First all - a big Fuck You to the official blackhawks team page. All the flash, cold fusion and flux capacitors on their page crashed Firefox for me just as I wrapped up my preview and for some reason the autosave feature here didn't kick in for any thing other than the header up top of here. So lets just assume the rest of this preview is as awesome as what I originally wrote because I'm probably not going to put as much effort into it as I originally did. Onward...
Almost overnight, the Central Division has become arguably the best division in the NHL. After years of getting the snot kicked out of them by the Red Wings, the other four teams are pretty damn strong. The Blues, Hawks, and Jackets are all threatening to make noise... the Predators.. well.. not them so much. Now this isn't to say the Hawks are facing an easy two points. Last year the Hawks went 3-2-1 against the Preds but if you asked me before I looked up that record, I wouldn't have been shocked if you told me the Preds won the series straight. The Predators always seem to play tough against the Hawks and though there isn't much a rivalry here - I still think I kinda hate the Predators... or maybe I just hate any team that employs Jordan Tootoo (he's out for tonight's game by the way).
This year the Predators started off well enough, winning their first two games. The last three games though haven't been too kind. Over the last three games the Preds have been out scored 13-1, including the last two games where both Dan Ellis and Pekka Rinne have been driven from the ice. Remember how bad we all felt during the first 12 minutes of that Calgary game? Imagine if the last two games had been that bad..
The Predators can't be this bad for much longer right? They've got to improve eventually? Are they licking their chops at the idea of facing Cristobal Huet? I probably would be. There are two other reasons the Predators may play with an extra edge to their game. First up is the celebration of former-Hawk Steve Sullivan's Masterton Trophy and second is the return of J.P. Dumont. He played only 7 minutes in the season opener before going down with an injury but still managed to grab his first assist. The team can't get much lower... so watch out for them to try to start hot in front of their home crowd.
As for the Hawks - I'm guessing (and praying) that Huet gets the start tonight. If he doesn't, then I guess we really do have a full blown goalie controversy on our hands. I still haven't heard anything about Bolland either - so if you have then let us all know in the comments. I wouldn't be surprised to see him get the night off just to be on the safe side.
That's about all I got - I strongly urge you to go read Dirk's great preview for the game to get a better feel on the numbers for these teams. Things look good for another two points but lets hope the Hawks don't act like they're guarenteed. The wrap for today will probably be delayed as all three of us are out of commission during game time and will be catching the game on tape delay.
Lets Go Hawks