homer_sugar_2

Atop The Sugar Pile 10/14

I’m sure you’re probably just waking up from a day off nap just like I am, at least those of you who are lucky enough to have the day off. Which probably means you’re a teacher or a banker. If it’s the former, God bless you. If it’s the latter, you need more fucking lollipops available in your lobby. Anyway, weekly players of the week post and such…

The Dizzying Highs

Jonathan Toews – Three points in three games to match his performances from the entire season. Toews has been his normal, dominant self (though has been a -1 in each of the past two games, but hey, +/- is dumb. Like Good). The slow starts of the past appear to be stuck in the past, as Toews has come out flying in each of the past two seasons. And he’s breached the 60% mark in the past two games at the dot. Kid may have a future in this league.

Ebenholts och Elfenben – I speculated last year that Oduya and Hjalmarsson have a chance of being paired together in Sochi. Now it looks a certainty. They’ve been so lockdown that Q has used them to battle the top lines of the Islanders and Sabres when having the choice at home — though some of that has to do with the erratic nature of Marlboro 72 (Marlboro 72? Ebenholts? Ray Bones? Momo? Jesus Christ where do you get these names?). Lead the team in +/-, and in Behind The Net Rating, and Hammer is actually showing some offensive life. All works for me.

The Terrifying Lows

Marlboro 72 – Hey that’s some foreshadowing! Take that, high school English teacher! Actually, my high school English teacher loved me because it was the rare class where I cared and paid attention and showed up almost every time. Anyway…

Keith and Seabrook have had their hiccups lately. Seabrook’s last gasp case of vertigo causing him to forget what position he plays in St. Louis, and then Keith made the same mistake against the Isles that led to Bailey’s goal (though at least that time someone had filled in for him, kinda). They didn’t draw the top assignment in the past two games at home, and don’t look likely to until they prove they can iron out some of the wrinkles that are pockmarking the Hawks’ dress shirts (metaphors!).

Bryan Bickell – Kind of played himself back to his normal third line role. Only one assist so far, and it looked like he was squeezing it a bit lately with that contract being an Iranian space monkey on his back. Hawks fans will have to adjust their focus on a player making a lot of money. That means being satisfied with a checking winger and a solid forechecker who chips in scoring instead of pouring it in, and then shows up when it matters big time. Because that’s really all Bickell is.

The Creamy Middles

Joel Quenneville – Let me try and frame this correctly. It’s not that I think Q has come to our way of thinking, in a backdoor way to give ourselves credit. He’s the coach, we’re the drunks in the stands. But he is changing his ways a bit. Hammer and Oduya getting the toughest assignments because they’ve earned it. He sat Handzus because it’s obvious he can’t get in the 82. While he had something of a quick trigger with Jimmy Hayes, Hayes has been up in parts of three seasons now. So it hasn’t been a limited look. Saad and Bickell have switched.

The other thing I like is that Nordstrom is still up but has been taken of the PK for now. In the past, a young player has either come up and done everything because Q has immediately took a shine to them (remember Shaw starting on the 2nd line and PP and PK in like his 3rd game), or they get an immediate thumbs-down from Q and barely get anything. Both Nordy and Smith appear somewhere in between to get a better look. I suspect Pirri may get a look on the second line in Carolina, too. It’s been more managerial from Q than coach-y, if that makes sense.

Oh, the power play doesn’t suck out loud for now. So there’s a step.

Joakim Nordstrom – Slowly improving every game, and getting his first goal. Still think Smith or Morin could do that job better, but if he continues to feel his way at this rate, there won’t be any complaints.

 

 

  • VanDorp’sMullet

    Fucking Iranian space monkeys. Don’t they know this is ‘Murica??

    • AirTrafficAJ

      The American Space Monkey was furloughed due to the government shutdown.

      • VanDorp’sMullet

        Upboat for you.

  • DesertHawk

    Hmmm… My kid had school today. Is that not standard?

    • BestPredsForward

      I think for public schools it is not, but in two of the three private schools I went to, we did have school on Columbus Day.

      • DesertHawk

        Hmmm… he goes to a public school. Odd.

        • 1benmenno

          Columbus’s rep has been taking a hit in recent decades. It’s been awhile since he’s done anything as good as Gremlins.

      • AMR

        In all the public schools I went to we never got Columbus day off

    • steeg of their own

      Probably depends on your state and how the state Dept of Ed decided to craft your school schedules. When I was in school we didn’t have Columbus day off, but the kids half an hour away in the state below us did.

  • mad-hatter

    Obligatory jfk PATRICK KANE BACK CHECKING!!! mention. And scouts for the Swedish National team were present on Saturday so let’s hope they saw good things from the Swedes as we do every game.

    • Why

      I’m hoping they’re dumb and missed it. I want Hjammer and Oduya rested and I don’t want Canada to have to play them.

      • mad-hatter

        Hammer and Oduya will be the least of your problems. /murica’d

        I’m conflicted. On one hand I want the entire team rested but it’s really awesome for the players to get to go to Sochi and play for their country.

        • Why

          Absolutely. I want good things for Blackhawks players. Except gold medals. I only want the Canadian guys to get those.

          • mad-hatter

            Well it’s always nice to dream.

          • Why

            The funny thing about my dreams is they keep coming true:

          • Why

            Oops. Sorry, that was the wrong picture below. I meant to add this one. I like it better but also like that picture below.

          • mad-hatter

            Flagged!!!

          • Why

            Yeah, you’re right, that picture was a little blurry. Sorry about that. This one doesn’t have all the guys but it’s pretty cool too:

          • Why

            Oh here it is.

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            They can have their pics taken with Kaner’s.

        • Why

          Sorry to keep rubbing that in. In the interest of fairness, I also searched for “American hockey gold medalists with NHL players.” Google asked me if meant American hockey silver medalists.

          • zacked

            I think Google missed one then. Not sure if there were actual medals, though.

          • Why

            I said Olympics.

          • zacked

            No you didn’t, at least not in any of the posts I saw, but the point is the USA has a best-on-best international gold, even if it’s not an Olympic gold. (Which they also have two of, non best-on-best).

          • Why

            I implied Olympics.

          • zacked

            And I implied you’re a no good hoser!

          • mad-hatter

            Google seems to be a little off today, because when I searched for “Canadian Summer Olympic Gold Medals” it suggested “Pipe Dream” instead.

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            I searched for “legitimate canadian hockey gold medals” and there was only 1 result:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjVfnULGpQs

          • Why

            Those kids look happy. Are they Canadian?

    • justforkicks

      I’m glad I read the comments before commenting myself because I was totally going to say that

  • Paul the Fossil

    The Hawks could conceivably have as many as 10 players at the Olympics, will definitely have at least a half-dozen (barring injuries of course). Yea that’s pretty cool.

    What was the most from any one NHL organization four years ago?

    • mad-hatter
      • Why

        Eight is probably right. I’m a bit worried about that site because wikipedia has Anaheim listed with 8 as well though.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_hockey_at_the_2010_Winter_Olympics_%E2%80%93_Men's_team_rosters

        • laaarmer

          Chara is 206cm. How many hands is that?

          • Why

            Freakishly large Slovakian hands or regular hands?

          • laaarmer

            your hands

          • DesertHawk

            At 6’9″ Chara is 20.25 hands tall.

          • laaarmer

            Everybody make a note that 206cm is 20.25 hands. It may come in handy.

          • DesertHawk

            A hand is 4″ in case anyone cares to learn about archaic units of measure pretty much only used in equine care/husbandry.

          • steeg of their own

            See, Edzo would know this off the top of his head.

          • DesertHawk

            Does that make me Edzo?

          • steeg of their own

            I dunno. How do you feel about active sticks? Can you pronounce the word immediately without saying “EEEEEEmediately”? Has Pierre tried to suck up to you lately?

          • DesertHawk

            I like them, yes, no… so Unlikely is where I think I fall on the “Am I Edzo” spectrum.

          • 2883

            What are your thoughts on a skater’s stick position in relation to the ice?

          • DesertHawk

            Should be on it.

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            That explains Mathew Broderick’s mastery of it.

          • DesertHawk

            I… I…I don’t get it. :feels shame:

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            Mathew Broderick is married to…

          • DesertHawk

            I don’t honestly know, but I’m gonna guess Sarah Jessica Parker. Celebs aren’t my forte.

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            yes, which makes him a husband to…

          • DesertHawk

            That’s not what equine husbandry is… but yeah I get it now. I’d probably have laughed if I’d gotten it on first blush. Sorry for joke ruining. :feels shame:

          • Why

            Get over here NHL hockey player. I’ve got to touch you for a while so we can figure out an internet thing.

        • mad-hatter

          Okay no I figured out why there are inconsistencies between the BR list and the wikipedia list. The Olympics happened after the deadline, so players were traded immediately before heading off to Vancouver and the BR list was written in January. For instance Oduya was on the Thrashers when he played for the Olympics, but just two weeks earlier he was a Devil. Dammit, BR, now I feel silly.

          • Why

            That first link kind of provided an answer though and was probably close. Looking at the two lists, 8 is probably close to to right and we’re not unpaid interns here. A question was asked and now we’re closer to knowing the answer. Great job internet.

    • Why

      I was kind of doing this the other day but I think 10 might be low for what’s on the upper end of possible. 14 guys got invites to orientation camps (see link below) I’ve got guys grouped in 5 categories. Assuming health:

      I’d guarantee (4): Keith, Toews, Kane, Hossa.

      I’d guess yes (4): Oduya, Hjalmarrson, Seabrook, Handzus.

      I’d guess yes but I’m a homer (4): Crawford, Sharp, Rozsival, Kruger

      I’d be surprised (1): Leddy

      Congrats on your invite but I’d be fucking shocked: Raanta

      http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-07-22/sports/chi-chicago-blackhawks-team-canada-20130722_1_training-camp-festival-olympic-camp-blackhawks-convention

      • mad-hatter

        You forgot Saad!!! Who is probably in the third group.

        • Why

          That I did. Thanks for the heads up.

      • DesertHawk

        I could see Raanta as the 3rd maybe. Who’s ahead of him? Crow I also see as the 3rd, although he should arguably be ahead of some of the others (but lack of experience).

        • Why

          Here’s the list of guys that got invited:

          Niklas Backstrom, Kari Lehtonen, Antti Niemi, Antti Raanta,Tuukka Rask, Pekka Rinne, Karri Ramo, Petri Vehanen.

          Two of Backstrom, Lehtonen, Niemi, Rinne and Rask are getting left at home.

          http://www.tsn.ca/olympics/story/?id=428218

          • DesertHawk

            Egads Finland… yeah, I’d be shocked as well.

          • lizmcneill

            Rinne and Rask as starter and door opener depending on how their seasons go and Nemo as the spare I would guess.

    • bizarrohairhelmet

      nhl.com shows 3 teams with 8 players each (DET, ANA, SJS):

      http://www.nhl.com/ice/page.htm?id=60628

      VAN had 7, 3 other WC teams had 6 and 1 EC had 6. Of course, the WC was inferior and needed the big name players to counter their weak bottom-end players.

  • laaarmer

    Bickell.
    He played like Lucic last season. Yes, the entire season, but more importantly in the playoffs. He got paid for it because who else has the immediate potential to do that? Why do we care how much these guys make anyway? They can pay these guys whatever the *&^98&%* they want as long as at the end the team wins the league title and gets the trophy. But back to the Lucic comparison. Bickell is not Lucic. Never has been and likely never will be. he is the closest thing The Hawks have to a power forward after Hossa and he is a good hockey player. He fits in with the team and does what he is asked to do.

    • Korab22

      Bickell also deserves a little slack coming off his thumb surgery and the MCL sprain. That’s at least a month of doing a whole lot of nothing. There’s no way he can be in as good a shape as most guys on the team….other than Handzus.

      • lizmcneill

        Also wedding and honeymoon, I don’t imagine he was spending that in the weight room.

        • Korab22

          I’m drawing the line at injury rehab! No slack for life.

    • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

      Bicks playoff performance last year, while way over his head, was not an anomaly. He has a history of upping his game when it counts, in the playoffs.

      • Why

        I’d actually like to see something on that. Aren’t guys like Bickell, Horton, Lucic and Iginla more valuable in the playoffs?

    • 10thMountainFire

      Gaad is our power forward of the future. Not concerned.

      Bickell is more fitted for the third line, anyway. It was only in that playoff run that he played especially well with 19 and 88. They caught fire, it carried over a few games this season, now it’s back to its natural state.

  • robondacob

    I don’t think that bickell has been playing that poorly. He’s been great with possession, as far as I have seen, and his usage of his big frame to box out defenders behind the goal line has been good as ever. We might be seeing some stress of a large contract (this guy had a payraise of 3 million dollars) or maybe he is just poorly conditioned. Regardless, I think we’re going to see a bounce back relatively soon, especially if he gets bum slaying duties with competent linemates.

    I’ve been a little confused about the lineups ever since saad, bickell, and handzus got shuffled around, so I’m going to try taking a stab at what I think will be the best possible lineup.

    Forwards
    Saad/Toews/Kane
    Sharp/Pirri/Hossa
    Bickell/Kruger/Smith
    Bollig/Shaw/Nordstrom

    Defense
    Hammer/Oduya
    Keith/Seabrook
    Leddy/Kostka

    • lizmcneill

      I’d flip Kruger and Shaw and let Shaw slay bums and Frogger play defense (sorry, Frogger, but I trust you more than Mutt in your own end and you get your tiny Swedish bro back). Platoon Zus on the 4th with Bollig parking his ass in the Casa Nachos. Impress upon one of Leds and Kostka per game that moving the puck is great but someone has to stay back.

    • cliffkoroll

      Bickell has not been playing that poorly. At $600K, he’s still an amazing bargain.

  • Paul the Fossil

    Through two weeks of play the West is 27-6-3 against the East. That is not a typo.

    • The Doctor

      To the surprise of absolutely nobody.

      • DesertHawk

        Only because East Coast fans won’t look at that stat. :P

    • 1benmenno

      Interesting.

      • DesertHawk

        It’s higher than expected. But the West has been trouncing the East since the lockout in 04-05.

        • 1benmenno

          Well, I hope it keeps happening. And when Eastern Conf. fans say “it’s only the cup that matters, not regular season play,” I want the Hawks to answer by winning that there cup.

          • DesertHawk

            I always root for the Western Conference team once the Hawks are out of the running. Except Vancouver… that was my one exception. I also don’t have an Eastern Conference team… fuck the EC.

          • 1benmenno

            I know what you mean about Vancouver. But like a few others on this blog I have over time begun to feel sympathy for Luongo.

          • 10thMountainFire

            I’m the president of the ‘I used to hate Bobby Lu but I was stupid for hating the only man on the Vancouver Canucks that actually has a personality that doesn’t entice anarchists to start cities on fire’ fan club.

          • 1benmenno

            I’ll be the treasurer.

          • DesertHawk

            Hmm, would you like to set up shop in the Goalie Appreciation Forest? The tree next to mine, where I’ve built the Crow is the Bestestest Tree Fort, is still available.

          • 10thMountainFire

            This is awesome. Is Rinne here?

          • DesertHawk

            I don’t know if he has a fort/clubhouse… I’m sure there’s room. I’m mostly just concerned with the Crow is the Bestestest Tree Fort. Perhaps a Pred blogger/fan would know.

          • 10thMountainFire

            I like Pekka. I like him not playing us.

          • DesertHawk

            I’d be willing to allow him to be Crow’s backup. :P

          • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

            But we’ll never win another cup without Niemi.

          • DesertHawk

            Shhh this last one was our secret from the meatheads.

          • DesertHawk

            No hatred for Lou, I hope he gets a cup someday, just not with the green and blue whale.

          • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

            Indeed. Classy guy on a classless team.

          • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

            My EC team must be Boston, based on their fans showing class by chanting Let’s Go Bruins after the horn sounded on the most devastating 1:16 in team history.

          • lizmcneill

            My EC team was Boston before, I was expecting to be more traumatized by the playoffs than I was (still, fuck you, when I call you Destroychuk I don’t mean Toews, keep your elbows down)

          • DesertHawk

            I don’t like Tuuka, or Thomas before him… so Boston can sit on its thumb. I’m glad they beat Vancouver, that’s as far as it goes.

          • Korab22

            I was very conflicted during Game 7, Pit vs. Detroit, in 2009. I wound up just watching, whereas in 2011 I was actively cheering for Boston.

          • DesertHawk

            I had no qualms rooting for Detroit. I admittedly don’t have as strong of an anti Detroit bias though, as half my family is from there (my mom’s a closet Wing’s fan) and I didn’t grow up in Chicago to have the rivalry built in.

        • Paul the Fossil

          Indeed so: there hasn’t yet been a season since that lockout in which the East won more interconference games than the West.

          And of course 3 of the last 4 Cup winners have come from the West as well. And as noted in another thread here, far more Western Conference players were picked for 2010 Olympic teams than Eastern.

    • 10thMountainFire

      Clearly you’re using the metric system.

      • 1benmenno

        How many hands in a meter?

        • 10thMountainFire

          Eleventy.

        • DesertHawk

          9.842519685 hands in 1 meter.

          • 10thMountainFire

            It checks out. Solid.

    • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

      But… but… Crosby… Ovie…. Metropolitan Division… Sunday primetime… EAST EAST EAST….

      That concludes our test of the emergency broadcasting system, we now return you to your regular NBC programming.

  • 10thMountainFire

    Well, it’s all fun and games until an Iranian space monkey jumps onto the back of your power forward and drags him to the third line.

    More Gaad on the top line, please.