Great March Saviors in Hawks History

Whatcha gonna do, brother, when TeuvoMania runs wild on you? Hell, this lede is awful. I just wanted to use that sentence at some point. Anyway, as we prepare for Finnish Jesus to lead the Blackhawks to a third title in 5 years we need to pour one out for another European March call-up.

On this date in 2003 the Chicago Blackhawks found themselves 15 points out of a playoff spot with only 6 games left. They needed a HUGE boost to get into the playoffs as an 8th seed. It would have taken mass contraction, really, for the Hawks to get into the postseason. Regardless, general manager Mike Smith took it upon himself to upgrade the Blackhawks’ anemic offense after the trade deadline by bringing up KHL¬†leading scorer and Russian import Alexander Radulov…

Continue reading

How Bob Pulford traded a pylon for a Hammer.

3750

Monday morning I was wide awake at 3:30 am, and unable to sleep. So like a normal person I spent a handful of minutes during a commercial break of a DVR’d episode of Law & Order looking at hilarious things Mike Milbury has done in his career. That led me down an Internet rabbit-hole that consisted of Hockey-Reference.com and other crap that I’ve forgotten about. I completely missed out on whether or not Sam Waterston and Elizabeth Rohm convicted some guy for shooting some other guy or something because I started looking at trades at the NHL trade deadline from 2003 and 2004. I found out that Milbury Milburied the Blackhawks a high quality item for a vodka-drenched garbage hill.

Before we get to how the Blackhawks got Mike Milbury to take a pile of their crap for a valuable asset, we need to set the stage for the 2004 NHL Trade Deadline…

The 2002 Blackhawks rode the tight ship of Brian Sutter to a 5th seed in the playoffs and General Manager Mike Smith somehow put together a team that won more games than they lost. Seriously, look at this team. Winning more than losing was a remarkable feat for the veteran GM during his time in the Windy City. However, the Hawks’ moves prior to the 2002 deadline highlighted the ineptitude that would eventually get Smith fired at the beginning of the 03-04 season.

In 2001-2002, the Blackhawks were near the middle of the pack in both goals for and goals against, but were abysmal on the penalty kill. They finished the year 27th in the league at 81.47%. Smith attempted to shore up the PK before the playoffs by moving a riskier, offensive defenseman (Jaroslav Spacek) and a second round pick for 33 year-old aircraft carrier Lyle Odelein. Odelein joined a blue line that already featured 36 year-old Joe Reekie, 37 year-old Phil Housley, 33 year-old Steve Poapst, 30 year-old Chris McAlpine, 31 year-old Alexander Karpovtsev, and 26 year-old Vladimir Chebaturkin (who would never play another season in the NHL). There may not have been an older/worse/slower group of defensemen in Blackhawks history.

Cryin’ Odelein.

So yeah, that team sucked and was knocked out of the playoffs in the first round by St. Louis in 5 games.

The following year the Sutter magic wore off, and as the 2003 trade deadline approached it was obvious that the Hawks needed to blow everything up and rebuild. Smith basically held a garage sale and moved Housley, Odelein, Sergei Berezin, Andrei Nikolishin, Michael Nylander, and Stumpy Thomas for draft picks and other, lesser-known bad players. Only one of those picks was ever a useful thing for Chicago – Troy Brouwer.

Obviously, the 2003-2004 Blackhawks were going to be terrible and Bob Pulford got the itch to make awful decisions in the front office for a few months again, so Chicago fired Smith and Pully took over.

Shockingly, Ol’ Pully’s moves that year were not that crappy – some of that may have to do with the fact that Dale Tallon was assisting him. The Alex Zhamnov trade led the Hawks to nab up the pick that would give them Ronnie Pickle and the rights to Colin Fraser, amongst other smaller deals that weren’t exactly losses for Chicago.

BUT. The big deal. The deal that might be the best trade in Chicago Blackhawks history was the one that occurred on March 9th, 2004. We’ll let Pat Foley take you through this one:

Now, listen, the fact that Pulford and Tallon got anything for Alex Karpovtsev was remarkable. We all know that he sucked. But Pully managed to get a 2005 fourth round pick for a guy who ended up only playing in THREE games for the Islanders. Mike Milbury gave up less for Jason Blake a few years prior.

To say it was a fleecing is probably an overstatement. But what the Blackhawks did with that fourth round pick is select a defenseman who could currently would be a top pairing guy on many teams in the NHL. He’s got two Stanley Cups, a Silver Medal from Sochi, and a contract that I’d like to take out for a nice dinner. His name: Niklas Hjalmarsson.

Granted, the positioning of that draft choice had a lot to do with the Islanders making the playoffs as an 8 seed in ’04 and the stupid draft rules of a lockout year, but it sure is fun knowing that Mike Milbury kind of, sort of in a weird way traded Niklas Hjalmarsson for Alexander Karpovtsev.

Awful Games in Hawks History: Jan. 10, 1999

15 years ago the Blackhawks played host to the second-best team in the Western Conference, the Colorado Avalanche. On paper, this should have been a complete blowout. The ‘Lanche had superstars – Forsberg, Sakic, Hejduk, etc. – and the Blackhawks had, well, Chris Chelios and a bunch of turds.

Continue reading

Oh My God… That’s the Rock’s Music!!!

Cute_Devil

Last time out against the Devils of New Jersey was a shellacking, as the Devils mustered two shots on goal in the first period, Patrick Sharp had a hat trick, and the Devils limped to a 7-2 loss behind Corey Schneider. It was heaven for Blackhawks fans, and another day in the office for a sadly inconsistent Devils team. Surely they’ll be looking for some revenge tonight, but, given the Hawks’ play in the second of back-to-backs that we’ve referred to so often here, it will be a tall order. Continue reading

THAT SUCKED: Islanders 3 Hawks 2 in OT

The Islanders won 3-2 in overtime after four Blackhawks swarmed John Tavares and failed to cover Olympic snub Kyle Okposo. Okposo got the puck and made the Hawks pay. End.

It’s a waste of time to break this game down. Chicago flat out sucked for two periods and made Evgeni Nabokov look like Jacques Plante. If not for Corey Crawford the other New York team would have beaten the Hawks by 15. Continue reading

One Year Later

2013 cup ring

64 wins, a 24 game point streak, 17 seconds, and one Stanley Cup later, 2013 has officially rolled into 2014 for the Chicago Blackhawks. Shouldn’t be too difficult for them to match that, eh?

Well, the Hawks are off to a pretty good start. 63 points has them atop the league, albeit tied with the Anaheim Ducks and with the St. Louis Blues just four points back with three games in hand (boy, am I tired of seeing that). Titty Shots has 53 points in 42 games, six off the league lead, and Duncan Keith has a mind-boggling 36 assists from the back end, third in the league and only three behind the Grand Masturbator himself, Joe Thornton. Patrick Sharp keeps scoring at a ridiculous pace, and every time I’ve seen Jonathan Toews he’s absolutely dominated the opposition, for the most part, winning nigh every board battle he gets involved with. Once again, it looks like the road to both the President’s Trophy and the Stanley Cup will eventually run down West Madison.¬† Continue reading