Hockey

Well, at least the Witching Hour of the trade deadline drawing nearer feels to have a bit of purpose with Kyle Davidson permanently installed as the General Manager with his interim tag lifted. And now he’ll get the opportunity to really show what his vision for this team is, and he quickly did so by jettisoning part of the pro scouting department, which always seemed to land on players that had previously been in the organ-I-zation but couldn’t play dead. Of course, this now begs the question why both Henrik Borgstrom and Erik Gustafsson sat all three of these games if they are out of favor with the team and are trade candidates with scouts in attendance nightly and the Hawks playing for exactly fuckall with 25 games still to go. Maybe Kyle’s still just getting the hang of this thing.

Everything Else

Box Score

Natural Stat Trick

Sometimes there is just very little you can say about a hockey game to accurately describe what occurred, and tonight is one of those nights. I don’t wanna waste what I do have on the intro so let’s dive in to the bullets:

– The first period was something of a roller coaster of emotions, as the Hawks played well on the offensive side of the ice, but truly horribly on the other end. There was a stretch of play during a Philly PP where the Hawks had two or three better scoring chances than the Flyers were able to generate the rest of the man advantage, but in not cashing in the feeling went from “damn what a chance” to “oh shit, it’s one of those nights then” really fast, at least for me. They were getting shots on net and moving the puck well, but on the other side they were basically letting up a shot every minute and getting run around the zone. It was a difficult contrast to settle with, and made what was ultimately a good period (54.04 CF%) feel “just okay.”

– Adding to that feeling of the first being just okay was how incredible the scoring chances the Hawks were giving up were. There were multiple open net chances blown by the Flyers – all night, not just in the first period – that should’ve ended up behind Crawford. And when Philly ultimately did beat Crow, they did so by having a guy come off the bench and skate his way all the way into the slot without being even breathed on, and he still had three feet of clearance from the closest defenseman when he let the shot go. Having good possession numbers is mad far less valuable if you can’t play competent defense and are giving away nothing but A+ chances.

– To add to that last point, if the Hawks had played that way against a more competent team, they would’ve lost 6-1 rather than 3-1. Even with a 65.31 CF% for the whole game, they had just 44.44% of the High Danger Chances. You can’t be doing that and expect to win a game, especially in a must-win scenario like they were facing tonight.

– Corey Crawford deserves better than the defense in front of him giving away those chances, but he also can’t be giving up goals like the Flyers’ second and ultimate game-winning score. There was some traffic out front, but a 40-foot backhand floater from the boards beating you blocker side is just embarrassing shit. Crow played well tonight, but given the lack of overall finish in the Hawks game tonight, you can’t get your team behind the 8-Ball like that.

– Writing off the Hawks lack of scoring as lack of finish also might be a bit generous. Even with 41 shots on goal overall tonight, it felt a lot like the Hawks were just being trigger-shy at times when they shouldn’t have been, especially early on in the game.

– This was a blown chance at gaining serious ground in the playoff hunt, and in the end they ended up falling even further down the standings because of the Avs’ winning. Personally I still think that the lower they finish the better, but I’m also into the idea of playoff hockey and games that matter. At this point they need to pick a lane – let’s bottom this shit out, or figure out shit out and get to the damn playoffs.

Everything Else

We now move to the eastern portion of Pennsylvania, a state which answers the question “Hey, what if we had TWO St. Louises?”. An entire state arguing over which gas station has better food. A state so in love with college football that it is willing to overlook decades of systemic child abuse in the name of a statue. A state with the two most horrific English language accents imaginable. A state whose Appalachian hilljackery was the nail in the electoral coffin a year ago. And Philadelphia is its crown jewel, with the Flyers bearing no small responsibility in fueling the city’s long standing sports psychosis. And based on their current trajectory, the Flyera aren’t going ameliorate that any time soon despite there kind of being a plan.

Everything Else

250px-Ozymandias @ phily-cheez-whiz

Game Time: Noon CST
TV:/Radio: CSN, SportsNet, WGN-AM 720
Travis Hughes Sucks, He Never Settled The Bet: Broad Street Hockey

blackhawks-lineup-card

flyers-lineup-card

For some obtuse reason, the Hawks travel to the armpit of the East Coast for a matinee in South Philly this reason. Normally these nooners take place after the Super Bowl and on NBC, but for some reason this one is only on the local outlets in the States. And because it’s a prime weekend matchup, the Flyera will more than likely be wearing their god-awful gold-trimmed 50th anniversary sweaters. But hey, home whites are home whites.

Everything Else

philadelphia flyers spectrum vs evil empire

Game Time: 7:00PM
TV/Radio: NBCSN, TVA-S, SportsNet 1, WGN-AM 720
Stare Into The Lion’s Eyes: Broad St. Hockey

As the above headline will indicate, Flyers Twitter is a weird and amusing place to dwell in for even a short amount of time. Perhaps it’s their championship drought despite having numerous good to great teams over the last 40 years that’s driven them batty, or their often times confounding management. Or maybe it’s the fact that by and large those fans live in a dyspeptic cracker hellscape of a state with two of the most abhorrent accents in any English dialect; a place that until recently had a legitimate thoroughfare officially labeled on maps as “The Road To Nowhere”. And of course, Travis fucking Hughes still hasn’t paid us our cheesesteaks going on six years later.

And those denizens have had plenty to be excited about lately as the Flyers have unexpectedly surged into the playoff conversation in the Eastern Conference.

Everything Else

evil empire at joe paterno

Game Time: 7:00PM Central
TV/Radio: NBCSN, WGN-AM 720
Travis Hughes Is A Shill For SBN And Welshes On Bets: Broad St. Hockey

The entire state Pennsylvania is basically garbage. Aside from having the worst accents known to mankind at both ends of the state, the entire place, from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, from Bucks County to Allegheny, from Pottsville to Pottstown, is basically a front end for the con that is Penn State and its football team. When that enterprise came crashing down four years ago with the institutional coverup of Jerry Sandusky’s serial child rape, the only thing anyone in the state wanted to talk about was corrupt dwarf Joe Paterno’s coaching record, and defend it to the hilt in any and every way possible. From impromptu protests by students to formal proposals within state government, it was the only thing that mattered. It was, and continues to be a grotesque spectacle.

And now Hawks fans are no different, and have proven that vociferously over the past two and a half months.

Both groups share an absolute gaping void in their collective personhood that can only be filled by defending abhorrent acts by touting sports achievement as if it’s anything to be given a shit about in the face of real life horror. Just as the Penn State football stadium being colloquially referred to as “Happy Valley” became ironic to the point of being macabre, so too did John McDonough’s invocation of calling these the “Camelot” Blackhawks at the press conference at Notre Dame (who themselves the associated Catholic church have its own issues with women and children), as if the mythological Camelot wasn’t undone by King Arthur being cuckolded by his best friend and killed by his illegitimate son. Or even if McDonough meant the American Camelot, the Kennedy family, that too is an irresponsible parallel to draw even if Patrick Kane has a lot more in common with Teddy than it might seem.

So tonight the Hawks enter the de-facto capital of the state, home to arguably the most willfully shitty sports fans on the planet, and the team that somehow always manages to play up that terrible image.

Everything Else

als beef at pats-homelogo

Game Time: 7:00PM Central
TV/Radio: NBCSN, TVA (Francophone), WGN-AM 720
Where The Hell Are Our Cheesesteaks?: Broad St. Hockey

It has been nearly five years. Five years we have waited on Travis Hughes to make good on the bet from the 2010 Final between our former home at SBN and the above Broad Street; the loser of the series to send the other their city’s respective beef related delicacy. Travis now runs SB Nation’s entire hockey wing. He didn’t like it when in the months after we sent our commenters his direction to wonder why he hasn’t made good on the bet. He may think we have forgotten. We haven’t. Not even close.

Everything Else

AF-Bfx-T_400x400 vs oldschool

Game Time: 7:30PM Central
TV/Radio: NBCSN, CSN, WGN-AM 720
Kings Of Prussia: Broad St. Hockey

Pennsylvania is a an underratedly terrible place, in the team photo with the worst that the contiguous 48 has to offer. The roads are stupid, the accents are all nauseating, its institutional support of a Child Abuse Colony in State College reaches all the way to the highest offices in the state, the food is terrible, and the crown jewel of the state, Philadelphia, boasts some of the most intentionally asinine people on the sporting fandom spectrum, as would any place where college football, province of losers and toothless townies, is king. These are people who proudly throw batteries at athletes, boo Santa, beat up opposing fans after a Winter Classic, and need their T&A fix so badly at a hockey game that they boo a male ice crew. Or if you’re Travis Hughes, SB Nation’s hockey editor and one-time chief of Broad Street hockey, go four and a half years without making good on a bet, even if cheesesteaks are far inferior to italian beefs. Seriously, fucking cheese whiz?

Everything Else

AF-Bfx-T_400x400 vs oldschool

Game Time: 7:30PM Central
TV/Radio: NBCSN, CSN, WGN-AM 720
Kings Of Prussia: Broad St. Hockey

Pennsylvania is a an underratedly terrible place, in the team photo with the worst that the contiguous 48 has to offer. The roads are stupid, the accents are all nauseating, its institutional support of a Child Abuse Colony in State College reaches all the way to the highest offices in the state, the food is terrible, and the crown jewel of the state, Philadelphia, boasts some of the most intentionally asinine people on the sporting fandom spectrum, as would any place where college football, province of losers and toothless townies, is king. These are people who proudly throw batteries at athletes, boo Santa, beat up opposing fans after a Winter Classic, and need their T&A fix so badly at a hockey game that they boo a male ice crew. Or if you’re Travis Hughes, SB Nation’s hockey editor and one-time chief of Broad Street hockey, go four and a half years without making good on a bet, even if cheesesteaks are far inferior to italian beefs. Seriously, fucking cheese whiz?

Everything Else

Box Score
Game Summary
Extra Skater

The vast majority of the games the Hawks have lost of late, there’s at least been some kind of mitigating circumstance. A bad bounce here, a hot goalie there, but for the most part, the Hawks by and large dictated the play even in spite of some curious play and lineup choices. Tonight was no such occurrence, even though the Hawks earned a point and drew “even” with the Avalanche as they lost in Montreal.