As this death march of a season mercifully draws ever closer, the Hawks find themselves out for one last swing through the West in order to play two completely meaningless games bookending a game that really only serves schadenfraude purposes.
Game Time: 6:00PM CDT
TV/Radio: NBC Sports Chicago, WGN-AM 720
Keep Pretending Drew Doughty Isn’t A Rapist: Jewels From The Crown
One thing about hockey’s often asinine scheduling that can be construed as a positive is that teams rarely have to marinate longer than 48 hours on bad losses, even if it comes at the expense of both sides playing their third in 4 nights having both played on the road yesterday, as is the case tonight on West Madison with the visiting Kings. And it’s a pretty clear sign that both teams suck when they are each looking across the bench and seeing an opportunity to get on track.
RECORDS: Hawks 27-28-9 Kings 23-33-8
PUCK DROP: 3:00PM CST
TV/RADIO: NBC Sports Chicago, NHL Network, WGN-AM 720
PLEASE NO MORE CALIFORNIA SONGS: JFTC
How the mighty have fallen. It’s a cliche, but given the matchup between these two former titans, it’s applicable. And while the Hawks are threatening to make a useless playoff appearance this year as the Kings did the previous season, the opponent they find for themselves today has no such delusions of grandeur.
At the start of today’s games, the Kings find themselves with the second worst point total in the league, and dead last in the Western Conference, with only the fetid corpse of the Ottawa Senators providing the buffer between them and the dirt. The problems for this team has remained constant even coming from the salad days, where their team offense is 30th in the league, but only this time there hasn’t been any defense and goaltending to bail them out. Age and workload and everything else has caught up with Jonathan Quick, whose .891 overall save percentage (.905 at evens) wouldn’t even be good enough on a team that boasted some high octane offense on occasion, and he need look no further than the squad in white today as proof of that. Quick is now 33, and his contract will take him until he’s 37, so if this is the rate of decline that Rob Blake and the Kings are going to have to live with, it’s not going to get any better anytime soon. But rest assured, despite Rob Blake not being able to make a solid transaction to save his life, much like he couldn’t ably perform any of his other post playing career duties, he’ll somehow manage to get promoted to executive VP or some shit, because that’s just what happens to Rob Blake.
In front of Quick the Kings’ blue line is still anchored by accused rapist Drew Doughty, whose play has also completely fallen off the table. While he’s still taking assignments in any and every situation as a true #1, he has not been able to flip the ice this season as in years past, and only has one goal all year for his troubles. The latter is a bit of bad luck, and now with longtime partner Jake Muzzin gone he’s dragging around Derek Forbort, but if this is the new standard with his new contract kicking in at $11 mildo per NEXT year for the maximum 8 year term, the Kings are going to have to hope he rebounds at 30, and again, ask the guy wearing the XXXXXXL #7 sweater on the other bench how well that works out. With this season lost, the Kings are not at least trying to get a look at whatever they’ve got in their barren prospect cupboard, particularly with Alec Martinez hurt, so people named Kurtis MacDermid, Sean Walker, and Matt Roy are rounding out the bottom two pairings along with the overrated corpse of Dion Phaneuf.
Up front, Anze Kopitar hasn’t been able to repeat his career year which saw him gain a Hart Trophy finalist nod primarily because no one else on the Kings was scoring last year. Well now Kopitar has backslid to what his usual numbers had been, but no one else on the Kings has picked up any of the slack. Yes, it’s completely shocking that a 36 year old Ilya Kovalchuk has been a giant floaty turd on a team going nowhere, and he also has four more years left on his deal. No one on the Kings has more than 20 goals, which is probably most shocking from Jeff Carter, but again, the miles have more than likely caught up with him. Kyle Clifford and Trevor Lewis are still here, and it’d be easy to point and laugh about being permanently attached to 4th liners, but Marcus Kruger is still getting paid fairly nicely on the other side.
As for the Men of Four Feathers, this is an absolute must-have game in regulation if they’re going to continue to delude themselves and everyone else that they’re still vying for a playoff spot. The Nuclear Option of Saad, Toews, and Garbage Dick returns with The Drake now concussed, making the Hawks’ forward group even more top heavy. But again, if they’re going to do this, it’s not going to be because John Hayden and Wide Dick Artie are going to start dominating from the third line. And given that there’s no fathomable combination of defensive pairings that are going to slow anyone down, even this Nerf gun Kings offense, there’s no reason not to lean on the proven weapons they’ve got. Any run is also going to require solid goaltending from the likely still dizzy Corey Crawford, who in all likelihood will go tomorrow night in Silicon Valley, leaving Cam Ward to hopefully not shit his pants this afternoon. It’s a big ask, but he provides veteran leadership and and big game experience so hopefully he’s up for it.
When these two played at the UC back in November the Hawks were just getting acclimated to Coach Rod Belding and the game was an unwatchable slog. According to Stan Bowman, the team is still learning his system, which apparently must be like learning Sanskrit given the on ice results in the defensive zone. While the Hawks have at least become some form of black comedic fun since then, the vultures have continued to pick at the Kings, but afternoon hockey is the great equalizer and almost always results in shitty play and shitty ice conditions, so expect the same this afternoon. Regardless of that, if this team wants to convince itself it should be playing past game 82, beating the worst team in the West is nothing short of mandatory. Let’s go Hawks.
Game #65 Preview Suite
In the interest of full disclosure, I missed like 50 minutes of this game. I forgot it was a day game and I had work. However, I really saw all I needed to see, based on early reports from the game not much happened. But those last 12-ish minutes that I did see were very good. Let’s dig in, breaking down the four goals I witnessed after turning it on at 3-1:
– I cannot tell you how much joy I got out of turning on the television to see Drew Doughty being led to the penalty box only to throw a fucking temper tantrum because his little shitstained diaper hadn’t been properly changed. He slammed his helmet and whined at the referee, earning a second penalty and giving the Hawks 4 minutes of penalty time. They didn’t do much with the first half of it, but were able to keep at it and eventually Wide Dick slammed home a one timer off a rebound to make it 3-2.
– The next goal was a direct result, in my opinion, of Nick Schamltz being really fucking good at hockey. He got a long, cross ice pass floated to him near chest height, which he expertly knocked down with control. Then, being alone in the zone, he slowed up and evaluated the ice with his SuperMan vision (no I am not being hyperbolic) while letting his teammates get up ice, before making a good pass for Dahlstrom to hit a one timer toward the net. That resulted in a really terrible clear attempt by something called Derek Forbort, which fell right to Vinnie Hinnie and he squeaked it through Jonathan Quick’s five hole. Yeah it took a little help, but none of it is possible if Schmaltz doesn’t knock down that tough pass, then have the presence of mind to wait for his teammates and giving Dahlstrom a nice pass to hit toward the net. 3-3.
– I don’t know what got into the power play tonight, but I kid you not they scored two power play goals in one period in this game. I am not entirely sure if it was on purpose, but Kane and Toews found themselves flipped in the formation, with Toews on the right board in one-timer position while Kane was weak side. Kane got the puck at the half board and fucked around with it as he wont to do on the power play, and must admit I loudly groaned while watching him fiddle with it with seemingly no plan. But then, miraculously, he actually waited a passing lane open, and fed Toews with a nice little cross ice pass. Toews settled it for a beat before firing past Quick low blocker side. 4-3.
– The fifth goal was an empty netter that was hilarious because #1 Kane absolutely did not have to put it home. He was all alone on a “breakaway” with just 3 seconds left, but he put it in the net anyway with 2.9 seconds remaining which is just great. But the Kings then wet their diapers even more, as they are known for, with Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty, and Jonathan Quick (who wasn’t even on the ice!) slamming their sticks in such embarrassing fashion you could actually hear audible gasps from the Staples Center crowd on the television. 5-3.
– Just to circle back, the Hawks whole comeback was the result of known fuckstick and giant pissbaby Drew Doughty shitting his diaper in the penalty box because he wasn’t happy he was sent to timeout. That is extremely my shit. I am still in favor of the quasi-tank, but beating the Kings like this, and having it be a result of Doughty being a baby, is so satisfying.
– Another takeaway from this game – that didn’t look like a team that has quit on it’s coach. After a truly shitty second period when they gave up 3 goals, they could’ve taken their ball and gone home. They battled. Don’t count Q out of that job just yet.
Game Time: 3:00PM CST
TV/Radio: NBC Sports Chicago, NHL Network, WGN-AM 720
Harboring A Fugitive: JFTC
After getting their dicks thoroughly knocked in the dirt in the Bay Area on Thursday night, the Hawks make their way south to face the Kings on Figueroa, bringing this fetid garbage season one game closer to mercifully ending.
Game Time: 7:30 CST
TV/Radio: WGN Ch. 9 (Local), NHLN-US, TVAS, SportsNet, WGN-AM 720
Fountain & Fairfax: JFTC
How the mighty have fallen. Half of the Stanley Cups in the last decade belong to these two franchises, one in danger of missing the playoffs for the third time in four seasons, and the other literally all but officially eliminated in February. And even while no one else in the league’s heart is breaking for either of these two franchises led by scumbag braintrusts, the Hawks will welcome the Kings to the United Center tonight out of obligation if not urgency.
While many of the flapping heads are pronouncing the local squad as now having a closed window and figure to be on the outside looking in come playoff time, it is the two-time champions on Figueroa who have won but a single playoff game in the last three seasons since their last championship. And though they cleaned house in coaching and management with complete scumbag Dean Lombardi finally getting launched and the decidedly unfunny and cantakerous Darryl Sutter going with him, many of the same pieces that have never been able to buy a fucking goal are still here, just now older and with even more miles on the odometer.