04/17/2009 11:38 AM
By Chad Huebner
Usually, I only write these in-game diaries for the Stanley Cup. But this year, for the first time writing this column, I get to do one for my beloved Blackhawks.
THE ‘HAWKS ARE IN THE PLAYOFFS!!!!! WOOOOOOHOOOOOO!!!
So naturally, I’m a little excited for the opportunity. I remember the last time the ‘Hawks made the playoffs in 2002. After a good regular season, the ‘Hawks were dominated by the St. Louis Blues (who were coached by Joel Quennville, kind of a weird connection).
But this year has had a different feeling since Day One. No longer are the ‘Hawks part of the laughingstock teams (sorry, Atlanta and New York Islanders). The fans were expecting a playoff appearance, but now we’re expecting the organ-I-zation to go deep in the postseason. It’s making me giddy just typing about it.
THE ‘HAWKS ARE IN THE FRAKKING PLAYOFFS!!!!! YESSSSS!!!!!
Ahem, yes indeed. So let’s see what happens in the first game of what will hopefully be a long journey to the Cup. I hope I do such an important moment in ‘Hawks history some justice and hope there are bigger moments to come.
It’d be a heinous crime NOT to have Pat Foley call this game. He’s part of the new feeling and direction the ‘Hawks have exhibited over the past year. Sad to say it, but the death of “Dollar Bill” was probably the best thing to happen to this club since Bobby Hull stepped off of an Ontario farm to play for the ‘Hawks.
New Bear QB Jay Cutler throws out the first puck. Pretty good arm, hope he didn’t injure himself. Hey, I’m a realistic Chicago sports fan, okay?
(Which probably explains why, instead of thinking “We’re gonna win it all!”, I’m thinking “Don’t screw this up, pleeeease don’t screw this up!”)
Not too many shots or scoring chances in the first four minutes. Not to worry, as the way the ‘Hawks have played this season, you can call it “feeling out the opponent”.
(In past years, it’d be called “we suck, and can’t do much about it”.)
Here’s a bizarro play: Ben Eager takes a shot on Kiprusoff while Patrick Sharp is screening him. Kippy makes the save, but the attempt is something to keep in mind if the ‘Hawks want to keep the Flames off balance.
Whoa, either it’s a phenomenal save by Bulin, or a play by Toews. . .
But as I’m typing that, Flames score first. David Moss scores by forcing himself between the defender and Bulin (which sounds painful and something I wouldn’t recommend). Who the heck is David Moss?
(By the way, Toews swiped the puck away with his stick right before it was going to cross the goal line, not that that really matters now.)
And the first penalty of the game goes to. . . Kippy? Flips the puck into the mesh without any sort of interference will get you 2 in the box. Not for Kippy, of course, that’d be silly. . . and kinda sweet if the refs made teams do that. Try and protect the goal now.
Sadly, just like in the last few weeks of the regular season, the ‘Hawks can’t convert on the PP. It’s one of the main keys of any good playoff run. Time to snap out of your funk, fellas.
Oh, and not to take any stupid penalties, like Toews just did with a 4-minute high-sticking penalty. Time to hang on til the end of the period, and the first 30 seconds of the second period. They’ve done this before (I remember the 6-minute kill against the Buffalo Sabres), so I’m not too worried.
Fingers crossed. . .
And it’s the end of the period. Gotta regroup and come out more aggressive. Can’t we get Hull and/or Mikita to talk to the team?
Maybe it’s a good omen: Foley and Olcyzk point out that tonight was the night 48 years ago the ‘Hawks won their last Stanley Cup. Cubs fans are saying “48 years? Hah, that’s nuthin’ compared to us!”
Flames PP is done, making thm 0-for-43 coming out of the regular season. See, we’re not the only ones having trouble with a man advantage.
. . . And a little chop by Eager and we’re down a man again! Hard to get anything started when we’re always on the defensive. Very frustrating.
But then Dave Bolland makes a little breakaway happen as the PP expires, and also draws a penalty. Okay, now let’s see if we can get something cooking.
No goal on the ‘Hawks PP, but a much better PP this time. They even got some shots off, wheeee!
I guess the refs aren’t going to protect the star players, as Kane gets flattened by Rene Bourque (one of a handful of ex-‘Hawks on the Flames), even though he didn’t have the puck. Oh wait, I’m sorry, it’s that hex that’s on all Chicago sports teams so we don’t get calls going our way in the playoffs. It’s a legitimate conspiracy, I’m sure.
I’d like to say that the ‘Hawks are blasting away at Kippy, but I’d be lying through my typing fingers. Flames are controlling the puck and the ‘Hawks look like they’re out of their element at home.
I guess I should keep typing stuff like that, because the ‘Hawks do something good. On a second chance from a blocked shot, Cam Barker (a former IceHog as most of you readers know) scores the first goal of the ‘Hawks postseason. Not too many players on the team are a great example of hustle more than Barker. The guy made road trips between Chicago and Rockford to play for the IceHogs, for frak’s sake.
A rarity in this game: a Kaner breakaway. No dice on the shot, but shows that the ‘Hawks are finding some openings in the Flames zone. Second period ends, it’s a whole new game, and while the ‘Hawks aren’t always controlling the puck, they’re pounding the Flames along the boards. Like I said at the end of the first period, ‘Hawks still need to be more aggressive.
Another ‘Hawks PP, unfortunately, this was like the first PP. I don’t see anyone going to the front of the net; we need more of that net presence.
Two-on-one by the Flames, Langkow to Cammalleri. Matt Walker lays out to try and block the pass, but no good, Flames back up by one. Momentum solidly swings back to the Flames. Frak.
Maybe it’s time for me to write something negative about the ‘Hawks so they’ll score again? I’m wearing a ‘Hawks shirt with a ‘Hawks hat, eating a Chicago-style hot dog while drinking a Honker’s Ale: what more mojo do the ‘Hawks need?
That’s the second time I’ve seen Seabrook miss Keith on a pass in the Flames’ zone. Is he feeling the postseason jitters or something? Calm down, man!
Hate to say it, but the later this game gets, the more fabulous the saves Kippy makes. Just made a nice glove save on Versteeg after Kippy gave up the rebound from another nice Barker blast. Maybe Kippy doesn’t have the great postseason record, but when he’s on his game, no matter what time of the year, he’s hard to score on.
I mean, Havlat ties up the game on his own rebound. If anything that’s bad about Kippy’s game, is that he gives up a ton of rebounds. Not a surprise that Barker had a hand in that goal, even though he wasn’t credited with an assist. That old hockey playoff adage holds true: it’s always the unsung guys that come thru in the postseason.
Sniff, I wish I was at the United Center right now.
Who’s this guy we have in net for us? Tony-O? Eddie the Eagle? Glenn Hall? Because it’s certainly not Bulin. I mean, he’s not this good in the playoffs, right?
Oh yeah, we got him because he did so well in the 2004 Cup Finals. Almost forgot that. Anyway, momentum back on the ‘Hawks side.
41.9 seconds to go, nail biting, nail biting. . .oh yeah, I already bit my nails a few days ago.
Okay, a little too much info by me, let’s move on. .
DUH-DUH-DUH. . . LET’S GO ‘HAWKS!
DUH-DUH-DUH. . . LET’S GO ‘HAWKS!
DUH-DUH-DUH. . . LET’S GO ‘HAWKS!
A wide open Bolland can’t get the shot over Kippy (needs to shoot right away, don’t wait on it!), and we go to OT. Get comfy, folks, this could go on for awhile.
I mean, forget what I just wrote at the end of the third period. I can live with this.
12 seconds, that’s all it takes, folks. 12 %$^#ing seconds! Like the slogan says, it’s one goal!
That’s it and that’s all from me, loyal readers. One win down, and the ‘Hawks take one step further into the playoffs. Take care, all you happy humans.
One more time. . .
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