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I'll Be Dead In The Cold Cold Ground Before I Recognize Missourah - Hawks @ Blues, Preview, Pregame Thread, Driveway Shoveling

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Images_medium @ Blues_medium

Game time: 7:00PM

TV/Radio: CSN, WGN-AM 720

The road trip down I-55 to the "city" known as St. Louis is never a pleasant one. Miles upon miles of flat, nondescript farmland only occasionally interrupted by exits for gas stations and if you blink you'll miss Bloomington and Springfield, the only signs of civilization in between. Aptly, this also describes the St. Louis Blues team at the moment.

Our friends across the river are seriously banged up. Andy McDonald and David Perron are both suffering from having to sit in a dark room, the latter courtesy of that block of granite known as Joe Thornton. Enemy of the State TJ Oshie snapped an ankle like a coked up thoroughbred, and will be out until spring. Erik Johnson has missed some time, but is in the lineup tonight, as is the recently returned Alex Orange Jello.

That hasn't stopped the Notes from winning three in a row, complete with their own home triumph over Scum. Jaroslav Halak has unfortunately discovered his form again, so genius Davis Payne -- while lacking a first name but baring an uncanny resemblance to our own 326 Bureau Chief -- will go with Ty Conklin tonight. But Conk Block always seems to play well against us, so this probably isn't reason for celebration.

The Hawks will go with the full lineup tonight, excluding Fernando Pisani. But Humpty Hump is back after three weeks with his own ankle problems. How he fits into this newly found simple game the Hawks have been employing is for all of us to see. We'd like to believe Patrick Sharp is returning to center between the Slovaks, but buzz is that Tomo Useless will be at center, losing draws and battles all the way. Daydream Nation is being flanked by Louwen-Brouw, and the 4th line will see Dowell, Stalberg, and Johnson combining. The third line remains the same, much as the song.

We've all been through this before. The Blues will finish every check, and stir up nonsense after the whistle. If they can maintain the balance of discipline while physically imposing themselves, the Hawks will have a rough ride. If they spill over into their customary lunacy, the Hawks can make them play with a still-inexplicable lethal power play, and DLR will get the vocal chords warmed up. Both teams will keep things plain, the Blues have to due to their injuries. Watch Patrik Berglund, he's been excellent since everyone went down. And David Backes will be in everyone's face, but he's also been scoring. Keep those two in check, keep Johnson and Pietrangelo from firing from the points on the man advantage, and a win is right outside your door.

All right Hawks, I got a two-fer of Zeppelin's "Hey Hey What Can I Do" with "Misty Mountain Hop", followed by the Stones "Gimme Shelter" and "Can't You Hear Me Knockin'?" while in the car this afternoon on The Loop. So you have to top that.