GAMETIME: 3pm Central
TV/RADIO: CSN, WGN 720am
We hope you all had a safe, fun, and rewarding holiday. With McClure servicing the county's taxpayers (yeah huh) and Killion back home in DC with his family, I will be driving this bus solo today, so hide the kids. Anyway, I'm sure none of us could wait for the next game after the Belmont Transfer the Hawks gave the Sharks on Wednesday night. It's already been a successful road trip, but now it's time for the Hawks to get greedy and make it a porn-tastic one.
The opponent this afternoon has had a bumpy season so far. There were some expectations for the Ducks after their surge into the playoffs, allowing Joe Thornton to return to his playoff turtle, and then pushing Scum to 7 games in the next round, where old friend James Wisniewski decided to enact a peformance art piece about a spree killer and be responsible for 3 goals against. Without that, it very well could have been the Ducks we saw in the Conference Final. This summer, out went Pronger, in came Saku Koivu and Joffrey Lupul, and everyone assumed they'd pick up right where they left off. Didn't work out that way (you mean the Koivu who was basically a corpse in Montreal last year didn't revive? I'm shocked!). That being said, the Ducks have won three of the last four (though two of those with extra time/shootout), and the Pond has always been a nightmare for the Hawks, and everyone really (more on that later).
As you might expect, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry are leading the way, with Perry on a 16-game point streak. Selanne is banging in his usual load of goals. But the Ducks haven't really proven to be much beyond a one line team, and are still trying to sort out a lineup that gets them beyond that. Fuck, Kyle Calder skates for this team, so that tells you everything you need to know. Now that Pronger and Beauchemin have exited stage left, this blue line is dodgy. There's legend Scott Niedermayer, but past they, yuck. Wiz is up to his usual tricks, being a fan favorite while not being all that good, and Ryan Whitney shows flashes of being a thing, and then shows flashes of being The Thing. There's goals to be found here. In net, neither Hiller or Giguere are creating a breeze between anyone's legs, with GAA's both around 3.00, though that could have something to do with the suspect defensive corps. Oh, and Giggy is bellyaching about being a backup. Good times. Giguere has been in net for the last two wins, so he'll probably get the start today.
Do I need to say anything about the Hawks? Right now, they're groin-grabbingly good. That's all there is to say. If they come out with a top effort, they should sweep this team aside. And I'd love it, because as you've read here before, I lived in LA and visited The Pond to support The Men of Four Feathers, and going there as an opposing fan is an insufferable experience. But the Hawks so rarely play well out there, so this will not be easy.