RECORDS: Ducks 17-22-5 Hawks 19-20-6
PUCK DROP: 7:30
TV: NBCSN Chicago
OC GANGSTAS: Anaheim Calling
After dropping yet another two games against teams they want to catch to barely hang on to the playoff chase, the Hawks get a rare Saturday night home game against one of the few teams in their wake. The Anaheim Ducks are in the middle of the rebuild the Hawks won’t allow themselves to take on, transitioning from the Getzlaf-Perry era to whatever Sam Steel and the rest of the kids can produce.
We’ll start with the Hawks, who are once again trotting out this mess of a lineup. As we said in the lineups post, yes the Hawks have injuries. And yes the roster wasn’t very good to begin with. But this is as mangled group of forwards as you’re likely to ever see. David Kampf is not a winger, much less a scoring winger, and has no business playing with Dach and Top Cat. Patrick Kane is a third-liner with one worker bee in Ryan Carpenter and one dunderhead in Alex Nylander. Dylan Sikura, still better than any of Nylander, Highmore, or Quenneville, has whatever confidence he might have gleaned from breaking his duck (sorry again) by sitting for another game. John Quenneville, whose next contribution that you’d notice will be his first, remains on the top line with Kubalik and Toews.
This is a one line team right now. So make it one. Put Kane up there with Toews and Kubalik and play them 22 minutes. Pair Sikura with Top Cat and Dach to give them speed and something of a puck-winner with skill. Use Kampf and Carpenter and Caggiula as a checking line. Mash a fourth line together and play them sparingly. The answers are simple. None of them have been taken, and it’s no wonder these players refuse to bother until they’re on the verge of getting embarrassed.
Anyway, Lehner starts even though he missed the morning skate as he’s over his knee- or ankle-knack.
Right, to the Ducks. Who suck. Truly down in the muck. Not sure why you should give a fuck? If you’re looking to us for help, you’re out of luck. You’ll see as soon as they drop the puck.
Let us have our fun.
Much like the Hawks, the Ducks are a top-heavy team. When Getzlaf and Silfverberg (who’s hurt anyway) and Henrique are out there, they can control the play. When they’re not, they get crushed. There’s a fair amount of kids out there now, like Steel, Comtois, Jones, Larsson, Ritchie (also hurt) and one or two others. The Ducks have admitted one era is over and it’s time to find the next one.
It’s still a pretty solid blue line with HAMPUS! HAMPUS! and Cam Fowler and Josh Manson (he’s mad…he’s bad…), despite Erik Gudbranson’s best efforts. Jacob Larsson is the kid back there that they will hope rises to meet the other three one days soon.
What the Ducks haven’t gotten is Vezina-level goaltending from Josh Gibson like they did for most of last season before he gave in to exhaustion. Ryan Miller hasn’t been much better, sending him back to his My Bloody Valentine records. Gibson has had it especially rough of late, so maybe Miller gets the start.
The Ducks don’t do anything especially well, but they might be eager to get out there in what could be a rare road win for them. It’s really about keeping their top six from going totally off, and you can do that through matchups if Colliton were ever bothered (he’s not). Toews has almost always caused Getzlaf to shrivel and give up, and probably can still in both of their advanced ages.
And if the Hawks can’t get this one before heading out on the road…well, that’s probably it. It’s probably it anyway.