College Athletes Get Nothing And Like It

Editor’s Note - Donnie, THG’s Old Blackhawk Writer, is back to get to talk the state of College Athletics

Am I the only person in the fucking world who thinks that paying college athletes is completely ridiculous? Recently, there have been a number of college athletic programs under investigation because their dumbass players are accepting gifts and money from agents and boosters.  Reggie Bush has been exiled from USC and has since forfeited his Heisman Trophy.  The craziest part of this whole scenario is that college athletes in general seem to be getting the benefit of the doubt.  This is not to say that there aren’t blood sucking agents out there, but don’t tell me that the players have not been well educated on how to handle these situations accordingly.  Don’t tell me the solution is to pay college athletes in order to curtail their inclination to accept improper benefits.  Do these kids have no sense of accountability in this?  I, for one, am fed up with the notion that big time college athletes should be monetarily compensated.  People continue to endorse this and now the athletes themselves are jumping on the bandwagon.  Now, I understand that it is only a few individuals who are hurting the reputation of the whole.   I know people who played division one college sports who are, to this day, some of my best friends and continue to exude character traits that I strive to attain.  However, this topic has gotten out of control and my temperature continues to rise as people constantly support this idea.  Here are nine reasons illustrating my opposition:

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  • Just throwing this out there - the NCAA signed a 14 year, $11 BILLION deal with CBS for the Men’s Basketball Tournament. Add in the NCAA’s TV deals with ESPN, CBS for SEC Football, and every other channel, you’ve got so much money it’s hard to fathom. I’m willing to bet the NCAA can find a way to pay each athlete $2000/year from those BILLIONS of dollars. This takes the heat off athletic departments to fund the stipends, and gives an equal amount to every D-I athlete. This issue isn’t a school specific topic - it’s an NCAA topic, so they should be the ones to pony up.

    - Clinton
  • Most of you people who try to disagree with Donnie are fucking retards. I dont have time nor the patience to go through in detail over every comment, but I am a former college athlete and I work in a division 1 athletic department.
    In no way shape or form should any athlete ever be paid. There is no greater difference in the size of athletic budgets than Division 1 Athletics. Top programs clear 100 million annually… Those schools being Texas, Ohio State, Tenn, Florida (not hard to fathom).

    The bottom schools struggle to make ends meat and still put a team out on the field. (Take notice of how many schools are dropping D1 Athletics programs, it happens everyday). So if you start paying these kids, you can kiss their ass good bye- any chance at seeing any “Miracles” or “Cindarella Story’s from ever fucking happening again, meaning the special year Butler had this past year in NCAA, bc I can tell you in fact, that there is no way they could every compete by playing players while they already operate off a budget less then 10% of what their instate rivals do in Bloomington.

    Point being before I go off on a tangent, the general finances of college athletics are that only the top programs make a profit, less than 8% actually, and if you pay the players, you will without a doubt create the most uneven playing ground in any sporting culture.

    If the players have a problem with the strict guidelines, practice schedule, early morning workouts, christmas eve, christmas day, fucking new years eve, missing spring break bla bla bal more fucking whining… then step back and realize what you are getting… a “chance” at a free education (chance meaning if you step out of the geology and sociology apartments and take a major worthwhile), you get experiences of a lifetime and the opportunity for people to be talking about your name for decades, you develop character and the chance to battle adversity (something the frat kid only knows about by loosing a 3rd straight beer pong game), you get better cafeteria/meal food- no room for argument there, and again… you get to walk out onto that field everyday, as man donnie says… …

    …. athletes.. step up to the plate, realize you are the marketing flagship for the university… if you cant handle the heat or dont have the juevos.. join the fucking chess club… i hear 100,000 people show up to watch those events every saturday….

    - Teeter
  • Greatings, ЎGracias por el artнculo. Cada vez que quieres leer.


    - Ilias
  • I’m a huge fan of this column. If we start paying college football players, why not high school football teams too? Think about it—the money people pay at the door for a football game on a Friday night gets spread around to all the sports and “activities”-the quiz bowl team possibly included.
    One thing to keep in mind—a lot of those full-ride scholarships are actually paid for by endowments established by wealthy boosters.
    I say keep this great spectacle reserved for amateurs; personally, I don’t want to pay $300 to sit through a game I’m probably not going to remember much of anyways.
    Just a couple of random thoughts…

    - Magnus
  • Hey man,

    I’m not gonna react to each of your points one by one, but rather just in general. I am 100% FOR paying college athletes, from basketball to football to track/field to softball, ANY interscholastic varsity sports. I believe this because college sports have become such a massive amount of revenue for colleges, and to say that giving an athlete a full scholarship is enough no longer is apropos. To me, it’s not just practice and games - it’s all the things we don’t know about: mandatory study halls, community service appearances, film study, curfews, etc. Whereas a normal student might have class from 9-11 and then say 1-2 and then he’s done, the athlete has lifting from 5:30-7, class 8-10, then study hall 10-11, then class 2-3, then practice 3-6, then night study hall 8-9 (for example) and then with lifting again at 5:30, I don’t think this athlete is staying up past 10:30. This athlete has no time to find a side job to afford pizza, or going on a date, OR having their parents come watch them play if they attend a school far away (and this is something you ALWAYS hear about football players taking advantage of from boosters). Save up money during the summer then, some say! Well, NCAA sports has become a 24/7/340 business. No longer do they get summers off - they might get 1-2 weeks, but then it’s right back for summer school (to help make up classes they couldnt fit into their schedule why? Because of their crammed daily schedule!) or summer practice. Ultimately, I feel the NCAA will eventually find a way to give every athlete some percentage of their school’s athletic revenue. I’m not saying $10K/student; I’m just saying give them something like $3000/year.

    - Clinton
  • Biff, point well taken however:

    1)I never suggested that it is easy. I’ve played sports with strict workout regiments, I know how much it can suck, but I would rather be out exercising and doing calisthenics then stocking shelves at wal-mart in the middle of the night.
    2)If you prefer to roll out of bed hungover and after the football team has lifted and gone to class, don’t play.
    3)”nothing but tuition and books,” I can’t agree with that statement. This is exactly the point, the value of a college education is being compromised. Do you know how much books cost? Also, In most cases you are looking at tuition costs of $100k or more. I would hardly call that “nothing.”
    4)There is a contingent of students who have everything paid for, including social life, by parents or whomever, but its hard to make an argument for stipening athletes when there is also a large contingent of students who work around the clock to PAY for school.
    5)Possible solution: I know that students can request extra money for living expenses through their student loans. Perhaps, Athletes could look into that for help.

    Thanks for the feedback!

    - Donnie
  • oh christ:

    1. tuition and money generated by the athletics dept are separated; in fact, athletic revenue subsidizes your tuition as well as the university’s research endeavors.
    2. Football, Men’s basketball, and in some cases hockey and baseball subsidize all other collegiate athletic scholarships; essentially the football team pays for the women’s water polo team, and the men’s wrestling team, and the women’s soccer team, and the softball team, and the men’s diving team. Why? Title IX. Not only do you have to spend an equal amount on women’s athletics, but the coach’s have to make the same amount. So the assistant women’s basketball coach at Ohio State clears around $900k, but brings in virtually no revenue to the athletic department whatsoever. I can’t believe I am saying this next line, but that screams of socialism to me.
    3. Clearly you never played football before because if you did, you would know football practice fucking sucks. Have you ever heard the Ray Lewis quote where he essentially says you get paid to practice, but you play the games for free? Granted, that is in reference to professional athletics, but irrespective of that it rings true. I personally sympathize with guys who, by the time most students roll out of bed hungover, have already had an hour long weightlifting session, are in now inclass, and have another 3 hours of practice and meetings later that day. I realize plenty of students work their way through school, but if that doesn’t constitute working your way through school then I dont’ know what does.
    4. Because of the absurd demands placed on them by these ridiculous coaches, often times players struggle to balance their academic and social lives in the limited time they have away from their sport, and as such, struggle to take advantage of the academic opportunity presented them. Suggesting that they work more would only make this problem worse, not better.
    5. Here is what you completely miss: players receive a stipend for living expenses during the season, but as soon as the season is over they get nothing but tuition and books, which is why you see star running backs working the door at scummy college bars on Saturday night. I don’t mean to suggest that one should sympathize with them for just because they have to work a job while in school, as many students, scholarship athletes as well as everyone else does, but what I am suggesting is that it’s easy to have something given to you, but once it’s taken away things become more complicated.

    I generally agree with the statements saying, you knew it was wrong and you did it anyways; no excuse for that. But the argument where you’re saying that lots of people work while they’re in school is pretty whack- playing football constitutes a full time job, in addition to taking a minimum of 12 credits (NCAA rules dictate such). Again I must point out that football practice fucking sucks. You don’t get to “play football everyday”; usually practice consists of painfully boring walk-throughs, calisthenics, and drills where you run to the left, then the right, then back, then forwards based on which way your coach is holding the ball.

    My only suggestion would be to take a small slice of the revenues generated and rather than subsidize the women’s underwater basketweaving team, give the players an equal, reasonable stipend year round to deal with living expenses. Once you do that, then you have more ammo to lash out at the bad apples who take improper benefits, right?

    - Biff
  • Great point Little Cat! The reality is they are compensated. The reason they are not paid is because we have leagues for that….the pros!

    - Donnie
  • Very well-written article. You make some solid points. I’d also point out that with all the expenses with college athletics including so many sports, facilities, coaches, etc. they actually don’t make mad money.

    Check out this article:

    Only a few of these schools are making bank, 14 out of 120. With that being the case, how can they actually pay players or even make the argument that the school is making tons of money off them.

    - Little Cat
  • I agree with some of your points but fundamentally disagree with one. You pass over the fact that so much money is being made. Its more than so much, its millions upon millions. Don’t pay the athletes a lot but give them some compensation, theres a middle ground in there somewhere

    - Brian

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Hawks Bring Cup to Chicago!

Wow!  What an amazing game, an amazing season, and an amazing party!  I’ve never experienced a party quite like the one in the aftermath of the Blackhawks Stanley Cup title.  There were people in the streets everywhere screaming, chanting, and shouting in jubilation.  I was in a bar watching the game and as soon as the game was over I made my way over to Wrigleyville to celebrate with the thousands of Hawks fans who poured onto Clark Street.  At that moment there were no rules.  My buddy had a backpack full of beers and we were having an unbelievable time.  I remember thinking about how many people would call in sick to work the next day or show up late.  Of the three people that live in my apartment, and I won’t say who, but two were a bit late to work and one pulled the old “call in sick” move.  I’m having trouble writing this blog because my mind is still fuzzy, but it was totally worth it.

As for the game itself, it was an emotional rollercoaster for Hawk fans that culminated in the unlikely and lucky goal by Patrick Kane in overtime.  Despite the lucky game winner, I think this game was the perfect example of why the Hawks were much more skilled and talented than any of the teams they faced in the playoffs.  When I look back on the playoffs, it was the teams that were physical with the Blackhawks that had the most success.  No team in the league can skate with the Blackhawks.

Last night’s game started with a very high energy but even 1st period.  I thought the Hawks got severely outplayed in the 2nd period because the Flyers came out more physical.  The Hawks could not seem to get a rhythm in the 2nd and were lucky to be on top by a goal going into the 2nd intermission.  It wasn’t until the 3rd that we saw the Hawks really take over the game.  Down a goal, the Flyers could not afford to take a penalty with the game on the line.  Thus, they couldn’t continue the physical play they started in the 2nd.  The Hawks simply skated around them, pelting Michael Leighton with shots.  Unfortunately, the Flyers were able to sneak in the equalizer.

We all saw what happened and it is tough for me to be the least bit witty in this blog because it was such an amazing night and an amazing experience to be in the city after the win.  When I do make it out of my post game blur I’m sure I will sense the buzz around town even with both baseball teams sucking horribly.  The parade is tomorrow morning and I wonder how many people will call in sick again.  No one from this house of course.

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Is Sweep a Possibility for the Hawks?

When I walked into work yesterday morning someone asked me “do the Hawks win in 4?”  My initial reaction was that there is no chance of that happening.  However, after being out and about in Chicago after the first two cup finals wins, Hawks fans seem to be confident that it is a real possibility.  As I thought about the question a little longer I began to get sucked into the optimism but later rescinded after re-reflecting on the two battles.  While it has been done a few times before, I get the feeling that this is not one of those years.

So far both games have been total opposites.  I think the flyers could easily be up 2-0 instead of the Hawks.  Saturday night was a bit sloppy on both sides but extremely entertaining.   The flyers managed to pick up a lot of trash goals and are much better than the 7th seed in the East.  In fact, I would argue that they are playing better than the 3 teams the Blackhawks have beaten so far in the playoffs.  They are much more balanced and have a lot of savvy veterans who know how to win in the playoffs and motivate their teammates.  The Hawks showed incredible resiliency, however, and that is why they are so dangerous.

Monday night was just as entertaining but in a much different way.  It was an old school steel cage match that had the crowd entertained from puck drop.  It’s no coincidence that “energy guys” like Ben Eager and Dan Carcillo were so successful.  Man is Carcillo a bastard by the way.  There were 72 hits in that game, which is just insane.  Chris Pronger managed to make a few enemies as well getting into it with Dustin Byfuglien and Eager along the way.  It wasn’t shown on television but after the game was over Pronger shot either a towel or lose puck at Eager as they were skating off the ice.  Look it up online if you get a chance, it’s pretty great.  Anyway, the Hawks were outplayed in the 3rd period giving up a shit-ton of shots.  Antti Niemi was the hero again making great save after great save.  When Patrick Sharp’s empty net attempt hit the post at the end of the game I thought that was foreshadowing a heartbreaking Hawks loss.

In the end I still believe the Hawks are the better team and will eventually win.  I think they get one in Philadelphia and conclude their historic run in game 5 at the United Center.  To all the Hawks fans in Chicago: Thanks for all the confidence.  Keep it up and if they win game 3 I’ll be grabbing my broomstick out of the closet.

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Blackhawks Sweep in Impressive Fashion

I had a nice little Sunday planned out this past weekend.  Made a 10 am tee time with a couple buddies down at Jackson Park, one of the Chicago public golf courses.  We made the tee time earlier in the week and I knew it would conflict with the start of the Blackhawks game but I figured I’d get the updates on my phone and make it home in time to watch the final two periods.  What could be better on Chicago’s first hot day of the summer?  A little golf in the morning capped off by a couple ice cold beers and a Blackhawk game.  Sounds good on the outside right?  Boy did that plan go straight to hell!

Sometimes I forget that I’m not in North Carolina anymore, where I can go to the home course whenever I want and virtually walk out on the golf course at any given time.  When you play golf in a huge city you’ve first got to factor in travel time, because it’s a bitch to get anywhere efficiently no matter what time of day it is.  Secondly, you’ve got to account for the public golf course aspect.  There were a shit ton of people lined up to play and we didn’t tee off until 10:45 so I’m immediately pissed that I’m going to miss the game.  Second, the caliber of play on a public golf course is significantly inferior to that of the private variety, therefore, causing excessively long rounds.  It took us five fucking hours to finish.

“Ok, fair enough,” I thought.  “I’ll make it home for the last period.”  Not a chance!  Got stuck in traffic on the way home.  There was a huge restaurant convention in town last weekend and with it being the first really nice day there were a lot of people out and about.  In the end I got home in time for the last two minutes of the game and to see the United Center erupt with happiness.  Despite my misfortunes, there is some good that came out of this experience.

I was able to catch the last period and a half on the radio, which, seeing as how I’m pursuing a career in sports radio, I certainly did not mind.  Especially when Pat Foley’s harmonious pipes are pumping through the speakers.  What a treat it is to listen to the veteran Blackhawk broadcaster paint the picture on a warm ride home.  People say that hockey is hard enough to watch when it’s on television.  I say fuck that!  Next time you’re watching the game, mute the television and turn on your radio since we are being deprived of Foley because of the big network coverage.  If you don’t live in Chicago, stream the broadcast on your computer.

As for the game, it sounds like the Hawks came out a little flat but were able to apply some good pressure as the game wore on.  The parts that I heard certainly sounded like the Blackhawks were dominating play all over the ice.  The Hawks are playing fantastic hockey right now and the only thing that can stop them is themselves.

I haven’t seen much of the flyers this year obviously, but what I know is that they are riding an insane hot streak.  The won in a shootout to get into the playoffs, and they’ve won 8 of their last 9 games including overcoming a 3 games to 0 deficit in their last series.  Michael Leighton, the Philly net minder and former Blackhawk, has been playing very well and the Flyers have some savvy veterans in Mike Richards, Chris Pronger, and Simon Gagne.

I think the Hawks are the better team but I don’t expect this to be an easy series at all.  Puck drop is scheduled for 7 (that’s 8 for all my east coast readers) on Saturday night.  Enjoy the show!

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Blackhawks Run Game in San Jose!

In my last post I made reference to the size difference between the Blackhawks and the Sharks.  I was completely wrong when I said that the Blackhawks were a little bit bigger.  After taking a quick glance at the rosters it did seem that way and I thought I had punked the rest of the sports world.  Not so much.  This time, I’ve actually done the math and the Sharks have an average height advantage of about three inches and an average weight advantage of about four pounds.  However, I’m not going to apologize for misleading all of my loyal readers because it hasn’t fucking mattered has it?  The Hawks have been the more physical team by a long shot and it has given them a huge advantage.  It was great to see Ben Eager laying the wood in game one, especially since he doesn’t provide shit else out there.  That’s ok though, every team needs an effective goon.  Luckily for us, we’ve got a couple in Adam Burish and Eager.  Oh wait, is it still PC to use the term “goon?”  Actually, these days I think they’re known as “energy guys.”  Either way I’m fine with it, as the Hawks seem to be playing their best hockey at exactly the right time.

Game 1 was a grind it out effort by the Hawks but let’s be honest, without the play of Antti Niemi the Hawks are back at the United Center tied at 1-1.  I heard some sports pundits saying “it was a great defensive effort, but they gave up too many scoring chances.”  What the fuck does that mean?  While the speed, energy, and forechecking were outstanding in game 1, I thought the defense was atrocious.  Niemi had to make 44 fucking saves!  He was doing back flips in the crease!  That’s why a hot goaltender brings home the hardware.

On a lighter note, I thought game 2 was the best game the Hawks have played since the Olympic break.  It was the epitome of a “complete” game.  They played much better defense allowing only 26 shots, drew a few penalties (and actually converted one), and held the lead with some confidence.  It was the first time in a while I wasn’t sweating bullets every time the opposition got the puck.  Niemi was on fire once again, playing like a crafty veteran, and the Versteeg/Bolland/Ladd line has been a great catalyst.  Pay attention to those three and watch how hard they skate.

Now the question is, can the Hawks carry the momentum to their home ice where they have struggled all playoffs?  I think they can.  I think they’ve regained a lot of confidence throughout the last couple series’ and they’re ready to shut the door.

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Blackhawks Make Chum out of Canucks

So the Blackhawks reach the conference finals.  I told you they would!  After games 3 & 4 we owned the Canucks and in professional sports mentality  that often means more than physical ability.  Everyone in the NHL can skate well, pass, and shoot.  In the end it comes down to confidence.  Although, I won’t lie, when Sami Salo came back to play after his left nut exploded in Game 5 I was worried that might be an omen.

Side note about Sami Salo’s nuts: I did not see it happen and I had no desire to see the replay when it came out.  Any dude who has been teed up in the nuts cringed when he heard this story.  What’s worse, Salo was wearing a fuckin cup, so you know that shit was for real.  How he came back to play is simply beyond me.

On to the next round against San Jose which the Hawks were already packed for when they went out to Vancouver to play game 6.  How fucking great is that?  The Hawks went ahead and packed for the next round so they wouldn’t have to travel back to Chicago before heading out to the west coast.  Talk about a set of balls.  I love it!  Nothing like flashing the old middle finger before you go into another teams building to play a very important playoff game.

The Sharks are going to be a very tough team to beat, however.  If you remember, they sent practically their whole team to the Olympics this past year.  The first two lines were made up of Sharks and Hawks it seemed like.  They are an extremely talented and skilled team.  We’ve got a little bit of an overall size advantage on them, so it would be nice to see the Hawks recognize that and really try to be a more physical team in this series.  Also, the Hawks were 3-1 during the regular season including the 7-2 demolition they put on San Jose at the shark tank in November.  Statistically, both goaltenders have been fairly even, but Antti Niemi has been playing very well lately which bodes well for the Hawks.  I wouldn’t be surprised if this one goes 7 games, but I think they Hawks are back to playing a more dominant style of hockey and I think they win this series.

The puck drops at 2 pm central on Sunday afternoon on NBC.  Enjoy the show!

2 comments - Latest by:

  • Its all about Niemi, nothing else matters, if he doesnt kill us we should win this thing

    - Tubby Tubberville
  • This series is going to be awesome. Up and down and a shitload of goals. Hopefully the hawks can steal one out west

    - Frank and Beans

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Canucks Caught with Pants Down This Time!

One of the hardest things to do in life is to recognize and fully appreciate when special events are upon you.  Fortunately for you, I am here to help you recognize the 2010 Chicago Blackhawks as a truly amazing team.  I want to help you understand exactly what it is you are watching.  This team is very good, but it won’t be a Stanley Cup that defines who they are.  They have already defined themselves, and if you’ve followed this team with any regularity over the past year or even two years you know what I’m talking about.  A Stanley Cup would merely make an already compelling Blackhawk team even sweeter.

Let me tell you why this team is so compelling.  First, I should preface my sentiments by saying that I am an enormous sports fan in case you didn’t already know that.  I am currently pursuing a career in sports radio, and, honestly, it’s the only thing I’m truly passionate about with the exception of my family.  Anyway, two nights ago I was able to attend my first White Sox game during my time in Chicago.  I’ve probably been to about 50 or 60 Cub games but never once made it down to U.S. Cellular to see the southsiders in action.  The beautiful thing is I got to watch the game from a luxury box, something I’ve never done at any sporting event.  Not only was it an unbelieveable view but there was all the free food and booze you could imagine.  Also, adorning the wall of the suite was a 40 inch high definition flat screen.  It was around the 6th inning when Game 3 of the Blackhawks/Canucks series began and as soon as the puck dropped everyone that was in the box (which totaled about 15 people) stopped watching a live baseball game, in which the Sox were actually winning I might add, to watch the Blackhawks game.  I mean, here we all are, living the life, and all we wanted to do was something we could have done in the comfort of our own homes.

The Blackhawks did not fail to disappoint either.  It was the best complete game I’ve seen the Hawks play in a long time.  The first game and the first 10 minutes of the second game were absolutely abominable!  However, at some point after the Canucks should have gone up 4-0 in game 2 it’s like the light came on for the Hawks.  They were playing with energy and swagger.  Not a pompous swagger either.  It was a humble swagger.  It was as if the team needed to fight through a rough patch and get taken down a peg or two before they could dominate again.  They finally started hitting people in the last couple games and I think it has helped immensely.  I’m to the point where I’d rather be more aggressive and take a penalty then play the roll over defense that has characterized them in the last half of the season.  Hell, we’ve scored more shorthanded goals than any other team in the league this year, and quite frankly, our power play blows!

I sincerely feel that the Hawks own the Canucks.  You can see the Canucks getting very frustrated on a regular basis, wanting to scuffle on every stoppage of play.  I’m not only hopeful for a game 4 win tomorrow night, but I fully expect one.  A win tomorrow night, and this series is over in 5 as the Hawks return to the UC on Sunday night.

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Blackhawks Keep Fans On Their Toes

The Blackhawks have been an exciting team to watch all season long.  In the last few days, however, I wonder how many heart attacks they have caused.  I didn’t get a chance to watch the game on Saturday night but I obviously heard about what happened and saw the highlights shortly thereafter.  On one hand, it was a crazy exciting game and the United Center had to be an amazing atmosphere to be a part of.  On the other hand, it’s hard to see a team take a two goal lead only to watch it slip away in the blink of an eye.  I found myself asking “what the hell happened?”  Luckily, I got my answers in last night’s game as I watched it float down a similar nerve racking stream.

Again, I reiterate that throughout my time as a Blackhawks blogger I have tried to remain the voice of positivity.  I still think the team is extremely skilled and has an excellent chance to win a Stanley Cup, but fuck if they don’t give my patience a run for its money lately.  Many have said that last night was the best game they have played so far in the playoffs.  Maybe that’s a fair claim but it sure didn’t look very pretty to me.  There were way too many mishandled pucks in our own zone whether it was not receiving passes well or simply losing it for no reason.  Also, can we please set up the fucking power play?  I would almost prefer that we play a man down than a man up!  How the fuck are you a worse team when you have more men on the ice than the other team? They did get one power play goal last night, but in the 2nd period Nashville was assessed a total of 10 penalty minutes and we hardly got the puck under control in any one of those instances.  While I’m on the power play issue, Blackhawks announcer Pat Foley always does and interview with an assistant coach before the start of the 3rd period.  Last night, Hawks assistant John Torchetti commented that staying out of a the penalty box was a main talking point during the 2nd intermission, yet the Hawks managed to take 3 consecutive penalties in the 3rd period.  I’m just sayin…

Sorry, I know we got the win and we’re headed to the next round of the playoffs.  But that felt good to get off my chest.  Also, if there really is a Stanley Cup in the future those are things that really need to be addressed.  I felt nervous the entire game.  Even when we went up 3-1 I knew somehow that Nashville would tie it up.

On to Vancouver.  They are looking to avenge a playoff exit issued by the Blackhawks last year so I’m sure they are going to be fired up.  Our intensity and effort have been good but we’ve got to get back to playing better finesse hockey.  Skating, speed, and puck possession will be keys to getting productive looks at a solid goaltender in Roberto Luongo.  I hope the Hawks can clean things up a little bit and make us fans a little bit more confident.

3 comments - Latest by:

  • Donnie, whats your prediction for the series againts the Canucks?

    - Tubby Tubberville
  • Bruins won their series already. FACE!

    - '10 Champ
  • I agree about the power play and penalty problems. I think the Predators we’re just a real bad matchup for the Hawks though. This next series should be wide open

    - Frank and Beans

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Game 3 Crucial for Hawks!

It’s always harder to write something entertaining after the Blackhawks win.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad they got the W on Sunday night but there’s really not much to talk about after a win.  I could point out some of the negatives in the game but then I’m just a dick for raining on the parade.  So what I’ll do is provide constructive criticism.

Disclaimer:  I am glad the team got a win Sunday night; I want my readers to feed off my enthusiasm for the team; I also want to provide an honest assessment of the team’s performances.

First, Antti Niemi was simply spectacular on Sunday night.  Without him, the Hawks end up on the losing end of that game.  The pad save he made in the full split position was a thing of beauty that even a non-hockey fan could appreciate.  He made a number of other great saves throughout the night but he seemed much calmer, he was moving smoothly and efficiently, and he seemed to have elevated his level of focus.  As I said in an earlier post, hot goaltending is crucial in the playoffs and the shutout will only help Niemi’s confidence from here on out.

Second, they’ve got to take better care of the puck in their own zone.  That means stop turning the puck over in compromising situations and do a better job at clearing the puck.  There were a couple occasions when, if you just turned the game on, you’d have thought the hawks were killing a penalty when they were really even strength.

Finally, the predators play a gritty, “pack it in” style defense which makes it hard to get quality shots off.  The Hawks need to stay patient, use their speed and skill, and make sure they’re getting quality looks at the net.

Tomorrow night’s game might be the most important of the series.  The Hawks have a chance to regain home-ice advantage.  You have to assume the preds are going to get one win at home and tomorrow may be their most vulnerable moment as the home team often puts too much pressure on themselves in their first home playoff appearance.

Look for the Hawks to come out ultra aggressive, try to get an early goal, and keep the pressure on throughout the contest.

There, I can talk about the Hawks constructively without getting overly celebratory and not overly negative at the same time.  Enjoy game 3!

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Predators Prey on Hawks in Playoff Opener

I remember when Miami Vice, Michael Mann’s 2006 blockbuster, came out.  I remember the anticipation I had after watching the trailer for the first time and seeing the movie promos on television.  I remember arriving at the movie theater early on the day that it opened, and I definitely remember seeking out the man who could give me my $7 back when the movie was over.  These feelings were duplicated in the build up and resolution of the Blackhawks playoff opener last night.  This time, however, it wasn’t m y money I wanted back, it was time.  2.5 hours to be exact.  There were a lot of great individual moments but I was left dumbfounded and wondering where it all went wrong.

After last weekend’s heartbreaking overtime loss to the Detroit Red Wings, Hawks fans were anxiously anticipating last night’s 7:30 puck drop.  A few buddies and I found comfort inside one of Chicago’s many watering holes, arriving two hours early to secure quality seating.  Jonathan Toews won the opening face-off and things looked good in the opening minute (notice I said minute) as the Hawks went on a power-play almost immediately.  Perhaps it was this power play that foreshadowed the Blackhawks fate.  They struggled to set up the offense managing one measly shot.  I will never understand it, but the Hawks have struggled on the power play all season, and it makes zero sense how they can be worse with a man advantage.  Even at the end of the game when Niemi went to the bench to make way for an extra skater I was thinking “it doesn’t matter because we can’t do shit with an extra man anyway.”  And what happened?  The Predators scored two empty netters to win 4-1.  All night I think the Hawks managed two shots on two power plays…unacceptable!

There were plenty of scoring chances: Sharp’s breakaway in the 1st, Versteeg prancing around the net like an asshole and not pulling the trigger, Toews’ missed a short-handed opportunity and then missed high on a great chance later in the game.

And then there was Antti Niemi.  All in all a good performance despite the bouncing puck he failed to stop which tied the game at one.  Bottom line, he MUST make that save!

After the game I just wanted to go home.  The team played well enough to win but just couldn’t get over the hump for whatever reason.  There were too many little mistakes that the predators eventually took advantage of.  If this thing is going to get turned around, the Hawks must get better on the power play, limit odd man rushes on defense, and reduce mental errors.  The puck drops again tomorrow night at 7:30 and this time, hopefully, it will be time well spent.

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