Change. That's the theme of the evening for both teams contesting this little tussle on the DrinkScotch Center "Ice" tonight. I put that in quotes because the surface on 14th and....Market, I think, is one of the few we can count on to be worse than the United Center's. Which is saying something. Anyway, the visitors are shaking up the playing staff, whereas the Blues are shaking up those that run the playing staff.
Where to start? Let's go with the Hawks first, that's dizzying enough. As you read yesterday among the various twitters, Joel Quenneville went to the slot machine and the thing done went even more goofy. Frolik is with Tazer and The Shooter, Car Bomb returns to the second line, Bolland is skating with Brunette and the apparently not dead but probably still useless and expensive Rusty Olesz, and Rattlehead again returns to the 4th line with Jammer and Dream Warrior. It doesn't stop there, as there's the reuniting of Marlboro 72, with Leddy pairing up with Hammer. And if you don't speak our language, none of that will have made any sense. Someone will explain it to you, don't worry.
However, more infuriating to a blinding degree, and not being content with panicking after one bad loss where the PK went south, Coach Q is going all Dr. Weird by making his third pairing John Scott and Steve Montador. This probably leaves Lepisto and O'Donnell with a look on their face that would probably be the same if you spoke to them in Mandarin (I'm going to ahead and assume neither one speaks Mandarin, as prejudicial against hockey players as that might be). In theory on some distant moon, Q probably thinks that with the normal antics of the Blues against the Hawks, Scott might act as some cop. Of course, the rest of this knows that this is utter, utter mutilated by aliens bullshit, but at this point I don't know that I can bang my head against the wall any more. More worrying, Q doesn't trust Montador to kill penalties. I can't fathom that he would trust Scott to so. So either the Hawks will try and kill all penalties with four d-men, or they'll try and do it with Scott. Or by some miracle Montador will actually get to clear a crease like he can do. Feeling comfortable? Oh, and the five actual hockey players on the blue line will have to play more minutes after Scott gets his seven, and that's with three games in four days waiting at the end of the week. Fun fun fun until daddy takes the T-bird away.
As for the rest of it, maybe Fro is that playmaker that Sharp needs to score consistently. What Bolland does with Brunette and Olesz is anyone's guess, but I know that Bolland will be around the net for those plays that Bruno makes around there. Of course, so was Stalberg and Q wanted to change it anyway. I'm tired.
As for the Blues, they decided to be even more miserable components of our lives by bringing Ken Hitchcock back into the league. Apparently, the Blues were tired of their players running all over Davis Payne and his lack of a first name, and missing practice to bang strippers and such (allegedly). If nothing else, Hitch will make everyone act like an adult, or ship them out of town if they don't.
As for the rest of it, it just looks like an odd fit. Unless Hitch is willing to change his system. But after 543 wins in the league, how flexible is he going to be? The Blues forwards are built play Angry Birds On Ice, hurling themselves into the end boards for every one of the 60. How are they going to adapt to the nightmare of Admiral Akbar? Is that really what Oshie, Stewart, Backes, and Crombeen do best? Secondly, the Blues two best d-man are rushers Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk. Is Hitch going to shackle them out of what makes them special?
So we have no idea what the Blues will throw at the Hawks tonight. We know they'll be even more amped than they normally are, and this is usually treated as their biggest game of the year anyway. And the thought of Leddy and Hjalmarsson trying to survive under the Blues frothing forecheck makes me shake.
But it's the Blues. They're dumb, their special teams suck, and they're trusting Brian Elliot. Go forth.
Wow. Longest preview ever.