Saturday, 25 October 2014

Live Blog: Central Division War

Since the last live blog between Carolina and Winnipeg was so popular, it's time to diversify and actually watch two good teams play the game of hockey. As you may remember, Chicago ended St. Louis' season last year in the opening round of the playoffs, and I'm sure the Blues want to punish their divisional foes if they can. Kane, Toews, Sharp, Keith, and the rest of the Blackhawks travel to St. Louis for tonight's game against the Blues. Live blogging starts shortly, so stay tuned for another goofy entry with comedy, acerbic commentary, and general laughter as we watch this game in high-definition!


  • The WGN pregame show is coming to us from the empty United Center featuring season ticket holders skating in the background. I'm not what the point of having the two talking heads down at ice-level is if the Blackhawks aren't there.
  • The two on-air personalities just informed us all that this is the first time the Blackhawks will be at Scottrade Center since last year's playoffs. Amazing how geography works, ain't it? 
  • They are showing James Neal's goals against the Blackhawks from the last game. Isn't this a Blackhawks-produced broadcast? 
  • Apparently the name of the show is "Blackhawks Extra", and it's sponsored by Buddig lunch meats. At least we know the spread in the media room is good at the United Center. 
  • So I'm just finding out that Blackhawks Extra is a thirteen-minute program. I've now watched eight commercials. And it's not done. 
  • Chris Miller, vice-president of ticketing and fan relations, is on the program talking about the big day for the season ticket holders. Everyone is gushing over the fans at this point. I'm pretty sure those Stanley Cups are a big reason why a lot of these people ARE season-ticket holders.
  • This game is supposed to start at 7pm CT. I'm pretty sure this block of commercials will push that start time back to 10pm. 
  • I can't believe that WGN or the Blackhawks need to sell this many commercials to have these two goofs on Blackhawks Extra
  • Always knew Joel Quenneville was a MENSA participant: "If we wanna win this division, St. Louis is one of those teams we gotta go through." 
  • Niklas Hjalmarsson: "There's a nice little rivalry building up there." Hey, Nik, these two teams have hated each other since the Blues were founded. Thanks for paying attention. 
  • Patrick Kane: "When you get to the playoffs, it feels like you're battling for the Stanley Cup." Um... isn't that EXACTLY what it is? 
  • Talking heads are yapping about how much the Blues are missing Vladimir Sobotka. In other news, no one has mentioned Sobotka since he signed in the KHL. 
  • Another block of commericals. This should take us to puck drop. This half-hour program has about six minutes worth of programming.
  • They're showing the upcoming games. Ottawa, Anaheim, and Ottawa. That should be two wins and a possible loss for the Blackhawks. Ottawa should just save airfare and mail them the four points.
  • Gabriel Colon's story is being shown. Nothing wrong with this. This kid deserves a pile of happiness. Atta boy, Gabe! #75 for the win! 
  • Steve Konroyd is giving his keys to the game. Konroyd was a fourth-liner all his life. If he's that good of an analyst, shouldn't HIS game have been better?


  • The broadcast starts with a recap of the playoff series, and how physical this game will be. Let's just get on with it, shall we? 
  • Pat Foley and Eddie Olczyk are introducing the game, and they start yapping about Andrew Shaw leading the 'Hawks in both goals and hits. Boys, let's see where he is at the quarter point of the season, alright?  
  • Olczyk just called Marian Hossa "Big Hoss". Don't. Ever. Again.
  • The above rhymed with "boss" just so we're clear. Ugh.
  • Pat Foley wants a prime time Emmy with this game's call. This should be an interesting broadcast. He's into clich├ęs and we haven't even dropped the puck.
  • The WGN Morning Show looks at the serial killer in Indiana, how to navigate your daughter's "princess years", and the hosts dress-up pumpkins. Really, Chicago? This is what you deal with on a daily basis? 
  • Antti Raanta starts for Chicago while the Blues send Brian Elliott to the blue paint. If I'm looking at goalies alone, I gotta give this game to the Blues.
  • 16 seconds in, and Jay Bouwmeester is in the box for hooking. Blackhawks to the power-play. They're 5-for-26 thus far this season. Jay Bouwmeester is a dirty hooker.
  • St. Louis is playing stupid hockey. Andrew Shaw threw a big hit behind the net on Barrett Jackman, and Jackman fell on Shaw and held him down. Two of St. Louis' better defencemen in the box - one for being a hooker and the other for smothering. 
  • Chicago scores! Hossa to Kane to Sharp, and it's quickly in the back of the net. 1-0 CHICAGO
  • Joannette and Hebert - The French Connection - are your referees. My boy, Ryan Galloway, is working one of the lines. Atta boy, Ryan!
  • Blackhawks working the puck in all sorts of directions on the power-play. That's puck movement, kids. Watch and learn. 
  • I totally forgot Kris Versteeg was playing back in Chicago. What the hell happened to his career? Oh, right... Florida.
  • I love how the Blues send everyone to the net like it's a gold rush when the puck is shot. I don't know how Raanta saw anything. There were eight players, three fans, an usher, and a hot dog vendor around his crease. 
  • Maxim Lapierre is still playing with St. Louis? Are we sure he's not still on a professional tryout contract? 
  • Vladimir Tarasenko: fantastic hands, but makes three moves too many. He looks like a young Alex Mogilny. Just needs to shoot like Mogilny. 
  • Actually, with all those moves resulting in no shots, he reminds me more of a young Alexei Zhamnov. SHOOT THE DAMNED PUCK! 
  • In saying that, Zhamnov is one of two Jets to score five goals in one game. When he shot the puck, he was dynamite. When he didn't, he was Yashin. ZING!
  • Trevor Van Riemsdyk called for being a hooker. Two for putting his stick where it shouldn't be. Power-play for the Blues.
  • Does anyone feel that Alex Steen's season last year was an aberration in a two-way forward's career? I can't see him scoring 20, let alone 30, this season. Like the elder Steen, he's a serviceable forward, not a scoring whiz. 
  • How many gold medalists are involved in this game? Don't forget Kevin Dineen as a coach of the Canadian women's team! 
  • Daniel Carcillo has been spotted. He just skated off 40 seconds of his nightly four minutes of ice-time. Well done, CarBomb. 
  • St. Louis scores! I have no idea how that got under Raanta, but Jaden Schwartz just shuffleboarded that puck into the net. 1-1 TIE GAME.
  • Ever since Schwartz switched to #17, he's played a lot more like his sister. And that's not an insult in any means. RIP Mandi.
  • I'm pretty sure there's an entire section of Blackhawk fans in the Scottrade Center. Everyone is wearing red Blackhawks jerseys in that section. ROAD TRIP! 
  • CarBomb and Reeves having a discussion. I kinda want Reeves to pulverize Carcillo. 
  • Brad Richards looks a lot like he did in New York: pointless. Both on the scoresheet and giving him a contract. 
  • Olczyk is now calling Trevor Van Riemsdyk "TVR". Don't. Please... just don't. 
  • If Richards was still playing under Torts, he'd be decapitated for that penalty. Richards sit for two or less for interference. 
  • There are a lot of Blues alternate jerseys in the crowd. I know people weren't all that excited about them, but it appears the people in St. Louis are. Of course, they were about these too.
  • St. Louis' power-play seems to be missing something. It just doesn't look like it did last season. Not sure why. Maybe it's because Steen's on pace for six goals this season.
  • End of the first period and it's 1-1. St. Louis outshooting Chicago 16-9.


  • Hey, 300 is gonna start on The History Channel. I'll be flipping channels for sure.
  • Boston leads over Toronto 2-0. Thankfully, I'm no Leafs fan.
  • Damien Cox on Sportsnet says that he thinks Tim Leiweke will be gone from MLSE by the end of the calendar year. Also known as when the Leafs' playoff hopes disappear.
  • Buffalo will be sending Sam Reinhart back to junior. Zadorov may end up in Russia. Edmonton will keep Draisaitl. Edmonton is dumb. Buffalo is smart. 
  • Hockey Canada gave Steven Stamkos, who was named to the team but couldn't play due to injury, a gold medal ring that the rest of the team got. Classy move. 
  • Washroom break while Nick Kypreos yaps about Phil Kessel. Back in a moment.


  • I thought St. Louis would start this period with more jump, but Chicago has them pinned in their own zone. This is like a Chicago-St. Louis game from the mid-1990s. 
  • HBIC mascot Meg the cat has decided to take up residence beside me. If you happen to see keystrokes that don't make sense, she's taken over the blog. 
  • Major props to Patrick Kane. He put his head down and back-checked harder than I've ever seen him do before. He turned a three-on-two for the Blues into a three-on-three. Wow. 
  • Apparently it's another great defensive night for Phaneuf in Toronto. $7 million man? Only in liability costs. 
  • Lehtera might be St. Louis's answer to Toronto's Petri Kontiola. Not sure why they signed him if he's not gonna do anything. 
  • Barrett Jackman just got away with a clear check from behind on Brad Richards. Jackman won the Calder Trophy. Since then? He's irrelevant. Even on his own team.
  • Dear David Backes: shots from 60-feet out on Raanta will rarely beat him. Try doing something. Anything. Be a threat. 
  • I think both teams are playing for the tie here. Neither team is giving an inch. 
  • Patrick Berglund: keeping the salaries of large-bodied Swedes at an all-time low since 2011! What a waste of a frame. Hit someone! Do something! 
  • If you were wondering, Leonidas is addressing his army of 300 in the movie 300. Someone should play this scene before the start of every Jets game to the Jets themselves.
  • Duncan Keith is now on the ice with Niklas Hjalmarsson. Not sure what this is about.
  • Hjalmarsson will sit for two minutes. He crosschecked Backes in front of the net. No doubt on that one. Stop jawing, Nik. You got caught. 
  • Blackhawks appear to be employing the chase-the-puck penalty killing strategy. Backes was wide open, but Raanta made a better save. 
  • Jay Bouwmeester is the Canadian version of Toby Enstrom. Great talent, but never shoots. Even when no one is covering him. 
  • The Blues' transition game moves at the same speed Morgan Freeman drove Miss Daisy around.
  • Ben Bishop is killing my fantasy goaltending stats. And not in a good way. 
  • I've never understood people who get their jerseys autographed. You can't wash them after that. Could you not find anything else for the guy to autograph? 
  • Ed Olczyk just stated that Patrick Sharp chipping the puck in and not trying to deke around two good players caused the Blues to ice the puck. I'm not making this up. 
  • HBIC mascot Meg the cat has officially gone to bed. I watched her walk up the stairs. Unless she's using the bathroom, there's only one other place she's going. 
  • Michal Roszival: Chicago's Dion Phaneuf. Brutal turnover, and takes a penalty in trying to save a goal. How did this guy play in the Olympics? 
  • Blues want to know if the puck crossed the line. Let me help: NOT EVEN CLOSE. 
  • WHAT?!? They called that a goal??? How in the hell...?
  • St. Louis scores! Somehow, Toronto's war room saw it go across the line. Not even sure how that's possible. Ryan Reeves scored. 2-1. ST. LOUIS.
  •  The look on Ken Hitchcock's face says he didn't think it went in. Wow.
  • The Blackhawks are rattled. St. Louis with all sorts of pressure.
  • St. Louis scores! Dmitrij Jaskin fires home the rebound for his first goal! 3-1 ST. LOUIS!
  • That'll do it for two periods. St. Louis leads 27-14 in shots and 3-1 on the scoreboard!


  • I'm channel surfing. Updates on what I'm watching to come. 
  • Ottawa and New Jersey tied 2-2 in OT. 4-on-3 for the Devils. 1:20 to play, and Jaromir Jagr ends the game with a wicked wrist shot! WOW!
  • Bottom of the fourth inning in San Francisco, and the Royals lead the Giants 4-2.
  • Boston beat Toronto 4-1. Ugly. Boston needed that win. Toronto just looked brutal.
  • Montreal beat the New York Rangers 3-1. Montreal has been impressive. 
  • King Leonidas just forced the Persian army off the cliffs. It's gonna get bloodier. 
  • Apparently the puck DID cross the line in St. Louis.


  • Blackhawks and Blues are both playing cautiously to start this period.
  • Chicago scores! Sharp feeds Versteeg after three defencemen follow Richards and Sharp to the left side, and Versteeg buries it. 3-2 ST. LOUIS!
  • Looked like the Jets' defensive scheme that the Blues were using on that last play.
  • Despite Hjalmarsson being on for all three St. Louis goals, he's still so defensively sound. Great play on Tarasenko there.
  • This has nothing to do with this game, but prayers go out to Huntsville Havoc player Justin Cseter of the SPHL. He was cut by a skate tonight and was down on the ice for a while. Lots of blood was on the ice, but Cseter waved as he was carted off by stretcher. Here's hoping he pulls through and is back soon. The Huntsville-Peoria game will be postponed because of the injury. 
  • Blackhawks are moving the puck well. This could bode well for them. 
  • Steve Ott just trucked over Brad Richards. Richards seems to be ok. Or thinks he's in Dallas as part of the Stars again.
  • David Backes with a gorgeous centering pass to Brandon Saad. In front of Brian Elliott. I think Hitchcock is about to have an aneurysm. 
  • Lots of cheating happening in the face-offs now. Both teams looking for an advantage.
  • Steve Ott is a moron. He's a veteran. He knows the retaliation will always get called. Two for trying to hack Versteeg's leg off, and the 'Hawks have a chance to tie on the power-play.
  • Blues killed the penalty that was almost exclusively played in their zone. Great kill! 
  • We're under five minutes. Blackhawks are still pushing. Blues are bending, but have yet to break. This should be a good finish. 
  • Great one-timer by Versteeg is handled by Elliott with traffic in front. There's 3:22 left. 
  • Both teams are giving it everything they have. This is why the Central Division rocks! 
  • Oshie and Keith just ran into each other, and Keith got the worst. He's back up, though. 
  • Raanta is on the bench. Five forwards and Keith for the 'Hawks with 59.4 remaining. 
  • Kevin Dineen drawing up a play on the whiteboard. Think it's the same play he called in Sochi with the Canadian women's team? 
  • All sorts of pressure from the 'Hawks, and the Blues ice it with about three seconds to play. One last chance for the Blackhawks with the offensive zone face-off. 
  • The horn sounds, and the Blues survive! A 3-2 win for St. Louis!
  • This is the second game on WGN that I've watched where the Blackhawks have lost. I'm now calling it the WGN Curse.
That was a solid game. Good end-to-end action. Tomorrow, I may live-blog the Colorado-Winnipeg game. I have lots of Patrick Roy material to use, and the Avalanche get behind, we could have lots of faces I can post from Roy. In any case, St. Louis wins tonight, and the Blackhawks find themselves on a bit of a losing streak.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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