If You Want Blood, You Got It: Canucks at Hawks Preview/Thread/Wine Tasting

Kesler_medium vs. Andrew_ladd_medium

GAMETIME: 7:30pm

Well, won't this be quite the tasty affair, hmmm? Is this the Hawks biggest rival at the moment? Surely the team that hates them the most, and probably the one they have the most distaste for. However they feel, the Hawks must turn up their game if they want to avoid getting horsed tonight, as the Canucks have found their "A" game pretty quickly after the break. They rolled Scum in Detroit on Wednesday, 6-3, with even blimp Kyle Wellwood looking useful. Kesler had a big game too, so the crap we've seen against the Isle and Oil is just not going to fly tonight.

With Iron Madden coming off injury (but playing tonight), look for Toews to draw the Sedins on every even-strength shift. There are no doubt that Captain Marvel can handle it, but I worry about Kane being asked to cancel out what is currently the best line in hockey right now. Then again, offense is the best defense, and the way this line controlled Thornton-Marleau-Heatley in the last game against San Jose leads one to believe they can do it again. Coach Q could also give Bolland and Hossa that assignment. Should make for interesting watching.

However, these Canucks are more than one line, for once. Mason Raymond and Ryan Kesler prowl on the second line, and both are headed for 30 goals seasons. Below that is Mikael Samuelsson, who's been a pain in the ass for years, and he's got 22 goals. Needless to say, it's a stern test. The Nucks are a little beat up on the blue line, as Willie Mitchell and Kevin Bieksa miss out to have a talking contest in the pressbox. They missed the last game between these two as well, and that didn't go so well.

I'll be interested to see how Alain Vigneault plays this one. Do the Canucks trap and try and swallow the Hawks in the neutral zone as they have in previous visits? Or with their new-found scoring depth, and recent Hawks struggles against an aggressive forecheck, do they go toe-to-toe? I can't tell you who to sock it to. Can't wait for faceoff.

If you're headed to the game, remember to pick up an Indian so I can afford beer, and if you're not going, remember that you can now sign up for that night's issue right up until faceoff. God bless these fancy new phones!