GAME TIME: 7:30 CST
OPPOSITION BLOG: Canes Country
TV: Comcast RADIO: WGN 720AM
DON’T FORGET: YOUR SPG PICKS - remember the New Rule too
In case you haven't been followed this site too closely - Sam and I are cursed. Sam's mentioning it in the Indian tonight but it bears repeating here. I rip on Sundin - he's one of the first to score when the Nucks rout the Hawks. I call out Stamkos - he gets his first hat trick. Sam makes fun of Arnason - he gets 3 assists and the first star. There's also the fact that when Sam and I have watched a game together the Hawks are 1-3-0.
So for this preview lets try something different today, shall we? Lets just talk about Tuomo Ruutu.
I have absolutely nothing bad to say about Ruutu. A lot of pressure was put on him a few years ago when he was one of the most exciting Hawks. Before we knew Toews or Kane would be wearing the Indian head sweater there was Ruutu and his 44 point rookie season in the '03-04 season.
Injuries kept Ruutu from making any impact in the season following the lock-out as he played only 15 games. In the 06-07 season he started to regain what we saw his debut season as he played 71 games and netted 38 points. He wasn't quite the same though - it could have been the pressure of being asked to do so much with so little but no one could say it was because of a lack of effort.
Both writers of this site own a Ruutu sweater because he was the type of player you love having on your team. He wasn't scoring as much as we wanted but he was playing all out and laying out big hits any chance he got. It used to be that most games the Hawks looked as lazy and sloppy as they did last Sunday but Ruutu was usually the exception to that playing with intensity in games that weren't even close.
Last year at the deadline, Ruutu was sent to Carolina in a trade for Andrew Ladd in a trade that's worked out well for both teams. Both Ladd and Ruutu were 1st round picks that weren't living up to either team's hopes but the change of scenery has done them both well.
Ruutu has more 7 points than Ladd this year and has set a new career high with one more than his rookie campaign. Ladd may be the better all around player, though playing on a line with Havlat this year though will make anyone look amazing - get him the puck and just watch.
This will be Ruutu's
first second game against the Hawks since the trade (he had an assist in the first one and as one of the Fifth Feather guys pointed out it was crushing 3-0 win for the Canes) and I'm kinda pissed that I won't be at the UC to see him. I may have even broken out the old #15 jersery for it. Former Hawks have a tendency to play well against the men of four feathers so keep an eye out for him tonight.
And just in case you wanted any actual insight for the game - here's a quick look at the Canes' season:
- They've had a rough run after their Cup victory but they're currently holding onto the last playoff spot in the East
- They've won the last 4 games in a row
- They've outscored opponents 23-6 in those games... yikes
- Their Power Play and Penalty Kill are both ranked 20th overall in the league
- Cam Ward vs. The Frenchman for goalies
I also think this a great time for a new Weekly Poll
Lets Go Hawks