Antti Raanta, Blackhawks Shutout Kings

Antti Raanta registered his first career NHL shutout and Brandon Saad’s first period goal held up as the game winner as the Blackhawks finished 2013 with a 1-0 win at the expense of the Los Angeles Kings.

Raanta stopped all 26 shots the Kings put on net to earn the victory and the game’s number one star, though the effort from the skaters in front of him was exceptional as well.

Duncan Keith had a phenomenal game. He skated only 21:44 in the game and was credited with one assist, one takeaway and two blocked shots, but his biggest play was a poke check on Kyle Clifford from behind on a breakaway in the third period. The assist was Keith’s 36th of the season, moving him into a tie with Sidney Crosby for second in the NHL.

Andrew Shaw also played a strong game. In only 13:02, Shaw was credited with a game-high nine hits, and he also won five of ten faceoffs. He was credited with three shots on goal but created a number of good scoring chances, and poked the puck loose to start the Saad scoring play in the first.

Saad’s 14th goal of the season is also his second game-winning tally, giving him 30 points through the season’s first 42 games. With USA hockey set to announce their roster for the 2014 Winter Olympics after the Winter Classic on Wednesday, he has made a strong push to be included on the roster.

The officials failed to give Jonathan Toews a penalty shot for the second consecutive game, but Chicago’s captain had a very good game against the best defensive team in the league. Toews won 16 of 24 faceoffs and was credited with one blocked shot and two takeaways in the victory.

Marcus Kruger had another good night at the dot, winning nine of 12 faceoffs and blocking two shots in the game. Kruger led Chicago forwards with 2:00 of short-handed ice time as the Blackhawks successfully killed both of LA’s power play chances in the game.

Patrick Kane was held pointless for the first time in December, ending a 14-game point streak.

Bryan Bickell once again skated the lowest ice time total on the roster, getting only 10:09 in the game. He was credited with the primary assist on Saad’s goal, however, and had two hits in 14 shifts.

The Hawks were out-hit 45-30 in the game, but matched the Kings’ physical play at both ends of the rink. In front of Raanta’s strong effort, the Hawks were credited with 13 blocked shots. Four Hawks – Keith, Kruger, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Ben Smith – were credited with two blocks each.

Chicago closes the calendar year at 28-7-7 (63 points) and in first place in the Central Division. They are 15-2-5 at home, and have won seven of their last ten games.

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44 Responses to Antti Raanta, Blackhawks Shutout Kings

  1. Peter says:

    I know this site is a Hawks site, but LA and St. Louis always have me question who their team captains are. I watch Brown and I just don’t get that he is “leading” that team. I would think Kopitar or Richards or even Carter before Brown as the leader. Backes is just a no talent a clown…Sorry had to get that off my chest.

    Great game by the Hawks and what a bounce back by Raanta too. The team D was fantastic, but Raanta took that Blues loss personally and he wanted to bounce back with a strong game and did that by shutting out the Kings. I thought the Kings goalie played well too. Good win and not a bad year for the Hawks!

  2. Mining Man says:

    Wow. Holy mackeral! That was the best game of the season…what a sustained concentrated total effort every second of the game. That was a game 6 playoff. It was a pure pleasure to watch. Best in a long while, since Game 6 against Boston. Fast, furious, hits, blocks, goaltending, everything. Sure is nice to get the shutout finally. What is with the captain and the refs? Does Toews have to endure three times as much as any other player just because he has the C., we are #1 and he’s a star? Great way to end the year. Me sooooo happy.

  3. Morrison says:

    You have to admit the refs have the jersey tuck settled. That’s Safety.

    When those dipsh-ts from wnnnnnnnnnnbc said postgame that the ref was the 1st star of the game, I just thought… oh my sh-t. That’s too much.

  4. Sr. Brad says:

    Another good hockey game to watch, and a total team effort by the Hawks…the key tonight? Obviously Raanta’s improved play, but ultimately it was the Hawks rolling 4 lines evenly for the first time in a while…great games by Toews, Saad, Shaw, Kruger and Smith…Bollig had his best game in a while…all the D, short of Oduya, looked very good, with a great effort from Keith…

    As Mike said earlier in the day, while Raanta has work to do with his game, his effort and performance thus far have been superb…just a great start to his career considering the circumstances…

    I think Toews is showing everyone that he is back to 100%…another great game by the Captain…Shaw continues to be a huge factor for the Hawks…his waived off goal, just missed being legal…9 hits, 3 shots on goal, some blocked shots, great defensive play…just an all around good hockey player… Look for CC to return to the net versus Jersey later this week…off to Long Island now…great first half Hawks!!!

  5. wall says:

    Brad- 52 did finally show up to play- he was actually in the picture a few times… he has been invisible!!! BUT- He should have gotten a Boarding call in last 2 minutes of game!!! Completely STUPID!!!

  6. RyanDale says:

    1 single ref used to do what 2 can’t do now, and thats my only comment on it.

    As good as the Hawks have been the last few years shutouts are still pretty rare and worth celebrating. So cheers to AR and the boys. The Keith play on the Clifford break was a thing of beauty, and frankly amazing he could pull that off cleanly. Stud.

    Lots of success at the dot tonight too, which wasnt the case 2 weeks ago, though we still throttled them defensively. Maybe nothing, maybe something, but 65 has played 4 games in a row where he’s been 50% or slightly better. 2gm was his max before StL(3)and now 4. If he could stay more consistent and get his avg closer to 50 than 40(43 now), he’s an even bigger part of our potential success. He was a force tonight all over the ice.

    Marcus is now just a machine when it comes to f/offs. I believe 6th in the league, besting Toews at 9th, and he is NHLs #1 at short handed draw win%.

    Great job of clamping down in the 3rd and just choking LA to their loss. We might be getting in their heads just a bit. We did well getting 5/6pts on a 3 in 4. Little rest and go get 2Ws in NY/NJ b2b

    52 can not, should not, make that hit on DD8

  7. RyanDale says:

    wall, you beat me to it, I dont like seeing our guys do that crap!

  8. Sr. Brad says:

    I don’t know guys…while Bollig’s hit was risky, late in the game, he caught Poughty cleanly with a good body check…just my opinion…

  9. ebonyraptor says:

    Superbly played game by both teams. LA is used to playing that type of game but the Hawks deserve a little extra shout out for sustaining the effort and discipline necessary to win a 1-0 game against a very good opponent.

    How about Raanta’s little cely when he skated out for 1st star – it’s so refreshing to see his unbridled excitement and happiness. What a character – seems like a real enjoyable guy.

    What a great year 2013 turned out to be. The Stanley Cup win in June and sitting atop the league again in December. Happy 2014 everyone. Go Hawks!

  10. Travis says:

    Loved it! We didn’t get many breaks at all- a post, a missed PS non-call, a waived goal, and still came out on top.

    We took LA’s best punch, got few breaks, and still won… with our starting goalie still out.

    That was a real gut check game. The boys paid a heavy price and got a big, big win. 5 points of 6 against that stiff competition in four days? I’ll happily take it, even if it could’ve easily been 6 of 6.

    LA freaking scares me. Excellent club. Let’s hope they meet Anaheim or San Jose in the first round!

  11. Phil says:

    An excellent game to watch. As mentioned above it felt like playoff hockey. The Hawks once again proved they are a team that can wear just about any hat you want to throw at them and make it look good. LA came out last night determined lay bodies and lumber on anything in red. What did the Kings get, 45 hits? The refs basically let em play last night, which was to LA’s advantage. Much of what they do borders on or over the interference line. Hawks just took the abuse, made passes, and moved on. It looked to me as though the Kings wearied somewhat late in the 3rd for 3 reasons. They expended so much energy earlier in the game trying to hit Hawks, extending their forecheck deep with 3 guys always coming in fast and hard to finish checks, and finally the Hawks sealed them off in their own end without much energy left to mount an attack up the ice. If LA had spent more time/effort trying to score goals as opposed to running Blackhawks they might have had a better result. Kudos to Raanta who stood tall when needed. He also gave few if any rebounds. Both keepers were very good. Kings have 3, count em, THREE excellent keepers.

    Team d by Hawks was very good. Hossa, Kane, Toews, Shaw, Sharp, Saad, Smith, Versteeg, Krugs, all back checked like demons. Hawks third and 4th lines played well last night. My complaint again goes to Bickell. Yes, he helped assist on the Saad goal, but his sheet otherwise was pretty much empty. His play looks for a lack of a better words, vacant, and well Byfuglienesque. Bicks really needs to pick it up. He took some big hits again last night similar to the Avs game Friday, where it seemed like he was being targeted. Bickell has to get his physical game up a big notch, and the rest should follow. If Bickell brought half the desire of guys like Shaw, Smith and Kruger he would be a star.

    While there were some comments about Bolligs hit on Doughty late, I saw that one in person with a great angle. Not boarding IMO, but a big shot nonetheless and one that registered, because the Hawks then kicked up their forecheck to a higher level helping finish off the win. I say Bollig’s play in the 3rd was a one of the big reasons the Hawks brought it home. Refs had more or less stopped calling penalties anyway. Johnny Toews had been badly manhandled earlier with no calls made. The no PS minor to Carter was ridiculous for what he did to the Cpt. The penalty shot calls this year are really arbitrary. What actually defines this? It is completely subjective. Similar to the BS calls made at Soldier Field Sunday. The refs should not affect the outcome of a game in any sport. Leave it to the players.

    Duncan Keith did an excellent post game interview on WGN last night for the drive home. Duncs has really matured and expresses himself very well. Never mind that his play on the ice this year has been lights out. The play he made on the Clifford breakaway was world class stuff.

    Peter I liked your comment about Brown and Backes wearing the C. There are other players on both teams that would better represent their crest than these cheapshot slubs.

    This was a real test long weekend group of 3 games for the Hawks. A little more intensity against the Blues would have yielded a sweep against 3 tough Western Conference opponents. While I am dismayed that we have lost 3 straight to the Blues, those could just have easily been wins. All of those losses were due to shaky goaltending, and a lack of concentration that led to Blues tying up games late. A playoff matchup against those guys would be fun to watch, but I would take the Hawks any day. Blues do not have our depth or team speed. Kings would be a tougher opponent, but they also lack team speed. The Avs present problems because they have great team speed and skill up front. At this point though, they don’t have the experience necessary to get out of the West. Sharks coming up is our next big test.

    Forget about the hiccup games. Hawks grade out with an A- in my book for the first half of this campaign. Staying healthy will be the key as we look to the Spring and the real season. Blackhawks will suffer the most of any team in the NHL due to Olympics. Q will I’m sure give guys the rest they need, even if it costs us a game here or there in the regular season. Let’s hope we can avoid nasty injuries and get to playoffs healthy. This team is a very good group.

    Happy New Year everyone! I appreciate all of the time people take to express their thoughtful opinions on this forum. Too many blogs are just full of blowhard BS with no real hockey discussion. It’s fun being here.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  12. Pete says:

    Anyone remember how people who post on this site criticized the Khaby signing as a waste of 2 million of salary cap space that the Hawks could use better elsewhere. We were lectured that Raanta wasn’t ready. Other than a bad game in Toronto and St Louis it looks like Raanta is ready and the 2 million was wasted on Khaby. Also am I mistaken or did Brookbank not play last night. I am sure it was just a coincidence that the Hawks got a shutout in his absence. Maybe sometimes the regular fans know more than the experts. GO HAWKS.

  13. Tim G says:

    So… the question on my mind after last night… what line does Saad play on in Sochi?

  14. RyanDale says:

    I’m not surprised we have differing opinions on 52s hit. Pat n Edzo thought he might have caught a break, while NBC thought it was fine. I didnt care for it for 2 reasons. One it was dumb given the situation and 2 it was potentially dangerous.

    Late in game, up 1 and 200 ft from your net is not the time to risk a penalty. Be smarter! also,DDs back was turned, 52 hit him square on the 8 driving him into boards. I dont like it when we receive them and I dont like to see us give them, that’s all. Glad 8 seemed ok.

    Why Q didnt sit him down afterwards might be the bigger story

  15. wall says:

    Phil- how can you say the Blues have no depth? Blues/ (Ducks 2nd) – the toughest matchup for Hawks (and this New PO format is bad)… Blues were missing two of their Best scorers/players and others… and still came back from 2 goal deficits… they are undefeated vs. Hawks this year… Blues have figured out- don’t hit the Hawks… that will just open up ice for the “left over” skaters… 2nd- Blues just win more board battles/cuz they are bigger/ 3rd get lots of traffic to net/and win that battle.

    Let’s be honest- Kings own Blues – Hawks own Kings- Blues have Hawks #… Matchups/styles/systems… all play into it! Not predicting Blues win in PO’s… just saying I wouldn’t be surprised if Blues won… still a lot can happen between now and May/June!

  16. AJ says:

    The Blues don’t have depth the way the same way the Hawks do. They have that top line that can score and that Russian who is hit or miss. Then everyone else is pretty average.

    Whilst a team like Chicago has Hossa, Kane, Sharp and Toews who can take over games STL really doesn’t have any game breakers. Kind of a big deal in the playoffs. Depth in that sense is incomparable.

    The Ducks are seriously not that good. Again a solid regular season team because they play a structured defense and have a killer top line. Other than that their blue line is suspect against a fast team with depth (like the Hawks) and they have squat after their big guns.

    Getting so sick of STL and the Ducks being pimped by everyone. San Jose and Vancouver are both more dangerous (if healthy). Especially Vancouver since they seem interested in playing defense this year.

  17. Morrison says:

    ‘My complaint again goes to Bickell. Yes, he helped assist on the Saad goal, but his sheet otherwise was pretty much empty. His play looks for a lack of a better words, vacant, and well Byfuglienesque. Bicks really needs to pick it up. He took some big hits again last night similar to the Avs game Friday, where it seemed like he was being targeted. Bickell has to get his physical game up a big notch, and the rest should follow.’

    Phil, the good thing is maybe/it will wake up the angry giant.

  18. AJ says:

    In defense of Bickell… this is who he has always been (gentle giant until playoffs) but he has also been fighting the injury bug and is what 6 months removed from a major knee injury?

  19. wall says:

    RE: Bicks- The guy does seem to be grimacing a lot out there… perhaps the smart thing to do- is give him another 2 weeks off (and don’t know if that will help- perhaps he needs another minor surgery- but is trying to wait for the summer?)… he doesn’t seem right…

    same can be said to Crow… Rants has done fine… don’t rush him back… make sure he is 100% + healed… Goalie injuries/like pitchers- seem to re-occur…

  20. Pete says:

    I refuse to believe that St. Louis is better than the Hawks. The refs kept them in the game on Saturday and they got lucky. It was their first sellout of the year and they were missing players. Did the refs give them a little help. I’m not saying, I’m just saying. The only team that IMO can beat the Hawks in the playoffs is Anaheim, and they are in the other division. So the new format helps us.

  21. Phil says:

    RD, I see exactly what you are saying regarding the Bollig check on Doughty and in a close game one never knows what the zebras are going to call. My impression of this check sitting at the UC was that it really brought the crowd into a tense game. The Hawks seemed feed on that energy and turn on the pressure to close out the game. I think Q played Bollig and 4th line more especially late in the 3rd as a reward for bottling up the Kings in their own end. I like that Q shows confidence not only with the 3rd line, but the 4th line is some key situations. That illustrates the balance this team has. Bollig had kind of slumped in recent weeks. Maybe this was Q’s way of rewarding him for playing a more physical game. Think how much ice time Bickell will get if he starts hitting! The key with physical play is to avoid going to the box.

  22. Phil says:

    Wall, as to your comments about Blues I will stand by my opinion that the Blues are not as deep as the Hawks. I do respect that St Louis has changed their tactics somewhat when they play us. The torpedo squad has been less visible thus far. Yes, they go to the net and counter attack to score goals. No way in hell though do they match up with our 3rd and 4th lines as they stand now. I am aware they played with a few of their guys hurt Saturday night. Good for them. The Blues didn’t give up when down 3 times with 2 goal deficits. Hawks didn’t put the hammer down and close out, just like the other 2 games. I respect some of the Blues players and loathe many others. I can give you a list of the guys I like and dislike, but I think most attentive fans would know where that stacks up. Would be happy to see a Hawks Cup run go through St Louis, not just because I think we beat them, but because it is ALWAYS easy to get tickets there. I find it strange that if Blues fans are so passionate, why they can’t sell out their arena unless they play the Hawks????

  23. Mike says:

    Great effort by the Hawks particularly the last 6 minutes. Although the Hawks allowed 26 shots, most were of the easy variety and the Hawks did what they needed to do. Play strong in front of their rookie (and tired) goalie. My favorite thing about last night is, while the Hawks basically played an “LA” style game and won.

    Many comments about 16 and 28’s strong game. Both would be playing on lines 2 or 3 on many clubs. I have been a Smith fan since the beginning. It just seem like 16 and 28 know why they are out there. My problem is with 52. I praised Bollig after 10 or 15 games as a matured player. But now I do not see his purpose. He is holding 16 and 28 back severely. On offense 16 and 28 create a strong 2 man cycle with Bollig generally out of position. I hate to say it but I think I would rather have Brookbank there. Better yet, it is a great time to bring up Morin or Ross.

    If Bicks rights the ship and Bollig is replaced on the 4th line the Hawks would be almost unstoppable on offense. If Rosy and BB continue to play well on defense the goals against will go down. Winter break will be good for Rosy, Oduya and Leddy.

    Lastly, the Captain scares me a little. Not his play but he is just putting himself in positions that get him pounded. He is a guy who could use a winter break, but we know that’s not happening. If fear that Toews is gonna be spent by the time he is 33.

  24. Pete says:

    I thought Foley said that St. Louis had just increased ticket prices. They needed to win the game on Saturday for fan support reasons.

  25. AJ says:

    Bickell doesn’t need more time off he just needs games. More of a timing / confidence thing. Coming back from injury is very difficult, especially when you’re not an elite player.

    It doesn’t totally absolve mediocre play but is a valid reason for being off his game. Hossa is kind of an exception to the rule.

    I would expect to see a normalized Bickell sometime after the Olympic break and probably closer to March.

  26. JS says:

    Roszival’s hit on Clifford in the first period was a penalty and it’s suspension worthy. It’s a good thing Clifford doesn’t have a brain so it’s impossible for him to get a concussion.

    If Bollig hit Doughty like that in the first period of a 0-0 game, he’s going to the box. It was a dangerous and dumb hit.

    Pete- I’m glad you like to gamble, but Stan Bowman is paid to put his team in the best position possible to win Stanley Cups. Khabibulin had a really good season last year and could have been trusted in a back up role. Raanta was new to North American ice and was a complete wildcard as to how he would adapt to play here. It’s great that Raanta has played so well, but that doesn’t mean he should have been the back up from game 1. Khabibulin was a smart signing by Bowman, regardless of what Raanta has done.

    Ok, moving on.

    Bollig had a decent game, finally. I still can’t help but think of how much better that 4th line would be with a possession driver. Bollig has shown a lot of improvement as a player, but he’s still holding back Smith and Kruger.

    Handzus- I’m getting sick of seeing him. He can’t even win faceoffs anymore and he’s a possession nightmare. He can’t beat anyone to a loose puck even if he has a 10 foot head start. Again, a complete waste of Kane’s talent.

    I would really like to see the Hawks try shorter passes against teams like the Blues/Kings. Even more so against the Blues, since they’ve learned to not just run at everyone and stay in passing lanes to make the outlets more challenging. Q needs to make his forwards stay deeper and move up the ice together. We can all assume that Q knows this and is just waiting to deploy it for the playoffs.

    Anaheim? No. Even LA will struggle to make it to the WCF unless they fire Daryl or make a trade. I fully expect Vancouver or San Jose to come out of that division. Although, with Hertl’s injury that really hurts San Jose.

    Also, with how good Kruger’s been on draws, why does Smith take so many?

  27. Phil says:

    I don’t know JS about the Rozy hit on Clifford. Suspension??? Looked just like the shot he gave to Roussel in the Stars game last month, but since I was at the game I did not have the benefit of viewing a replay such as it is at the replay deficient UC NHL viewing experience. It looked to me like Clifford had his head down coming out of his zone and Rozy just stood him up. Not as though this would be something the Kings weren’t trying to do all night to Hawks players. You give, you get. Refs forgot they had whistles last night anyway. Clifford qualifies as an honorary Knucklehead in my book.

  28. Phil says:

    US vs Canada on NHL Network right now. Good game in the 1st

  29. Joey Zamboni says:

    A well played game by both teams last night. LA really kept the Hawks in check (pun intended) all night, but the Hawks stayed patient & did not get frustrated which is huge in my humble opinion.

    As for the STL game, did anyone else notice how much faster the Hawks looked at the beginning of the 3rd period? STL looked worn out & when the Hawks went up by 2 I thought – uh-oh the Hawks are gonna lay back now, which they did & it cost them. I think they learn from this & realize they need to keep the pedal down!

    I hate conspiracy theories & all that but “Really”!?!?!?! How does 19 not get a penalty shot??? Especially when Brown got one (deservedly so)…..????

    It does appear that there is some sort of bias against 19 & the Hawks in general…… It’s frustrating to see 19 getting mugged & worked over while Sid is protected……

    Probably just my senility coming through after all the head shots I’ve taken over the years……

    Happy New Year to all the “Feathered Faithful”!!

  30. JS says:

    I thought the principal point of contact was Clifford’s jaw. Rozi kind of came across his body to clip his chin. If there was an injury on the play, I’m sure Shanahan would be on the phone.

    It was certainly a “loosely” called game last night.

  31. Sr. Brad says:

    First, the only reason Bickell isn’t on the 4th line right now, is that he is making $4 million a year…so Q has some sympathies for both Bowman and Bickell…Bryan may very well be a regular season “gentle giant” but has got to change…I watched game 6 of the finals again last weekend, and I simply can’t believe THIS Bickell is the same guy from that game…

    JS…Smith is taking a lot of draws right now because, one, he is good at them, and two, Q is grooming ANOTHER guy who can be put out on the ice late, that can come in and win a draw if the Centre gets booted out of the circle…its a smart move by Q…

    JS…agree with Handzus…can you imagine what Kane and Versteeg might be producing now with a real centre? Even Zus’ F/O’s have taken a dip this season…having said that, he provides excellent depth come playoff time…but what he is doing playing night in and night out is anybodies guess…

    JS…agree with the Khabby comment…he was a good signing at the time…but he’s no longer needed…its Raanta time…

    Phil, I agree with you on Bollig’s hit…it totally energized the crowd and thus the team…it really deflated the King’s and they had no answer for the final 3 minutes…however, I totally get what Ryan and others are saying about the location and timing of the hit…that might have been called a penalty and then becomes a bone head play…

    Lots of great comments guys, but I am surprised that there’s not more love for Shaw…I know he’s very well respected here, but Shawsy’s play is top shelf right now…if it weren’t for superstar play from Toews, Sharp, Kane and Keith…Shaw’s play would be the “best” on many teams right now…and this is exactly why the Blues will never beat the Hawks in a 7 game series…the Blues are a very good team, but they are NOT a great team…I think the Kings can be a great team…the Bruins were last year, but they are NOT this year…there just really aren’t any teams that can run with the Hawks…

  32. Phil says:

    Sr Brad, my love for Shaw goes without saying. You can love someone without telling them all the time right?? Shaw is my favorite guy on this team because watching him play is inspiring. This is especially true when you get to see lots of games live as I do. One can focus on a single player at times and get a real feel for what they can or can’t bring to a team. I love doing this with Shaw. Call him fearless, reckless, crazy, or check all of the above. This is a guy that really loves his job. I loved watching him jawbone with Brown last night and anyone else on the Kings. Shaw’s gig is “so what have you got?”Every game, its I’m here and I’m not going away. He has kind of replaced Bolland in some ways, although I miss Bolly.

    The only Hawks player shirt I have is a Shaw 65.

  33. JS says:

    Brad- I get what you are saying about Smith and faceoffs… but knowing that he’s so good at them why did Q send Shaw out for a defensive zone draw after a TV timeout against St. Louis? The Hawks now have 6 + faceoff men suited up every game. The only one who isn’t? Andrew Shaw. I bring up that faceoff because it led to the Blues 4th goal. Why not send Shaw/Kruger/Saad out and have Kruger swap with Bickell after he wins the draw?

    Saad has an outside chance at 30 goals while playing bottom 6 minutes. Now imagine if he was playing with Toews and Hossa again. Officially worried about the money he is going to want.

  34. AJ says:

    Do Saad and Hammer have the same agent?

  35. Sr. Brad says:

    Thanks Phil…awesome post…my jerseys are Toews and I got a Shaw jersey last season…both home jerseys…

    JS…I love that idea with Freddy Kruger as we get deeper into the season and playoffs…Kruger is becoming a VERY valuable Hawk…and at the half way point of this season, how good are the contracts Bowman signed Hammer and Kruger to, looking now??? Bickell’s not so great, but as I said earlier, with Bicks you have to wait until the end of the year to evaluate his worth…

    Saad is a stud and IMO should be on the 2nd line with Kaner…I would have Versteeg centre Kane and Saad, and give Morin a chance to play with Shaw and Bickell on the 3rd line…Handzus could simply rotate guys out of the lineup to stay fresh…

    If Saad had stayed on the top line with Toews and Hossa, it would be Saad who would be over 20 goals at this point…and the kid is only going to get BETTER! That’s the thing about Raanta…with how BAD he is with is net positioning, how GOOD will he become when he learns to master his crease???

  36. Sr. Brad says:

    And as for Saad’s contract, that’s probably the ONLY reason he is not skating top 6 minutes…we couldn’t afford him in the aftermath…the bottom line is that we MUST resign Saad and Bowman will…he’s not going anywhere…neither is Shaw…and even with all the youth coming from the farm system, I want us to keep Steeger for 2 more years as well…this is Championship depth…

  37. Sr. Brad says:

    I love it AJ…I hope its either Hammer’s or Freddy Kruger’s agent…

  38. Morrison says:

    JS, maybe 16 backhand (28 forehand) on faceoffs. In game practice for 28…

    Coach Q has been talking (in the open) about trying a few lines. Do you think he could be going to…

    10-19-81
    20-23-88
    29-26-65
    ??-16-28

    Can Versteeg take faceoffs.

    (Brad, you beat me to it.)

  39. Sr. Brad says:

    Steeger is a 48-50% F/O man…he would be fine…

  40. RyanDale says:

    29 is not right, and I’m not gonna try and guess as to his health status. If he’s hurting then sit him out. If it’s just a case of finding his timing or game legs give him time . Who really knows? It seems one minute he looks tentative, next shift he’s trying to do too much. He’s pressing, that I’m pretty sure of, why he is, is the 4m dollar question.

    And for the record, I hate the Olympic break more every time it comes around.

    36 DAYS between games at the UC!! it’s asinine

  41. noonan96 says:

    Saw the last half of the Finland-Switzerland game and T.T. was worth the watch. I know he’s playing against junior aged players (although the best in the world under 20) but he really stood out. He won about six face offs in a row and really payed attention to his defensive responsibilities.
    He made a move very close to the blue-line with another player trying to get the puck, to stay onside that perhaps only one other guy in the NHL could make. (Kane) The move was sick. It will be fun to see them both on the same team but if they’re on he ice at the same time one puck might not be enough.

  42. wall says:

    JS- seems like Smith is getting more Right circle FO’s and 16 left (guessing they want puck to squirt away from net…) or perhaps Hawks have stats on right vs lefty or something… I am not sure- but I am betting that Hawks have some sort of advanced stat- for rhyme and reason-

    TT- Really will add a lot of options next year. TT w/ 23/88 – small but skate and shake and pass w/ any line in NHL. TT w/ 10/88 might be best w/ two world class finishers!
    Or- TT on 3rd vs. lesser comp- and 20/65 (don’t know if they could keep up w/ TT’s creativity)

    Lastly- support TT w/ 10/81- might be best! Hoss D + IQ and 10 – sniping/skating.

    Hino on a 3rd line w/ 65/23 would be a fun line to watch (2 years from now)

  43. Gou says:

    Love reading the excellent banter here.
    Teams may win a game or two vs. Reddsteel in a series, but they won’t beat this team in a series.
    Too much depth, experience, and the ability to play any style of hockey on any given shift.

  44. wihawkfan says:

    dustin brown checked shaw early in the game. hard hit. i think it backfired on brown.

    instead of intimidating shaw it motivated him.

    shaw decided to give some back every chance he got.

    how many hits did he have? blackhawks website says 9!! next closest hawks are seabrook and rosival with 4 each.

    i saw at least one where he was looking for brown, and got him.

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