RECORDS: Hawks 25-26-9 Red Wings 23-29-8
PUCK DROP: 6:30
TV: NBCSN (with Mike “Handsy Hands” Tirico calling his first ever hockey game)
THEY MAKE PORNO MOVIES THAT START THAT WAY TOO: Winging It In Motown
I guess pretty soon we’re going to have to replace the train-wreck picture. Is there a way to represent “no plan but a process?” We’ll find out. Because here’s something for ya: If the Hawks win tonight and the Jets beat the Avs, the Hawks will hold the final wild card spot. Fuck, they’ll only be two points behind the Stars for the first wildcard spot, and they just happen to wash up here on Sunday. The Avs do on Friday. As stupid and nonsensical as it may be, these are actual big games. If the Hawks were to win the next three, including two over direct competitors, they aren’t just in the playoff race. They’re firmly entrenched. Perhaps even slight favorites.
They’ll also only be .500. And even a win tonight would only see them seven points ahead of this twisted heap of metal that is the Red Wings. They’re only two points ahead of the Ducks, who are unquestionably a fertilizer collection of a hobo.
Anyway, that’s the scene, and just about every time you’ve expected the floor to drop out from the Hawks they just keep finding a way to stick around. Either loss to the Bruins or Jackets could have easily sent them to a tailspin. Especially as both were followed by piss poor starts against the Devils and Senators, And yet they recovered. Yes, they recovered against the Devils and Senators, which essentially is the hockey interpretation of my crazy, 30-pound husky/spitz mix knocking over a toddler out of sheer excitement (and she’s done this). But whatever. They recovered. And now it’s at a point where you have to say the Hawks can’t really lose to the Wings. It would be a bad loss.
So here we are. Surface details: Cam Ward will start, as it appears Collin Delia has played himself into waiting around until Corey Crawford is healthy and he can be packed back off to Rockford. His confidence could probably use it. Brendan Perlini is sick, might not play, letting Chris Kunitz back in. Brent Seabrook will play, which will assuredly tighten up the defense that was more welcoming than a Vegas buffet. Ha, that’s funny. See what I did there?
As for the Wings, they still suck. Since losing to the Hawks even though they outplayed them, they’ve beaten the Predators and Senators, but lost to the Flyers twice in a home-and-home. They’re just waiting for Monday, when they can eject their flotsam for picks and fringe prospects, and fill those vacated spots with more promising kids. There’s talk talk that last spring’s top pick, Filip Zadina, will come up after the deadline to take Nyquist’s spot. Stuff like that.
Unlike last time, the Hawks will get Jimmy Howard instead of Jonathan Bernier. Howard will be auditioning for the Sharks or maybe Flames or Jackets as trade bait. He’s a free agent in the summer, the Wings are going to have to have a longer term plan in net than him, and he’s actually been pretty good this year. He’s got playoff experience, and this might be a chip Wings cash in for more than they probably should. His .913 is certainly an improvement on what those teams mentioned are getting right now.
Other differences from 10 days ago is that Trevor Daley is back with his chaw and wayward sense of direction and logic. He joins something named Filip Hronek on the third-pairing. Justin “Let Out The” Abdelkader (cuz the revolution’s here and you know it’s right) has been punted to the bottom-six where he’s always belonged, allowing Nephew Bertuzzi to be with Dylan Larkin. Other than that, there’s not much to report.
Again, if the Hawks keep Larkin and Andreas Anathasiou (I can’t wait another dayyyyyyy) on a leash, you’re three-quarters of the way to beating this outfit. There’s not a lot of depth here, the blue line is slow, and when the Hawks were fully engaged last time this was a team they actually looked significantly faster than. Keep that up, and suddenly the weekend is awfully interesting.
Game #61 Preview Suite