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Opening With The Meat: Blues v. Hawks Preview, Pregame Thread, My Dinner With Andre Viewing Party

FACEOFF: 7:30pm
TV/RADIO:
CSN, WGN Radio
YOUR VILLAGE IDIOT:
St. Louis Gametime (not as fun as it used to be)

Before I get to the game tonight, as I should do every year I want address everyone’s questions about where to get The Committed Indian if you’re going to the game. More people have been asking than usual. We are stationed basically at every corner of the United Center, or as close as we can be. I man Madison St. outside Gate 3. We have another one by the bus stop on Madison outside Gate 2, and that’s Scott. On the south side of the arena, Sarah is stationed at Damen and Monroe, because we can’t be inside the UC parking lots. Flip that around, and you’ll find Hamish at Wood and Monroe to cover the Southeast corner. In addition, we usually have Adam on the corner of Madison and Wood. Most of the time, we have Glenn on the corner of Madison and Damen, though that’s the spot we can’t always cover. Glenn is also Sarah’s husband, so don’t say anything weird to her or I’ll be forced to sick him on you and you don’t want that. So it’s pretty easy to find us if you’re looking for us. We’ll be the hypothermia victims tonight.

And if you’re not going, you can always just get it online from this site. I’ll tweet when it’s posted if you just want to get that game’s. Ok, enough of that.

To the home opener. And it begins with what is looking like — after an admittedly small sample size — the main antagonist in the Central Division. If you’ve seen Detroit’s defense in their two games, you’ll know why I’m saying that.

St. Louis played last night, and got a shootout win over Nashville after Alex Pietrangelo tied it up late in the 3rd. That makes the Blues 2-0-0 just like the Hawks, except the Blues are carrying the weight of being everyone’s pick to come out of this whole Western Shoot-Em-Up. That’s what tends to happen when you put up 109 points one year and then essentially return the whole team back the next.

Except for one addition, and that’s Vladimir Tarasenko. He’s certainly looked the part in the first two games with three goals — all of them pretty special — and two assists. This may be the top-line scorer the Blues have always craved. Then again, it doesn’t take all that much to scorch Kyle Quincey and Scott Hannan, so we might have to pump the brakes just a tad. Anyway, the Hawks will have to watch this kid closely. He’s got a wicked release, so gap control when he’s on the rush is paramount.

But it’s that returning the whole team that I take some issue with. Because that means that Barret Jackman, who they could have let walk in the summer and I think we all assumed they would because why would you keep him around unless you lost a bar bet, has to skate significant minutes. How far you going with that? So does Ian Cole or Roman Polak. Or maybe even the newly-signed Wade Redden will have to, and frankly I’ll die like the weasels in Roger Rabbit if that happens. If the NHL is serious about upping the scrutiny on interference this year, this group will struggle. They took eight penalties yesterday, for example.

Oh, same team means same level of intelligence too. And by that I mean this team still has dead termites for brains. This newly discovered “movement on the power play” the Hawks have been toying with the past two games will certainly get more outings tonight.

The drill is a familiar one. Leddy, Keith, and Hjalmarsson will have to maintain their composure as the Blues repeatedly put pucks behind them and then turn into ICBMs into the end boards. Calm, measured breakouts instead of panic will see the Hawks firing at a very slow defense with speed, which is all we want. Cash in a power play or two, you know you’ll get them. Sit through Bollig and Reaves fighting, don’t get too angry with the meatheads telling you that’s what it’s all about. Repeat.

In this short of a season, even two points in the third game is pretty important. Especially when it’s over the team you’re probably competing with most directly.

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