Moments like this make them go away. Source:

Panther Gameday: Here Come The Hawks!

Moments like these give you ulcers. Source:

See Little Miss Rat Trick, Coach Q isn’t mean all the time!

The Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks riding an eight game winning streak will invade the Bank Atlantic Center tonight to face the Florida Panthers. I have been asked by many since I am from Chicago what, if any team paraphernalia I’ll be wearing.  Guess?

It will be the first game for Michael Frolik against his former teammates since he was traded on February 9th for the currently injured Jack “Crash” Skille.  Frolik has played well as of late and has four points in his last three games, as he seems to be fitting in with the highly skilled Hawks roster.

The Hawks who seemed to have spent much of the season trying to lose their Stanley Cup hangover from the summer are beginning to peak at just the right time.  The eight game winning streak that they are on can be mostly attributed to the play of Captain Serious Jonathan Towes, Patrick Kane, and Patrick Sharp, have produced the most points (50) for a line in the last 13 games when they were put together.  The Hawks are second in the NHL in scoring with 219 goals.

Toews happens to be on a nine game point streak with eight goals and seven assists during that span.  He is the Captains Captain, and on many night’s will put this Blackhawks team on his back, and carry them them to victory.  At the young age of 22 years old, Toews has become quite the leader for this Blackhawks club, and is making some serious noise about being the league MVP.

Also creating some headlines is rookie goaltender Corey Crawford, who has virtually taken the number one job away from veteran Marty Turco with stellar play.  Crawford who toiled in the AHL for five full seasons, appears to be the real deal and is racking up the wins with 26, and has a very solid 2.19 GAA.  Rookie of the year candidate?  Maybe.  Crawford is expected to start tonight which will be his 12th in a row.  Which include four back to back contests in that span.

The Hawks are back to their dangerous ways that led them to their Cup victory last season.  They play a puck possession game, are fast, make crisp passes, and shoot often.  Patrick Sharp besides being the most handsome man in Chicago, is the master of the one-timer.  Thus the name “Sharp-Shooter”.  Duncan Keith the Norris Trophy winning defenceman last year, who lost seven teeth in a playoff game, only to miss one shift, has turned his season of inconsistency around, and is back to his old self.  He suffered a minor hand injury Saturday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs causing him to miss most of the third period, but he is expected to be in the lineup tonight.

What does all this mean for the Florida Panthers? Well, if they aren’t careful and they stand around in awe, the Hawks could end this game early.  Known for quick starts, the Panthers will have to try and slow the Hawks down, and not give up too many early scoring chances.  While Chicago has had some mental lapses earlier in the season, that seems to have changed for now.

The Panthers can’t match the speed of the Hawks, they will have to figure out a way to hang onto the puck longer themselves, and be much smarter with their passing.  Also, staying out of the penalty box for Florida is going to be a good idea as Chicago has the number one power play in the NHL.  This game has the potential to go either way.  A blowout, or a tighter low scoring battle.  Personally I just want to see a good game.

Panther fans, you’ll be able to watch what Dale helped build.  It should give you hope and confidence that the objective is to do the same here.

Here’s the TSN Gameday preview.  Lots of hotness on the Hawks.  Don’t forget to visit Blackhawk Up.

Thanks for reading.  We welcome your comments and your rants!

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Tags: Chicago Blackhawks Corey Crawford Florida Panthers Here Come The Hawks Jack Skille Michael Frolik Patirck Sharp Patrick Kane

  • Tony

    And there GO the Hawks! Along with their bandwagon fans! Right out the door with a regulation LOSS to our lowly Panthers.

    Too much Chicago (comment removed) in this article.

  • Frank Rekas

    Tony: For your information, I’m not a bandwagon fan of the Hawks. I lived there for 31 years. When I moved here in 1993 I decided to follow the Panthers also. I don’t expect you to understand how that works in my life. The last thing that I am is a bandwagon fan of the Hawks. I supported them through the good and the bad. Just as I am doing with the Florida Panthers. Obviously you don’t read this site very often, otherwise you would know.

    If you would like to talk hockey fine. You don’t need to leave childish remarks here. That’s not what this site is about.

  • Tony

    My apologies if you took personal offense to my comment. But come on, this is purported to be a PANTHERS blog. And it’s evident that this post was nothing more than a shine job for the Blackhawks, and that’s why it’s hoot to come in and point out that they lost a very important game to them. If this was a Chicago blog, I wouldn’t bother, because that would be the height of arrogance. But since this is a Panthers blog that almost always seems to point out the NEGATIVE aspects of the Panthers in a bitter way (Little Stevie), it’s nice to be able to point out that your targeted audience is actually paying attention. And I, for one, am taking the time to comment on how good it feels to beat YOUR team. The reader(s) of this blog know you’re a Hawks fan first, and honestly, who would blame you. But you were just one of THOUSANDS of fans in our arena last night sporting the other team’s jersey. Now I KNOW FOR A FACT that there were not THOUSANDS of Hawks fans at the BankAtlantic Center when Chicago was stinking up the league (In fact, I know (because I was there) that on a lot of nights, there weren’t even thousands of Blackhawks fans in the United Center. That’s right, I’M from Chicago too. 1120 N. LaSalle from 1990-2001). So while your fandom is pristine and not in question, the “bandwagon” comment was not directed at YOU, but rather it directed at your rude compatriots who were sporting their brand new Chicago jerseys last night.

  • Frank Rekas

    I made it perfectly clear when I started this site how it was going to be. No apologies from me for any of my writing in the past, present, or future.

    The fact that thousands of Hawks fans were not here during the “bad” years indicates that they were not going to spend money on a trip to Florida to watch a bad team. Would you?

    This site has been sarcastic, funny, completely objective, and full of appropriate commentary by all three of us. I/we have the right to do so at any time. We will NOT do this any other way. We call things as we see it, not through rose colored glasses, or as a way to find only the good. There is nothing good about missing the playoffs for 10 years.

    I/we have given the organization and Mr. Tallon credit for the direction that they are going, and are confident that his plan will work.

    There are many people who may not know the Blackhawks, our opponent the other night. Who better than me to introduce them to the readers that don’t. My job here is one thing and one thing only. Write. People may not like it and others may love it. I never intended to disrespect the Panthers in any way shape or form.

    As for Dave covering the game and doing a post game recap, that was decided by the three of us. I did give the Panthers credit for winning the game. Vokoun was outstanding Tuesday.

    Rude compatriots? Look, I don’t like this building filled with other fans anymore than you. However compare Chicago fans to any other fan from another city. Who would you rather have in this building?

    I have been a season ticket holder for 13 years here in Florida. How’s that for support? I cheer when the Panthers win, and I’m most likely more upset than you when they lose.

    The Little Stevie remarks have long disappeared. But I guess people might have been ok when I called Ville Koistenen the “stripper”. Not every player is going to be liked by everyone and we have our reasons. Tell me during the 90′s when you lived in Chicago there wasn’t a player you didn’t like, or you made fun of?

    Thanks for your comments. Hope you keep coming back. Let’s keep the discussion to hockey cause this one is over.

  • slapshot1106

    I was at the game and I didn’t have a problem with the Hawks fans. Sure there were a lot more jerseys coming off their Cup win celebration, but that happens with every team.. Actually, it provides for great energy in the building compared with the typical Panthers game.. So for all the negative criticism of the team and even Yormark going overboard to cater to the visiting fanbase, I say do what you gotta do to sell tickets and keep the franchise here before while we rebuild the proper way…

    Probably at least 80-90% of us are transplants, so I have no problem with people cheering for the team they grew up to love.. I just think if you’re going to live here you can adopt the team and support the sport, whether they become your favorite, 2nd favorite, or co-favorites.. And if you don’t want to root for them, at least repsect the fact they we have a team here and that allows us to watch live, so-called NHL hockey at times.. Seriously, just go out and support the cause.. Phoenix is close to losing their team, Atlanta probably has a 2-year window to win and gain back some fans, and we can’t be far behind that; so let’s just support the rebuild and be thankful we have the option to watch live NHL games now and in the future..

    As for the game, the Panthers were majorly FORTUNATE to get that kind of lead, and they hung on for the ride.. They were much more fortunate than anything else to hold for the 2nd and 3rd, but another take the 2 pts, learn something from it, and move on..

    The odd part about this team is that every time they get close enough to make a push,like in January, they never get the bounce or clutch save or call from the ref.. Then a game like Tues where everyone thought they’d probably lose 5-1, they hang on for dear life as the Hawks missed the net high and wide, and all the loose pucks that usually tend to find a way to kill them don’t go in.. Just a little more of those unpredictable Panthers, but it keeps us coming back for more… We will have our day in the future; let’s just hope it’s sooner than later..

    • Frank Rekas

      Could not agree more Slap shot. As you know I am a Panther fan and fully support the direction in which Dale Tallon is taking the team. While I may not be as patient as most, I’m here, and hoping the turnaround is also sooner rather than later.