Seaward With The C-Words: Hawks at Canucks Preview/Pregame Thread/Unity Conference
TV/RADIO: CSN, WGN Radio
TOWEL WAVERS: Nucks Misconduct
Couldn't we start this trip by working our way up to the main course instead of starting with it? No? Ah well.
Once again, the Hawks will have to face their main blood rival without a key defensive component. After Brent Seabrook's failed attempt to meld with the endboards left him with an injury, he will be out tonight. To make up that absence, Steve Montador will pair with Duncan Keith. This was the most logical option so consider me shocked that it's the one that Coach Quenneville opted for. However, canceling out whatever bonus points for actual competence he might have gotten for that decision is John Scott on the third pairing. What's that you say Adam Jahns? The Hawks have won three in a row with Scott in the lineup? Feel free to continue with your moronic this-rock-keeps-tigers-away line of thinking then. It must be a happy place. Maybe I'm just a masochist or have to be proven right at all times, but there's a part of me that hopes Scott gets turnstiled to the tune of five goals in a 6-5 Hawks win so that we don't ever have to deal with this nonsense again. But that probably won't happen, and we'll be dealing with this a while longer yet.
As for the other injury concern, Dave Bolland will apparently give it a go tonight. However, according to the beat contingent he'll do so centering Andrew Brunette and Jamal Mayers. I'm hoping it's because the Hawks are pretty certain that Weapon can't skate his normal amount of minutes so he's restricted to spot duty. I don't want to think it's because the staff is impressed with the work of Kruger, Frolik, and Bickell, because their game has been a mess on both ends lately. And that's with Kruger playing quite well. Then again, I should stop applying anything resembling logic to the early season workings of Q. If Bolland is healthy enough to skate, watch for this to change within a period or two.
As for the Canucks, they left here after that paddling and split in Southern California before batting practice at home against the Islanders. You already know that Borat is out with....whatever. Broken hair let's call it HIGH FIVE! The Ginger will start for the blue and green, and as we know by now that's not much of a drop off. As for the rest of the 2nd place finishers of 2010-2011, they're being led by Aaron Rome. Yeah, that one. He's in a free agent year, so watch the point total grow like a teenager with his first porno mag. Ryan Kesler is still struggling after coming back from injury, Jannik Hansen is playing with Thing 1 and Thing 2 who still score a lot.
But you know everything else, don't you. This is the 32nd time these teams have met in just over three seasons. I can't tell you anything about the Canucks you don't already know. Same goes for both teams. There aren't any secrets. With Bolland just back from injury it feels like Q isn't going to worry about his matchups as much other than getting Keith and Monty out there against the twins. There's also the small issue of staying out of the box, as that was a small problem last time.
Undiscussed by many though from the last game was how the Canucks were able to be pinned down for the entire first period under the normal furious Canuck forecheck. The defensive pairings have been straightened out since then, and even with Seabrook out Montador can provide a good enough base for Keith's aggressive tendencies. Leddy's game has taken a step forward with Hammer, and if that continues then the Hawks won't be playing catch up from the opening bell. If that's the case, then usually these games come down to a bounce here or there and who loses their mind first. Even with Dan Carcillo taking that award last time, Kevin Bieksa is still on the Canucks.
Start the trip with a bang. Four is better than three.