Blackhawks 5, Avalanche 2

I’ll admit it right at the top: when I saw/heard that the Colorado Avalanche would be without Peter Mueller (expected, with that concussion), Milan Hejduk, Marek Svatos, Adam Foote and Craig Anderson Friday evening in Colorado, I anticipated an ugly loss.  Must be the recovering Cub fan in me.

And, while it was certainly ugly at times – the Hawks pretty much packed it in early in the second – it was no loss. 

This one could be generally compared to Wednesday’s victory against St. Louis.  The Hawks so outplayed the short-handed ‘Lanche early on, their interest waned, and the opposition threatened to make a game of it.  Fortunately for the Hawks, Colorado also lost super rookie Matt Duschene early in the match, and they lacked the firepower necessary to earn a point or two.

The first period saw the Hawks take control early.  Just six minutes in, Alexander Ovechkin Tomas Kopecky stepped into the Colorado zone and fired a shot that sailed wide but bounced out to the front of the net (this would be a trend).  Colin Fraser took a couple wacks at the loose puck, and his second slipped past Peter Budaj, the Colorado netminder who sees less action than John.

Then, just four-and-a-half minutes later, the power play struck (thunder gloriously rolls in the background).  The goal came compliments of Jonathan Toews who gathered the puck at his usual place of business on the man-advantage, the goal line just to the side of the net, and with the low defender over-playing Patrick Kane on the half-boards, walked to the front and slipped one past Budaj.

The first wrapped up with the Hawks owning a 17-7 advantage in shots.

Next, about seven minutes into the second frame, a dump-in somehow alluded Budaj twice – once on the way in and another when he tried to corral it beneath the goal line.  Unfortunately for him, Toews got a crack at it while he tried to gain control.  The puck bounced into the air and found the stick of Patrick Sharp, who was standing in front.  He slammed it into the un-manned net.

Just a couple minutes before the second came to a close, the ‘Lanche took their first step towards making it a game when Ryan Stoa came down the boards and put an ordinary, long-range shot on net.  Brent Seabrook, though, got his stick on the puck (remember, stick on stick, stick on puck), which caused the puck to knuckle towards Antti Niemi.  The knuckler beat Niemi over his head.

Next, with just over seven minutes to play in the game, Brandon Yipp danced around Seabrook behind the net and got to the front.  Even though he lost control of the puck there, Darcy Tucker found it and slammed it home.

And, just like that, it was a one-goal game.

It wasn’t to be for the ‘Lanche.  Less than a minute later, Wayne Gretzky Kopecky set up shop behind the net and found Fraser with a nifty pass in front.  Fraser’s whack made it a two-goal game again, and the already-thin air was taken from the Pepsi Center.

Kris Versteeg, who skates like a man possessed with the opposition’s net empty, put one in with about 80 seconds left.

Yo, Listen Up!

– The fourth line’s lack of success and dependability has been a storyline – albeit a smaller one – all season.  Starting March 31st in Minnesota – including each of the six straight the Hawks have now won – fourth liners Tomas Kopecky, Colin Fraser, Ben Eager and Brian Bickell (who played this past Wednesday against St. Louis) have combined for 10 goals and 8 assists, for an average of a point-per-game attributed to each player (with Kopecky and Bickell combining for six games played). 

That’s good and bad.  Of course, getting production from fourth liners is fantastic; growing to count on it is not.

– Odd scene in the third when Budaj completely stopped retrieving pucks dumped into the Colorado zone during an Avalanche power play.  I guess he’d been burned enough.

– More good news: the power play has been better the last couple nights.  Even better news: the unit’s struggles don’t stem from zone entry issues, which the losses of Brian Campbell and Kim Johnsson obviously affected.

– Commenter BWV513 contributed a comment and a question yesterday concerning the University of North Dakota’s recent decision to change its logo and mascot, which is currently a Fighting Sioux Native American.  Specifically, BWV513 asked how the Blackhawk indian head and tomahawk might be affected by the momentum surrounding the replacement of Native American logos in sports.

BWV, while I am certainly not a historian of any sort, I do actually have some experience relating to government as well as trademark litigation/issues, and I think most of the momentum surrounding historically offensive marks relates to public university marks.  As those logos and mascots are implicitly government supported, the universities face the sort of scrutiny a professional sports franchise would never have to. 

Theoretically, a public university is ultimately resonsible to the people of the state it sits in; professional sports franchises have to answer only to the “market.”  So long as people continue to attend games involving professional sports teams with possibly offensive logos, it would seem the “market” would ultimately support the organization’s use of those marks.

With that said, BWV mentioned the issues that once/continue to surrounded the Washington Redskins mark.  While I’m not aware of any public backlash to the logo – which I’m sure exists at some level – I am aware of the trademark litigation concerning the mark that occured, I believe, about 15 years ago.  It’s important to point out that, in the litigation, the court had to decide whether the Patent and Trademark Office could grant the football team a protectable trademark right – and just like in the situations involving public universities described above, effectively provide government support or sponsorship of the mark – not whether the Redskins could continue to use it.  Of course, as I noted above, the Redskins are only truly responsible to the market – but asking the government to protect the mark changed the tone of the argument in that instance.

Generally, organizations will have problems when the government is essentially asked to support (or, in the case of public institutions, naturally supports) its offensive mark in some way; other organizations can let the “market” decide.  As such, without a dramatic shift in public opinion, I think the Hawks marks stand very strong.

But, that’s not to say that dramatic shift couldn’t happen within the next 10-20 years…

Fantastic question, though.  Thanks for posing it.  Any thoughts on my comments are welcomed, too.

– We’ve never really said anything about the banter that occurs on our message boards.  After all, you guys are the straws that stir the proverbial drink here; without you, we wouldn’t spend the time we do on this web site.

With that said, you guys went a little wild the last  couple days.  And, while I don’t necessarily care and take no offense whatsoever, we should all take a deep breath.  We’re just a few days from the playoffs, folks, and we’re all going towards the same goal.

My only point: wouldn’t it be ironic if we needed some sort of message board “policeman” because the argument concerning whether the Hawks need one got out of hand?

– Finally, as commenter Razzberry mentioned, with the wins of the Hawks and Wings, respectively, yesterday evening and the two teams facing off tomorrow, it’s now impossible that they’ll meet in round one.  I’ll drink to that.

Enjoy your Saturday.

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11 Responses to Blackhawks 5, Avalanche 2

  1. Big Tony says:

    Where did this Colin Fraser come from and is there any chance of him winning the Rocket Richard trophy tomorrow?

  2. blackhawkbob says:

    There’s a much higher probability that he’ll be scratched every game here on out.

  3. AirTrafficAj says:

    As a UND graduate, I find it assinine that the North Dakota schoolboard gave into non-existent public pressure and labeled the Fighting Sioux logo “abusive and damaging.” Now this decision is going to cost the School a 500 million dollar arena (voted by ESPN the best place to watch hockey in North America) because the family that donated the building refuses to take off the thousands of logos etched in marble throughout the building.

  4. Big Tony says:

    I guess Ovechkin can rest easy then.

  5. Patrick says:

    Don’t look now, but TKop os an even plus/minus player on the year. Who’d a thought that? On Fraser’s second goal, he really did a good impersonation of The Great One. I’m hoping the Hawks play the Avs in the first round. Hope top catch a game, and at minimum, I’ll be able to see all of ’em on the TeeVee…

  6. Razzberry says:

    Barring a matchup with Colorado, I’d like to see the Hawks play LA. I don’t really foresee them having a hard time with any of the three possible match-ups, but the Avs and Kings are way more entertaining to watch than the Preds.

  7. BWV513 says:

    Thanks for the detailed, thought-out reply on the Indian head issue; I hadn’t taken into consideration the state-supported aspect of colleges that use such mascots (which is painfully obvious; I don’t know why I didn’t think of it). I imagine the only way the Hawks’ logo will be retired is via some gradual shift in public opinion, which is probably still some way down the road. I do think it’s going to happen eventually, though.

    One example: My old high school’s teams name is the “Rebels,” and until 1994, the year I graduated, one of the school’s logos was the Confederate flag — my class ring even has the Stars and Bars on it. (BTW, my school was not in South Carolina somewhere; this was in Lansing, Illinois.) Even when you set aside the fact that a high school is a state-supported institution, can you imagine any sports team anywhere having the Confederate flag as a symbol nowadays? So, things change.

    Now, back to the issue at hand — many of you commenters on this board seem to have contracted White Sox Fan Syndrome: Even when things are going very well for your team, you exhibit irritability and constantly find fault. (As a Sox fan, I have been guilty of this myself.)

    As Sgt. Hulka would say: “Lighten up, Francis!” 🙂

    — BWV

  8. Big Tony says:

    Didn’t UND reject an overture a few years ago to change their nickname when a booster said he’d pull his donation if the school caved to outside pressures? I can’t see how the Redskins aren’t protested every game, yet a non-offensive name like this gets all the attention. I’m as far from PC as you can get, but the Redskins is about the most offensive name out there in the sports world. Fighting Sioux is not offensive to anyone but those who need to make noise about something.

    My kids asked me why the Hawks aren’t always under fire. I told them not only is “Blackhawks” not offensive since it’s not named after a tribe but an Army division from WWI, Hawks fans have never made light of any aspect of Indian culture (I refuse to say Native Americans). Chief Illiniwek had to go because of various reasons….reasons we’ve never given anyone to protest us. Let’s hope the moron causeheads don’t decide to crap on us one day.

  9. Bob in EP says:

    Universities are also subject to economic pressure from privates sources such as alumni and foundations. They can quietly assert pressure for change by withholding funds. For the same type of dynamic to occur with a professional sports franchise, the fans and advertisers would have to drop the team over the issue. I don’t see that happening to the Hawks.

  10. Dale Halas says:

    OK, so does the winner of the conference end up playing the third division winner in the second round? Or do they play the winner of the 4/5 game?

    Sounds like the Hawks can avoid Detroit until the conference finals by either winning or losing the game today. If its by losing, they should start Huet. 🙂

  11. Razzberry says:

    Dale, that depends entirely if there are upsets or not. They re-seed after the first round so the top seed will always play the lowest remaining seed rather than set brackets like in basketball.

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