I don’t usually write about my own incidents, but some people would like me to expand on a photo that I retweeted on Twitter involving a sensitive issue to many. I also felt that it would be appropriate to expand on the explanation I offered when this occurred.

Two days ago, after a Blackhawks game, there was a minor uproar from a small cluster of exceedingly sensitive people on a photo that I posted from a friend, who had retweeted it. Yes, I was the third party involved but that is beside the point.

The photo in question is below.

For those not involved in this convoluted situation you probably would like to know what transpired. Well, let me break it down for you.

1)      I was going crazy after yet another Blackhawks win as per usual (clearly headed for Twitter jail, again)

2)      Soon after, a friend posts this Peanuts cartoon

3)      I immediately retweeted the photo and then put it on my Facebook account.

4)      At this point, a surplus of people reposted the photo and had a  good chuckle from it and not one single complaint about it. Why would there be?

5)      Alas, a sensitive, flamboyant attention seeker decided to point out there is a word used in that cartoon that I didn’t think twice about and neither did any of the others that enjoyed the initial hilarity of the comic created by an unknown author. Then, a small handful of his groupies decided to call me out on being homophobic. Yep, can you believe that? I guess I’d better let my gay friends know immediately.

Moving on, the only thing that irked me a bit was about this asinine move was that this guy had the capability to speak to me in private on the matter and let me know his feelings about the cartoon and talk like a real man. Instead, he attacked openly, immediately blocked all means of communication between us and ran off like a little puppy with his tail tucked between his legs. Grow up, kid.

I received a countless number of direct messages on Twitter/Facebook about this certain individual and some of the atrocious things he has done or said to them.  The hypocrisy of this person is laughable if it weren’t so unbelievably sad but I will be the better man and not stoop to calling him out publicly.

After that a few of his boisterous friends did the same thing. They came attacking rather than talking in some sort of adult manner. Instead they bellowed and blustered, telling me how I should think and what I should do. Everyone loves that, eh? Funny thing is,  I have known these people for years and they know my character. I was then subtweeted repeatedly on numerous accounts, totally vilifying me. Not one of these people even tried to have a conversation. They simply went into attack and bash mode. Explain to me how they expect that behavior to “teach a lesson”. What could have been a moment of clarification for all involved, devolved into a moment of ugliness and angry words, on both sides of the issue.  Many friends sent messages in private supporting me yet sadly, they were afraid to speak out publically. Afraid of being viciously attacked by little group of big mouths.

Was there intent by me for posting that cartoon? Damn rights there was and it was to share something that I looked at quickly and thought it was funny. I wanted to share it with other Blackhawks fans. Was it a malicious intent? A hurtful intent? Absolutely not.

Should I have thought before I acted so quickly reposting about the wording of that cartoon? Yes, and I sincerely apologize to any of those I have offended.

Interestingly enough, I had a discussion with @GayCanuck on Twitter who was initially upset with the post, however, we spoke like gentleman and we came to an understanding like adults. Interesting how someone directly involved in the matter understands my sincerity over people who are supporting the cause.

People are wondering what my stance is on this issue.

My stance is, I don’t support it nor do I frown upon it. I stay out of the entire issue altogether and just treat people how I always have, equally and fairly.

I don’t tell people what to think or what they should do as my beliefs are everyone has their right to have their own thoughts and beliefs. Those are my PERSONAL thoughts and I do not push those on anyone like we see so many do.

In ending, again, I apologize for those that I unintentionally offended on this situation and I hope you can accept my apology.

For those who cannot accept my apology, I bid you adieu.

I’m sure people will find something to pick apart on this blog and then go into their little private messaging again to amuse themselves. If that’s what they like to do, so be it.

Now I’m going to go back to being myself on social media platforms.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. If anyone would like to further discuss this issue as adults, you  can speak your mind in the comment section below. Much easier rather than being limited on Twitter :)

GO BLACKHAWKS!

TK0N

 

Coming off back to back scoring titles by Henrik and Daniel respectively in the last two years in the NHL, the Sedin’s scoring has dropped off quite a bit. Let’s take a look at the past three years of their scoring statistics.

2011/2012

  • Henrik Sedin 74 games played and 72 points
  • Daniel Sedin 72 games played and 67 points

2010/2011

  • Daniel Sedin 82 games played and 104 points
  • Henrik Sedin 82 games played and 92 points

2009/2010

  • Henrik Sedin 82 games played 112 points
  • Daniel Sedin 63 games played 85 points

One can’t deny the two 31 year old Swedish players skill levels but have they reached their peak in regards to scoring? They are past their prime now and it’s interesting to think what happens when both of these players’ contracts run out in a couple years. Hard to imagine them being second liners in the very near future, isn’t it?

Some will blame it on a long run to the Stanley Cup finals last year where they lost in seven games to the Boston Bruins and some will just say it’s an off year.

The lame excuse of a Stanley Cup hangover is a joke, ask Detroit, Edmonton, Pittsburgh and the New York Islanders who have won back to back championships in the past. Sure, the Canucks did not win but they played the same amount of games as Boston did. Did fans of the Blackhawks use that hangover excuse the season after they won the cup? Most realistic Hawks fans didn’t but the media sure did. The reason the Blackhawks did not have a good season is because they were not a good team.

Without getting too far off topic, it makes Canucks fans realize what a short window they have to lift Lord Stanley before they start to decline in talent and have to start somewhat of a youth movement. Interestingly enough, the trade that sent Cody Hodgson to Buffalo was surprising as “Coho” was a future first liner on this team, without a doubt.

I guess we will see what happens in Vancouver, the Sedin’s are not old but they’re not young either. Perhaps they light the league up again next season, who knows.

Thanks for reading,

TK0N

 

As the 2011-12 NHL regular season winds down, people have begun to talk, as they always do, about the awards race and which player on their favorite team deserves this, that, or the other award.  It’s great fun.

One of those awards, as we all know, is the Norris Trophy, which is given to the “defensive player who throughout the season demonstrates the best all-around ability at the position.”  It’s one of the most interesting awards of the season, not because it almost always goes to Nicklas Lidstrom, but because there’s always an interesting case to be made for any of the three nominees for the award.

This season, almost everyone north of the border feels as though Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson, who has 71 points in 71 games as of this writing, should win the award.  The Ottawa beat writers and fans are beating the smooth skating Swede’s ridiculous point totals into everyone’s head on Twitter, on their blogs, and in their columns.  While doing this, however, they conveniently leave out the fact that Karlsson only averages 30 seconds of shorthanded ice time per game, which means that his own coach doesn’t even think he’s good defensively.  But, yeah, he should win the Norris.  Oookay.

But this isn’t a piece to bash Karlsson.  Because he is a fantastic offensive player in his own right, despite his other shortcomings.  Nor is it to laud who should win the award.  Rather, it’s to ask a simple question.

Where is the love for Alex Pietrangelo?

Outside of Karlsson, there are three other defensemen who are in the conversation for the Norris according to popular conversation: Boston’s Zdeno Chara, Nashville’s Shea Weber, and Lidstrom, who has won the award seven (!) times in the last ten seasons.  It should be noted, however, that Lidstrom has missed much of the last month because of an ankle injury.  Nevertheless, almost nowhere will you find a mention of Pietrangelo’s name anywhere near the conversation for the award.

That’s ridiculous.

Consider this: among the 105 defensemen who have played 60 or more games this season, Pietrangelo is seventh among them in even strength Corsi rating with a 12.67, according to the website BehindtheNet.ca (BTN).  That means that for every 60 minutes that Pietrangelo is on the ice, the Blues direct 12.67 more shots at their opponent’s net than their opponents do at theirs.  Two of the players above him on the list, Ian White and Johnny Boychuk, have spent much of their seasons skating with Lidstrom and Chara, respectively, which certainly boosts their numbers; Chara leads NHL defensemen in Corsi at 18.74 and Lidstrom is fourth at 14.25.  Karlsson is one spot behind Pietrangelo at 11.98, while Weber is far down the list at -1.43.

In addition, Pietrangelo is fifth in the NHL among defensemen in goals against per 60 minutes, at 1.55, according to BTN.  That stat isn’t hard to figure out – for every 60 minutes that he is on the ice, the Blues only allow an average of 1.55 goals.  Karlsson’s stands at 2.43, Chara’s at 2.30, Weber’s at 2.12, and Lidstrom’s at 1.71.  Granted, the Blues have four of the top five defensemen in this category partially because of their great goaltending, but it’s not like Weber, Lidstrom, and Chara have slouches in the net.  Karlsson’s, by far the highest, can be blamed more on goaltending, but the message remains clear: Pietrangelo keeps the puck out of his own net.

Pietrangelo does both of these things while facing tougher competition at even strength than all but one of the six players in front of him in terms of Corsi rating, with that one player being Lidstrom, according to BTN.  Moreover, he faces the toughest competition among defensemen on his own team, which means that he is putting up that level of puck possession against the other team’s top line every game.  In the modern NHL, that requires speed and the ability to possess the puck, Pietrangelo is one of the best.

Even if you do not believe in advanced metrics, Pietrangelo is elite by more traditional statistics as well.  He is fifth in the NHL among blue liners with 43 points (more than Lidstrom, Weber, or Chara), and tied for third with 11 goals (more than Lidstrom or Chara).  He has 21 power play points, third among defensemen (and more than Lidstrom, Weber, or Chara), on an average Blues power play that converts only 16.7% of the time, 15th in the NHL.

Furthermore, and unlike Karlsson, Pietrangelo kills penalties.  As I mentioned before, Karlsson only sees an average of 32 seconds of shorthanded ice time per game, which is last on his team among defensemen who have played more than three games and 207th in the NHL among defensemen that have played more than three games.  Roll that around in your head for a second.  Pietrangelo, meanwhile, is second on the Blues and 20th overall in the NHL among defensemen in shorthanded ice time, skating 3:10 a night on a St. Louis penalty kill that is seventh in the league at 84.8%.  That 3:10 of PK time per night also has Chara (2.46), Lidstrom (1:54), and Weber (2:21) beaten.

Oh, and by the way: as of this writing, the Blues lead the NHL in standings points.

When you add all of this up, it is unfathomable to me that a player as well rounded as Pietrangelo has possibly managed to fly as far under the radar as he has this year.  Maybe it’s the masterful job Ken Hitchcock has done in St. Louis that has upstaged him, but other than that, I can’t understand it.  He’s been a top-five defenseman in the NHL this season, and he turned 22 in January.  It’s remarkable.

All of that being said, I am not saying he deserves the Norris this year, or even a nomination.  Things could obviously change.  But considering the well-rounded nature of his traditional and advanced statistics, especially when comparing him to what most believe to be the competition for the award and the NHL’s elite puck possessors at his position, I don’t see how you can’t give him a long, hard look.

Harry Hawkings is a college student who blogs for three NHL sites.  Follow him on Twitter here.

 

This is a broad look at the playoff picture with just over twenty games to be played by each team. There is still much hockey to be played but let’s dream while we can. So here is an overview of where teams currently stand and which teams I think will be the eight in the playoffs come April.

As of Sunday night, divisional leaders are the league leading Detroit Redwings(84), Vancouver Canucks(82), and San Jose Sharks(69). Similar to the Eastern Conference, there is one division leading the rest. The Central Division commands the 4th through 6th seeds, all of currently surpass the Sharks in points. The St Louis Blues, sitting in 4th with 79 points, were just recently rated by the players as the most underrated team in the league. Players Poll here. Nashville(74) and Chicago(71), who have not been great as of late, are still staying ahead of the surging Coyotes(67). Calgary(65) is sitting in 8th is just above four teams: LA Kings(65), Dallas Stars(62), Colorado Avalanche(62), and Minnesota Wild(61). The Ducks have also managed to make themselves slightly relevant over the past twenty games, climbing to within five points of the playoffs. Since this is a playoff discussion, the one and only time Edmonton and Columbus will be mentioned is in this sentence, stating that they will not make the playoffs.

Detroit has been unstoppable at home this year. 26-2-1 over the season at home and currently on a record setting twenty-three game streak. Away from their dome, the Redwings are much more mediocre, 15-15-1. For the love of everyone outside of Detroit, someone (yes, all of us in Central) needs to go on a huge hot streak so that the old guys in red have to travel away from Michigan to play their games. But otherwise, short of a few of their guys dying of old age, Detroit is a lock for their 21st consecutive post-season trip.

Vancouver is 8-0-2 in their last ten. Bobby Lou is playing well recently, which contributes to their battle against Detroit for the lead. They have no worries about seeing games in mid-April with Calgary, who is 17 points behind, is the 2nd team in the Northwest Division. Hawks fan’s need not worry about this team to the north, as Bobby Lou will fail as usual.

Swimming along in mediocrity, the Sharks are third in the conference only because Phoenix had a rough beginning part of the season. They are a good team but can’t seem to put together consistency this season. The red-hot Coyotes are surging along and will overcome San Jose by the end of the season. The only question is whether they can keep the lead over the Sharks once they take it. My guess is no and the Sharks will remain in 3rd.

The Blues will see the playoffs this year and most likely have a first round home advantage in the playoffs. As the most underrated team, they are a strong, defensively focused team that has improved on their scoring from last year. The Blues have the lowest GAA in the league and will rely on that strategy to pull them all the way through. To make any headway through the playoffs however, they will need to step up their scoring just a little bit.

Nashville is playing great, but not wonderful. They are holding onto 5th and will make it into the playoffs. Their scoring is slightly better than the Blues, but they allow many more goals against. Surprisingly, the Predators, with one of the best goalies, Rinne, and their highly touted defensemen have let in more goals than Phoenix. Their pickup, Hal Gill, will improve their defense and their PK. They could hang onto 5th but more likely end up at 6th.

The Blackhawks should regain their early season form and climb the rankings once again to overtake Nashville. The Hawks only downfall is their lack of depth on defense. After taking a 9 game losing streak, they have won three straight. Things that I have seen are an increased willingness to block shots, an improved PK which has been great over the past 4 or 5 games and not letting in any while shorthanded, but Chicago still cannot seem to score with the man advantage. If they don’t correct that soon, they will have a very tough time advancing in the playoffs.

This leaves us with our 7th and 8th seeds. Currently occupying those spots are Phoenix and Calgary. A quick reminder to who is sitting right underneath them; LA Kings, Dallas Stars, Colorado Avalanche, Minnesota Wild, and Anaheim Ducks. With information from the Stars that they traded Nicklas Grossman and Starstud’s article on how the Stars will be selling over the next week, you have to think if they have given up already, despite being just 3 points behind. With the trade deadline looming in just over a week and so many teams still in the hunt for a playoff spot, which other teams are going to toss in their hat this season and continue to build for the future. I see the Avalanche and the Wild joining the Stars as sellers over this next week. Anaheim will continue to make a run for it as well as the Kings.
Now, as far as which of the four teams will make those last two spots; Phoenix will not, as they were hot too early and will stop just short in the end, LA Kings will find some scoring over the next few weeks and pick it up to end up in 7th. Can Anaheim climb a 5 point deficit over Calgary with 24 games to go? Yes, and they will have made a run from 14th spot to 8th to let Teemu Selanne have one last chance at the cup. Unfortunately for them, they will be playing the Red Wings in Detroit.

Here are the playoff standings to where I see them sitting come April.
1. Detroit: 116
2. Vancouver: 114
3. San Jose: 99
4. St Louis: 111
5. Chicago: 103
6. Nashville: 99
7. LA Kings: 96
8. Anaheim: 95

 

Interesting question to say the least, but with a recent “tweet” from one of the Blackhawks long time beat writers, Tim Sassone saying TSN’s Darren Dreger mentioned that Stan Bowman is looking for a goaltender, well, this might be the case.

One would find it odd that Stan Bowman would come out publicly stating that he is looking for a goaltender which would clearly rip the poise right out of Crawford and Emery or whatever is left of that confidence that either of them still have. Let it be known though, Bowman did not clarify if he was searching for a depth goaltender to perhaps send to Rockford considering the Blackhawks are not deep in that area or if he’s searching for a new starter or back up for the current NHL roster.

Crawford, 27, is coming off an incredible year in 2010/2011 posting impressive numbers and eventually dethroning Marty Turco of the starting goaltender position in Chicago and played very well in the first round of last year’s playoffs against the Vancouver Canucks. Corey stole a lot of games for the Blackhawks last season who were just as defensively inept as they are currently in 2011/2012. This is not the case currently, while Crawford has been spectacular at times he has also not been the goaltender Blackhawks players, fans and media have been accustomed to seeing from last season.

Blackhawks fans, a lot of them, are all over Corey Crawford and are pleading for a goaltending change via trade and one can understand their frustration since Chicago is currently on a 6 game losing slide and this often happens with any team struggling. Hopefully these fans realize it’s not entirely on the Blackhawks goaltending but the entire team defence as a whole.

It is obvious that Crawford has lost his confidence, to a certain extent, simply by comparing his reactions from last season in which nothing bothered him and showed very little emotion, to this year where he is swinging sticks and getting involved in goal mouth scrums etc.

This is Crawford’s first full season as a clear cut number one goaltender so the pressure may have affected him but he needs to fight through it if that is the case. Corey doesn’t even have 100 NHL games under his belt yet so he’s definitely not a seasoned goaltender so perhaps he will come into his own soon.

It could be that Crawford is having a comparable type downfall as Detroit Redwings Jimmy Howard had last season and yet this season he’s having a Vezina type year. Howard did accomplish 37 wins last season but he was very unpredictable and unstable in goal on many occasions. Blackhawks fans can only hope that is the case and Crawford will bounce back and not turn out like once promising Columbus BlueJackets goaltender Steve Mason who looks like he’s on his way out of the NHL sooner than later. Goaltenders are touch and go and even the best have a bad season, for example, Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller was regarded as one of and if not the best in the National Hockey League and is currently having a sub-par season.

  • Do the Blackhawks trade Crawford or Emery?
  • Are the Blackhawks even shopping a goaltender and perhaps just looking for more depth in the organization at that position?

These are just a couple questions of probably hundreds that are more than likely running through the minds of Blackhawks fans after finding out Darren Dreger mentioned Bowman is looking for a goaltender.

With the trade deadline forthcoming combined with recent struggles in Chicago is creating a lot of havoc amongst Blackhawks followers. Of course, this is always an on edge time for all NHL teams at this time of the year.

It’s going to be “fun”.

Thanks for reading as always,

TK0N

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