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Is a sweep in order?

Is a sweep in order?

The Chicago Blackhawks put a stranglehold on the Western Conference Final by defeating an impressive San Jose Sharks effort last night. Not to be undone, Chicago also played a tremendous game coming through in clutch situations proving the heart and dedication of the Hawks is second to none.

San Jose opened the scoring on the end of a lengthy 5 on 3 powerplay in which the Hawks came so close to killing off. Patrick Marleau was in the right spot at the right time as the Sharks took the lead 1-0 at the 3:58 mark of the first period.

Approximately 3 minutes later the Blackhawks got a rare powerplay opportunity of their own and managed to capitalize on it with Patrick Sharp being the recipient of an unreal pass by Jonathan Toews at 6:59 of the first. 1-1

David Bolland after yet another remarkable effort made a nice block in the defensive zone and skated the length of the ice to pot one past Evgeni Nabokov. 2-1 at the 13:05 mark of the 3rd period in the Hawks favor.

With time winding down and every Hawk fan watching the clock second by second it was looking like the Hawks may pull this win out. Didn’t happen, San Jose kept pushing and pushing getting multiple chances and Patrick Marleau notched his second of the game at the 15:37 segment of the 3rd period and game tied 2-2.

Off to overtime. It was a back and forth 6 minutes of overtime with furious offensive attacks from both clubs leaving fans sitting on the edge of the seat. The Sharks were desperate for the win to prevent falling down 3-0 in the series while the Hawks did not want to give San Jose any hope or motivation in this series.

At the 12:24 mark the Chicago Blackhawks turned the Madhouse on Madison into a frenzy with some good cycling down low and a bit of help by a break down by the Sharks as Dustin Byfuglien skated right into the slot and received a pass by Dave Bolland and buried it just under the cross bar. No chance for Nabokov whatsoever and Chicago put a stranglehold on the series being up 3 games to 0 over the San Jose Sharks.

Jonathan Toews has already locked up the Conn Smythe Trophy.

Win or lose for Chicago there has been no one that comes close to “Tazer” this year in the playoffs. Toews leads all players in the playoffs with 25 points with no one else even being close at this point in time, he has been remarkable on the power play and shorthanded. His 5 on 5 play is next to none, face off percentage is second for current players still playing only to Manny Maholtra of the Sharks, don’t forget Toews has taken 100 more draws the Manny. I dare you to show me a comparative player right now in the playoffs.

Antti Niemi is the second coming of Dominik Hasek.

Bold statement yes, but how can you argue? The styles are very comparable, he is rarely beaten on the first shot unless it’s deflected and he manages to make unbelievable saves with his unorthodox style which is very similar to the Dominator’s. I have been boasting Niemi’s style in comparison to Hasek since day 1 of the NHL season this year and I am standing by that. Niemi had his best game last night stopping 44 shots, just when we thought we saw the best from Antti he keeps coming back with more impressive performances.

Shots allowed is the only issue against Chicago.

So far there has not been any better hockey in the playoffs then this current series, it’s wide open with multiple scoring chances every minute of the game. San Jose has clearly decided to run and gun with Chicago and thus far it has failed them. The Hawks are by no means dominating the Sharks but are coming through at clutch times which is the biggest difference so far in this series. Earlier this season I blogged about goaltending and if teams that are deep up front need a superstar goaltender to win, seen here

(Many thanks go to Greg Wyshynski of YahooSports for posting the above link on one of his articles.)

I think this year’s playoffs shows that goaltending is still the most important position in hockey.

Not going to lie, I was leaning towards saying no a team does not need a superstar goalie to win but whatever goaltender you do have has to play like a superstar. Catch my drift? For game 4 Niemi will have to stand on his head again as San Jose is surely going to get over 40 shots again as will the Hawks against Nabokov. Over the season Chicago kept teams to minimal shots and led the league only allowing 25.1 shots per game but the playoffs are a different scenario and the current series is as wide open as it gets.

Some so called fans and media assuming they are “Experts” on Chicago’s future after this season need to get a grip.

This is really not the time to talk about next year’s Chicago’s team as they are in a great position to win a Stanley Cup if they can get by the Sharks. However, with a couple days off between hockey games fans of other clubs love to say “Chicago had better win this year because they are done next year due to the cap.” Really? Do they know what the cap is for the Hawks next year? Do they know how many options they have? Do they know how deep the farm system is down in Rockford? No, most just assume the entire team needs to split up and will be diminished for next year.

I won’t go on about this much but please, I beg of you, before the ludicrous comments on “Hawkey sites” all across the internet first look at the core players signed for Chicago. Hossa, Kane, Toews, Keith, and Campbell to name a few only, that’s a pretty damn good core to build around. Look at Detroit for years built around players likeĀ  Datsyuk, Zetterberg, and Lidstrom and were competitive every year by adding key young players from their farm system and some nice free aganet signings after they had to let players go due to salary cap issues. Chicago’s future is bright so to all the haters out there I’m sorry but your bad wishing upon Chicago will more then likely not succeed.

In ending, let’s cheer on the Hawks and hope that they can end this series quick and sweep the San Jose Sharks Sunday afternoon and blow the roof off the United Center!

Let’s Go Hawks !!


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An all around sports fan and has been a Chicago BlackHawks supporter longer then he can remember. Currently writes for on the Blackhawks and on the Edmonton Oilers. (If you would like to email feel free to contact Trent at )

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In response to “Is a sweep in order?”

  1. PeaJay Harris May 22 20105:02 pm


    Watched the game last night. Truly intense and Antti Niemi is a friggin’ stud!! LET’S GO BLACKHAWKS!!!

    1. Trent Kondo May 22 20105:44 pm


      Absolutely it was an intense game, I was playing poker last night and I could definitely not concentrate on poker. This game had everyone on edge at all times!

  2. Justin Lewis May 22 20105:09 pm


    This is just a nightmare as a Sharks fan. Highly doubt this will be a sweep but I will say the Hawks will probably win in 6. None of the 3 games have been have big of a blowout but the series could easily have the Sharks leading because of the close games in 1 and 3. Hope Niemi can carry this play into the next round and even next year. Only reason I mention next year is because how the Sharks hit a hot goalie in Jonas Hiller last year in round 1 but then he didn’t even come close to that performance in the regular season.

    1. Trent Kondo May 22 20105:47 pm


      The games are so close and the amount of shots going both ways in insane. You’re completely correct in saying the games could have gone either way but Niemi so far has been the big difference. The rookie has proved all doubters wrong.
      Hiller was a stud in the playoffs for sure, it’s amazing how players step up their game come playoff time and Niemi looks as comfortable as I have ever seen him before. Nabokov has been pretty solid too so hats off to him.

      1. Justin Lewis May 23 201012:53 am


        Yeah, Nabby has been solid but it seems to me that he has been overworked and it really is catching up with him now. He has pretty consistently given up 1 bad goal per game and that just takes the wind out of the Sharks sails. Now I am just hoping that SJ can learn to get the puck in the top shelf and to crash the net more and hope for a bad rebound so we can make this series more interesting.

  3. Ogilthorpe2 May 22 20106:59 pm


    Before we get too carried away when talking about shot differential, let’s not forget that the officiating, or lack thereof in many cases, has provided large edge to San Jose in the department of PP’s awarded. A 4-1 edge in game 1, and a 6-2 edge in game 3. That in large part is the main reason for the discrepancy in shots. 5 on 5, these teams are fairly even.

    1. Trent Kondo May 22 20107:13 pm


      100% in agreement Ogie. You and I are not ones to complain about officiating against our team but the stats and just watching are proof alone.

      I think the edge was 5-0 for the Sharks in game 1 wasn’t it?

      Just shows how good the Hawks really are overcoming the PP chances for the Sharks and still coming through with 3 straight victory’s.

    2. Justin Lewis May 23 201012:50 am


      As I was watching game 3 last night I did notice that all of the calls against Chicago were legit. Can’t anyone just accept that the Sharks are a well disciplined team? I mean Red Wings fans were all up in arms about it last series (though I will admit that the officiating was the worst I have ever seen) and now it is being brought up again.

      Will admit that the penalty kill has been outstanding for the Hawks and at the same time the Sharks pp has been atrocious. Hawks are not giving any room for the Sharks to set up and that is one huge part of the Sharks game. They thrive on having that time and space to operate and it is being taken away as soon as they get the puck.

      Early congrats to your team because I will be too pissed to say it later :)

      1. Trent Kondo May 23 20103:00 pm


        The Sharks are a good team for not taking penalties for sure but to be fair a lot have pims that were not called against them should have been.

        I’m not complaining because the officiating in the NHL is garbage all the way around and it’s to be expected. There are no conspiracies against any team it’s just plain bad and needs to be adjusted. I hope to hell the NHL will look at it prior to this upcoming season.

        The worst officiating I have seen is the VAN/LA series, it was almost comical.

        1. Dan Rakusan May 23 201011:52 pm


          I have stated this before, and will do so again, just to simplify this debate about the pitifully poor officiating the NHL playoffs have seen thus far. The top two senior officials retired, and 4 others are injured, so we’re left to either postpone the playoffs until such a time as there are adequate officials, or just deal with the fact that we’re going to see bad calls made on both sides of any particular partisan equator you want to be on. The only thing that bothers me about the officiating lately is the amount of obvious offsides not getting called… A monkey could probably fill in for some of these linesmen and get the call right, although I will say that it’s not a job I could do very well… Maybe a monkey is better than me, but I’ve always thought that Lucy the Gorilla was fairly smart for learning over 2,000 words in sign language and then teaching it to her kids. I can’t get mine to speak like normal folk with even bribery…

          But I digress…..

          How about them HAWKS AND CZECHS!!!! Well done by both teams, especially the Hawks, who were playing in the biggest hockey tourney. The Czechs were, however, playing against the best all-star team in their respective tourney, and came out on top.

          Everyone is happy in my house, other than my wife, who was cheering for Russia. Guess we’ll definitely be stuck at 2 kids for now…LOL…

      2. Ogilthorpe2 May 24 20102:34 pm


        I completely agree that every penalty called against the Hawks was 100% legit. A couple were maybe a little borderline, but legit all the same.

        My only problem was the lack of calls against SJ. Yes they were very disciplined, but there was a lot of “No calls” that very easily could have been penalties against the Sharks. What’s good for the goose…

        1. Ogilthorpe2 May 24 20102:36 pm


          And to be fair, last night in game 4, they finally made up for it a little. That slash call on Heater was borderline, but no more so than the hook on Hossa that gave SJ the 5-3 that resulted in a goal…so whatever.

  4. Kevin Lee May 24 20109:26 am


    Huge props to the Czechs for winning, they had to win 5 straight to claim gold.

    1. Dan Rakusan May 24 201011:56 am


      Yeah, some real heart shown by the Czechs. I was sooo nervous in the last 3 games, but they prevailed, thanks the powers that be!!! Gotta say that while Jagr didn’t put up a huge number of points, he was still dominant with the puck and looks like he could still be a force in the NHL. Too bad he re-upped with Avangard Omsk for another season… Would love to see him back on Broadway…

      1. Trent Kondo May 24 20101:16 pm



        I agree with your comments on the officiating but even with the couple veteran refs still skating there are still big time questionable calls being made. Honestly I feel they have no idea what to call at times. Have they been told to make games close and competitive? Have they been told to make even up calls? It seems to be a pattern that if a team gets 3 in a row you can bet your bottom dollar the opposition will be getting some make up calls.

        As to Czechs that was unreal and I truly do enjoy seeing Ovechkin going down…AGAIN….

        Lastly I had an argument on Twitter last night, I said that Kane > Heatley

        Took some slack for that but I backed it up, Kane is 7 or 8 years younger, makes less money, equaled Heater in pts the last 2 years. Kane is faster, plays much better 2 way hockey (improved a lot) Heatley has played with SPezza/Alfie and Thornton/Marleau and still Kane matched him.
        In Heatley’s defence he will get 9-10 more goals then Kane that’s what the guy came back at me with lol. Sure I may be a bit biased but not much, I truly do feel Kane > Heatley.

  5. Kevin Lee May 24 20109:36 am


    Oh, and you gotta love Dany Deusch Bag losing. He got rocked in Game 4 yesterday so nicely. He disappearted when the going got tough and took his typical 2 or 3 selfish penalties per game this series. The guy is a ME guy and a selfish player that nobody should want on their team. Nice move Doug Wilson, you are stuck with the biggest prick in the NHL!

    1. Dan Rakusan May 24 201011:57 am


      Yeah, he’s done nothing to disprove what I’ve said about him all along. Selfish player who can’t seem to understand the team concept. However, I’d say the biggest prick in the NHL is Dan Carcillo…

      1. Kevin Lee May 24 201012:11 pm


        True on Carcillo, 1a and 1b lol!

    2. Trent Kondo May 24 20101:08 pm



      Did Ottawa fans in general hate Heatley when he was in Ottawa as well? I did not see a ton of Ottawa games and really had no clue how Sens fans treated him vise versa.

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