Hawks Lose Imaginary Trophy; Pre-Season OVAH!

In a game where the Blackhawks played with the intensity of their final pre-season game and their opponents, the ZSC Zurich Lions, played like it was late May, the result was a 2-1 victory to the home side.  The Hawks sent 35 shots to the Lions net and only got one past goaltender Ari Sulander.  I have no idea what this means in the big scheme of things, so let’s get to the important developments.

The good news was Dustin Byfuglien, Dave Bolland, and Kris Versteeg all suited up.  Jack Skille played for the second game in a row after leaving the game in Washington last week with a lower body injury.  So, for now, it looks like Adam Burish was the only casualty of the pre-season.

The ‘meh’ news was Radek Smolenak also dressed as the 13th forward and Versteeg skated with the 4th line.  That gives the impression to this observer the Hawks aren’t too confident in whatever is ailing Versteeg.  If he’s not 100% for the first few weeks, it leaves the window open for someone like Skille or Smolenak to stake out a spot on the roster. 

And if I hear one more word about Skille’s cap hit affecting his chances of making the team, I’m going to tear out my own rotator cuff.  With Marian Hossa starting the season on the shelf, the Hawks will have more than enough room on their salary cap to fit in Skille’s $1.275 hit.

The bad news was this was the first game of the pre-season the majority of the team played in together due to the aforementioned injuries.  John Madden was the only regular who sat out the international tilt.  Will this be the root cause of the Hawks starting out of the gates slowly?  We’ll find out this weekend.  Either way, the Hawks should be one step ahead of their competition when they get back to the States as they’ve already played in some high intensity games.  Well, at least for the first couple games.

If you’re really shook up about the Hawks dropping the game to the Lions, or an international squad for that matter, just look at what happened in Tampere, Finland on Monday.  The Florida Panthers lost to the home squad 3-2 on penalties when two goalies combined to make 50 saves to preserve the win.  For the record, Tampere is currently the 6th ranked team in Finland.

Then to complicate matters, they’ll probably head into Wednesday’s game against Jokerit with a skeleton squad.  It’s very likely they could end up o-for-2 in Finland and it won’t mean a darn thing when Friday rolls around.

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6 Responses to Hawks Lose Imaginary Trophy; Pre-Season OVAH!

  1. Patrick says:

    Thank you for talking me off the ledge there, it was close.

    In reality, you’re right – this means nothing!

  2. Dave Morris says:

    So, Genteel-men, how come you’re being so goshdarned rational about this when there are hordes–hordes I tell you–of Hawk fans downing double vodkas for breakfast, spitting flames and calling for half the team to be traded after this debacle?


    Actually, y’know, it was clearly a set-up by the crafty Swiss (don’t forget how good they are at hiding money from the taxman and making chocolate).

    Tire the visitors out with a B-level squad so the Lions’ Canadian-born coach (and ex-Hawk draftee, AHA!) can scout the Blackhawks a day in advance.

    Sean Simpson was sandbagging harder than the USMC, telling the TV announcer while Davos was getting drubbed, “Oh, we’re just so privileged to play Chicago…they’ve been my favorite team since Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita led them.”

    Dastardly, eh. You betcher sweet bippy.

    The Zurich Lions only happen to be the best damn club in Europe and Russia, having won the Champions League tournament–which pays a fairly hefty purse BTW. These Lions have (can I say it?) claws.

    Sufferin’ succotash.

    And they were, after all, playing to win the Victoria Cup, which means nothing to North Americans but constitutes major bragginrites across the pond. In front of their home crowd yet.

    So think of the Lions as the equivalent of Europe’s Wings. Hey, wait a second…

    The good news is, both Huet and Niemi have played relatively well so far.

    And we knew already that neither Brent Sopel nor Jordan Hendry would turn into Bobby Orr or Doug Harvey–and let’s face it, not even King Kong Korab–in the offseason.

    On the other hand, Gentle Ben Eager might want to keep in mind there are several palookas angling for his spot. Yo, Benny!

    Ergo, or in sum, as they say…losing this game was actually a good thing. Jonny Toews was p’o’d about coming up short, and John Madden was snarling like a bull mastiff as he watched the tilt from broadcast booth.

    This means the Hawks should be good and ornery when they meet the Fort Lauderdale Cats in Helsinki.

  3. blackhawkbob says:

    Thanks much, Dave. As always, they’re much appreciated.

    Good to see that, as many fans turned to vodka, you didn’t stray from the coffee.

    Enjoy your opening day, Sir.

  4. Dave Morris says:

    @Blackhawk Bob> My pleasure, Robert, to be a willing conspirator in your (and your partner’s) plan for world domination through Hawkey Talk.

    PS Coffee? What coffee?

    PPS do you think John Madden looks a little like Popeye, with his lantern jaw and his helmet cocked at a jaunty angle?

    PPPS and if Radek-Al Smolenak lets his playoff beard grow early, wouldn’t he be a dead ringer for Bluto?

    Just askin’.

    Thanks for your always entertaining, and on average, more than just informative, blog…on the eve of the season, let us wish that Monsieur Huet and Les Eperviers Noirs de Chicago may just prove that ‘les skeptiques’ are full of merde.

    Cheers. And I mean that, babe.

  5. blackhawkbob says:


    By coffee, I mean you seem very amped up … which is a good thing.

  6. Dave Morris says:

    @BlackhawkBob> whew…thanks man.

    PS I really do think John Madden looks like Popeye. 😉

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