Skip to main content

Blues, Blackhawks both worry me


My Blackhawks are in trouble.

After leading the NHL (or being close to it) most of the season, they've fallen four points behind a very good St. Louis Blues team in the Central Division of the Western Conference. The Blues have been systematically and intelligently rebuilding for some time, and I feared this moment might come sooner rather than later: the Hawks are not assured of supremacy even in their own division.

True, the Hawks have scored 13 more goals than the Blues thus far. But the Blues have allowed 28 fewer. It's no secret that Corey Crawford is a good, but not elite goalie, whereas both Brian Elliot and Ryan Miller of the Blues clearly belong in the elite category (it's too soon to say how Antti Raanta is going to turn out; his 2.40 GAA is .10 higher than "Crow's," though his 12-2 W/L differential is clearly better, and I have the sense that he has more raw talent). In any case, team defense has been terrible, and whoever is between the pipes will need more help than he's been getting.

At least in the playoffs last year, Bryan Bickel played the role Dustin Byfuglein played for the 2010 champs. Maybe he will again this year. But so far, he's been pretty much of a non-factor. And at the trade deadline, General Manager Stan Bowman chose to stand pat, a move that reminds me uncomfortably of the Hawks' characteristic posture during the Bob Pulford era (though in Bowman's defense, it should be said that I and many others were all over him for making the same decision before last year's Stanley Cup season, wanting him, among other things, to find an upgrade for Crawford- who, together with the departed Ray Emery, won the Jennings Trophy for allowing the fewest goals in the league.

It's far too soon to panic. But right now, I see the Blues rather than the Hawks as favorites not only to win the division and the conference, but the Stanley Cup. Our team D has to improve drastically, and we've got to be more physical, especially in the slot.

Somewhere down the line, I have  feeling the Hawks and the Blues are going to have an epic playoff confrontation. Until now, the rivalry has been pretty much one-sided; folks in St. Louis see the Hawks as their arch rivals, whereas the Blues have never really been seen that way in Chicago (we've been too busy prior to this year despising Detroit). But ff we're not careful, come late June the Cubs will only have won one more World Series than the Blues have Stanley Cups!

Maybe we should have hung on to Antti Niemi, even if it meant losing Hjalmarsson. After all, elite defensemen are easier to replace than elite goalies.

Or not. What do I know? Bowman has won two Cups in four years for the Hawks. I haven't won any.

 Here's hoping he knows better than I do.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Jan Chamberlain's rhetoric is too strong. But the stand she has taken is right.

I do not share the religion of Jan Chamberlain. I don't even pray to the same god. But I can't help but admire the integrity of the woman who quit the Mormon Tabernacle Choir rather than sing at Donald Trump's inauguration.

Ms. Chamberlain, like me, voted for Evan McMullin in November. Like me, she holds no brief for Hillary Clinton or her agenda. But she cannot, as she put it, "throw roses at Hitler."

As I've said before, comparing Trump to Hitler strikes me as harsh. I believe that Trump is a power-hungry narcissist who exhibits disturbing signs of psychopathy, like Hitler. Like Hitler, he has stigmatized  defenseless minorities- Muslims and undocumented aliens, rather than Jews- and made them scapegoats for the nation's troubles. Like Hitler, he has ridden a wave of irrational hatred and emotion to power. Like Hitler's, his agenda foreshadows disaster for the nation he has been chosen to lead.

But he's not going to set up death camps for Musli…

Neither Evan McMullin nor his movement are going away

Evan McMullin has devoted most of his post-college life- even to the point of foregoing marriage and a family- to fighting ISIS and al Qaeda and our nation's deadliest enemies as a clandestine officer for the CIA. He has done so at the risk of his life.

He has seen authoritarianism in action close-up. One of his main jobs overseas was to locate and facilitate the elimination of jihadist warlords. Evan McMullin knows authoritarians.

And when he looks at Donald Trump, what he sees is an authoritarian like the ones he fought overseas. He knows Donald Trump. After leaving the CIA he served as policy director for the Republican majority in the United States House of Representatives. He tells about his first encounter with The Donald in that role in this opinion piece he wrote for today's New York Times.

In fact, when Mitt Romney and Tom Coburn and all the others who were recruited to run as a conservative third-party candidate against Trump and Hillary Clinton backed out,  McMulli…

Huzzah! Once again, 45 does something majorly right!

First. he appointed Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, and now 45 has- at long last- initiated a sensible space policy, with a plan to promote a "rapid and affordable" return to the moon carried out by private enterprise by 2020.  Afterward, it will be onward to Mars and beyond.

This is a great idea for three reasons. First, private enterprise is the future of space exploration, and as far as I know we will be the first spacefaring nation to put most of its eggs in that basket. Second, it's nice to have eggs! Since the Obama administration canceled the Constellation program to develop the Ares booster and the Orion crew vehicle (though it subsequently reinstated the Orion part of the program), the United States has been twiddling its thumbs while China has taken great leaps toward the moon and other countries- including Russia, India, and Japan- have to various degrees intensified their own space programs. It would be both tragic and foolhardy for the nation which first…