Jumping back in after 2 weeks of the most recent covid layoff was always going look less than organized for basically any team, let alone one that has had as many issues (on the ice) as the Hawks have to this point in the season. Exacerbating things was having to jump back into the mix against three real(ish) teams, and not having their top two goalies available for first two of this stretch thanks to protocols. Things went about as could have been predicted.

1/1 – Preds 6, Hawks 1

Box Score
Event Summary
Natural Stat Trick

With both Marc-Andre Fleury and Kevin Lankinen still in protocol to start 2022, Derek King turned his bespectacled gaze towards Collin Delia and Arvid Soderblom to try to get the Hawks through the first two games of the year, and Delia once again proved why he is not in the NHL with any consistency. In a move reminiscent of The Jeremy Prinze Jr. era, the Hawks allowed goals in the first minute of each of the three periods, including a nice 2-for-1 as the Preds also scored in the waning seconds of the first. Delia allowed two goals about 15 minutes of game time before he had made two saves, and gave way to 12 year old Arvid Soderblom in the second. The kid fared no better right off the bat, but he was put in an impossible position. The Hawks dominated territorially in this game, but even a dope like John Hynes is smart enough to recognize that this particular opponent has no scoring punch and is currently unable to stop a damn thing at the other end, so he allowed his troops to merely hang back in the neutral zone for basically the entire game.

1/2 – Flames 5, Hawks 1

Box Score
Event Summary
Natural Stat Trick

A quick turn around saw the Hawks hosting the Flames on West Madison, who got a bonus off day themselves missing a date in Winnipeg on their way here. That resulted in Soderblom getting the crease once again, this time in his first NHL start. Overall the kid hung as tough as he could, and the Hawks themselves managed to keep the first period fairly low event for him with only six shots on net in the frame, with the elder of the Garbage Tkachuk Sons scoring in traffic shortly after DeBrincat gave the Hawks a brief lead. But the middle part of the 2nd period saw the Hawks rapidly surrender a ton of attemps on successive shifts, and then turned around and gave the Flames 3 quick power plays and that was about it. The score actually could have been worse than this, as Dillon Dube was stopped on a penalty shot in the middle of the third, but Soderblom tracked Dube nicely as he tried to cut across the slot and get the kid to open up and commit one way or another.

1/4 – Avs 3, Hawks 3 (Avs Win 3v3 Clown Show)

Box Score
Event Summary
Natural Stat Trick

And now to the game that actually became interesting in spite of itself. Marc-Andre Fleury returned just in time to face one of the most potent offenses in the league, having come in to last night’s game putting up some comical numbers over the past month or so, give or take a plague stoppage. And that looked to be the case again last night as the Avs forced Fleury into acrobatics right from the start of things, and jumping out to a 2-0 lead while never really getting out of 2nd gear. But give credit to whatever message was delivered in the room by King and Crawford, because the Hawks pretty thoroughly outplayed the Avs in both the second and third periods, the second in particular where the Hawks nearly doubled the Avs in attempts.  There was most certainly an element of the Avs playing with their food a bit throughout much of the middle portion of this game, which long-time observers may remember the vibe of. But after DeBrincat’s second of the night to put the Hawks ahead 3-2, the Avalanche definitely woke up a bit and eventually broke through to force the game to OT. And then of course Cale Makar did what he did and everyone saw it. At a certain point it’s just impossible to be mad at something like that.

A couple of points here regarding the Avs game:

  • Whatever has been constituting the bottom pairing of late, whether it’s Gustafsson, Jones, Stillman or some combination thereof, has been verging on grotesque. Last night in particular, with Amy’s Youngest and The Garbage Stillman Son tasked with 3rd pairing duties, one shift saw them taking turns chasing below the offensive goal line. Ordinarily that’s offensive enough coming from a third pairing, but given the situation of a 1 goal game in the second period in January against possibly the best quick strike team in the league, it just screams stupidity on both of their parts. This is of course to say nothing of Jones skating across the ice to out by the blue line (not on his side) to chase a puck carrier, which left his partner alone for a down low 3-on-1 which resulted in Newhook scoring. How can Ian Mitchell and Nicolas Beaudin possibly be any worse than this, especially with how they were both touted less than a year ago. It speaks to their either being no plan or an organizational inability to even sort of develop a defenseman. Or both.
  • There was no bigger microcosm yet of the company line here of Kirby Dach being unworthy of the “Foundational Piece” label that the Organ-I-Zation has slapped on him for a couple years then in the waning minutes of the third and then on the game winning play from Makar. Dach was leading a (potential) 2 on 1 rush down the right wing when a streaking Nathan MacKinnon burst into the play from off screen and backchecked the puck off Dach’s stick and the play into nothing. And then of course he was the victim of Makar putting him in the blender and hitting the “liquify” button before roofing MAF in tight. And that’s just the thing, THAT’s what foundational pieces look like. That’s how the jump off the screen. And whether Dach’s “development” has been somewhat derailed by covid and injuries, 110 or so games is still enough to know it when you see it. There’s a number 3 overall pick at center on this very team who showed right away scoring a highlight reel goal in his first game on his first shot, and 110 games in was already doing literally everything for the team he was on. That’s the standard the team themselves have been holding Dach to, they’ve said as much in word and deed, going so far as to even give his brother the David Toews treatment and drafting the kid out of courtesy. And there’s just nothing there.

    Again, it’s likely he’ll have a solid NHL career and make a very decent living for himself for years. But as far as being what the Hawks have needed him to be in the rapidly approaching AFTERMATH, there’s been zero evidence that that’s what’s coming.


Well it’s been a while since there have been games for the Hawks that have needed to be covered, two full weeks in fact since they last played in Dallas, wherein they earned point in overtime after falling behind very early, thanks in large part to a hit from Brett Connolly on Hawk Legend Tanner Kero that landed Connolly four games on top of getting 5 and the gate. Since then it has been a whirlwind of cancellations and changes in protocols across all sports and real life as Omicron burns through the unvaccinated countryside. It even led the NHL to pull out of the Olympics in China in February, and while a few players wet their pants over it, it’s probably the right move given China’s far stricter covid measures and the number of games that are going to need to be rescheduled during that break. In any event, the Hawks are back at it tomorrow afternoon while everyone rehydrates, as the Winter Classic is now smartly placed in prime time in Minnesota. Whether any of these games actually take place remains to be seen.

1/1 – at Nashville

Game Time  – 1:00 PM CST
TV/Radio – 
NBC Sports Chicago, WGN-AM 720
David Poile Has Always Been A Scumbag – On The Forecheck

In the penultimate game before the pause, the Nashville Predators were already pretty well besieged by covid and still manage to rub the Hawks’ ass in moonshine pretty much the entire game on the shot and possession ledger, with the Hawks only getting a point thanks to Marc Andre Fleury’s necessary acrobatics. And while the Hawks by and large have stayed clear of the covid fray, Flower still has yet to test out of it, and it’s unlikely he’ll be available for the New Year’s Day matinee. The Preds have already played two games since the restart after Christmas, losing in regulation in Washington, which happens, and then losing in a shootout to Columbus, which probably shouldn’t happen to a serious team. Though having Roman Josi out in protocols certainly isn’t helping their cause, as he’s their leading scorer (again) from the back end with 29 points. Colton Sissons is also currently out, but that could all change at a moment’s notice. As is going to be the case for probably the next two or three weeks, these games are still going to be completely slapdick in terms of roster availability and how that affects outcomes.

1/2 – vs Calgary

Game Time – 7:00PM CST
TV/Radio – NBC Sports Chicago, SportsNet, WGN-AM 720
Dangerous Minds – ScorchStack

The Hawks had better hope Flower passes his PCRs or whatever soon, otherwise they’ll turn their lonely gaze towards Swedish child Arvid Soderblom to take the second half of the back to back and make his NHL debut, instead of Colin Delia whose ass is likely going to be stuck in the drive through at Beef A Roo for the rest of his life. Soderblom has a .915 in nine games for the Piggies, so it’s fair that he at least gets a look so the Hawks know if they have anything before they inevitably have to ask MAF where he’d like to be traded. Being listed at 6’2″, 188 lbs is probably generous for this taut pre-teen Swedish boy, as his draft mugshot last year made the rounds last year to a chorus of “christ almighty”. The Flames won their first game back last night in Seattle, and are avoiding a stopover in Winnipeg (hooray) prior to coming here. They’re mostly healthy right now, and dong whipped the Hawks at the Saddledome in November, so this could be TRIAL BY FIRE (GET IT) for young Arvid.

1/4 – vs Colorado

Game Time – 7:30PM
TV/Radio – ESPN+/Hulu (bullshit), WGN-AM 720
Loud Pack – Mile High Hockey

The Avs clearly aren’t where they would like to be standings-wise right now. They had a ton of nagging injuries even before this latest bout with pestilence gripped the league, though at the moment it appears that they don’t have anyone in protocol. However Bowen Byram, who was supposed to announce his presence to the league this year has yet to do so consistently, and is currently on IR. But regardless of what the Wild might be doing in the division at the moment, it’s still all about the spring for the Avs, as they still have the firepower to come out of the Western Conference if not win the whole fucking thing, and have yet to get past the second round since their proverbial window has opened. Though it seems like nine years ago already, the Avs absolutely embarrassed the Hawks and the previous regime on national television on opening night for TNT’s first broadcast, so it will be an interesting measuring post to see if even the slightest bit of structure and home ice can keep this game competitive for even 40 minutes.


Happy New Year Everyone.

Everything Else


Game Time: 9:00PM CST
TV/Radio: NBC Sports Chicago, CITY, CBC, SportsNet, SN360, WGN-AM 720
Which One Of My Garbage Sons Are You?: Flames Nation, Matchsticks & Gasoline

So coming into this Western Canadian swing of five games, the Hawks were probably going to need three regulation wins to keep themselves reasonably fighting for a wild card spot in the west. To this point they have gotten exactly zero points in the first three games, so tonight in Calgary and tomorrow back in Winnipeg are absolute must wins. Generally those go about as well for the Hawks as hoping an unattended dog doesn’t eat a burger off the kitchen counter, but they’re going to play them anyway.

Everything Else


Game Time: 6:00PM CST
TV/Radio: NBC Sports Chicago, NHL Network, WGN-AM 720
Alberta Clipper: Matchsticks & Gasoline, Flames Nation

As this Blackhawks season quickly spirals into the separating asshole of mutual acrimony and defeat, every successive game is both an opportunity to right the ship, and also one to finally make the breakthrough into Fun Bad. And the schedule certainly has conspired to make the latter more likely with the Flames in town tonight on West Madison.

Everything Else

And so now we move west, young men and women to the hellhole that is known as the Pacific Division. Once the place where Vancouver collected 100 points by merely having a pulse, the division has seen a bit of a makeover since realignment. The Kings, Ducks and Sharks have all taken turns setting the coast on fire while Canada weeps. Where does this year leave us? Follow the jump, suckas.

Everything Else

evil empire at The Flame

Game Time: 9:00PM Central
TV/Radio:  WGN, Sportsnet, WGN-AM 720
Learn How To Wear A Tie, You Fat Sloppy Irishman: Flames Nation, M & G

After four days off for everyone around the organization to prattle on about urgency and jump and turning on the switch and whatever other nonsense they can spew, the Hawks now take to the road in the northwest not to salt away a division, but to keep themselves out of a wild card position thanks to their own ineptitude.

Everything Else

eternal flame vs evil empire

Game Time: 7:30PM Central
TV/Radio: CSN, SportsNet 1, WGN-AM 720
Rodeo Clown Convention: Matchsticks & Gasoline, Flames Nation

The Jack Adams Award for the best coach during a given season has in recent vintage gone to numbnuts coaches who have helmed teams who drastically outscore their woeful posession numbers. Last year’s winner, Bob Hartley, proved no different as the Flames made a surprise entrance into the post-season and actually won a round against the hilariously mediocre Vancover Canucks. But as so often proves to be the case, a new season provides a violent market correction, and this year’s iteration of the Flames is not an exception.