In what was a very entertaining 3 games for the Hawks this week, they took 4 of a possible 6 points available to them, and if it weren’t for a very unlucky bounce and some shitty officiating in Boston it very easily could’ve been at least 5. Alas, when you’re at the level the Hawks are it always seems that the puck bounces the other way and it’s in you net. Such is life and hockey.

In other news, thoughts for a speedy recovery for our Large Irish Son after he was boarded by Parker Kelly early in the 1st period on Saturday night. Murph went down in a heap and appeared to be out cold when his face hit the ice. The hit itself, while not great, wasn’t particularly preadatory and appeared to be just bad luck with the way his head contacted the boards. You never wanna see the stretcher come out for anyone, and at this point you just hope Murph is ok. Apparently he traveled back with the team, so that is at least some small measure of good news.

Anyways, here’s the shakedown:


Tuesday 3/8

Ducks 3 – Hawks 8

Box Score

Natural Stat Trick


Poor John Gibson. All he had to do is look at the Hawks giveaway calendar to know he was fucked from the jump, as it was Shitty Green Hat Giveaway Night at the UC, which automatically means a hat trick for at least one Hawk skater. Tonight was no different, as Dylan Strome continued to be scorchingly hot with the puck, netting his 2nd career hat trick while Patrick Kane continued is inevitable rise to the top of the Hawks all-time scoring list with 6 points.

Tuesday night marked the 2nd game in a row where Gibson had given up 5 goals, and has now allowed 20 goals in his last 5 games. He actually seemed like he might survive the night after only Strome scored when the Hawks jumped right into the Ducks shit off the bat. Barely 5 minutes into the period and the Hawks already had 9 shots. The dam eventually broke, and before the period was over it was a 5-0 for the Blackhawks and Gibson’s night was done.

His backup didn’t fare much better, as Brandon Hagel scored on the first shot of the 2nd period 16 seconds in. After that, the Ducks tried climbing back into the game as the Hawks suddenly couldn’t stay out of the penalty box. They cut the lead to 6-3 before Strome fired home his second of the night to put the kibosh on that comeback. He added one more in the trailing minutes of the 3rd to complete the hatty, and down came the Shitty Irish Jig hats. While it’s always cool to see that, it’ll never come close to Hard Hat Giveaway night and the chaos that ensued after Towes’ hat trick.


Thursday 3/10

Hawks 3 – Bruins 4

Box Score

Natural Stat Trick


This one was a bummer, as the Hawks played more than well enough to come away from this game with at least a point. Yet a shitty icing call and terrible bounce in the Hawks zone with :18 left on the clock and they come away with a big ole zip in the points column. Yet that’s what happens when you have two different teams with vastly different skill levels meeting in a mid-march game. The Bruins, comfortably ensconced in the Eastern wild card spot 16 points ahead of the Jackets, seemed to be doing just enough to keep themselves in the game while the Hawks were throwing everything they had at Boston. In a scenario like that all it takes is one bad bounce and it’s all over.

On the plus side, Alex DeBrincat continues to tear holes in space and time all over the ice while Brandon Hagel hit 20 goals for the first time in his career. Hagel appears to be doing everything to make sure that the Hawks ask for the absolute moon for his services at the deadline, and I’m starting to come around to that way of thinking. If Hagel truly is the diamond in the rough some think him to be, then maybe it really isn’t insane to ask for a 1st rounder and a top prospect in return for him. While nobody on the Hawks roster should be considered untouchable (everybody’s got a price!), the ask in return continues to climb with every goal. Good on him.


Saturday 3/12

Hawks 6 – Senators 3

Box Score

Natural Stat Trick


If you take out the terrifying image (which, admittedly is very hard to do) of Connor Murphy being stretchered off the ice, this game was actually pretty entertaining in a way that only a game between two bottom feeding teams can be. Once the Hawks got over the shock of seeing their teammate being wheeled across the ice strapped to a back board, things picked up in a way that gave the Sens defense windburn.

Falling behind 2-0 to this overturned clown car of an NHL franchise seemed to wake something in Jonathan Toews that we haven’t seen since the bubble series against Vegas back in 2020. He was all over the ice, scoring the first two goals for the Hawks, and even launching himself stupidly into a fight with Zach Sanford after a questionable hit on Kirby Dach. While I never want to see a guy with a history of multiple concussions and a laundry list of current medical issues leaping face first into a fight with the dregs of the Eastern Conference, it was nice to see a fire in Toews’ eyes.

Also if I haven’t hammered this point home enough of how bad Ottawa is, if Caleb Jones scores two goals against your team…you fucking suck. More of note is that Jones the Younger now has tied his brother in goals on the season despite playing waaaay less minutes. While quite a bit of Seth’s goal drought can be tied directly to puck luck, you still can’t have your highest paid D-man being outscored by his League Minimum younger brother.

Patrick Kane passed Bobby Hull’s Tony LaRussa-looking ass for 2nd place on the Hawks all time leading scorer list with 3 assists tonight, giving him 10 in his last 3 games. The dude is on a tear right now, which bodes well for the entertainment level for the rest of the games this March.




The Doom and Gloom Show stops for nothing, and especially not for the schedules of the fair Faxes from Uncle Dale writers as the Hawks just took the ice against the Ducks, once again winning thanks to specifically and only the Kane/Strome/Cat line.

The rest of Twitter awaits to see who on this team will be dealt away and installed on future playoff teams as depth players. It is apparently not going to be Marc-Andre Fleury, unless it’s Marc-Andre Fleury. I’m not sure why he’d want to stay here, but God bless him for mulling it over, even if it’s just so he doesn’t have to be away from his family for 2-3 months. And just imagine what hell this team will be to watch without Flower being singlehandedly responsible for 70% of the Hawks’ wins this season. It’ll be a true tire fire then, but at last we’ll have recouped our first-round draft pick!!!

In other news, Kirby Dach is officially a Franchise Winger, to the amusement of us all. When Toews’s career is over this team will be in faceoff hell, which is all the more reason why Kirby should be watching faceoffs get taken by the Hall of Fame center that the organization pushed him to be “the next” of. At this point, Derek King just wants to see Kirby produce and try to salvage as much of his botched development as possible. It’s still so tiresome.

3/8 vs. Anaheim

Game Time: 7:30PM CT
TV / Radio:
Let me welcome everybody to the wild, wild west:
Anaheim Calling

After the season-high eight-game win streak that made the Ducks the talk of the town in November, the team has slid down to just about league-average, now five points out of the final Wild Card spot with and a plethora of teams they need to jump over to make a playoff appearance this year possible. And although it was the younger stars making all the highlight reels earlier in the season with Trevor Zegras’s highlight-reel goal Troy Terry’s hot start, the Ducks are now depending on their veteran presence to barely keep them hanging on in the playoff race.

Adam Henrique is at a point-per-game pace on the first line for the past 7 games—that’s gotta mean something right? So is Rickard Rakell, again over the past 7 games. (Seriously, don’t look back much further than that.) Even Ryan Getzlaf, despite being sidelined for the last Ducks game due to injury, is currently at a .65 point-per-game clip, his highest point-per-game number since 2019.

Speaking of grizzled vets, John Gibson’s numbers have seen improvement over the past two seasons. The unfortunate part of it all is that the improvement we see is a .910 save percentage, though that still means giving up only four goals in the last four games (the four goals we’ve scored so far tonight don’t count). The team itself has a sixth-worst goals against above expected in the entire league in 5-on-5, behind only truly pitiful teams like the Coyotes, Devils, Kraken, and yes, the Hawks.

3/10 @ Boston

Game Time: 6:00 PM CT
Jackass Forever Named After Brad Marchand:
Cup of Chowder

The Bruins find themselves pretty snugly in a playoff spot, albeit the Wild Card, as this organization continues to Frankenstein themselves to the playoffs by adding players at the trade deadline to try to make a run at things. Where things stand now, however, that means they’ll find themselves in a first-round playoff matchup against either the Lightning, Panthers or Hurricanes, and they’ll likely get shellacked no matter which team they get.

Over the weekend the Bruins nearly blew it against the Blue Jackets, which would’ve been top-tier entertainment as Jeremy Swayman gave up the tying goal with 2 seconds left in the game. Thanks entirely to the shootout heroics of David Pastrnak, the Bruins walked away with two points. Yesterday the Bruins had a more even matchup against the Kings and this time walked away as the loser point losers. This game was yet another example of the Bruins blowing their lead in the dying seconds of the game, which isn’t something they should make a trend with the playoffs down the stretch. Perhaps they can sacrifice Brad Marchand to the league in order to make playoff games be 59 minutes instead of 60. Just a thought.

3/12 @ Ottawa

Game Time: 6:00 PM CT
TV/Radio: NBCSCH, WGN 720
I AM the Senate:
Silver Seven Sens

Ah, the Senators. One of only a few teams in this league that suck more than the Hawks do, and in the most hilarious fashion. They are currently on a five-game losing streak which included a Saturday night marquee matchup loss against the Coyotes. And the Senators are also no strangers to blowing games late, although the Senators community cried foul over their loss to the Golden Knights thanks to sketchy a tripping penalty on Thomas Chabot.

Senators starting goaltender Matt Murray wasn’t playing Sunday, by the way, and it may or may not be because he was crashed into by his own guy during the game the night before. (I don’t think Sens fans missed Murray much anyway considering he hasn’t won a game in over a month.) The net was therefore turned over to Anton Forsberg, who was in goal for the last FOUR Senators wins and is currently putting up the best numbers of his career. Like Fleury, the greatest gift that Forsberg could give Senators fans right now is some prospects at the trade deadline, though deciding whether a team should be giving up any significant assets for Anton Forsberg is luckily not what my job hinges on.



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


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.


You don’t need more ammo to hang the Hawks front office out to dry these days. We even feel slightly guilty about doing so. Piling on and all that. But we can’t help ourselves. Anthony Duclair might go down as another one they missed on. It’s getting to be a very long list.

It’s hard to believe Duclair is still only 24, as this is his sixth season in the NHL. And he’s having what anyone would call a breakout season, with 21 goals already and 32 points in 44 games. The former mark is already a career-high and the second is only 12 points short of another one. It’s all resulted in his first All-Star appearance.

Now, whenever you see a spike like this from a player that hadn’t before approached these kinds of numbers, you are tempted to dismiss it as a shooting-percentage binge and just the way of the things sometimes, and that the player will soon return to the herd safety of anonymity. And yes, Duclair is shooting 16.7%, a career-mark. But it’s not that far above his career-mark of 13.9%. To put it another way, if Duclair were potting goals at his normal rate amongst his shots, he’d still have 17 goals. It would be enough to make you notice.

There’s an old corollary in hockey, which is used to lower the accomplishments of players on bad teams, that “someone has to score the goals.” And surely Duclair is benefitting from getting top six minutes that never came to him in Arizona or Chicago or even Columbus. He’s getting 12 minutes per night at even-strength, the most he’s seen. And he’s seeing nearly three minutes of power play time, which is nearly double what’s gone on in previous seasons. So the five goals and 12 points on the man-advantage are boosting the totals a bit.

Still, Duclair is doing more than just puttering along with more time. His shots, chances, and expected goals per 60 are all way up, and you couldn’t argue he’s benefitting from better teammates. Unless Jean-Gabriel Pageau really does something for you. And hey, we’re not here to kink-shame. He’s just getting to better areas more often and firing more, which is a good way to score, and then to open up space for others. “Making yourself dangerous,” Hawk.

While you might not have projected this when he played 23 games for the Hawks two years ago, it also is easy to look back and wonder why he couldn’t have been given another season. You’ll recall his season was ended early after an ankle injury caused by Brad Marchand literally slingblading him in Boston. Duclair’s numbers with the Hawks weren’t very impressive at that point, just two goals and six assists.

Look deeper, though, and you get a little frustrated. Duclair couldn’t buy a bucket here, shooting below 7% for his stay. And his individual metrics–his shots, his chances, were amongst the lowest in his career. But his team-metrics when on the ice were decent enough. +2.2 in Corsi and at the team-rate in expected goals.

You can’t say he wasn’t given a big chances, as his most common linemates that year were Jonathan Toews and Alex DeBrincat. So the eight points in 23 games certainly were a disappointment,

Still, the following season, here is a sampling of forwards the Hawks gave time to instead of giving Duclair another season to see if his SH% could rebound: Chris Kunitz, Brendan Perlini, Drake Caggiula, a deceased Marcus Kruger, Alex Fortin, John Hayden, Andreas Martinsen. Out of all that muck, only Caggiula can claim to be helpful, and that’s really as nothing more than a fourth liner.

Perlini was certainly worth a look to see if you couldn’t get him to care given his skills, and Fortin was at least fast (nothing else though). But the rest, again, were grind-y fourth-line types who checked all the wrong boxes that the Hawks can’t seem to get past. Duclair flashed skill and speed, something they just don’t value nearly high enough beyond anyone in the top six. Duclair wouldn’t save them from the mess they’re in now, but he would have helped in both the past seasons. He was certainly worth a one-year deal more than Kunitz was, we know that for sure. But it still feels that the Hawks feel if you aren’t in the top six, you have to be a foaming shit-beast instead of just having more skill and scoring stocked in the lineup.

The Hawks aren’t alone, of course. The Coyotes aren’t getting anything out of him now, and even Richard Panik moved on (what they received for Duclair). The Jackets got their six weeks out of Ryan Dzingel and now have nothing either. But at some point it would be nice to write about the Hawks actually succeeding on a reclamation project and then keeping that player for long-term benefit. It’s been a while.


Whichever Garbage Tkachuk Son Is On This Team – We can’t tell them apart and we don’t think there’s any need. This one hasn’t drummed up the same controversy as the other dreaded Laramie, but give him time and he will. As it is with all these Tkachuk’s, and really any son of a former player, it’s hard to take them seriously as some hardened badass when all they are is rich kids who never had to answer for anything given their dad’s status. One wonders what life must’ve been like in the Tkahuk house. Probably Keith making his kids fight in the backyard to see which one gets to eat dinner that night.

Anthony Duclair – Nothing to do with him of course, as he’s having a breakout season. But this was another young player the Hawks didn’t show enough patience with, especially as his short time here was ruined by Brad Marchand. He washed out of other places so the Hawks aren’t alone, but they certainly could have used another forward with speed and skill. Instead, we have Matthew Highmore.

Eugene Melnyk – They don’t come much worse in ownership than this. Crooked, cheap, and blaming the fans for all the problems. When he’s not complaining he’s crying poor. He’d fit perfectly with the Ricketts family.

Everything Else

Box Score

Natural Stat Trick

Corsica was broken tonight, probably by this game

The Hawks schedule in February was always favorable because while they are certainly not a good hockey team, they aren’t really close talent-wise to being one of the worst in the NHL. When you have Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews and Alex DeBrincat and Brandon Saad and Dylan Strome all having good seasons, you’re not gonna bottom out, even if I in particular thought doing so was the best route. The blue line is still garbage and the system that Colliton is running is getting them torched in their own zone nightly, but they still can’t be one of the worst teams.

That being said, nothing is in place to stop them from playing down to the competition, and while the scoreline might indicate a fun and exciting hockey game, I felt more like I was watching a horrific game that was trying to get me to love it. Hence, the title of this wrap. Let’s just get to the bullets.

– So, in the interest of full disclosure, I missed the first period live (lost track of time), but caught up on the highlights in the intermission. What I saw was a lot of capitalization by the goal scoring team on bad plays from the opponent or a lucky bounce on just about every play. The first Sens goal was just piss poor on Delia, another example of how he still isn’t quite in franchise goaler territory yet. Sure it was on the PP, but it was one he needed to have. The second Sens goal was just dumb luck as the Hawks were caught with the pants at their ankles on defensive transition. Just about every Hawks goal save for DeBrincats PP tally was the same. It was just ugly hockey and bad goaltending, and it got disguised by the puck finding the net. If most of those pucks stay out, we would’ve been talking about a truly boring, awful hockey game after 20 minutes.

– The rest of the game mad a bit more sense, but it was still not good on either side. Carl Dahlstrom got absolutely toasted by Thomas Chabot in the third period before Cam Ward gave up a pathetic short-side goal. Neither team’s blue line could fight their way out of their own defensive zone if it was a wet paper sack. It was just bad. At least the score made it kind of interesting, I guess.

– With all that being said, there was still some positivity to be found here too, but nothing really new. Top Cat is still really good at scoring goals. Dylan Strome continues to flash the tools that most scouts thought would compensate for his skating – his goal was such a perfect example of his instincts, “hockey IQ,” and soft hands. Those two specifically are really onto something, and it lets Colliton skull fuck the other team with Toews and Kane together.

– And boy, those two dudes can play together. I know that Q didn’t like relying on them together for the sake of balance and making it harder on the other teams, but it kind of looks like a feather in Colliton’s hat to be doing it so much. I don’t really think it’s much of a coincidence that they’re both having near-career years while spending so much time together. And it doesn’t even matter who is on the other wing, as long as they can stand up straight and hold their dick at a urinal, which Drake Caggiula is appearing to be capable of.

– So if I can stand on a soapbox here and use my conclusion on this wrap to make a point, here it is. You have two killer duos running your top two lines, with high skilled playmaking centers clearing the way for even higher skilled play making goal scorers who are usually the best player on the ice when they’re out there. Plus Saad’s had a resurgent year, and Kahun has been good, and you still might have something in Sikura, Kampf, Caggiula, and if you’re lucky one or two of the guys in Rockford. And people still want this team to re-sign Artemi Panarin to “shore up the top six” because there are “no good defensive options.” Motherfucker, if you went to liquor store for Zombie Dust and they didn’t have any, are you really gonna blow your money on Bud Light because you had a good time with it in college? No, you find another fucking way to get your Zombie Dust, bitch. So fuck off with this Panarin shit. Thanks.

– What a stupid win. What a stupid game. What a stupid month. What a stupid team. Stupid, all of it, but still intriguing. I guess that’s all we can really ask.

Everything Else



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


TV: NBCSN Chicago


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




Douchebag Du Jour

I Make A Lot Of Graphs

Lineups & How Teams Were Built

Everything Else

Ok it doesn’t really work. But we’re going with it.

In the scorched-Earth-covered-in-manure season and situation that the Senators have found themselves in, the one flower springing from it all has been Thomas Chabot. Whether the Senators meant to or not, they’ve found themselves a d-man they can build around. Shame they have to do ALL the building, but you have to start somewhere.

Chabot was always pointed to this of course, being a first-round pick in 2015. Chabot is the rare defensive product out of the QMJHL, a league where most defenders are just watching forwards streak by them before putting up a touchdown or more on their confused and lonely goaltender with shoddy skin. Chabot was a point-per-game from the blue line there, and made the Senators the year before last. He put up a respectable 25 points in 63 games in his rookie year. Come on, Nicholas Beaudin!

This year it’s exploded. He’s already got 33 assists and 44 points for a Sens team that struggles merely to breathe. More impressively, his metrics are some of the best in the league. His relative-Corsi is second in the league among any d-men, including being just ahead of Erik Karlsson. He’s 10th in the league in relative-xGF%, again just behind Karlsson (and some real randos, to be fair). The level at which Chabot is pushing the play above what his team does when he’s not on the ice is striking.

Sure, Chabot has some help. He’s getting cushy zone starts, as only him and Chris Wideman are getting more offensive zone starts than not on the team. He and Wideman are also getting the easiest competition, basically a third-pairing, bum-slaying role. Which is exactly how you bring along a d-man barely out of his teenage years. Wouldn’t it have been lovely if the Hawks could have done the same with Henri Jokiharju?

The hope for the Senators, no matter the record, is that they can take Chabot, Maxime Lajoie, Ben Harpur, Dylan DeMelo, and one or two others and roll with them for years. None are older than 25 at the moment. And they’re going to have to because as you probably know, the Senators don’t have a first-round pick this year and it very well may be top-three. They could have added to this.

Sadly, the Sens look bereft up front, other than Brady Tkachuk and his never-closing mouth. Colin White might be a middle-six player one day, but that’s it. The Senators are aiming to be the Hurricanes, with a great blue line with nothing ahead of it. It’s…a plan?

The Sens might not have much. In fact, they have startlingly little. But at least in Chabot there’s a start of something. Mighty oaks from little acorns and all that. If they can cash in on Matt Duchene and Mark Stone to the extent they should, and maybe one or two others, it’s at least a launch point.

But then, this is the Senators after all.


Game #60 Preview Suite




Douchebag Du Jour

I Make A Lot Of Graphs

Lineups & How Teams Were Built