GAMETIME: 7pm Central
TV/RADIO: VS., CBC, WGN 720 (yes, the Cubs have moved to WIND for this)
Flyer Bullhorn: Broad Street Hockey, Flyers Goal Scored By
Well, if you're anywhere near our age, this is miles closer than you've ever been to the happiest ending known to man (cue McClure making some sophmoric joke). But the hardest part has yet to arrive, and it might not even be tonight.
The Hawks invade the F.U. Center (much more fun to call it that than Wachovia Center), and perhaps John Madden is right that the players will be the safest individuals in the Indian Head there tonight. Doesn't matter, we're a hardy bunch and I'm sure more than a few made the trip from whatever locale. Besides, two wins there would be well worth a fight, I would think.
Tonight comes down to weathering the storm. The Flyers are going to come out foaming at the mouth (no more than usual in Carcillo's case) and flying around the ice as if someone set their ass-hair on fire. The Flyers are going to have the better of the play, and will create some chances right off the bat. We've seen in it Vancouver and San Jose. The Hawks were able to withstand that -- or more to the point Antti Niemi was -- and then took over the games from there. Knowing these Flyers, if you can avoid getting buried in the first 10 minutes they'll probably take an over-exuberant penalty or two in the opening frame. We know how lethal the Hawks power play has been in the white uniforms, so let's pray for that to happen.
You can tell the Flyers are slightly rattled, they're starting with the Sir Alex Ferguson Mind Games. Coach Laviolette did his best to get between Niemi's ears yesterday, but he'll find what we all have, there's nothing in there. There's the whole Pronger bullshit, but I don't think the Hawks care. And let me get slightly off subject here: I saw all the attention devoted to how "funny" Pronger was during his presser between Game 1 and 2. It wasn't funny, he's just a cock stonewalling every question asked him. But because reporters are obviously terrified of him, they called him funny because he didn't bother to respond with a cliche.
Anyway, back to the game tonight. The Hawks have to stay out of the box themselves while chasing this freight train they'll be seeing in the opening exchanges. Even down one goal after 1 is just fine with me. They'll have to be much better with the puck than they were in the 3rd last game, but the first two periods were much better. Do that, it'll go real far. We know the Hawks will really simplify their game tonight, it'll be a lot of chip-outs and chip ins. And that's still Michael Leighton back there, isn't it?
Maybe I shouldn't press this button again, but I feel it. This smells like a Toews game. If it is, we're on the doorstep to cheesesteaks.