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Calling Dave Manson: Blues at Hawks Preview/Pregame Thread/La Bamba

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Blues_medium vs. Images_medium

GAMETIME: 7pm
TV/RADIO: VS. for non-Chicagoans, CSN for Chicagoans, WGN Radio
Halfway house for wayward children: St. Louis Gametime (You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy)
I woke up this morning - and that's the start to about half the blues songs ever written -- and found a strange sense of inspiration. I decided to write about it in my editorial in tonight's Indian, which you can get with that link on the left. But I'll share it with you here as well. Let me first say that it scares me that I thought of this, and even more so that I believe in it. It downright sickens me, in fact. But I think it fits, and these days we need anything we can grab on to. It wasn't that long ago, it's probably fresh in your minds. I bet it stings, but if you'll just allow for a second to think about it, you'll see:
The Green Bay Packers.
Gross, huh? I agree. It really affects everything that I think I am to have to say that. I was just not raised this way. But allow me, if you will. A contender for a title suffers injury after injury, and is staring down the barrel of missing the playoffs. It even faces the torture of being knocked out of the postseason by its fiercest rival on the last weekend of the season. But both teams carry a player at it's center that as McClure described as unquestioned leaders unafraid to whip it out when it's needed most. And the Packers came back to bite everyone in the ass. This is where I'm drawing belief from this day.
But god there could be an easier task. Having been knocked out of relevance weeks ago, you better believe the Blues view this game as their Cup Final. Look at what the Oilers have done to the Canucks the past two games, though in that instance the Canucks just didn't care. And it's not like the Hawks just roll over the Blues at full-strength as it is. They've won three of five this season, with one a somewhat laugher of 7-5 at the end of November. The last time these two tangoed, the Hawks were pushed around for the 1st and 3rd periods, but did the pushing in the second and collected four goals to the Blues three, before an empty-netter at the end.
We've seen enough of this drill to know what's going to happen. Especially after the Hawks played last night (though the Blues did as well), they're going to get the puck deep, count to 1, and then charge into Hawks d-men like frat boys into Spring Weekend. They're going to do it over and over and over. Sometimes, the Hawks d-men throw in the towel, and you get what our first two visits down to DrinkScotch Center were. Other times, the Hawks d-men realize it's prison and you shut up and take it, wait that extra moment, make a clean pass and use the space these rabidly slobbering forwards have left behind. What we'll get tonight? Guess we'll just have to wait and see (oh no, a pop culture reference!).
You'll also get some incalculably dumb penalties from the Blues, as they can't help but go over the line in their play. Sadly, the Hawks power play recently has looked like a deflated whoopi cushion the past few games, and they won't get away with that tonight.
But there's danger. Chris Stewart is loving life in St. Louis, with 14 goals in 22 games, and 27 total on the year. David Backes just cracked 30 last night. Patrik Berglund apparently figured out he could be right behind Erik Johnson on the train to nowhereville and has picked it up. T.J. Oshie....well he's just a pain in the ass, isn't he? Oh, and likely Cam Janssen and John Scott will fight, serve no purpose, and sit for 55 minutes. Kevin Shattenkirk and Alex Pietrangelo are no slouches. But Barrett Jackman is still there to hit you in the back of the head with his purse after the whistle.
It won't be fun, and the Hawks are going to have to dig deep to get a win they simply cannot do without against a fully-healthy squad that's going to grind them into dust. But it's there, I know it is. And judging by the seething volcano of rage that Jonathan Toews apparently was after the game last night, I imagine the Blues are going to feel the consequences tonight.
Brief Note: Last night's thread in the post game wrap obviously got a little heated, and I owe 421 an apology for lashing out when I was upset about the loss. That doesn't mean I agree with him or think his points are invalid, neither are true. But I owe him and all of you better than a simple feet-stamping.
Look, I invite disagreement on this blog, and I thought actually last night was a pretty healthy discussion. It contained more name-calling than I would like, and I want you all to be aware of that. Secondly, your comments are part of this blog, in fact it is this blog. So while I invite, and encourage, discussion and debate, try and keep in mind that the longer it goes on the more you turn off those not involved. You have a responsibility too, please try and remember that. That is all.
And Now, Some Real Inspiration

The St. Patrick's Day Massacre (via ovydell)