Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Versteeg's final rap:



Versteeg says good bye to Chicago and hello to Toronto.

According to @Real_ESPNLeBrun, the leafs also get the rights to winger Bill Sweatt in exchange for Viktor Stalberg, Chris DiDomenico, and Philippe Paradis.

More on this later...

Around the UC:


Trades, Rumors, Free Agents....

"The name of veteran defenseman Sean O'Donnell has been linked to the Hawks, while shot-blocker Jay McKee could be seen by the Hawks as a possible replacement for Brent Sopel."

Highest chance of returning:"Bryan Bickell Chance of returning: 95%
Simple. The Hawks need him and Joel Quenneville likes him. He played some first-line minutes and can bang with the third-liners. And he’ll come cheap. "
Lowest chance of returning:"Kim Johnsson Chance of returning: 0% No explanation needed."

Coach Q: “Buff was a great tool for us. He was a big factor in the last three series. He dominated some playoff games like few guys can.”

-The Fourth Period: Hawks won't have busy summer
"The Hawks are also believed to be in the market for a veteran defenseman, with the likes of Sean O'Donnell, Garnet Exelby and Jay McKee being linked as possibilities to replace Brent Sopel, who was also dealt to the Thrashers."


More of Sopel at the Pride Parade...


Sopel: “One of my first thoughts after winning the Cup was in remembering the people that have helped me and supported me in my career. I thought a good way to pay respect to Brian and Brendan would be to have the Cup in the Pride Parade."


The players days with the Cup...

"Nokomis will play host to Lord Stanley' Cup this Canada Day. Chicago Blackhawks defenceman Jordan Hendry is bringing the coveted cup to his hometown, where a celebration is being planned at the Nokomis Recreation Centre. Fans will have the opportunity to get their picture taken with Hendry and the cup from 6-9 p.m."

"The mayor announced Monday night that Boynton will have the Cup, which the Blackhawks won earlier this month, at the Dr. William Laceby Nobleton Arena July 9 from 2 to 5 p.m."


Congress and the Hawks...

"Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to formally acknowledge and honor the Hawks' accomplishment this season. Backed by the Illinois representatives, a measure was introduced today by democrat Mike Quigley of Chicago to celebrate the Hawks' victory."

"Rooney "was born and raised in Philadelphia, and he felt obligated as a native Philadelphian to vote 'no' on the Chicago Blackhawks resolution," said Brian Crawford, his chief of staff."


More from Canada Celebrates...

Toews: “What happened in Chicago was unbelievable. Not just in hockey, but in sports. Not just the parade but the bars and restaurants as we went around Chicago.”

Toews on having his Cup ring and gold medal ring: "I'll have to trade off nights I guess."


Random...

-WinnipegFreePress: NHL stars unite for cause
-HeraldArgus: A dream realized


Don't forget to vote for the Hawks in the 2010 ESPYS: Vote Here

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Hockey Canada: The Big Three (Toews, Seabs, Keith)


“For Duncan, Brent and myself we had to kind of forget about the gold medal quickly. That’s what’s so great about coming back here for this. This is our chance to enjoy the Olympic gold with the guys we won it with in Vancouver.”


Seabrook, Toews and Keith are in Edmonton this week for the Hockey Canada Celebrates event to honor their gold medal win. All of the guys seem to agree, it has been one of the greatest years of their life and they've had a lot of fun experiencing it:

Toews: “This is our chance to enjoy it because all of us shifted our focus pretty quick. Now we’re here together and we can reminisce and tell some stories. You consider yourself lucky to have a chance to win a gold medal, then we quickly moved on and went our separate ways. That was probably a good thing because the three of us were on a team that had the ability to win the Stanley Cup, so we forgot about the gold medal pretty quick. It was time to get after making the playoffs. But again, you just don’t expect something like this.”

Keith: “It’s been a fun to be a part of both these teams. And lucky. I feel real fortunate to have been a part of Team Canada and the Chicago Blackhawks. They were both special in their own way. With Team Canada, you’re representing your country and to win gold is obviously very special. Then in Chicago, you go to battle with the same group of guys for an eight- or nine-month period. To come out on top is such a different feeling."

Seabrook: “It’s been crazy. I was fortunate enough to make Team Canada, then we won the gold medal. Then I was lucky enough to play with the Chicago Blackhawks and we had a great run. We had a good young team that’s grown up together.”

Seabrook: “It’s been a fun year. It’s been unbelievable. It’s just been so great to be able to have been one of the guys to experience it.”

Keith: “It’s pretty neat. It’s amazing to be part of a group that includes Yzerman, Shanahan and Morrow. To have all the experiences that go with it, is great. It’s a pretty cool feeling.”

Toews on being apart of the Triple Gold Club (the 7th Canadian):

“I had heard about that club a few times, but I hadn’t really given it much thought until I received a pin from the (Hockey) Hall of Fame. That’s a pretty good group to be a part of."

“I feel so very lucky. It’s so very special. I think it turned out to be a good thing that we had to move along from the Olympics and get back to the NHL regular season so quickly."

Sources:


"Hockey is Canada's game, so these people are heroes because they bring up the morale of the whole country."

More from Hockey Canada's celebration:

See more photos from the event here

Monday, June 28, 2010

Meet the Cup!



Where: The Daley Plaza (Clark and Washington)
When: Tuesday (tomorrow) 10 am to 4 pm
What: Fans can get picture taken with the Cup (your own camera)

I would get there early!

One on One with Jonathan Toews


More from Sopel at the Parade:

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcchicago.com/video.



Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Hawks on Ellen's "Somewhat Special Special"

(go to 6:15 to see Hawks)

Around the UC: Class Act





-Sopel brought the Cup to the Gay Pride Parade today. He supported Brendan Burke (son of Brian Burke) by wearing a patch on his jersey with BB on it:

"Anybody who has had to bury a child has suffered a heartbreak and this was the first thing that came to mind. Everything that happened last year with Brendan coming out last year and dying three months later, it was a tragedy."

Burke: "Our entire family is touched by the kindness of Brent and Kelly Sopel, and that of the Blackhawks."
"This is not a small step -- it's a bold and important one. We are grateful that a statement of this magnitude is being made by the Sopels, the Blackhawks and the National Hockey League."

More from Sopel on the Burke's: Anyone who buries his son is heartbroken. It should never happen. It’s in their honor that I’m participating.”

Sopel: “Chicago has brought me great memories and I hope to one day be playing again for the Blackhawks. After my career is done, I’ll be staying here.”

Sopel: “We raise our kids to believe that everyone is equal. Everyone is a person, regardless of race, color or religion.”

Hockey Broad got some great photos at the parade that you can see here



-On the other side of things, Ladd received a qualifying offer today:


Hammer along with Niemi have also received offers:


Hendry is the only one who hasn't gotten one yet but it sounds like the Hawks will resigned him anyways.


-Kane recently traded in his skates for some basketball sneakers and high ankle socks:


Kane showed off his moves for the Gus Macker three on three tournament in his hometown of Buffalo: "It's good to be back home. I can just relax and chill and have some fun doing things like this."

Read more about the tournament here: The Buffalo News: See ya, Stanley; hello, Gus


-Big Buff made possibly one of his last Chicago appearances last night at the Cubs/Sox game. He received a standing ovation when he was shown on the jumbotron:

"Former Blackhawks player Dustin Byfuglien got a loud ovation when he was shown on the scoreboard after the sixth inning."(source)

Extremely weird seeing the word former in front of his name.


-Puck Daddy posted possibly one of their best articles ever: The 10 most awkward NHL Draft rookie glamour shots
To be honest I can't pick, which one is the most awkward. They all have their own uniqueness. Unfortunately, no Hawks made the cut, not even Kevin Hayes, who put in some great effort:


Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Draft: Meet the Boys

One thing we can take away from Day 2:
The Hawks love the Swedes and the brother duos.

-#35: Ludvig Rensfeldt (heard nothing but good things):

"Rensfeldt posted 50 points (21-29--50) in 39 games in 2009-10 to rank fourth in the league and second on his team the season after he helped Brynas Junior to a SuperElit Championship (2008-09)."

"Rensfeldt patterns his game after Vincent Lecavalier because of his “size, smarts and puck handling skills” and his childhood hockey idol was Peter Forsberg because “he was the first Swedish player to be the best in the NHL”."

According to his profile, it says his favorite team is the Bruins. Well, that's already fixed.
It also says his favorite movie is Remember the Titans well then he'll just love Chicago since they play it everyday here.

Read his entire profile here



-It's all in the family on this one:
Hawks traded their 43rd pick to the Maple Leafs for Jimmy Hayes. Sound familiar?
He is the older brother of Kevin Hayes (24th).


-#54: Justin Holl:

"In his senior season at Minnetonka High School, Holl was one of four captains that helped lead the team to a Section 6AA Championship and the final game of the state tournament -- he posted 20 goals and 37 points (20-17--37) from the blueline surpassing his junior season total of 10 points (1-9--10)."

"Holl played his minor hockey for Minnetonka Youth Association alongside fellow Minnetonka Skipper defenseman Andrew Prochno (No. 205 ranked) and he will attend the University of Minnesota with Minnetonka teammate Max Gardiner (No. 49 ranked) in the fall. "

He'll fit right in with the Hawks with his favorite goal celebration being the fist pump. Kane and him can also take the fist pump away from the rink and use it while jamming out to their favorite artist Eminem.

Read his entire profile here



-#58: Kent Simpson:

"Simpson, who was the last pick of the first round (22nd overall) in the 2007 WHL Bantam Draft, patterns his game after Cam Ward because “he has a good butterfly, plays very efficiently and is very composed.”"

"He is coached in Everett by former NHL coach Craig Hartsburg and was a member of Team Canada at the 2010 Under-18 World Championship as well as Team Pacific at the 2008 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge."

As for his favorites, poor choice in movie (the Guardian? Ashton Kutcher?) and a poor choice in superhero (Superman? it's all about Batman).

Read his entire profile here



-#60: Stephen Johns:

"Prior to playing for the U.S. National Team Development Program, Johns played AAA for the Pittsburgh Hornets and his very first hockey team was the Lawrence County Lightning."

"A 6’3”, 215 lb. defenseman, he was plus-two and added three assists at the 2010 World Under-18 Championships as Team USA won gold."

He's a team player hence his favorite celebration is 'with the team'.

Read his entire profile here



-#90: Joakim Nordstrom:

Not to be confused with Joakim Noah. He's an eighteen year old from Sweden and he plays center.

Not much on his profile but you can see it here


-#120: Rob Flick:

An nineteen year old center from Canada.

Read small profile here


-#151: Mirko Hoefflin:

European center.

Profile here


-#180: Nick Mattson:

Another American defenseman.

Profile here


-#191: Mac Carruth:

An eighteen year old goalie from the US.

Profile here

-Finally, the Hawks traded #210 to the Bruins for a 7th round pick in the 2011 draft.

Bowman after the draft:


Friday, June 25, 2010

The Draft: Meet Kevin Hayes

"They were one of the first teams to talk to me. It's been a dream to go to Chicago. They just won the Stanley Cup. It's unbelievable. I just can't wait to get started."

-First Round Pick: Kevin Hayes (24th overall)

"Hayes, 18, paced Noble & Greenough with 67 points (25G,42A) in 28 games during the 2009-10 regular-season. In two seasons with the Bulldogs the left-handed right-wing registered 53 goals and 69 assists in 50 regular-season tilts."

"The Dorchester, MA native represented the United States in the 2009 Ivan Hlinka Tournament in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, leading Team USA with two goals in three contests. Hayes is committed to attend defending NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Champion Boston College in the fall of 2010, joining his brother Jimmy, a second-round selection of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft." (source)

"Although he has an NHL physique at 6-foot-2 and 201 pounds, he's scheduled to be at Boston College next season, where he'll join an older brother, Jimmy, who was drafted in 2008 by Toronto."(source)

"Skating and agility are strengths. Has a solid shot and a quick release. Needs to improve his physical play. He is a few years away from seeing time with the Hawks."(source)

Not only is he capable of playing hockey, he can take cheesy photos too:




You haven't seen the best of it yet, check out more of the awkwardness: here

Hear him speak:


The selection:


Bowman on Hayes:


More on Hayes:

-The Draft isn't over yet. The Hawks traded the 30th pick to the Islanders for the 35th and 58th picks. So much more tomorrow:

Second Round: 35th*, 43rd**, 54th***, 58th* and 60th overall

Third Round: 90th overall

Fourth Round: 120th overall

Fifth Round: No Selection****

Sixth Round: 151st***** and 180th overall

Seventh Round: 191st****** and 210th overall

* Selections acquired from New York Islanders on June 25, 2010

** Selection acquired from Calgary Flames on July 1, 2008

**** Selection traded to Atlanta Thrashers on June 27, 2009

***** Selection acquired from Edmonton Oilers on June24, 2010

****** Selection acquired from Dallas Stars on October 8, 2008

-NHL.com has everything you need to know on the Draft. To see all the teams going ons go here

-To move away from the draft and on to the current situation of the Hawks: Trades

Bowman: "We're fine. We made our move to unload some salary there and the salary cap was higher than we anticipated; we didn't think it would be at $59.4 (million). Those combinations made it a much better scene."

Bowman: "There's been a lot of talk and we're still talking to some teams. Whether they come to be or not is not really that important. It has to be the right deal. We're not just going to make a deal to make one. If it makes sense we won't hesitate but I'm not really focused on that as much as focused on (Saturday). We have a lot of picks and need to be ready for that. We're going to be fine for salary-cap related things." (source)

One last read: No qualifying offer yet for Hawks' Ladd

Last note: The word is Bowman will be meeting with Huet's agent during the draft.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Around the UC:


-Bowman spoke to the media on every aspect of the recent 'blockbuster' trade with the Thrashers. He explained what we already knew that the Buff trade was for the money. It wasn't Buff's performance, they had to shave off some of the money for the cap. And that's exactly what Bowman did by saving about $5 million dollars. He did his job and it was good move:

It seems Bowman and the Hawks will rely on guys such as Dowell, Skille, and Bickell in the upcoming season. They could pick up the physical play that we lost with Buff and Eager: "I think we'll have Jake Dowell in our lineup. He's certainly going to get a chance to play on our team. He brings a lot of that rugged play as well."

On Bickell: "He's a big guy like Buff, he's got some skill, and can skate. He just is younger and hasn't maybe had the opportunity yet. We're hoping he can play a bigger role next year."

Blackhawks TV spoke to Bowman:

Bowman on making tough trade


Bowman on Marty Reasoner


Bowman on Jeremy Morin


Bowman on getting two draft picks


More on the Trade: Sopel went on Waddle & Silvy today: "It's a business. I'm going to move on to Atlanta and do my best there and bring what I normally bring every single night. The Blackhawks have somewhat of a plan and needed to shed salary to get where they can play next year."
You can listen to the whole thing: here


-Colin Fraser reacts to being the latest Blackhawk to be traded: "I'm not really surprised. It's not that I wanted to leave and I don't think it's that they wanted to get rid of me. It's just one of those things that had to happen to get under the salary cap and to fit enough guys on the roster. That's the business part of the game. It's nobody's fault."(source)

"I love Chicago. They were very good to me and gave me the opportunity to play in the NHL, but obviously it's a business and moving forward I'm a little bit closer to home which is exciting and going to a team where hoping I'll be able to play a bigger role and maybe prove myself as a player more and get more ice time."

"People knew this was going to happen. It was only a matter of time. It had to happen, it' s not that they want it to happen. It's surprising no matter who it is (who's traded), especially after the year we had." (source)


-The Blackhawks came out with a nice, new and shiny wallpaper:


You can change your background to Duncan Norris Keith here


-Sharp signed at Flatlanders Restaurant in Lincolnshire today. Check out photos here

-Quote of the day: Duncs on Seabs: "Maybe we can get him to win this award sometime too." (that would be quite nice)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Two Down: One Player, One Coach

Official:

Fraser has been traded to the Oilers for a 6th round draft pick. No more Frazzle Dazzle. Look at the bright side the Hawks fights lost column will be down significantly. (source)

We also have to say goodbye to a great coach John Torchetti. He heads to the Blackhawks of the South (Thrashers) for associate coach. (source)

Three down, how many to go?

It's official, done deal: Announcement here

To Thrashers- Buff, Sopel, Eager, and Aliu (prospect)

To the Blackhawks- Marty Reasoner (center), Jeremy Morin (prospect), Joey Crabb (right wing), 24th pick, and 54th pick.

This shouldn't come as a surprise to anybody. Stan Bowman and the Hawks said there would be moves. We just didn't know who or when.

With Buff we lose his physical presence and his salary. It looks like a huge loss but that's because the playoffs and his badass 'against the glass' celebrations are still fresh in our mind. If you look back at the regular season, he wasn't gods gift to Hawks fans. Don't we all remember his laziness, never knew which Buff we were going to get. Now don't get me wrong he was one of the big key players to winning the Cup and he will forever be in the hearts of Hawks fans. You also gotta think Ladd or Buff because now this gives them a chance to keep Ladd. Most importantly the whole trade clears about $5 million off the cap. Hallelujah!

Not only do we lose Buff's physical presence but Eager's too. We'll miss his aggressiveness and his 'bash brothers' style of play. Can't forget about the blocking machine named Sopel. He was one of the hearts on the team. It will also be a huge hit to the warm-ups hair flow.

As for Reasoner, he's only $1.1 million (that's an awfully nice number) and a 4th line centerman. For Morin, he was drafted in 2009 and has been playing in the OHL. It was just announced the Hawks will also acquire Joey Crabb, a right winger who was drafted in 2002 by the Rangers.

Reactions:

Being traded ain't an easy thing. Finding out through the radio is just pain hard:

Buff: "It is what it is. It's part of the job. You're not going to stick in one spot the whole time, so I've got to go."

Keith: "We're just going to have to keep moving forward. That's hockey. Teams change every year. You lose friends, you lose teammates and you stay in touch -- but it's not really the same as playing with them."

One thing we know for sure is it certainly isn't over yet. Rumors are still floating around about Versteeg, Madden, Huet, etc. We just sit and wait.

But now we say goodbye to three great players. To be honest, any guy who leaves from here on out will be missed and hard to let go because this is the Stanley Cup Champion team or as Hawks fans like to say the GREATEST TEAM EVER!

More on the trade as it's released. Plus a special goodbye post, of course!

NHL Awards Rundown:











(see all NHL Awards Portraits here)

Duncan Keith is known as a Stanley Cup Champion, an Olympic Gold Medalist, and the guy who got seven teeth knocked out.

But you can now call him a Norris Trophy Winner. He walked in with a Cup and left with a Trophy. Duncs received 1096 votes for first, while Green (831) and Doughty (662) came in second and third.

One thing Duncs is not known as is a talker but he surprised everyone by talking over the cut off music. He even cracked a joke: he told Ovie, who was sitting next to Duncs fiance, to keep his hands off. As he left the stage and went to the media room he remembered he forgot Seabs. According to @Real_ESPNLeBrun, he felt bad. It's only fitting that Duncs forgot to mention Seabs. Most award winners forget their wife or husband in their speech.

Congratulations!

As for the rest of the show...

It started Mtv style with a performance by Snoop Dogg. Most likely confusing viewers as they turned to Versus.

Jay Mohr opened up by professing his love for the Kings and using a Lindsay Lohan joke. He even gave a little shout out to Duncs by telling people not to eat the white mints backstage because they were Duncs teeth. Clever.

Sharp and Kane were interviewed during a break. Kane had a playboy bunny on his arm, lets pretend to be surprised by that.

The Best non-Hawks part came when Bobby Ryan and Ryan Getzalf brought the funny and teamed up for a video:

Ryan: "Are you using my medal as a coaster?" Getzalf: "Sorry, I didn't recognize it. It wasn't gold."


The show really started when Sharp, Toews, Kane, Keith, Coach Q, and the Cup all came out on stage to introduce the plays of the year. Apparently, a play of the year was when Toews got demolished by a Canuck. Oops.

If there was any doubt Duncs wouldn't win, it was gone when Eddie O and Roenick were the presenters for the Norris. Eddie asked Roenick if he was going to cry and Roenick responded by saying if you had to sit with Milbury you would cry too. Classic.

NHL Awards purpose: Give out awards to great NHL players and gather the most random irrelevant celebrities give them out.

Videos:

Keith's acceptance speech


Interview with all the Hawks


Jay Mohr: Keith Joke


Kane and Sharp interview


Keith's interview after winning


And so it begins....

Supposedly Buff, Sopel, Eager, and Aliu have been traded to the Atlanta Thrashers.

Much more on this later.

NHL Awards:


NHL Awards start tonight at 7:30 ET on Versus. Red Carpet coverage starts at 5 pm here.

Kevin Weekes predicts Award Winners:


Guess who he predicted as the winner of the Norris Trophy, this guy right here:


DUNCAN FOR NORRIS!! Cross your fingers!

More NHL Awards coverage:

-Check out photos of yesterday's media day: here
-Jay Mohr is hosting. Apparently he is still relevant (if he ever was): Bleacher Report: 10 People We'd Rather See Host the Show Than Jay Mohr

Tune in tonight at 7:30 ET!

Sopel is now on Twitter and you can follow him here @BrentSopel.
Sopel also made it onto Perez Hiltons Website by not being drunk and on drugs but for being nice: Blackhawks Team Member TO March With Family And Stanley Cup In Chicago Pride Parade