California Dreamin’

By the end of this weekend, we’ll have found out if the Hawks had a ‘meh’ road trip, a good one, or an orgasmic one.  Here’s what that key looks like, by the way:

0-3-0, 0-2-1– Meh

1-2-0, 0-1-2, 1-1-1, 0-0-3 — Good

1-0-2, 2-1-0, 3-0-0, 2-0-1 — Orgasmic

The good news is the odds are certainly in the Hawks favor for a good/orgasmic road trip. 

–He hasn’t even played a game yet, but Marian Hossa is getting blamed for moving Patrick Kane ‘out of position’.  With Hossa’s return, he’s taken over his usual spot on the right wing with Kane moving over to the left.

First of all, it’s not even worth getting worked up about.  If we’ve learned one thing about Quenneville this year, it’s that he has the patience of Rain Man when it comes to his line combinations.  So Kane will have to play on the left wing for two shifts and then Q will probably flip-flop him with Versteeg.

Secondly, the Hawks don’t play ‘lane’ hockey.  Just because Kane lines up on the left wing for a face-off doesn’t mean he’s going to stay on that side for the remainder of his shift.  The Hawks play a style (like basically every other NHL team) where defined forward positions are largely meaningless and their positioning is based more on who’s the first forward in the zone, who’s the second, and who’s the third.

–Here’s something that’s kind of been bugging me during the Blackhawks telecast lately.  Is it just me or are Pat Foley and Edzo spending an inordinate amount of time talking over the action?  It’s almost like they’re trying to call a baseball game and a hockey game broke out. 

Maybe it’s because Foley is so overjoyed after doing simulcasts for however many years that he feels like he can finally let his wings stretch.  Maybe it’s come from above to personalize the telecasts and make it more listener-friendly.

Whatever it is, I wish it would stop.  There’s nothing more annoying than trying to watch the game and listening to Edzo overlaughing at one of Foley’s corny stories, all in the meanwhile, Ham Sandwich is getting the prison treatment in the corner while trying to clear the puck.

–With two shutouts in six starts, it looks as though Antti Niemi is taking one major need off of Stan Bowman’s checklist.  In the off-season, the Hawks really painted themselves into a corner with their back-up goalie and this had all the makings of an absolute trainwreck. 

If Niemi faltered in anyway during the early going, the next guy in line was Corey Crawford.  In case you hadn’t noticed, Crawford has since been replaced (at least in the short term) by the great Joseph Fallon.  And he’s about as ready for the NHL as I am. 

Fortunately, it appears as though Niemi is capable of answering the bell for 25 to 30 games this year. 

So instead of having to compete with at least four other teams, the Hawks can sit back and watch some other team overpay dearly for a half season of Marty Biron. 

This is a good thing.

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20 Responses to California Dreamin’

  1. Dave Morris says:

    Excellent blog, gentlemen.

    Edzo and Foley are working on their comedy act, didntcha know? Why, they’re the next Allen and Rossi.

    I always (well, actually hardly ever) wonder why some fans think Marty Biron is the solution to anybody’s goaltending problems. Why, even the Islanders know Rollie The Goalie does it better. ‘Bubbles’ Biron is a bright fellow with a sunny disposition, but he’s just a few degrees of separation from ‘Patty Cake’ Lalime.

    The Hoss Man on tap TONIGHT!

    Adult beverages at the ready….

  2. Lou says:

    Well the question needs to be asked – does Hossa get a goal tonight?

    i say yes. Any thoughts?????

  3. CT says:

    Speaking of Foley and Edzo’s tangents, I keep meaning to pose this question, was Jeremy Roenick in some kind of trouble? The reason I ask is that during the Hawks/Sharks broadcast on Roenick Heritage night, Foley started in rambling about how at the end of his career, Roenick was kind of a goof and a cartoon. Then he talked about how Doug Wilson called him in and talked to him and gave him a spot on the Sharks. He finishes the story like this “and in doing this, Doug Wilson may have saved Jeremy Roenick’s career, and maybe even HIS LIFE!”.

    Just curious if this was Foley going nuts, or if Roenick was in rehab or something.

  4. Dave Morris says:

    BTW apparently the Toronto ‘deal’ is dead in the water, and has been for days now. From Lyle Richardson today:

    “TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby reports Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke had two deals cooking with the Chicago Blackhawks believed centered around ‘Hawks defenseman Brent Sopel but they were dead by Sunday. Burke may be finding the trade market difficult as he seeks to compensate for giving up two first round picks for Phil Kessel.”


    We can now move on to reality-based hockey news…

  5. Dave Morris says:

    @Lou…all I want is for the Hawks to win, and to see Hossa playing his first game for the Indian. Alongside Toews and Kane to boot–how good is that?

  6. dave anton says:

    Foley’s (non) call of the game have deteriorated to the brink of my grandpa’s Civil War ramblings. “call the fuckin game!” can be heard on game days in front of my TV…

    especially with the bevy of new players in the league, AT LEAST call the numbers. Last Game (maybe the Oil Game–pick one!) Foley called the wrong name THREE times, mistaking Ebbett for Towes (i guess a 15 does look like 19) Toews for Madden (no clue) and another i cant remember because my aneurysm set in…

    can you imagine if i WASN’T a Foley fan.

  7. ChicoMaki says:

    I couldn’t agree more about Edzo and Foley, although I lay the blame entirely at the foot of Olczyk, who could not possibly sound more like an idiot if he tried. It’s too bad, because I think he knows his hockey. But he feels he needs to lighten things up with jokes and catchphrases.

    I think Foley’s in a position where he feels like he has to abide Edzo’s inanity in order to foster the on-air relationship. It was bad last year and it’s become worse.

  8. dominator says:

    All signs point to Boyle and Blake being out tonight for the Sharks

  9. Lou says:

    @Dave. right on brother.

    EEEEEMMMEEEEDiately is the dumbest thing he says hands down.

    But on the flip we can just watch and enjoy!!!!!

  10. modnar says:

    @CT – i believe the comment foley made about saving roenick’s life has to do with jr’s drinking. jr has always been a notorious boozer and it had only gotten worse and worse at the end. wilson made some very very strict rules on what jr could and could not do during the season, what shape he had to show up in, etc. many feel this helped to get roenick back on a more normal path. that’s not to say that jr doesn’t still party, but is less in danger of doing something monumentally stupid (like drink himself to death)

    as for the broadcasts, i repeatedly wish i had the ability to mute olcyzk. he drives me up with wall when he goes on tangents, especially when he misses the play because he feels he needs to make a point. i also don’t get how you can be employed at the nhl level and not see things happening because you have diarrhea of the mouth. i would LOVE to see him replaced.

  11. Kevin says:

    I think Eddie and Pat do have a bit of the distraction thing going, but I think that it’s just an attempt to make the broadcast more palatable to the newcomer fan. I like both of them, and I think they’re a great tandem for the Hawks. Who replaces Eddie?

    Aside from that,

    I agree that Niemi has impressed. Hopefully, he starts getting a few more starts as the season wears on, because I don’t really think that Cris can handle this workload AND the playoffs. Either way, after some serious questioning from everybody, it’s nice to see the goaltending situation go to the back burner. I just wish it wasn’t so that everyone could talk about the salary cap.

    Either way, welcome back Hoss!
    Go Hawks!

  12. Dave Morris says:

    Hawks’ forward lines from Wednesday’s morning skate:
    Kane – Toews – Hossa
    Sharp – Versteeg – Byfuglien
    Ladd – Madden – Brouwer
    Eager – Fraser – Kopecky

    Counting down to puck drop….have your adult beverages handy.

  13. Patrick says:

    Who replaces Eddie – Dale Tallon, Jeremy Roenick, Mark Grace? Don’t care, just find someone…

  14. Dave Morris says:

    Is everybody happy yet?

    Grilled shark for Thanksgiving isn’t a traditional dish, but…

  15. Matthew says:

    It’s official. Good trip!

    @Dave: kæstur hákarl. Maybe not grilled, but a lot worse.

  16. Dave Morris says:

    @Matthew> priceless.

    The Sharks will be fermenting over this one…but for the Blackhawks it’s just another two points.

    The Hawks can be even better than they were last night.

    Now, go and get W#500 for Q. Ducks on deck.

  17. JM says:

    It’s hard to imagine this trip being anything less than orgasmic now.

    Last night was, at least. I’ve got the morning after glow.

    And I’m thankful to Dale Tallon for assembling such an incredible hockey team. Sentiment is nice, but winning is nicer.

  18. Lou says:

    Hossa looks like he is already in sync with these guys. This is scary good. Now get the contract stuff done and we can all focus on Lord Stanley’s Cup!!!

    Happy Turkey Day

  19. CT says:

    Awesome win last night.

    Anyway, as to who replaces Eddie, there’s two guys I’d like to see. If the Hawks want to promote from within, Troy Murray does a tremendous job on the radio broadcast. The only problem is, he and Weideman are so good together I’d hate to break them up.

    My other choice would be to lure Darren Pang away from St. Louis next year. Love that guy.

    Of course, Dale Tallon would also be an obvious choice to return to the booth.

  20. Dave Morris says:

    Captain Toews put it all in perspective:
    “We definitely got some breaks tonight, and we’ll just leave it at that and not give ourselves too much credit.”

    Still lots of work to do.

    Happy Turkey Day, y’all.

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