Blackhawks: Playoff Lawn the New Playoff Beard?

park-ridge-playoff-lawn

Anyone who loves hockey knows a thing or two about the legendary lucky playoff beard, but a Park Ridge resident took a new approach to displaying his Blackhawks pride. Frank Miller has grown a playoff lawn adorned with a Blackhawks sign.

Miller told NBC Chicago, “They’re growing their playoff beards, so I just decided, you know what, it hit me: I’m going to make a playoff lawn and I’m going to make a sign for it and I’m going to embrace it.”

Others have embraced his shaggy lawn honking and hollering when they pass the lawn and sign, “Everybody drives by and beeps at it. People stop and take pictures. It’s awesome,” Miller said.

The city of Park Ridge hasn’t been on board with Miller’s playoff lawn as it breaks city regulations and was considered a health risk, because it could become a breeding ground for mosquitoes (hate those bugs). The city paid a man to take an industrial sized mower to Miller’s ugly lawn. Luckily, the lawn can face adversity (just like our Hawks) and has bounced back for the Stanley Cup Finals.

The finals kick-off on Wednesday as the Blackhawks prepare to take on the Boston Bruins at the Madhouse on Madison. This is the first Stanley Cup Final meeting for these two all-Original Six teams. Will our Hawks host Lord Stanley’s Cup again?

The Legend Behind the Octopus Throwing Madness

Al Sobotka

As a Chicago Blackhawks’ fan I have grown up with the “Detroit Sucks” chant ingrained in my brain. When it comes time for the Stanley Cup playoffs, it doesn’t get much more intense than a Western Conference showdown between the Blackhawks and their rivaled Detroit Red Wings. While I’ve been watching the second round series this year, I couldn’t help getting a little grossed out as the ice crews clean up nasty squids from off the ice.

I was curious as to why Red Wings fans think it’s okay to throw sea creatures onto the ice during a hockey game. My curiosity led to some research and thankfully for the people of Michigan they have a decent story supporting their Octopus tossing.

ice girl squid“The Legend of the Octopus” is a tradition during Red Wings playoff games where fans chuck octopuses onto the ice. The activity dates back to the 1952 playoffs, when the National Hockey League had two best-of-seven series to win the Stanley Cup. The octopus, having eight arms, symbolized the number of playoff wins necessary to capture Lord Stanley’s cup. The magical practice started April 15, 1952 when Pete and Jerry Cusimano, Detroit brothers and storeowners, hurled an octopus onto the rink of The Old Red Barn. The ’52 Red Wings swept the Toronto Maple Leafs and then the Montreal Canadiens en route to winning the cup and BOOM throwing around live octopuses became acceptable in the Motor City. Apparently in 1995 a fan threw a 38 pound monster onto the ice (gross). To add to the octopus love, the Red Wings’ unofficial mascot is a purple Octopus named Al.

While the tradition is unique, I wouldn’t be caught dead carrying around a live eight-legged sea creature. I can’t even imagine what it’s like for security checking bags at the games.  Are they limited as to how MANY octopuses they allow through the gates?

Hopefully the Hawks can clinch the series in Game 7 tomorrow and hockey fans won’t have to see any more squids on the ice this year.

Patrick Kane is Going Swiss

With the uncertainty as to when the NHL lockout will end, Blackhawks star forward Patrick Kane has decided to take his talents overseas to Switzerland. Can you blame the guy for just wanting to play hockey? His agent announced Tuesday, Kaner will play for the Swiss National League A team EHC Biel until the NHL lockout is over.

Thankfully Kane held off his European departure until after the “Champs for Charity” game is played on Friday at the AllState Arena. The event is shaping up to be a memorable night to benefit the Ronald McDonald House in Chicago. Kaner is joining many of the 2010 Stanley Cup Blackhawks and other NHL players. The list includes: Adam Burish, Andrew Ladd, Troy Brouwer, Kris Versteeg, Brian Campbell and other former Hawks like James Wisniewski, Jim Vandermeer, Jake Dowell and Craig Anderson will also participate.

The comptetion consists of Bobby Ryan (Anaheim Ducks), Ryan Suter (Minnesota Wild), Ville Leino (Buffalo Sabres), Nicklas Backstrom (Washington Capitals), Kimmo Timonen (Philadelphia Flyers) and Joe Corvo (Carolina Hurricanes) just to name a few. We’ll see the final roster in the days to come.

I wish this wasn’t the only opportunity to watch our NHL players skate in 2012, but at least it’s for a good cause!

Other Hawks who will venture overseas include:

  • Bryan Bickell – HC Znojmo (Czech Republic)
  • Viktor Stalberg – Frolunda (Sweden)
  • Michael Frolik – Plzen (Czech Republic)

Hockey Hold Up

If you were getting excited for the 2012 NHL season, I’d suggest you hold your horses. Thursday afternoon the dreaded news was announced – the first official two weeks of the NHL season have been canceled. Yep, that’s 82 games completely washed. The Blackhawks lose their first five games (Oct. 13 vs. Columbus, Oct. 16 at Winnipeg, Oct. 18 vs. Colorado, Oct. 20 vs. Detroit and Oct. 23 at St. Louis).

Bill Daly, the NHL’s deputy commissioner, issued a statement Thursday regarding the cancellations:

“We were extremely disappointed to have to make today’s announcement. The game deserves better, the fans deserve better and the people who derive income from their connection to the NHL deserve better.”

Uh, yea we do. I just find the whole lockout scenario a bit “over-done” these days, specifically with professional hockey. Been there, done that. In 2004 the NHL suspended play for an entire season – that lockout wasn’t enough? I admit the 2004-2005 season lockout actually revived the NHL because some truly positive factors of play resulted from it (any hockey fan loves a good shoot out) and ultimately increased TV ratings and general popularity. This lockout is just making players and fans angry. Why can’t the season begin on time while negotiations are being worked on? NHL hockey players are looking into other options overseas – mostly the KHL (who has a new agreement with ESPN as well) to keep their skills sharp. Shouldn’t the NHL want to keep their players here?

This lockout is depressing, our hockey hunks are leaving the U.S. and who knows when they will be back. Get comfortable, it looks like we’re going to be here in lockout-land for a while folks.

 

 

In Quenneville We Trust: Bring on Game 6

It’s do or die for the Blackhawks tonight as they go into Game 6 with the Coyotes leading the series 3-2. Coach Quenneville and his Hawks are coming back to Chicago. After Saturday’s dramatic overtime win (as every game in the series has gone to overtime), the Hawks absolutely have the momentum, especially coming to play in front of their fans at the United Center. The Yotes took both games at the UC earlier in the series (games 3 and 4) and this time the Hawks need to capitalize on their home ice.

After his game-winning overtime goal in game 5, captain Jonathan Toews said Sunday, “You can imagine the feeling they have now; they didn’t want to come back to Chicago, they wanted to end it there. Any time we can keep pushing it to another game, they’re getting that feeling it’s theirs to lose. We’re trying to put the pressure on them and playing hard. We want to do that again tomorrow night, just like we did last game.”

Andrew Shaw returns to the team tonight after serving his three-game suspension for hitting Phoenix goaltender Mike Smith. We’re hoping he gives the Hawks an additional boost of energy. On a negative note, the Blackhawks will be without Marian Hossa, who is still recovering from his nasty hit from Raffi Torres (did I mention that punk was suspended for 25 games). Quenneville said there hasn’t been a change in Hossa’s status since the hit in game 3.

Here’s what the Hawks need to do tonight: they need to score quick and early. The Coyotes are NOT a better team offensively, and they’re basically just playing “keep away” with the Blackhawks. If the Hawks can find their intensity early on, the Coyotes don’t stand a chance. Kaner – I’m looking to you to get in there and score some goals – you too Sharpie.

The Blackhawks have avoided elimination once. We can win tonight and force the series to go to game 7!

Once a Canuck, Always a Canuck: Raffi Torres Suspended Indefinitely

Raffi Torres, a Coyote player who’s name wouldn’t sit well with any Blackhawks’ fan at the moment, has been suspended indefinitely for his dirty hit on our beloved Marian Hossa.

During the first period of game three of the Coyotes-Blackhawks series, Torres left his feet and slammed his shoulder into Hossa’s head, who did not have the puck at the time. Totally illegal. Hossa laid motionless on the ice for what seemed like forever (it was about 5 minutes) and was then carted away on a stretcher. He was taken to the hospital, but reports state that he left on his own two feet after undergoing some tests.

The best part, “none of the officials saw the hit” – there was an official standing RIGHT THERE. Because this massive hit went unnoticed, Torres did not receive any sort of penalty during the game.

First things first, Hossa we hope you’re okay. #WinItForHossa

Second, Torres is a dirty rat and I hope he’s suspended for the rest of the season. I know hockey is a rough sport and there are obvious risks you run playing a dangerous sport. Don’t get me wrong I love the fighting, but a hit to a player’s head is unnecessary. Torres has an in-person hearing scheduled for Friday with the NHL. Because the hearing is in-person means he could face a six game suspension or more.

After game 3, Torres told the Arizona Republic that as far as the hit goes, he felt it was a “hockey play”. Blackhawks’ Captain Jonathan Toews didn’t like that much, “Well, that’s obviously the way he thinks,” he said. “I said it before, it’s the same when he was with Vancouver last year. There’s no remorse at all with a guy like that. You pretty much take him out and have a guy carried on a stretcher and he probably doesn’t feel bad about it at all. That’s not hockey to me.” That’s why we love you Toews.

The Coyote forward doesn’t have the cleanest track record either. Last April, it was a hit on Brent Seabrook from Torres during the Vancouver- Chicago first round series. He was not suspended for this hit, but had been previously in the 2011 season. Like I said, once a Canuck, always a Canuck.

It seems like this year’s run to the Stanley Cup has been violent all over the league. I’m a little worried what will happen in the next rounds when things heat up even more!