TV/RADIO: CSN, WGN RADIO
Enemy's voice: On The Forcheck
Doesn't seem like much of a break, does it? Anyway, thanks to the NHL's condensed schedule (speaking of which, I find it's fun to blame everything on the NHL's condensed schedule. So next time you're late for work, or miss your girlfriend's birthday, or break something, just say, "Well, due to the NHL's condensed schedule...". Works like a charm.) or whatever other factor, the Hawks are back at it a mere two days after tallywhacking the Grand Rapids Griffins.
Before the season, if any of you thought these two games would be between the top two teams in the division then please point it out in the archives so that we may turn the blog over to you and we can go about our lives. Clearly, you're a hockey genius. Quite honestly, we just don't know how the Preds are doing it, other than Barry Trotz, of course. They're middle of the pack in scoring, goals-against, their PK is just bad, as is their power play. They don't have anyone burning up the scoring charts and their best forward, Jason Arnott, has been hurt a lot. Their shot-differential is just about even. Frankly, we still feel this team will fall back to its own level at some point. But it probably won't be this weekend.
One thing we can point to is Dan Ellis. Once again, Nashville anoints a starter, and he wilts under the spotling. Vokoun, Chris Mason, meet Pekka Rinne! So Ellis has taken over, and he's won three of his last four starts, and he stopped 32 of 36 shots in the one loss. But other than that, all we can figure out is that Trotz gets these guys to never take a shift off, and has caught a lot of teams either off-guard or just not willing to work hard enough to beat them. That'll change as the games become more meaningful.
One team they've gotten to that way was the Hawks, at least once (though the last meeting in Chicago the Hawks played pretty well, but couldn't solve Ellis. Hopefully not a recurring theme). Quite honestly, I'm tired of the Predators, and will be delighted when I don't have to write about them any more after Sunday (until they're our first round opponent of course, which is a goddamn lock having now written that previous sentence) These games have been tight, and overwhelmingly dull. No way the Preds try and skate with us, and they're so disciplined, look for a lot of blue (?) sweaters in the neutral zone whenever the Hawks gain control of the puck. Which probably means you can look for VERSTEEG! trying to go through all of them. Patience will be the safe-word tonight.
Have at it.