Hawks v. Bruins Game One

Tonight is the start of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks. The Bruins and the Hawks have proven that you can win with speed and physical play along with stellar goaltending i.e Corey Crawford and Tuuka Rask. The Bruins beat the Toronto Maple Leafs (4-3), Rangers (4-1) and the Penguins (4-0), to reach the Finals, while the Hawks have beaten the Minnesota Wild (4-1), Red Wings (4-3) and LA (4-1).

Boston Bruins: The Bruins are riding high after sweeping the Pittsburgh Penguins to get to the Stanley Cup Finals. Tuuka Rask has been superb in net making big saves and controlling rebounds. Rask leads the playoffs with a 94 save percentage, and is second behind Crawford with a 1.75 goals against average. The forward core of the Bruins have been lighting the lamp at an all time high especially from David Krejci (9), and Nathan Horton (7).

The bigger story of the Bruins this post season has been the play of young defensemen Torey Krug who has four goals two assists and is a plus five in nine playoffs games this season. “We have a lot of depth,” said center David Krejci, who leads all players in scoring this postseason with nine goals and 21 points. “The organization did a pretty goodjob. It’s hard for the other teams to stop our team because there’s my line, [Patrice] Bergeron’s line, the third line. The fourth line is playing pretty good hockey in the playoffs as well. It’s tough for the other teams, but we have to bring our A game every single night.” Brian Hedger – NHL.com Correspondent.

Chicago Blackhawks: The Blackhawks might be coming into this final with the fastest, and most skilled team in the NHL. With guys who have the speed like Victor Stalberg, and the skill like Kane, Toews, Sharp and Hossa and with the goaltending that the team has been getting from Corey Crawford. This team can win it’s second Stanley Cup in four years.

“That’s Coach Q to a T,” Sharp said of the line shuffling. “He has a great feel for us as players, what we can bring to a particular game, [an] upcoming game. He’s done a good job of scouting teams we’re playing, looking at different matchups. I think all of us as players, we’re comfortable playing with each other. We’re used to being thrown around in different combinations and we all trust that Joel picks the right ones.” Brian Hedger – NHL.com Correspondent.

Tonight marks the first time original six teams have played in the finals since 1979 when the New York Rangers took on the Montreal Canadians. This is the first time that these two teams have meet in the playoffs since 1978

Should Keith Get Suspended?

During game three of the Western Conference Finals between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Los Angeles Kings, things got interesting. During the second period with 12:15 left LA forward Jeff Carter and Chicago D man Duncan Keith got into an altercation to the left of goalie Corey Crawford which then escalated to this.

Now I think that the intentions of Duncan Keith were malicious, and wasn’t meant to be an accident. “Yeah, it was accidental,” Keith said after the game. “Obviously, I wanted to give him a tap, but not where I got him. I felt bad. I’m glad to see that he came back. It was just a scuffle. It was an accident.” TSN.ca, staff writer. By looking at the video replay Keith picked up his glove and took a free swing at Carter hitting him in the jaw.

Keith received only a double minor for high sticking, a light penalty to say the least. LA head coach would agree with that. “I didn’t think it was a four-minute penalty,” Sutter said. “Thought it was a wrong call. … That’s three head injuries now in the playoffs for us. I don’t know how to answer it. It’s retaliation with a stick. It’s not a high stick. Whatever they want to call it, they’ll call it. Don’t even need video.” TSN.ca, staff writer.

Keith had a hearing today with the NHL and Director of Player safety Brendan Shanahan in New York. No suspensions have been handed out, however Keith will likely get at least two games, due to the fact that he is a repeat offender. “I’m not getting into it,” Keith said. “It’s over with now, we had a hearing, said my piece. I said the same thing (Monday) night: It was an accident, I didn’t mean to get him where I got him. It is what it is now.” Brian Hamilton, Chicago Tribune.

Duncan Keith has 10 points and is a plus-5 in 14 postseason games.

Hawks Ink Finnish Goaltender!

Today the Chicago Blackhawks announced that they have signed Finnish goaltender Antti Raanta (AHN-tee RAHN-tah) to a one year contract. Raanta became eligible to sign with an NHL team on June 1st, and according to committedindians.com Raanta tweeted that he had made a decision, and that team was Chicago, Edmonton was also in the mix for the Finnish goalies.

1305676590141Antti led his team Assat Pori to the SM-liiga title with a 1.45 GAA and a .955 save percentage, as well ad being named the MVP of the regular season and the playoffs. The 6-0 182 pound goalie was a member of the 2013 IIHF World Championship recording a 4-3 record with a 2.09 GAA and a 93 save precentage. In five seasons with Lukko Rauma and Assat Pori of SM-liiga he is 48-27-16.

According to Bob Stauffer of 630 CHED in Edmonton tweeted  “If Raanta ends up in Chicago would mirror the Ducks signing a 25 year-old Jonas Hiller out of Davos during ’07 Stanley Cup run.” With Emery a free agent at the end of this year and Crawford at the end of next year, Raanta could be the next number one in Chicago.

Hawks Ink New Center

Today the Chicago Blackhawks inked Alex Broadhurst to an entry level contract. Broadhurst is a hometown boy from Oak Lawn, Illinois who has played for the Chicago Chill, Chicago Mission and Team Illinois.Broadhurst3 Alex was a 7th round (199th overall) pick by the Blackhawks in 2011. He is a smaller player at 5-11 174 lbs. which is something he needs to overcome, but with his speed and offensive creativity, this shouldn’t be a hindrance.

Currently Broadhurt is playing in the OHL for the London Knights, the same team that current star Patrick Kane played for. This season he played in 65 games, scored 23 goals and added 40 helpers, accruing 63 points and was a +30.

Below is the link from HockeyFutures.com which includes Alex Broadhurt’s full playing overview.

http://www.hockeysfuture.com/prospects/alex_broadhurst/

Must Win For Hawks In Game 6!

The Hawks are in a must win situation going into game six tonight in Detroit down 3-2 in the best of seven series. The Hawks have clawed their way back into this series after winning game five on Corey CrawfordSaturday night at the United Center 4-1. In the victory the Hawks got a big boost from center Andrew Shaw who scored a PPG and an even strength tally to lead the Hawks, while Corey Crawford made 25 of 26 saves, and has allowed one or fewer goals in six of his 10 starts this postseason.

“It’s way harder on your psyche when you play well and you get thrashed,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “We weren’t very good, period [in Game 5]. We skated better than in Game 1, but it was a lot like Game 1. They were good and we were watching.” courtesy of Brian Hedger of NHL.com. The Wings would much rather end this series tonight in Detroit than have to fly back to Chicago for game seven on Wednesday night. The Wings in order to close the Hawks out tonight are going to need another big game out of Jimmy Howard, as well as talented young forwards Damien Brunner and Gustav Nyquist.

The Hawks need to just take this game one shift at a time, one period at a time to be successful and to force a game seven. The hawks in game five were very physical, they won board battles and moved the puck on the PP. Tonight the faceoffs are going to be key,joel-quenneville the Blackhawks in 10 games are 48% on faceoffs and haven’t won the faceoff battle yet in this series. Look for the Hawks to dump the puck in the zone and use the dump and retrieve method, instead of skating into the zone. The Hawks have the momentum, and will win game six 3-0, and force a game seven Wednesday night.

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Game Four Crucial For Hawks

The Chicago Blackhawks are going into game four down in a series, for the first time this post season going down 2-1 to the Red Wings. In game four on Tuesday night the Hawks were out shot, out hit, and completely out worked, by a hungry Detroit team. The debate going on is if this was a loss because of frustration, or a loss because of not playing Hawks hockey.

The Hawks lost their composure in that game early and often, beginning with Andrew Shaw taking a ten minute game misconduct, along with Bryan Bickell throwing out cross checks and nasty hits. The Hawks took seven penalties in the game three of which were taken by Andrew Shaw. The Hawks need to composed, so that they don’t put any added pressure to an already outstanding PK.

The Hawks biggest problem area so far this season has been in the face off dot. This is an area that the Hawks addressed at the trade deadline with the addition on Michael Handzus,images however you can’t rely on just one or two players to win faceoffs every game. The Blackhawks need to get better faceoff production from Dave Bolland, Andrew Shaw and Marcus Kruger. The Red Wings have won 100 of 183 draws (54.6 %), and have won the faceoff battle in every game so far.

Coach Q also did his famous line changing, moving Patrick Sharp to the first line and demoting Brandon Saad to the second. Sharp is the team’s leading scorer with six goals and four assist, and says that he isn’t concerned with how long it’s going to last being on the first line.

Corey CrawfordAs usual the Hawks are surrounded with goaltending controversy, with  people feeling like Crawford should be taken out for back up Ray Emery. However Crawford is going to remain the number one. Quenneville says that Crawford’s play has been “fine”, the Hawks just need to play better in front of the net, and they can’t keep relying on him to make big stops.

In Game four on Thursday night the Hawks are in a must win situation. If the Hawks lose game four, this series is over, I don’t think the Hawks can come back from a 3-1 deficit and win the series. So far the Hawks have been out played, out hit and out hustled. This is a MUST WIN Thursday night.

Keys to Victory:

Key 1: Win the battle in the faceoff dot. The Red Wings have won 100 of 183 faceoffs and have edged the Hawks in that category in every game in the series. The Hawks need get help in that department from guys like Shaw, Bolland and Kruger, instead of relying in Handzus and Toews to win the faceoffs.

Key 2: Traffic in front of Howard: Detroits net minder has played some very solid hockey so far in this series, and it’s because the Hawks AREN’T screening and making things difficult for him. The Hawks are allowing Howard to get great looks at the puck and allowing him to make the saves without giving up a rebound.

Key 3: Power Play needs to come to life: The Hawks are 1 for 13 so far in this series, and the power play continues to look awful. The Hawks need to start moving and cycling the puck like they did when they were on the streak. If the Hawks can move the puck, rotate players in the offensive zone and get the defense involved, then you will see the PP become more successful.

Who Are the Top 10 NHL Agitators of All Time

With the Blackhawks and Red Wings playing in Round 2 and it being a very physical series, here is the top 10 NHL agitators of all time.