The pre-season is almost over! Yes! Tonight the Hawks will play the Avalanche in Colorado, before they finally wrap up the pre-season slate Sunday, when they play Colorado in Chicago. We are only SEVEN days away from the regular season beginning, and I cannot wait. This is especially good news for those of you out there that are Cubs fans like me and know that they are likely going to be done soon (sorry for bringing up that painful reality).
Last night, the Hawks defeated the Stars 4-3 in a shootout. This was a game full of fights and penalty minutes. The two teams combined for 146 penalty minutes, with the Hawks accounting for 89 of those. There were five fights: Jesse Boulerice got into two, which isn't a surprise because he's been quite a feisty player so far, Matt Walker got into two, and Ben Eager was involved in one as well. There were plenty of altercations which saw Kris Versteeg and Jack Skille both get 10 minute misconducts, and Eager received a match penalty in the 3rd. Old time hockey was definitely back last night. The Hawks received goals from Aaron Johnson, Kris Versteeg and Kevyn Adams, and Andrew Ladd scored in the shootout to win it. Props to Antti Niemi, who stopped 35 of 38 shots in the victory and I would have to think will be the backup to Huet this year.
The Hawks today announced that they have claimed Joakim Lindstrom off waivers from the Ducks. Lindstrom has played in 37 games with the Blue Jackets over three seasons and has contributed just eight points, so let's all hope he isn't the solution at center, which he defintiely isn't. I'm guessing he'll spend the season in Rockford barring injuries.
Looks like John Buccigross of ESPN is picking the Hawks to finish 4th in the Western conference this year. He says:
The terrifying speed of this franchise's resurrection is one of the great stories in all of sports. It is a great example of what energy and vision can do. In my feeble mind, life is all about energy. It is about looking and moving forward, glancing at times to the past, and constantly exercising the mind, body and soul in order to excel, adapt and grow.
Excel, adapt and grow the body, mind and soul, using the energy inside us and outside us. That's the key to life. That's what the Hawks have done.
Quite poetic, John. And he's right that this is one of the better stories in sports, because this franchise is back from the dead. Picking them 4th seems to be a lofty expectation right now, but we'll see how they do for the first couple of months at least before we can make a judgement on that.