RECORDS: Hawks 16-23-9 Rangers 19-20-7
PUCK DROP: 6pm
TV: NBCSN Chicago, NBCSN for the non-locals because NBC hates hockey
HEY I’M HOCKEYIN’ OVAH HERE!: Blueshirt Banter
So I’d get all “Harf Harf Harf!” about Original Six bullshit, except not even the people who would peddle that are going to be able to dress up a game between two of the league’s worst teams. Possibly the two worst teams. Like, seriously. The Hawks are 30th in the league and the Kings have a game in hand on them at the bottom. What makes it even funnier is that the Rangers are above them, and they planned to be here. The Hawks didn’t and are somehow doing it better. Or worse, depending on your point of view.
Anyway, the Rangers are sure to get worse after their deadline sell-off as they go through the rebuild we only wish the Hawks were capable of. Kevin Hayes is a goner, Mats Zuccarello won’t be too far behind, Chris Kreider is probably what would bring most back, if anyone will take Adam McQuaid and the only skill he has of having an angry face he’ll go too. Soon enough Dylan Strome’s brother could find himself on an NHL top line. That’s how you tank it right, folks!
The Rangers aren’t last in their division because the Devils tried the unique tack of not having a goalie all season and the Flyers being more Flyers than anyone could have possibly imagined. Because there’s nothing the Rangers are good at. They’re a stank possession team, ranking second-worst in team Corsi-percentage. They’re seventh-worst in xGF%. They give up the second-most attempts per game, and the fourth-most scoring chances. They’re shit-assed when it comes to high-danger chances against, too. They also create next to nothing, as they’re worst in attempts-for or shots-for per game at evens. This is the definition of a nothing team, as it should be when it’s in Year One of a rebuild. Whoever is going to matter when this team matters again probably isn’t here yet, aside from Filip Chytil and maybe Brett Howden. We’ll be nice and throw Ryan Lindgren on the defense on the list as well, and he’ll be playing his second NHL game tonight.
The big question that hangs over the Rangers like a noxious cloud is Henrik Lundqvist. Firstly, because he really isn’t that good any more. Secondly, because it would be hard to be good behind this team. Thirdly, because the Rangers could probably get some team to pony up to try and take him on one last run for a Cup. But King has shown on interest in leaving New York, so he and the Rangers have to be content to sit and watch each other crumble down into nothingness. Awfully handsome nothingness, though.
For the Hawks, a little news. Collin Delia will start, which…duh. Apparently Drake Caggiula is going to get a look with Kane and Strome, as the Hawks try to convince either us or themselves (it’s themselves) that Caggiula is anything but a foot soldier. He isn’t. Expect Saad back here by the second period. Or they’re trying to drive Kane to ask for a trade by playing him with bigger and bigger clods until the deadline until he just gives up. Cunning ploy that would be, but this organization isn’t capable of anything that clever.
I can’t dress this one up for you. It’s two garbage teams hurling themselves at each other for 60 minutes because the schedule says they have to. Enjoy it on whatever level works for you.
Game #49 Preview Suite