Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Around the UC:

(@ESPNChiHawks: Niemi's agent just sent this to me. Hilarious.)

-New Desktop Wallpaper: here

"The sale of 23 Canadian jerseys -- worn in Canada's Feb. 23 victory over Germany -- ended May 18th with Sidney Crosby's jersey fetching $37,100. Jonathan Toews' jersey went for $7,600, while 19 of the jerseys raised over $2,000 apiece."

-ESPNChicago: Long time coming

"Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals against the Philadelphia Flyers will mark Gertenrich's 2,022nd consecutive Hawks home game. He's been a season ticket holder for 44 years, yet he's never seen his team hoist the Stanley Cup."

"With his unblemished attendance record, Gertenrich has witnessed plenty of the organization's highs and lows. From the joys of attending three Stanley Cup finals to the agony of being there to see the Blackhawks lose Game 7 of the 1971 finals to the Canadiens after leading 2-0."

"A lot of fans have come back, too, but there's one who's been there for more than 2,000 straight home games. And he believes he's about to see something he's never seen."

-ESPNChicago: The growth of Chicago's skating stars (a great, long read on Toews and Kane)

Toews' dad: "Jon would be out there skating with his buddies on a Saturday, and his buddies would come in and Jon would stay out. We'd give hot chocolate to his friends and his friends would sit there and ask us, 'When is Jonathan coming in?' and I'd say, 'I don't know.' So they'd sit there for a half-hour, 45 minutes and realize he wasn't coming in. So they'd go back out and want him to come in and play video games or something but he'd just continue skating and shooting. They could do whatever they want. He was just happy on his rink and he just played and played. He just loved it."

Savard: "Toews was 19 but had the mind of a 30-year-old in how he approached things. Naming him captain was a clear-cut decision, not difficult to make -- one, because of his maturity and two, because he practices as hard as he plays if not harder and you can't teach that."

Sharp: "I don't think he was too young when he got it. I think everyone was expecting Johnny to be the captain. Right from when he walked in, he kind of had that label put on his shoulders like he was the future leader of the team and at the time, we were all pretty young. We were all learning as we went, but he's done a great job as our leader."

Kane: "We do a lot of things together and sometimes it's tough, when you're doing all those things, not to get sick of him. I'm sure he gets sick of me too. That's just the way the relationship is. But I think it's healthy at the same time, and if we're on the ice, one of us isn't afraid to yell at the other guy or yap at each other on the bench. But we [also] know the next shift and the next time on the bench, we're going to be more calm and talk about it and we'll make up real quick. It's a real healthy relationship for me and I hope he'd say the same thing."

"Philadelphia is a blue-collar, hard-working team that's bucked expectations and scrapped its way to the Stanley Cup Finals. Hence, it's only appropriate that half their players look like longshoremen."

"Chicago is a quirkier bunch: Some veteran stalwarts, some personable young stars and some real oddballs. They've seemed predestined to be in this spot for two years; and during that time, they've grown to look the part (as you'll seen with captain Jonathan Toews(notes) in a moment)."

"Here's a sample of 10 beards from the Stanley Cup finalists that offer a complete picture of their current states of playoff foliage."

Toews: "You can't even imagine. People I haven't heard from in years (are asking). It's a good thing. Everyone wants to be a part of this. Whether they're friends who have been there for you for a long time or just bandwagon fans, it doesn't matter. It shows how cool this is or how big of a deal being the Stanley Cup finals is."

Burish: "Every day you get an e-mail from a girlfriend back in college you haven't talked to in four years and all of a sudden wants some finals tickets."

Kane on Burish: "He's got no girlfriends. He's got a lot of guy friends."

Kane: "Every time I check my phone you have a new request. There's been a lot of 'no's' out there to everyone. I don't think we get enough tickets in here to share with everyone. The people who come first in your life, your family and close friends, you'd like them to be a part of it."

"The Chicago Blackhawks' money line is minus-275, while the Flyers' is +225. There is a 3/1 chance the Blackhawks will win the series in five games and a 4/1 chance they'll win it in six."

Toews on Richards: "He likes to go for the big hits. But yeah, he's a competitive guy, a heart-and-soul guy that doesn't take the easy way. He works for every bounce he gets and you saw the way he played there in Game 5 the other night. ... He'll overpower some guys and really kind of catch you by surprise sometime. He's the type of guy his team will respond to and kind of play well with him."

Sharp on Richards: "He plays with an edge. He's physical. He's feisty. He'll drop his gloves. There's really not a weakness in his game. That's why he's the captain over there. That's why he's the leader. When I was there, he came in and he was kind of touted as the next future leader after Keith Primeau, and he's done a heck of a job doing that. He's a guy we've got to key on, for sure."

Richards: "The thing I know about Toews is how hard he works and how he makes his linemates better. Duncan and Seabrook are the same way. They work well together. Those are things you have to be aware of."

4. As much as I dislike him, you have to admire Patrick Kane. Not anyone has the, ahem, Grebeshkovs, to forsake hockey tradition for a mullet. When was the last time we had business in the front and party in the back on a Stanley Cup photo?

View more news videos at:

"The club is traveling to Toronto, so it made perfect sense for the Rays to don hockey jerseys. Over the past couple of days, players have been working to procure jerseys from their favorite hockey teams to wear on the trip.

When talking about the trip on Tuesday, Maddon noted that he was a St. Louis Blues fans, but he added that he liked the Chicago Blackhawks because -- while politically incorrect -- he liked their logo. This led to Wednesday's development.

Upon hearing of Tampa Bay's plan for the upcoming road trip, the Blackhawks graciously offered to outfit any Rays player needing a hockey jersey in a Blackhawks jersey. Maddon beamed at the news." Hawks, Flyers are unfamiliar foes for Final

"The Flyers and Blackhawks are relative strangers to one another, having played only one regular-season game this, won by the Flyers, 3-2, on March 13. The only time Chicago and Philadelphia met in the playoffs previously was a 1971 Quarterfinals sweep by the Blackhawks.

So there figures to be a feeling-out process early on in the Final as the clubs experience first hand what will have been dissected in great detail prior to Game 1.

What we know this Final will bring is perhaps the most unlikely goaltending matchup in the history of the Stanley Cup Final as
Antti Niemi and Michael Leighton, two names far from the tip of the tongue at the start of the season, will look to continue postseason brilliance.

The 2010 Final also will be a showcase of some of the NHL's top young players with both sides able to offer up quite a contingent of precocious talent, Chicago boasting
Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook. Philadelphia counters with Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Claude Giroux and Ryan Parent."

-Practice update: Kopecky skated with Bolland and Versteeg. Ladd did not practice again but should still be ready for game one.

Practice Videos:

Coach Q



-Hawks' dynamic defensive duo

-ESPNChicago: Burish excited to face ferocious Flyers The Verdict: Blackhawks' status still quo

"The Blackhawks also are soaring, which might be prompting comparisons with the aforementioned Bears, who destroyed foes during the regular season, then shut out the New York Giants and Los Angeles Rams before Super Bowl XX in New Orleans. The Bears took over that town. It was as though the New England Patriots were stage props even before they succumbed 46-10. Warning: whatever the Blackhawks do here on Saturday and Monday nights, they will not confuse Philadelphia for neutral territory for Games 3, 4 and 6, if required.

At the outset of the 1991 NBA final, the Bulls were supposedly out of their element against the Los Angeles Lakers. Sam Smith of the Tribune picked the Bulls, a prediction for which he was chided when the Lakers triumphed in Game 1. But the Bulls won the next four games, and five more titles in bookend three-peats. Under Jordan, they never even bothered with a Game 7 against Portland, Phoenix, Seattle and Utah twice.

In 2005, expectations for the White Sox were tempered until they gradually rolled over Boston, the Angels and Houston with increasing ease toward a post-season mark of 11-1 and a World Series. The Cubs of 1984, 1989, 2003, 2007, 2008…well, let’s put it this way. When they last won it all in 1908, I am told they were favorites.

Now, throughout Chicago and suburbs, so are the Blackhawks."

-ESPN: Barry Melrose: Who has the edge?

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