Stand Up And Be Counted If You Can't Live Without It
I know it's McClure's job to use the Lawrence Arms quotes, but I thought it fit so we're going with it. Right, first, practice notes:
-You've probably seen what the lines were in practice, but here they are:
Some of this makes a lot of sense, and obviously some of it doesn't. I saw Bickell try and keep up with Kane against Detroit on the last Sunday, and it didn't look-a-so-good. Flipping Brouwer and Bickell would make more sense, but the coaching staff hates Troy Brouwer so that won't happen. Now remember, Buff was skating with Hendry in practice before Game 2 but that never actually made the ice, so this doesn't mean that's what we'll see tomorrow night. The rest of it works. The Hawks haven't gotten much from Madden, and it's not his type of series anyway because the Preds don't really come with a center that you have to shut down. Bolland hasn't proven that he's a #2 center right now, and Sharp and Hossa made some magic when Sharp was centering for him earlier in the year. Wherever Bickell and Burish play, we know they bring some physicality and energy, things the Hawks are desperately lacking.
Campbell was working with the power play, I have to believe he's taking the ice for Game 4, and boy would it be welcome. If he can play 20 minutes, that will give the Hawks at least 2/3rds of the game with a d-man on the ice who can skate them out of their zone, instead of Buff, Sopel, or Hendry firing it wildly around the boards to a giggling Shea Weber. Also, 51 Phantom's intelligence in the neutral zone will be vital. How many times when he was firing did we see him get a look at a stacked blue line, chip it in and be the first one to get it because of his speed? That could be a huge difference. I don't see Buff skating with a forward line, so either he's going to be on the third pairing or he's headed to the pressbox?
-I have calmed down slightly since last night, but not much. It's not a matter of tactics, or lineups. It's not as if we're watching a opposing player and saying, "We gotta control him." It's not as if there's a Zetterberg or a Sedin kicking our skulls in. It's simply a matter of effort, because that's the game the Preds have turned this into. I said before the series that if the Hawks matched the Preds effort level, they'll win. I still think that's true.
-What we have to see Thursday is North-South. Chip the puck in, skate your ass off to go get it. There's no reason the Hawks can't do that, because outside of Shea Weber, there aren't a lot of drooling behemoths patrolling the Preds blue line. Enough of the blind drop passes at the red line, or you'll be hit with an alligator.
-Draw inspiration from where you can, for me, it's 1992. The Hawks were down 2-1 in St. Louis, and looked as bad in Game 3 as they did last night. Then JR said enough and the next 11 were ours. We've been through this before, even though a long time ago, so let's act like it. If you need more recent positives, I keep repeating the Hawks were two minutes away from a 3-1 deficit and headed back to Vancouver. They trailed three separate times in Game 6 and looking at a Game 7 on the road. They'll respond. I thought they'd win the next three to take this in 5 before last night, I have to believe it's still possible to do so in 6.
-I saw Rosenbloom hit the "Blame Hossa" button. I know the numbers aren't there, but from the eye test Hossa is our hardest working forward right now and is the only one consistently winning battles for the puck. He hasn't been helped by his center and captain not being up to snuff.
-Right, tomorrow night we return to our spiritual home. The triumvirate of stupid that is this blog will be taking in Game 4 at Whirlaway (Fullerton and Kedzie). Come join us for what hopefully we'll be our revival.
-Oh, almost forgot: ZAMBRANO IN THE FUCKING BULLPEN????!!!!!!!