Tag Archives: Patrick Kane

2015 Stanley Cup Final Preview

Welcome Sports Fans!! It’s time for my annual Stanley Cup Final Preview.

It’s original six powerhouse Blackhawks – MY BOYS – versus that little yappy terrier you can’t stand, but can’t help but love Tampa Bay Lightning, in what should be a cracking showdown in the battle for Lord Stanley’s Cup.

How They Got Here

My Blackhawks have had an up and down journey to the Final. Finishing third in the Central division, they went on to face Nashville in the first round, defeating them in six games without home ice advantage. They swept Minnesota in the second round, before meeting Anaheim Ducks (basically not a real team) in the third round, eventually beating them in seven games and A LOT of overtime. Seriously, my heart.

The Tampa Bay Lightning finished second in the Atlantic Division meeting Detroit in the first round and beating them in seven. Props for that, I still have an irrational fear of that team. The second round was another tough battle for the Lightening, though they went on to eliminate Montreal in six games, sending them to a Conference Final against King Lundqvist and his New York Rangers who would have home Ice advantage. Against the odds, Tampa Bay took care of NYR at The Garden in Game 7, sending them to a Finals match up that totally ruined my Bracket and made my mate Maree all sad, which made me sad. Thanks, Rangers.

Who To Watch For

My boy, Duncan Keith has shown some type of crazy ass superhuman strength and endurance, averaging over 31 minutes of ice time per-game. A lot of which have been racked up after Michael Rozsvial’s horrific injury in game four against The Wild. And, Keithy has made amazing use of his time, racking up 18 points throughout the 17 games the Blackhawks have played this post season, sparking talk of Duncan Keith’s name on The Conn Smyth Trophy should the Hawks take win the Final. The First D-Man since 2007.

For the Lightning, Captain Steven Stamkos is touted as one of the best goal scorers of his generation, winning the Rocket Richard Trophy, for the League’s top goal scorer twice. Already, he has 7 goals and 10 assists in the Lightning’s finals run, and he is only getting better as the games go on. Keep an eye out for the Captain playing from the second line and will be pivotal if the Lightning want to hoist the Cup.

The Triplets. Hands up if you are sick of hearing this term to describe three guys that are obviously not related *raises hand*. Ugh. It’s annoying. That said, the Blackhawks will need to find a way to shut down the line of Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat, if they have any chance of taking the series. Their moniker may be fucking irritating, but they are bloody good players.

The Goalies. This is a problem. Both Corey Crawford of the Blackhawks and Ben Bishop of the Lightening are great Goal Tenders. But, when the Net Minders have a bad day, it tends to be a meltdown of epic proportions that sees them pulled from the game. There is no in between for these blokes.

Toews and Kane, Sharp, Hossa and Seabrook. Enough said. Dynasty right there. I’m expecting Brandon Saad to continue his wonderful form along with other fringe players like Vermette, Shaw and Teravainen.

So, Who Ya Got?

Have you even read this?? It’s so one sided. I obviously have the Blackhawks winning the Cup. But I’m not expecting the wins to come easily.

Chicago in seven.

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The one where I rate the @NHLBlackhawks suit game.

Oh look! It’s another one of those posts that is less about sport and more about the objectification of male athletes…..AND YOU LOVE IT!

Truly though, this post comes at the request of Mama Gray, who some years ago joined me in my love of the Chicago Blackhawks, even going so far as to (at my request) wear our lucky 88 Patty Kane jersey for every single Blackhawk game this last post season like the legend that she is, only complaining once that it was somewhat limiting her wardrobe. I myself wore the lucky 88 Paddy Kane jersey UNDER my work clothes, for Game 7 v Detroit the year before because I was convinced the Blackhawks would lose if I didn’t – and I work in an office…. have you ever tried to wear a hockey jersey under a pencil skirt and blouse?? Awkward. As. Fuck.

Anyway, this past week the Blackhawks had a red carpet event prior to their game v Buffalo, and I’m a Judgemental Judy, so this was the perfect opportunity to appreciate/throw shade at my Blackhawk boys.

Here we go…..

AndrewShaw

Andrew Shaw

First up we have Andrew Shaw. Andrew Shaw has a girlfriend. A girlfriend who let him leave the house with ill fitting trousers, that have failed in an attempt to reach his shoes. I will give him a point for at least wearing dress socks – but then I’m taking it away for wearing what appears to be a Burberry tie. I like Burberry – but wearing a Burberry tie is the most pedestrian “I’m trying to look flash and have no idea how since I’m really a bogan” move ever. On the other hand, if it isn’t a Burberry tie, it’s definitely an attempt at a knock off, in which case, Andrew Shaw is cheap. Or ignorant.

He also appears to be wearing button cuffs. Ugh.

Suit Game = WEAK

AnttiRaanta

Antti Raanta

You’ll note via the coming pictures that brown shoes are apparently a ‘thing’ with the Blackhawks. I don’t mind this look overall, but I’m undecided about the tan shoes and belt, I really feel like the suit may be a little too dark and the tan a little light. Good overall fit. Excellent cuff length.

Suit Game = FAIR

BenSmith

Ben Smith

Not sure if this is Harvey Spectre or Ben Smith. Either way he looks very nice. I’m going to overlook the tie length and approve of the pocket square addition. Points off for button cuffs.

Suit Game = FAIR

BradRichards

Brad Richards

Those of you who follow me on Twitter (and if you don’t you totally should – @graysfanatomy) may remember in January I was at the United Centre watching the Blackhawks play the Rangers. I also lost a bet to my best heckler buddy, and Rangers fan, Maree (shout out) when the Blackhawks lost. Said loss resulted in me having to wear Maree’s Rangers jersey in NYC for 5 days and to 2 Rangers games – which turned out to be fun. True Rangers fans were on to me though, and I ended up being heckled when a group of guys around me decided I wasn’t excited enough, this realisation was followed with a “Wait – you’re not even a Rangers fan are you?” and me dropping my head and muttering “I lost a bet”. Good natured banter and free beers ensued, and by all accounts a grand time was had by all. Anyway, as usual I digress (it was just so fun!). The point I was getting to was that said Rangers jersey was in fact a Brad Richards Jersey – and now Brad Richards is a Blackhawk. TAKE THAT MAREE!

Brad Richards scrubs up very nicely indeed.

Suit Game = STRONG

BrandonSaad

Brandon Saad

Manchild nearly had it right…….then he wore pants that are too short. HOW DID YOU NOT NOTICE THIS?

Suit Game = WEAK

BrentSeabrook

Brent Seabrook

Not sure if Brent Seabrook was trying to look like he doesn’t really care to be there, but he certainly pulls it off. You know what else he pulls off? Slob. Bad hair, take away coffee, the suit doesn’t fit well, nor does his shirt – where are your cuffs?? Half an inch – that’s the minimum amount of cuff you should be showing MINIMUM. The tie is too long (a pet peeve of mine) although it is quite a nice knot. Also, why is there a puck in your pocket??

Gentleman! I beg you, close your jackets!

Suit Game = SO WEAK

CoreyCrawford

Corey Crawford

Hello Wall Street. Corey looks bang. No further comment.

Suit Game = STRONG

DanielCarcillo

Daniel Carcillo

I don’t like Daniel Carcillo. Therefore I don’t like his outfit. Next.

Suit Game = WEAK

DavidRundblad

David Rundblad

Well, hello handsome. Lovely hair, neat pocket square. I’m generally not keen on skinny ties, but this one werks.

Suit game = STRONG

DuncanKeith

Duncan Keith

Duncan Keith is adorable. His wife is one of the 2 luckiest women on the planet. I’m thinking though, that perhaps Dunc was hanging with his bash brother Brent Seabrook prior to this event since they both look like shit (SORRY DUNCAN!). Even Duncan’s hair looks unwashed. The suit itself is not horrible, could even be nice if tailored correctly, which it isn’t. craptie.com.

Suit Game = WEAK

JeremyMorin

Jeremy Morin

Yes! Faith in humanity restored. Look at those lovely cuffs. LOVELY. I’m choosing to ignore your Burberry tie since it is purple and not obviously Burberry. Close your jacket and you are perfect Jeremy Morin.

Suit Game = PADAWAN

JohnnyOduya

Johnny Oduya

Johnny Oduya is my birthday twin and on occasion my fantasy husband – but not in that suit. So, I’m not going to be too hard on him. But WTF is going on here? No, just no. Each piece is probably lovely on its own, but a godawful mess together.

Suit Game: WEAK

JonathanToews

Jonathan Toews

Here is Captain Serious, looking, well, serious – and like he is about to pull out an arabesque right there on the red carpet which would be sure to entertain the woman on the right there who looks way too happy to be in Tazer’s presence. I like what he has done here, the jacket is quite nice, though long in the sleeve.

Suite Game = STRONG

MarcusKruger

Marcus Kruger

Marcus Kruger could have walked straight from the pages of GQ magazine. Marry me.

Suit Game = THE STRONGEST

MarianHossa

Marian Hossa

Mama Gray’s favourite, both on the ice and in a suit – so I’ll need to be very careful with how I proceed. JK he is fabs – good enough to leave my father for Mum.

Suit Game = STRONG

NiklasHjalmarsson

Niklas Hjalmarsson

Niklas wins. This look is just lovely on him, although it is a little late in the year for a suit of that colour, and his trousers could really do with a belt. Still, two thumbs up.

Suit Game = JEDI MASTER

PatrickSharp

Patrick Sharp

Ah, the husband of the other luckiest woman on the planet. He’s a bit older than the other lads, hence the more classically styled suit, which works very nicely indeed on Mr. Sharp. I’m only going to pick at sleeve length cos ugh.

Suit Game = STRONG

PattyKane

Patrick Kane

My boy Paddy Kane. I can see cuff, of a very nice rose coloured shirt. Pant length is good, jacket is closed, what appears to be a very nice double windsor knot and shoes that don’t say “Look at me, I’m wearing shoes!”. Aye, he’s bonnie.

Suit Game = YODA

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Okay, so if I have taught you people anything today let it be these things:

1. Always wear shirts with French Cuffs. ALWAYS.

2. A minimum of 2cm of cuff should be showing from your jacket.

3.  You will always look better with your jacket closed. You can unbutton it when you sit, but not before.

4. Your tie should reach your waistband or your belt buckle. If it is longer than that START AGAIN. DON’T BE LAZY.

5. For the love of all that is holy, have your suit properly tailored.

Stanley Cup final preview – Chicago Blackhawks v Boston Bruins

Stanley Cup finals are a pretty special sporting event on their own. Add two ‘Original Six’ teams who’ve both won the Stanley Cup in the last three years. Mix in the fact that they’ve not met in the playoffs since 1979 and you know this series is going to be bigger than Brad Marchand’s nose.

Get excited.

How they measure up……

The Chicago Blackhawks are the President’s Cup winners for being the best team in the NHL and the number 1 seeded team in the Western Conference. The Boston Bruins come in as the number 4 seeded team in the East.

The Blackhawks beat out the Philadelphia Flyers to win the Lord Stanley’s Cup in 2010, with the Bruins taking the title off their hands against the Vancouver Canucks the following year, in 2011.

The Bruins, fresh off a clean sweep of the number 1 seed in the East, the Pittsburgh Penguins will face off against the Blackhawks still reeling in the momentum of their double overtime series win over defending Stanley Cup Champions, the Los Angeles Kings.

Both the Blackhawks and the Bruins have played one seven game series in these playoffs. Chicago against Detroit in the second round, and Boston against Toronto in the first. Both teams were dominant in their other series.

The teams did not play each other during the 2012 – 2013 truncated season due to the lockout.

Forwards

Bryan Bickell has been the wildcard player the Blackhawks needed in their post season. Not simply for the fact that the guy can find the back of the net, but also due to his physicality. Being a big lad, he is able to get up close to the net, and hold his position.

Patrick Kane found form at the right time, scoring a game and series winning hat trick in Game 5 against the LA Kings, becoming the first player to reach that level of awesomeness since Wayne Gretzky in 1993. With his speed and puck handling ability, if his hot streak continues he will be a danger to Boston this series.

Marian Hossa has been consistently outstanding along with Blackhawks top goal scorer Patrick Sharp whilst Michael Frolik and Marcus Kruger have been fantastic fucking amazing on the penalty kill. Brandon Bollig has been added for Game 1 and will bring the brute to the fourth line.

The Bruins have two of the league’s top scorers in linemates, David Krejci and Nathan Horton with 21 points and 17 points respectively.

Patrice Bergaron is the epitome of a clutch player, and one of the best defensive forwards getting around. Not to mention his linemate Brad Marchand, the little guy who quite literally packs a big punch. Marchand frustrated the hell out of Sidney Crosby in the previous series, making him ineffective. Look for Johnny Toews to have his back checked more times this series than Amanda Bynes has been checked for STDs in the last month.

D-Men

Both Chicago and Boston have strong defence, and both have defenders that contribute offensively as well.

For Chicago, Duncan Keith has been invaluable, especially since being reunited with his bash brother Brent Seabrook in Game 5 of the Detroit series. Both are in great form these playoffs, and neither mind scoring goals.

Niklas Hjarlmasson in my opinion is totally underrated. He was fantastic last series, and isn’t afraid to put his body on the line to defend the net. Line mate Johnny Oduya is great in defence and great at getting up close to the net setting up scoring opportunities. These two legends have been killing penalties like bosses.

For Boston, Zdeno Chara was brilliant against Pittsburgh, and is arguably one of the best D-Men in the NHL. He was instrumental in the shut down of Evgeni Malkin in the Eastern Conference Final where the Penguins were held to just 2 goals.

For me though, he is the only stand out. His line mate Dennis Seidenberg is consistently good along with other defencemen Johnny Boychuck and Adam McQuaid.

Goaltenders

Corey Crawford for the Blackhawks has been wonderful for the Blackhawks. Crawford hasn’t won any games for the Hawks, but he hasn’t really been tested either. The Crow has a save percentage these playoffs of .935%.

Tukka Rask for the Bruins was phenomenal in their series against Pittsburgh, where the Pens were shut out in 2 of the 4 games. Rask stopped 134 of 136 shots on goal in the series and has a save percentage these playoffs of .934%.

Rask has faced 53 more shots these playoffs than Crawford.

So who ya got?

Due to the lockout, there were no crossover games for these teams at all, which of course means there is no basis for comparing these teams outside of statistics. In fact, the last time these teams met was in 2011. On paper, they appear to be fairly evenly matched, although Chicago have a slight defensive edge.

The Boston Bruins are a far more physical team than the Chicago Blackhawks and will use their size and strength in an attempt to neutralize the Hawks. I see them going WWE on Toews and Kane much the same way as the Detroit Redwings did in the second round. The Blackhawks figured out how to handle the Redwings then, and I’m confident they will do the same with Boston.

For the Blackhawks, the fact Patrick Kane seems to have found playoff form and is dangerous almost every time he has the puck in the offensive zone coupled with the fact that they have the home ice advantage and are virtually unbeatable in the Madhouse make them my favourite to win the Cup.

If Toews can keep his cool this finals series, and their defence holds, Blackhawks will win it in 6.

Game 1 is Wednesday at the United Center in Chicago 8pm ET (Thursday 10am AEST)

Have you met the Minnesota Wild’s gun Goaltender?

So, I discovered something this morning, and I have a feeling I am very (very) slow on this. Still, I think it is worth mentioning since it is likely to be THE best story to come out of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs.

Minnesota Wild v Chicago Blackhawks. Game 1. The Minnesota Wild lose regular starting goaltender Niklas Backstrom to injury…..during warm-up. Bring on back up goaltender, Josh Harding, (who had only played in 5 games this season) just minutes before the opening game of the playoffs.

The Blackhawks admitted they knew very little about Josh Harding. When asked if the Blackhawks had spent much time before the series examining Harding, Patrick Kane said “No”.

Stopping a remarkable 35 shots during the game, Blackhawks Captain Jonathan Toews commented post match that Harding’s effort was “nothing short of amazing”.

The Blackhawks came away with the win 2-1 in overtime. But without the exceptional goaltending of Josh Harding, the score line could have been much greater.

The most impressive part of this story, is that Josh Harding suffers from Multiple Sclerosis (MS), an auto-immune disease which affects the central nervous system. Symptoms include muscle weakness, spasm, fatigue and cognitive impairment. Harding publicly announced his condition during the lockout to avoid distracting saying:

It would make me happy to overcome this……..to really succeed with it. I don’t want people treating me different.

Phenomenal.

The only thing that bothers me about this is Harding’s failure to acknowledge his disease post-match. On one hand I understand that he didn’t want the whole sympathy thing to overshadow his brilliant performance, he wants to be seen as a hockey player, not a victim and when questioned post-match about the MS, he responded with “No comment”. However, on the other hand it would have been nice to allow himself to be the inspiration everybody is writing him up to be despite his protests. If you are going to be hailed as an inspiration, own it.

Regardless, the publicity generated by Harding’s performance coupled with fact that he suffers MS, can only be seen as positive for the cause. So a job well done to him whether he owns it or not.

I’m pretty sure we will all be cheering for him to continue his good form. Well, maybe not us Blackhawks fans (we’ll be doing it quietly).

 

2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs – Chicago Blackhawks v Minnesota Wild

With 10 minutes to go until game 1, I figured people would be dying to know who I had for this series. I’m going to go out on a limb here, and say Blackhawks in 5. Luckily, the limb I went out on is sturdy, and I’m not too worried about it breaking, thus making me look the fool.

On paper, the Minnesota Wild don’t stand a chance. They enter the playoffs as eigth seed and lost 9 games in April alone. The Blackhawks have lost 12 games – this season.

The Blackhawks are superior in almost every aspect of the game. With right wing Devin Setoguchi for the Wild finding form of late, Minnesota will be competitive in the forwards. However, the Blackhawks have Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Brandon Saad and Jonathan Toews. Must I say more? Two of those guys look like they may be up for the Hart Trophy, another for the Calder Trophy and the last guy is just a weapon.

It isn’t fair to write the Wild off, they have had a decent showing against the Blackhawks this season, it is just hard to look past the Hawks. They have Offense, Defence and Goaltending sorted even with Ray Emery’s absence. Blackhawks have it, but I doubt the Wild will go down easily.

Follow me on Instagram & Twitter @jaimelouisegray

I vote Brandon Saad for NHL’s rookie of the year.

Yesterday, the Chicago Blackhawks arguably played their worst game of the season in their 3 – 1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. Rather than dwell on the awfulness of said event, I thought it was a good time for a positive post – and what is more positive than Brandon Saad’s spectacular rookie season?

Saad had a fairly quiet start to the truncated 2013 season, before finding his feet toward the end of February. He also started to find the back of the net, scoring 10 goals and 15 assists for the Blackhawks in 44 games. By March, you couldn’t talk about the Calder Trophy without factoring Brandon Saad into the conversation. In a team full of superstars, Saad is noticeable.

Saad is quick, his game dynamic and accurate and he displays a maturity on the ice when playing alongside and against the best in the league which belies his 20 years. In fact, our fearless Captain, Jonathan Toews praised his maturity in a recent interview and his nickname with his team mates is ‘Man-Child’ because he doesn’t make rookie mistakes.

Brandon Saad may not be your first thought when you bring up the race for the Calder Trophy which celebrates the rookie of the year. He isn’t flashy, he just gets the job done. But, when you consider that Saad was signed by the Blackhawks in the second round of the 2011 NHL draft as 43rd pick overall, and that he is now averaging 16 minutes per game with the best offensive line in the NHL, you can’t help at being a little impressed at how far he has come in such a short period time.

The Calder Trophy hasn’t been won by a Blackhawk since Patrick Kane won it in 2008.

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter @jaimelouisegray

 

We all love a quickie…

As usual, I have an unrelenting urge to climb up on my high horse and get my rant on. But since I have questionable time management skills, this is just a quickie on the things that have caught my interest this week…..and no, I’m not going to talk about the NCAA Championship game yesterday, it will get a post of its very own when I give up the procrastination.

Knicks are streaking

The New York Knicks are on a 12 game winning streak (apparently it’s the year for streaking) thanks to Carmelo Anthony who has been carrying the team with an occasional assist from JR Smith. Melo has shot at 61 % in the last four games. Yawn. Call me when they get to 27 and I may or may not pretend to be excited. I do not believe they will be title contenders, so I’m only mildly interested in this streak.

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs

The Pittsburgh Penguins and the Chicago Blackhawks are both locked into the Stanley Cup playoffs (go hawks!). Yeah, I ordered my Patrick Kane jersey today to commemorate the occasion. I noted, importantly I might add, that both Patrick Kane and Dale Jr. compete with the number 88, and both are legends. Coincidence? I think not.

Kyle Larson doing double duty this weekend

Kyle Larson can add mind reader to his list of talents since apparently he read mine last week when I was thinking how much I would like to see him race in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series again. This week it was announced that Larson would race the #30 Autism Speaks Chevy Silverado for Turner Scott Motorsports at Rockingham this Sunday in the NCWTS. Should be cray cray.

Danica is a two trick pony

Danica Patrick had a really good day in Martinsville last Sunday finishing 12th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP Gas Booster 500 exceeding expectations. Even her Crew Chief didn’t expect her to finish in the top 25 and most assumed she would go a few laps down at the paperclip. Unfortunately for us viewing the race, Danica’s good day meant we had to suffer through more painful banter as Darrell Waltrip further proved that he has an unhealthy obsession with Danica. Mate, ask the girl out and be done with it.

The Gronk to go under the knife…..again

Rob “The Gronk” Gronkowski, tight end for the New England Patriots may need a fourth surgery on his injured forearm, which may render him unavailable for the start of the NFL season. This should be a major concern for the Patriots. Whilst New England are not short of tight ends, The Gronk is, well, The Gronk, and not easily replaced. Not having the ability to replace a talent like Gronkowski will limit the Patriot’s offensive options….especially since they just lost their safety blanket receiver Wes Welker to Denver.

Seattle signs back-up QB

Staying with NFL, The Seattle Seahawks have agreed to terms with Brady Quinn, who will join the Hawks from the Kansas City Chiefs. The former Notre Dame Alum will be QB Russell Wilson’s backup. I don’t know much about this guy, but it’s safe to say I’m happy after all those Tim Tebow rumors started flying around. Anyone but Tebow!

That’s all I’ve got for now. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @jaimelouisegray

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