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No Rest For The Wicked - Hawks @ Canucks Preview, Game Thread, Picnic/Pie-Eating Contest

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Images_medium @ 08-13-great-white-north1_medium


GAMETIME: 9pm
TV: CSN
RADIO: 720 AM
Being that it's Sunday, I'd like to start out the preview with a psalm; a reading from the Book of Jables 1:11-
The road is fuckin' hard,
It's also really fuckin' tough,
There's no question that
It don't take no guff.
The road is a B-I-Itch my friend
But it's the only fuckin' road I know,
When I'm snackin' on a tasty bush
Right after the show.
While it's not entirely applicable, the symbolism is there...I think. In any event, after leaving the province of Alberta with her panties on inside out and a hand print on her ass, the Ramblin' Boys of Pleasure move west to B.C., home to decriminalized pot, creepy twins, weepy goalies, and where things look to get decidedly more difficult.

Having now won six straight games, nearly all facets of the Hawks game are starting to heat up, with even the once horrendous power play managing to Forrest Gump its way into the top 10 of the league after going 5 of 7 in the last two games against Calgary and Edmonton.

Much has been made of the "revenge factor" in this game for Willie Mitchell's completely legal hit on captain Jonathan Toews, which knocked Toews out of commission for a handful of games. At least publicly, the Hawks are saying all the correct things, noting that they'd rather get revenge for blowing a late lead, giving up two points and a W, but that's publicly. Remember that the resident ribeye-for-brains Ben Eager was not playing during the first meeting of the year as well, and could very well be looking to administer some vigilante justice on Mitchell independent of any coaching mandates. Colin Fraser has also been putting his face in harm's way quite a bit lately in attempt to show that he will indeed serve a purpose once Marian Hossa returns later this week.
It's also widely speculated that Antti Niemi will get his first start in net since the late Triassic period on the back end of games on consecutive nights. Though it wouldn't surprise anyone if Quenneville continued to play the hot hand in Cristobal Huet, he'll then need to monitor Cris' workload later on, as Huet has never been a 65-start a year guy. Perhaps the logic is that once Hossa comes back, the defensive margin for error becomes a little bit greater, and the Hawks can afford to have Niemi in net more frequently. But with the team defense the Hawks have been playing (fewest shots per game allowed, fewest overall goals allowed, 2nd overall in penalty kill), Niemi certainly gets put into a position to succeed.
Whoever is in net tonight will get the pleasure of facing a Canucks team who will be getting back one of the Sedins (does it really matter which one?), and a squad that just basically did the same thing to Colorado in a home-and-home that the Hawks perpetrated to their divisional rivals, dropping 8 and 5 respectively on a sliding Avalanche squad. 'Nucks kinda-captain and goalie Roberto Luongo hasn't really been his usual all-world self yet this year, but everyone knows he's fully capable of stealing any game in which he plays, so there's no reason for the Hawks to take their foot off the pedal now.
As far as the gameplan itself is concerned, everyone knows the drill by now. The Canucks will try to gum things up at center ice and play physically in an effort to goad the Hawks into retaliatory penalties, while the Hawks will throw everything they've got at Luongo's crease all night long. It will be interesting to see how the lines Hawks lines are constructed and how it will effect the forecheck if Bryan Bickell can't go tonight, putting Jordan Hendry at forward (shudder). It's going to be a battle any way you slice it, let's just hope we're all going into work with a good hangover tomorrow morning instead of a sad hangover. Let's Go Hawks.