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GEORGE CASTLE: Biggest NHL target on Crawford's mask, pads

GEORGE CASTLE: Biggest NHL target on Crawford's mask, pads

CHICAGO | The glitziest Blackhawks commercial hasn’t been produced, but it should go like this.

October 01, 2013 10:30 pm Photos

Photos

CASTLE: Once last in Chicago, Hawks have chance to rank right behind Bears

CASTLE: Once last in Chicago, Hawks have chance to rank right behind Bears

CHICAGO | "The important thing is you can't take your fans, as your customers, for granted."

June 15, 2013 6:00 pm
Goalies’ downers just blips in dominating Hawks season

Goalies’ downers just blips in dominating Hawks season

CHICAGO | Cynics might have dived cackling toward the United Center ice like flesh-hungry crows in Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” halfway through the first period Sunday.

March 10, 2013 9:15 pm
GEORGE CASTLE: Pardon the interruption, The Roar is back at the UC

GEORGE CASTLE: Pardon the interruption, The Roar is back at the UC

CHICAGO | The Roar returned, way late compared to other years on an Arctic night, but it was there in midseason form.

January 22, 2013 11:50 pm Photos

Photos

GEORGE CASTLE: A lot of holiday cheer, little for Hawks to complain about

GEORGE CASTLE: A lot of holiday cheer, little for Hawks to complain about

CHICAGO | Quibble about goaltending issues or slow starts in some games, but you'd be stretching things to say the Blackhawks have any significant troubles going into their four-day Christmas break today.

December 21, 2011 10:00 pm
Hossa clicking, so Hawks keep on moving upward

Hossa clicking, so Hawks keep on moving upward

CHICAGO | There have been a few thousand words written under this column banner since the Stanley Cup season on how Marian Hossa needs to score more and just how are you going to do it, Hoss?

December 18, 2011 9:32 pm
Edgier Hawks nice, but defending home ice just as crucial

Edgier Hawks nice, but defending home ice just as crucial

CHICAGO | The massive home opening night crowd of 21,674 on Saturday -- a sea of red sweaters in the hoi polloi's 300-level seats with every suite above that section packed -- witnessed the initial payback of the off-season hoopla in the first period.

October 08, 2011 10:00 pm

GEORGE CASTLE: Fit Hossa won't need 45-goal output, say Hawks

CHICAGO | Marian Hossa appeared trim, even buffed when he walked into a hotel reception room as the Blackhawks Convention got under way.

July 17, 2011 7:00 pm

GEORGE CASTLE: Early returns: Smith, Leddy get Coach Q's vote

CHICAGO | If Blackhawks training camp two months from now will work like a general election, then forward Ben Smith and defenseman Nick Leddy will have to really fumble their campaigns to latch onto the opening roster.

July 16, 2011 6:45 pm

GEORGE CASTLE: Taking Hawks fans for granted will never be tolerated by Wirtz

CHICAGO | Although contentment and a serene, affable demeanor work well personally for Rocky Wirtz, the most accessible of this city's sports owners, he knows he can never coast or relax in his stewardship of the Blackhawks going forward.

July 15, 2011 10:00 pm
GEORGE CASTLE: ‘Team toughness' finally on Hawks' minds after the fact

GEORGE CASTLE: ‘Team toughness' finally on Hawks' minds after the fact

CHICAGO | One by one, Blackhawks luminaries starting with general manager Stan Bowman paraded to a United Center lectern Thursday with positive valedictories of a season wrapup that salvaged pride and self-respect from too much earlier underachievement.

April 28, 2011 10:00 pm Photos

Photos

GEORGE CASTLE: Hawks' die-hard charge still has plenty of juice for Game 7

GEORGE CASTLE: Hawks' die-hard charge still has plenty of juice for Game 7

CHICAGO | From dominating Stanley Cup champions to the die-hard kings of the NHL.

April 24, 2011 10:00 pm
GEORGE CASTLE: Effort is there, yet 3 Hawks stars still don't dent the net

GEORGE CASTLE: Effort is there, yet 3 Hawks stars still don't dent the net

CHICAGO |It's 7:23 p.m. Sunday, and where are your big-name Blackhawks?

April 17, 2011 10:00 pm
GEORGE CASTLE: Hawks’ funeral dirge turns to private elation

GEORGE CASTLE: Hawks’ funeral dirge turns to private elation

CHICAGO | A picture is worth a thousand words, but none exist for public consumption of the Blackhawks' moods at 7:25 p.m. Sunday.

April 10, 2011 10:00 pm

CASTLE COLUMN: Hawks newbies have no choice but quick adjustment

Simply put yourself in the athlete's situation.

March 27, 2011 10:00 pm

Hawks now in tight numbers game

They pay the Blackhawks to skate. But these days, the red-sweater gang also better summon up whatever shreds of knowledge they recall from long-ago math classes.

March 20, 2011 6:08 pm

Bolland, other head cases wake up NHL

The crazy thing is Dave Bolland talked about both the worries he and his NHL colleagues experienced about head injuires -- and then days later the Blackhawks center's worst fears were realized.

March 13, 2011 6:57 pm
Heart...to Hart? Toews lifts Hawks, lifts self to MVP bid

Heart...to Hart? Toews lifts Hawks, lifts self to MVP bid

If Jonathan Toews seemed so much better than almost all his Blackhawks' teammates earlier this season, what does that say about the performances of the on-fire Toews and his suddenly enabled supporting cast down the stretch?

March 06, 2011 10:00 pm

GEORGE CASTLE: Stanley Cup hangover is palpable, even in Hawks win

CHICAGO | Two points.

February 20, 2011 10:00 pm
GEORGE CASTLE: All-time goalie Hall born too soon for game's riches, protections

GEORGE CASTLE: All-time goalie Hall born too soon for game's riches, protections

CHICAGO | Glenn Hall looks at his Blackhawks successors many times removed and marvels. What he could have done with what they take for granted.

February 06, 2011 10:00 pm

Flyers to Hawks: There's still time, brother

CHICAGO | All-Star breaks are traditional times for stock-taking and soul searching, if nothing else to fill the down time that punctuates the season-long grind.

January 30, 2011 10:00 pm
Flipped off Hawks get ears singed, then get going

Flipped off Hawks get ears singed, then get going

CHICAGO | There's only one way for the Blackhawks to gain momentum to separate themselves points-wise from borderline playoff contention: To win seven of eight and move up to the top three of the Western Conference.

January 16, 2011 10:00 pm
GEORGE CASTLE: Hawks play like champs on night of statues, '61 honorees

GEORGE CASTLE: Hawks play like champs on night of statues, '61 honorees

CHICAGO | On a Sunday night featuring both honors for a long-ago champion and breaking news about statues for the two franchise pillars, the present-day Blackhawks didn't dare pull another letdown endemic of this season.

January 09, 2011 10:00 pm

Coach Q's chessmaster talents taxed to the max

Marian Hossa's out, in, out again and back in again -- but not at full efficiency. Patrick Kane's in, trying to get going, and then he's out. As soon as Kane comes back in, Jonathan Toews is out.

January 02, 2011 10:00 pm

Turco finally joins Hawks' speeding express

CHICAGO | Maybe the Blackhawks did not want to be left in the dust of the end-of-year surges by the Bears and Bulls, their main competition these days for the entertainment dollar and couch potatoes' loyalties.

December 26, 2010 10:00 pm

GEORGE CASTLE: Consecutive clean games give Hawks confidence

The Blackhawks' season has wobbled sideways so often in the first half that any shred of momentum, any good omen, is interpreted as the one that really gets a franchise out of the muck.

December 19, 2010 10:00 pm
GEORGE CASTLE: Goalie sets team's pace, and Crawford's doing just that

GEORGE CASTLE: Goalie sets team's pace, and Crawford's doing just that

The biggest role model for what Corey Crawford is accomplishing this season is always around the United Center in the form of Hall of Famer Tony Esposito, now one of the Blackhawks' "ambassadors."

December 12, 2010 10:00 pm

Kane injury newest tripwire for Hawks' repeat quest

Struggle. There's no other good description for the Blackhawks' first post-Stanley Cup season.

December 05, 2010 10:00 pm

Bolland best served as No. 3 checking center

The key to the Blackhawks' Stanley Cup was the placement of almost all players in just the right spots, where they could thrive and not try to rise above their station on the ice.

November 28, 2010 10:00 pm

Sharp tantalizingly close to stardom

CHICAGO | Query Patrick Sharp about the concept of consistency and offensive stardom -- what he believes it takes to have a real breakout year in the NHL -- and he didn't hear you right at first.

November 21, 2010 10:00 pm

On the Hawks: Toews dreams of multi-goal wins as Hawks scrape by

CHICAGO | A clutch goal...at home.

November 14, 2010 10:00 pm

UC anything but sweet home for Hawks

CHICAGO | The Blackhawks were a dominant Stanley Cup champion overall, even more so in the United Center. The roaring 21,000-strong, craving a 49-year delayed title while garbed in a sea of red sweaters provided a home-ice advantage virtually unmatched elsewhere in the NHL.

November 07, 2010 10:00 pm

GEORGE CASTLE: New scorers needed, but Toews and Kane must be able

CHICAGO | Help wanted on the Blackhawks: Goal scorers. Experience a plus, but not necessary. Apply to Coach Q. Advancement to first line not out of question.

October 31, 2010 10:00 pm
GEORGE CASTLE: Tempering their speed is the Hawks' fourth line's challenge

GEORGE CASTLE: Tempering their speed is the Hawks' fourth line's challenge

CHICAGO | Speed kills.

October 24, 2010 10:00 pm
GEORGE CASTLE: Turco steadying force to curb goalie controversy

GEORGE CASTLE: Turco steadying force to curb goalie controversy

CHICAGO | Marty Turco's primary personal mission was to join up with the Stanley Cup champions to complete his own long-deferred quest to win a title.

October 17, 2010 10:00 pm
GEORGE CASTLE: Hawks fans go cosmic as Cup banner reaches the heights

GEORGE CASTLE: Hawks fans go cosmic as Cup banner reaches the heights

CHICAGO | One bit of advice for the Blackhawks marketing mavens: Just let the fans carry the day (or night).

October 09, 2010 10:00 pm Photos

Photos

Hawks have luxury of 6 months to jell

CHICAGO | Remember the little -- and big -- nuances of the Blackhawks' four-round run to the Stanley Cup?

October 06, 2010 10:00 pm
GEORGE CASTLE: Hawks' Turco out to prove hockey is far from grim game

GEORGE CASTLE: Hawks' Turco out to prove hockey is far from grim game

CHICAGO | The same question came fast and furious to assorted Blackhawks at the start of training camp: which player would be the go-to guy in the locker room for the pithy quote and homespun humor now that Adam Burish is gone?

September 23, 2010 10:00 pm
GEORGE CASTLE: Kane keeps on giving memories for a lifetime

GEORGE CASTLE: Kane keeps on giving memories for a lifetime

CHICAGO | Hundreds of thousands of people, if not more, wanted a piece of Patrick Kane on Friday.

June 12, 2010 12:00 am Photos

Photos

GEORGE CASTLE: Money challenges will start soon for Hawks

The most affable and approachable Wirtz accepted his first championship with grace and aplomb as well-wishers walked gingerly in his direction on the Wachovia Center ice late Wednesday night, minutes after the Stanley Cup was firmly in his team's grasp.

June 11, 2010 12:00 am
GEORGE CASTLE: Winning Cup is cool as it gets

GEORGE CASTLE: Winning Cup is cool as it gets

PHILADELPHIA | The Blackhawks had just won the Stanley Cup, wiping away 49 years of frustration, all the bad management, bad bounces and bad, er, no home TV coverage.

June 10, 2010 12:00 am

GEORGE CASTLE: Winning Cup would make Hawks cool

The most important reason why the Blackhawks should outdo their stellar effort from Game 5 tonight at the Wachovia Center is simple: Clinching the Stanley Cup is the pinnacle of their profession, the fulfillment of every Hawk's dream since childhood.

June 09, 2010 12:00 am

GEORGE CASTLE: Pronger 'lessons' good for long-term

If the Blackhawks had been paying close-enough attention, they'd walk away from the Stanley Cup Finals with a graduate course in working the system from Chris Pronger.

June 08, 2010 12:00 am

Blackhawks fired up, and it shows

CHICAGO | We will run out of words here, especially cliches.

June 07, 2010 12:00 am

GEORGE CASTLE: Blackhawks fired up, and it shows

CHICAGO | We will run out of words here, especially cliches.

June 07, 2010 12:00 am

GEORGE CASTLE: Hawks must play their best game of season tonight

If the Blackhawks don't win two of the next possible three games remaining in the Stanley Cup Finals, they will be a party to an upset of historic proportions.

June 06, 2010 12:00 am

GEORGE CASTLE: Hawks in a world of hurt

PHILADELPHIA | You could sense something was up, not in the circus-like shootout of Game 1, but like a little wave building and building into a bigger threat starting midway through Game 2.

June 05, 2010 12:00 am

GEORGE CASTLE: Pronger now Finals' center of attention 

PHILADELPHIA | Put Chris Pronger up at a podium, and the body English he displays says as much as his mouth, which gets a good workout anyway.

June 04, 2010 12:00 am

A new blood rivalry: Hawks-Flyers

PHILADELPHIA | The Detroit Red Wings may forever be the Death Star in Blackhawks' fans hearts, but there's a new bunch of brutes on the Chicago hit list.

June 03, 2010 12:00 am

GEORGE CASTLE: Flyers more funny than tough

CHICAGO | Often you can't go home again.

June 02, 2010 12:00 am
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