Ben Smith is back and you may count me among those who are pleased.
The dude has "it". I'm not sure exactly what "it" is because if I did then I could give "it" a name. "It" is the knack for being in the right place at the right time. "It" is smart and plays heads-up hockey. "It" sacrifices itself to make a play. "It" just finishes.
On Twitter I call Marian Hossa "My Main Man" and now I have dubbed Ben Smith "My Mini Main Man". That is not a reference to their styles of play, rather it's just a reference to the man-crushes I have on each of them.
Let's take a look at what I'm talking about as there is a special play that reflects all of my man-crushitude.
Oh sweet baby Jesus. I could watch this on a loop for three or four hours and never tire of it.
Hoss, dangling around fools and Ben Smith shoveling a backhander over a prostrated Luongo. Doesn't get much better than that. (Big thanks BTW to whoever "cschalz" is on YouTube for uploading that video. It is very well done with the WGN audio and multiple replay angles. My hat is off to you, sir or madam.)
I am slightly concerned that Smith's number has been changed from 57 to 28. I guess 57 is considered an ugly number by hockey standards but whatever. If I had scored that goal while wearing 57, there is no way I would change it. As 28 is a slightly over half of 57, let us hope that he is not half the player he was last year in the playoffs.
Also, I forgot that Smith is an American. Double cool points. That brings the grand total of Americans on the team up to a whopping three (Kane, Leddy, Smith). There are an equal number of Swedes and Americans on the Hawks. Weird.
The word is that Smith is going to be skating on the third line with Bolland and the corpse of Bryan Bickell. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with Bickell? Paging Jeremy Morin, Jeremy Morin, please pick up the nearest white courtesy phone. (Would just like to note that Morin is American also).
Onto the rest of my thoughts.
-Apparently the Hawks have fixed their power play.
-Since the start of the four game winning streak in Columbus through Friday night's loss in Calgary, the Hawks power play is 7/18 (38.8%).
-Steve Montador is the new black.
-On a six game road trip with twelve points available, I think I would consider taking seven points (3-2-1 record) a success.
-How do circuses even exists in the 21st century? It just seems bizarre.
-When I was a kid I remember going to see the Ringling Brothers Circus at the Rosemont Horizon and the main attractions were a "unicorn" (AKA a goat with altered horns) and "King Tusk" an Asian Elephant with six foot long tusks. All I can remember from those trips are the two guys riding inside the metal sphere on motorcycles. Totally insane. Hope they had good medical insurance.
-Here's a Ringling Brothers commercial from 1988 (a few years after I went but still featuring King Tusk.
That's what the Hawks and Bulls have to clear out of the United Center every year for? Who is going to see that?
-In college I interned for the "Bozo Super Sunday Show" on WGN. This was when the show had gone from being a daily morning show to a weekly show that aired only on Sunday mornings. But still. Bozo! One time I had to dress up in a lion costume and chase Bozo around the set for a sketch. Does that mean I can say I was in the circus?
-I have a Polaroid somewhere of me dressed up in the lion outfit. If I can find the picture I will post it on the blog. I think I might actually have a VHS copy of that footage as well somewhere. I'll look around and see if I can find it.
-The four best offensive players on the Hawks (Tazer, Kaner, Hoss, Sharp) are playing like all-stars. If they can maintain this level of play, the Hawks are going to be a tough out come May.
-All four of those guys are hovering around the point per game neighborhood. That is an exclusive zip code.
- Hossa: 22 points, 19 games
- Kane: 21 points, 20 games
- Toews: 19 points, 20 games
- Sharp: 18 points, 20 games
-I liked this article by Chris Kuc about the Blackhawks organization effort to develop a relationship with the native American community in Illinois. the cynic in me thinks they are doing it just to cover their asses so that one day that don't get sued over the use of the logo or their depiction of Native Americans.
-I hope the cynic in me is wrong and that the Hawks are doing this for the right reasons. Here is the page they added to their site about Blackhawk (the Indian) their work with the Native community.
-Blackhawks record since last Friday Friday, Nov. 4th: 4-2-1
-Standings: 1st in the Central, 1st in the West, first in the NHL with 27 points overall (in 19 games).
-Statistics: Finger Painting Class The power play is up from dead last (30th) to 17th! (11 for 71, 15.5%), the penalty kill has plummeted from 3rd at 91.7% to 26th (76.4%), the Hawks have allowed 13 PPG on the season, and have scored 3 shorties.
-Last week's predictions with results Predictions from two weeks ago: I said they would lose in OT at TB (lost in OT); win at home against VAN (lost in regulation); lose at St. Louis (lost in regulation); and win at Columbus (won in regulation). I predicted five points, they came up with three.
-The upcoming schedule (through next Thursday) with my predictions: Friday at CGY (regulation win, 2 pts); Saturday at EDM (regulation loss, 0 pts); Wednesday at SJ (S/O win, 2 pts); Bonus prediction (that you will have to take my word on). For this past Wednesday's game at Vancouver I am predicting a loss in regulation which would give the Hawks a 1-2-1 record to start the circus trip. Update: I was wrong! Gloriously wrong! The Hawks ended up whipping the Canucks 5-1 Wednesday night. Good Times. I will not allow myself to chalk that game up as the "signature win" that I had been waiting for and writing about however since Luongo was not in the net. Only when the Hawks embarrass Luongo will I consider a victory over Vancouver "complete".