Blackhawks take different approaches to Twitter

605466.png

Blackhawks take different approaches to Twitter

Sami Lepisto was just trying to help Viktor Stalberg out a little bit.

The Blackhawks defenseman had dinner at Stalbergs home one night this fall and let Twitter followers know about Stalbergs stellar domestic abilities. And, Lepisto added in his tweet, Ladies he is single!!

From time to time you have to do something like that, Lepisto said with a smile.

Stalberg did get a laugh and an immediate spike in his followers.

I dont think it boosted (my personal life) but I did get a lot of hits that day, thats for sure, he said. A lot of guys are against (Twitter) but its a fun way to keep in touch with fans; especially for guy like me whos not in the center of the media stitch every day like (Jonathan) Toews and others. Obviously we cant say everything on there, but its a fun way to keep in touch.

Welcome to the world of Twitter, which up until this season featured very few Blackhawks. But between veterans and newly acquired players, more Chicago players have entered the social-media world. Their reasons for joining or quitting are as different as their individual personalities:

timingiseverything

Patrick Sharp joined Twitter in March, just as the Blackhawks got to Washington D.C. to play the Capitals and visit the White House. As expected, the right wing got a lot of followers in no time.

Sharps first tweet came when the Blackhawks visited the Walter Reed Army Medical Center on that D.C. visit. It would be his only tweet. In hindsight, Sharp said his timing may not have been the best.

I didnt think in March, near the playoffs, was a good time to do that, Sharp said. It exploded there one night in Washington. I was getting a lot of messages and felt I had a lot of responsibility and I wasnt ready for that.

Sharp said there is an invasive side to it, too.

Probably the issue I had is Im all for fan interaction and I love talking to and meeting different fans. But I dont like the idea of having a bad game and hearing about it from 15,000 different people, said Sharp, who added that he may try Twitter again in the future. But there are two sides to every coin. Those negatives are outweighed by maybe having some fun with it.

feelingthelove

Patrick Kane is the latest of the Blackhawks to join. His account was confirmed after the Blackhawks final preseason home game on Sept. 29. When Kane went to sleep that night, he said he had about 4,000 followers. By the next morning, he had nearly 20,000.

Pretty crazy, Kane said. The numbers are almost kind of scary and make you cringe a little bit.

Kane, who now has more than 60,000 followers, doesnt tweet often; the last entry on his account was Nov. 19, his birthday. But he nevertheless appreciates the fan response.

Its pretty cool way to interact with the fans, he said. I could probably get better at it. Sometimes Im thinking about so many other things I dont pay attention to it. But it can be used for pretty good reasons.

wannabet?

When defenseman Steve Montador joined Twitter a few months ago he wasnt keeping close check on how many folks started to follow him. But his sister did. So she bet him he couldnt get so many followers in a set amount of time. When Montador reached the first number she bet, she upped the numbers.

She said, Well, get 10,000 by the end of the week. I actually got there now so I should chirp her, Montador said. I didnt impress her enough in the week.

For Montador, Twitter is more of a promotional tool for team or personal causes. He wont get too personal.

Im a little more private than Twitter typically allows for, so for the most part its something Ill keep on the professional side, he said. But I do appreciate the following and the people who respond. Its fun to follow friends and people in the business and what not. Its unique that you can connect that way.
friendsinhighplaces

Its always easier to join a group when you know one of the top guys in it. Thats how it was for Jamal Mayers, who has a friend in the executive ranks of Twitter. He told Mayers how it all worked, got the Blackhawks forward verified in a matter of days and explained how Twitter was a safe social-media option.

Its not like any of those other things where people can directly contact you necessarily. That safety helps, said Mayers. Obviously you have to be aware of what youre writing. Its definitely far-reaching; it has an effect on you, the organization and your family. So you have to be aware of what youre writing.

proceedwithcaution

When youre an outspoken individual, Twitter can be dangerous territory. Daniel Carcillo is certainly one of those guys, and hes very careful to walk that line between having fun and tweeting TMI.

When I first got it, it was a little overwhelming. Im pretty outspoken, and on that you have to think three or four times before you write it, Carcillo said. So it wasnt a good fit in the beginning and so you live and learn.

Carcillos done that. Hes used Twitter for fun making fun of Kanes mustache, or lack thereof, during Movember and for his interests such as his friends T-shirt company, jaktapparel.com, and his new radio show on WGN.

Its kind of just building your own name and getting it out there, outside of hockey if you have other interests, he said. You can see the advantages to it.

Resilient Wild make statement with comeback win over Blackhawks

Resilient Wild make statement with comeback win over Blackhawks

The Minnesota Wild have been chasing the Blackhawks for a long time.

They may not be so far away now.

After falling behind 2-0, the Wild scored three unanswered goals to beat the Blackhawks 3-2 at the United Center on Sunday night, and moved into sole possession of first place in the Central Division and Western Conference with 61 points, and still have four games in hand.

But even the Wild had to remind themselves that they're on the same playing surface as the Blackhawks, who eliminated Minnesota from the playoffs for three consecutive seasons from 2013-15, two of which were en route to Stanley Cup wins.

"We were pretty slow," coach Bruce Boudreau said about the team's first period. "I thought we were in a little bit of quick sand. We watched them play. I think it was a little bit more [we were] in awe. It's the Chicago Blackhawks, we're supposed to be in awe."

When they snapped out of it, the Wild looked like the team that has become one of the NHL's best, having now won 17 of their last 19 games.

Wild nemesis Patrick Kane scored the game's first two goals, but Minnesota displayed the type of resiliency every contender needs by evening it up in the second period thanks to a power-play goal by Nino Neiderreiter — his third goal in as many games — and Chris Stewart, who found the back of the net for the second consecutive contest.

Jason Pominville, who hadn't scored in 19 straight games, registered the game-winner early in the third period to cap off a Wild victory. It's Minnesota's eighth straight win against Chicago, a feat that even its coach can't explain.

"To beat this team eight times in a row is really something," Boudreau said. "I don't understand how you could do it. I wish I would have had that knowledge a couple years ago. But it's a new year and it's just one in a row right now."

That's one of many reasons why the Wild have been so successful this season. They're taking it one game at a time, and no matter what the score is, they continue to play the same way and have the belief they can win any game.

Less than 24 hours before their win over the Blackhawks, the Wild jumped out to a 4-0 lead in Dallas and squandered it in the third period. They found a way to bounce back, however, to take home a 5-4 victory in regulation.

So, how do they keep doing it?

"I don't know," Boudreau responded. "We're supposed to. If you want to win, you've got to come back, right? You got to believe. I think the biggest thing is believing you can, and that's the first step. If you don't believe you can come back, you never come back. If you always believe there's a chance, there's a good chance you can do it."

Said Stewart: "I just think we're a confident bunch. We believe in ourselves. We know we didn't get the start that we wanted, but we got one to crawl back in it and all this team needs is a little bit of life."

There's no better measuring stick than to beat a team in your division that's won three championships since 2010, and has been powerhouses in the West for nearly a decade.

And it's something the Wild hope — and believe — they're in the process of achieving.

"It's always a big rival," Neiderreiter said. "You always want to beat the Hawks. They won a few Stanley Cup in the past few years, and that's something we want to accomplish someday. To do that, we have to make sure we beat top teams like that."

Five Things from Blackhawks-Wild: Start strong, finish fizzles

Five Things from Blackhawks-Wild: Start strong, finish fizzles

Well, that weekend didn't go as planned.

The Blackhawks played a lot better on Sunday night but suffered the same fate as Friday, coming away with no points and losing first place in the Western Conference in their 3-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild.

Let's dispense with the frivolities. Here are Five Things to take away from the Blackhawks' loss to Minnesota.

1. Strong start. The Blackhawks needed to come out strong in this one, mainly because their Friday game against the Washington Capitals was so bad but also because the Wild were coming off a frenzied 5-4 victory over the Dallas Stars on Saturday night. The Blackhawks got the appropriate start, outshooting the Wild 14-8 and leading 1-0 on Patrick Kane's goal. Speaking of which… 

2. Kane with the great evening. The Blackhawks dressing seven defensemen meant one thing: Kane was probably going to get a lot of ice time. That he did, double-shifting with the second and fourth lines in the first period and giving the Blackhawks a 2-0 lead with first- and second-period goals. Kane finished with a career-high 12 shots on goal in 27:09 of ice time. "You know you're going to play a lot. I don't know if [27] minutes is that amount you want to be playing, but at the same time, you're not going to say no when he calls you to go out there too," Kane said.

3. The Wild respond in the second. Minnesota didn't have the best start but they regained momentum and erased a deficit in the second period. It's not that their chances were that much better than the Blackhawks – it was a fairly even period in every way, from shots on goal (16-15 Blackhawks) to overall play. But coach Joel Quenneville didn't like how the Blackhawks played on Nino Niederreiter or Chris Stewart's goals, calling the mistakes made on them, "cardinal sins."

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

4. Quiet night for the top line. Outside of Marian Hossa, the Blackhawks' top line didn't do much on Sunday night. Hossa had two shots on goal. Jonathan Toews had none, as it was another too-quiet night for the Blackhawks' captain. 

5. Minnesota keeps the rivalry edge. Remember those three consecutive springs in which the Blackhawks dispatched the Wild? Well, the past two seasons may not be equal in payback terms but the Wild are nevertheless tilting the rivalry – at least in regular-season games – in their favor. The Wild won all five games last season and took the first of this season, as well. Minnesota made some good offseason moves, including acquiring Eric Staal in July. Full marks to the Wild: right now, they are the cream of the Western Conference crop.