Learning To Fly - Jets @ Blackhawks Preview/Pre-Game Thread/Puerto Rican Day Parade

Wpg_medium @ Images_medium

Game Time: 7:30
TV/Radio: CSN/WGN720
Those who never lost hope: Arctic Ice Hockey

This ought to be easy... the Jets haven't won a game in Chicago since 1996.

Now that that joke is out of the way.. tonight is a special game that was probably circled on most of our calenders since the schedule came out. After many unsuccessful seasons in Atlanta and even more horrific uniforms, the Jets are back where they belong.. as the only team in the Southeast conference in Manitoba.

Tonight's game would be special though even if it wasn't for the return of the Jets. For the first time since 2010 we welcome back the familiar friends - Andrew Ladd and Dustin "Captain Stubing" Byfuglien. Ladd has since gone on to become captain of the Jets (and a frontrunner for one of the new jerseys I plan on picking up this year) but his promotion there and to the top line doesn't exactly come with the chops to back it up. Ladd was always a sneaky good player but there's no chance he makes the top line on a team that actually expects to challenge for the cup. Dustin Byfuglien... well.. we know he was up to this summer. Fun fact though - playing Buff and Kyle Wellwood at the same time creates such a weight imbalance on the ice that it might actually shift the earth off its axis.

Beyond those two though, there isn't a ton to really get excited about as a Jets fan. Something they're bound to found out once they can finally stop crying and smiling at the same time. Evander Kane hasn't quite lived up to his hype yet and is currently working on the fourth line of a team that simply isn't very deep but that can all be forgiven when you consider the fact that he also was the cause behind the greatest picture of all time. The inexplicably Swedish Johnny Oh, Do ya? looked horrific along with his partner Buff against Montreal and is a -3 after just one game. Nik Antropov has the lone goal so far for the Jets and is the big center that the smaller Hawks team occasionally has fits against.

On the Blackhawks side of things there are two issues to note - the first being the debut of Daniel Carcillo who will get a solid mix of loud cheers and eye rolls among the Hawks fans. One would expect him to come out flying early on and attempt to start shit as soon as possible to endear himself to Hawks fans.... think the kind of role he tried to play when he finally cracked the lineup against the Hawks in the finals. So whoever is playing his center should keep his head up... oh fuck? It's Kaner? eep

The bigger news is the debut of Ray Emery as the Hawks netminder for the night. After missing several practices, Corey Crawford returned to the ice for practice but the Hawks decided to give us writers an easy conspiracy/paranoid theory article in the near future. Despite the mediocre pre-season, Emery will get the nod and a chance to prove he belongs here over Salak.

Beyond that, the song remains the same... if the Hawks play like they did last game they shouldn't have a problem dispatching the Jets. Even if Nick Leddy and Duncan Keith are still paired together and Q mixes up the lines every other shift.