TV/RADIO: NBC, TSN (Canada), WIND- 560am
Second City Gathering: The Bottom Lounge
Yes, Tom Petty, the waiting is the hardest part, and now it's thankfully over. The two teams that have pretty much been eyeballing each other since January finally get down to it in the Conference Finals. Reading the previews of the neutrals around, those who aren't emotionally involved in this series are dying of excitement to see it. Which means those of us who are passionately involved, this series will be torture. Up and down, chances galore, big saves, big goals, close games, heart in your throat most of the time, heartburn, panic, it's call coming over the next two weeks.
While we like to make the case of rust for the Sharks, the Hawks only have three less days of rest, and haven't had five days off like this since....September? August? Olympic break for some, I guess. So I'm not sure the question of recency matters today. But be it form or nerves, this is probably the Hawks best chance to grab one in The Tank, which they need at some point. The Sharks haven't played, and most of them are making their first appearance in a Conference Final. This should be old hat for the Hawks after last year's trip, so jump on them early.
We've broken it all down for you over the past few days. Coach Q isn't going to get all the match ups he wants, so every line is going to have to bring it. We'd love to see Toews get his shots at Thornton, just to see if Thornton really is over his playoff-flop tendencies. However it works, the Hawks have to make sure they don't get Vick's Vapo-rubbed in the face-off dot. This is the league's best team at it, and continually giving them the puck is probably not the way to victory. We know the Hawks centers aren't going to improve overnight, so as we mentioned on the podcast the Hawks wingers have to do a far better job of getting in there and helping out. Countless times the Canucks wingers were able to shoot in and grab pucks of draws the Hawks had actually won. Can't happen here, San Jose is far too dangerous.
Traffic in front is a common refrain, but vital once again. Nabokov is small, hates it, and can get beaten that way. Someone tell Buff he's still in Vancouver.