1559523_1280x720

In This Room, Another Lonely Afternoon: Hawks 1 – Flyera 3

Box Score

Natural Stat Trick

Hockey Stats

On a day that started with possibly the first ever combination of the words “NHL” and “Temple University,” the Hawks got a glimpse of the results their play has deserved lately but Crawford has kept from happening. That’s not to say Scott Darling was bad, he was far from it. But it’s an example of the other-worldly play Crow has had to put forth at time to get the Hawks two points consistently. When you go from other-worldly to just pretty good, the chances these Hawks surrender right now make for less than two points.

And it’s not even as the Hawks were 60 minutes bad. For long stretches they were better, though those came after they were down two goals and could be partially attributed to score effects and having to throw more and more caution to the wind. Given the lineup though, even when the Hawks have the upper hand there are some shifts where they are running around their own end like a kids birthday party where someone gave them all soda. Or they make a mistake at the other line or neutral zone to cause odd-man rushes. Crow’s expected absence for a couple weeks will be an excellent chance to shore this shit up.

Let’s clean it up:

Read More

I Don’t Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore – Hawks at Flyers Preview, White Elephant Drawing

250px-Ozymandias @ phily-cheez-whiz

Game Time: Noon CST
TV:/Radio: CSN, SportsNet, WGN-AM 720
Travis Hughes Sucks, He Never Settled The Bet: Broad Street Hockey

blackhawks-lineup-card

flyers-lineup-card

For some obtuse reason, the Hawks travel to the armpit of the East Coast for a matinee in South Philly this reason. Normally these nooners take place after the Super Bowl and on NBC, but for some reason this one is only on the local outlets in the States. And because it’s a prime weekend matchup, the Flyera will more than likely be wearing their god-awful gold-trimmed 50th anniversary sweaters. But hey, home whites are home whites.

Read More

celeste-brown-770x470

NWHL Q&A With Zoe Hayden And Hannah Bevis: Part II

This is part II of our Q&A with Zoe Hayden from VictoryPress.org (@ZoeClaire_) and Hannah Bevis from TheIceGarden.com (@Hannah_Bevis1).

While it’s completely understandable to keep the four cities close for travel concerns, and Boston and Buffalo being hockey-centric markets, is the NWHL missing something by not including Minneapolis, which already has the strong Gophers program as a base. Or Chicago with a rapidly expanding youth hockey scene and even more so for girls (though the Cubs might start stunting interest in a hurry. No, honestly that’s how it works around here). Obviously the logistics are a nightmare for a league struggling to get by to be in the Midwest, but shoot for the moon and all that?

Zoe: The Midwest is such a quandary and even the NHL has really struggled to get a quality pro team going in Minnesota (all due respect to Wild fans, but it’s been a long time since a Minnesota NHL team competed for the Stanley Cup).  Wild games sell out nevertheless, but they are not a huge draw to television audiences.  For women’s hockey, the Whitecaps are out there but they haven’t been part of a league in quite some time.  Chicago, like you said, has so many other competing sports, but in Minnesota and Wisconsin the college teams have such huge followings.  I think the main hurdle is travel; it’s much harder to get anywhere via bus out there (and bus is currently how the NWHL teams travel, busing distance being a major reason for why the locations were chosen for the original four teams).

In the CHWL you have Calgary which is a huge outlier in terms of distance, but Calgary is a very important hockey city and it’s where the national team trains, which makes it impossible to exclude them or pressure them to move closer, I think.

If you can stabilize the original four NWHL franchises I think Pennsylvania is a good place to look at for expansion (really, anywhere, there’s a ton of hockey in PA at all levels, but I’m from near Pittsburgh and I live in Philadelphia so either of those would be amazing—and there’s also Wilkes-Barre and Erie).  Chicago is also not a bad idea.  Team USA has practiced/had camp in Chicago recently.  But like Hannah said I think it’s a ways away before that happens.

Hannah: Technically, there is a team in the Midwest already- the Minnesota Whitecaps, which isn’t affiliated with either the CWHL or NWHL, where the Minnesota-based players play against local area teams (last year, they played against a couple NW teams in exhibition games). They have a small fan base, and Minnesota is probably the last place that needs more focus on women and girls hockey right now- they’re hockey-crazy as it is. It makes a lot of sense to go there next, but the location isn’t ideal.

This may sound cynical, but the NWHL shot the moon when it said it was going to pay its players in its first year and now we have this, so…I don’t think they’re missing anything by not including Minneapolis. As someone who lives near Chicago, I would LOVE to have a team out here, and if we’re talking expansion, yes, I’d say a Midwest conference might be good if we could maybe have three or four teams to help make travel for Calgary a little easier. But I think there were points in the CWHL’s beginning where Calgary didn’t play every CW team because the distance made it so hard to get there. Weighing the pros and cons, I’d rather wait. 

Read More

knight

NWHL Q&A With Zoe Hayden And Hannah Bevis: Part I

A couple weeks ago, as you might have seen, the NWHL cut their players’ salary in half without any input from the players. I had a few questions about that and the league as a whole, so I went to two of the leading authorities. Zoe Hayden is the editor of VictoryPress.org (@zoeclaire_) and Hannah Bevis is the editor of TheIceGarden.com on the SB Nation network (@Hannah_Bevis1).

With the NWHL cutting salaries in half, clearly they had some projections that were not met. Do we know what those were and why that might be?

Zoe:

To be clear about your first question, I believe New York Riveters forward Madison Packer said that it was “more like 60%” and we don’t have exact figured on the amount of salary that players will be receiving if they sign the proposed changes to their contracts.

With regard to projections, NWHL Commissioner Dani Rylan was not specific in her statements, but she did say that lower attendance had been a factor.  Three NWHL teams changed their home rinks after year one which may have in part contributed to this.

I am actually working on a longer article about this so I don’t want to get too in-depth, but it’s been known since its inception that the NWHL was getting startup funds from private investors.  Translating that into sustainable income has seemed to be a problem, which is why the players are calling for an independent financial review, something that I think is a more than reasonable request.  I think that when you start talking about falling short of projections, it also becomes a question of how well expenses were planned for ahead of time relative to those projections.  

You also have to start to wonder where those projections were coming from; for example, how conservative were they when planning for Year Two with regards to growth, especially considering rink changes and an expanded schedule?  Ice time is expensive and fan retention with regard to ticket sales seemed an obvious hurdle with three teams moving to new facilities.  I don’t think this should have been such a bombshell.  It’s halfway through the season.  The logistics need to be closely looked at if this was a surprise.  And a vague answer about “projections” leaves a lot to the imagination.

In addition, we know that the league has had issues with some of its investors, namely Michael Moran and George Spiers (I can provide  source links if you need).  If the league’s Year Two revenue model included a significant amount of private investing as opposed to incoming revenue from ticket sales, merchandise, and sponsorship agreements, that’s a huge concern.

Read More

usatsi_9716465_160885884_lowres

Looks Like I Pulled A Homer: Hawks 4 – Devils 3 (OT)

Box Score

Natural Stat Trick

Hockey Stats

If the Hawks weren’t very good to open the contest against Florida, they decided to see how much more the bottom could fall out and still get out with two wins against the Devils. The opening 10 minutes of tonight’s game might be the worst we’ve seen a patch of hockey from the Hawks in years. They were skating in mud, and not the good Mississippi kind. The Devils were three steps quicker all over the ice and worse yet the Hawks didn’t seem all that bothered to do anything about it.

Then again, I guess you don’t have to care when you know that Corey Crawford is almost never going to let a game get away from you. He did it again tonight, pulling off several saves in the 1st that could have basically ended it. The longer the game went on with the Devils in reach, the more chance it would be that their shoddy defense and a not yet full-strength Schneider would crack. One nifty play from Rasmussen to Kruger and the Hawks were on their way.

And for the second game in a row, they blew a third period lead that they’ll be able to cover up with victory in a post-60 gimmick. That’s not a trend you want to count on, but it’ll work for now.

Read More

Before The Devils Make You Dead: Devils at Hawks Preview/Car Tow

jon_lovitz-devil-snl-46_2 vs. Hawk Wrestler

RECORDS: Devils: 10-7-5  Hawks: 15-6-3  

PUCK DROP: 7:30pm

TV: CSN

SWAMP SITTERS: In Lou We Trust

Projected Lineups

devils-lineup-card

blackhawks-lineup-card

ADJUSTED CORSI%: Devils – 49.4 (18th)  Hawks – 50.8 (12th)

ADJUSTED xGF%: Devils – 46.1 (28th)  Hawks – 47.4 (22nd)

POWER PLAY %: Devils – 13.7 (25th)  Hawks – 17.3 (16th)

PENALTY KILL %: Devils – 84.3 (9th)  Hawks – 70.7 (They’re above 70%!!!)

The Hawks begin the December portion of the schedule tonight in the most coma-inducing way possible, with a visit from the New Jersey Devils. If there’s a chance to look good in regulation against a team, which the Hawks haven’t really done since San Jose, this would be it. But then again, no one looks good against the Devils. That’s just their way.

Read More

shaw-anger

Andrew Shaw Really Cares, Guys

There were more than a few Hawks fans having a a good hearty laugh when coming home from the game last night when they saw Andrew Shaw having yet another meltdown. This time it was in Anaheim, getting himself tossed late in a game the Habs trailed by one goal and could have, oh I don’t know, used a guy with a knack for getting goals from in close.

Of course, now it’s just an figure of fun for pretty much the entire hockey world, though I guaranteed on Hockey Night In Canada’s pregame show on Saturday that Kypreos and Hrudey will use this as an example of true passion and to indict Max Pacioretty as a leader or something (though maybe that’s not totally inaccurate but let’s get to that in a second).

Quite simply, this is what happens when you tell Andrew Shaw, who probably couldn’t spell “NHL,” he’s being rewarded for all the wrong things. What made Andrew Shaw a success here in Chicago weren’t all the yelling faces or the punching people after the whistle or the dirty hits. What made him successful is he never stopped moving his feet, was willing to go to the front of the net (though he really wasn’t all that skilled at it no matter what everyone around here will tell you) and he has better hands than a third liner usually does. It wasn’t Shaw’s attitude or yap that drew a lot of penalties. It was that he just never stopped and would cause turnovers or keep possessions going and eventually put a defender in a bad spot. There really weren’t a lot of retalitory penalties where Shaw wasn’t canceling out with his own roughing call.

However, when you tell him that it’s his passion and fire and yelling that got him four million dollars a year, this is what you get.

Read More