12.22.15 Stars v Blackhawks Game Recap (The One That Made Me Cry)

Good morning friends!!! And what a sweet, sweet morning it is.

Man, I have been on vacation so long I almost forgot how to write a recap. I watched the game last night at my mom’s house, and at first she tried to shush me whenever I started yelling at the TV, but then I think she understood how emotional this game was making me.

Probably because I looked like I was about to vomit for the first two periods. And then I started crying when the game ended. Well, that’s hyperbole, but only just. I definitely teared up.

But you know what a win means! GLITTER!

12.23 League Standings

As usual, all numbers in this recap are 5v5, score adjusted, and from war-on-ice.com unless otherwise noted.

The Good

What wasn’t good about last night? I’m so happy with this team I don’t even know where to start. I guess I’ll begin with Antti Niemi’s play yesterday, which was nothing short of spectacular. After playing most of the game in Minnesota the night before, getting into Dallas at 2:30am, and then playing another full sixty minutes? Oh man.

  • Side Note: I was having a discussion with some of the guys over at hockey-graphs.com about Niemi’s contract, and how it was a bad deal. And honestly, I definitely wasn’t a fan of it when Nill signed it this summer. Niemi’s over 30 and 3 years is pushing it for any player past that threshold. Combined with the $4.5m AAV, it was quite high. Had I been a GM, I wouldn’t have done it. But it’s clear that what Dallas needed wasn’t the same thing that conventional wisdom held to – I have come around. I think just with his 20 games played and 15 wins, Niemi has earned his salary for this year (at least). He’s been an absolute steal for Dallas, in ways he probably couldn’t be anywhere else.

12.22 v CHI Game Chart

With the Blackhawks as a formidable possession team, it’s SO GREAT to see this chart lopsided in the Stars’ favor. They ended the night with 59% Corsi For, which is just…ridiculous.

  • Side Note 2: Yay for depth scoring! Seguin, Sharp & Benn might have put up the best possession numbers, but honestly, it was the other three lines who were the most dangerous with the puck. Everyone was on their game, which is why we saw not only Sharp’s goal during 5v5 play, but one from Janmark and that tip in by Sceviour. Add in Spezza’s Power Play goal, and someone on every line scored last night.
  • Side Note 3: Hemsky was on FIRE last night, creating chances left and right. I know he gets a lot of flak for not burying it on breakaways like Seguin would, but there’s definitely and edge to his game this year that he didn’t have last year. Sometimes creating chances that can get rebounds or follow ups, or at the very least frustrating defenses by extending zone time is really what you need out of a forward. Hemsky is providing that in spades this year.

Can I talk about our defensive play? I’m going to talk about our defensive play. First, the ultimate test of Defense – the penalty kill. HOLY PENALTY KILL, BATMAN. The Blackhawks had two power plays right off the bat in the first period and they got a combined total of ZERO shots off. ZE-RO. Now I know how a mom feels when they watch their baby graduate.

Second, while the game was frantic and fairly evenly matched to start, the Stars did an excellent job of keeping the Blackhawks pushed to the perimeter. In all situations (including the power plays), 56% of the Hawks shot attempts were from “low danger” areas – typically you see this around 50%.

  • Side Note: And, despite that frantic first period, the Stars rallied, keeping their team FA60 (Unblocked Shots Against per 60 minutes) down at 33.6. The league average is around 39. That’s a good game defensively.
  • Side Note 2: While I’m loathe to talk about him, Patrick Kane has almost singlehandedly been the entire Blackhawks offense this year. Our very own John Klingberg was assigned Kane-wrangling, having over 9 minutes of 5v5 shared ice time with him.
  • Side Note 3: Klingberg came out of that match up with 60.87% Corsi For. He did this while mainly supporting Spezza’s line, which had 2 of 3 members below the 50% line, but you know, he’s bad at defense, so shouldn’t be considered a Norris contender.


The Más o Menos

I still haven’t seen Star Wars yet.

  • Side Note: I am going this afternoon with my mom. Her cat is named Yoda. I think she’ll enjoy it.


The Bad


No, honestly, the worst thing (best thing?) is now I’m chaffing even more at all those articles (looking at you, ESPN.com) that keep saying the Stars aren’t going to be a good playoff team. I’m sorry, bros, but like…that was a playoffs style performance.

Please, keep discounting the Stars. Please keep telling me our defense is bad. Please keep saying we can’t win with this kind of netminding. I think we work better that way.


Goals on Goals

Not a goal, but deserves to be in here, because SHUT OUT FOR NIEMI


And my Roomie (who willingly watched the game without me asking her to!!) caught this one that no one tweeted:

“This was like an advent calendar of offense.”


Well said Razor, well said. HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE!!


When 2 Become 1: The Dallas Starhawks

With the blockbuster Patrick Sharp trade, and the recent signing of Johnny Oduya, the jokes are pouring in about the new Blackhawks South. Jim Nill has mentioned several times that they’re the organization to mimic, so I wanted to take a look and see – just how alike are the two teams?

Obviously, I don’t have any data with the Sharp & Oduya playing in their new uniforms, but by looking at this past season, we can get a reasonable look at how close these two teams really are.

First, here are the With or Without You charts via @IneffectiveMath. If you want to focus on the individual numbers, go ahead, though I’ll be going through offense and defense separately. What strikes me on a macro level, is just how much more tight the grouping is for the Blackhawks than the Stars, especially defensively (y-axis).

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6.8.15 Podcast! (The One With All the Movies)

In lucky ep 13, the Ladies try to trade for Brent Seabrook, talk the Stanley Cup Final, create an app for psychopaths, go over some of the proposed changes for next season, and do all the hockey fancasting our listeners could ever want.

You can also find us on iTunes! If you have a second, please rate & review!

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1.18.15 – Stars vs Blackhawks Game Recap (Seriously So Much Yelling)


We won on the second night of a back-to-back (more on that in a minute) IN CHICAGO against the CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS. We won on the second night of a back-to-back ON THE ROAD. WITH CHELSEA DAGGER RINGING IN OUR EARS. FRIIIIIIIICK YESSSS.

Okay enough of that.

This was one of those nights where I felt bad about every single thing I’ve typed/thought about Kari this season, because he was so on point it was AMAZING. (And then I remembered that almost everything I’ve typed/thought about him this season is justified and I scaled that back a bit.) But seriously, this was Kari in top form tonight. He needed a big game and he gave a really really big game.

Wait, to start let’s talk about football. YEAH THAT’S RIGHT, THIS IS HAPPENING. There was a big game tonight, I think, between . . . two teams, I would guess, that play football. I only know because twitter.


Okay now that’s over.

So remember a few games ago against Winnipeg when we had phenomenal possession numbers and still managed to lose? Yeah that was bullshit. This game was EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE. Check out this gross graph:

1.18 Stars vs CHI Corsi_ZSO

Thanks to my cohort Carolyn for putting this together. All numbers 5v5, all situations, from War On Ice.

But look at that! Look at it! The Hawks are looking at their corsi numbers tonight and crying, because they are us a couple games ago against Winnipeg, possessing the puck forever and not able to pull out a win. I mean they could have, honestly, Kari did let three of their 41 shots in. But on the other end All Star Game starting goaltender Corey Crawford was a SIEVE. (I’m sorry Corey, I like you most of the time, just not when you’re playing my boos.)

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1.4.15 – Stars vs Blackhawks Game Recap (Graphs of Feelings)

If you’ve read our bios, you know that Carolyn and I are also Blackhawks fans, although our victory green runs a little deeper than the Hawks’ red. (Or a lot deeper, in my case, I can’t speak for Carolyn.) Last season I stopped expecting to feel conflicted when they play, or to feel any joy at the sounds of Chelsea Dagger when the puck is behind my beloved Kari.

Guess what? Hasn’t changed.

(Let’s talk about Chelsea Dagger for a minute.)


Disclaimers: possession numbers come from War On Ice, and if I mention them at all I’m only looking at 5 v 5, because I don’t want to do the math necessary to understand CF % on special teams.

To start with, can we talk about the announcing? I think local Hawks fans got to watch Pat Foley and Eddie Olczyk on WGN, but Stars fans (because the game was broadcast on NBCSN) were stuck with whatever horrible NBC announcers got assigned to the game. It was HORRIBLE. I have this written observation:


It started when Mike Milbury (LOOK I CAN GET YOUR STUPID NAME RIGHT EVEN THOUGH YOUR OPINIONS ARE TERRIBLE) called Antoine Roussel “Dominic Roussel” (something which actually CONTINUED THROUGHOUT THE GAME by like EVERYONE at NBCSN, leading me to believe that everyone actually thinks that’s his name on that fucking station).
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