TV/RADIO: CSN, WGN Radio
Let's get the outrage out of the way first, and that's that the Hawks will once again try and pull a rabbit out of their hat, Rocky, by playing with a mere 10 forwards. With only Morin being called back up (and how does it help anybody exactly to have a 19-year old fly out day of the game? You need to save 4 grand that badly, throbbing genius Stan?), Jordan Hendry will skate at forward with John Scott and Jake Dowell, unless I've missed my calculations somewhere. Nick Boynton will continue to spread lyme disease on the ice for reasons that no one has been able to explain. Oh, and when either Jack Skille or Viktor Stalberg sneeze the wrong way, they'll be benched for long stretches so that Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, and Dave Bolland can skate until their dizzy. Good times!
As for the teal, they're returning home after a five-game trip through the Eastern Conference, going 3-2. Their last effort saw pretty much a no-show against Buffalo. If you think Sharp or Kopecky were bad in their zone earlier this year, check out Patrick Marleau's -16. And he's got 22 points!. The Sharks have had their own injury problems, and those are starting to clear up but Devin Setoguchi will still be out tonight. Not that you'd be able to tell, according to his track record against us. Third line center and Calder front-runner (?) Logan Couture has 14 goals though, and is searing hot at the moment. Don't know where Todd McClellan will try and get him out there, but it'll probably be Sharp's line. Just a guess though.
There's no way to pussy foot around this, the Hawks are up against it tonight. Though the Sharks have also had an uneven season, they're still a very good team with almost all of their major parts in the lineup. The Hawks do not. Now handicapping themselves with 10 forwards, and unable to display the skill in the space the Sharks have always allowed them, it's a real challenge. But it can be overcome. It's going to be as simple a game possible, but the Hawks still have enough speed amongst their forwards to give the Sharks average blue line a headache or two. If they want to, they can get to the crease whenever, and Niemi still hasn't really been all that great yet.
So, IceHawks, what kind of balls do you have?