Tag Archives: chicago blackhawks

Leicester City: The Greatest Sports Story. Ever.

 

By Nate Flax

As the clock hit the 96th minute of the Tottenham – Chelsea match, the entire soccer world realized that the greatest underdog story in sport history had concluded. After trailing 2-0 at halftime, Chelsea came back to draw with the second place Tottenham Hotspur, thanks to a brilliant 80th minute equalizer by Chelsea’s Eden Hazard. As the final whistle blew to end the heated London Derby, Tottenham’s title hopes were dashed and for the second year in a row, a new Premier League champion was decided at Stamford Bridge. However, this time it wasn’t one of England’s heavyweight contenders, but instead a club that had been written off before the season even started.

Leicester City

Located right in the heart of England, world-famous clubs, always surrounded Leicester with Manchester just to the North and London to the South, but until this year, very few that did not follow the BPL closely even knew a soccer club existed there, even though the team was founded in 1884 (132 years ago). The Leicester City Foxes were simply insignificant, finishing at the bottom of the table the year before and had only received promotion into England’s top league the year before that. They entered the season 5000-1 odds to win the title this year and featured a team that had cost just £80 million to put together (to put in perspective Manchester City spent £80 million on one transfer alone earlier in the year). Billy Beane’s Moneyball scheme wouldn’t stand a chance against this. Other recent previous 5000-1 odds as explained by ESPN’s Paul Carr included 16-year-old Paul Chaplet’s chances at this year’s Masters (where he shot 21 over par and finished dead last) and the Minnesota Timberwolves’ chances to make the playoffs with a month left in the season and their record sitting at 14-35. The odds for Elvis Presley being found alive were also 5000-1.

Being written off before the season even started, Leicester really had no chance of failing any expectations given to them, quite frankly because there were no expectations to start with. But that’s when everything clicked. Led by Riyad Mahrez, Danny Drinkwater, Jamie Vardy, and seasoned manager Claudio Ranieri, the Foxes outdid themselves by continuing to be that pesky opponent that just wouldn’t give up even though they seemingly had no business competing with powerhouses like Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, and Chelsea. Yet somehow, with Chelsea holding Tottenham to a draw, Leicester City sat seven points clear on top of the table with just two games to play, making it impossible for anyone to catch them, and crowning them the kings of England. With the third smallest budget in the Premier League, the Foxes became the first team not named Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, or Chelsea in 21 years to win the title, and just the sixth to win out of 48 that have tried since 1992. After a season that proved that money can’t always guarantee a crown, Leicester City concluded the fairy tale of a season that underdogs could previously only dream of.

NHL: Same Game, Different Season

by Brandon Busuttil

With the NHL season underway, a lot happened this off-season but all teams have the same goal: make the playoffs and win the almighty Stanley Cup. So, how have all those off-season moves and predictions been looking after the first few games into this NHL season.

I think it is important to start with the new overtime format. Instead of the 4-on-4 overtime format, that resulted in only 35% of games tied after regulation ending in overtime, and the rest of the 65% of tied games ending in a shootout; the NHL has decided to move to a 3-on-3, 5-minute overtime format followed by a shootout. Overtime periods just got a lot more exciting. With a lot of ice and some of the most talented NHL players in that open space, you can expect a lot more overtime goals, and that is exactly what happened. The excitement about a game going into overtime has gone way up, and now has fans watching with large rushes of adrenaline. The NHL definitely got it right with this overtime format change.

Mike Babcock has moved on from the Detroit Red Wings to the Toronto Maple Leafs. It can easily be determined Babcock gave up success with the Red Wings for a lot more money and a much bigger challenge. The Detroit Red Wings is one of the most renowned teams in the NHL making the playoffs 24 years in a row. Now with a rookie head coach, Jeff Blashill, can the Red Wings keep it up or will they crumble? With the amount of talent Detroit has, along with the fact Blashill coached the AHL affiliate team of the Red Wings the Grand Rapids Griffins to a Calder Cup trophy (much of those players he coached are now playing for the Red Wings), I think the team will be in good hands. Blashill follows a system very similar to Babcock, and if it is truly similar to Babcocks, that means the team will stay successful. So far into the season it has been proven that the Red Wings are exactly where they left off with Babcock, continuing to be successful with two goaltenders whom are good enough to both be starting.

The Toronto Maple Leafs on the other hand, are still struggling. To put this team in perspective, their first line players would be on a third line at any decent NHL team. It will be interesting to see what Mike Babcock can do with this team, but I would not expect a quick fix. Babcock has been signed to a 8 year deal to see if he can be the magician to change this Leafs team around, and it is predicted that it will take a long two or possibly three seasons until we hear of the Maple Leafs making noise in the NHL. This has proven true because the Leafs have continued their losing woes in this 2015-2016 NHL season.

The last big story-line that is looked at is: what is the deal with the Chicago Blackhawks? Coming off of a Stanley Cup championship, can Chicago do it again? Unlikely. They lost some key players due to free agency and trades, but they will still be a force to be reckoned with considering their star players that have stayed are going to make up for the lack of those whom left.

Overall, it should be a great and interesting season this year, filled with some great goaltenders all looking to make a name for themselves and some trying to keep their name as one of the best in the game right now. We have top-notch rookies such as Connor McDavid, whom is compared to Sidney Crosby when he entered the league. Lastly, we have teams that could make a push to be a force this year such as the Florida Panthers, whom have come out this year with a lot of determination and force.

Look for an exciting year of hockey, and one that will probably be filled with the unexpected.

 

Patrick Kane’s Recovery Coming Along

By Ellen Chlumecky

March 16, 2015

I do not need to reiterate the struggle that Chicago sports have faced this year. The Bears have been going through a new structuring system with a new coach and new staffing decisions. The Bulls have been through some major injuries. Specifically the stars of the team, forcing other teammates to step up in a big way. The Blackhawks have been having a pretty good year. They were definitely headed for the playoffs. All seemed well for this one Chicago sports team.

Now, here’s where that Chicago curse hit home. Patrick Kane had a freak accident on the ice where a combination of a little shove and he seemed to trip on his skate and fall straight into the boards. While this may have seemed like any ordinary hit in hockey. Unfortunately, Patrick Kane ended up hitting the boards with his shoulder. Which resulted in him fracturing clavicle. I do not need to talk about how important one’s shoulder is to someone much less a hockey player.

Chicago Blackhawks fans cringed in horror when they realized that one of their star point scorers was going to be out for several weeks. Patrick Kane has been vital in the past two Stanley Cup championships and the past few playoff runs. The majority of the fans and Blackhawks’ analysts believe that his injury will be a negative impact on Chicago’s chances of winning another championship.

However, there is one person who is truly positive that his recovery from the fractured clavicle won’t count him out of the season completely. That person is number 88 himself. He’s hopeful because there is still some time left in the season. He truly is aiming to play in the playoffs, while he is not positive what his plans will be for playoffs. However, he personally is optimistic about the success of his team without him.

Kane underwent surgery on February 25th and was put on a twelve week time-table to return. He told ESPN he is still on that time-table as of this week. He has been going to rehabilitation training every day and actively working out his lower body. It seems as if he is doing every thing he can in his power to be back at 100%. You can tell that he hates being injured. He is one of those players that wants to be playing and wants to be trying to help his team in every way he can.

In recent years, Patrick Kane has endured criticisms and has made his fair share of mistakes. Most young hockey players are susceptible to this but he was under the spotlight because of his tremendous talent and rookie status. I believe this personal excerpt shows that he’s actively trying to change this unpopular opinion of him. He has matured as a player and wants to bring home another Stanley Cup for his team.

 

You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

By Ellen Chlumecky

February 5, 2015

Sometimes hockey players who have been playing the same way for an extended period of time are naive to change. This might be the case for Daniel Carcillo of the Chicago Blackhawks. Scratch the “might be,” he refuses to change his game for the rules of the NHL.

I wrote about Daniel Carcillo’s cross check to Mathieu Perreault about two weeks ago. On February 3rd, he came out with a statement about the incident. Carcillo stated, “I had thoughts when it happened, but right now I’m just trying to get past it. I don’t really see a point in rehashing any emotions that I had. You can’t do what I did in the league today; there’s no room for it.” Seems like a pretty sincere comment, right?

However he went on to say that despite his lengthy history with the league, it’s not going to change the way he plays the game, it hasn’t yet and it won’t in the future.  He made it clear that even after this serious offense, he still will not change his ways.

Even coach Joel Quenneville, who I rarely disagree with, made a statement saying that Daniel Carcillo did what he did because he has to bring an energy to the game. He said that he didn’t believe his resume has hurt him as far as how he’s competing and how he’s playing. Quenneville asserted that he thinks Carcillo sees the balance between rough play and having control over the situation.

I honestly couldn’t disagree with Quenneville more. I don’t believe Carcillo tries to control his game at all. I believe that sometimes he just blindly hits other players and doesn’t really think about what it will do to them or himself.

While I understand there are an excessive amount of reasons why a hockey player might hit another player, many that are reasonable. I also believe that these players make a conscious decision about whether or not they’re going to hurt another player.

While the enforcer’s job is be the tough guy and push around the team, I don’t feel it’s completely necessary to permanently or seriously injure another player. So no, with Carcillo’s current track record I don’t think he knows the balance between rough play and control.

While I want my team to be tough and be intimidating, there are other ways to do that. Carcillo needs to realize that if he continues to act the way he does, he’ll have to deal with serious consequences.

Daniel Carcillo: A Liability or an Asset?

By Ellen Chlumecky

January 22, 2015

As one of many long time Blackhawks fans, we have been through many ups and downs throughout our time as fans. We have encountered a long dry spell of losing, coaches who didn’t fit the bill, and players who sometimes seemed like they didn’t have a clue. Recently, one of the Blackhawks’ players has been acting inappropriately on the ice and is being rightly punished for it. This player is Daniel Carcillo.

Daniel Carcillo was suspended for six games on Monday because of his actions. Carcillo crosschecked Winnipeg Jets forward Mathieu Perreault on Friday, January 16th. Carcillo skated up behind Perreault and cross checked him in a downward motion. Carcillo connected his stick to Perreault’s left arm in the final seconds of the second period. Perreault did not return to the game after that and did not play again for the Jets on Sunday.

The league’s department of player safety discussed how they took into account the incident and Carcillo’s disciplinary history in deciding the appropriate length of the suspension. Carcillo will forfeit six games’ worth of salary, which equates to $40, 243.92.

This isn’t Carcillo’s first time with the Blackhawks. He had a one-year deal with the Blackhawks for the 2011-2012 season. This also isn’t the first time Carcillo has been suspended. Carcillo has been suspended or fined eleven previous times in his nine NHL seasons. Carcillo was last suspended in the playoffs last season when he elbowed a linesman in the face while Carcillo was being restrained. He was initially suspended ten games for abuse of officials and later had the suspension reduced to six games.

While Carcillo did not believe he did anything wrong or malicious, Winnipeg Jets’ coach thought a little differently. Paul Maurice who is the Winnipeg Jets; head coach said, “It was a vicious crosscheck to an unsuspecting player.” I personally fully agree with Maurice, even as a dedicated Blackhawks fan, I truly believe what Carcillo did wasn’t appropriate.

While of course hockey is an aggressive sport, there needs to be a line drawn in terms of safety. There have been far too many incidents in the sport of hockey where people have been permanently injured because certain players have a lack of respect for other people’s safety. There are ways to hit someone in the sport of hockey that don’t lead to permanent or career-ending damage.

I understand that hockey teams need tough players to defend their smaller players, however there is a line what they should or should not be allowed to do. While Carcillo said he had no intentions of hurting another player, I don’t believe you crosscheck without some intention of hurting someone an exponential amount. Many of these players need to understand that one wrong move and they could damage or permanently end someone’s career.

Did the 2015 Winter Classic Get the Attention it Deserved?

By Savannah Malnar

Outdoor games used to be a rare occurrence in the NHL, which produced only the annual Winter Classic and the occasional Heritage Classic which traditionally showcases Canadian teams only. The 2013-2014 NHL season brought the induction of the Stadium Series, a set of outdoor games meant to be set in varying cities across the league.

Perhaps this new stadium series can explain the lack of hype and attention surrounding the 2015 Winter Classic. The Washington Capitals hosted the Chicago Blackhawks at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., and despite the fact that this was a game between two playoff contenders in our nation’s capital, there was not a lot of attention surrounding it.

The national media lacked enthusiasm leading up to the game. Even local outlets did not cover it as much as previous Winter Classics have been covered. The game itself ended up being a close game, tied until seconds left in the third when Capital’s forward Troy Brouwer scored the game winning goal allowing the Caps to leave the game with a final score of 3-2. Yahoo! Sports published a short summary of the game, but said it was, “maybe the most quality game between two teams in the annual event,” which is interesting to hear about such a low-key “major” event.

There are a few reasons this Winter Classic in specific was not as well publicized. The first may be, as mentioned before, the induction of the Stadium Series. Perhaps the novelty of an outdoor game has run out. Or, it could have been the location and teams playing. In past years the annual game has frequently pitted rival teams together in larger venues. This calls for more attention from both fans of the sport and the media. The Capitals and the Blackhawks are far from rivals; they have never been in the same conference and have ever competed in the playoffs against each other. They only meet twice per season under the new collective bargaining agreement.

While this game may not have been as big of a deal as past Classics, it still was a beautiful day to be a Caps fan. D.C. weather was mild but chilly enough to maintain good ice quality for the teams, and everyone in attendance got to witness a great display of talent and a home team win.