Stay Hungry: Blues @ Blackhawks - Preview, Game Thread, Gun Fight
Game Time: 7:30 PM Central
TV/Radio: Comcast/WIND-AM 560
Turd Burglars: St. Louis Game Time
Well the Lanche tried their best to blow it but prevailed over the Nucks in post-game tiddlywinks and the Flames fell to the Sharks. So now there's only two questions remaining in the Western Conference - Who will fall where in the top-8 and who do we send out a search party for first, Jarome Iginla or Kim Johnsson?
The Sharks still have the top spot but with a game in hand the Hawks can still take the number 1 seed. Thanks to their win in regulation (just like I said yesterday, goddammit) the Hawks will do no worse than the second overall spot - which as it stands now, will have them playing the Scum in the first round. Now, we don't really care who the Hawks have to play in the first - but we're all not so secretly rooting for a first round match-up between Vancouver and Detroit.. at least to remove one headache right away.
Enough about the playoffs though - there's something else important going on tonight. The fuckwads from St. Louis are heading to our town tonight looking to give the Blackhawks another beating like they did last week. That was of course after back-to-back abortions against the Blue Jackets. We've hopefully seen the Hawks put that past behind them now so lets hope for a little revenge to tie up the Sharks at the #1 spot.
The Blues won't make things easy however. With the Lanche win - they were officially eliminated from the playoffs last night, so they could come out angry. We've already seen this team play with an edge.. they're loaded with nasty young bastards... except for Keith Tkachuk who is an old fart... and Paul Kariya, who just likes to sniff farts.
If the Blues do want to come out with a nasty streak and goon it up.. well.. to a certain point, the Hawks should roll with it. In the 3 victories over the Blues this year.. there have been a combined 217 penalty minutes handed out, an average of 72 per game. In the two losses, only 44.. or 22 per game. That's obviously slanted a bit due to the 107 PIM handed out in the January 2nd game but when the Blues try to skate and shut down the Hawks.. they do pretty well. When they're out to drive people through the ice, not so much. The Hawks would be well advised to just avoid noted mouthbreather Cam Janssen though - Ben Eager held his own (but lost, obviously) however, we haven't seen Nick Boynton since his ill-advised move to take on Janssen in the last game. Obviously they shouldn't go engaging in fights where someone might get hurt but they shouldn't shy away from throwing a big hit if possible.
With the game last night, I don't think the Blackhawks held a morning skate. So as of right now I have no idea who is starting in net or if Troy Brouwer will return to the line-up to replace Adam Burish. The official Hawks twitter account says that Q will be meeting with the media at 5:00... so I'll guess we'll know then. I would say we should see Huet play tonight in perhaps his final game for the Hawks for the year. Save the bitching... we know Niemi owns the net now but it'd be a good idea to get the Finn a little rest in before the playoffs and let Huet get a game in with no real pressure. No one is dying for the Hawks to get the first overall spot and Huet knows he's lost the starting gig for the year. When there's no real pressure on him, perhaps he can get back to finding his game... please?
Trixie reminded me of this in the comments - There is a road-watch meetup for those of you in the NW Burbs tonight at Westwood Tavern in Schaumburg. Westwood is at 1385 North Meacham Road. The food there is actually pretty good and they have a decent beer selection. If you want to get one of the tap tables though you'll probably need to get there early - I recommend the ones with either Fat Tire or Magic Hat #9. Have fun friends...
UPDATE #1: The Blackhawks recalled Bryan Bickell. I'm not really sure why - maybe they're hoping to get him some consideration for the Calder? You know.. like how movie studios re-release movies just before the Oscar voting. OK yeah, I got nothing. It makes you wonder what the hell is going on with Brouwer though, don't it?
Lets Go Hawks