your head too. You can’t just go out there and run around.”

Opining about the big 8 game road trip coming up and the psychology surrounding the prospect of the facing the next few weeks with little or no home games…

“You look at the schedule, you study it, you know the advantage, obviously it’s to your advantage to be playing at home, especially before you go on a long road trip and we have to be better and accountable for each other, we’re professionals here.”

en_USEnglish
en_USEnglish