Sunday Suit - Hawks vs. Ducks Preview, Gameday Thread, Magic: The Gathering Tournament

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GAMETIME: 6:00 pm

Please No More California Songs: Battle of California, Anaheim Calling

Even after all the vitriol regarding last night's rough and tumble throttling of a bad Blues team, the Hawks come right back home to play the Anaheim Ducks tonight after a less than 24 hour turnaround. Thanks again compressed Olympic scheduling!

Alright, enough shouting at the rain (or bitterly cold wind, as the case happens to be today). Last time these two teams met, the Ducks snapped the Hawks 8-game winning streak with a 3-0 shutout in Anaheim on the afternoon of Black Friday. It was a game I didn't see a single second of because I was working (shocking, I know), and by all accounts, it's probably best that I didn't. Overall, though, Anaheim has been an immense disappointment halfway through this campaign, currently sitting in last place of the Pacific Division. It's pretty apparent where the problems lie. What used to be this team's strength, defense and goaltending, has been wretched so far this year. The Ducks are allowing over three goals and 32 shots per game. Goalies Jonas Hiller and Jean-Sebastien Giguere have given shells of their past performances, and a corps of defensemen that once boasted names like Pronger and Beauchemin now has names like Nick Boynton and Steve Eminger- not exactly perennial stalwarts, leaving Scott Niedermayer to basically do it all by himself. Even the son of Jor-El, James Wisniewski, making his triumphant return to the United Center tonight, hasn't been able to muster much by way of taking any of the pressure off Niedermayer, as far fetched as that sounds. Up front, everyone knows it's the big line of Bobby Ryan, Ryan Getzlaf, and Corey Perry, with an occasional dash of the Finnish Fuck, Teemu Selanne. After them, there really isn't much going on, as the Saku Koivu signing hasn't been nearly as productive as anticipated. On top of things, Selanne and Getzlaf are currently hurt, exacerbating things further for the Ducks, so even with Q being as matchy-uppy as he is, I doubt he'll adhere to strictly to keeping Madden and Marlboro 72 on the ice at every juncture against Ryan and Perry.

Regarding our beloved Men of Four Feathers, there's not much that needs to be said regarding the quality of their play offensively of late, as the team has been buzzing the last two or three games up front. However, the lineup tonight should look a bit different than the one last night in St. Louis, with Antti Niemi looking to get the nod between the pipes, Ben Eager likely in detention from the league, and Niklas Hjalmarsson rumored to being ready to go again after taking a puck in the temple on New Year's Eve. It's a common refrain, but regardless of tonight's personnel, if the Hawks put forth a workman effort and keep the big line in check, the result should be favorable. Let's keep the second half of the season moving in the right direction, boys.

UPDATE: Ben Eager will not be suspended after last night's match penalty, so he'll be in the lineup.Thanks to Original Six for the link.