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Starting All Over Again: Oilers At Blackhawks – Preview/Pre-Game Thread/Juice Cleanse


Game Time: 6:00PM Central
TV/Radio: CSN, WGN-AM 720
Calling For Tambellini’s Head: Copper And Blue

I’m not the only one kind of glad to see the point-streak come to a close, am I? Every game had started to gain an unnatural importance that was leading to a nervousness that I’m only comfortable with for games that actually matter. I’m glad to see it go against a team like the Avs as well because they’re simply an afterthought at the moment. They’ve got some talent but it’s still a ways away from developing. If the point-streak had ended against the Blues we’d never hear the end of it. St. Louis fans are insufferable enough as is, no need to give them any more ammo. Avs fans though? Who cares?

OK – so on to today’s oddly timed start. We last saw the Oilers at the UC about two weeks ago when the Hawks special teams had a bit of a meltdown – letting in a short handed goal and a power play. That forced OT where thankfully Marian Hossa was Marian Hossa.   Things have not exactly gone well for the Oilers since. The Oilers have been defeated 9-0 in their last two games, even allowing this beauty last Friday. And yes, that goal does really remind me of this one

The Oilers should be a team built like the Hawks. They’re smaller, faster and will thrive when playing a possession game. The main problem here with that – the whole “possession” thingy. They are a team that can’t win a faceoff, can’t go get the puck after losing (like the Hawks have been able to do) and thus they don’t control the play very often. This has led them to be damn near at the bottom of the league in shots per game, goals per game and not surprisingly, they’re at the bottom for overall points in the standings too.

With all the draft picks they’ve stocked up, they’ve got a future. The line of Hall, RNH and Eberle can be dangerous and can make you pay. Beyond that though? Not so much right now. Nail Yakupov will have his moments but is bounced around lines so much that he can’t find a comfort zone in this league. Sam Gagner isn’t going to have 8 point games every night. And I’m not sure how Ryan Smyth is still able to skate. And as for the Oilers defense… well.. we can talk about that when they actually get one.

The big question mark going into the game is how Q reacts to Crawford’s outing on Friday. There’s no reason to think Crow had anything more than a bad night (as did a lot of other Hawks) but Q has never been one to really coddle his netminders. The best thing to do would be to put Crawford right back out there again and let him regain his net (and hopefully stop staring back into it like he did so often on Friday). It wouldn’t exactly shock me though to see Razor get the start. No word yet on how Q is leaning until closer to 4:00.

So the game plan against the Oilers should be pretty simple. Watch for the matchups to get your best players out there against the RNH line and let the others feast on the mediocrity that is the rest of the team. The Oilers can keep up with the speed of the Blackhawks but don’t have the size to make them sweat or get timid along the boards. Let’s hope the Hawks forget the troubles they had in Denver and get back to taking points against the basement dwellers.

Let’s Go Hawks

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