TV/RADIO: CSN, WGN Radio
Where You're Watching: With us at The Bottom Lounge for Chicago Pucks Cancer
Having located what's left of my mind after yesterday's torture, I've come to the conclusion that the season does not hinge on what happens tonight, which is where I was at last night. The season hinges on the four games that follow this contest, the home contests against Minnesota, Columbus, the half-Penguins, and the President's Day Matinee in St. Louis (which I'm going to, hit me up if you are as well). If the Hawks win tonight and biff that streak -- which should all be wins -- then they'll have truly stepped in it. If they lose tonight but sweep that week, which they should, then that'll be points in five of their last six and things will still look barely ok.
However, the last thing I want to do is give the Hawks another excuse to barf up more stomach acid in a contest they really do need to win, if for no other reason than their and our own sanity. A 3-2-1 roadtrip, while not what we held out hope for, could not be categorized as disaster. It takes on extra importance as the Kings have already won today (are the Caps ever going to do us a favor), and the Hawks don't want to lose ground to yet another team.
As I said last night, we'll find out a lot about the Hawks cajones tonight (and not in the way most of Lincoln Park has found out about them). There's every excuse in the book to be grabbed tonight should the Hawks come up short. But any team with Jonathan Toews
on it, whatever I think of his every effort, has at least a chance of coming up with something special when they've absolutely needed it. The 4-1 demolition job of the Red Wings at home in December without Kane and Hossa comes to mind. Yes, they're tired and yes the Yotes are not, but if the Hawks are what they think and tell us they are, they find a way tonight.
As for the Yotes, they've won three in a row, and their last two home games hasn't seen the opponent's red light start to turn. Other than Keith Yandle
, out here in the perimeter there are no stars. They is stoned...immaculate. Ok, that last part has nothing to do with anything but I had to finish the reference. The Coyotes just hurt you a little bit from everywhere, with eight guys sporting 10 goals or more. And Adrian Aucoin is a +17, if you really want to feel the bile rise in your throat. They have an underrated checking center in Lori Korpikoski, who Toews will probably get a face-full of tonight.
Are they exciting? No. Do they do anything particularly well? Not really. They're not even that defensively good, ranking only 15th in goals-against. But this is Predators West, as they always work hard and make you do so, and when you manage that you still have to get the puck past an upper-echelon goalie in Ilya Bryzgalov. He also happens to be playing for a contract, which doesn't make things easier. If the Hawks are going to refuse to get the puck deep and then crash the net, and still try and make the ladies scream with their cute plays at the Yotes' blue line, then they can forget it. If they want to play the simple, road game for 60 minutes that they seem to think is beneath them, they have every chance.
So boys, do you have the testicular fortitude? Or are you going to just whimper and cry and cart your battered arse back home?
Update: Ryan Johnson has been shelved to IR and Jeff Taffe has been called up. No word on who else of the Legion of the Doomed might amble what's left of themselves on to the ice tonight.