Chicago Blackhawks

Party platforms for the sports masses

Party platforms for the sports masses

Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2010
2:21 PM

By Frankie O
CSNChicago.com

Finally its over! Well, sort of. While we wait for the final votes for governor to be counted, we can be thankful that we dont have to watch any more political commercials! When I think of the amount of money wasted by these ads, it boggles my mind and makes me wonder about a system gone mad. Talking politics is one of those areas that I try to avoid while behind the bar, but especially in the last ten years, it is something that is hard to avoid. The reason why you dont want to go there is that you can have an opinion that someone doesnt agree with and that makes them hot. So whats a bartender to do? Change the subject to the Bears offensive woes to calm them down? Are the conversations any less animated when the topic is Jay Cutler as opposed to Blago? The thing is, in the bar, lively debate is going to happen and the topics of the day are hard to avoid. So if people at the bar want to talk politics, I will, but as always, Ill do so with a decided slant on sports.

TERM LIMITS: Sounds to me thats about a certain elderly quarterback in Minnesota. Enough already!
DONT ASK, DONT TELL: Easy, thats Jay Cutler at any press conference. Has there ever been anyone who so openly shows his disdain for the whole process?
HEALTHCARE REFORM: The NFL has taken the very public lead in combating head injuries and while its very late to be taking that stand, everyone can agree its the right thing to do.

ABSOLUTE POWER: Nothing corrupts like absolute power and nothing corrupts a football mind like working for Daniel Snyder. Schottenheimer. Spurrier. Gibbs. All solid coaches whose reps were driven into the ground while working for Snyder. The latest is Mike Shanahan, and with his handling of Donavan McNabb at the end of the game against the Lions, it looks like its his turn to have a career melt-down.

ALONG PARTY LINES: Thats how I work every shift behind the bar. BOO-YA!

ARE YOU BETTER OFF THAN YOU WERE FOUR YEARS AGO?: Thats the question Bears fans ask every day. And Cubs fans. And Sox fans. (And Philly fans!!)
ITS THE ECONOMY STUPID: The price of taking your family to a game is out of control. I wonder at what point that we just watch every game on TV to save the 500 bucks.
WEDGE ISSUE: What Tiger Woods has after Thanksgiving dinner, during a leisurely drive.

FOUR SCORE, AND SEVEN BEERS AGO: AS all of my customers at the bar know when they hear that phrase, Frankie O is about to go on a rant!
READ MY LIPS: Sounds like Lovie or Angelos press conferences of the last couple of years. Even as the house crumbles, dont dare ask them, why? Just take their word that they know what they are doing.

THE ONLY THING WE HAVE TO FEAR: Is Jay Cutler taking another seven-step drop.
I SHALL RETURN: More Favre!!

IT DEPENDS ON WHAT THE MEANING OF THE WORD IS IS: Is that like an offense that is offensive? (Insert Bears, Cubs or Sox joke here!)

OH,THE VISION THING: Gotta love W. Is it any wonder that among his accomplishments was being an owner of a professional sports team?
I AM THE DECIDER: Isnt that Scotty Bowmans title with the Hawks?

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: That would be the Stanley Cup in Chicago. See, Im not always a smart aleck! And those of you who know me, know how hard it was to type that!

ASK NOT WHAT YOUR COUNTRY CAN DO FOR YOU: After watching what I thought was the most talented Phillies team of my lifetime gag a shot at a second World Series title in three years, I began to question whether my rooting for my teams was good for my health. The Phillies (twice!), Eagles and Flyers have all ripped my heart out in the last year. But, I still come back for more. My sports addiction is an affliction, and Ive come to terms with that. I wont quit. So when a new season begins, Ill be ready for the roller coaster to begin. Or as Ronnie said in my favorite debate quote of all-time: (Read with a Reagan voice in your head.) Well, there you go again!

Five Things from Blackhawks-Blue Jackets: Shots and slashes

Five Things from Blackhawks-Blue Jackets: Shots and slashes

It’s preseason: you don’t need a lot of build-up. Let’s just delve right in, shall we?

1. Lots of shots, but…

The same Joonas Korpisalo that the Blackhawks’ youngsters scored five goals against on Tuesday was on top of his game on Saturday. The Blackhawks peppered him with 54 shots but only two got through, and the second was a 6-on-4 power-play goal in the final two minutes.

“I thought we could have gotten a little more traffic in front of him," Nick Schmaltz said. "I thought we were playing along the outside. I mean we had some great looks. He made some big saves. Some nights you get the bounces and some nights you don’t.”

2. Bérubé’s Blackhawks debut.

Jean-François Bérubé had a tough sequence early in the second period, when he gave up two goals in a 28-second span. This was against a Columbus team that didn’t send many of their top players. He also didn’t see a ton of action in this one; the Blue Jackets fired just 21 shots his way.

3. Growing pains.

Alex DeBrincat had his up and down moments on Saturday night. His turnover led to Columbus’ first goal, he took a slashing penalty and he fought the puck quite a bit. You still saw glimpses of that skill, though, especially with his quick release. Hey, he’s a 19-year-old guy getting his first taste of the NHL. Nights like this are going to happen.

“We all make mistakes,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “You gotta be safe in certain areas and you learn from that.”

4. Slash-o-meter.

Four more were called on Saturday night. Don’t be surprised if that number starts dwindling sooner rather than later, though, because the edict has apparently changed already. Sportsnet’s John Shannon reported earlier on Saturday that the league told officials to ease up on slashing and faceoff violations. But we all figure that’s going to happen once the regular season begins anyway, right?

5. Notre Dame bound.

The destination is familiar but the Blackhawks threw it into their second week of camp this season. It’ll be bonding time for the Blackhawks, who will send a smaller group for several practices there this week. Quenneville figures it’ll be a productive time. “We’ll get some bonding in, play golf together, have a nice outing, couple of road games and a nice campus.”

Nick Schmaltz's confidence, hold on second-line center, continues to grow

nick_schmaltz.jpg
USA TODAY

Nick Schmaltz's confidence, hold on second-line center, continues to grow

Nick Schmaltz seemed to be everywhere the puck was on Saturday night. Great pursuit of the puck, great passes to Patrick Kane or Alex DeBrincat and an all-around confidence that’s becoming more apparent by the game.

So has coach Joel Quenneville seen what he’s needed to from Schmaltz at second-line center?

“And more.”

It’s been a pretty impressive showing for Schmaltz this month. The 21-year-old has played in all three of the Blackhawks’ preseason games and keeps getting better in each one. The uncertainty Schmaltz understandably showed as a rookie is gone; the NHL game no longer feels uncomfortable.

“I feel like the game’s slowing down for me, just seeing plays,” Schmaltz said. “I know what I’m doing with the puck before I get it. It feels good and just trying to get better every day.”

Schmaltz and his fellow second liners didn’t connect for goals in the Blackhawks 3-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday but it wasn’t for lack of trying. The three combined for 12 of the Blackhawks’ 54 shots on goal – Kane and DeBrincat each had five – and the chemistry continues to build between the three.

Jonathan Toews talked on Saturday morning of how much more relaxed Schmaltz looks with the puck now, and that was evident again later that night.

“He’s really starting to get comfortable physically at this level,” Toews said. “He thinks the game so well, puts himself in good spots, much like Kaner where he can skate with the puck and use his speed. He has his head up so he backs guys off. Those two were making great plays tonight and Brinksy was fitting in well. They couldn’t buy a goal but Schmaltzy’s getting better and better, and you’re’ seeing that calm poise that he has really come out the more he gets comfortable.”

Schmaltz was likely getting a second-line audition in some capacity this fall; the original thought was at left wing in the wake of Artemi Panarin’s trade. But Schmaltz has always felt at his best at center. He’s showing that. And more.

“It’s always fun to play no matter if it’s preseason or regular season," he said. "I’m always happy to play, especially when you’re playing with great players. I feel like I’m more comfortable in the middle, able to use my speed a little bit more, create more offense that way.

"I think it’s going well. Wherever I end up, I’ll be happy.”