Archive for the ‘Chicago Blackhawks’ Category

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Corey Crawford is 28 years old. He has one year at $2.66 million remaining on his current contract with the Chicago Blackhawks. When that deal expires, his newly signed six-year, $36 million extension will go into effect. When it expires in 2020, Crawford will be 35 years old.

It’s hard not to question Crawford’s massive extension. As a matter of fact, it’s incredibly easy to raise concerns about it. In a league that more and more is shelling out large quantities of money based more on potential than on past performance, it says a lot that Crawford’s new contract is this suspect. It’s especially true when the point of lengthy contracts on small sample sizes is to buy UFA years and save money in the long run, and this one pays a premium on a player who is a year away from UFA status.

Crawford’s first two seasons as a starter were uneven. He made 57 appearances in both 2010-11 and 2011-12, with the first year proving to be above average while the second year was decidedly disappointing. In 2010-11, Crawford was 33-18-6 with a 2.30/.917 split. Including only goaltenders to start at least half their team’s games, Crawford’s save percentage ranked 13th. In even-strength save percentage, Crawford was 16th in the league at .924. That’s perfectly fine for a first-year starter in the NHL.

Crawford then signed a three-year contract extension that ends after this season, and he spent 2011-12 looking like he wasn’t worth $2.66 million, never mind $6 million.

His win-loss totals were very similar in 2011-12, but if you’re the type of person that screams about wins and rings when defending a goaltender’s play, perhaps hockey isn’t your game. Maybe cheering on your child as he or she plays duck-duck-goose is more your speed. Or perhaps musical chairs would be easier for you to follow. But if you can’t see past the wins statistic, we shouldn’t be having this conversation.

Even with a 30-17-7 mark in Year 2, his other numbers fell off a cliff. Using the same criteria as earlier, his 2.72 GAA ranked him 25th in the NHL. His .903 save percentage ranked 27th. His .915 even-strength save percentage also ranked 27th. He was pulled from a start for ineffectiveness seven times. In a six-game first-round playoff loss to the Phoenix Coyotes, Crawford had a measly .893 save percentage and lost three games in overtime, the last two losses coming on goals that could be described as either terrible or really terrible. Read the rest of this entry »

2013 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Five

I’m not a Blackhawks fan.

People often assume I am. Sometimes I talk about hockey and they catch the accent, and, when I confirm my Chicagoan heritage, they congratulate me- the Haws are terrific; you’re so lucky. It’s a reasonable assumption: lady from Chicago, hockey enthusiast, how could she not be on that glorious bandwagon? But no, I’ve never been into the Hawks. My mom is, now, my dad and a few of my further relations. Me, though, it was Montreal where I was born again in hockey, and I (tragically, self-flagellatingly) bleed bleu-blanc-rouge. Sorry, man, just another Habs fan, nothing to see here. I’m sure my face falls as the unspoken revelation passes between us- if only I had gotten into hockey the natural way, in the place where I was born, I would have a Stanley Cup in my recent past. Two, now.

I try not to look disappointed, but I can’t hide it entirely. I should have been a Hawks fan. But I’m not, because when I lived in Chicago, the Hawks didn’t exist.

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2013 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Five

Hey, have you heard about Corey Crawford’s glove hand?

I hear it stinks. Repulsive. Benefits the Bruins shooters.

Come to think of it, Crawford himself is an atrocious goaltender. Probably the worst to play in a Stanley Cup Final since Roberto Luongo. Did you watch Game 4? Bruce Garrioch did. Obviously he showed off to Steve Yzerman and the Team Canada brass that he doesn’t have what it takes to play under pressure, and it all starts with that glove hand.

NBC got the memo, of course. Check out the graphic they put together during Game 5. Zdeno Chara’s goal in the fifth game of the series? Yet ANOTHER glove side goal. Can’t put anything past NBC, who flashed the graphic, and will presumably update it for Game 6. That’s NINE glove side goals allowed in this series. Can you believe it?

Actually… Read the rest of this entry »

2013 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Three

Mention that Jonathan Toews is playing poorly in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and an angry mob of advanced statistics people will march on your home carrying charts and graphs. Mention that Jonathan Toews is playing well in the postseason by pointing toward his Corsi and Fenwick numbers, and old sportswriters will roll their eyes and ask if you pay rent while living in your mom’s basement.

Trying to determine why in the heck a player as good as Toews has one goal in 20 playoff games is about as difficult juggling chainsaws with your feet, only instead of feet, you have stumps smothered in baby oil.

During the regular season, Toews was so good at the sport of hockey that he finished fourth in voting for the Hart Trophy. On the strength of a career-best (pro-rated) 23 goals and 48 points in 47 contests and excellent defensive game that won him the Selke Trophy, the captain of the Chicago Blackhawks also received the third-most first-place votes for the Hart.

The Blackhawks won the Presidents’ Trophy with 131.5 (again, pro-rated, obviously) points, which if you round up ties the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens for the most in a season. Sure, it happened over the course of 48 games so it doesn’t mean as much, but the Blackhawks put forth the NHL’s most dominant season in nearly four decades, and Toews was a major reason the Blackhawks brought hockey back the way Justin Timberlake brought sexy back in that neither brought anything back because it was already there. Read the rest of this entry »

Valtteri Filppula enjoys his last few moments with an intact ankle as Andrew Shaw plots his devious slewfoot.

Valtteri Filppula enjoys his last few moments with an intact ankle as Andrew Shaw plots his devious slewfoot.

For a move that’s worth a match penalty and so inherently dangerous, it’s amazing how often a slewfoot happens. What’s more amazing is how often players get away with it. Somehow the slewfoot is also one of the most-defended moves, with someone always willing to loudly claim it was just a hockey play, no matter how blatant. This year’s playoffs have already had their share of slewfoots (slewfeet?), all of which have somehow avoided anything more than a minor penalty.

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Chicago Blackhawks v Detroit Red Wings

Patrick Kane has done this before against the Detroit Red Wings, but today’s shootout winner was different, as came on the day the Blackhawks extended their season-opening point streak to an NHL record 22 games.

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Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane was the first player to score a goal this 2013 season.

GIF Via: thebloodyowl.com