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Great job Mike, hope to see you doing these again next year.  Would be great to see your wrap-ups and Bartl's boxing :)

1 year, 10 months ago on One. Bruins 1 Hawks 3 (series 3-2 Hawks)


Up next on first take, with 2 games at home in the final 3, should the Blackhawks rest their starters in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals? (well, someone on First Take would have to actually know that hockey exists first...)

1 year, 10 months ago on Here's the new frontrunner for Dumbest Question in First Take History


I think Crawford was still solid in the last few minutes of the game and I cannot blame him for the 2nd and 3rd goal.  On the 2nd, he directed the puck towards the opposite corner, it just so happened that Hammer's skate was between Crawford and the boards, bad bounce comes straight out to Ryan and Bob's your uncle.  On the 3rd, Oduya is sent spinning like a top, leaving the passing lane, and Selanne, open.  Only an outstanding save (and luck) would have stopped that chance.  Not sure why Oduya committed to Getzlaf late, as he was moving away from the slot and had Seabrook on his heels.

2 years, 1 month ago on So Close : Ducks 4 – Blackhawks 2


I agree, the "core" players are all coming up on 6 or more seasons with the organization.  It is time for them to step up for what they are, young VETERANS, and lead this organization.

2 years, 11 months ago on Summer Assignment: Andrew Brunette


Still don't understand why he isn't given the chance to start the season with Sharp and Hossa (if healthy) on his wings with Kruger on the 3rd line.

2 years, 11 months ago on Summer Assignment: Dave Bolland


Well, the Blackhawks actually turned Brower into Phillip Danault.  Though one could argue that Danault was thought of more as a 2nd round talent and if the Hawks had kept Brower, and Danault had been available in the 2nd, they may have taken him over Saad.


And what exactly were you expecting out of Hjalmarsson to make him one of the dishonorable disappointing mentions?  Yet again, the 2nd time in his 3 full seasons, opponents scored far fewer goals with him on the ice than any other 'hawk defenseman (based on GA/60, or goals allowed per 60 minutes of time he was on the ice).  And don't tell me it's because he makes bad passes and poor decisions with the puck, because that is something all 'hawk defenders had issues with from time to time, even Seabs.

2 years, 12 months ago on Post Season Awards


I don't think Kane should be the full-time #2 center, but he had more goals and assists per game while playing center this year than wing, so to say he scored the bulk of his goals after being moved to wing is incorrect.


Also, the Hawks have had the lowest GA/60 by far with Hjalmarsson on the ice each of the past 3 seasons.  Complain all you want about the eye test, but the stats back up Hjammer as the best defensive blue liner on the team.  And ask Sharks fans how many series Niemi has won for San Jose?  Don't think he's really much of an improvement on what we have right now (inconsistent goalie capable of being good enough if you can SCORE SOME FUCKING GOALS)

3 years ago on State Of The Obvious


That odd-man goal is more on Hayes than the defense, IMO.  Hayes needs to be smarter with the puck there.  As he wraps around the goal, he makes a blind centering pass to......nobody.  Both forwards had vacated to the opposite side of the ice and his only outlet was the pinching Hjalmarsson.  And since Hjalmarsson was pinching to support, Lepisto was left out of position in the middle of the ice, unable to make any kind of play on the puck.  Hayes needs to dish it to Hjammer and cycle back around to cover the empty point.

3 years ago on PERFECT Ending


I'm torn here.  Crawford has let in two awful goals to lose back-to-back games in OT, so we should be stoning him and clammoring for Emery, right?  But on the other hand, we all know he isn't a top 10 goalie (not even close) and he has given up just 2 goals in regulation in 3 of the 4 games, and in all 3 of them the 'Hawks lose.  This team is built to score goals, and there is really no excuse for not being able to win a game where the opponent scores only 2 goals.  It's easy to blame Crow because he's the last line of defense, but these are team losses. 


Normally, I'd be asking for a goalie change, but I just don't think Emery gives the team anything that Crawford doesn't.  I mean, it isn't like he hasn't given up soft goals too.  Still think Crawford will be given a chance to bounce back from his Sophomore slump next year, why not give him the chance to step up the remainder of the series?  The last time he was given the chance to bounce back from a poor performance, he gave up 1 goal in a shootout loss to New Jersey after giving up 4, and being pulled, against Nashville in late March.


BTW - how are the 'Hawks so good 6 on 5 but so bad 5 on 4?!

3 years ago on Observations From Section 321: Soft Serve


Hjalmarsson may have had his worst shift as a Blackhawk, failing to clear the puck in his chance to do so (not that the others on the ice were able to in their attempts either), and really screwed the pooch when he played OD's hand pass to Crawford.  However, outside of that one shift, I thought he had a pretty good game.  The 2nd goal was not his fault, no matter how many times Foley wants to blame in on him because he tried to block the shot and missed, had Leddy not left for a change at the most inopportune time, the 'Hawks wouldn't have been left scrambling in the first place.  I thought he had an outstanding 1st period, he was a physical presence and was one of the few 'Hawks who didn't turn the puck over in their own end.  He also had a pretty good 3rd with a number of well timed deflections on backdoor pass attempts and blocked shots. 


One can blame Hjammer for the 1st goal (though I don't see anyone blaming Sharp, who passed the puck directly to a Coyote in the middle of the 'Hawks zone while unpressured to start that whole mess about 90 seconds earlier, or the others who had opportunities to clear and didn't).  Overall (because of that horrible shift), it was a bad game for Hjalmarsson, but it was a bad game overall for the entire 'Hawks defense.

3 years ago on Observations From Section 321: Workin' Overtime


It wasn't an elbow by Weber that should be the result of a suspension, IMO it is the fact that he grabbed the back of Zetterburg's head and slammed it into the glass.  The only things I can think of that would be worse are cracking someone over the head with your stick, using it like a baseball bat; or purposely slashing someone with your skate.  Deliberately target the head with a very dangerous move, one that is the furthest thing possible from a hockey play.

3 years ago on Stanley Cup Quick Takes


In his 18 games since 2/16 (when the 9-game losing streak was snapped in NY), Crawford is 12-3-2 with a 2.11 GAA and .916 SV%.  Not amazing, but if he can give the 'Hawks another 2 month stretch like that, they will be very tough to beat.

3 years ago on Magic Number is 16


Maybe I'm just a homer, but I didn't think Olsen's hit was even a minor penalty, let alone suspension worthy.  From the rear and overhead shots, it is very clear to me that the primary (and basically only) point of contact was Olsen's left shoulder with Powe's left shoulder/arm.  In no point does Powe's head move in the slightest bit.

3 years ago on Observations From Section 321: Wild Wrap Up