Let's Play Two (Oh Dear God, Not Ernie Banks References!): Hawks at Preds Preview/Pregame Thread/Mxyomitosis
TV/RADIO: CSN, WGN RADIO, and your second television should have the Falcons beating the Packers on. You have a second television, don't you?
THEY LIKE IT, THEY LOVE IT, THEY TOTALLY OVERRATED DAN HAMHUIS: On The Forecheck
Ah, the old home-and-home on a weekend against a division rival. When I was a kid, it seemed like the Hawks and Leafs did this like 8 times a year. You remember the Leafs were once in our division, right? I do. God I hated Wendell Clark so much. What a ponce. But they had so many tools. Man, that was when hockey was hockey. Dave Andreychuk? Fuck him.
Oh right, the Preds. That's who were playing tonight. Nashville. Bad uniforms, worse goal song. Annoying team. Right. Ready. The Preds come in having just had a five game win streak snapped in South Florida like a Sarasota resident's hip (ZING!). But before that, this team was riding Pekka Rinne to fourth in the Conference. During that five game streak Rinne hadn't let in more than one goal in any. That's a problem. For America. These included sterling 40+ save performances in Anaheim and San Jose. If the Hawks resort to the fire from the edges and not be arsed to get in Rinne's face, it's going to be a long night. So Brouwer, Kopecky, Bickell, Pisani, Skille, I'm looking at you, kids.
Aside from Rinne, professional ear-boil returns to the lineup after being out, though his five goals aren't exactly imposing. But then again, it's almost a lock he'll score a really annoying goal that'll have you punching whatever is nearby. I can only hope it's not your dog or girlfriend. Boyfriend's fine. The Preds are beat up down the middle though. Matthew Lombardi has been drooling in a dark room all year, and now Cal O'Reilly is out for a while with leg-in-pieces. Your #1 center for the Preds tonight is David Legwand, who has actually turned up his offensive game without having to deal with the defensive responsibilities, and that's followed by Marcel Goc. Let's be honest here, the Hawks centers should have a field day.
But they won't, will they? We've been over this so many goddamn times I can't even stand it any more. The Preds will be the Preds. They'll skate as if relatives are being held at gunpoint, they'll forecheck the shit out of our d-men (we'll find out a lot about Leddy tonight), Weber and Suter will lay to waste whatever's in front of them, and your heart will jump every time Weber lets one go on the power play. They'll be hard to break down on the kill. Blah blah blah. It's the same old story, same old song and dance, my friend.
But every time the Hawks come to match the Preds work level, they usually win. After Suter and Weber, there just isn't that much (though Cody Franson shows some promise). Marek Svatos is skating on the top line here. Maybe Rinne wins this by himself, but if he's not at the very tip top of his game, the Hawks should take this. Sorry.
But Dan Hamhuis got dis. We know...