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Monthly Archives: June 2013

The Sports, They Are A’Changin

As with all teams in professional sports, the off season becomes the time to reflect on the previous year’s work, practice hard, gain new talent, and chuck the dead weight to the curb like the trash they are!

Pictured: The reason we lost!

Pictured: The reason we lost last year!

Yes, after spring training comes the summer dump. Free agents, general managers, player demands, and fan responses dictate the Wheel of Fortune for a player (or it goes they way of Tim Tebow getting signed to the Patriots and everyone in the United States facepalms so hard the population is concussed because why can’t he go away already?)

Blackhawks

Mr. Hockey

Mr. Hockey

After the 2010 Stanley Cup victory, the Blackhawks did what anyone would do with a winning team and got rid of 80% of the roster. It seemed that once the city cleared out after the downtown parade, players such as Antti Niemi, Dustin Byfuglien, and Tomas Kopecky were barely out of their jerseys before getting shipped to other teams. As the summer approaches, we wait with baited breath to see if the team we’ve grown to love so much will be split and scattered just as it was in 2010. Bryan Bickell will be a free agent this summer and the General Manager of the Blackhawks, Stan Bowman, obviously wants to resign the breakout star of this playoff season. Bickell has said, “I think [Chicago] is a second home to me…I feel this is a home to me.” Bickell made $600,000 this season and clearly deserves a raise; this is all possible as the Blackhawks are not only two million dollars from their pay cap and they are getting rid of Montador and Olesz. Marian Hossa, feared to be leaving the Blackhawks, will be staying as his departure would hurt the pay cap and as he was a major asset in and on the road to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Let's play some Hawkey!

Let’s play some Hawkey!

Bulls

Dude, I don't know where I'm going!

Dude, I don’t know where I’m going!

The newest rumor swirling around is that the Chicago Bulls are in talks about a contract extension with Luol Deng, a valuable player to the Chicago Bulls leading up to the playoffs until a viral infection confined him to a hospital bed during the playoffs. The cyclone of rumors circling around Deng had reports of his leaving the Bulls for the Wizards or the Cavaliers. The Bulls may also want to acquire LaMarcus Aldridge in the NBA Draft, which would mean having to give up Deng. Luol Deng’s future with the Bulls is uncertain as is that of Nate Robinson, the heart of the playoff team.  The roster is already expensive as Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah, and Derrick Rose remain the crown jewels of the current Bulls dynasty. On a related subject, reports are also coming in that Derrick Rose will absolutely, totally, most definitely, without a doubt, duh, no doubt play this fall.

Cubs

Marvin K. Marmol, Will You Please Go Now?!

Marvin K. Marmol, Will You Please Go Now?!

There is some good news about all of the swapping and gaining of players in this season of change: The Cubs are finally getting rid of Carlos Marmol! Yes, the pitcher who loves to blow a lead and let the opposing team win in the ninth inning is packing his bags and headed to a new pitcher’s mound in a new town! Cubs General Manager, Jed Hoyer, said, “We realized in August of last year that we wouldn’t be able to trade him or acquire any value for him.” Marmol’s manager, Paul Kinzer, said, “[Marmol] loves Chicago, but I think in his mind he knows he has to get a fresh start.” We will go on record saying, “Hey, Chicago! Whaddya say? Marmol’s finally going away!” As it is clear that the Cubs will not be going to the playoffs, which is a major shock to all of us, perhaps now is the time to unload Marmol and start bringing up the eager players from the minor leagues to see what will work next season.

Miscellaneous 

 

Pictured: SOMEONE FROM SPACE JAM!

Pictured: SOMEONE FROM SPACE JAM!

Finally, after a year away, former Boston Celtic and current hybrid of a human foot and a peanut, basketball superstar Larry “Hick From French Lick” Bird will be returning to manage the Indiana Pacers. Perhaps he can use all of his 1992 Dream Team magic to help the Pacers defeat Lebron and the Heat next season.

Pictured: Larry Bird's 1992 Dream Team Team Magic

Pictured: Larry Bird’s 1992 Dream Team Team Magic

 

As sports is a forever-changing world, it’s good to show your long-time loyalty with some great threads. Luckily for you, Clark Street Sports has all of the sports merchandise you need, from Oduya shirts to Shaw jerseys, for a weekend of Stanley Cup parties and parades and everyday wear.

Sports are always changing, but never forget: Sports is good!

 

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Where Do We Go From Here?

HEY, REMEMBER WHEN THE BLACKHAWKS WON THE STANLEY CUP?

IT LOOKED LIKE THIS AND IT WAS AMAZING!

IT LOOKED LIKE THIS AND IT WAS AMAZING!

Right now, life is all parties, parades, and passing out. Chicago has the parade coming up on Friday which is already drawing a large out-of-town crowd. This week promises to be a sea of red shirts and jerseys passing through the streets making Chicago’s infrastructure look like arteries crammed with red blood cells. However, after the remnants of the parade have been swept away and July brings patriotic parties and barbecues, we must make sure we are not still clinging desperately to the Blackhawks win. Next week many of us will find ourselves in a food-stained Shaw jersey, surrounded by empty beer cans, watching Dave Bolland’s game-winning goal on repeat on YouTube, and looking to see if anyone else still has any energy to party for the Blackhawks.

Where do we go from here? In a week or so, your boss will not accept that faded Toews shirt as acceptable work clothing and your fatigue as the norm (this window of time is even shorter for those of you living outside of Chicago). At some point in the near future, after the parades and parties, we have to figure out how to get back into normal life. We’ve spent two months in playoff hockey rooting against the Wild, chanting “Detroit Sucks!”, dethroning the Kings, and taking down the Bruins that our brains are programmed for drinking and adrenaline at seven o’clock at night. Without Shaw beating up the opposing team, how are we supposed to figure out how to exist? Is there life beyond playoff hockey?

1. Hey, Did You Know Baseball Is Happening?

No Jumbotron!

No Jumbotron!

 

Hey, did you guys know that baseball is still a sport? Did you know that it’s been happening since, like, April? Now, we know that suggesting switching over to baseball from playoff hockey is like telling you that drinking sips of Sprite will get you just as drunk as slamming shots of tequila.

"No, Sprite's gonna get you tore up. Look at how faced this lamb is!"

“No, Sprite’s gonna get you tore up! Look at how faced this lamb is!”

 

So, more has been happening at Wrigleyville than an argument about a ridiculous jumbotron. It turns out that this team known as the Chicago Cubs has been playing a game known as baseball there for, like, three months. Their 31-43 season is hardly surprising because these numbers reflect the Cubs playing baseball. As usual, the Cubbies have some outstanding winners and some abysmal-looking losers. Nate Schierholtz is killing it this year with a line of .296/.347/.558 and has ten homeruns under his belt with 29 RBI. However, Carlos Marmol is killing the Cubs by allowing 26 hits, reeling in 21 walks, and letting six home runs get pitched right out of the park. Statistics like this reflect why he’s the perfect closing pitcher; he’s the best bet the Cubs have for screwing up a lead and losing it all in the ninth which is pretty much their baseball superpower.

Replace flying and super strength with errors and losing in the final moments and this is what the Cubs look like.

Replace flying and super strength with errors and losing in the final moments and this is what the Cubs look like.

 

The Cubs are expected to trade major assets Nate Schierholtz, Matt Garza, Scott Feldman, and Kevin Gregg. This is perfect because the Cubs’ offense is terrible, so trading their best offensive players seems like a really good idea.

Surprisingly, down at Comiskey (or, if you’re new, US Cellular Field), things are fairing a little better but not by much. Their 29-41 season is a smidge more successful than the Cubs, thus far. After being swept by the Cubs in the Crosstown Classic, the White Sox haven’t fared better than their North Side rivals and will not be getting to the playoffs this year. At 10.5 games behind the Tigers and looking a losing hot player, Jesse Crain, the White Sox need to focus on playing with new ways to spice up their game for next season or admit that they’ve just stopped believin’.

Hmmm…perhaps baseball isn’t the best thing to follow a successful hockey season with. Whereas it is a good excuse to drink, it may just be a good way to pass the time until August.

2. Bears Football Is Only 74 Days Away!

But who's counting?

But who’s counting?

On August 9th, the Chicago Bears pre-season games begin in Florida against the Panthers!

This season promises to be interesting as a lot has been shuffled. First, Lovie Smith has been replaced by new head coach, Marc Trestman. He has yet to have to prove himself, but he has had a successful track record of focusing quarterbacks. Quarterbacks need to be focused, and they need someone they can connect with who can run the ball. New to the roster this season is former New York Giant, Martellus Bennett. This tight-end had fifty-five receptions and five touchdowns with the Giants next year; hopefully, he will take pressure off of Brandon Marshall. This will also be the Bears’ first season without Brian Urlacher leading the defensive line. We have seventy-four days until we see how this new line-up performs on the field; once that starts up, it’s only a short time until hockey begins again.

3. Just Wait for More Hockey

We just need a short break!

We just need a short break!

 

With no lock-out looming like storm clouds in the distance, we won’t have to wait as long for hockey season! Give the boys a break, they’ve had a long short season of kicking ass and taking names.

4. Look Good For Lord Stanley’s Cup

Peep This Champ Shiz!

Peep This Champ Shiz!

 

Okay, you don’t have to stop the party for the Blackhawks. The Stanley Cup is exciting, and there will probably be a lot of babies born in Chicago nine months from now. However, though your ratty Kane shirt has brought the Blackhawks a lot of luck, it’s time to freshen up your look with some new Blackhawks threads because the Stanley Cup is in Chicago and it demands some fine threads and accessories. Luckily Clark Street Sports has a lot of Stanley Cup Championship gear to choose from, so you can add to your already extensive Blackhawks-themed wardrobe. Whether you’re going to the parade or just keeping the summer going strong with endless Stanley Cup parties, you’re going to need to show your love for the hard work the Blackhawks did this season. So visit http://www.clarkstreetsports.com for all of your sports attire.

We’re going to get through this time without hockey together because there are so many other teams to scream yourself hoarse over because sports is good!

 

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Show Your Love!

Shawzer Forever

Shawzer Forever

Show your love for Scrappy Shawzer with this Andrew Shaw player tee available on our website (http://tinyurl.com/pej3y9p). 

 

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BLACKHAWKS!

In case you live under a rock, on the moon, or generally don’t have an understanding of the outside world and the events within it, something very extraordinary happened. Yes, something we’ve all been waiting for. Something so intense and magical that the world will be forever changed.

George Lucas got MARRIED!

FINALLY! THE DARKNESS IS OVER!

FINALLY! THE DARKNESS IS OVER!

This is the biggest news of the week.

OHHHH, that and the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Boston Bruins in the final two minutes of Game Six of the Stanley Cup playoffs and are now THE REIGNING STANLEY CUP CHAMPIONS AND WIN FOREVER ON INFINITE EARTHS! SPORTS IS GOOD! SPORTS IS GOOD! SPORTS IS GOOD!

SPORTS IS SO DAMN GOOD!

SPORTS IS SO DAMN GOOD!

Coming out of pummeling the Bruins on Saturday, the Blackhawks traveled to Boston for Game Six. At first the game was steady and intense, but the intensity heightened when Andrew Shaw took a puck to the face in the first period.

Blackhawk down!

Blackhawk down!

The classy, upstanding citizens known as Bruins fans booed the disoriented and injured Shaw as he was helped off the ice. We feared that Shaw would be out for the game, but he returned. He returned and landed in the penalty box immediately because Boston roiled him up, now they had to deal with the Shaw we saw shout “I’ll f—ing kill you!” at the Wild, the Shaw who checked one of the Red Wings in the kidneys with his stick, and the Shaw we had not seen since the beginning of the playoffs.

Best behavior does not equate giving a shit

Best behavior does not equal giving a shit

Stitched up and skates laced, Shaw joined the rest of the Blackhawks in the second period where Captain Toews tied up the score. The third period had Chicago white-knucked and sweating. Boston took the lead and it seemed that Game Seven was inevitable with two minutes left in the game. Then, within 17.7 SECONDS OF EACH OTHER, Bryan Bickell tied up the score and, with a minute left, Dave “The Rat” Bolland scored the shot that won the Chicago Blackhawks Lord Stanley’s Cup.

Keep in mind, in 17.7 seconds the Blackhawks scored as many points against the Bruins as the Penguins did in their entire playoff series.

Every Blackhawk fan feels like this today (even through the hangover)

Every Blackhawk fan feels like this today (even through the hangover)

We won the Stanley Cup. We won the Stanley Cup with Patrick Sharp returning from a season of injuries to score more goals in the playoffs than he did during the regular season. We won the Stanley Cup with Patrick Kane shooting his way to being the highest-scoring player in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. We won with Corey Crawford overcoming the criticism and doubt of fans and being the most important asset to the Blackhawks in the playoffs. We won with Andrew Shaw and Bryan Bickell learning to reel in their rabid nature and focus that energy on being top-notch, reliable hockey players. We won Toews knowing his power with assists and allowing other players to shine. We won with Seabrook scoring crucial final goals in overtime. We won with Saad scoring his first ever playoff goal in the crucial first game against the Bruins. We won with the entire team taking down feared goalies like Jonathan Quick and Tuukka Rask. We won the Stanley Cup with Hossa, Frolik, Oduya, Stalberg, and Keith. We won the Stanley Cup with Dave Bolland recovering from a shaky playoff season to come back and score the game-winning goal that earned the Chicago Blackhawks the Stanley Cup.

nhl_g_hawkscup_gb1_576

We won because the Blackhawks are a team.

We won because the Blackhawks are a damn good team.

We won because no player is more important than any other player.

Because it’s the Cup.

In an era of sports where each team has a shimmering superstar glowing from the dull crown of the roster, the Chicago Blackhawks have no Lebron James, Derrick Rose, Derek Jeter, or Tom Brady. The metaphorical crown of the Blackhawks is blinding with equally-valuable jewels. They don’t rely on one member of the team exclusively; they rely on each other and play off of each other’s talents. For every Captain Toews jersey on Clark Street after Game Six ended, there were just as many Sharp, Bolland, Bollig, and Stalberg jerseys. Each player is important, and in the City of Big Shoulders, these shoulders stand strong because of the surrounding shoulders they have to rely on.

Blackhawks Win!

Blackhawks Win!

Blackhawks Win!

Blackhawks Win!

Blackhawks Win

Blackhawks Win!

Blackhawks Win!

Blackhawks Win!

Blackhawks Win!

Blackhawks Win!

Blackhawks Win!

Blackhawks Win!

The Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup because they are a solid powerhouse of talent. Congratulations, Chicago Blackhawks, thank you for a fantastic ride.

Peep the new whiz!

Peep the new shiz!

Now that it’s all over and the Chicago Blackhawks have won the Stanley Cup, all that’s left to do is party. Luckily, Clark Street Sports has a variety of Stanley Cup Championship shirts and hats to choose from for all of your Stanley Cup partying needs. We also have shirts so you can represent your favorite players like Andrew Shaw, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Corey Crawford, Duncan Keith, and many more. Visit one of our many locations in the Chicago area or visit our website, http://www.clarkstreetsports.com, and nab a piece of hockey history before they’re all gone.

Until October, Blackhawks!

Sports Is Good!

Sports Is Good!

 

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Party Alert: HIGH

Okay, Blackhawks fans, the party alert system is in the red! Tonight may bring a crushing defeat that leaves us drinking on our couches, cussing at our bartenders, and perhaps catching a tear or two in our beers. However, tonight may also bring the wave of victory upon Chicago, Illinois that will sweep up its residents and the streets of the Windy City will flood with Blackhawks fans and champagne foam and the only sound to be heard will be the chorus of The Fratelli’s “Chelsea Dagger.”

Make this happen! We are ready to party!

Make this happen! We are ready to party!

 

Game Five showed the Blackhawks have what it takes to take down Tuukka Rask’s defensive wall while keeping Boston’s offense on the edge. The game ended with Corey Crawford blocking twenty-nine shots and Patrick Kane one goal away from a hat trick. Dave Bolland’s empty-netter in the third period felt just as great as the Red Wings empty netter hurt in Game Four. It was also exactly what Bolland needed after the shut-out game left him personally defeated. Crawford’s ability to rapidly fix the weak spot in his defense (read: his Buckner glove) was crucial to their success.

 

How ya like me now?

How ya like me now?

Tonight’s game does bring about an interesting challenge for both teams. The Blackhawks may be forced to play without Captain Serious, Jonathan Toews, and the Bruins may be forced to play without their star Patrice Bergeron. Both were injured in Game Five, but Coach Q says Toews is good to play in tonight’s game. This is a dicey move since his returning too soon from suffering from a concussion last year prevented him from being the player he was previous to the injury. The game could come down to playing at-risk players and forcing the team to learn to play with that handicap or play without a teammate they have relied on all season. Whatever happens, tonight is going to be interesting and exciting.

Please, please, please, please let tonight look like this. Please, please, please.

Please, please, please, please let tonight look like this. Please, please, please.

 

Of course, tonight’s victory is not guaranteed. No one wants to jinx it by saying tonight is in the bag. Tonight will be the night that all die-hard sports fans, in Chicago and in Boston, will be on the edge of their seats performing all of their game time superstitions to convince the cosmos to find in favor of their beloved team. The ratty lucky jerseys, the specific game time beer, and the best hockey-watching establishments will all be pulled out tonight because we’re in the final stretch. This is it. Tonight could be the end of a hockey season that was both short and exhilarating. From the Blackhawks record-shattering regular season to the playoffs that have been a roller coaster ride of emotions that has left every Blackhawks fan with an irregular heartbeat, eye twitch, and an irregular sleeping pattern. Chill that champagne, but don’t be too eager to uncork it. The Blackhawks are at the top of their game, let’s hope that they remain that way and skate away from Boston with the Stanley Cup because Chicago is ready to party with that fun trophy.

Pictured: FUN TROPHY

Pictured: FUN TROPHY

 

In other sports news, it is rumored that Luol “Deng Bang” Deng will be traded to the Cavaliers. Still no word on where Nate Robinson will end up, so keep your fingers crossed that next year’s Bulls roster has Joakim Noah and Nate Robinson running the show.

Way up top, buddy.

Way up top, buddy.

 

If the Blackhawks lose tonight, we’ve got another game ahead of us to get the Cup. If they win tonight, we’ve got a lot of parades to attend and a lot of booze to drink. How fly are your Blackhawks threads? Keep your lucky jersey, but be sure to update your Stanley Cup attire with us. Whether you visit one of our stores or check out our selection at http://www.clarkstreetsports.com, we have all of the Kane jerseys, Shaw shirts, Bickell swag, and Oduya gear to keep you looking Sharp!

We'll keep you lookin' SHARP!

Pictured: SHARP DRESSED MAN
Pictured: FUN TROPHY

 

And above all else, remember this: There is only one team with a bear for a mascot that is worth rooting for, and that team is in Chicago!

And those Bears will be back in August and ready to take down the Patriots.

And those Bears will be back in August and ready to take down the Patriots.

 

SPORTS IS GOOD!

 

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Ay Yo, Bartender! Got Any More Sports In This Club?

What an amazing time to be a sports fan, right? With Game Six of the Spurs and Heat being followed by Game Four of the Blackhawks and Bruins being followed by GAME SEVEN of the Spurs and Heat, we’ll all just be glued to our televisions and will have learned to be more efficient human beings with less and less sleep. We will replace food with yelling. We will become imperfect perfect beings and when the Spurs and the Blackhawks win their respective trophies, we will burst into balls of pure white light and reach a higher plane of being.

I'll sleep when I'm dead! Turn on the Blackhawks game!

I’ll sleep when I’m dead! Turn on the Blackhawks game!

Game Six of the Spurs and Heat playoff was a nail-biting, headache-inducing circus that left most people without the use of their vocal chords this morning. With the game favoring the Spurs and only twenty seconds left, officials were pulling out the yellow tape to section off the path on which the NBA Championship trophy would be paraded out and presented to the San Antonio Spurs. The vendors had begun to pull out the San Antonio Spurs NBA Champions shirts that they had hoped and prayed they hadn’t wasted their money on. The end seemed near as flocks of Miami Heat fans got up from their seats to flood out of the AmericanAirlines Arena because traffic was going to be rough after the game and because watching your golden team lose is not fun and it’s easier to walk away than to pay up for all of the bad-mouthing you’ve done all season.

Sports Is Sad

Sports Is Sad

In the last five seconds of the game, Ray Allen tied up the game and the Heat and the Spurs went into overtime. This angered the Heat fans who had left as they had “paid good money” for the seats they had left (please check out http://www.twitter.com/VictorOquendo for a full live tweet of the hilarity of Miami fans leaving the game). In the end, the Heat won and forced Game Seven. Lebron had thirty-two points, ten rebounds, and eleven assists. Tim Duncan was close behind with thirty points, his most in an NBA finals game since Game One in 2003, and seventeen rebounds. Lebron had his eleventh post season triple-double, his second of this series. Somehow, he managed to win the game despite the fact that he lost his magical headband in the fourth quarter.

Upon hearing that Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh's headbands were going to go play in Los Angeles, Lebron's headband quickly left Miami.

Upon hearing that Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh’s headbands were going to go play in Los Angeles, Lebron’s headband quickly left Miami.

Game Seven begins tomorrow and we shall see if Lebron was correct when he said, “A Lebron James team is never desperate” in 2008. The Spurs have the fight in them, and they almost won it all last night. Thursday night should be intense to say the very least.

Are you there, God? It's me, Corey.

Are you there, God? It’s me, Corey.

Sandwiched in between the two nights of NBA playoff insanity is Stanley Cup insanity! With the games 2-1 favoring the Bruins, the Blackhawks must up their face off wins and really take advantage of the power plays when they come their way. Hossa is expected to return to the ice tonight, so that will be a major help to the mighty Blackhawks as they face the Boston Bruins in Game Four. We also need that playoff moment that has happened in every other series. Patrick Sharps non-stop scoring against the Wild was an impressive inspiration from a player that had struggled so much in the regular season. The Detroit series found Seabrook as the shining hero in Game Seven as his overtime goal won the game and pushed the Blackhawks into the next round. Patrick Kane’s hat trick in the final game against the Los Angeles Kings birthed a throat-slashing collective cheer from Blackhawk fans across the country as the Hawks advanced to fight the Bruins for the Stanley Cup.

You are still not tired of this picture.

You are still not tired of this picture.

The Blackhawks, the fans, and the Bruins know what the Blackhawks need to do in order to win this game and this series. The Bruins will try to stop them, the fans will cheer them until they cannot speak, and the only thing the Blackhawks have to do is do it. This is how we get our great hockey moments. When all seemed bleak against Detroit, the Blackhawks dusted off and did what they needed to to. In doing this, we got shining hockey moments from formerly rowdy, penalty box banished players like Bryan Bickell and Andrew Shaw, two players that are now essential to the Blackhawks line-up beyond fights. This blog has dedicated a lot of time and syntax have been dedicated to praising the Blackhawks. We know what they are capable of; now we need them to do it. Why? Because it’s the Cup.

And if that doesn't work, have Shaw and Marchand fight it out in the last twenty seconds again.

And if that doesn’t work, have Shaw and Marchand fight it out in the last twenty seconds again.

 

We love sports, and we know you do to. Be sure to stop by one of our stores or browse our selection online at http://www.clarkstreetsports.com to order your gear. Commit to the Indian and remember: Sports is good!

 

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Game Three: The Ugliest Game

Well, as the Blackhawks have not won a third game in any playoff series this year, perhaps this loss in the series against the Bruins shouldn’t come as such a crushing blow.

Whatever. We can all be a little defeated about this defeat in Boston.

The game was rough, to say the least. The Blackhawks were, apparently, never destined to have that third game win in this Stanley Cup playoff. Though our spirits were lifted knowing that Stalberg would be rejoining the team, spirits were crushed with the last minute scratch of Marian Hossa, the crown jewel of the Chicago Blackhawks offense and the leading scorer this season. This isn’t to say the Blackhawks didn’t stand a chance without Hossa, but it didn’t help.

Baby, come back! You can blame it all on me!

Baby, come back! You can blame it all on me!

 

The Blackhawks can recover from this, obviously. When the chips were down against the Detroit Red Wings, the Blackhawks rallied to win three games in a row and move onto play and defeat the former Stanley Cup champions, the Los Angeles Kings. However, the Boston Bruins are not the Red Wings. Though the games against Detroit were long, intense, and full of adrenaline and excitement, the Boston Bruins are far more disciplined and focused. Before facing the Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup finals, they shut down the Penguins, who were the second highest scoring team in the NHL (coming in second to the Blackhawks). They also know how to play great defense. The Bruins had the Blackhawks shooting from the perimeter which made goalie Tuukka Rask’s job incredibly easy. Rask’s shut out last night resulted in his deflecting twenty eight shots; whereas Corey Crawford had thirty-three saves, two goals still went in and allowed Boston to win the game.

Super casual

Super casual

 

Rask cannot be taken lightly by the Blackhawks. Though Boston’s defense is strong, it is Rask that is looking more and more impenetrable. Rask makes Jonathan Quick look sloppy. In four games against the Penguins, the then second highest scoring team in the NHL, Rask allowed two goals. In the five game series against the Rangers, Rask allowed five goals. In every series, Rask is gaining strength and precision and getting better and better as he learns how each team operates and adapts to their style in order to keep them from winning. His shut outs should be no surprise; his talent and attention to detail keep him on top of his game when it is most crucial. His hockey talent is so astounding, he should be recruited by Professor X.

"Come on, guys, we gotta get Rask and play the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants!"

“Come on, guys, we gotta get Rask and play the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants!”

 

The Bruins themselves aren’t the only obstacle in the way of the Blackhawks. The Blackhawks are a major obstacle for the Blackhawks. Hossa being out of Game Three was a crushing blow to the team as was the clearly injured Toews who was seen icing his hand when he wasn’t on the ice, but the Blackhawks’ inability to take advantage of power plays and win face-offs is not helping them win any games. Game Three against the Bruins saw the Blackhawks win a mere 29% of their face-offs. Allowing the Bruins to gain control of the puck in 71% of the face-offs is unacceptable.

Toews, the only face off that you are allowed to lose is your Blu-Ray copy of "Face/Off."

Toews, the only face off that you are allowed to lose is your Blu-Ray copy of “Face/Off.”

 

The power play statistics are just as abysmal, if not just flat out worse. In this current series the Blackhawks are 0-9 in power plays. In the playoffs as a whole they are 7-60. Clearly power plays are the Blackhawks’ Achilles’ heel. At the press conference after the game, Joel Quenneville said, “Our power play tonight was definitely not good.” Good call, coach.

Look for Quenneville's upcoming book, "I Like Yelling And Other Completely Obvious Observations"

Look for Quenneville’s upcoming book, “I Like Yelling (And Other Completely Obvious Observations)”

 

Though the shut out game was a real slap in the pride for the Blackhawks and for Chicago, one thing kept us all clapping and cheering for the Blackhawks at the end: a melee in front of Rask’s goal net. Chara used the last ten seconds to pick a fight with Bickell, and that’s when Andrew Shaw and Brad Marchand decided it was time to finally get to the fight they had been wanting to have the entire night. Where we all know that fights lead to penalties which lead to power plays, in that last ten seconds, if you were very quiet, you could hear Chicago cheering and yelling, “Beat the hell out of him, Shaw!” Of course, you could not have possibly been quiet enough to hear it because, admit it, you were screaming it too.

 

Ten seconds left? LET'S RUMBLE!

Ten seconds left? LET’S RUMBLE!

That game was awful. The Blackhawks got shut out. It was the ugliest of the ugly games. Hell, let’s look at Shaw beating up Marchand again.

Shawzer Forever

Shawzer Forever

 

The last ten seconds were just completely nuts.

SPORTS IS GOOD!

SPORTS IS GOOD!

 

So, the Blackhawks are down but they are not out. Never bet against a Chicago team when the odds are against them because that is when Chicago shines (okay, except the Cubs, but that’s a different story). The Blackhawks tend to not only come back from a mighty fall, they rise from it like a phoenix and burn through any obstacle that stands in their way. When it looked like they were going to lose against Detroit, they punched through everything and moved on. If they can focus on finding the weak link in Rask’s armor and build up their face off and power play wins, then the Stanley Cup is Chicago’s.

Let people know you mean BUSINESS!

Let people know you mean BUSINESS!

 

With the last few games coming up, and hockey ending until this fall, it’s time to show your love for the Blackhawks. If you’re going to show your love for someone, it’s gotta be that Andrew Shaw who has not only stepped up to be a crucial closer in the playoffs but is also the scrappiest little guy on the ice. Get this Andrew Shaw shirt at one of our stores or online at http://www.clarkstreetsports.com. Commit to the Indian, Chicago!

 

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