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Wherever I May Roam: Blackhawks-Sharks preview

Pat Foley steps into the broadcast booth one final time as the Blackhawks host the Sharks on Thursday night.

San Jose Sharks v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images

It’s hard to say goodbye.

Yet, Blackhawks fans are starting to get accustomed to it. Just as three Stanley Cup Championship parades have come and gone down Michigan Avenue, many of the names responsible for those memories have moved on to greener pastures. While those memories remain engrained in our brains forever, this process never gets any easier.

As the Blackhawks hit the ice at the United Center on Thursday evening to take on the Sharks, the Hawks faithful — both new and old — will bid a familiar voice farewell, as Pat Foley steps into the broadcast booth one final time.

When drawing-up Foley’s farewell tour, a meaningless late season matchup between two non-playoff teams while the Blackhawks are on an eight-game losing streak was likely not in the blueprint. But it’s what we’ve got and hopefully the Hawks will make the best of it.

Aside from a nice sendoff for the voice of Blackhawks hockey, busting this abysmal losing streak would be good for any fan’s mental diet, because playing against this Sharks team isn’t exactly stepping into the mouth of Jaws.

In fact, San Jose is on a seven-game skid themselves. The men in teal do have a few offensive standouts, such as Timo Meier, who leads the team with 70 points (31 G, 39 A) but they’ve gotten fairly inconsistent results in net and have started five different goalies over the course of the season.

Speaking of goalies, Kevin Lankinen will start in net for the Hawks on Thursday evening. While Lankinen has shown some potential, the young Hawks goalie has had an overall rough season and currently owns a save percentage of .886. That, paired with a goals-against average of 3.66 is not a pretty stat line. And it’s not like the Hawks blue line is doing him any favors these days.

While we all know there is a hockey game that will be played, Thursday is about celebrating and saying goodbye to a Chicago Legend. Up there with the Smashing Pumpkins, the Metro and deep dish pizza, Pat Foley will remain apart of Chicago’s lore forever. The narrator of the Hawks for four decades has been a constant in many fans’ lives for the good, the bad and ugly.

One thing is certain: We will enjoy the broadcast, regardless of the outcome.

Blackhawks — Statistic — Sharks

46.19% (30th) — 5-on-5 Corsi For — 45.21% (31st)

44.97% (30th) — 5-on-5 Expected goals for — 47.18% (23rd)

2.61 (27th) — Goals per game — 2.56 (30th)

3.51 (26th) — Goals against per game — 3.15 (20th)

48.8% (19th) — Faceoffs — 50.2% (16th)

21.1% (17th) — Power play — 18.8% (23rd)

74.9% (27th) — Penalty kill — 86% (2nd)

Projected lineups (subject to change)

Blackhawks

Kurashev — Toews — Reichel

DeBrincat — Strome — Kane

Raddysh — Dach — Lafferty

Katchouk — R. Johnson — Entwistle

de Haan — S. Jones

McCabe — Regula

Stillman — C. Jones/Vlasic

Lankinen

Delia

Sharks

Meier — Couture — Chmelevski

Balcers — Hertl — Barabanov

Gregor — Bonino — Nieto

Simek — Reedy — Viel

Megna — Burns

Ferraro — Karlsson

Vlasic — Meloche

Reimer

Kahkonen

How to watch

When: 7:30 p.m. CT

Where: United Center, Chicago

TV: NBC Sports Chicago

Webstream: ESPN+