FACEOFF: 7:30 Central
TV/RADIO: CSN, 560 WIND-AM
HONKY TONK BLUES: On The Forecheck
Since the Jackets handed the Hawks the Western Conference’s top seed with their win in Disneyland, the rest of this season has been pretty much rendered a playoff tech-week. That is unless you care about The Presidents’ Trophy, and I think there’s a pretty even split among Hawks fans whether you do or not. I see both sides of it, but whatever. No one’s going to shed a tear if it doesn’t end up residing here. But we’ll think it’s kind of cool if it does.
To start the end of this schedule, the complete mess and completely finished Nashville Predators show up at the UC for the 27th time this month. Or so it seems.
It’s been….well, feels like never since the Preds showed up here and had nothing to play for. They missed the playoffs in ’09, but weren’t eliminated until the last weekend of the season. So this is a rare version of Nashville indeed.
They’re banged up, that’s for sure. Colin Wilson has been done for a while, and Gabriel Bourque is out as well. Paul Gaustad and Mike Fisher are unlikely to make the bell either, and Patric Hornqvist might not. All of this had led to the call up of Daniel Bang, and I think we’re all appreciative of that.
This will also be future hope Filip Forsberg’s and his lack of a “ph” in his first name first trip to the United Center and first look at the Hawks. Forsberg was the catch for Martin Erat from the Capitals, and I can’t shake the feeling that as odd as it was to have Erat want out of town, this is going to look like another piece of David Poile mastermind…ish…ness? in a couple years. Forsberg has long way to go in his own end, but is pretty slick with the puck and in the offensive zone. The Preds haven’t exactly bathed in flare in their existence. Forsberg has it.
It’s always hard to judge what you’ll get out of a team with nothing to play for. Sometimes they play like they don’t have a care in the world and are loose and fun and give you a hard time. Others are just looking for an excuse to chuck it in the 2nd period. Considering the Preds haven’t beaten the Hawks all year and won’t want to get swept, expect to see a little inspiration from them. If the Hawks get up early and by a couple goals though….well…..
As for the Hawks, Patrick Sharp is out with the same shoulder he was out with before that he most certainly didn’t rush back from and injure again. Or maybe he did. Who knows? We sure don’t. Wonder why. Ray Emery is also out with some sort of leg gremlin, so Crow will start.
We could sit here and bitch about the lineup and whatever else, but why? We’ve got six games here to just kind of sit back and enjoy just watching a Hawks game. It’s a time to experiment if you want. So let’s just enjoy the no-context hockey, hmmm?
Reminder: If you usually buy an Indian outside the UC on Madison next to Gate 2 or 3, both myself and my vendor there will be across Madison per request from UC security. It should only be for this weekend, but do look for us.