I swear to you that I came up with the name "Hawks Thoughts" before I decided to rip off the format of Elliote Friedman's "30 Thoughts" column. While the similarity in names is just a coincidence, the fact that I am about to steal the entire format of his column is not. It is my hope that Mr. Friedman will appreciate that this blatant rip job is not only an homage to the greatness of his column but also a testament to my monumental laziness. Or, Mr. Friedman may prefer to regard this theft as simply the most recent example in a time-honored tradition in which a lesser creative person appropriates/exploits the work of a better, more original creative person for the lesser person's benefit (a phenomena stretching all the way back to when Caveman B took a look at Caveman A's wall painting of a bison and thought, "I got this.")
If you aren't already familiar with the "30 Thoughts" column or did not click the link above, let me break it down for you real quick. Friedman starts every column with a header piece that is usually a few hundred words on a specific issue relevant to the NHL that week. He then follows that up with his 30 thoughts on a wide variety of topics related to players, teams and management throughout the NHL. I'll do the same thing here, a few hundred words up top on something Hockey/Hawks-related then my rapid-fire Hawks Thoughts after that. (I strongly doubt I could ever come up with 30 thoughts in a week. I would be happy if I could make it to 15.)
Let's do this thing.
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I've said this before on this blog but I think it bears repeating. While I consider myself a pretty hard core hockey fan, I am not a student of the game. I never played organized hockey and was never coached in the sport so I have almost no fundamental understanding of the game's X's and O's. When I watch the Hawks play on television I have to make a concerted effort to not just follow the puck around the television screen but to try and see the whole game. I am not good at this, especially (and hypothetically, of course) if my wife is in the room, asking me if I saw that Patrick Sharp was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful Chicagoans or reminding me that we have to go grocery shopping.
While I find Foley and Olczyk's schtick to be grating*, I still think Eddie does a nice job of breaking down the game for uneducated boobs like me. I find it amazing how people can analyze the game on the fly and pick up these tiny details that it would take me three replays to see.
*It bums me out that this is what Foley has evolved into, a kind of wacky uncle/pun-master. When I was a kid and had to listen to Hawks home games on the radio, Foley was a God. Seriously, a GREAT announcer. Full disclosure, sometimes I'll watch the opposing team's feed because I just can't take it any more. I feel dirty admitting that, but it's true.
Is there a two-day, shame-free seminar somewhere that I can attend where they would explain to me the intricacies of the game that I was never taught as a child and am too dull to grasp now as an adult? Because I would pay to do that. For example: I still am not totally sure I understand which-handed it is better to be if you are a left wing or a right wing; or if you are a left-handed right wing is better to have a lefty or righty center? These are the kind of things that drive me crazy. Am I supposed to know which way every guy on the team shoots? I feel very bad about myself because I don't know these things. And you know how hockey fans are... very loathe to let any outsiders into the inner sanctum of fanhood. Not that I feel like I am outsider per se but if I were to go onto a message board and ask that question I feel like there is a high probability that I would be laughed away.
Hockey is so insular in that way. It feels like it's expected that I should have a grasp on all facets of the game at all times. Well, sometimes it's just too much to absorb and my mind starts to wander and I start following the puck instead of trying to catch the line changes and before I know it I am checking the Twitters before the whistle has blown. Cue the hot shame.
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-The Coyotes all-maroon uniforms remind me of a five year-old's footie pajamas. Brutal look.
-When you give Brian Bickell enough time and space, he has one of the most lethal wristers in the league. He can unleash laser beams from 20'-25' like few others. Have liked his play thus far, he has been trying to be more physical which is what we've all been waiting for.
-You don't see Hoss get angry, really ever, but he got checked in the back in the PHX game and got pissed. Apparently his back was/is the upper body injury that he had been nursing and he did not take kindly to being poked there and very un-Hossa-ly slashed the dude (don't remember who it was) in the shin. The lesson as always, don't fuck with the Boss.
-Andrew Brunette looks like he is skating on a treadmill. You can see his legs moving but he doesn't go anywhere. So...slow...
-Duncan Keith and his wife are starting a charitable foundation, Keith Relief, to assist Chicago area families in paying their medical costs. Great guy, great cause. Kudos to Duncs for keeping the foundation focused on Chicago area residents.
-Feeling pretty good about this Montador/O'Donnell third D pairing. Very solid. I don't worry at all when those guys are out there. They make it so easy to forget the Nick Boynton era don't they?
-PHX's goalie, Jason LaBarbera, might have the best mask in the league but he also might give up the most rebounds. Felt like he juggled every shot on goal against the Hawks.
(But still, this mask, unff. Huge props for the Pat Tillman memorial.)
-Down to my last $100 in my gambling account I decided to let it ride on the Hawks scoring more than 2.5 goals against Colorado on Thursday night at -155 odds. Thanks to Hoss' empty netter, I won that bet and now I can go ahead and lose it all this Sunday betting on football. By the way, did you see Hoss head fake the Colorado player at the blue line? Straight Boss move. Love. Heart. Squish. (Check out the 1:06 mark below to see the head fake. It makes me LOL.)
-It was a sick pace throughout the Colorado game on Thursday night. Dare I say playoff-esque? It felt that way. The Avs thought they could beat the Hawks in a foot race and they lost.
-The Hawks power play is still riding the short bus to the rink. Brutal. Special needs. Please report to finger painting class.
-Still the most underrated, under-praised player on the Hawks: Crawdaddy. Maybe it's because I have never heard the kid speak more than two sentences in my life. Love him. Here's some praise. Take it. Wear it on your head like a crown.
-From the Tribune's Chris Kuc on Twitter (@ChrisKuc) after the COL game:
#Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews on backhand, top-shelf goal vs. Avs: "It’s one of the nicer ones. I’ve been working on little things like that."
Follow up that quote with a Tweet from @amandakaschube (via @MsBlackhawks and @kanerdance):
Here's the pic she linked to:
Scrunched-up serious face! Grr! I work hard doing 8,000 squats every day during the summer just so I can give you this special gift of competitive fierceness distilled into a rare extract and on sale for only 82 nights every winter! Grr! Serious! Can't wait to get home and scrub the shit out of my oven and vaccum my apartment like only a serious, dedicated champion can! Grr! I am a ferocius beast! Grr! When does Hammer's Connect-Four tournament start? I shall slay all-comers like the penniless, parentless paupers they are! Especially Kaner! Grr! Scrunched-up serious face!
-So the Hawks have rolled out their new "One Goal" spots for the season. Hmm. Kinda dullzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. *head snaps up* Whahuh? Oh, sorry 'bout that. Just took a quick nap., lemme wipe the drool off my chin. Here's Q's spot in which the narrator praises his defensive knowledge...
...When I think of Q as a defenseman, I prefer to think of this picture...
...Look at the stache! Look at the ridiculous little whale shoulder patches. Painfully cute (the patches, not the stache). (Oops, forgot something. I am not able to make a Whalers reference without linking to this. Best song, maybe ever.)
-Blackhawks record since last Friday: 2-0-1
-Standings: 1st in the Central, 3rd in the West, tied for third in the NHL with 9 points overall.
-Finger Painting Class Power Play is 19th (3 for 24, 12.5%), Penalty Kill is tied for 2nd at 94.1% (only allowed 1 PPG so far, have scored two shorties).
-Upcoming schedule with my predictions: Colorado at home on Saturday night (win), Anaheim at home on Tuesday (S/O loss), at the Canes Friday (S/O loss).
Let's Go Hawks!
For more nonsense follow me on Twitter @nCornick.