Just a few things rattling around this bald head this Friday afternoon (apologies to the Afternoon show for ripping off their title, but we rip them off all the time anyway).
-Sassone is decoding the rumblings that Niemi will start again on Saturday in BC. I feel like I've made this a choice between Huet and Niemi for everyone, and it's not. I love that Niemi is playing so well. If you'll recall, my dream scenario before the season was that both goalies would flourish so that we would have our best chance a Cup and Stan "Lookit What Daddy Brung Me" Bowman would have the option of moving Huet along in the summer to clear cap space. For the most part, that's exactly what's happened. While Niemi still gets a little flappy mcflap flap to make me totally comfortable, results are results.
Secondly, I think Q knows he's got to bank as many points as he can before the Olympic break. There's assuredly going to be a hangover for those participating for a week or two (Seabrook looks as though he's already in it) after the tournament. So as big of a cushion that can be grasped should be. Also, the earlier the Hawks wrap up a top-2 seed, it gives the coaches the option of having Toews, Kane, Keith, or Seabrook miss a game here or there simply for rest. I don't think the Hawks are all that concerned with getting the #1 see over San Jose. Does anyone think we need the home ice to beat them?
-We haven't been quite as diligent as posting the Corsi and Shift Charts for each game, but here are last night's Corsi and Shift Charts. They make for some interesting reading. Ladd was a monster last night. The only reason that Sharp's and Hossa's Corsi numbers aren't as high is that they kill penalties. For two years straight now, Jarome Iginla has been Invisible Boy against us, and the constant is Andrew Ladd (as well as Keith and Seabrook). He was matched against him all night. This is why when things shake out, I'd like to see Ladd return to Madden's wing to give the Hawks a foot-in-the-ass checking line. But that's another headache for another time.
-Moving on to tomorrow, the Canucks will be without Willie Mitchell, Sami Salo, and air raid siren Kevin Bieksa. Da-rool, da-rool.
-As much as I've grown to not like the Canucks, they have several fans that consistently make me laugh. Nucks Misconduct is great, so is the Kurtenblog. And then comes the green men next to the penalty box, and this video is just well done.
-This is just totally random, but why do linesmen yell, "No!" when a play is onsides? Shouldn't they yell, "Yes!" or "Good!"? It seems totally nonsensical. But then again they're all Canadian.
-Bob McKenzie is now ringing the "Hawks after Kovy" alarm. Me? I'm off this ride. While at first I certainly had a cue ball in my pocket over the thought of a Top-5 sniper being added to the Hawks, I've come to the conclusion it would cause far too big of a shakeup to a team that's already best in the league that isn't short on scoring. Some of the names McKenzie mentions would just have to be utter bullshit anyway. Though Sharp has completely transformed his game at center, he and the Hawks would rather have him at wing. No way they'd move Bolland (and who would take him after back surgery?) as they'd be awfully thin at center for years to come if they did so. The amount it would take Kovy to the Hawks would reduce them to being able to hurt you on all four lines to 2.5 max. The Hawks would have two killer scoring lines, clearly, and Ladd could go back to the checking line and form a pretty fierce one of those. Maybe that works, maybe it doesn't, but the fact that all four lines right now threaten is what makes the Hawks special.
-Last warning for our blog watch tomorrow at Whirlaway (Fullerton and Kedzie). We'll be getting there about 8:15, so come join us for what should be a complete nightmare. To pick us out of a crowd, I'm the Scott Ian looking dude, McClure will probably be the tallest guy there, and will certainly have the biggest shit-eating grin and bullhorn of a voice, and Killion's the big leprechaun in the Chinese Toews jersey. Be there or be stupid. As always, McClure will be both.