Hockey

With the calendar soon to turn to April, the NHL lumberingly rounds its corner into the true home stretch, with this Blackhawks season mercifully coming to an end in just 16 more games. As a general rule, the post-deadline undead period for those teams who have stripped the roster for parts such as the Hawks should in theory offer a look at some of the youth that has been toiling in the AHL for 6 months now. But as has been apparently for years now, the Hawks don’t necessarily follow conventional wisdom. The only forward worth giving a shit about, Lukas Reichel, is being artificially held back for contract purposes, as exceeding 9 games in the show will allow his first pro year to slide til next year, and if this team were going to be competitive, it could sort of be understood. But there is a very real chance that we are all also observing the final games of the franchise pillars in Hawks uniforms, and Alex DeBrincat certainly has no reason to stick around beyond next season if they don’t. Add to the fact that none of the defensemen that had ARRIVED last season under Coach Jeremy Bevington can seem to break the lineup here even beyond the trade deadline and with Connor Murphy hurt, and things are beyond desolate. There is literally no reason for Connor Murphy not to be shut down after being knocked out cold, or for pending UFAs Calvin de Haan and Erik Gustafsson to be on the ice anymore, yet the general public is subjected to them on a nightly basis because Derek King and his Sith Master Marc Crawford are laboring under the delusion that they could be brought back for next season. Which is to say that this is an entertaining product and can’t-miss television.

3/28 – vs Buffalo

Game Time: 7:30PM CDT
TV/Radio: NBC Sports Chicago+, WGN-AM 720
The Pegulas Are Vile – Die By The Blade

Given the slow-motion Armageddon that has been the past two calendar years and the commensurate scheduling considerations, this will be the Sabres first visit to the UC since 2019. And for them, not much has changed other than sending their malcontent captain Jack Eichel to Vegas for Alex Tuch and some magic beans. To be fair, the Hawks are probably about the same level of bad as they were at that time two, but it’s been a far more eventful and circuitous path getting there. To their credit, LOCAL GUY Don Granato at least has this team playing hard even if they don’t do anything particularly well, and will occasionally jump up and bit a contending team in the dick as they did outdoors against Toronto, or just this past week against both Calgary and Pittsburgh while needing extra time to do so. The Sabres are finally getting something out of the lumbering and unfortunately named Tage Thompson, who originally came over in the Ryan O’Reilly deal and is likely to hit 30 goals while currently sitting on 27. It of course remains to be seen if this is something he can sustain at the NHL level or this is merely a function of SOMEONE having to score on a bad team. Former #1 overall pick Rasmus Dahlin is still here and doing well enough to apparently make the all star game, but again, it was mandatory the Sabres be represented. LOCAL GUY Craig Anderson will be 41 in May and somehow he has the most starts for the Sabres at 22 (along with Dustin Tokarksi), and has 12 of the Sabres 23 wins. He played yesterday afternoon against the Rangers so who knows if he’ll get one last hometown start or not, but it’s no guarantee he’ll be done after this year either.  These are two evenly matched bad teams, so it’s likely they pull off an improbably entertaining game this even as has been the case with the Hawks all year, but it means nothing to either team.

3/31 – at Panthers

Game Time: 6:00PM CDT
TV/Radio: NBC Sports Chicago, TVA-S, WGN-AM 720
Bienvenidos A Miami – Litter Box Cats

The Cats probably spent the most capital to fortify themselves for a long cup run in acquiring both Ben Chiarot from the Habs (for what reasons is anyone’s guess, he’s never been anything more than A GUY), and landing the prize of the deadline in prying Claude Giroux away from the Cold Ones about 10 seconds after his 1000th game with the club ended. Since the trades they’ve gone 2-1, most recently losing in Tronna to the Leafs 5-2, but beating the woeful Habs and Sens. While obtaining both of Chiarot and Giroux are nice additions to an already potent offense, they do nothing to address the two biggest issues that would preclude a deep Cats run – 1) how healthy is Aaron Ekblad going to be, and 2) will Sergei Bobrovsky shit himself again in the spring or not?

4/1 – at Tampa

Game Time: 6:00PM CDT
TV/Radio: NBC Sports Chicago, TVA-S, WGN-AM 720
Feel The Void: Raw Charge

Will Jonathan Toews give Brandon Hagel a tearful, emotional embrace at any point during the game, similar to any of the 45 times Frodo and Sam are reunited throughout the course of the Lord of The Rings? Tune in and find out! Do not tune in to find out if the Blackhawks will win or not, however, because they are not going to.

4/3 – vs Arizona

Game Time: 6:00PM CDT
TV/Radio: NBC Sports Chicago, WGN-AM 720
Evicted Dogs: Five For Howling

So the Arizona Coyotes are basically a Ponzi scheme organization who have been evicted from their current arena in Glendale come season’s end and will have to rent time out of Arizona State’s new arena, which seats approximately 4-5K. They have been a Troubled Asset Relief Program for years where teams send millstone contracts of elderly players who are effectively retired but only exist as basically a no show job on their roster, like so many retiree “residents” of the state. They have been willfully trying to lose for years on a minimal payroll in order to maximize the profitability of league revenue sharing and taking advantage of Gary Bettman’s seemingly pathological need to keep this franchise afloat and in Arizona despite every shred of evidence they need to be relocated. As of the time of this writing they have the exact same number of regulation wins (15) as the Chicago Blackhawks, whose previous GM made moves last off season thinking they were going to be in the playoff picture.

Hockey

vs.

RECORDS: Hawks 20-20-6    Senators 16-22-7

PUCK DROP: 6:30

TV: NBCSN Chicago

BULWORTHS: Silver Seven Sens

The Hawks get to remain in the remedial class after their win against the Ducks tonight, and arguably tomorrow, as they’ll head for the Eastern Canada swing. They kick it off tonight against the equally-rebuilding-as-the-Ducks Senators, before decamping east into La Belle Province to face another floundering O6 team in Montreal on Wednesday. But first things first, a contest out in the middle of nowhere Ontario. Even though basically Ontario is nowhere, and deep down even Ontario knows that.

The Senators aren’t quite as bad as they were supposed to be. This was supposed to be a Wings-like outfit, with a sad little point total as they raced to the #1 pick in June. And the Senators certainly aren’t good, but they haven’t redefined stink as we know it like the Motor City cadre. Still, they’re tied for the second-fewest regulation wins in the league with the just-conquered Ducks and two ahead of the Wings. Perhaps they just couldn’t anticipate just how bad the Wings would be. Who could?

Not that the Sens do anything well. They’re bottom-five in both goals-for and goals-against in the league. Their metrics aren’t much better, though they’re a little weird. They give up a ton of attempts, and have one of the worst Corsi-shares around. But their expected-goals marks are basically middle fo the pack, in that they don’t give up a ton of great chances. They’re not a great defensive team by any sense of the word, and they don’t have nearly enough firepower to make any team capable of breathing sweat. But they do limit the kinds of things they give up, which is more than you can say for the Hawks. In fact, if they were getting any kind of goaltending, they might barely be on the fringes of they playoff picture.

But the thing is, Craig Anderson is now three days older than water and Anders Nilsson is the very definition of “replacement level goalie.” So this is what you get.

The Sens have gotten breakout seasons from Anthony Duclair (spotlighted earlier) and Jean-Gabriel Pageau, the latter of which figures to be a pretty valuable commodity around the deadline. He’s cheap now at $3M and will make a decent 2-3 center for some contender down the stretch. He also is an impending UFA, so he’s going to get a major raise which probably isn’t in the interest of the Senators.

The only pieces that figure to be around whenever this thing turns in Ottawa is whichever garbage Tkachuk son resides there and Thomas Chabot. You may have heard about Chabot playing 37 minutes in a game recently and averaging about 27 minutes per night the past couple months. I mean, why not play your future pieces into dust now while you suck raw sewage, eh? I suppose names like Filip Chlapik, or Rudolfs Balcers (which sounds like a gastrointestinal problem), or Drake Batherson (which definitely was a character in Knives Out) could make the list before the year is out but they have some work to do. The road is long for the Sens, let’s just say that.

For the Hawks, Robin Lehner gets his “revenge” game or whatever as a former Senator before Corey Crawford gets the hometown start in Montreal tomorrow, where he generally has flourished. Thanks to the demotion of  John Quenneville, which was done because the Hawks actually feared putting him on waivers, means that Dylan Sikura gets back in the lineup. Zack Smith also has this as a homecoming, having spent his entire career in Ottawa before moving south.

Neither the Senators or Canadiens are any damn good, so the Hawks might want to gobble up these points before seeing a rejuvenated, if not beat up, Leafs squad on Hockey Night. They’re getting close to the bye, which generally has seen them turn the motor off. And that’s fine if they’ve scratched this season. If they’re still planning on making something of it, these are games you have to have. Well, they have to have them all but we know how they do against other teams actually competing for playoff spots, but you know how this goes.

Everything Else

vs.

 

RECORDS: Senators 22-31-5   Hawks 24-26-9

PUCK DROP: 7:30

TV: NBCSN Chicago

BULLSHIT BULLSHIT BULLSHIT: Silver Seven Sens

There will be some, perhaps lots, who look across the ice tonight at the Ottawa Senators and wish the Hawks had taken their path so far, or at least their path forward. For the Senators are already at the bottom of the league, and will soon discard Mark Stone, Matt Duchene, and Ryan Dzingel (or should), and the end of their season will almost certainly be something resembling whatever that was at Daytona yesterday. Except instead of hilljacks it’ll be….Canadian hilljacks, and more Timbo’s. And the Senators will end up in the bottom three of the lottery, where they would have a great chance at a franchise-turning player in the draft.

Except they don’t have a first-round pick, so that’s the part Hawks fans wouldn’t want.

Meanwhile, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, with help from Erik Gustafsson and Alex DeBrincat and possibly Dylan Strome, will keep the Hawks from bottoming out. And whether it’s a reality or not, they’ll continue to chase a playoff spot that the Western Conference as a whole keeps trying to pass around like it was waiting at a highway-offramp. And they’ll end up with anywhere from the 7th to 16th pick, all the while not doing themselves a whole lot of good. Who will be better off when it’s all said and done? Well, the Hawks because they’ll actually have a pick. But you get it. It could be argued they’d be better long-term if they were where the Senators are.

But you didn’t come for hypotheticals.

Anyway, the Senators have been able to only put it together recently when playing the Jets, whom they’ve beaten twice in a week for some reason. Other than that, they’ve lost five of their other six games in February. Their lone win came against the Ducks, because you cannot lose to the Ducks no matter how badly you might like to or even try. It’s akin to Tommy trying to lose to Begbie in Trainspotting. And yes, the image of the Ducks as a whole cowering in a corner trying not to piss themselves works pretty well, I think.

That hasn’t kept Duchene, Stone, and Dzingel from trying to play their way into happier situations, and all have been hot of late. Dutch would seem a perfect fit for the Predators, which is goddamn annoying, which means the Jets are then also interested in that Central arms race. The Flames have been most hotly connected to Stone, but he will have no shortage of suitors either. If they can get a bidding war going for them they could end up with a decent enough haul. Or they’ll end up watching Eeli Tolvanen do nothing for years despite claims he was going to be the greatest Finn every to grace this league since the lovechild of Selanne and various Koivus. It’s the Senators, you won’t bet against anything.

As for the team that’s on the ice now, like the Hawks they are woeful defensively, among the worst in overall Corsi or xGF%, and in attempts and expected-goals against. When Thomas Chabot isn’t on the ice, the other pairings simply get steamrolled into their own end. While there is more than a touch of offensive talent at forward between the trade bait and Chris Tierny, Bobby “I Swear I’m Not The Dumbest Person Alive” Ryan, and Colin White, it doesn’t matter much when it’s backing up.

Craig Anderson is now too old to hold up under an avalanche, and Sens fans can thank him for extending noted-genius-in-his-own-mind Guy Boucher’s reign of boredom much longer than it should have gone thanks to a goofed East Final Game 7 appearance two years ago. Boucher’s “system,” such as it is, requires a goalie to throw a .925 or better at the world, and if they don’t his teams suck. And they almost always suck. Anderson is hurt, as 37-year-olds tend to get, so Hawks legend Anders Nilsson will be in net. He had a hot-streak upon arriving in The North Capital, but has flattened out of late.

For the Hawks, small changes around the edges. Collin Delia will slot back in, trying to come correct after a touchdown surrendered to the Bruins. Gustav Forsling will once again exhibit his modern art representation of sadness in place of Carl Dahlstrom, who was a splatter-painting himself on Saturday. Brendan Perlini will replace Chris Kunitz.

For whatever this is, the Avs and Yotes are also in action today, though both have tough assignments in the Knights and Flames, respectively. Should those results go the Hawks way and the Hawks get one over the Sens, they’ll be within one point of the last playoff spot. A playoff spot that the Wild clearly are treating like it needs disinfecting and have no interest in keeping. As dumb as it might seem, one point is one point, especially with the Wild beating a hasty retreat from the world at large.

You can’t say that the Hawks “should” beat anyone, given their status. But if anyone’s that team, it’s the Senators. And it’s also the Wings, who are on the docket Wednesday. And the Avs on Friday have been backing up for a couple months. Honestly, come Saturday night this could all be very real, no matter how stupid.

Ride the snake.

 

 

Game #60 Preview Suite

Preview

Spotlight

Q&A

Douchebag Du Jour

I Make A Lot Of Graphs

Lineups & How Teams Were Built

Everything Else

 vs.   

PUCK DROP: 6:30pm Central

TV: WGN

S-E-N SPELLS SEN: Silver Seven Sens

Whether you like it or not, the Hawks will kick off their season tonight. For better or worse…and it’s worse. It’s already worse, as #3 goalie Anton Forsberg–who would have backed up Cam Ward tonight and probably had a decent shot of usurping him to get some starts before Crawford returns–went TWANG! at the morning skate and now Collin Delia is currently on his way to Ottawa. That’s how you kick this pig!

There’s really no way to mask this anymore: The Hawks lineup sucks. The top-six you could make a case for, and I’ll admit to being awfully interested in seeing what Alex DeBrincat can do with Jonathan Toews, and what this Brandon SaadNick SchmaltzPatrick Kane line can do. That could be fun! Maybe Dominik Kahun is more than just a German Tony Salmaleinen? We’ll find out. Toes has needed a playmaker for a while now and we know Top Cat can do that. If Kahun is anything, and that’s a pothole-filling “if,” that line could surprise. Saad and Kane have torn a hole in the Earth together before, but that was a long time ago now. But hey, I love things that are old. Except myself.

But after that? You would read the names of these two lines to a misbehaving kid to punish him. “If you don’t start paying attention in physics I’m going to list out the Hawks’ bottom six repeatedly!”

“NO! NO! I promise I will! I love Newton’s third law! I’m totally gonna opposite reaction in this bitch!”

Artem Anisimov and Chris Kunitz on the third line is aching to be scorched. But then again anytime Arty is on a line that doesn’t include Patrick Kane it’s the same story. For some reason Marcus Kruger has moved to a wing to accommodate Luke Johnson. Q is moving a favorite toy so make way for SuckBag Johnson. Let’s all think about that for a minute and then die. David Kampf and John Hayden are here because the rules state someone has to. This is the second straight season that Hayden has “looked great in camp,” so his seven goals on the year will be even more special this time around.

As for the blue line…I mean do you want us to? Fine. Duncan Keith and Henri Jokiharju are the top-pairing. It really could be anything. The fading star and the possibly-overmatched-but-exciting kid. Keith has never been apt to be the more conservative partner in a pairing, and I’m not sure he has to be here. Maybe let both of them do their thing and just see what the hell happens. What do you have to lose? We’ll see how Keith takes to it but it would be a first if he were to rein his game in to let someone else be the aggressor. But hey, stranger things have happened…is what I’m contractually obligated to say here.

Beyond that…well, Erik Gustafsson and Brent Seabrook are the second-pairing. If this was Seabrook five years ago, you’d be about that. But now he can’t cover for Cowboy Goose and Seabs himself has some cowboy leanings that his sloth-like foot-speed hasn’t dissuaded him from. Goose showed something toward the end of last season, and of course he has the lucky charm of the “Fels Motherfuck” (TM) which should carry him to a Norris, obvi. Still, the Hawks haven’t given up on him even though he’s 26 now and we’ve seen them discard a host of prospects before reaching that age so they must think there can be a middle-pairing puck-mover in there somewhere.

As for the third pairing…

Luckily, the Senators are not a team that’s going to make anyone pay for their various roster misdeeds. Anyone who’s worth anything is either a neophyte (Brady Tkachuk, Thomas Chabot), or a veteran who is simply waiting for his cell to ring to tell him he’s been released from this hockey malebolge (Matt Duchene, Mark Stone). Put it this way: Zack Smith was on waivers two weeks ago and is now the #2 center. That’s a life lesson right there, mister man.

Clearly, it’s going to be a long damn season in Ottawa, which just about no one is going to notice in retaliation against the owner/avoiding the trip to Purgatory-In-Reality Kanata. And the hockey will be even more boring as Guy Boucher is only going to be more convinced to trap even more given the talent discrepancy he’ll face on most nights. Most Senators games are going to look like what Steelers-Ravens games will look like in three years. You’ve had booster shots you enjoyed more.

The Senators will hope to get a promising season out of Thomas Chabot, a step from Ryan Dzingel (LOCAL GUY), and basically hope a couple other veterans can spasm a few goals to be trade bait at the deadline. But hey, they’re one of the few teams to figure out that you have to bottom out on purpose to get back up the mountain.

So I suppose it’s the perfect starting point for the Hawks. They can rack up a win and at least feel like maybe they could start to build some momentum before some very tough games this weekend. If the Hawks were to start 0-3, and you never know, then they’ll already be feeling like they’re fucked without any of the usual fun and Joel Quenneville will be facing questions about his job before he’s even through a week. Let’s try and put that off as long as we can, even though we know it’s coming.

 

Game #1 Preview Posts

Preview

Spotlight

Q&A

Douchebag Du Jour

I Make A Lot Of Graphs

Lineups And How They Were Built

Everything Else

It seems fitting that the Ottawa Senators’ preview would come on the NFL’s opening Sunday, where no one is likely to read this in favor of tabulating fantasy points. Because if anyone even in their own sport were paying attention, or if anyone other than the usual cast of weirdos in the mainstream media gave a fuck about the NHL, how truly terrible this organization has become top to bottom is downright astounding. And it’s going to get a whole fuckload worse before it gets better. Their assistant GM Randy Lee has been fired in the wake of sexual assault charges in Buffalo against a male teenaged hotel employee, their owner Eugene Melnyk is overtly trying to spend as little money as possible in a tank effort, but they can’t even do THAT right as their first round pick in the upcoming draft is going to go to Colorado as part of the Matt Duchene deal, and GM Pierre Dorion had the option at the draft to have it be this year’s instead. Oh, and not to mention that their all universe defenseman is in a walk year, and they had to get pennies on the dollar as the return for Mike Hoffman after his and Erik Karlsson‘s significant others were involved in off ice drama. Not to mention that if they were trying to get to the cap floor, they were absolute fools for not taking on Marian Hoassa’s dead $5+ mildo cap hit against $200K out of pocket, as his $1 million dollar now-illegal salary was 80% insured. It’s an absolute goat fuck on top of a (Canadian) Tire fire.

’17-’18: 28W-43L-11OT 67PTS 221GF 291GA 16.6%PP 76.1%PK 47.20%CF 7.75SH% .9082SV%

Forwards: The aforementioned Duchene is still here in the last year of his deal, as is the productive Mark Stone, and both could bring back a pretty serious yield at some point in the year if Dorion weren’t a complete fucking idiot. Bobby Ryan, aka Bobby Stephenson, son of an attempted murder, has got this year and 3 more left on his ridiculous contract at $7.25 per having failed to even crack 15 goals either of the last two seasons. Keith Tkachuk‘s other Garbage Son Brady was drafted way higher than he needed to be because Brady’s agent is Craig Oster, who is both Brady’s uncle (Keith’s brother in law), and Erik Karlsson’s agent, and will forego the rest of his time at BU to try to make the big club. Past that, the corpses of Marian Gaborik and Mikkel Boedkker are here now, which no one remembers, and Zach Smith (no, the other one) and something called J-G Pageau will still play meaningful minutes in Guy Boucher’s affront to the lord of a trapping system.

Defense: Look, Erik Karlsson is the best defenseman in the world, and will probably command $12-ish million a year, and this team is going nowhere fast. It is literally unfathomable that he has not been traded yet on the eve of training camps opening where his value can be maximized, as every game he wastes for the Senators is one he could be playing for a team that matters in the slightest. And once he’s gone, be it tomorrow, next month, the deadline, or in free agency, the group apart from him is truly dire. Cody Ceci, Chris Wideman, and Mark Borowiecki make up the rest of the top 4 here. Yeah, exactly.

Goaltending: Craig “Brett Saberhagen” Anderson has seemingly vacillated between completely solid and truly putrid seasons since he became a regular starter, and last year’s .898 overall and .902 at evens would suggest he’s due for at least a return to competence, but now at 37 that’s nowhere near a sure thing. If he’s at all solid, he could fetch a decent return even with another year left on his deal, but again, don’t count on Pierre Dorion to properly assess that. Mike Condon is slated to back him up in wholly unspectacular fashion.

Outlook: So grim it is utterly pointless, as this team can’t even tank in the hopes of landing Jack Hughes or whoever else is the consensus top pick by the time the draft comes. There is less than zero reason for this team to even exist right now, as they don’t have, and have never anywhere close to a zealous fanbase. A team that should include its team charter and be contracted when Erik Karlsson gets traded. And having lived through the dark ages here, it is not at all hyperbole to state that this team should be contracted. Its continued existence is a fate worse than death.

Previous Team Previews

Detroit Red Wings

Buffalo Sabres

Boston Bruins

Florida Panthers

Montreal Canadiens

Ottawa Senators

Everything Else

If you asked me what I thought the best move I thought the Ottawa Senators made this offseason was, I wouldn’t be able to answer the question. This team is so damn pointless that I just found out they signed Johnny Oduya this offseason when I was doing my research for this post. Seriously, looking through their roster on their team site and CapFriendly I discovered some players that #1 – I had never heard of and #2 – I am still not convinced are actual NHL players. If it wasn’t for Erik Karlsson I think we’d all forget this team exists. And we’d be much better off for it.

OTTAWA SENATORS

’16-’17 Record: 44-28-10  98 points  2nd in the Flortheast

Team Stats: 48.57 CF% (22nd)  50.1 SF% (17th)  48.15 SCF% (24th)  7.01 EVSH% (23rd)  .926 EVSV% (1oth)  17.0 PP% (23rd)  79.7 PK% (22nd)

Goalies: Craig Anderson had one of the inspirational stories in hockey last year, and deservedly won the Masterton Trophy. He stepped away from the game for good reason, being with his wife while she underwent treatment for cancer. He returned to the team near the end of January and went on to finish the season strong, with a .926 save percentage and an impressive .942 mark at evens. Mike “Trojan” Condon played in most of the games that Anderson missed and was rather mundane .914 save percentage overall and a slightly better but still flaccid .915 at evens. Anderson likely won’t miss time this year barring an injury, and even at 36 years old should be solid for them in net.

Defense:  The Senators are blessed to have been gifted the best defenseman since Lidstrom when they got Erik Karlsson 15th overall in the 2008 draft. He has risen head and shoulders above the rest of the NHL blue-liners the past two years, and is no doubt one of the five best players in the league today overall. Karlsson has proven to be able to carry this team of nobodies for years, and he’ll probably do it again this year, because the group they’ve assembled around him on this blue line is pitiful.

Dion Phaneuf is somehow still a thing, and still making half a million more than EK65. Cody Ceci was supposed to be something at some point, I think, but he sucks too. They signed Oduya apparently, but as we saw last year his best days are long behind him. After that I am not sure the rest of these dudes are real. I think I have heard of Mark Borowecki, but I couldn’t pick him out of a lineup. There is no way Frederick Claesson isn’t a rejected Game of Thrones character name. Seriously, without Karlsson this is a group of beer league dudes getting caught way out of their depth. But because they have Karlsson they’ll be a middling defensive unit yet again.

Forwards: Welcome to Part Three of today’s episode, “Who In The World Plays For The Ottawa Senators?” I can’t believe how many of these players I have never heard of. They’re paying a dude named Zack Smith $3.25mildo; his career high in points is 36, in 2015-16. They’re paying Clarke MacAruther, he of a combined 8 games played and zero points over the past two seasons, a hefty $4.65mildo. Dumb motherfucker Alexandre Burrows is still around, and then there is something called Jean-Gabriel Pageau. Other alleged hockey players on their roster include Tom Pyatt and Ryan Dzingel.

In reality, though, the Senators aren’t that bad up front. Kyle Turris is a fine center, and entering a contract year at age 28 it wouldn’t be surprising if he had a career year. Bobby Ryan should be able to bounce back from his underwhelming 2016-17 season, although if he gets his comeuppance for being a major shithead and MAGA trash heap, he will blow out a knee or something. Mike Hoffman is legitimately good, and Mark Stone might be. Derrick Brassard is an okay but not overly impressive 2C. So they have some fine top-end forwards, but their depth is a bunch of dudes. Karlsson is still the best offensive player on the team.

Outlook: They still have the best player in their division in Karlsson, and the combination of him and solid goaltending might be enough to keep them in the playoff hunt. That said, they’re well behind Toronto and Tampa Bay (a common theme in this division), and Carey Price is probably going to drag the Habs into the third spot in the division. So the Senators will probably have to either catch lightning in a bottle again, or hope they can do just enough to capture a wild card spot. But starting the year without Karlsson will put them well behind the 8-ball, and if his injury lingers or becomes an issue throughout the season, they’ll have a better shot at the draft lottery than they will the playoffs.

Previous Team Previews

Boston Bruins

Buffalo Sabres

Detroit Red Wings

Florida Panthers

Montreal Canadiens

Everything Else

 at 

Game Time: 6:30PM CDT
TV/Radio: CSN, WGN-AM 720
Justin Trudeau Is A Fucking Con Man: Silver Seven

Given that the Hawks have been hockey monarchy for going on a decade now, with President/Cardinal John McDonough fancying himself its emperor, it’s probably best that they missed being on the Senate Floor in Kanata on the Ides of March by a day. Either way, the Hawks make their way further due southwest along the St. Lawrence seaway to the “capital” of the “nation” of Canada to take on a Sens squad that shockingly still has plenty to play for.

Everything Else

AltLogo at senator clay-davis-sheeeiiiit

Game Time: 6:00PM Central
TV/Radio: CSN, WGN-AM 720
House of Representin’: Silver Seven Sens

With no time whatsoever to dwell on last night’s steaming turd squeezed out on the shores of the Charles River (debatable whether or not that’d be an improvement), the Hawks stay within the Flortheast division with a trip up to Canada’s capital. No, not Toronto, Rand McNally. They’ll be in Ottawa to face off against the Senators, whose issues this season made whatever difficulties the Hawks had with the Bruins last night seem meager by comparison.

Everything Else

Senator Kelly vs AltLogo

Game Time: 7:00PM Central
TV/Radio: CSN, WGN-AM 720
Et Tu, Brute?: Silver Seven Sens

After a nice rebound victory on the tail end of a home and home with Minnesota, the Hawks will now have the Senators to face less than 24 hours later. Meanwhile, the Sens have been off since a 5-2 pecker slapping at home at the hands of the Sharks, and have not been on United Center ice in nearly three years, since January of 2011.