How're your nerves? Mine are pretty much shot.
In the previous series, we would break down the opponent player by player, but there's no need for that here, is there? You know what you're facing, and if I have to look at picture after picture of Scum player, I'm probably going to puke, and so are you. Needless to say, Scum have 4 of the 10 best players in the world right now, and a d-man who very well may go down as the greatest of all time (though he's slipped ever so slightly, but that tends to happen at 38).
So, where can the Hawks win this series?
-Show Them Our Empire Of Dirt: I.e., make it hurt. The Hawks, strangely, are bigger than the Wings. That's not to say Scum will piss down their legs at the first sign of contact, which we'd all love to believe. But they clearly struggled with a physical Ducks team, and though the Hawks can't match that brutality, they can make already existing bruises just a little more sore. Expect Sharp to stay with Eager and Burish to give every line someone to crash and bang with.
-Tell Versteeg to dump the fucking puck in: When the Canucks went to the trap, everyone seemed to get the message to play simple, except for the love of my friend ashely's life, VerStud. Well, turnovers at the blueline in this series will be Death, and more chip-ins and dump-ins will provide more opportunity to run Scum D-men through the glass. Only if it's there, Steeger
-High-Voltage Rock N' Roll: The Wings have the second best PP unit in the playoffs? The first? The Men of Four Feathers. The Hawks simply have to be on the advantage more than the Wings, especially because the Wings PK has been just this side of awful. If Osgood is going to falter, which a lot of us think he will, it will be right here. The Hawks PK hasn't been anything to get hard about either, so the Hawks have to play more disciplined than they have. You're going to take some penalties against Scum, they're simply to skilled to not leave you water-skiing at some point. The key is to keep it to 2-3 times a game.
-Does This Patient Have a Pahlse? Samuel Pahlsson was brought here for just this purpose, to mark out the other team's top center. We haven't seen that yet. He's been ok, but not the playoff hellspawn of 2007. We need it now. Todd Marchant will be in Pavel "Ding Fries Are Done" Datsyuk's nightmares, and that got the Ducks to a Game 7. Pahsle repeats the trick, we're taking this.
-Remind Khabby This is His Free Agent Year: Luckily, we can all remember some vintage Khabby performances against the wings, but also some pretty terrible ones. We can't have any of the latter. Khabby has only stolen one game this postseason, Game 6 against the Flames, and he was staked to a 3-0 lead pretty early in that. He's going to have to stand on a variety of extremities at some point this series, because we still don't think Osgood can. But the Hawks will need a 35-40 save performance at some point. Anaheim needs tons.
-Take Game 1: It's hard to argue the Wings aren't tired. Three consecutive seasons of runs this long will do that. They looked knackered at the end of Game 7, and their comments suggested relief more than euphoria. The Hawks best chance of winning in the Land of Failed Automakers and Bailouts will come tomorrow, and they have to come out breathing fire. Let Scum know they're in a series right from the get-go, and let's see just how quickly those tired legs get going again.
Nothing terribly original here, but that's what it comes down to for me. Matt will probably have the Game 1 preview up tomorrow morning. As for an outing, I leave that up to the other two comrades Matt and McClure, but I think I need to watch the first one on my own, just to get a handle on my emotions. I seriously doubt the public would be safe if I were out and about for this.