With the opening three games on the road going about as balls-up as could have possibly been imagined, the Hawks return home with some serious heat on them after a roster overhaul and reassurances that yet another Magic Training Camp would make things different. But things have not been different, and cries that “It’s only X games” into the season are largely meaningless when the same disorganization and bleeding of chances has been on display for nearly 200 games since almost three calendar years ago with Coach Vinny Del Colliton’s hiring. An underreported event that has somehow slipped through the cracks in all of this was Marc-Andre Fleury’s meltdown in the tunnel following getting yanked in his “homecoming” against the Penguins on Saturday night. For all the pear shaped playoff games he spat up in Pittsburgh to getting his job taken both there and in Vegas, there has never, ever been one reported instance of him losing his shit in such a fashion, and yet it took less than four periods here enduring the barrage he’s been subject to. It could just be a prideful professional feeling embarrassed in a place he called home for so long, but he hasn’t gotten the reputation as being one of the best locker room guys in the league for a generation and a half now because he takes shit like that to heart. Truly something to monitor as he makes proper home debut tonight against the Isles.
10/19 vs. Islanders
Game Time – 7:00PM CDT
TV/Radio – ESPN, WGN-AM 720
Profane Geometry – Lighthouse Hockey
The Isles hit the West Side tonight looking for their first win as well, though their losses came against actual teams in the Canes and Cats, and on the road, as they wait for their brand-new non-charming-scum-bucket arena at Belmont Racetrack to get the finishing touches on it prior to its grand opening. One time Hawks flirtation Anders Lee is back after missing all of their second consecutive ECF run with a torn ACL, and Lou has brought in the remnants of Zdeno Chara and Zach Parise to do….things. And while the Islanders have more skill than their reputation indicates with Mat Barzal, Brock Nelson, Anthony Beauvillier, and Kyle Palmieri who will give you 22 goals whether you need them or not, the story as always here is the structure in which Barry Trotz has this team playing, as they will rarely beat themselves. What’s been uncharacteristic so far has been their goaltending allowing 5 goals in each of the first two games, with Ilya Sorokin getting off to a tough start. They’ll be looking to correct that this evening.
10/21 vs Canucks
Game Time – 7:30 PM CDT
TV/Radio – NBC Sports Chicago, SportsNet Pacific, WGN-AM 720
Diaper Time – Nucks Misconduct
After the back half of last year’s abbreviated season had the team absolutely beset by covid running wild through their dressing room causing the team to hilariously play meaningless games after the playoffs had started elsewhere, this Canucks campaign threatened to start equally as auspiciously with Young Go-Hards Elias Petterson and Quinn Hughes not getting their second contracts signed until camp in Vancouver had already opened. But after much rending of garments in the streets, both were ready to be in the lineup on opening night. This is another team that got an overhaul that likely isn’t going to accomplish much, with long time blue line fixtures Chris Tanev and Alex Edler (and his elbows) now gone in favor of whatever might be left of Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Conor Garland also came over in that deal, and was likely the centerpiece of it and taking on OEL’s increasingly smelly contract was the cost of doing business. In the process they were able to jettison Loui Eriksson and Antoine Roussel, so it kind of all comes out in the wash. The Pacific division is a complete moldering corpse, so this team might make it in by default, but it will certainly help their chances if JT Miller continues to play at a Selke level to take some responsibilities away from Petterson. However, this team did most recently lose to the loose conglomeration of the Detroit Red Wings, so anything is possible.
10/24 vs Red Wings
Game Time – 6:00PM CDT
TV/Radio – NBC Sports Chicago, NHL Network, SN1, WGN-AM 720
This Is Me Breathing – WIIM
Speaking of which….those same Red Wings come to town on Sunday night. In a perpetual rebuild that has somehow not yet cost Jeff Blashill his job, the Wings once again have next to no expectations this year, and still basically only have Dylan Larkin to be concerned about. That being said, that doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of blowing this Hawks team’s doors off in terms of burying them in shots as they did a couple times last year and as recently as a couple weeks ago in Detroit. The blade sharpens….