Category Archives: hockey

Why Jonathan Toews is vital to the Blackhawks’ powerplay

I read this interesting piece on the value of Jonathan Toews to the Blackhawks powerplay this year, so I thought it was good enough to be on the blog. Take a read. Story by Puck Daddy’s Harrison Mooney.

The Chicago Blackhawks currently sit atop the NHL with 27 points. They’ve been excellent in nearly every area through the first quarter of the 2011-12 season.

But, if there’s been a concern thus far, it’s been the inconsistency and, at times, the downright absence of their powerplay.

This was no more apparent than two weeks ago, when the Blackhawks suffered an embarrassing home ice loss to their rival Vancouver Canucks, largely due to losing the special teams battle: the Canucks scored 5 powerplay goals in 6 tries. The Blackhawks went 0-for-5.

Since then, however, the powerplay has begun to turn around. After scoring only 5 times in 53 man advantages through the season’s first 14 games — worse than all other NHL teams except the St. Louis Blues and the Columbus Blue Jackets — the Blackhawks are 7 for their last 22.

It’s not surprising. It was really only a matter of time before that group began to click, especially when you consider that, with Jonathan Toews on the ice, they start with the puck nearly 3/4 of the time.

This is nuts, by the way. Toews’s faceoff prowess is well-known, but when it comes to 5-on-4 situations, you wonder if the opposition’s fifth guy was supposed to take the draw.

Toews has always been a been a handful in the circle. In his rookie season in 2007-08, he won 53.2% of his faceoffs, good for 23rd in the NHL, and he’s finished no lower than 11th in the three seasons since.

This year, Toews has reached another level entirely. His current 61.6% win rate is well above his career-best. It’s also the second-best percentage in the league, and not by much — David Steckel leads the category at 61.7%.

When it comes to power play faceoffs, however, Toews stands completely alone. (Heck, maybe that’s why he wins so many.)

As of this writing, only six NHL centres have won over 40 powerplay faceoffs: Eric StaalMikko KoivuJason Spezza, Paul Statsny, Vincent Lecavalier, and Toews. But Toews hasn’t simply won 40 — he’s won nearly 40 more than he’s lost.

With the man advantage, Toews is 62-for-85 in the faceoff circle, good for an obscene win percentage of 72.9. On the powerplay, Jonathan Toews starts with the puck.

Considering that a lost faceoff can trim as much as 45 seconds off a two-minute man advantage, this is incredibly helpful. Expect the Blackhawks’ powerplay to continue to improve, especially considering how often Jonathan Toews lets them practice.

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Video: Hockey player hugs opposing player after goal, gets punched

Dammit, why didn’t I think of this when I played?

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Video: Patrick Kane’s dirty spin-o-rama assist to Marian Hossa

I’ve been waiting for Kaner to finally convert one of these spin-o-ramas into something. What a beaut.

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Video: Hockey player Jon Mirasty likes to smile while getting punched in the face, then KOs opponent

I have known about Jon “Nasty” Mirasty for years. This guy was basically the most feared fighter in all of hockey, although he never could crack an NHL roster. Mirasty, standing at just 5-foot-10, probably beat up at least half of the AHL through his years there. Now he plays in the KHL, apparently.

[BONUS]: Here’s Mirasty in one of the best fights of all time, against his own cousin, Jeremy Yablonski

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Video: The hockey fight of the year (so far)

In tonight’s game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals, Washington’s Jay Beagle decided to make the mistake of dropping the gloves against Pittsburgh’s Arron Asham. Beagle has almost no experience fighting while Asham is one of the league’s best when it comes to fisticuffs. The fight resulted in blood and teeth all over the ice.

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Video: This NHL 12 glitch makes me never want to purchase the game again

“If it’s in the game, it’s in the game.”

This is the new Hot Coffee code for NHL 12. Expect the game to be re-released with an M for Mature rating very soon.

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Video: The nastiest in-game goal ever

Time to revive Chi Side with a bang! In the IIHF Division 3 World Championships, Isreal’s Eliezer Sherbatov scores one of the sickest goals I’ve ever seen. The amount of skill to do that during a game is ridiculous and shouldn’t go unnoticed.

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