TV/RADIO: CSN, WGN
NAME THEM GEORGE: Mile High Hockey
Once again, the Hawks and Avs will meet the day after Boxing Day, this time reversing venues and playing in The Pop Can in Denver. The Hawks will hope it goes a little better for them than it did the Avs last year, where DLR was called in from the pen in the 2nd period.
Part of the issue is that due to the new CBA, teams aren’t even allowed to travel on Boxing Day, meaning teams are flying in the day of the game, something they don’t do normally during the regular season. It led to a lot of teams being a step slow and eventually a few goals behind. However, it is thought that one of the best ways to deal with playing at altitude is just this fashion, flying in and playing and getting out before your body even knows there’s a difference. So maybe it works out for the Hawks?
Speaking of those guys, Corey Crawford is your starter and neither Brad Richards nor Michal Rozsival (KALOO KALAY!) have made the trip. Richards’s injury gets weirder as he took the morning skate before the Jets game, had three days off, and now doesn’t even make the trip? Rozsival… oh who gives a flying fornication? Finally we can see what Rundblad and Erixon can do together. Seeing as they’re lifelong friends, they should be jumping at the chance and hopefully they can show why they should try this more often. Corey Crawford gets a start, and let’s hope it’s a good one to cut off the oxygen to the meatballs after Tuesdays whathaveya.
As for the Avs, they are the flung monkey feces we all thought and hoped they’d be this year. Semyon Varlamov has missed a lot of time and hasn’t been that good when he has played, so that house of cards on sand they were last year has come tumbling down and they are the wooden spooners of the Central Division. They had won three in a row before the break, so I guess they come in on something of a roll. It is for them let’s say.
The Hawks will get a look at Calvin Pickard again, as they did on Black Wednesday. Without Pickard the Avs might very well be leading the McDavid-Eichel derby, as he’s been very good and has six of their 13 wins. Last time we did this Pickard made 42 saves in a losing effort, and there’s no reason to expect he’s just going to fold over for the Hawks this time because really who ever does that?
You’d expect that even with the odd travel the Hawks should be primed for this one. They pretty much laid a pterodactyl egg on Tuesday against the Jets, for understandable reasons, and have had three days to clear their heads. You worry about getting caught looking ahead as there’s a top of the Central clash against Nashville waiting on Monday and then the Winter Classic, but it’s rare the Hawks do that.
Even when the Avs sucked two or three years ago, they were a pain in the ass for the Hawks. They’re one of the few teams that has more speed, making Rozie’s absence all the more softened. When the Hawks screw up with turnovers in the neutral zone or making a mistake leading to a rush, they can’t catch the Avs on the backcheck when they get going. So while the Hawks are the superior team, they do have to be clean with their passing and decisions. Because if you keep possession on the Avs, this blue line sucks to high heaven and Pickard has been the only thing to bail them out.
Still, Duchene, Landeskog, MacKinnon, O’Reilly, and Iginla in a previous life have all been pimples on the Hawks’ ass. Be wary. With the Avs, it’s always a fucking goddamn motherfucker.
Let’s Go Hawks.