Cast It Into The Fire: Hawks at Preds Preview/Pregame Thread/Fish Fry

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FACEOFF: 7pm
TV/RADIO: CSN, WGN Radio
KISS MY GRITS: On The Forecheck

I know, the second one is confusing. But if you're intimately familiar with the dialogue of "In The Line Of Fire" (as I am. You got a rendezvous with my ass, motherfucker!), it'll make sense. Whatever, I'm losing my mind during this streak. Hey, just like our coach!

Anyway, on to the preview. I know why this losing streaks are so hard on fans. Because as disappointing as the losses are, and as they pile up, by the time the next game rolls around you've convinced yourself that this is the night it ends. This is the night everything will get back on track. When it doesn't, you fall farther down than you were after the loss before it, and have to work that much harder before the next game to convince yourself that this will be it. The pattern keeps continuing. At this point, we're pretty much exhausted. Whether we believe the team can pull out of this or not, we quite simply just might not want to do the work to believe again. I'm not there yet, but I can see it.

I was actually surprised when I remembered this, but this whole experiment with High Speed Dirt started in Music City, with a lot of us in attendance. I thought I could set that back by going to San Jose, and we saw how that went. Like I surmised at Madhouse Enforcer, maybe this streak is the One True Ring, and it has to be destroyed where it was created. Sadly, I didn't notice any rivers of fire around Nashville, though I think Kills and I weren't too far from creating one ourselves when we were there last month.

We went over the Hawks line shuffle yesterday, so no need to rehash that. However, Qunneville went into the lab, started tilt-a-whirl, ran the liquids through the beakers, studied the steam and smoke, and came up with putting John Scott on the 4th line. Which is all he ever fucking comes up with. So yes, in a game where the Hawks have to work hard, be disciplined, and roll four lines, you're getting the useless fucking wildabeest on your fourth line. Enjoy that. Michael Frolik and Brendan Morrison will be in the pressbox with their Q voodoo dolls. I wouldn't blame them.

As for the Preds, they've fallen off that rocket to Mars that they were riding in January. They've lost four of five, though two of those came in the tiddly-winks competition to Boston and Vancouver. The one thing that jumps out at you during this month is that they've given up at least three goals in every loss. Granted, they were playing the B's, Canucks, and Flyers, all offensively dangerous teams. Then again, there was a time when we thought the Hawks were that as well. How I long for those days.

Some of the Preds struggles could be that they're featuring some kids behind the unholy force of Suter and Weber. Roman Josi (which sounds like a character from Dawson's Vagina or whatever that show was called), Ryan Ellis, and the slightly more experienced Jack Hillen were always going to have their struggles. Usually, Pekka Rinne can bail them out, but only so much if he's seeing over 35 shots, which he has been.

You could write what needs to be done from your own memory. Discipline, patience, intelligence. You can't turn pucks over, you can't miss clearances, you can't take penalties. You have to work, because the Preds are only going to allow you to chip pucks behind them. And you have to be ruthless when your chances come.

But whatever. This just has to end, because I don't think anyone can take it any more. A win keeps the Preds in touching distance. But mostly a win just reminds us and the team what it feels like. That might be the most important thing.

Let's Go Hawks.
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