2013 NHL PREVIEW: PACIFIC DIVISION

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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 Pacific Division.  Continue after the jump to find out where your team will finish.

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Sunday’s Three Stars: Shaw, Stalberg Shine in Win Over Sharks

Patrick Sharp has been out of the Chicago Blackhawks’ lineup for the past four games, but it hasn’t slowed them down one bit. Buoyed by performances from guys up and down the roster, the Hawks have been scoring goals, playing solid defense, and most importantly, picking up points. This weekend was no different, as they got a point yesterday against the Detroit Red Wings, a team with an insane home record this season, and they did it again Sunday night as they took down the San Jose Sharks 4-3 at the United Center.

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Blackhawks-Sharks Live Twitter Blog

By Paul M. Banks

For the last month or so Twitter has been all the rage. Ever since members of Congress started microblogging during Obama’s speech, people have been joining the site left and right. It’s the perfect place for me to host my first attempt at live blogging a game. So if the sentences are short and in “text-speak” remember they are copied and pasted from Twitter.

paulbanks05 lots of scoring so far. havlat before i even had time to login and sit down. ladd and byufglien followed.

paulbanks05 when the Sharks were born, back when I was in high school. everyone thght they had the coolest logo, team name & teal was the hot color then

paulbanks05 i got to get food and it’s 4-3 b4 I can even turn around. These Sharks r good. much better than they were in NHLPA 93 Sega Genesis

paulbanks05 They were fun to control in that video game, even tho they were awful. they had pat falloon arturs irbe doug wilson kelly kisio

paulbanks05 and the 2nd period ends w the hawks up 4-3

paulbanks05 the shoot the puck promo in btween 2nd and 3rd periods follows a strct script. little kid-cheered, middle aged white dude-booed

paulbanks05 hottie showing cleavge in tight jeans- cheered…of course

paulbanks05 LA and SJ r league’s 2 stingiest teams in allowing shots on goal. but like sun, Hawks getting plenty of shots

Hawks pot another goal to go up 5-3 and get a cushion for the final 6 min here. lets c wht happens

setoguchi scores again! he and ladd each have 2 goals

paulbanks05 Ive picked up 2 new twitter followers while doing this 2nite. Thanks people!

paulbanks05 Joe Thornton, arguably the SHarks MVP scores, tied 5-5 heading to OT. SJ has won 6 in a row at United Center. hopefully not 7

paulbanks05 I still cant get over how much Hawks coach Joel Quenneville looks exactly like actor Dennis Farina. like how NWestern’s JOhn Shurna…

paulbanks05….looks exactly like Paulie Bleeker from “Juno.” we’re headed to a shootout. OT had some gr8 saves by both goalies

aulbanks05 and bulin wall stymies old friend jeremy roenick to win it! HAWKS WIN OT Shoot out. Kaner and Toewser pot the game winners in shootout

PeterAndersen@paulmbanks05 do you know the story of how the sharks came to be?

paulbanks05@peterandersen no, how were the sharks born?

paulbanks05@peterandersen I’m sorry I know the MInnesota Wild are your team, but they just sound like the name of a WNBA or MSL franchise. logo as well

paulbanks05 HUGE win 4 the Hawks 2nite! I know I always say how aths never say anything xcept mind numbing cliches in interviews but it was still cool..

paulbanks05…2 interview Jeremy Roenick after the game cuz he was the first hockey card i had as a kid 90-91 Upper Deck rookie card

paulbanks05 best of the post game quotes devin setoguchi- “it’s that time of season where you know what you need to do”

paulbanks05 coach Q- “we had a lot of options, we were a threat off the rush, and handle it well. whether it be in the rush or offensive offensive zone cycles

Blackhawks set to face League’s Best Team

By Paul M. Banks

The Winter Classic may have received all the hype, but few regular season games will have more importance than Wednesday night, when the Hawks welcome the NHL points leading San Jose Sharks to the United Center. “It’ll be a good test, a huge game we gotta be up and ready for,” Hawks defenseman Brent Seabrook said. On Sunday the Hawks (38-22-11, 87 pts) broke their five game winless streak.

“We needed a win for our confidence across the board and we can use this confidence going into our next game to build some momentum,” Coach Joel Quenneville said at the postgame presser. The Hawks can feel good knowing they just beat a California team (L.A. Kings) that like the Sharks, allows very few shots on goals. San Jose allows the fewest shots per game (27.4) in the league, L.A. is second at 27.6. Chicago managed 32 shots on Los Angeles.

Currently, San Jose is seeded first and Chicago fourth in the Western Conference. Both will be favored to win their first round match-up, and possibly meet in the Conference Semifinals.

Right now these Sharks (48-14-10, 106 pts) are causing more excitement in San Jose than the latest Intel microprocessor. Ok, maybe there isn’t a ton of stuff to do in Silicon Valley, but the local NHL team currently dominates the league in the same manner San Jose based companies dominate the Nasdaq.

Center Patrick Marleau is the league’s fourth leading goal scorer and Joe Thornton is 5th in assists. Both are among the top 20 in scoring complementing their top line defensemen, Dan Boyle and Rob Blake, who rank 5th and 14th respectively among scoring leaders for defense. San Jose is also very adept at scoring short-handed goals or “shorties” as they’re known colloquially. With representation near the top of every short-handed scoring category, people following the Sharks have gotten to utter the phrase “shorty” about as often as Nelly, Lil Jon, or T-Pain.

And if this team wasn’t complete enough, there’s goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, who’s 2nd in the league in wins and third in shutouts. He handles opposing offenses about as poetically and dominantly as the Russian novelist sharing his name handled intricate wordplay and descriptive detail.