Just Do It: Hawks at Avalanche Preview/Pregame Thread/Travel Lounge Brawl

187411_medium vs. Avalanche_snowman_medium
FACEOFF: 8pm Central
TV (otherwise known as bitching about the hit stats)/RADIO (otherwise known as the logical broadcast:
CSN, WGN Radio
KEEP THEM, LOVE THEM, LET THEM NAME YOU GEORGE: Mile High Hockey

Yeah, going real obscure with the Hawks picture, because I want to. Believe me, if you don't get it, it works.

We're not asking for much tonight. It doesn't have to be pretty, in fact I would almost prefer it isn't. A good road game is rarely that. It doesn't have to be dominant, though that would be nice. It barely has to be functional. All it has to do is end up with two points. Two points to quiet some of the lunacy those of us with a brain have had to put up with recently. Two points to start to instill anything resembling confidence that the Hawks can fully turn this around on the rest of the trip. They can't do that solely tonight, but they can plant the seeds. Two points just to remember what it feels like.

As I've said before, losing streaks are a terrible time to judge a team, just as winning streaks are. But I'm not wholly convinced this losing streak is as bad as some have portrayed. It started with two losses to the hottest team and goalie in the league, both without Toews. The next was more than acceptable performance in Vancouver that Cory Schneider held the dam against. But the last two have been disheartening, with the defensive and goaltending Seuss-ical in Edmo and the general questions they seemed to be asking themselves against Calgary. In the end, not a total collapse.

As you know by now, the lineup blender has been hit again. But when you lose five in a row, it probably should be. On first blush, these lines don't make any sense. It's two scoring lines and two fourth lines. But we know how this works. They go for two periods, and then generally they shake out to something that looks right. On defense, Hjalmarsson will continue his demotion to the third pairing, while Nick Leddy can return to his natural left side and play with Steve Montador, who once again will do nothing to warrant the bile spewed at him by the unwashed and I'll still be confused.

The power play will continue to be clown shoes.

Oh look, the Burgundy and Blue have lost five in a row too! But despite being in 12th, they're only three points back of eighth. As long as that continues to be the case, those of you wanting to scout J.S. Giguere tonight as a possible deadline pickup for the Hawks can probably forget it. The Avs are still without Matt Duchene, and the main story for their side tonight is the debut of prized defensive prospect Tyson Barrie. Avs fans are pretty excited about 2009's 3rd overall pick who has 72- and 54-point seasons in the WHL to his name (say, didn't Shawn Lalonde have those too?).

The past two years, the Avs have been a fissure where you don't want one for the Hawks. No secret why really. Since the Hawks D got all skittish, the speed and aggressiveness that the Avalanche attack it with has caused a ruckus. Tonight, I'm curious to see how Leddy deals with it now that he doesn't have a crash-test dummy for a partner. Or maybe Leddy was the problem all along, and brought Hammer down with him? Only one way to find out.

Won't be easy, Giguere has been excellent for the Avs and they'll be as desperate as the Hawks. But after a total heartbreaker of a loss to Vancouver on Saturday, there's every chance the Avs' mental state could be slightly fragile. An early lead could lead to it falling off the mantle. To get there, the Hawks might want to be less concerned with flying the zone to get to the neutral zone the Avs have a habit of leaving totally naked. Far too often we've seen the two defensemen isolated. The Hawks best performance recently in Rogers Arena came when the forwards and d-men were in unison, close to each other for quick passes to go the other way. Fuck the Hollywood shit, it's about puck support tonight, it's about simple tonight, it's about being correct tonight.

Let's Go Hawks.
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