Monday, April 14, 2014

Doug Wilson TTM

Today I received my first successful TTM return of 2014 from former NHLer Doug Wilson.

Wilson played defenseman in the pros for 16 season, 14 of them with the Blackhawks. He had a great career with the Hawks in the late-70's, the 80's and the 90's. He combined with Chris Chelios to form one of the best defensive duos the league had seen. During the span of his career he played in 8 NHL All-Star games and won the Norris Trophy as the league's top defenseman in 1982. He is currently the GM for the San Jose Sharks.

This return took about three months (I do not remember the exact date I sent it out) and came just in time for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Who knows, maybe this will bring some luck to the Blackhawks? Either way, thanks Mr. Wilson!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Men’s Hockey Tournament Qualification Round Preview

Group play for men’s hockey ended Sunday in Sochi, with the preliminary phase of the competition going pretty much as expected. Sweden, the United States, Canada, and Finland all earned first-round byes, while Russia, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Austria, Slovakia, Latvia, and Norway all must play in the qualification round. Each one-game series will be played on Tuesday, February 17 (games starting from noon to 9 pm, Sochi time).

Here is the tournament bracket, tweeted by James Mirtle (@mirtle).

Thursday, February 13, 2014

2014 NFL Mock Draft 1.0

So I watched quite a bit of college football this year and have also been study this draft class for a few months now, and I would like start writing about the upcoming NFL Draft and making more mock drafts and share them on my blog. Here is my first mock of just the first round. This one is only picks and not any justification for each one, but in my later mocks I will be providing more analysis. Enjoy!

1. Houston Texans - Blake Bortles, QB Central Florida

2. St. Louis Rams - Jake Matthews, OT Texas A&M

3. Jacksonville Jaguars - Teddy Bridgewater, QB Louisville

4. Cleveland Browns - Johnny Manziel, QB Texas A&M

5. Oakland Raiders - Sammy Watkins, WR Clemson

Saturday, January 4, 2014

My Collecting Resolutions for 2014

Better late than never, here is my list for my hobby resolutions that I hope to accomplish in 2014. Most of these are not concrete goals, but just general ideas that I would like to strive for.

1. Start working on some PC's
Most collectors have specific Personal Collections that they like to work on, and I suppose my main "collecting purpose" is to collect cards of my favorite Chicago sports teams. However, I also want to start some more specific PC's. Here are some ideas I have:

Marian Hossa PC

Friday, January 3, 2014

Colorado Avalanche vs. Chicago Blackhawks 12/27/13

For Christmas, my mom (or was it Santa?) surprised my dad and I with Blackhawks tickets for the December 27 game against the Colorado Avalanche.

We drove down to the United Center about two hours before the start of the game. Normally we live about an hour outside of the city, but traffic and weather have been crazy in Chicago lately, and once we walked into the UC there was only about 20 minutes left before puck drop.

We were still able to catch the tail end of the warm-ups, so my dad and I headed down by the glass to watch the Hawks get ready for the game.

One of the many cool things about going to the Blackhawks game is that no matter what seats your tickets are for, you can sit as close as you want for warm-ups.

After grabbing a quick bite we headed upstairs to our seats. Here is our view from section 302:

Before the game we also walked by where Steve Konroyd and Pat Boyle do the pre-game and intermission analysis for TV broadcasts.

As for the game itself, wow. The Blackhawks totally outplayed the Avs, and the scoreboard showed it. The final ended up being 7-2 Chicago. Patrick Sharp got a hat trick in the game, and captain Jonathan Toews scored 4 points (2g, 2a). Patrick Kane also assisted on a Michal Handzus goal, extending his point streak to a career-high 13 games. Duncan Keith assisted on three goals. Nine different Blackhawks finished the game with at least 1 point, and six has mutli-point games. Rookie netminder Antti Raanta also had a good-but-not-great game for the Hawks, stopping 16 of 18 shots. Raanta really has me excited this year. Going into the season, my biggest concern is would the Hawks have a viable replacement for Ray Emery at backup goalie, but Raanta has done a great job of filling that role.

Here is a picture of the team saluting the fans after the game:

Also, during the second intermission I was able to get an autograph from former Hawks forward Dave Mackey. Another great thing about Blackhawks games is they always have a former player signing autographs before the game and during intermissions. Mackey played 56 games for Chicago over 2 seasons.

Mackey signed for me one of the pictures they were giving out. He asked who to make the autograph out to, and I said, "Sean," but he must have misheard, as he wrote "To John" on the picture. Oh well -- I think it's kind of funny. He also put his number 26 and wrote "All the Best". While he was signing I asked who his favorite teammate to play with was, and he said, "Denis Savard, he was so talented." We then talked about how the both left Chicago at about the same time. After signing my picture he added "Eddie Belfour was a really good guy too, I liked him a lot." I asked him if he could also sign a picture for my cousin Logan, and he happily complied.

Overall, an awesome night with my dad and a great win for the Hawks!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

USA Hockey Announces 2014 Sochi Games Roster

Happy New Year everyone!! Hope everybody had a safe and happy time over the past week, and all were able to enjoy the Winter Classic and some of the Rose, Fiesta, Outback, Gator, and Capital One bowl games on New Year's Day.

Along with the Winter Classic broadcast on New Year's Day (and what a better way to start the new year than with a Red Wings loss?) came the announcement of Team USA's men's hockey roster for the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games.

Here is the roster, courtesy of Pro Hockey Talk:

Forwards (14): David Backes, Dustin Brown, Ryan Callahan, Patrick Kane, Ryan Kesler, Phil Kessel, T.J. Oshie, Max Pacioretty, Zach Parise, Joe Pavelski, Paul Stastny, Derek Stepan, James van Riemsdyk, Blake Wheeler

Defensemen (8): John Carlson, Justin Faulk, Cam Fowler, Paul Martin, Ryan McDonagh, Brooks Orpik, Kevin Shattenkirk, Ryan Suter

Goalies (3): Jimmy Howard, Ryan Miller, Jonathan Quick

Thoughts on this year's team:

While it came as no surprise, I'm happy to see Blackhawk Patrick Kane making the roster again. However, I am bummed that Brandon Saad did not make the team. I would have also liked to see Dustin Byfuglien make the squad as well, as he barely missed the cut for the team for the 2010 Vancouver games as well, back when he was on the Blackhawks.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

November 2013 Sun-Times Show

On  Sunday, November 24 (my birthday) my cousin Logan and I drove over to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center and went to the Chicago Sun-Times card show. This show is put on 2-3 times (depending on if the National is here in the summer) each year by one of the big two newspapers in Chicago, the Chicago Sun-Times. It is a pretty large show, and there's always plenty of cool stuff. Here is an overview of some things I got.

First is my first jersey card of my favorite football player, Matt Forte. Every time I watch Matt play I like him more and more, and I'm glad I can finally get a jersey card of him. Unfortunately, it was an event-used item not game-used.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Addison Reed Traded to Arizona

Yesterday, the Chicago White Sox traded their closer Addison Reed to the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for prospect third baseman Davidson.

It makes me very sad to think I won't be seeing Reed coming out of the bullpen in a Sox uniform anymore. Reed has been one of my favorite players on the team over the last two seadons, and along with Mark Buehrle and Chris Sale he is one of my top three favorite pitchers I have been able to watch in my 17 years. I even met Reed at a game during the summer of 2012 -- oh yeah, back when we were decent, I miss those days -- and he signed a ball and photo (if you cant see the sig it is in thin silver Sharpie on Addison's right leg/arm) for me and we were also able to get a picture together.

As much as it always sucks to have one of your favorite players traded away, it sounds like Gm Rick Hahn did a good job acquiring Davidson. I don't know much about the guy, but from everything I have been reading he sounds like a great prospect with the potential to have a strong bat in the big leagues, and he'll soon fill into a role that the White Sox have had much trouble with recently. And as much as I loved watching Reed on the mound, does a 99-loss, last-place, 30-games-back team really need a strong closer more than a promising prospect?

Well I hope Addison Reed continues to grow as a player and succeed, and I really hope Davidson will turn into the player he is projected to be. Go Sox!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

100 Games, 100 Players: Number 9

I have a new project for this Blackhawks season: 100 Games, 100 Players! What I will be doing is after each of the first 100 Blackhawks I will be sharing my top 100 Blackhawks players of all-time by jersey number.

Blackhawks won over the Florida tonight 3-2 in an exciting game that ended with a shootout. Blackhawks played well for a majority of the game, and had a 2-0 lead going into the third period, thanks to goals by Jonathan Toews and Bryan Bickell. However, the 'Hawks let up two goals in the third sending the game into overtime. After a scoreless overtime, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp converted their shootout attempts to get the team a W. One of the most exciting takeaways of the game for me was that Crawford shut out the Panthers in the shootout, as Crawford's shootout abilities were highly ridiculed last years.

Number 9: Bobby Hull

Is this even a question? Bobby Hull is by the greatest to wear the number 9 sweater for the Hawks, and one of the greatest to wear no. 9 in NHL history (amid some significant competition). Rather than write it all out, I'll just list the accomplishments the Golden Jet achieved while wearing the Indian Head:

  • 1036 games played
  • 604 goals
  • 549 assists
  • 1153 points
  • 129 points (62 goals, 67 assists) in 119 career playoff games
  • 12-time NHL All Star (10-time First-Team)
  • 1961 Stanley Cup champion
  • 2-time Hart Trophy winner
  • 3-time Art Ross Trophy winner
  • Lady Byng Trophy winner
  • Lester B. Patrick Trophy winner
  • Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 1983
The list goes on and on.

Who Else?

While no other candidate has come close to making the mark on Blackhawks history that Hull did, some other players have played successfully for Chicago wearing no. 9. Roy Conacher played for the Blackhawks from 1947-1952, totaling 227 points in 264 games. Conacher also represented Chicago in the 1948-49 All-Star game. That year he lead the entire league in scoring with 68 points.

Tod Sloan was a member of the 1961 Stanley Cup championship team along with Mr. Hull, and scored 34 points that season, along with another goal and assist in the playoffs. In his three years (196 games) with the Hawks, Sloan scored 136 points


Photo Credit: SI Kids

Saturday, October 19, 2013

100 Games, 100 Players: Number 8

I have a new project for this Blackhawks season: 100 Games, 100 Players! What I will be doing is after each of the first 100 Blackhawks I will be sharing my top 100 Blackhawks players of all-time by jersey number.

Rookie Brandon Pirri continues to impress as the forward scored another 2 points tonight (including his second career goal) to lead the Blackhawks over the Maple Leaves Leafs 3-1. The game started slow, but eventually the Hawks got on the board with a goal by Bryan Bickell. Following an score by Toronto's phenom Nazem Kadri, the Blackhawks answered with Michael Kostka's first goal in a Blackhawks uniform and Brandon Pirri's second, which was enough for the W.

Also of note, this morning the Hawks signed 6-8, 235 pound defenseman Viktor Svedberg, who will begin with the IceHogs in the AHL.

Number 8: Bill Mosienko

One of the original superstars in Blackhawks history, Bill Mosienko had an outstanding career in the black-and-red. Mosienko soent all 14 seasons of his NHL career with the Hawks, totaling 258 goals and 282 assists (540 points) in 710 games. Mosienko helped hockey gain popularity in Chicago with his play with the Bentley brothers in the 1940's and 50's. He also owns a very unique record that may never be broken: in 1952, Mosienko scored three goals in a 21-second span against the Rangers, good enough for the fastest hat trick in NHL history. Mosienko played in 5 NHL All-Star games and in 1965 was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. In 1994, he lost the battle with cancer at the age of 72.

Who Else?

Murray Balfour played right wing with the Hawks during their 1961 Stanley Cup championship, and scored 153 points in 286 games with the team.

Another member of the 1961 team, center Bill Hay notched 386 points in 8 seasons with the Blackhawks. He also won the Calder Trophy in 1960 and played in the 1960 and 1961 All-Star Games.

Nick Leddy has shown tremendous development over the past three years working with Duncan Keith and other Blackhawks vets, and played in every playoff game during last year's Stanley Cup run.

Defenseman Cam Russell played well defensively along the blue line for the better part of a decade and did a good job of enforcing his teammates.

Dave Manson was drafted in the first round by the Blackhawks in 1985, and spent 7 season with the team, accumulating over 1300 penalty minutes in that time.

The second-best #8 in team history, Jim Pappin played with the Blackhawks for 7 seasons, scoring 216 goals and 288 assists (444 points) in 488 games. Pappin played in 4 All-Star Games representing Chicago.

Do you agree with my choice? Is there another Blackhawks number 8 I should have mentioned? Let me know!


Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated