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Chicago Blackhawks

Dear Baseball: Your Season’s Long Enough. Get OUT of November!

Chicago BlackhawksNow playing: Music: Live From Dakota - Stereophonics Puck: Sharks at Blues (GREAT game)

Hello Blackhawks fans! I know it’s been a while, but certain personal issues have…what the hell do you care? Sorry, I’ll just get down to brass tacks here.

I’ve gotta say, for the most part, I’m really diggin’ what I’ve been seeing from the Blackhawks lately. They’ve really got the whole “puck possession” thing down pretty well. It’s such an amazing far cry from the “dump ‘n chase” style I watched for so many years, it really thrills me to see a team actually develop breakouts, break-ins, and know how to cycle the puck down low. My only issue is that they look to cycle almost every time, and that often leaves the first guy in without a quick first option in the slot as he barrels into the corner. I’d really like to see a follower just a little behind waiting for the chip-shot one-timer off the backhand pass from the lead rusher. The sustained pressure that comes from working in the corners and behind the net has been working, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes there are almost empty net opportunities that go by the wayside because the trailer is looking for a pass along the boards behind the net instead of in the low slot.

As for the Nashville debaccle last week, for a team that, going into the game, was the least penalized team in the entire NHL, they took some disappointingly undisciplined penalties. Yes, some of it had to do with late-game frustration, but the Q has made it clear (see last year’s benchings) that he will not tolerate that shit on his team because it serves absolutely no purpose. They have GOT to stay out of the box for so many reasons…

First, and most obvious, of all, it puts the team down a man. That’s just wasted time. Instead of organizing a breakout/break-in and setting up an offense, you’re chuckin’ it down the ice. You’re also using some of your most skilled players in less-than-effective ice time, not to mention watching them throwing their bodies in front of blistering slapshots from the point. Secondly, it breaks up the lines. It usually takes 2-3 shifts after a penalty kill to get the lines back to normal, which leads me right to my third point, which I like to call the “Penalty Kill Hangover”. In all honesty, I haven’t really heard any announcer or analyst ever address this (feel free to correct me if you have, but I watch a LOT of hockey, and I haven’t heard it yet).

The Penalty Kill Hangover has to do with the time leading up to the end of and directly following a penalty kill. Many times, the team on the power play has possession of the puck in their offensive zone in the waning moments of a power play. As the penalty expires, the only player with fresh legs on defense is the player just out of the sin bin, thus the term “hangover”. The attacking squad has the advantage of not only being in the zone, but often being able to change players out while the puck is deep in the opposing zone, thus sustaining pressure and continuing to wear down the defense creating more opportunities. I would have to have my guys at Elias Sports Bureau check the numbers for me, but in many cases, this leads to prime scoring chances and/or goals immediately after a power play. (Important note: I don’t have any “guys” at Elias Sports, so if you do, hook a dude up.)

On another note, I just have to get this off my chest, I really don’t care about the Father/Son thing on the current Blackhawks road trip. It’s an NHL ritual, a lot of teams have a trip where the players take their dads, and, don’t get me wrong, I think that’s very cool. For them. Baseball teams have a “family trip” every year, too. I just don’t need the play-by-play. photo-by-photo account. Have fun boys, take some time with your pops, enjoy it. But I kinda think that should be their time, not everybody’s. I want the puck.

Going forward, I think we have a good handle on the goaltending situation. As I predicted, when you give Huey the keys to the car, he will drive it masterfully. Ok, maybe a bit of an overstatement, but he has proved to be VERY solid recently. On defense, they have gotten markedly better at clearing the front of the net and helping Cristo out, and the forwards have continued their remarkable backchecking. As a team they just need to be patient, stay out of the box, and know that they have the talent to stack up not only against, but ABOVE any team in the league.

Oh, and we’re about to gain the services of one Marian Hossa. Yeah, that’s not going to suck AT ALL.

“be my devil, angel…”


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3 comments for “Dear Baseball: Your Season’s Long Enough. Get OUT of November!”

  1. We made the switch from “dump and chase” to “puck possession” last year - MUCH more entertaining but it does have it’s down side. You really need good defensemen who can back up quick - if they crash the net and the puck rebounds bad it leads to big rushes the other way. Or maybe that’s just a problem with the Sharks…

    Posted by sharksfanNo Gravatar | November 5, 2009, 9:55 am
  2. Never thought of the hangover effect. Thanks for coining the phrase. As for the rest. Solid points on all. Although the one thing I still believe is that Huet can be our goalie for the season BUT the players infront have to play solid. Huet will be great. Without that goals will go in and Huet will once again have the spotlight drawn to him. Remember though this is a team sport. You win together you lose together.

    Posted by tinao37No Gravatar | November 5, 2009, 11:42 am
  3. You think the father son thing is bad.The Canucks did the same thing one year.Then the next year did mother and son.When is Hossa back? I have him in my hockey pool.

    Posted by CanuckulheadNo Gravatar | November 6, 2009, 9:08 am

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