Categotry Archives: Blackhawks


O Captain! My Captain!


Categories: Blackhawks, Hockey, IceHogs, Tags: , , , , , ,

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;

The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;

The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting


The fearful trip is done. No more games of Mario Kart in the hotel. No more taunting fans in orange.

The ship has endured every rack, from crushing blows by former friends to seven Chiclets scattered across the ice.

The prize you sought is indeed won, Captain. Lord Stanley’s Cup has returned to Hawkeytown after a too-long absence.

The bells and exultation are for your team. And you, their Captain, are held to be first among equals.

You, who has earned a gold medal for your country in Vancouver.

You, who was named most valuable forward of the Olympic games.

You, who broke and tied multiple Blackhawks playoff records.

You, who reclaimed the Stanley Cup for a city beleagured by sports almost-won.

You, who distinguished yourself as worthy of Conn Smythe’s trophy.

So, Captain Serious, live it up. You’ve earned it. Crack a smile. It’s OK. We’ll forgive you (just this once). You, unlike the Captain in Whitman’s poem, are very much alive and able to enjoy the fruits of your labor.


Congratulations, Jonathan Toews; captain of the 2010 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks, 2010 Conn Smythe Trophy winner, second-youngest captain of a Cup-winning team, and goddamned great hockey player.

O Captain! My Captain!


One Game, One Goal

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Categories: Blackhawks, Hockey, IceHogs, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tomorrow night, Lord Stanley’s Cup will be in Philadelphia for the Blackhawks to take home, if they want it enough. I can tell you from personal experience (see Exhibits A and B, below) that the NHL’s top prize is quite impressive in person. I can only imagine what it’s like to lift it – or eat Cheerios out of it.

There are five things I think the Blackhawks must do (and a few they absolutely cannot do) to win Game 6.

  1. Stay out of the penalty box. I understand what his job is, but Dave Bolland can neutralize Mike Richards without starting a one-man parade to the box. 30 PiM this postseason is a few too many. Everyone else must stay out of the sin bin too. There’s no reason a guy like Marian Hossa should have 23 minutes of penalty time. Smart, disciplined hockey is going to win against Philly. Don’t work harder, boys: work smarter.
  2. The Blackhawks must put serious pressure on the Flyers in the first five minutes of the game. Even if it doesn’t result in a goal, the Hawks need to be putting the puck on the net early and often. Philly fans are brutal, so take them out of the game. Also, we’ve seen how much Michael Leighton’s confidence can be shaken with sustained, early pressure. Get in his head and make Laviolette swap him for Boucher.
  3. Hit Chris Pronger. A lot. Hard. Work him over like a dime-store piñata. Taking Pronger out of his game means the Blackhawks offense has more time and space. Philadelphia has a weak defensive core. Make it weaker by making Prongs think twice about playing the puck. It worked in Game 5; it will work again.
  4. Carry the puck cleanly out of the defensive zone. Do not give the Flyers a chance at an easy shot on goal off a lazy turnover at the blue line. If there’s not a clean outlet pass, circle back and wait for a safer chance. Niemi will probably make the stop on a dumb turnover play, but why make him work that hard?
  5. Make the puck do the work for you. During the regular season, the Hawks were one of the fastest teams in the league because they could make laser-fast, hyper-accurate passes. By making the puck do the work for you, you exploit another of Philly’s weaknesses: slow skating. The Blackhawks are the faster team, when they’re passing well. Stick with the basics, boys.

Of course, there’s about a hundred other things I could mention that the Blackhawks need to do, but the five I listed above are the most critical to coming home with some serious silver hardware.

In the end, it’s going to be an intense, physical hockey game. The Flyers have proven they are a tenacious team. Don’t expect for a moment that Game 6 will look anything like Game 5. Don’t expect for a moment that a win is guaranteed. We’ll see what happens when the puck drops. Until then, remain committed to the Indian. Remain committed to the Cup.

Stanley Cup

Exhibit A

Stanley Cup

Exhibit B

P.S. For the record, that is totally the real Stanley Cup. And no, I didn’t actually touch it. But I really wanted to.


The Silver Lining

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Categories: Blackhawks, Geek Stuff, Health, Hockey, Writing, Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

The last few days I’ve been dealing with a malfunctioning car and a brief but intense illness. It’s been less than pleasant. Add the Chicago Blackhawks playing like crap in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, and losing all my phone numbers and email addresses in Address Book (and thus my iPhone too), and this week looks pretty bad on paper.

There’s a silver lining though: another page in my novel finished. It’s been slow going, and I could probably find more time to write, but I feel good about the words. Do I think this novel will be sellable? Probably not. But it will be written, and that’s more important to me.

So, to anyone out there who thinks they can write a book: do it. There’s no better advice on writing than that. You will suck at first. You will get better if you try. That’s all.


Status Report

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Categories: Angst & Wrath, Blackhawks, Family, Gaming, Hockey, Poetry, Shadowrun, Writing, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

It’s been a while since I posted something, so I thought it would be prudent to put together a quick update on what’s going on in my life right now.

The Olympics are over. I’m quite happy with Team USA’s performance in hockey. Both the men’s and women’s teams medaled, which is excellent. The men, especially, should be proud of their performance. For  a team that no one thought would make it to the medals round to go to the gold game and then force overtime on the Canadian team is quite exceptional. The real superstar of Olympic hockey is not Sidney Crosby with his reputation saving, national hero overtime goal, however: it’s Jonathan Toews of the Blackhawks. In seven games, he racked up an impressive eight points (seven of them on assists) and had a plus/ minus of plus-9. He also lead Team Canada in faceoffs won, “winning just under 65 percent of his draws,” according to the Fighting Sioux website. Wow! I’m sure glad that he’s a Blackhawk.

I have managed reduce my weight to 215, a net loss of five pounds from my starting weight. I’ve also gone down one notch on my belt just the other day. Slowly but surely I’m making progress on my weight loss goal. It’s not happening as quickly as I might like, but I am making progress, so I’m happy.

My daughter has to wear glasses now. She’s only two years old. They seem to be helping a lot and she doesn’t fuss with them much, so I guess it could be worse. Her eye still wanders a bit, usually when she’s tired, but she goes back to the ophthalmologist in a few months. I’m sure her current pair of glasses will not be her last. Thankfully, we paid less than $40 for them, so if she does need another pair (or two!) before the end of the year it’s no big deal.

My debut poetry book, Angst & Wrath, is published with about as much success as I’d envisioned it would have. Thanks to those of you who like me enough to buy a book of poetry. Let’s face it: America is not the culturally enlightened Mecca that, say, France is. I’m well aware that poetry is dead and that any asshat with a word processor can spew out a book of shitty poems. That’s OK though: I published the book for me.

On a related note, I’ve finished writing my first children’s book. The project is now in my wife’s very talented hands. It’s short and simple and will be beautiful once Tiffanie is done with her part of it. We’re planning on self-publishing for now, though I may be interested in shopping it around to some agents too. The title of the book is “You Can’t Tickle A Goldfish” and should be released later this year or early next year.

Thanks to a scheduling change, I am once again participating in a regular role-playing game session. I have become a full-time player in Alex Rodriguez’s Shadowrun 4th Edition game. Aside from a few minor issues, it’s been going great. I’m honestly just happy to be back at the table, rolling dice like the good old days.

That’s about it for current events in my life. My friend Dan Sehr, who’s in the Air Force, is leaving in a few days for an extended overseas tour. He’s been back in town on leave the last few weeks and it’s been great to see him again. I wish him the best of luck and hope he comes back safe and secure. We all appreciate what you do, Dan. Thanks for standing up and doing what’s right.


My Favorites, 2009 Edition

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Categories: Bands & Music, Blackhawks, Blog, Gaming, Hockey, RPG, Shadowrun, Uncategorized, Writing

As we’re coming up on the end of the year, it’s traditional to look back and pick our favorite things from the year gone by. That’s kinda lame. Instead, I’m giving you a glimpse of my favorite things as they stand right now. There’s no particular rhyme or reason to the things I’m sharing here: I’m just tossing some things into the ether.

Favorite Band: Rush (This should come as no surprise to anyone that knows me. The seminal Canadian prog-rock group has been my favorite musical group since I was in high school.)

Favorite Rush Album: Moving Pictures (This record is full of classic jams. I must admit that I like the last two songs on the B side most of all. “Everybody’s got to [sic]evelate from the norm.”

Favorite Rush Song: “Freewill” (While not from the Moving Pictures album, this song speaks to me so much right now.)

Favorite Non-Rush Album: Cryptic Writings (As far as music goes with me, there’s Rush and everything else. This Megadeth record contains some of the most intense and personal lyrics I’ve ever heard.)

Favorite Non-Rush Song: “Little Earthquakes” (Tori Amos is a fabulously talented musician and this song is one of my all-time favorites. It’s such a passionate and beautiful piece of work. From the album of the same name.)

Favorite Book: Anthem (Thanks to the influence of Rush, this Ayn Rand novella quickly became one of my favorite books of all time. While a bit heavy-handed in its message, the ideas presented are solid gold.)

Favorite Role-Playing Game: Shadowrun, 4th Edition (I’m not a huge fan of the dice system, having cut my gaming teeth on 2nd Edition. That being said, the story elements are great and Catalyst Game Labs seems to be doing an amazing job updating the game for a new generation of gamers. I’m looking forward to what they do with FASA’s other great game, Earthdawn.)

Favorite Video Game: NHL 2K7 (Yeah, I know it’s three years old and I don’t get to play it very much, but the Charlestown Chiefs are in the running for the Stanley Cup thanks to their star forwards, Darius McCaskey and Toy Cesar [Mike Diamond is out with an injury].)

Favorite Board Game: Zombies! (This game is so much fun and so easy to play. I like that it’s as competitive or cooperative as the players choose to make it. I just picked up Dante’s Inferno, also by Twilight. I hope it makes this list next year.)

Favorite Food: Pizza (Goddamn, I love pizza!)

Favorite Drink: Coke Zero (This diet soda doesn’t taste like carbonated poo, so it’s epic win in my book.)

Favorite Hockey Team: Chicago Blackhawks (Sorry, Rangers, but I’ve officially committed to the Indian.)

Favorite Hockey Player: Jonathan Toews (Sid the Kid is great, don’t get me wrong, but Captain Serious is the anchor of the Blackhawks bench. Go get that cup, Tazer!)

Favorite Actress: Eliza Dushku (I’m sad that Dollhouse was canceled. The show reminded me of how good an actress Ms. Dushku is. And she’s certainly not too hard on the eyes either.)

Favorite Actor: Christian Bale (Bad Bat-Bale notwithstanding, Christian Bale is a phenomenal actor. American Psycho and The Machinist are in my top 10 movies, easily.)

Favorite TV Show: Star Trek: The Next Generation (I know it’s been off the air for about forever, but my Saturday nights were spent in front of the TV watching this show for a good part of my adolescence and teenage years. It’s one of those shows that makes you think that humanity’s not totally fucked up.)

Favorite Movie: Shawshank Redemption (Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins are superb in the ultimate prison movie. Anytime this flick is on one of the TV movie channels, I have to tune in and finish watching it, even if it’s halfway over.)


…And A Happy New Year

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Categories: Blackhawks, Christmas, Family, Gaming, Hockey, Loves Park, Poetry, Shadowrun

Now that the holiday season is winding down and life is returning to a semblance of normality, I’d like to thank everyone for all the gifts I’ve received throughout the year. 2009 has been a tough year for many(the McCaskey family included) and the help, support and camaraderie of family and friends has been invaluable. Your gifts, both tangible and otherwise, have helped sustain us, keep us sane and generally lift our spirits. Thank you.

As we look forward to 2010, there are several reasons to be hopeful:

  • Things are starting to come together with some of the writing projects I’m working on: big news on at least one of them is forthcoming.
  • I’m finally going to be rid of the house in Loves Park that has been the bane of my existence for the last six years.
  • I’m still involved in my first tabletop role-playing game in many years, Alex Rodriguez’s Shadowrun 4th Edition game. It’s epic and I’m happy to be a part of the story, even if I can’t be at every game physically.
  • I should be running my own tabletop game coming up soon.
  • My daughter keeps growing and developing everyday. Some days are challenging, some are a breeze, but she makes it all worthwhile.
  • I will be back in school in the fall, barring any unforseen snafus.
  • The Blackhawks are doing great this year! I don’t want to jinx it, but this could be the year Lord Stanley’s cup returns to the Windy City. At the very least, it’ll be an entertaining ride, even if Chicago doesn’t hoist up hockey’s Holy Grail.

So, here’s to the future. May it be better than our past!


Time Flies…

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Categories: Blackhawks, Cold Sun, DDO, Hockey, IceHogs, OGL, Rockford, Shadowrun

So, it’s been almost three months since I posted a new blog entry. “WTF?” you might ask. Truth is, several things have kept me from the bliggity-blog page:

  1. Dungeons & Dragons Online is now free to play! Come join me on the Khyber server. My characters are named Mana Starfire and Iocasta. I usually play a few nights during the week, after I put Muirne to sleep (around 7:30 CST).
  2. I am playing virtually in a Shadowrun 4th Edition game run by my friend, Alex Rodriguez (not the basball player). Using a PHPbb message board, all of the game’s legwork and downtime activities are managed without using up valuable time at the gaming table on Sundays. This is a great idea and I’m glad to be able to get my tabletop gaming on without actually being at the table.
  3. Cold Sun is almost ready for alpha testing. What is Cold Sun? Cold Sun is my first solo attempt at a tabletop RPG. It’s a post-catastrophic contemporary setting, in which mankind’s hubris is proving to be his downfall. The struggle to survive against the forces of nature and man is the focal point of the game. The system is based on the 3.5 OGL SRD from Wizards of the Coast. Veteran 3.5 players will recognize the nuts and bolts under the hood, but the system’s far more flexible and intuitive than standard d20.
  4. Hockey season has started! Woot! As a matter of fact, I had the chance to go to my first Rockford IceHogs game of the season last Saturday. It was a great game (after the first period) with multiple fights, close scoring chances, an overtime and a 9 round shootout! The Blackhawks aren’t looking too bad either, if you ignore the goaltending crisis that seems to be shaping up. I hope Cristobal Huet can pull it together and start putting up some numbers. Ce qui la baise, Chris?
  5. And, of course, all the other various and sundry bits of modern life.

I will endeavour to be more timely with my blogging going forward. After all, I’ve got a game to start building Internet buzz on! 🙂