Patrick of the U.S. celebrates after scoring the fourth goal against Finland during the first period of their men's ice hockey playoff semifinals game

Our Olympic Nightmare Starts and Other Monday Notes

First off, let me say the soccer fan within me loves international hockey. It’s the highest level, and having arguments with picking the national teams and lineups contained therein is endless fun. It’s good for the game…maybe. I’m not sure how 7am starts grows the sport, but that’s what they keep telling me.

However, as a Hawks fan, I’m absolutely terrified — just as I was in 2010. I guess that worked out ok. As we’ve mentioned before, the Hawks could have as many as 10 Olympians, which is almost half the roster. Few other teams will come anywhere near that, though the Hawks might not themselves.

With Canada and the US announcing their preliminary rosters today, you start to see the issue. Crawford, Seabrook, Keith, Toews, and Sharp are headed to Calgary for Canada’s camp. From that, we can assume that Keith and Toews are locks, Crawford might have to go well out of his way to not get picked (though I doubt he’ll be the #1), with Sharp falling victim to Canada having to shift all their centers to wing to accommodate them all (and seriously, who does that?) Seabrook is another longshot after his wonky season. Along with Keith, Doughty, Weber, and Subban would have to be locks, leaving only three spots. Seabrook could easily get in I suppose if he has a good start to the year, but Babcock already kicked him down to a #7 d-man in 2010 before.

As for our beloved Yanks, Kane, Leddy, and Saad are headed to the US camp in Virgina. Kane’s obviously the first name on the sheet when the team is announced, with both Saad and Leddy being longshots. The US is awash in nifty, puck-moving d-men and I have to believe Shattenkirk, Martin, Erik Johnson, and Yandle are ahead of him in that role (with Suter likely captaining the whole thing). As for Saad, the Yanks have Dustin Brown, Oshie, Okposo, and Pacioretty ahead of him in a power forward role. But with Stan on the selection committee, who knows?

But still, that’s eight guys with a shot, and that’s before Oduya and Hjalmarsson likely make the Swedish team (Kruger?). Aye aye aye.

Other notes:

-Training camp will start in South Bend because Disney on Ice will be at the UC on Thursday, September 12th. The Festival will come the following Monday, for those of you who are into that. Q will have demoted Brandon Pirri by the 18th.

-We let it go on Friday, but the Hawks re-signed Drew LeBlahBlah on a two-way contract, probably cementing himself to Rockford to start (again, until Q gives up on Pirri). They also inked Theo Peckham to steady some shit down in Rock Vegas too, or maybe to just be #8 on the depth chart. Right now, I think that would be Ryan Stanton, and I’m not sure I feel so good about that if injuries ravage the blue line. Whatever, wouldn’t make too much of it, and having more young, cheap options at center can’t be a bad thing. Especially if LeBlanc lights up the A.

  • 07GreyDigger

    When you said our beloved Yanks, I thought of the Yankees and was offended.

  • MySpoonIsTooBig

    That’s 8 guys invited to just the NA team camps. Hjammer, Oduya, and possibly Kruger being invited to the Sweden camp bumps the number up to 11, but don’t forget about the rest of the Euro teams. Hossa is a lock to play for Slovakia as long as he’s healthy, and though he’s not a lock Handzus was also part of that team in 2010 and could certainly participate in the 2014 games as well. And Roszival may have been left off the Czech roster in 2010 but it’s not hard to imagine him not at least getting a camp invite this time around. Just look at the Czech Republic’s 2010 roster – their 8 defenseman were Tomas Kaberle, Filip Kuba, Pavel Kubina, Marek Zidlicky, Jan Hjeda, Zbynek Michalek, Roman Polak, and KHL’er Miroslav Blat’ak. There’s simply no way that Roszival hasn’t several if not most of those guys on the depth chart.

    So that’s upwards of 15 ‘Hawks likely to at least be invited to their nation’s Olympic team training camp, including the entire top-6 defense. I get the worry, but that’s pretty fucking cool.

    • AirTrafficAJ

      Doesn’t Miroslav Blat’ak play for the Klingon team?

      • Oregon_hawk

        And now it will never leave my head. Klingons playing hockey.

        • Fleshrifle

          They kill powerplays with honor.

          • Joe Banks

            Apparently, this idea already exsists

    • Z-man19

      Fuck it, I say they just go as Blackhawks Nation, take the whole team and go win the gold

      • mightymikeD

        I’ll up that boat

        • Z-man19

          How freaking cool would that be? Win two cups and gold medals in less than a year

          • mightymikeD

            “And for our next trick, we’re entering the Soccer World cup. Yes, of course we’re going to play with skates on”

          • Z-man19

            if they allowed them to play with sticks, I’d give them a fighting chance

          • Fleshrifle

            Nahh…we’d have no chance…the world would figure out to kick it glove side on Crawford. And our power play would suck.

          • mightymikeD

            the sliding tackles would be fun to watch

          • Z-man19

            add new meaning to ‘cut off his ankles’

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            Seabs on C-Ron? I’d pay to see it.

    • DesertHawk

      People have also speculated about Raanta for Finland, if we’re counting the BB Hawks.

      • cliffkoroll

        Nah. Finland is pretty stacked for goalies.

        Backstrom Niemi Rask off the top of my head.

        Funny that four years ago Kipper was able to dictate his role as a starter.

        • DesertHawk

          Well this is just camp yeah? He was the MVP of their league, I could seem him getting the invite as a nod to players that still play at home. Those other 3 have been in the NHL for a few years now.

          • birdhead

            The Finnish camp roster is out, Raanta did get an invite. Along with Backstrom Rinne Rask Niemi Lehtonen.

          • DesertHawk

            They should just ice 6 goalies every game.

          • yinkadoubledare

            In the goalie pads too. They’d be like Fat Guy in NES Ice Hockey.

          • Z-man19

            How the hell do you pick your goalie out of that group, just throw a dart at a spinning wheel?

          • birdhead

            Search me. Incredible depth there.

          • Z-man19

            are we still talking about goalies?

          • birdhead

            yeah. You don’t think Rinne-Rask-Niemi counts as deep? I mean, it’s no Canada-at-centre, but.

          • Z-man19

            your thinking is of too pure a mindset

          • birdhead

            oh. that’s a stretch.

          • Z-man19

            I’m taking ‘search me. Incredible depth there’ literally. A Badgerdano, if I may.

          • birdhead

            No, I got it the second time, it was just a little weak. Droopy, even.

          • Z-man19

            haha, well done

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            Väänänen might be the most metal name ever.

          • 1benmenno

            “TECHNICIÄNS ÖF SPÅCE SHIP EÅRTH THIS IS YÖÜR CÄPTÅIN SPEÄKING YÖÜR ØÅPTÅIN IS DEA̋D” – Hawkwind

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            I saw Nik Turner/Helios Creed in Albuquerque circa 94-96. I was one of about 20 people there and they did it up right anyway.

          • 1benmenno

            What kind of venue was it? Have you heard the live album released in that period? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZMGkLAQO54

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            Pretty sure PorF was the same material they played. The venue was a long bar with a stage. https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn2/9182_10151204982981821_1793631858_n.jpg

            Apparently it burned down but is now back under construction. Saw some great acts there.

        • bizarrohairhelmet

          You were just Finnished.

        • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

          And Rinne. Yeah, no way the Finns give Raanta a call.

  • AirTrafficAJ

    I love Olympic hockey. Just watching the USA go from doormat just 10 years ago to gold medal contender makes me gush with pride. It all started with the US juniors a few years ago, and watching these kids revitalize the US team has been awesome.

    I’ll be up and drinking every AM when the US plays. Lets get the ball rolling on an Olympic Hockey CI Sleepover Party.

  • VanDorp’sMullet

    Yeah, I am definitely worried about our roster getting raided. Even if everyone returns healthy, they’ll probably be pretty tired from the schedule as the long travel to/from Russia which could impact the team. I don’t think they will miss the playoffs or anything, but between the short summer, the injuries from the playoffs, the Olympics, and a full schedule this year, I just worry about the Hawks staying healthy for the playoffs.

    • laaarmer

      They travel by plane nowadays, eh? These guys are hockey players and have been doing this for their entire lives. They will be fine.

      • VanDorp’sMullet

        They’ve been flying back half way around the world (a flight, btw, which is likely to take at least 20 hours if not more) to play in 2 week long tournaments in the middle of an 82 game season, and adjusting their bodies to a clock that is essentially the opposite of Central Time all their lives? Guess I’ve been missing that.

        Heh. I don’t mean to be a smart ass, laaarmer. I truly hope you are right. I’m just saying that they struggled quite a bit after the last cup (and yes, I know a lot of that was having a team full of freaking Pisani’s) but they also seemed to lack jump that season. Just hoping that the Olympics doesn’t impact the Hawks more than teams that won’t be sending many players is all…

        • M7

          I think the players will be all right. I know part of the NHL negotiations relating to player release for the Olympics requested that multiple charters would depart from various, convenient, locations throughout North America to accomodate all Olympic selectees. I haven’t looked closely at the schedule but, for instance, lets say the Hawks were in LA immediately preceding the break – a charter would be scheduled to leave LAX with all of Toews, Keith, Crawford, Kane, Seabrook, Hjalmarsson, Oduya, Kruger, Saad, Hossa, Doughty, Kopitar, Brown, Richards, Carter, Quick, Getzlaf, Perry and Ryan AND all of their families. Also included in that mix would be any GM’s/officials from the respective club teams. The expressed goal is just to get the players there as quickly and easily as possible – national representation be damned. Seems like a good idea.

        • laaarmer

          How is this different from the Pitt/NYR/BOS/ playing VAN/LAK/SJS/PHO? It’s likely less travel days, even though it’s one longer trip there and one back.

          Like I said, they play hockey. It is what they do. To them it will be a hockey tournament. Like the 200 or more others they have played in from the time they were little guys. Many played in Junior championships and I’ll bet most played in midget and bantam tournaments like this over the course of their careers.

          BTW – where is Bickell in that camp roster

          • VanDorp’sMullet

            Very different IMHO. A flight from NYC to Van is what, 6 hours maybe? It’s also a time difference of 3 hours. A flight (even from LA as M7 says below) to Russia is freaking epic and the time difference is 8 hours. Even with chartered flights, etc. it’s going to be minimum 2 times the length of the NY to Vancouver flight. Add in delays or weather or bureaucratic bullshit (this is Russia remember) and it could even be 3 times that. It’s also on the other side of the world. If you’ve ever flown to somewhere where it is night when you’re body and mind is saying it’s day (and vice versa) you’ve probably have experienced how difficult it is to adjust mentally and not just physically. Remember, a lot of people in the past thought that jet lag was a fiction until baseball players and managers started noticing that teams do better travelling east to west than vice versa and that their records were different. This shit does impact play. Yes, they are professional players, but not robots. (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=out-of-the-zone-jet-lagge)

            Also, I’m not trying to make a huge deal over the flight. If that was the *only* concern then I would also brush it off as a short term inconvenience. My original post was that that component IN ADDITION TO having less time for their bodies to recover after a tough grind, in addition to long seasons, in addition to injuries they are already trying to get over might impact certain players and I hope that it doesn’t. It would royally suck to have Hossa’s back “act up” after all the travel, the extra games in the tournament, and then have him miss time in the regular season or worse, in the playoffs. That’s all I’m trying to say.

          • laaarmer

            Worry all you want, it’s happening, and I’ll bet it effects the top teams about the same, if at all. After all at the end they’ll be traveling East to West.
            I think it’ll be a non factor unless there is an injury.

          • VanDorp’sMullet

            I agree about the effects on the top teams being more or less equal and also that potential exposure to injury is the main problem. I am prone to anxiety and worrying… it’s just what I do and I worry more than is probably warranted.

            Just to be clear–In spite of all that worrying above, I actually am looking forward to the Olympics. I think it’s a fun tournament. My whole post was just stating that the impact might be greater on the Hawks than some other teams that won’t be sending any/many of their players.

        • StealingHappyHour

          This should be offset by the Hawks considerably easier travel schedule due to realignment.

  • mightymikeD

    looking at PDs list of the 48 USA camp invitees, a full 14 of them (by my count) are from Minnesota. Might be something to that annoying “State Of Hockey” thing, after all. Also, David Backes is from Minneapolis. I did not know that.

    • Fleshrifle

      historically, that average for Minn. and Mass. would be about 50/50.

  • mightymikeD

    as a “Neutral” should I pick the USA or Canada as “My” team for the Olympics? Naaah. Team Slovakia, all the way chez mmD

    • bizarrohairhelmet

      Team Toque practically has an entire Hawks line with Crow in net.

      • mightymikeD

        Got to keep it Euro, man.. and Hossa,

        • DesertHawk

          Go team Grea…. oh… yeah… hmm

          • mightymikeD

            Team Ireland is going to be Owen Nolan and some confused NA tourists kidnapped in Temple Bar

          • DesertHawk

            I’m not really sure how it all works, cause I know Ireland competes in some stuff… but Wales and Scotland don’t right? What’s the deciding factor there? Northern Ireland is the part that’s considered separate right? But in the Olympics it’s just Ireland? Can an Irish athlete compete for Ireland or GB? Wall of text sorry.

          • mightymikeD

            The Irish Olympic team is nominally the entire island (like the Rugby & Cricket teams) Athletes from Northern Ireland do qualify for the British Olympic Team (England, Scotland , NI & Wales combined) so they can choose which one they represent. We all have our own Soccer teams (Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are seperate) and Scotland & Wales have their own Rugby teams. Scotland have their own Cricket team, England and Wales are combined. Confusing? A little

          • mightymikeD

            oh, and anyone Irish with Grandparents born before 1948 (which is no longer really relevant) qualifies for any British team, as the Republic was under British rule then

          • DesertHawk

            That is confusing as balls… sometimes I’m really glad to just be boring old ‘Murican.

          • mightymikeD

            it sort of makes sense over here.. but that’s because we know how it all works. That said, when Scotland votes for Independence next year, it’ll all have to change

          • DesertHawk

            That many countries/nations(?) being in one tiny space is really confusing to me. Maybe cause I’m from such a large country where despite all the disagreements most people seem to want to be part of the same country, the fierce independence of such tiny regions in Europe is strange to me.

          • mightymikeD

            it’s one of the reasons a lot of them are where you live now.

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            Correct. Brooklyn and The Bronx are like two different countries. Staaten Island doesn’t even belong on the planet.

          • 815Sox

            My one year old niece was infatuated by the Gaelic kids channel.. that language is impossible and I was surprised to hear it so much in the area I was in. I was in Dublin during my previous visit and hardly ever heard any Gaelic.

          • mightymikeD

            you will not hear Gaelic in daily conversation outside of the gaeltact areas(west coast, SW Cork) It’s on the TV and radio and around because we’re officially bilingual

          • lizmcneill

            well, look at Quebec, it’s not just Europe. it’s more unusual to have such a large country be so homogenous when you think about it.

          • DesertHawk

            It’s part of why we’re awesome :D

          • Joe Banks

            Your balls are confusing?

          • DesertHawk

            No just balls in general, it’s why I like hockey, pucks are much less confusing.

          • 815Sox

            Maybe you can settle an argument between my dad and I… The British & Irish Lions does not include players from the Republic correct? I think its only British Citizens.

            Also, I was over in Ireland for the last two games and was surprised they were carried live. I was able to get them at my hotel in Limerick (well Adare actually).

            Another thing I like about Irish sports is that GAA are all amateur athletes.

          • mightymikeD

            How did you like Limerick? My hometown..
            You are incorrect:players from the Republic are part of the Lions (have captained them on several occasions) hence “British & iIrish Lions”.. if it was only NI players, it would just be “British Lions”
            The GAA guys are awesome.

          • 815Sox

            Ahh so my dad was correct. I was in Adare for the most part, I like Limerick but did not spend a lot of time there. My Grandfather is 89 and he wanted to go back to Ireland one more time. We spent a lot of time in areas where my ancestors came from.

  • Jim A

    Erik Johnson? I hope you mean Jack.

    • birdhead
      • Jim A

        I agree, but neither is Erik Johnson.

        • lizmcneill

          and river scum picked him over Toews. will never not be gloat-worthy.

          • Joe Banks

            Myself, I am eternally grateful.

  • 1benmenno

    If you want to know the opinions of experts like Keenan and Kypreos on the ideal makeup of the Canadian team:

    http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/hockey-central-team-canada-sochi-olympic-rosters/

    • bizarrohairhelmet

      Be sure to clean your genitals before reading the Words of Keenan.

      • Joe Banks

        Or using him as an avatar…

  • bizarrohairhelmet

    How does Canada draw Finland, Norway and Austria? Shenanigans, I say. USA gets Russia, Slovakia and Slovenia…

    • bizarrohairhelmet

      Good thing the Latvia, Switzerland, Sweden and Czech Group evened things out.

      • mightymikeD

        the Latvian Hockey fans I know are all about bloody mayhem and fighting. This could be fun

        • bizarrohairhelmet

          The Latvia Blues? Sounds reasonable.

          • mightymikeD

            that would be about right.. I think Dinamo Riga are famous for being insane by KHL standards

  • bizarrohairhelmet

    The pic of Kaner above…does it remind anyone else of when Homer was teaching the kids about conception?

  • Andrew Heitman

    I know there are some DC folks here- does anyone know if the olympic camp is open or closed? That would be an awesome thing to see if you could get into Kettler.

    • M7

      I don’t think any of the camps are going to be on-ice. Straight orientation. Apparently the insurance costs could climb too high (which stinks)…

      • Andrew Heitman

        Ah I found that- got pretty excited for a minute.

        • M7

          I know… isn’t it a bummer? I live in Calgary so I was all excited to take my oldest over to the camp but no dice. Still a month away so maybe they can work something out.

  • StealingHappyHour

    If what they say is true about Pirri, I expect him to be in the doghouse with Q almost immediately.
    The rest of the roster are all certified Q guys. Pirri is going to be the only guy on the team who Q can make an example of. I almost feel bad for Pirri.

    • lizmcneill

      What do they say about Pirri?

      • StealingHappyHour

        Not totally together defensively and has trouble protecting the puck at times in the attacking zone.

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  • 815Sox

    Have to admit, I love Olympic Hockey. Always have. I have found memories of the 90s teams and 02 was awesome with Richter backing them up.

    Anyways, I want the gold. gimmie the gold.