The circus trip is upon us again. The bad news is that due to the disappointing end to the Hawks homestand, going 0-1-2, they'll need a successful road trip-say better than .500-to balance that out. The good news is this is more than possible, because the schedule is not The Stonecutters Unblinking Eye of a gauntlet. The ‘yotes, Stars, and Leafs are all winnable games. So do so.
Phoenix comes in decidedly mediocre at 8-8-0. Imagine that, no overtime losses? Wouldn’t that be nice? This is the same team the Hawks pantsed for their first win of the year, which happened to be Savard’s last game. Khabibulin will be in net after Huet vomited up rebound after rebound like the drunkard in an Irish novel. There isn’t really much to say about this. The Yotes have tons of talent that is young and raw up front, and one day very well may be good. But they aren’t now. Their blue line is big, but slow, and if the Hawks can replicate some of the nifty passing we saw at times during the homestand, they should be suitably flummoxed. Phoenix is a one-line team, with Doan, Jokinen, and Mueller to be watched out for, but not much else.
It would help greatly if the Hawks 2nd line of Sharp, Havlat, and Brouwer would bother to show up tonight. They’ve been nowhere to be found in the last two games. Some of that can be blamed on this sore groin that Havlat may have. Maybe the dry desert air will help.
Strangely, this game is a contest of the two best teams when it comes to taking care of the puck. They both lead the league in giveaways, according to Hockey Analysis (http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/200809/teamgiveaways.php). Let’s start the roadtrip off right.