Game time: 7:30PM CST
TV/Radio: CSN (US), TSN(Canada), NHLN (US), WGN-AM 720
The Tragically Hip: Nucks Misconduct, Orland Kurtenblog
In our darkest, most secretive moments over the last two years as Hawks fans, a lot of us (myself included) have probably wondered just how much really separates the Hawks and Canucks, and if the Hawks truly do stack up. Both are extremely deep up front, and while the Hawks have regularly iced a better defensive corps, and as much as we like to give him relentless amounts of shit, the Nucks do boast an all-world talent in net that can bail out their defensemen. But then we get to the bench, and that's where we as Hawks fans can truly take solace. While Joel Quenneville can be maddening with his line juggling, matchy-uppyness, goalie roller coasters, and playing of favorites regarding scratches, he at least has his head on straight. The same can not be said for Vancouver bench boss Alain Vigneault, who is becoming even more of a caricature of himself on a daily basis. It's understandable to become frustrated with not being able to overcome a hated rival on repeated occasions (something we're familiar with in numerous sports here), but it's quite another to let it consume you. Fittingly, it's the coach of a team with a whale on its crest has become Captain Ahab, with Quenneville and the Hawks his Moby Dick. After Wednesday's evisceration of the Calgary Flames, AV went out of his way to bring up the perceived indignities he and his squad suffered at the hands of Quenneville and the Hawks last Saturday. While focus is a good thing, Vigneault's monomaniacal obsession with defeating the Hawks is now bordering on ridiculous, and it's clear that his team has taken its cues from him regarding this matter the last couple of seasons, as the results on the ice (in May in particular) have borne out. One has to wonder how much longer this will play in Vancouver.
Speaking of the ice, let's get to it shall we? As was stated above, the Nucks are coming off a dick stomping of Calgary, 6-1 beat down of San Jose, and a 4-2 win against a firewagon Avs squad before that. Not much has changed on their end since last Saturday, with the Canucks still boasting top-10 units in the four major categories- even strength offense and defense, penalty kill, and the league's best power play. We all know the drill by now - keep the Sedins and whoever is riding shotgun at bay, Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond (coming off a hatter against Calgary) will likely see a shitload of the Toews line, and get Sideshow Bob moving. Borat's traditionally been better against the Hawks in the UC than he is in his own barn, but even still, that's a 50/50 proposition at best, and he was excellent when the Nucks were here in October. I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.
As for our Men of Four Feathers, they're riding a three-game win streak of their own, which was backstopped by Corey Crawford, who once again is in a baseball cap tonight with Marty Turco (who will reportedly be debuting another new mask) getting the start. Turks let in 11 goals in his last two starts, but other than when it got out of hand in Calgary and he quit along with everyon else, he hasn't been as bad as those numbers would indicate. He'll need to be on top of his game and his crease tonight with Canuck forwards sure to be buzzing shots at his glove side at any opportunity. The forward lineup will be the same as Tuesday, with John Scott and Jeremy Morin taking shifts for Fernando Pisani and Marian Hossa respectively. On the blue line, the top 4 remain in tact, and Tracey Myers is speculating via Twitter that Jordan Hendry may finally get some ice time tonight (hopefully in place of the struggling Nick Boynton) - until his first turnover, at least. Though the roles remain fairly constant, what actually transpires on the ice between these two teams is always up for debate. The only sure thing is one three game winning streak is coming to an end tonight, let's hope it's not the home team's. Let's go Hawks.