Call Out The Troops Now In A Hurry- Hawks @ Jackets Preview, Thread, All Ages Show

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Game Time: 6:00PM Central

TV/Radio: CSN PLUS/WGN 720

Take Off Your Pants and Jacket: The Cannon

Tonight's matchup finds our Men of Four Feathers on the front end of a home-and-home with the moribund Blue Jackets. While it appeared that Columbus made strides last year in making the playoffs, this season has been an unmitigated goat fuck. Calder Trophy winner Steve Mason hasn't had a sophomore slump, he's had a sophomore pants-shitting. The disciplned, defensive structure that Ken Hitchcock implimented failed early on, and it fell on deaf ears in a hurry, costing Chubbers his job. Captain Rick Nash is doing his best to keep the team bordering on respectable, but he's been hurt of late. Still, he naturally leads the way with 30 goals and 59 points. The problems really lie defensively with this team, as Jan Hejda and Anton Strahlman are -14 and -15 respectively, which naturally inflates the goalies' GAA to 2.76 for Mathieu Garon and a whopping 3.18 for Steve Mason. This team is clearly playing out the string and are winless against the Hawks thus far this year, but rest assured they'd like nothing more than to stick it to the Hawks tonight and Sunday. And for a team that's had problems scoring as well as keeping pucks out of their net, they were able to drop a 5-burger on the Hawks in January, and still lost 6-5.

And who goaltended for the Hawks in the aforementioned game? Why, none other than Cristobal Huet, getting his first start since the last-second loss to Philly on the 13th. Cris has had the flu (or maybe he hurt his knee in the Peterborough game), and desperately needs to get back some semblance of rhythm if he has any hope of being the goalie the Hawks ride from here into and through the playoffs. The Hawks currently sit on 99 points and as the 1-seed in the west, and can clinch a playoff spot tonight with a win- they would be the first team in the West to do so. While the defense got a little fire-drilly in the third period of the game against Phoenix, if the Hawks can replicate the backhecking and shot blocking efforts from Tuesday, Cris should have little to worry about from Columbus. Kim Johnsson is apparently still out, and there's been no word as to whether the fourth line or third defensive pairing will be comprised any differently than the other night. The reason the Hawks are a 79% shot to finish as the one seed after Thursday's victory was due to games in hand, as well as the level of competition in the games remaining. While Columbus is clearly playing out the string, the Hawks would be best served to not take them lightly if they intend to get in playoff form and clinch the #1 seed, as has been their stated goal. A 60-minute effort gets the final 10 game stretch started on the right foot tonight. Let's Go Hawks.

Programming Note: As stated above, tonight's game will be on CSN Plus, so make sure to double check what channel it is in your area. I have been corrected, and told that DirecTV will be channel 666 - The Channel of the Beast. Sorry RCN people, you're still shit outta luck.