For some people, there are few better ways to spend time during the cold winter months than a quick trip to someplace warm, such as the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area, for example. I'm not one of those people, though, as I was pissed that temperatures were in the high 50s here just the other day. And I'd have to imagine the Hawks are feeling the same way about having to travel cross country with their captain not being able to play. They'll face an opponent tonight in the Anaheim Ducks that has had just as up and down a season as the Hawks have, currently sitting a point ahead of the Hawks at 20-17-4, one of the only teams that the Hawks have games in hand over. Anaheim returned home on New Year's Eve after a 7 game road trip they went 3-4 on and porked the Flyers good 5-2. Ryan Getzlaf missed that game and will miss tonight's game as well after taking a Shane Doan shot to the face. While that does weaken the Ducks' attack, Bobby Ryan and Corey Perry are not exactly wilting flowers themselves, with Perry leading the team with 43 points. Finns Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne always seem to find a way to score incredibly annoying goals, and there's no reason that should change tonight. The Ducks find themselves in the middle of the pack in most of the major statistical categories except on the power play, where they rank seventh. If the Hawks begin the parade of numbskullery to the box as they did against San Jose, the Ducks will make them pay. On the blue line, while the pickings are slim, Cam Fowler is showing that he's a bonafide NHL defensemen, at least in the other team's end. Jonas Hiller will get the nod tonight, and he always has the potential of performing Cirque Du Soleil in the crease, regardless of what his stats say.
As for our Men of Four Feathers, life continues on without Toews in the lineup, though some changes are being reported. Fernando Pisani appears to have survived his bout with Ebola or the rickets or whatever he had and will be back in the lineup, an Adam Jahns is reporting that Jordan Hendry may finally get a start tonight on D, let's hope to fuck that it's for Nick Boynton who had one of the more ridiculous shifts of the season last game with blind passes and an offensive zone penalty seperated by mere seconds. It also appears that Patrick Sharp will return to center and John Scott is out of the lineup, so Q must've read Sam's letter (even though Kopecky is still in the middle...I guess we can't get everything). Corey Crawford will get the start in goal after three straight games from Marty Turco, in two of which Marty deserved a better fate. Hopefully the Hawks can give a better effort in front of Crow, which they always seem to. The simplified gameplan will once again need to be executed here even with Getzlaf out, and I can't drive home enough how important it is to stay the fuck out of the box. Time to start 2011 on the right foot. Let's go Hawks.