Penalties Indicate Blackhawks are Getting in Canucks’ Heads

Friday night the Vancouver Canucks and Chicago Blackhawks faced off again for Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals. It was apparent by the amount of times the Canucks players went skating to the penalty box that the Blackhawks were getting to them.

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews came up with his first career playoff hat trick. This was a nice compliment to the hat trick that defensemen Dustin Byfuglien had on Wednesday night. Can they make it three in a row? If the Canucks keep trying to play dirty, it’s more than possible. Alexandre Burrows got a couple shots in on Big Buff when he was down, but it did nothing but hurt his team. The Canucks were trying to match the physicality of the Hawks, but instead it just kept landing them in the box instead.

So how are the Hawks doing it? Is it the back-to-back hat trick games? Is it Byfuglien’s cockiness towards Vancouver fans? Or maybe it’s Adam Burish calling Burrows a clown and telling him to come find him or Ben Eager on the ice?

Whatever it is, it’s working. Roberto Luongo has even shaved off his playoff beard as his way of  “Changing things up a bit.” The Canucks will head into Chicago Sunday night trailing by two games in the series, but they aren’t giving up yet. Canucks head coach Alain Vigneaultis trying to remain confident in Luongo:

The goaltender has been a big part of it and he’s been in this situation before. He was in this situation just a couple months ago with Team Canada where they couldn’t lose and he won three straight, so I’ve got a lot of faith him, I’ve got a lot of confidence in him and I know he’s going to do the job for us. … The series is not over.

He’s right, it isn’t over. But the Blackhawks certainly have momentum on their side as they return home having won three games in a row. I said from the start that this was going to be a very exciting series and so far I haven’t been disappointed.

Blackhawks Shoot for the Series Win [NHL.com]
Cheap Shots on Dustin Byfuglien [YouTube]
Burish calls out Canucks ‘Clowns’ [Calgary Herald]
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Blackhawks Looking to Make Roberto Luongo Cry Again

During the 2009 NHL playoffs, the Chicago Blackhawks stunned the Vancouver Canucks by beating them in game six of the Western Conference semifinals. It was enough to make a grown man cry — literally. After the 7-5 loss to the Blackhawks, Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo began to cry because he felt he had let his team down. Well, this year they are hoping to stop the waterworks and the Blackhawks in their tracks as the two teams will have a playoff rematch which starts Saturday night.

All I can say is this series is going to be awesome. You have the number two and three seed battling it out in what has become a great rivalry. Luongo isn’t looking to get embarrassed by the boys in red and white again, but the Hawks want to make the gold medal goalie cry again.  The two teams both won two games against each other in the regular season, so if that has any impact on this series the games are going to be close.

I’m sticking with my orginal Stanley Cup winner and saying the Blackhawks will take this series. As long as they don’t try to get fancy with the puck and make it on to Sportscenter’s Top 10 Plays, they can play some good old fashion hockey and get past Vancouver.

Blackhawks vs. Canucks preview [SI.com]
Roberto Luongo gets emotional after loosing series vs Hawks [YouTube]

Better Fist Pump: Adam Burish or Jersey Shore’s The Situation?

Following five long months of waiting, Chicago Blackhawks forward Adam Burish made his return to the ice Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Kings. It was his season debut after missing 65 games due to a torn right ACL which he injured in a preseason match-up against the Minnesota Wild. For those who are unfamiliar with Adam Burish, he is the character of the Blackhawks team. Whether he’s taunting other teams or calling the Canadian Olympic hockey team the USA’s “little sister”, he’s always entertaining. That’s why it’s no surprise he came back in style.

After assisting Patrick Sharp on a goal in the first period, Burish found the opponent he was looking for — Richard Clune. Burish told ESPN 1000 Chicago that he was planning the scrap all along and that he had looked over the King’s lineup to find the guy who likes to fight. The real treat came after the brawl was finished and both players had received their penalties. Burish was skating to the penalty box and celebrated by fist pumping. Burish described the feeling of fist pumping for the sold out United Center to ESPN 1000’s Afternoon Saloon:

[Read more...]

Illinois Lottery Burned by Million Dollar Blackhawks Promotion Prize

I’m sure you’ve all been to games where they have promotions that are game-related, not just based on completely random draws. For instance, the team scores 100 or more points in a basketball game, everyone gets tacos. A home run is hit in the 5th inning and an entire section gets free sodas. Well the Illinois Lottery was sponsoring an interesting promotion — if the Blackhawks scored a goal at EXACTLY the 10:00 mark of the second period, a pre-determined fan would receive a million dollars. Astonishingly enough, that scenario played out on Monday night, making Cary Stolarcyzk a lot richer. While the story itself is cool, the aftermath might not be. Yahoo! Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski did some intrepid reporting and reveals some disappointing news:

The contest won’t be held for tonight’s game, as [Director of lottery Promotions Paul] Arnell said the introduction of the winner will take the place of the promotion. The Blackhawks won’t play again in Chicago until Feb. 14 against the Dallas Stars, and Arnell said the lottery is keeping its options open.

“We’re evaluating the existing promotion with the Hawks now, about what parts of it we want to keep and what parts we want to change,” he said. “I don’t think [the win] discourages the partnership at all. If anything it would encourage it.”

Well that blows. So a contest hits in one of the first games after you introduce it and now you’re reconsidering the promotion? Maybe they should have thought harder and found a more improbable scenario beforehand if they planned to offer a generous prize like a million dollars. By the way, how sweet was it that the guy actually won? And you know what, having a minor chance at winning a million bucks at a game isn’t a bad incentive to show up for a contest. Too bad it looks like that might be changing in Chicago.

Patrick Kane on NHL Groupies, Hotties

I’m not exactly expecting you to know who Patrick Kane is because the last hockey players you probably followed included Gretzky and Messier. I’m not too far off. But Patrick Kane is a 19-year-old winger who was drafted first overall by the Blackhawks last year. He’s already off to a fantastic start, and he came on The Monty Show on Sporting News Radio to celebrate being named SN NHL Rookie of the Year. Naturally Monty got right down to important hockey business:

You’ve played in a lot of different countries in this world … who’s got the best chicks?

Russia. If you go there, you’ll see the hottest chicks you’ll ever see. It’s not a great area but the girls down there, they’re pretty good.

You’ve played in Canada … how are Canadian ladies?

They’re pretty good. You know it’s funny — they know if you’re a hockey player. It’s pretty good. You don’t really have to initiate much out there, they’ll just come up and talk to you out there so it’s pretty cool.

What about the Euro girls? What about the Swedes and the Fins?

Yeah, the Swedes — they’re all blondes out there. If you like that, I’d head out there too, because they have some pretty good looking ones. I didn’t see too many in Finland that I really liked but I would probably have to say Sweden and Russia were the best for the European countries.

Anyone care to take a trip up to Canada with me? We’ll pass ourselves off as hot shot prospects from Duluth or something. The best part is that this kid’s only 19, so you know he’s really having some fun. Any wonder why athletes play worse on the road?