How the current Blackhawks compare to the 60-61 team

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kanetoews.jpgIt’s been a long, long time since the Chicago Blackhawks won a Stanley Cup. Almost 50 years, actually, as the last time they raised it was the 1960-61 campaign. With the team four wins away from a championship, it seems reasonable to compare the 2009-10 Blackhawks to their predecessors, something that Vintage Leaf Memories did today.

The first logical comparison is Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita to Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. Michael Langlois points out that Hull and Mikita were at similar age levels when they had their greatest successes, just like Kane and Toews.

Moving on, Langlois wrote that the teams compare favorably on the blueline as well as with veteran role players.

The two biggest difference, he writes, is that the old team lacked anyone resembling Dustin Byfuglien and the current Blackhawks don’t have a Hall of Fame goalie in the league of Glen Hall.

First, his take on Byfuglien:

I don’t recall anyone on the old Hawk team like Byfuglien. He is playing now like a combination of a young Probert and Bertuzzi in their prime. He’s a load in front of the net and a guy who can apparently finish, too and score big goals-though I do recall that ex-Hab Ab McDonald was a good-sized forward (for the time) and brought some of that to the ’61 team.

Finally, Langlois on the current Blackhawks situation in net:

The big difference is that the Hawks had a an “in his prime” future Hall-of-Famer in Glenn Hall in net, who shut out the then five-time defending champion Canadiens the last two games of the semi-finals then led Chicago over the Red Wings in six games in the Cup final.

Niemi doesn’t have to be a Hall-of-Famer, he just has to play like one for one more series for Chicago to win for the first time in 50 years.

Ultimately, to Chicago Blackhawks fans, the only thing the two teams really need to have in common is a Cup victory.

(H/T to Greatest Hockey Memories.)

Video: After blowout loss in Dallas, struggling Sharks off to slow start vs. Predators

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Last night, we asked: What is wrong with the San Jose Sharks?

Well, a day later, with the Sharks looking to avoid a sixth straight loss, the struggle continues.

After a blowout loss last night against the Dallas Stars, the Sharks have fallen behind the Nashville Predators by a score of 2-0 after the opening period.

Colton Sissons opened the scoring for Nashville.

It didn’t get any better for the Sharks.

Roman Josi walked right around Brent Burns, hitting the cross bar with his shot. Cody McLeod was right there for the tap-in to increase Nashville’s lead.

Maple Leafs goalie Andersen suffers upper-body injury vs. Sabres

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Anxious times right now for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Facing the Buffalo Sabres and looking to extend their winning streak, Curtis McElhinney took over in net for Toronto to begin the second period.

Adding to the situation was the fact Frederik Andersen, who started the game, was reportedly not on the bench when the teams came back out following the intermission.

And now we know why. The Leafs have announced Andersen suffered an upper-body injury and will not return.

Andersen faced 16 shots in the opening period, making 14 saves.

The Maple Leafs are third in the Atlantic Division with 85 points.

Video: Ovechkin joins elite company with this goal vs. Coyotes

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Barring a miraculous barrage of goals in the final stretch of games, Alex Ovechkin very likely won’t hit the 50-mark this season.

Now 31 years old, there has been talk that this could be the beginning of the decline for Ovechkin.

But on Saturday, he scored the 30th goal of his season, letting that famous Ovechkin shot rip from his favorite spot on the power play.

For Ovechkin, that’s 12 straight seasons with at least 30 goals scored. He has been consistently prolific since joining the league in 2005-06. He’s an elite player, as everyone has known for years, and he once again joined elite company with this latest goal.

Per the Capitals, Ovechkin joins Mike Gartner and Wayne Gretzky — he was good — as the only three players in NHL history to score at least 30 goals in each of their first 12 seasons in the league.

Sharp to undergo hip surgery, expected recovery is 4-5 months

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Patrick Sharp‘s difficult season is now over.

The Dallas Stars announced on Saturday that the 35-year-old forward will undergo hip surgery on Tuesday. The recovery time, according to the club, is between four and five months.

Sharp is in the final year of a five-year contract with a $5.9 million cap hit, per CapFriendly

“We are going to get the surgery done and let him heal. He’s going to train and let’s take a look at him,” said Stars GM Jim Nill, per NHL.com. “We’ve had conversations. If he comes back, he wants it to be Dallas. He thinks he’s a Dallas Star.”

Not only has Sharp dealt with injuries on the ice, but he is dealing with a personal matter off it.

From the Dallas Morning News:

But in battling through two concussions, hip pain, and his dad’s fight with leukemia, Sharp has shown significant fortitude. The Dallas chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association nominated Sharp Saturday as its candidate for the Bill Masterton Trophy, given each season to a player who displays the attributes of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.

“It shows what kind of person he is and what kind of hockey player and leader he is,” said Stars captain Jamie Benn. “I think that’s why he’s a winner at every level he’s played at. I think that’s why he’s a great leader for this team and a great guy for a lot of these young guys to look up to.”

Sharp was first sidelined with a concussion in October. He was then placed on injured reserve with another concussion in December.

He has been held to just 48 games, with eight goals — his lowest total since the lockout-shortened season — and 18 points.