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OPPONENT'S BLOG: Fear The Fin
Swimming with Sharks was one of the more unsettling pictures I've ever seen. It was a small film, most of you probably haven't seen it. It starred Kevin Spacey as a movie studio Exec, and Frank Whaley was the assistant that Spacey abused and yelled at for the entirety of the film (it also had Michelle Forbes, one of lower level actresses who never attained the fame her hotness deserved). Whenever Whaley screwed up, Spacey would yell, "Shut up, listen, learn!" I kind of feel like that's what the Sharks will be doing to us tonigh...
Matt pretty much summed it up, the last time the Men of Four Feathers took the ice, to was craptacular. Or at least the first 30 minutes were. When the Hawks finally came to life, they dominated the Kings, and only a silly Havlat turnover cost them tying the game. We'll give Havlat a pass, he has been the best Hawks player for close to two months now.
The Hawks got back into it Thursday by just outworking the Kings I thought Toews and the 4th line in particular were hellions along the boards. They'll have to do 60 minutes of that tonight to even stand a chance, in a building where the Sharks have lost all of once in regulation. No tricky passes, no clever plays, just simple road hockey, where you want it more than the other guy. That would seem to be the only way to beat a team that's bigger, faster, and probably more skilled than you.
You know the drill with the Sharks. They're everything. The Hawks have tried two different ways to beat the Sharks, and only came up with a point from them. The first time the Hawks tried the run-n-gun route, and lost 6-5. They played a tight defensive game the night before Thanksgiving, and lost in overtime 3-2. The Flames became the first team to win at The Tank by doing the latter, so perhaps that's the way to go.
The lines have been a jumble that past two games. We mentioned the changes, and Q has gone back and forth with them, sometimes having Sharp with Toews and Ladd, and sometimes putting him with Daydream Nation (we're gonna try that nickname for Kane and Toews together. Let us know if it works for you) We've seen the Bolland-Ladd-Havlat combo and we haven't. I think Q is going to go with the two combos that work best, which is Sharp and Daydream Nation and 36-16-24.
VERSTEEG! probably won't be back tonight, so our 3rd line will once again be Brouwer skating his ass off but showing nothing for it, because Adams is too short figuratively and literally, and Buff will be wasting more of our precious oxygen. The Hawks will probably need another big effort from the 4th unit to compensate.
Look, the Sharks are better than we are, but the Hawks best effort will give them every chance, and 2 out of 3 in California will always be taken. Even a point would be acceptable for the West Coast swing. Do it.