President's Day Blog!
Enjoy the day off...well for those who are teacher's like me got the day off!
I am sure others did too...hopefully.
Some comments on the Kings game at the United Center on Sunday...
Kings 2 @ Chicago Blackhawks 3
I was expecting a team like the Kings, who are defending champions, or so technically speaking they are, to come out and shut the 'Hawks down from the start. Easier said than done, but the Kings came out completely flat, got caught chasing around in their own zone and found themselves down an early 2-0 hole.
Living in Chicago, I always try to see the Kings and Leafs as much as possible. With that being said, I rarely miss a game when those two clubs are in town. The problem is with the Maple Leafs is that they visit Chicago once every three years and I find that completely ridiculous, being that both teams were once huge rivals and played in the same division.
Over the past several seasons, the Kings and Leafs have followed a similar pattern when playing in Chicago. Both teams come out flat in the first 20-40 minutes of play, climb into a huge 2 or 3 goal hole and then finally pick up the pace over the last period or so, which is usually too late. Even though they seem to get the Blackhawks on their heels, their comeback bid to earn at least one point always fails.
Here is a message to the LA Kings: Next time you come to Chicago, get your heads out of your rear ends and be ready to play from the opening puck drop! So sick of this every time you guys visit my hometown.
Okay, I just needed to say that...again!
The 'Hawks are indeed the best team in the NHL at the moment, and I think I have several reasons why.
The first reason is that guys like Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith (the original fabulous four of Chicago) knew that the last two seasons, the all played like a bunch of primadonnas. They must have thought things would be easy after accomplishing what the team did in 2010, the first Stanley Cup title since 1961. Good for them! But after losing games that the club should have won, including an embarrassing nine game losing streak around this time last season, it was time to finally put in the hard work and get back to business.
My second reason for Chicago's improbable run to start this short season, comes from last year's playoffs against the Phoenix Coyotes. The 'Hawks were in trouble after losing both home games in overtime on soft goals allowed by Corey Crawford, and when Raffi Torres decked Marian Hossa and knocking him completely out of the game and the playoffs, Chicago was eager and ready more so than any team coming into this season. Whenever the season got started, the 'Hawks were ready to go and really take it to everyone in the NHL, including the Coyotes, in which Chicago has pasted twice already in the desert scoring 12 goals.
With that being said, the Blackhawks are taking names and showing no mercy to anyone, including the defending champs.
After Chicago had built another three-goal lead on the Kings, they seemed to sit back and enjoy the cushion. The Blackhawks were in complete control from the opening face-off until the very end of the second period when the Kings finally seemed to get their act together.
Mike Richards and the inept power play finally came to life in the second and made a game out of what was the 'Hawks vs. Jonathan Quick show for nearly forty minutes of play.
After a few quick scrambles in front of Ray Emery, who the Kings never truly challenged until the final frame, the horn sounded giving the 'Hawks another victory and the Kings another loss in Chicago.
I will have more on the Kings and Blackhawks later...
Maple Leafs Invade Florida
I will wait until after Tuesday's game against the Lightning to post my next Leafs blog. I am going to take the two games together and do a post-Florida trip wrap-up.
I have not heard of any news on James Reimer, but this is a time when the team needs two goaltenders ready to go on back to back nights. Perhaps we will get to see Jussi Rynnas get a start in goal while in the Sunshine state?
I see the Panthers and the Lightning as fairly similar teams at the moment. Both can score, yet each has had a hard time keeping their opposition from scoring. If Toronto can get a couple goals early, then they should be okay. My, how similar I can compare both of these teams currently to the Maple Leafs of the recent past?
Furthermore, the Leafs cannot afford to be sloppy in their own end, otherwise these games can both get out of hand. Then the Leafs are right back where they started when Ron Wilson was behind the bench. The Panthers have been involved with several crazy 6-5 games as of late, and the Lightning have also struggled to shut down teams as Anders Lindback is coming off a five goals against performance just getting over the flu.
These two games will be a good reflection of how the Maple Leafs play under Randy Carlyle compared to how they played under Ron Wilson. If both games turn into high scoring defensive zone messes, then it will seem as if not much has changed. Thus, maintaining the fact that the Leafs have still not yet matured enough.
Carl Gunnarsson seems to be a game time decision. It will be good to get him back in the lineup with a slew of games starting tonight and into next week. Not much time to rest, meaning the more abled-bodies you got, the better.
I will also have more on the realignment plan for the upcoming season, but I need a little more time...dentist appointment before the Leaf-Panther game!