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Here We Go!: Hawks v Panthers Preview

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Time:  11 AM CST
TV/Radio:  CSN, WIND 560
OPPOSITION BLOG:  Litter Box Cats

Feels good to write one of these again, have to admit.  Anyway, both Killion and McClure have adult responsibilities (no, not that kind of adult responsibilities, perv) in the morning, and there's utterly no chance I'll wake up in time to do this then, so I'll open our first preview/game thread tonight. 

Hockey in the AM, you gotta love it.  Just like being back in LA.  Anyway, the Hawks start the season after a so-so preseason filled with two many guys missing time here or there.  But, besides for Hossa, they come into this at full strength.  One thing to watch in the first few games is how Dave Bolland does as a pure #2 center.  Obviously, we won't know anything before December, when he gets either Sharp or Hossa on his wing.  But we should see if Weapon can create chances for others anyway in the early going, and whether he's getting into scoring areas himself.  We'll get an early indication if the Hawks have a 1-2 punch down the middle that can take us where we want to go.  We'll come back together at the end of the month and see how he's done.  And we'll have milk and cookies.  It'll be ace.

So not only do the Hawks have to open in across the pond (you have to love the NHL marketing juggernaut, trying to market the game in other countries when they can't even do so in this one), but they have to do it against a tricky Florida Panthers squad.  Yes, this team lost Jay Bouwmeester, but it's still a team that just barely missed a playoff berth, and retains every quick, skilled forward that got them there.  They replaced J-Bow with Denis Seidenberg, and while that won't result in a canyon drop off on the offensive end, it will on the defensive.  Perhaps that's where Jordan Leopold comes in.

This team has Stephen Weiss and Nathan Horton down the middle, which is nothing to be sneezed at, as well as David Booth on the top line.  There's also Chinese Fire Drill Bryan McCabe, who's wearing the "C" now, which means the Hawks will get a few scoring chances.  But you know that anyway, because Florida coach Peter DeBoer loves for his team to get get get up get g..ge...get down 911 is a joke in your tow....sorry, got off on the wrong thing there.

Anyway, it's time to drop the fucking puck.  3 of 4 points in the minimum we'd expect.  Make it so, Mr. Sulu....