Game 39 Preview And Open Thread: Blackhawks @ Coyotes

Puck Drop: Jan. 3, 8:00 PM CST

Chicago Blackhawks
Record: 19-16-3
Points: 41
Place: 4th in Central, 11th in Western Conference
Power Play Percentage/Rank: 18.2%, t-14th in NHL
Penalty Kill Percentage/Rank: 82.4%, 13th in NHL
Blackhawks Team Statistics


Phoenix Coyotes
Record: 19-18-1
Points: 39
Place: 4th in Pacific, 12th in Western Conference
Power Play Percentage/Rank: 16.1%, 21st in NHL
Penalty Kill Percentage/Rank: 80.4%, 23rd in NHL
Coyotes Team Statistics

Hawks Lineup:

1st line: LW Bourque - C Sharp - RW Kane
2nd line: LW Kontiola - C Lang - RW Ruutu
3rd line: LW Versteeg - C Perreault - RW Skille
4th line: LW Burish - C Dowell - RW Lapointe
1st pairing: Keith/Seabrook
2nd pairing: Barker/Byfuglien
3rd pairing: Richmond/Zyuzin

Scratches: Johansson (healthy), Koci (healthy)
Injured Reserve: Sopel, Adams, Toews, Havlat, Williams, Bolland, Wisniewski, Eager

I feel like I have lost a lot of the enthusiasm that I once had for this team. There are too many key players injured for this team to pick up many wins over the next month, in my opinion. Toews was a leader for this team and obviously an offensive contributor and he's gone for a month. Williams and Havlat are battling groin injuries and who knows how long they will stick around when they do return. Sopel/Wisniewski need to get back on defense soon or this team will get blown out regularly.

This lineup just does not look NHL-caliber. Bourque is not a first-liner, Skille and Versteeg are still developing their games and probably don't belong here yet, and that 3rd defensive pairing is just plain ugly. I would like to think this team can battle and at least stay afloat until they get their big guns back, but I highly doubt it. We shall see how the team responds tonight.