12.17.06

Professional Hockey Sighting in Chicago

Posted in Hockey at 9:35 pm by

The Chicago Blackhawks downed the Colorado Avalanche 2-1 tonight, getting 28 saves from a healthy Nikolai Khabibulin and the game-winning goal from another one of last year’s overpaid free agent signings, defenseman Adrian Aucoin. Recent acquisition Peter Bondra, seen below bracing his teeth for an impending Jose Theodore cup check, failed to score his 500th goal, depriving Blackhawks fans of a milestone none of their homegrown players is likely to meet within the next decade.

Floating hands!

The game did, however, improve the Blackhawks’ record under new coach Denis Savard to 7-1-3, suggesting that the team may have finally found a replacement for fan favorite Alpo Suhonen. The Blackhawks are now within two points of the bottom rung of the crowded Western Conference playoff tree, a nearly inconceivably feat considering last year’s 26-43-13 record, but beating out Colorado, Minnesota, and Vancouver might be difficult for a team so dependent upon the fickle health of Khabibulin and Martin Havlat. (First-line center Michal Handzus is already out for the season.) Enjoy this temporary rush of near viability while you can, Blackhawks fan, because if Bill Wirtz has his way, he will undoubtedly trade off the solid core of young forwards and defensemen (Seabrook, Vrbata, Ruutu now, Barker, Toews, Skille in the future) in baffling attempts to appeal to the team’s withered fan base. GM Dale Tallon may have denied Seabrook trade rumors (his idiot man-child brother Dick was unavailable for comment), but I’ll need at least a full season of glorious mediocrity before believing that the worst franchise in professional sports has turned the corner from astounding failure.

12 Responses to “Professional Hockey Sighting in Chicago”

  1. DR says:

    maybe they can sign doug gilmour.

  2. Sebastian says:

    Let’s leave that to the new Toronto Maple Leafs: the Phoenix Coyotes.

  3. Dmac says:

    “Dollar Bill” has also traded away such inferior talents as Dominik Hasek, Jeremy Roenick, Steve Larmer and Ed Belfour – because they all just wanted too much money for his tastes. This is the same guy who slipped Billy Reay (their coach during the last great days of Hull and Mikita) his pink slip under his apartment door one morning. Worst Chicago sports owner, ever – and that’s quite a statement in this town.

  4. Hot Shit College Student says:

    Dmac,

    Wirtz is co-owner of the (privately-owned) U.C., a hockey hall of famer, a U.S. hockey hall of famer, and I believe he has a piece of both the White Sox and Bulls. He may be old money, old fashioned, and he ran the Hawks into the ground/ice, but he’s no Trib Co.

  5. Sebastian says:

    I’ll agree with Dmac here. The Trib Co may strike the ire of Cubs fans who don’t just enjoy going to friendly confines, but those fans still exist. I went to a Blackhawks game in full Red Wings apparel expecting to be chastised, but instead I found myself among a majority of Wings fans in that section. Wirtz may have more success outside of the Blackhawks, but it’s hard to fathom anything worse happening.

    The most confounding aspect of recent Blackhawks history was how Tallon threw money at Khabibulin, Aucoin, Lapointe, Brown, Cullimore, Barnaby, etc., in preparation for the 2005-2006 season. Aside from Khabibulin, such character/role players move teams from the middle of the pack to contenders, not from the bottom rung to contenders. I remember reading a season preview in which someone bought the hype behind those signings and placed the Hawks above the Wings and Predators. All I could think was, “Who’s going to score?”

  6. Hot Shit College Student says:

    At the risk of spamming CSTB, I have to point out that your point about Tallon throwing money at an overrated Khabibulin and a bunch of exceedingly average players is the exact same thing Jim Hendry did with the Cubs this year, and he probably did it to an even greater extent.

  7. Sebastian says:

    True, but remember that Tallon opted to make his move with the onset of the NHL’s salary cap. Dedicating a near-max contract to Khabibulin in 2005 only caught Tallon up with the spending habits that nearly ruined the NHL in the first place. While Hendry also spent a ton of money on players who likely don’t deserve it, he still has the freedom to pursue stupid deals in the future.

  8. Hot Shit College Student says:

    You have me there, although there’s no telling what kind of financial restrictions the Cubs are going to have in the future thanks to the Trib Co. Also – the United Center never fell on anyone. I rest my case.

  9. jason says:

    Were you implying Dale Tallon is a dick? ‘Cause Wirtz certainly is!

  10. Sebastian says:

    Wirtz would be more of a Dick if he changed his last name by a letter. Perhaps Hirtz, Wirkz, or Wirmz would give him a fresh start.

    Wrigley falling on people only added to its charm. Free souvenirs!

  11. kt says:

    sea-bass, was the wings game you were at last thursday?
    good game if so.

  12. Sebastian says:

    Nope, that was a few years ago. Thanks to the NHL’s new division-weighted scheduling quirks, the Red Wings still haven’t faced the Boston Bruins or their Northeast division counterparts since the lockout.

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