You've Been Telling Us How This Ain't No Rodeo Town: Hawks at Flames Preview/Pregame Thread/Chinese Buffet

200px-road_warrior_hawk_medium vs. Cheap_trick_the_flame_medium
GAMETIME: 8pm Central
IGGY IDOLATRY: Matchsticks and Gasoline, Flames Nation

Who wouldn't want to spend a weekend in Alberta?

The Hawks go south to north this time, starting in Cowtown tonight for a dance with the Stamps. Or Flames. Not sure it matters. Some injury news to start. Both Brent Seabrook and Michael Frolik are scratches. That means Optimus Grind/Agent Smith will start alongside Dave Bolland on the 3rd line, and probably Andrew Brunette as Bryan Bickell has checked in for an extended stay in Chateau Bow Wow. The defense will look the same as it did in Vancouver, which means the fake large good luck charm John Scott will stay in the lineup, as Quenneville still uses this rock to keep tigers away. That's ok though, Duncan Keith didn't play half an hour Wednesday with a back-to-back coming up here or anything (Sam starts putting out cigarettes on forearm. Don't worry, the one without the tattoos).

As for who is playing, the rest of the lineup should look the same. Hopefully, most of the Hawks fan-o-sphere can keep complaining about Viktor Stalberg while he keeps racking up points and skating his ass off. I find it highly entertaining.

As for the Flames, they were pretty much waltzed past when here a week ago and have been ho hum since. They beat Colorado in Denver, which is a habit of theirs, but then dropped a home contest to Ottawa which is a little tricky to figure out how to do. They tossed 39 shots at Craig Anderson but could only manage one goal. That leaves them at 7-9-1, catching mice in the basement of the Northwest Division.

It's not all that surprising. The Flames are full of plodders and halfwits that just don't constitute a good team. There's barely a center on this team, and no Olli Jokinen doesn't count. When Kipper and Iggy aren't dragging this team around by sheer will, they have serious problems. Their power play is really struggling. And Iggy hasn't been very good, a -10 so far because of his lack of scoring and that probably won't get better when he sees his best buddy Duncan Keith across from him.

The Hawks snuffed both games in the Saddledome last year, in most infuriating fashion. They simply didn't bother, and the second one resulted in a bag skate for them the next day, which only kind of worked. Someone will probably remind them of that. If they do, then there's two points begging to be taken. The Flames simply cannot keep up with the Hawks when they're on their game. They don't possess near the speed on the forecheck that the Canucks do which provided so many problems for the Hawks early in the last game. They'll have time to get their heads up and pick the right pass. This defense isn't much quicker outside of Jay Bouwmeester, and especially with a pumped Ben Smith back in the lineup the Hawks should be harassing them into therapy.

Five is better than four.

Special Note: I have just been informed that one of our Moderators, Stacie7, has been in the hospital for the past little while. All of us here at SCH wish her a speedy recovery and health. We're thinking of you, Stace.