The Final Stand?

Goalies are weird.  I would venture that probably 95% of people who watch a game have no idea what they’re looking at when there’s a guy between the pipes (Bobby and myself at the top of that list).  Ask someone why Marty Brodeur is such a good goalie and you’ll probably hear, “Because he stops the puck a lot.”

You won’t hear anything about footwork or angles or positioning because no one really has a clue what a goalie is trying to do in order to prevent the shot from getting past him.  If it were as easy as “Just stop the puck”, then why do parents send their kids to goalie schools and why would teams hire goaltending coaches? 

On the surface, it seems so simple, yet pull away the layers, and it really is a science.  I’ll be the first to admit that I’m goaltending ignorant, which is also why I hesitate to criticize them. 

I have no idea if a goalie was lucky or trying to bait the shooter or the passer or whatever.  It’s not something I really understand so I’m not going to speak out of turn and sound like a pinhead.  I do that enough when I kind of know what I’m talking about.

If you came here for hard-core goalie strategy or goalie bashing, you’re clearly in the wrong place.  

This leads me to the bigger picture.  

In what should come as a surprise to no one, Cristobal Huet has become the center of the Blackhawks Universe.  Leave it to Tim Sassone to be the voice of reason.   He even takes some of his media brethren to task for being panic button- pushing alarmists.

“(Tonight) is going to be a game where we fight for our lives and we want to play better, myself first, obviously,” Huet said. “It’s going to be 60 or more minutes that’s going to decide our future.”

Interesting choice of words, but Huet’s future with the Hawks likely isn’t as shaky as some bandwagon-jumping media members might think. He has three more years remaining on the four-year, $22.54 million contract he signed as a free agent last July, and Hawks general manager Dale Tallon appears committed to him going forward to the 2009-10 season.

You tell ’em Tim.  The only thing I would disagree with in his whole article is that Tallon is committed to him because he really has no choice.  No team is going to take on money in this climate and the Hawks have no one else to take his spot.

Of course, that won’t stop the fans from turning Huet into Cristobal Grossman if things should turn south tomorrow evening.

–This could very well be the final game of the season tomorrow.  Any one who has followed the comments recently has seen the theme mostly turn to what is going to happen in the off-season.  All I can tell you is, it is infinitely more exciting to talk about now than to actually experience.

The summer will be so slow, you’ll be begging for games.  So please, savor what could be the final moments of the season because once it’s gone, there’s only so many times you can break down the salary cap and Blackhawks depth chart before you want to put staples in your head.  

–There’s been a considerable amount of talk in this playoffs about experience.  Is it that important?  Does it really exist?  Well, here’s a quote from Patrick Kane that shouldn’t go unnoticed:

“The [Wings] back-check harder than any other team in the league,” Hawks winger Patrick Kane, 20, said. “Even with all the offense they have, they really come back hard and you never really see too many odd-man rushes against them.

“For some young guys in here we can really take from that and learn from that. When you see guys like [Pavel] Datsyuk and [Henrik] Zetterberg really back-checking hard we know we have to do it too.”

 But, what does Kane know?  He’s just a lazy showboater who the Hawks should trade the first chance they get.

–I keep forgetting to bring this up, but now that Pat Foley is no longer a part of our lives, the new drinking game  during telecasts should be “Sustaining Momentum“.  Every time Edzo, Mike Emrick, Pierre Maguire, Mike Milbury, Keith Jones, or Brian Engblom says the word ‘momentum’ take a drink. 

Ten minutes into the game, you’ll probably be running around in your underwear.  By the end of the game, you’ll look like Havlat after Kronwall got done with him.

Why is it so difficult for ‘experts’ to articulate what is actually happening in the game?  Certainly, there is more to the Red Wings weak side defenseman being wide open in the offensive zone than just momentum.  At least, I hope so.

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6 Responses to The Final Stand?

  1. CT says:

    “Ten minutes into the game, you’ll probably be running around in your underwear”

    That’s pretty much par for the course for me.

  2. blackhawkbob says:

    Wanna watch the game at my place, CT?

  3. Tampa Bay J says:

    We all have our favorite announcer drinking games…

    -Drinking every time Mark Grace says something that is borderline sexist/racist/incomprehensible on a Dbacks telecast will have you hammered by the time Eric Byrnes runs into his first wall.

    -A shot of beer every time Jim Rome says “ridiculous” in describing someone’s play on the basketball court will set you back a case every show.

    -A sip of Jack any time Stacy King says “Stop it right there” to his video replay coordinator during a Bulls game will have you calling Lynchburg, TN for direct shipments of the stuff.

    However, I submit to you my new favorite hockey drinking game… A simple sip of your favorite libation every time Joe Beninati says “The NHL on Versus!!!” I dare you to last a period without drunk dialing a weird software infomercial telling them that “you know how to use Excel.” Unfortunately, now that the ‘Canes and Bill Cowher have stopped ringing their horn, you probably won’t be hearing much of Beninati and the NHL ON VERSUS!!!!! Too bad for the infomercials.

    Keep up the good work boys. Hockey is alive and well down here in Tampa. I even think they still have a team!

  4. blackhawkbob says:

    Haha, thanks Tampa Bay J. It sounds like you might be hammered right now.

    Thanks for the kind words, and I may or may not see you soon.

  5. jm says:

    That Kane quote is why I won’t feel terrible, even if they do lose tonight (although I still hold out hope that they can get a win tonight and then IMAGINE THE MOMENTUM!). Detroit, as a team, has outworked the Hawks the entire series. They may be young, but they aren’t stupid (Buff notwithstanding).

    I hope to see this series pay serious dividends down the road, especially with our many talented and young forwards.

  6. jm says:

    Well, crap.

    Bright side, Huet stepped it up bigtime, so this offseason just got a lot more tolerable. Down side, still way too many of the same mental errors with the puck that haunted them all series, particularly in their own zone. I figured a series win was a long shot, but I’d have liked to see this go longer than five.

    Still, it’s been a great ride this year. Let’s hope this is just the beginning of much more. It’s been fun completely ignoring baseball until June.

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