Between the Circles

Between the Circles

Havlat and Khabibulin - what to do?

Posted by TimS on Sun, 01/18/2009 - 23:27
I know we've been around the block before on this, but I'll repeat myself: I don't see how the Hawks could trade either Havlat or Khabibulin before the March 4 deadline. Just when you think maybe Havlat could be moved, he wins a game like in St. Louis on the kind of play few forwards can make. If the Hawks do move Havlat, they MUST get a top-six forward in return. As for Khabibulin, this two-goalie system is the strength of the team and offers great security for the playoffs. Granted, Huet is playing well, but what if he were to get hurt after Khabibulin was traded? Then everything is shot.

If the Hawks were smart...

Posted by TimS on Fri, 01/16/2009 - 19:34
They would sit Duncan Keith until after the all-star break. Keith wasn't in the lineup Friday against the Rangers and won't play Saturday at St. Louis because of the elbow to the head he took from Buffalo's Drew Stafford on Wednesday. The Hawks play Monday against Minnesota and Wednesday against the Blues with Keith questionable for both games. Why not just let him sit through the all-star break, which would give him almost two weeks of rest before the first game out of the break on Jan. 28 at Anaheim. The Hawks won't say if Keith has a concussion. But they haven't said he doesn't.

A head shot is a head shot

Posted by TimS on Thu, 01/15/2009 - 12:49
Watch the replay of Drew Stafford's hit on Duncan Keith and it's clear his elbow caught the Hawks' defenseman in the head at the last minute. Referees Paul Devorski and Brian Pochmara blew it by not penalizing Stafford, who said after the game Keith should have had his head up. Shots to the head continue to be ignored by the NHL. A head shot should be an automatic penalty, whether it's intentional or not. Ben Eager is right. If he had hit someone like Stafford did, he would have been sent to the penalty box and likely suspended. What Eager is saying is there's a double standard in the NHL, and he's right. Stafford is not a dirty player, but that hit was. Maybe Keith should have had his head up, but that's no reason to go for a guy's head.

Blunden was a disappointment

Posted by TimS on Sat, 01/10/2009 - 18:24
The Hawks had such high hopes for winger Mike Blunden, who they traded to Columbus on Saturday for winger Adam Pineault. Blunden was drafted 43rd overall in the second round in 2005 and had size (6-3, 209) and a goal-scoring touch in juniors. But Blunden scored only 3 goals in 37 games at Rockford after scoring only 16 last year. He appeared in 10 games with the Hawks with no points. Not every high draft pick is a hit, and Blunden was a definite miss.

All-Star Game a waste

Posted by TimS on Thu, 01/08/2009 - 17:04
I hate the NHL All-Star Game. OK, maybe hate it too strong a word. I just think it's stupid. No hitting, no intensity, no thanks. And the skills competition is even dumber. If the NHL has to have an all-star game, can't they at least get the teams right? I guess the league tries to have every club represented, but why? Keith Tkachuk, Mike Modano and Dustin Brown on the West? Modano is the fourth leading scorer on his own team. So we must watch Tkachuk chug up and down the wing while Marian Hossa, Henrik Zetterberg, Patrick Sharp and Patrick Marleau sit at home? I think I'll clean out the garage that day. And why did the injured Roberto Luongo get added? San Jose's Evgeni Nabokov has won more games (21) than Luongo has played (19).

How about a Dirk Graham night?

Posted by TimS on Thu, 01/08/2009 - 01:28
DENVER - OK, I'll join the discussion, even though I don't know how we got here. Yes, the Hawks are going to honor Tony Amonte and Bob Probert with a "Heritage Night," which pretty much consists of them dropping the puck like Larmer did. I can see saluting Amonte, but Probert? Why? Ya, he was popular and all, but that's about it. His best years were in Detroit and he'll always be a Red Wing. I'm all for a Dave Manson night. Nobody loved Charlie more than me, one of my favorite Hawks ever, and a great guy. But how about Dirk Graham? He's one of the greatest captains and leaders in Hawks history, playing on one leg on most nights later in his career. Just putting in my two cents...

Kane skates, plans to practice Wednesday

Posted by TimS on Tue, 01/06/2009 - 17:44
GLENDALE, Ariz. - Patrick Kane was back on the ice at Tuesday's morning skate at Arena to test his sprained right ankle. Kane was to sit out his second straight game against the Coyotes, but he intends to try and practice with the full team Wednesday in suburban Denver. It's not likely he would play Thursday against the Avalanche at the Pepsi Center, but who knows? "It feels all right," Kane said. "It probably needs a couple more days. We'll see how it feels after practice (Wednesday)."

Maybe by the weekend for Kane

Posted by TimS on Mon, 01/05/2009 - 17:16
Patrick Kane will miss Tuesday's game against the Coyotes in Arizona, and it's doubtful the Hawks will have him Thursday at Colorado. "We're hoping that by the end of the trip he has a chance to play," Joel Quenneville said after Monday's practice that went on without Kane. Perhaps Kane can return Saturday at Nashville or on Sunday against the Predators at the United Center. High ankle sprains are tricky things, but Kane's doesn't appear to be as serious as Sidney Crosby's was last season when the Pens' star sat for 28 games. But we'll see. There's no reason to rush the kid back with half the season to go. Quenneville also said that Cristobal Huet would start against the Coyotes.

Kane won't play Sunday

Posted by TimS on Sat, 01/03/2009 - 13:51
Patrick Kane won't be in the lineup Sunday against Calgary after aggravating his right ankle injury in the Winter Classic. Kane and coach Joel Quenneville called it a day-to-day situation with Quenneville saying the Hawks' leading scorer would accompany the team on its three-game road trip to Phoenix, Colorado and Nashville. "It's nothing long term," Quenneville said. Kane hurt his ankle on Tuesday in Detroit when he was hit by Dan Cleary. Kane said he didn't attempt to play Thursday just because it was the Winter Classic. It's official Kane, Jonathan Toews and Brian Campbell will start for the Western Conference in the Jan. 25 All-Star Game in Montreal after being voted into the starting lineup by the fans.

An unforgettable day

Posted by TimS on Thu, 01/01/2009 - 23:41
I thought I had seen almost everything in my time covering sports for the Daily Herald. I covered the first night game at Wrigley Field, the White Sox winning the World Series, four of the Bulls' six championships, one Super Bowl and Tiger Woods winning majors at Medinah. But the Blackhawks playing hockey at Wrigley Field on Thursday tops them all. Maybe it's because I'm a hockey guy. Maybe it's because it was just so darn cool. What scenes. What an atmosphere. I bumped into John McDonough in the press box lunch room after the first period and all I could tell him was how spectacular it all was. McDonough seemed at a loss for words himself. So the Hawks lost to the Red Wings. There's no shame in that. With all due respect to San Jose, the Red Wings still are the best things on skates.