The Blackhawks' dramatic rebirth

While the Chicago Blackhawks are probably tired of all the criticisms hurled at their perceived weakness in net, long-time fans must find humor in that being the powerhouse team’s biggest problem. In just a few years, this team went from one of the saddest, most poorly run franchises in all of professional sports into a young, ultra-talented Cup contender that packs the cavernous United Center night after night.

It’s more than a bit macabre to attribute the team’s revitalization to the death of owner Bill Wirtz. After all, the team wouldn’t be where it is today if it hadn’t drafted Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. Still, the man many called “Dollar Bill” Wirtz maintained some mind numbing policies that kept the club far behind the times.

“Unpopular with fans and media, his passing was treated as if he were Ebenezer Scrooge, as fans booed a moment of silence before the October 8th home opener. Wirtz had been nicknamed “Dollar Bill” for his frugal dealings regarding free agents as many blamed him for the Blackhawks futility, as his ownership group was named the were the worst franchise in sports by ESPN. 

In a sign things were changing, the team’s new President Rocky Wirtz finally agreed to allow Blackhawks home games to air on local television reversing a long held policy from his father. Rocky Wirtz also welcomed back legendary players Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita and Tony Esposito as club ambassadors, the three had refused to have anything to do with the team, while Bill Wirtz was alive.”
Let that sink in for a second: Blackhawks fans weren’t able to watch home games on TV until 2007 because Bill Wirtz thought it would hurt their gate revenue. Such archaic thought makes me wonder how Chicago made it to road games on time while traveling by horse and buggy.
So when you’re watching this young, talented and incredibly deep Chicago squad, realize that this team was a blight on the NHL landscape for most of the last decade and beyond.

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    Video: Pekka Rinne’s zero-margin-of-error stick save

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    Sometimes, the Nashville Predators were unlucky in November. Sometimes they were just bad.

    Either way, they’re likely glad to step into December, and they’ve already gotten a big bounce. Watch how close this near-goal was into crossing the red line before Pekka Rinne barely stopped it with a well-placed goalie stick.

    You can also see it up close via this GIF:

    Here’s the NHL Situation Room Blog explanation for it remaining a no-goal:

    At 13:06 of the first period in the Coyotes/Predators game, the Situation Room initiated a video review to further examine a play from 11:57. Video review confirmed the call on the ice that the puck did not cross the Nashville goal line. No goal Coyotes.

    Alexei Emelin was ejected for this hit on Matt Calvert


    Alexei Emelin has been in and out of the Montreal Canadiens lineup, but this wasn’t the way they wanted him to keep his legs fresh.

    The hard-hitting defenseman received a game misconduct and five-minute major penalty for a late hit on Columbus Blue Jackets forward Matt Calvert on Tuesday.

    So far, it sounds like Calvert may be OK.

    You can see video of that hit above, as well as a GIF of the infraction via My Regular Face.

    Many believe that Emelin should not have been ejected.

    Injuries continue to dog Lupul as Leafs place him on IR

    Joffrey Lupul
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    Injuries have been a regular problem for Joffrey Lupul for much of his time with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and it doesn’t look like that’s changing in 2015-16.

    The team placed him on injured reserve retroactive to Nov. 28, calling up Rich Clune in the process.

    This IR stint means that Lupul will miss at least three games for Toronto.

    From the sound of things, it’s a nagging issue, as notes.

    “He’s been having the same problem here for a bit,” Mike Babcock told media members on Sunday. “He doesn’t seem to be getting the power back that they thought, so we’re just trying to monitor it the best we can.”

    Leafs Nation points out that Lupul has missed about one-third of Toronto’s contests since suffering a separated shoulder in April 2012.

    At 32, there’s still time for Lupul to fight through this, although injuries generally accumulate with age.

    WATCH LIVE: Wild at Blackhawks; Penguins at Sharks

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    Will Ryan Suter say something foolish during tonight’s game? Is Brent Burns‘ beard so long that it’s finally starting to scrape the ice?

    We’ll find out the answer to those questions and more during Tuesday’s NBCSN doubleheader.

    Need to follow the two games online? Never fear.

    Game 1: Minnesota Wild at Chicago Blackhawks


    Game 2: Pittsburgh Penguins at San Jose Sharks