Not really that good of a film, but it had Emily Blunt in it and I'd watch two hours of her reading the phone book. Oh wait, that's not what I'm here to talk about.
While it seems flippant to talk about what the Hawks will do with the lineup while Marian Hossa was probably inches away from what could have been a very serious and ugly injury that would have made his hockey career a secondary question, the Hawks have to do it. So we should go over the options.
Obviously, the most obvious thing that could happen, though I don't know it will, is that Jimmy Hayes will draw in tomorrow night. Where he slots in is anyone's guess. Most likely he joins the fourth line, Kruger gets punted back up to second line center where Sharpie and the Swedes reunite, and Daydream Nation is flanked by Brunette. But this is not what Q should go for.
Almost all of Bruno's effectiveness at even strength this year has come when the other winger can do the forechecking before he waddles on into the zone to help. While Toews may be this guy, it doesn't look like his legs are quite there yet. With Hossa down, the only other forward who can do this that's not anchored to the checking line is Stalberg. Flank them on either side of Sharp, Kane, or Toews. Don't really care. Any of it will work as well as the other.
While I wouldn't call it the nuclear option, the Hawks need four lines now. They can't be skating with 10-11 forwards, and that's what they do when Brandon Bollig is around. I know, he's been slightly more effective, I guess, the past two games, but if he can't be trusted with more than six minutes than there just has to be other solutions. I also know that with the level of shenanigans there's going to be a desire for a "cop". But this is the point in a series when all that has to be put aside, and only hockey considerations should come into play.
Which is why I will not be shocked if one Brandon Saad draws in as well. I know most likely it would be ahead of Hayes, which would be unfair to Hayes as he's spent most of the second half of the season with the team only to watch some kid just out of junior vault ahead of him. But we know how fond Q is of Saad already, and Saad comes in playing the best hockey of his life. It's worked before, PK Subban stepped right in the 2010 playoffs and changed the dynamic of the Canadiens in a hurry.
Me? I'd bring them both in. Put Saad on the other side of Kane and Sharp, give him the best chance to succeed at what he does best. From what we've seen that's getting to the net and scoring areas. It's a risk, but you're there now. Fortune favors the brave and all that. Hayes with Mayers and Kruger on the 4th line gives you some hockey sense and some well-placed physicality on the 4th line. You can roll them for the first two periods as least. If you're so inclined you can throw Hayes on the PP as net presence, he's not afraid of doing it.
None of these options are going to blow anyone's skirt up. The only other forwards who might even get considered are Brendan Morrison, and I think we've seen enough of that, and Jeremy Morin, who's only coming off a so-so year at Rock Vegas and only has slightly more NHL experience than Saad. If I had the card it would look something like:
But this is just a fun game to play, and not the one we'll see.
-Secondly, Quenneville has to dress Lepisto again, and he can't refuse to give him less than 10 minutes. Not only is rolling five d exhausting the Hawks blue-liners, but it causes some funky pairings at times with players who haven't played together at all. That's where some of the missed passes and breakouts are stemming from. Again, fatigue is an issue, or it was last night. As close and tight as these games are, and the style of them, Q has to do everything within reason to keep the legs as fresh as possible.
But then again, reason and Q haven't always been the best of dinner dates this year, have they?