RECORDS: Penguins 0-0-1 Hawks 0-0-0
PUCK DROP: 7:30pm Central
TV: NBCS CHICAGO OR WHATEVER THE FUCK IT’S CALLED NOW
IRON CITY IS ACTUALLY PRETTY MUCH AS GOOD AS YEUNGLING: Pensburgh
After spending the past month gnashing our teeth or making fun of people gnashing their teeth about who would fill out the third defensive pairing or who would be on the fourth line, the Hawks get to roll it out for real tonight. In an odd bit of scheduling, it’ll be the second game for the Penguins, when you’d have to guess if this were the NBA or NFL they would have had, y’know, the team that just won its third Cup open the season against the team that last won three Cups close together in a primetime slot. Instead, you’ll be getting Antti Niemi on local TV! The NHL people, you can’t beat it with a stick!
And hey, if you thought you were going to get a reprieve for just one night from Q’s lineup weirdness, well my friends, you are wrong! So very wrong! What did you think this was? YOU KNEW THE DEAL WHEN YOU TOOK IT.
So Ryan Hartman will skate on the second line with Chicken Fat and Garbage Dick, instead of Top Cat (if you don’t speak our language, sorry. Just look like you know what you’re doing here and try to fit in. Eventually you’ll get it). Meanwhile, Alex DeBrincat will play on the right side, where he’s never played before just so we’re clear, with Wide Dick Arty and Patrick Sharp. Who gets him the puck in this formation is anyone’s guess, but in my conspiracy-filled mind this is Q sandbagging DeBrincat to highlight his defensive deficiencies so he can be totally justified in sending him down in three weeks when he doesn’t produce with these guys so he can bring up whatever young plugger you can think of.
And we’re not done. Jordan Oesterle, after doing pretty much nothing during the preseason except get the Blackhawks Propaganda treatment from front office and media, looks to be drawing in alongside of Cody Franson, instead of Gustav Forsling who actually has experience. So remember, a defenseman the Oilers didn’t want is going to be rescued by the miracle workers of Q and Ulf. Good stuff, we’re in midseason form.
Either way, this is a good time to be catching the Penguins. After raising the banner the Pens had to close furiously in the third period last night with two goals to tie the Blues before losing in the rodeo clown competition. It was a pretty Penguins game, with them accepting giving up chances to create their own and making the whole thing look a bit kindergarten football-esque. So after the emotions of a banner-raising and exerting to the max, the second of a back-to-back should see them softened just a bit.
To go along with that the Hawks should be getting a look at Antti Niemi, literally the second-worst goalie in the NHL the past three years. The only one worse was his teammate Kari Lehtonen, but remember Jim Nill is a fucking genius. Anyway, this is obviously a much better team in front of him than he ever got in Dallas, but even when the Penguins are ticking they’re giving up chances and just trying to outscore. Niemi isn’t the one you want pulling your ass out of a sling.
While we generally mock October hockey, it’s not the easiest start for the Hawks. They’ll probably get Columbus’s backup on Saturday, but then it’s the Leafs and Canadiens on the road followed by three straight division games and then the Oilers. With the turnover on the roster, a start of 3-5 or 2-6 isn’t exactly going to have anyone breathing easy. So they’ll have to hit the ground running.
…it’s time to light the lights…
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