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Archive for the ‘Blackhawks’ Category

Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank, NBC Chicago Street Team “It’s exciting in Chicago, it’s the first time in a long time that people are expecting a good season out of the Hawks, and that’s a good thing. I feel like we could be a better team than we were last year but we know it’s not going to easy,” said Patrick Sharp, one of the Hawks’ top scorers during 2009-10 training camp.

Expectations are indeed high for a team deemed by many the Western Conference favorite. It began this past weekend in Finland, in a two game split with the Florida Panthers, and debuted in North America with a loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night. Despite the inevitable ups and downs of a roller coaster off-season, the Hawks are trendy like Taylor Swift when it comes to picking a Cup participant.blackhawksshow

“They’re warranted, we have some good hockey players here. Going all the way to game five against Detroit opened some eyes and there’s expectations,” said the newly acquired John Madden. There is one Blackhawk who will be under the spotlight more than any other. If Left Wing Patrick Kane is looking for a song to encapsulate his upcoming season, perhaps its 2pac’s “All Eyes on Me.” No player in the Olympics or the NHL will have the spotlight shined as bright upon him this winter. “Kaner” is the face of the franchise, EA Sports NHL ’10 video game, and when February comes, Team USA hockey.

And when the Hawks take to the road, opposing fans will heckle him, worse than Hawks fans heckle any member of the Red Wings. Of course, on the other hand, a lot of people in this country have very short term memories, so if we see a couple “Hatrick Kane” nights early in the season, pretty much everyone will forget what happened in Buffalo on August 9th.

For a more in-depth preview of the forwards click here, goaltending and defensemen go here. For more with Patrick Kane, follow this link.

The Blackhawks open their home slate versus Colorado tonight at 7:30. There will be a special red carpet event on Madison Street from 5:00 to 5:30 P.M. Players will arrive via limousine on Madison Street in front of Gate 3 and will each be introduced before walking down a red carpet and into the United Center. Blackhawks Radio Play-By-Play Announcer John Wiedeman will serve as the master of ceremonies for the event, which attracted thousands of fans last season.  It’s free and open to the public and also features appearances by Blackhawks alumni, executives, broadcasters, Tommy Hawk, the team’s mascot, and the Bud Light Ice Crew.

See more of Paul M. Banks’ sports-writing at:

-the site he founded The Sports Bank.net

-NBA analysis at Walter Football.com

-“Patrick Kane Chronicles” at Buffalo Sports Daily

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Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank, NBC Chicago Street Team It was the biggest, and most unfortunate, news to hit the Chicago Blackhawks in weeks.

“Adam Burish went into the boards on Sunday night in Minnesota and injured his right knee. When a player like him leaves the ice it is always concerning and unfortunately he suffered an ACL tear. He will undergo a reconstruction as soon as possible and we anticipate a complete recovery. His return will take approximately six months,” reads a statement from Chicago Blackhawks Head Team Physician Dr. Michael Terry.

“I went into the boards goofy. It was one of those goofy plays, I was helpless,” said Burish to a very large crowd of reporters after the team’s practice on Tuesday. Fellow forward Patrick Kane, certainly no stranger to recent heightened publicity, spoke about his fallen teammate:

“Obviously, I know if I was looking forward to the year and something like that happened to me, I’d be devastated, so I’m sure he feels the same way. I talked to him a little bit, it’s tough for him. I’m sure he’s pissed off, and it’s just a bad break, hopefully he can get back as soon as he can.”

Last season’s deep playoff run, coupled with the star power of young goal-scorers such as Kane, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp etc. helped the Blackhawks lead the National Hockey League in average attendance (22,247) per game. In order to duplicate that success at the box office this season, it would help to have their army of high-scoring forwards at full strength.

“They’ll be fine. That’s the least of my worries. It’s such a good and deep team. For training camp, I’m sure if you ask the coaches, they don’t even know who to put in the lineup, there’s so many guys, that won’t be an issue on this team.” Burish is the team’s best enforcer, and according to Chicago Magazine, the city’s 26th most eligible bachelor. Click here to read what he said about hockey groupies at the Fan Convention in July.

And it’s Burish’s sense of humor that keeps the mood light and positive in the locker room. “He’s very good for the locker room, he’s the disc jockey for one, He likes to joke around. Myself personally I really enjoy that, so he’s going to be missed around the locker room more than anything,”

Kane said in describing what Burish’s effect on team chemistry. Kaner also articulated what the team will miss from Burish on-the-ice. “He sacrifices his body for everyone on the team and you can see that when he’s blocking shots, penalty killing, taking hits to make plays, that’s just the way he plays and when you play like that, you’re bound to get hurt sometimes. He’s a great player for us, a key part of the organization and the team, and the fans love him too.”

See more of Paul M. Banks’ work at The Sports Bank, Washington Times, Walter Football.com

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Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank, NBC Chicago Street Team

On Wednesday at the United Center, in conjunction with LifeSource, Chicagoland’s Blood Center, the Blackhawks organization held a very successful blood and bone marrow drive. The turnout was good, especially when considering the fact it was held on a workday morning. Lifesource officials said over the phone that 94 new units of blood were donated, with 47 new people entered into the bone marrow registry. A volunteer on-site told me that about half were donating for the first time.

Those who donated also got to take in a Blackhawks practice at the United Center; with training camp running concurrently with the drive. The need for blood and bone marrow is a cause that hits close to home with Blackhawks General Manage Stan Bowman.
“My wife Sue and I feel that it’s our responsibility to educate others on the ease of joining the National Bone Marrow Registry and donating blood,” the Hawks GM said. Bowman was first diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in February 2007 at the age of 33 before having a reoccurrence of the disease 10 months later. He underwent a stem-cell transplant, which required doctors to take blood from his bone marrow and separate the cells, before replenishing the blood. Since that treatment, Bowman has been cancer free.

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“I realize how fragile life is and am fortunate to be in remission, but I certainly don’t take it for granted,” Bowman added. “There are a great deal of people fighting cancer and other illnesses each day that so desperately need a bone marrow transplant or blood transfusion. I would like to encourage our passionate and supportive Blackhawks fans to participate in this great event,” Bowman stated before the drive. He was also on hand for the event, and his wife donated blood. Towards the end of the drive, he appeared on the UC Jumbotron to thank those attended.

This reporter registered to donate, but was rejected due to a prior condition. Bowman and I share more than just a keen interest in hockey. Like Stan, I have fought and conquered Hodgkin’s disease- twice. And in a remarkable instance of coincidence, I received my own stem cell transplant, 6 years to the exact date of Bowman’s. Since 2003 I have been in remission, and living a life healthy enough that I was even able to swim in the Triathlon last month. I wholeheartedly agree with Bowman’s statements and I am very pleased his organization held this event.

For more information, or to give blood and/or bone marrow in the future please visit lifesource.org or click here.

See more of Paul M. Banks’ work at The Sports Bank, Washington Times, Walter Football.com

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Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank, NBC Chicago Street Team

For the first time since his arrest a week ago, Chicago Blackhawks star right wing, and alleged co-perpetrator of assault Patrick Kane will address the media regarding the “incident” in Buffalo. The 2009 U.S. Olympic Men’s Orientation Camp next week at Seven Bridges Ice Arena in Woodridge, Illinois commences Monday morning. Kane is obviously a member of that team, and since there will be a ton of media present…Here’s what the official statement from Team USA reads


“Patrick Kane will make a statement to begin the press conference we have scheduled for Monday at 9:15 a.m. in the media workroom. This will be the only time during the camp that Patrick will address the on-going legal proceedings he is part of in Buffalo.”

It doesn’t say whether Patrick will take questions or not. I’m guessing he won’t. I’m also making a very safe prediction here: his prepared statement will sound like it was poured over by numerous lawyers, image-consultants, public relations professionals etc….So it should be interesting to hear what he has to say. I’ll be there and hopefully tweeting from it. And I’m going to try and do a live post, based on my tweets which you can follow here. This story has certainly created a firestorm on the blogs, and will probably continue generating even more headlines and web traffic as it develops further.

Oh and after the Kane statement, the Director of Team USA Hockey will give an introduction/synopsis of the camp, and they’ll unveil all three versions of their new 2010 Olympic jerseys shortly thereafter.

patrickkane

See more of Paul M. Banks’ work at the Washington Times, Walter Football.com and The Sports Bank

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adrienenAdrienne Irmer, NBC Chicago Street Team

Last Thursday (August 6th, 2009) was the 6th Annual Golf Outing to benefit the Otis Wilson Foundation. A relatively long trek out to the Bolingbrook Golf Club opened into a vast sea of greens and fairways– quite a lovely course– although if you asked some of the participants it certainly wasn’t an easy 18 holes. With team scores as low as 56 and others as high as… well, let’s not go there, its all for the kids anyway, right? And what an event this turned out to be! This is the biggest fundraiser for the organization, and clearly ’twas the case with an auction block of sports goodies that’d make the ESPN newsroom drool! From autographed jerseys of Hall of Fame inducted Chicago athletes like Dick Butkus and Otis Wilson (of course), to a Diamond Suite Sox Game against the Red Sox with Otis Wilson AND Richard Dent in attendance! SWEET!

Needless to say, the fundraiser was a success and the sole benefactors were the kids. The Otis Wilson Foundation works with at-risk youth, after school, and teaches them the benefits of playing sports and eating right, but not until after their homework is completed with the help of staff tutors. The discipline Otis learned with athletics is being passed along to these youth to “start them on the right path to becoming a productive adult.”

For those readers who know me, however, they’d laugh at the thought of me being at a golf outing because it takes me roughly five hours to play 9 holes, but alas, I did not play– maybe when I step my game up… one of these days. I was actually invited (by my mom, via Mr. Wilson *cough*) to attend the closing dinner where I met a few of the Foundation’s board members, the former Director of Athletics for UIC (who happens to announce the Chicago Bulls from time to time) and, of course, the man of the evening, Mr. Otis Wilson and his fellow 1985 Superbowl Champion (and MVP) Mr. Richard Dent. TOTALLY AWESOME! So here’s what you’ve been waiting for: you, too, can make your way onto the green with sports icons Thursday, August 5th, 2010. For more information about the organization or the next golf outing check out : www.otiswilsonfoundation.com

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Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank, NBC Chicago Street Team

Current Chicago Blackhawks right wing Adam Burish was recently named the 26th most eligible single by Chicago magazine. The former Wisconsin Badger (and my Facebook friend) showed off his bachelor pad, complete with upscale wine fridge, for local NBC cameras recently and also talked about groupies at the second annual Hawks Fan Convention in Chicago last weekend.

Of all the panel discussions I heard on Sunday July 19th, the second most memorable moment (the first being the announcement that Chicago will wear their black Winter Classic jerseys as their official third sweater next season) was Burish being asked “What do you do when a fan approaches you and tries to make out with you?” Burish half-jokingly responded, “What does she look like?”

In the segment entitled “Chicago’s Most Wanted,” Burish was joined by Brian Campbell, Patrick Sharp, Tony Amonte and Steve Larmer to converse about being a celebrity in a sports-obsessed town. To further validate the point of this exercise, the Continental Ballroom packed in a standing room only crowd to hear this topic. When asked about groupies Burish said at the beginning of his response “Is this G, PG, PG-13, Is this X? You need to direct me where to go.” The panel host, WGN’s Steve Cochran, responded “Given the high amount of 11-year olds and Grandmothers here, let’s go with PG for now.”

“There’s some crazy female fans, you see them when you’re on the road, but I have to give some of these girls some credit, because they know what time you’re getting in. I don’t know what time practice is half the time, but they know. They know what time I’m getting in, they know where practice is. They know things about my Mom, my sister that I don’t even know. But whatever, it’s cool, it’s funny. These girls aren’t doing any harm, they’re not disrespecting anybody. Except for the ones that are knocking down your door at 4 in the morning,” Burish said regarding the stalkers and drunken groupies of the hockey world.

Elisha Cuthbert- the world's most famous hockey groupie

When Brian “Soupy” Campbell was asked the same question about drunken groupies, he did what anyone who has been properly advised by a PR professional would do- deflect the conversation completely away from anything remotely provocative and interesting, and instead re-frame the conversation in a manner family-friendly enough for Disney. “The practice rink got pretty crazy at times this year, trying to get from the rink to your car. I just don’t like it when the big guy pushes the kid out of the way, because you always try to get to the kids first- they’re important that way,” Soupy said. His statement, which utterly ignored the question at hand, was met with thunderous applause.

See more of Paul M. Banks’ work at the Washington Times, Walter Football.com and The Sports Bank

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Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank, NBC Chicago Street Team

During the past year of covering the Chicago Blackhawks, I’ve discussed one distinctive, but vastly underreported ritual that takes place inside the Blackhawks’ locker room. On that carpeted floor is a beautiful, large Indian head logo; and if any one steps on it, a curse or pox shall come upon them! One day, I did my best to avoid stepping on it while also trying to navigate a media throng, and since I have the gracefulness of Clark W. Griswold, I nearly fell on my face. A locker room usher observed, didn’t care about my almost falling, and simply said “You almost stepped on it there.” I once saw a camera man step on it, prompting a couple reporters to shout “DEATH.”

At the 2009 Hawks Convention at Chicago’s Hilton towers, this tradition was discussed at the breakout session entitled “Inside the Locker Room.”

“We play for that Indian head, we work for that Indian head. And Savvy put it best: you commit to the Indian- maybe I shouldn’t say that, he got in trouble for that. That’s what we do every day trainers, Troy {Murray, Hawks television commentator} up in the booth, I’m sure you’ve heard Troy get pretty passionate up there. I know I have, but you stay off it, it’s just respect that goes with anything. hawksconvention2

As far as superstition, everyone has their little things…But as far as big things, know to stay off the Indian head and you’ll be alright,” said Blackhawks Equipment Manager Troy Parchman. He was joined by Blackhawks players Ben Eager, Aaron Johnson, and Niklas Hjarmmson in a session moderated by Murray. Also a part of the panel was Equipment assistant Clinton Reif.

“This year, in the playoffs especially, when things got crowded in there they had to do something a little bit special because everyone who was around the team on a regular basis knows that you don’t step on that Indian,” Reif said. And that something special included putting up tensa-barriers on the floor surrounding the logo when the Hawks advanced further along in the playoffs, and more media showed up in each round of the postseason. Just typing about stepping on it reminds me of “Ghostbusters,” when they were told just “crossing the streams,” will make something catastrophic occur.

“The players take that very seriously. When a reporter would be in there, they would get it pretty good if someone walked across it. I wouldn’t say it was a lack of respect by those people, they just didn’t know. A lot of other teams in the league have that in their carpet, and I can’t tell of one that feels free to walk across it. I’m pretty sure that everyone does the same thing: you just stay off the logo,” Parchman reiterated.

 

See more of Paul M. Banks’ work at the Washington Times, Walter Football.com and The Sports Bank

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