Chicago Blackhawks

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Blackhawks report card, part 1: contracted players for 2011-12

The Chicago Blackhawks might have gotten into the playoffs on the grace of another team's loss, despite finishing the season with 97 points, but they finished out the season on their own terms. They went out fighting like the defending champions they were, and nearly pulled out a historical upset after coming back from an 0-3 deficit. They didn't, of course - in what was a pair of instant-classic games, the Blackhawks and the Canucks battled it out in epic games 6 and 7. Rookie goalie Corey Crawford showed off the form that showed just how badly he was overlooked for the Calder Trophy nomination this year. Crawford even out-played his counterpart on the other end of the ice, Roberto ...

Blackhawks breathe new life into their series against Vancouver

The Chicago Blackhawks went into Tuesday night's game versus the Vancouver Canucks with a goal: keep it simple, and focus on one shift at a time. By reading the most newspaper accounts, you'd think that the team already had one foot on the golf course, and a club already in hand. The season eulogies appeared to already be written. The men of four feathers, however, had other ideas. They knew everything was on the line: their season, their Cup-defending playoff run, everything. What was worse - almost not making the playoffs, or the idea of getting swept in the first round? For some reason, the Blackhawks have always done their best when backed into a corner. Perhaps it's the e...

And then there was one

The Chicago Blackhawks thought their season was over a week ago on Sunday when they came off the ice after their final regular season home game, a loss against their division rivals, the Detroit Red Wings. All they had needed out of the game was a single point, and no matter what Dallas did that night against Minnesota, it wouldn't matter -- they'd be in. But they didn't get it done, and they were at the mercy of two teams who were playing 400 miles away. Several hours later, the Stars couldn't get it done, either - couldn't win the two points to put them in the playoffs ahead of the Blackhawks - and Chicago snagged its place in the top 8 of the Western Conference by the grace of t...

Blackhawks make it into the playoffs with "blessings" from the Wild

The Minnesota Wild handed Chicago a gift on Sunday evening: a berth for the playoffs. In a turnaround from last season, the final available seed of the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs was a Western Conference team, not an Eastern one -- and not only that, but it was a battle between the defending Stanley Cup champions and the Dallas Stars. The entire league had written off Minnesota's chances a week earlier; the belief was that the Stars would win out their season and steal away the 8th-spot from the Blackhawks, who had a far tougher final stretch of games to get through. The weekend race to the finish was so tight that Chicago could have finished anywhere from 4th to 9th, depending on how ...

On to the Wings and a prayer

Tonight, the Chicago Blackhawks face off against their longtime rival, the Detroit Red Wings. What has been unusual about this season is that after opening their season at home vs the Wings, the Blackhawks only saw them twice more mid-season - once in December, once in January. And now, through a fluke of this year's scheduling, three of their remaining eight games are against them, including their final game of the regular season - opening and closing the season against them. Against the Wings, the Blackhawks are 2-1 so far. The home opener was a solid game, but a 3-2 loss following a highly emotional pre-game banner-raising ceremony. In December, despite missing some key core ...

Can the Blackhawks still win, or will tonight be Coyote ugly?

A few nights ago in Dallas, the Blackhawks took their worst loss of the season, a 5-0 embarrassing shutout. The loss in and of itself wasn't embarrassing; no team will have a perfect season. No -- this game was horrific. It was only the second time the Hawks were shut out this season, in fact - but at least in their 3-0 shutout to Vancouver, it wasn't due to lack of effort, mainly a hot goalie. The Dallas loss was simply a huge mess, like watching an ECHL team attempt to keep up with an NHL one. Defensemen repeatedly got caught up-ice, leaving Stars clear for breakaways. Corey Crawford got hung out to dry, and was pulled in favor of Marty Turco, who probably should have been started ...

The Western race continues: Blackhawks vs Dallas showdown in Big D

The Chicago Blackhawks rode a winning streak into Florida last week, where they started out their first game against the Panthers the way that has been bemoaned all year: inconsistent and sloppy. The Panthers grabbed a 3-0 lead coming out of the first, and while the Blackhawks came back out for the final 40 and absolutely dominated the rest of the game, Tomas Vokoun was on his game, and won that one for his team, 3-2. Against the Lightning the following evening, the Hawks brought more game to Tampa Bay than they'd brought to Sunrise. They showed a lot more energy and the game was exciting against a fast-paced EC team that likes to play a style similar to Chicago's - fast, puck-possessing...

We're going streaking! Blackhawks tally season-high 5 wins in a row

After last night's win - the Blackhawks' 5th in a row - Joel Quenneville didn't gloat or get cocky. He, and the team, are well-aware that every single game down to the wire is going to count. And while the end result was what was desired - a win in regulation, against a conference rival also fighting for a playoff spot - it was yet another game where Chicago played mostly good, but didn't quite play the full sixty. A couple brief lapses led to goals that could've given Minnesota the momentum to come back, and there were moments where it looked like they took their foot off the gas. With the mess this season has been, you'd think the Blackhawks players would've figured out by now that no l...

Can the Blackhawks make it to the playoffs?

Can the Blackhawks make it to the playoffs? The simple answer: yes, they can. The season is not so far gone that it's impossible - yet. But the more important question is: will they? A little over four months ago, when the season began, it was a question mark, but the team reassured sports writers and fans alike that it was "unthinkable" and "ridiculous" to think that the team which had, just a few months earlier, hoisted the Stanley Cup over Philadelphia ice, might not make it back to the new season's playoffs. Fast forward to February. The Blackhawks now sit 11th in the Western Conference, 3rd in the Central Division, three spots out of playoff contention, with a 29-22-6 re...

Evaluating the Blackhawks / Panthers trade - 48 hours & 2 games later

Dale Tallon helped create the mix of players that went on to win the Stanley Cup in Chicago last spring. This season, he became GM of the Florida Panthers, and they're hoping he can work his magic once again. It shouldn't have surprised anyone familiar with the Blackhawks that they finally traded Jack Skille. Skille was drafted 7th overall in 2005 by Chicago. That's the same draft that was led by Sidney Crosby. Notable players drafted after Skille include: Devin Setoguchi (8th), Anze Kopitar (11th), Marc Staal (12th), Tuukka Rask (21st), Ondrej Pavelec (41st), Kris Letang (62th), Jonathan Quick (72nd), Niklas Hjalmarsson (108th), and Patric Hornqvist (230th). To say that Chicago had high ...