Author: Matt Reitz

Corey Crawford

Home sweet home? Blackhawks destroyed in first game back in Chicago


There are two ways a team can respond to a lengthy road trip like the 13-day North American trek the Blackhawks just endured. They can return home and they can look like a refreshed team after some much needed home cooking. Or they can look like a team that has been away from home from two weeks and play a listless and unenthusiastic game.

The Chicago Blackhawks opted for Door #2 on Tuesday night. It outcomes was just about what you’d expect it be. By the time the dust settled, the Phoenix Coyotes were walking away with a dominating 4-1 victory. It wasn’t as close as score makes it sound either.

It’s not like this is the first time the Hawks have had to endure their annual “Circus Trip.” This should be something they’re used to. After a pair of wins in southern California over the Thanksgiving weekend, they looked like a team that was worthy of the top spot in the Western Conference. But somewhere on that flight from LA to Chicago, they must have forgotten what made them successful.

The Hawks looked like the hard-working team that just about everyone fears in the 3rd period of the game in Anaheim on Friday. They continued the hard work during their suffocating 2-1 victory on Saturday in Los Angeles, but none of the hard-work present in Tuesday night’s game. The Coyotes were the faster team that looked like they “wanted it” more all game. The Hawks may not have brought their best effort, but the Coyotes certainly didn’t let them off the hook. They took the game to the Hawks for 60 minutes.

Fans in Chicago can chalk up the loss to the normal psychological letdown from a long road trip. Over the weekend, they looked like a team that new the end of the long road trip was in sight. They were in the homestretch and played like a team that wanted to finish it on a strong note. But Tuesday showed a team that wasn’t ready to bring the same level of intensity. Luckily for fans in Chicago, they’ll have a few days to refocus their game before the New York Islanders make their way to United Center on Friday night.

Chances are we’ll see a team with a little more energy on Friday night. That’s probably not what the Islanders wanted to hear.

Milbury and Jones weigh in: “Did Boudreau have to go?” (Video)

St Louis Blues v Washington Capitals

NHL on NBC analysts Mike Milbury and Keith Jones took to the airwaves to weigh in on the question of the week in Washington: Did Bruce Boudreau need to be fired in Washington? Could the Capitals have turned it around and thrived under Boudreau or did the organization need to make a move to get the season back on the tracks?

Both hockey guys said he had to go… and they both say it’s because of Alexander Ovechkin.

Check it out and let us know in the comments if you agree with what they had to say:

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Hunter and Muller eras begin on wrong foot

Kirk Muller

Both the Washington Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes were hoping to get a boost on the ice with new coaches taking over behind the bench on Tuesday night. Unfortunately, the Caps were unable to get much offensive going for Dale Hunter in his debut in Washington. Likewise, the Hurricanes had a tough time finding the net in Kirk Muller’s first game behind the bench in Carolina.

Forget the boost in energy—maybe they should have hoped for a boost in offense.

Both the Capitals and Hurricanes started off their new eras on the wrong foot. The Capitals could only muster a single goal as the red-hot St. Louis Blues came into town and won their fourth straight game by a 2-1 score. A little further south in the Southeast Division, the Hurricanes could only muster a single goal of their own for their new leader as well as the Panthers outscored them 3-1 in Kirk Muller’s first game. It doesn’t matter what a coach teaches or inspires—if they don’t score more than a goal, they’re not going to win very many games.

Each team only has to look at their opponents to see how much a new coach can help a team find success. Ken Hitchcock has helped the Blues completely turn their season around since he took over 11 games ago. St. Louis has already worked for eight wins under their new bench boss and has earned points in 10 of Hitchcock’s 11 games. Luckily for the Caps, they can expect Dale Hunter to have a similar coaching style as the successful Hitchcock. Now they’ll just have to hope for similar results.

In Carolina, Kirk Muller could look to the opponent’s bench to see the success Kevin Dineen has had in the early going this season. Even though most people expected the Panthers to struggle again this season, they’re sitting on top of the Southeast Division and in third place in the Eastern Conference. Fans and management in Carolina hope that the new voice behind the Hurricanes bench will produce similar results as the season goes on.

It’s a long season and both Hunter and Muller will have plenty of opportunity to put their stamp on their team over the course of the season. The next chance for Hunter’s Capitals to find the win column is against the rival Penguins (a team that has been just as hot as the Blues) on Thursday. For Kirk Muller and the Hurricanes, they’ll look forward to a date with the New York Rangers on Thursday as well.

It’s not going to get any easier for either of these teams as they look to find their footing.

Video: Sean Avery and Tyler Kennedy throw down

Sean Avery

It didn’t take long for Sean Avery and Tyler Kennedy to come together at the beginning of Tuesday night’s game between the Rangers and Penguins. Only 16 seconds into the game, the two came together and TRIED to throw the fists. The refs broke it up before it really started and each man was given two minutes to think about his transgression. Instead, they sat in the penalty box stewing for their chance to finish what they started.

Here’s the resulting tilt:

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All class: Pierre Turgeon wishes Dale Hunter the best in Washington

St Louis Blues v Washington Capitals

As Dale Hunter takes over behind the bench in Washington, his playing career has been well documented. Specifically, just about everyone has been reminded of the rather ugly incident back in the 1993 playoffs when Dale Hunter put his name in the hat for “dirtiest play of the last 20 years,” when he lit up Pierre Turgeon after a goal that effectively ended the Caps season.

Today, Stephen Whyno of the Washington Times got Turgeon’s thoughts on the Capitals’ most recent hire.  His words may surprise you.

“That situation could’ve been a little different, but those things happen, and it happened. Then you move on,” Turgeon told the Washington Times. “There’s no grudge. I’m not holding anything against Dale. The only thing I could say is I wish him the best with Washington.”

For those who want a reminder, here’s what Turgeon was talking about when he said, ‘those things happen’:

Talk about a classy guy. Turgeon has more understanding than Mother Teresa at a shopping mall on Christmas Eve.

He went onto explain that he thinks the Caps will thrive under their new coach. “I’ve got the feeling he’s going to do very well. He’s been around hockey and he’s got a good hockey head,” Turgeon shared.

“I have no doubt he’s going to do well.”