Patrick Kane

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Is Puck Possession Dead?

As hockey fans gear up for the Western and Eastern Conference Finals, a few common themes among the remaining teams resonates: trap style play, tight checking, and a reliance on elite goaltending. Every year after the Stanley Cup is lifted, the champs are analyzed as to why they won, and other teams then spend time scouting youngsters and spend cap space on UFAs that resemble the Cup winning roster. The NHL is definitely a copy cat league. For the past five years, teams have been trying to mimic the style of play of the Red Wings, Penguins, and Blackhawks. After all, why wouldn't want you to copy what wins? But take a look at the puck possession-like teams that are eliminated: Detroit, Chicago, San Jose, Vancouver, Pittsburgh. Both Conference Finals will send shock waves through the NHL, and the Red Wings better be paying attention.

After Mike Babcock's puck possession team lost to the Oilers in '06, their style of play didn't change at the root, however; they were told me be more physical and work harder in the dirty areas. That paid off the next three years by making to the Conference Finals in '07, Winning it all in '08, and coming within 1 goal at a chance to win it all again in '09. Now, it sure seems Red Wing hockey needs to be re-evaluated. Ken Holland and Mike Babcock should be watching every game of the playoffs from here on out. The Western Finals have been settled, and it will feature the Phoenix Coyotes and the LA Kings. These two teams skate hard, trap, are defensively responsible, and heavily rely on their goaltenders to steal games. (By the way, is it not a coincidence that the year Phoenix lets Bryzgalov go they make it this far? He's never been a proven playoff goalie, and probably never will be.) The same goes in the East; The Devils (who are the definition of the trap) are waiting to face either the New York Rangers or the Washington Capitals. The Rangers have consistently been a defensively disciplined team with a couple of decent scoring lines, but overall block tons of shots and make things easy for their world class goalie Henrik Lundquist. The Capitals on the other hand, were born a puck possession team when they inherited forwards Ovechkin, Backstrom, and Semin. Since Dale Hunter took over as head coach, he has somehow got them to play a style of hockey whereby no all-stars are praised, but an entire team can reap rewards from teamwork. Players like Jay Beagle, Matt Hendricks, and Joel Ward are laying their bodies on the line for their coach, and Ovechkin is learning a valuable lesson.

Central showdown in Chicago tonight

Going into tonight's game, the Blackhawks are just 1-4 against the Nashville Predators, and they'll still have one more game to play against these division rivals at the end of the week. The Hawks are also down one of their best defensemen, as Duncan Keith sits out the first of five games in his suspension after a high hit against Daniel Sedin in last Wednesday's game vs the Canucks. Team captain Jonathan Toews is closer to returning but still also watching from the sidelines, as are defensemen Steve Montador and Sami Lepistö, and forward Marcus Krüger.

Nashville won 3-1 over the Winnipeg Jets in their own building last night; but they're just 2-3-1 over their...

Blackhawks find their mojo in shootout win over the Blues

The Blackhawks are still without their Captain, but they're still grabbing points - and, more importantly, getting wins - out of their opponents in the home stretch for the playoffs.

Coming into the game, the Blues were holding three streaks: they hadn't allowed a PPG in nearly 50 PK attempts (it would end at 51); they were on a 5-game winning streak; and the Blues were also 36-0-0 when scoring 3 or more goals.

Against the Blues tonight, Chicago broke open the scoring early with an Andrew Brunette goal just 2:51 into the game. It hasn't felt like the Blackhawks have been getting on the scoresheet first lately, so to not start out the game in a hole was a ...

Blackhawks outlast Wings 2-1

 

On this Sunday NBC featured Original Six matchups. Earlier in the day they ran the Boston Bruins vs the New York Rangers game in what looked like a UFC match more than a hockey game. No there was no John Scott fight just every other Ranger on the team seemed to have his fists flailing. I knew the Blackhawks/Red Wings game would not be like this but the intensity was just as high.

This was the fifth meeting between the two Central Division rivals. Three of their previous four contests have all been played to a 3-2 score with two going to OT & the last one to a 2-1 score. The Hawks record is 2-0-2 which is good that the Hawks got points in all of their previous contes...

Blackhawks best Senators 2-1 with yes, solid defense and goaltending

 

As the Hawks try and make a run to stay in the playoff hunt in the Western Conference, potentially a new team has emerged. With injuries to key players and a necessity to change the course this team was headed on a new Blackhawks team has arisen like a Phoenix from the ashes.

This new team has a different look and a mixture of experience sprinkled in with raw youthful vigor, finesse seasoned with bit of grit. The one thing that remains constant is the teams speed. I’m not sure if this new team should be called the Ice Hawks or the Black Hogs with the new found energy and grit that Andrew Shaw, Jimmy Hayes and Brandon Bollig have given them. Oh yeah and that Oduya ...

Hawks burn Leafs 5-4

 

Another Original Six matchup is always fun. This matchup again saw two teams that do not face each other much and two teams that are looking to get back on the winning track. The Leafs are coming off of their own losing streak where they have lost 8 of their last 10. The Hawks coming off of 3 straight losses desperately need to keep gaining points to keep pace in the Western Conference.

 

The Maple Leafs themselves were in need of points as well. They are currently out of the Eastern Conference playoff picture in 10th place but are only four points behind. So they too would be skating with an air of desperation.

 

Also making this game of int...

Blackhawks start the February road trip in Vancouver

Tuesday evening in Vancouver, the Chicago Blackhawks will kick off the start of their February 9-game road stretch with a tilt against the Canucks. Captain Jonathan Toews will be back in the lineup after missing the January 24th game vs. the Predators and the All-Star Game due to a minor injury. It is also likely that Patrick Sharp will be back for the Hawks after missing a few weeks due to a fractured wrist.

So far this season, the Blackhawks and Canucks are 1-1, each taking a win by four goals in the other's barn - the Canucks won 6-2 on November 6 at the United Center in the infamous "game with all the PPGs" (five, to be exact). T...

Blackhawks look to continue roll against Predators

 

The Blackhawks are coming off of a hot night in cold, blustery snowstorm in Chicago. They are looking to continue their hot streak and stay ahead of tough Central divisional opponent Nashville.  The Central Division of the Western Conference is turning out to be an absolute dog fight amongst the teams in the best division in hockey right now.

Currently the Chicago Blackhawks sit atop the Central division and Western conference with a 29-13-6 record and a league leading 64 points. The Blackhawks are coming in off of a three game win streak and an emotional reunion game Friday with the Florida Panthers. It is important they come away with points in this one as they a...

Flyers Look For First Win Of 2012 Against Surging Blackhawks

Tonight the Philadelphia Flyers (22-11-4) will host the Chicago Blackhawks (24-11-4) for the first time since the team skated around Wells Fargo Center with Lord Stanley's Cup high above their heads.

No one will ever forget the strangeness of the goal that ended game six, as Patrick Kane stormed the Philadelphia net and exploited Michael Leighton’s open five-hole.

Round 1: Blackhawks edge Red Wings, 3-2

Five more of those please!

The Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings put on sixty minutes of playoff-like hockey in front of a season high 22,166 at the United Center Friday night and the Hawks prevailed in the end with a 3-2 victory.

For sixty minutes, it seemed as though the only stoppages in play were for the two intermissions. The game opened with five or six minutes of continuous, back-and-forth action before the first whistle was ever blown.

Justin Abdelkader gave the Red Wings the early lead half-way through the first period after a big rebound was given up by Hawks goalie Corey Crawford. It seemed to sit there in the slot forever after the initial Drew Miller ...