Oh Christ this shit it is awful. Please enjoy this in air conditioning.
At a certain point it becomes impressive, just a marvel of consistency that the Hawks under Coach Cool Youth Pastor manage to seem to always find ways to lose games against divisional opponents at crucial times during the season. Our former proprietor and fearless leader did some homework for this past week’s podcast, and now including the three most recent games to the Predators, the Hawks are an astounding 1-11-3 in “four point games” – games against teams they’re either directly above or below in the divisional standings late in the season. And this time, after getting absolutely pasted in possession by the Panthers, they somehow managed to put up 41 shots in Nashville against a relatively solid territorial team in the Preds, and managed to get shut out by Juuse Saros. It goes back to the familiar refrain heard here months ago when the masses thought this team was building/growing something beating absolutely putrid teams in overtime and staying in the hunt, that this team only has one way to beat you – and that’s have either goalie stand on his head and get power play production from one of the two-ish forwards that can score. When that doesn’t happen, it looks like it’s looked recently.
- Leading to the first goal, the penalty that Zadorov took was simply inexcusable. He’s not exactly incon-fucking-spicuous out there, and leading with a flying elbow against the glass certainly doesn’t draw any less attention to himself. Even if he accomplished absolutely everything he intended to in a best case scenario there, that’s still an extremely high risk play at the Preds blue line, where they had puck support exiting, and he would have once again taken himself out of the play to make a hit, but possibly sprung an odd man break going the other way. That the Preds promptly scored on the ensuing power play, and given the fact that they have just sat on leads against the Hawks for the previous four games they’ve played this year and Zadorov did not miss a shift is bordering on criminal negligence from Jeremy Trestman. Zadorov will keep doing this shit because there is no consequence other than being on a dog ass defense, and save for last year in Colorado, thoughout his career he has seemed pretty content to just do what he does and look like a big fucking asshole in the process.
- Even though the Hawks didn’t dent the twine at all today, this is probably the most active that Dylan Strome has looked since maybe the first week of the season. Maybe the looming reality of being a dad weighed on him and certainly the concussion protocol didn’t help, but he is certainly more noticeable in the past three games, particularly at even strength where he had been an utter ghost for weeks on end previously.
- Kevin Lankinen’s rebound control continues to be an issue. While none were converted, there were plenty of pucks kicked directly right into harm’s way, and given what this defense is capable of (see above), and it’s lack of fixed positioning, those are eventually going to be cashed in on and it won’t be pretty.
- Not much more to say about this one, the Hawks get Dallas back at home next in another case of facing a direct competitor for a playoff spot, as the Hawks and Stars are tied in points percentage but the Stars are still playing catchup and are about 4 or 5 games behind everyone else still. But hey, Vinnie Hinostroza may be out of quarantine in time for his triumphant return!
Game Time: 7:30PM CST
TV/Radio: NBC Sports Chicago, WGN-AM 720
Send David Poile To Gitmo: On The Forecheck
In a less-dystopian universe, one where each team played to what their roster says they should be, tonight’s matchup on West Madison would be one filled with Western Conference playoff intrigue. The Predators jockeying for home ice in the first round and the Hawks clinging to hold on to one of the last wild card spots. But instead, it’s the Preds still trying to figure themselves out as they keep running out of road in the regular season, and the Hawks actively imploding.
Game Time: 7:30PM CST
TV/Radio: NBCSN, NBC Sports Chicago, WGN-AM 720
David Poile Is A Scumbag: On The Forecheck
If the Hawks record and stagnant roster weren’t a self evident indication of how rudderless and sclerotic this Organ-I-Zation has been since its most recent playoff ouster at the hands of tonight’s vistors, the Nashville Predators, then the fact that the Preds fired Peter Laviolette earlier this week while remaining ahead of the Hawks in the standings should drive the point home. But it remains unchanged that the Hawks are still outwardly holding the product on-ice to a playoff standard, and tonight poses yet another opportunity to gain points on a team they are currently (on paper) battling for a playoff spot, an opportunity which will surely end up being pissed away in creative fashion as so many others have the past two seasons.
Game Time: 7:00PM CST
TV/Radio: NBCSN National, WGN-AM 720
Fuck David Poile: On The Forecheck
With the next stop on this Freakout Hell Bus Ride of 5 games in 7 nights for the Hawks, they find themselves once again in Nash Vegas, where they’ll take on the league’s secret scumbag team masquerading as its sweetheart, the Predators, who somehow once again look different than the last time the Hawks saw them.
Some stuff happened didn’t it? We talked about all of it despite Slak not being around to offer his own special flavor of commentary. Grab it after the jump.
Game Time: 8:30PM CDT
TV/Radio: CSN. CNBC, SportsNet 1, TVA-S, WGN-AM 720
Returning Conquering Heroes: On The Forecheck
Let it never be said that the core group comprising this era of hockey in this city can’t find new ways to surprise its adoring, albeit psychotic and reactionary public. After one solid game they probably should have won, and one that started fine but got away from them in a hurry, they head on the road down 0-2 in a series for the first time under Joel Quenneville.
Game Time: 7:00PM CDT
TV/Radio: CSN, NBCSN (US), TVA-S2 (Canada), WGN-AM 720
Golden Showers: On The Forecheck
The long national nightmare is over, The Chicago Blackhawks are once again playing hockey games that matter. And they’re doing so from their most advantageous position in four years, with home ice for as long as they remain in the Western Conference playoffs. For those counting at home, under Joel Quenneville the Hawks are 11-1 in series wherein they have home ice, the lone outlier being the 2014 Western Conference Final, which took to Game 7 in OT to end. That also remains the only series that the Hawks have ended up losing wherein they have taken Game 1. The road is laid out for them, and the first step is tonight on West Madison against the Nashville Predators.
Continuing this Tradition Unlike Any Other, our positional preview of the Nashville Predators now moves to their group of forwards, and based on some of the reports coming in out of the Preds’ morning skates, they’re seriously up against it.
Game Time: 7:00PM CST
TV/Radio: CSN, WGN-AM 720
Get The Red Out: On The Forecheck
In what is looking more and more to be the case as games tick off the schedule, this will be the last meeting between the Hawks and Predators until Game 1 of the Western Conference Playoffs. And with both teams apparently locked into their respective positions within the division, tonight in Nashville and here on out remain about getting healthy and tightening up play more than about results.