What better way to spend my last vacation day of 2008 than watch the ‘Hawks practice on the NHL Network. Here’s a few of the highlights:
—Scotty Bowman did an interview and has started to change his tune about your ’08-09 Chicago Blackhawks. Earlier in the year, Bowman did an interview with a national publication and stated he didn’t think the ‘Hawks would truly contend for a Stanley Cup for another two to three years. Bob and I were surprised when the quote came out no one from the Chicago media picked it up. At the beginning of the year when most people had ridiculous expectations for the team, I thought for sure someone would use that quote to try and temper the enthusiasm. Apparently the nine game winning streak helped sway Scotty. He said he was surprised how well guys like Versteeg, Bolland, and Ladd play and the ‘Hawks have as good a chance as anyone this year. Bowman even corrected himself by saying at the beginning of the year, he thought they were still a couple years off. I’ve said this before but it’s amazing what an actual NHL coach will do for a team.
—The hosts of the show actually referred to Wrigley Field as one of the most fan friendly venues in America. I don’t know if they have to use the same bathroom facilities as everyone else or have wanted to see a replay of a home run but I found this statement to be ridiculously entertaining.
—Tim Sassone has the scoop on who is getting the start tomorrow.
Quenneville said Cristobal Huet would start in goal. Huet has won his last five starts, and it’s his turn in the rotation.
If you got to see the practice, it was pretty obvious who was getting the start after Huet broke out his new mask. It has a picture of the Wrigley facade on the forehead. ‘Go Hawks Go’ is on the left ear and the Hawks logo is on the other side. What an incredible waste of money it would have been to have the mask made so Huet could bust it out for practice and then wear his winter cap watching Khabibulin tomorrow.
—SHADOWS!!!! Without exaggerating, the hosts brought up the shadows on the ice about 12,136 times and that was only during the ‘Hawks practice. I didn’t bother counting for the Wings practice. They spent a good hour discussing the effect it will have on the game tomorrow, never once mentioning the forecast calls for mostly cloudy with a 30% chance of snow. So yeah, the shadows probably won’t make much of a difference but for those who miss Ed Farmer and DJ talk about shadows, this was definitely the broadcast for you.
—Brent Seabrook and Andrew Ladd got asked if they played a lot of hockey outside growing up. They’re both from Vancouver. The coldest it usually gets is about 38 degrees and that’s in a cold winter. They looked like they had been asked what their feelings were about the Hamas/Israeli conflict.
I’m sure there was plenty of other silly things I can’t recall now. This was a gold mine of comedy. Feel free to share anything you saw. With that, Bob and I would like to wish you a Happy New Year and remember, whatever happens tomorrow, they’re not handing out the Stanley Cup to the winner and there’s still 40 something games left in the season.