Everything Else

 vs. 

Preds lead 1-0

PUCK DROP: 7pm Central

TV: NBC 

WHY DID YOU KILL THAT BIRD, ASSHOLE?: On The Forecheck

Projected Lineups

It’s almost as if it’s scripted these days. We’ve seen it before. Whatever playoff game the opponent simply packs it in their zone, traps just outside the offensive blue line, crowds their own crease, and we hear all the same things from the Hawks and the media covering them. “Traffic.” “Take away his eyes.” “Be harder (PHRASING).” “Annette Frontpresence.”

And it’s not that all of this is wrong. It’s just that you wouldn’t hear any of it if Anisimov isn’t rusty and buries one or two of his chances, or a shot into that said traffic bounces onto someone’s stick or past Rinne. It’s not like the Hawks have to make massive changes, and we don’t know if the Predators will or not either.

Everything Else

Sitting three points out of a wild card spot, behind the fucking Canucks, is not where the Predators thought they’d be halfway through this season. Nashville entered the year with expectations higher than they’ve ever been in Smashville, which makes this so far just about the most disappointing season they could have had. They thought they’d be tussling with the Hawks and Wild(?!) at the top of the division. It has not gone that way.

We’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out why. Roman Josi backing up certainly hasn’t helped. We’ve pointed out their lack of front-line scoring, with really only Filip Forsberg and Ryan Johansen bonafide, NHL first-line talent. And Forsberg has had a miserably unlucky year until very recently. Subban, Neal, and Ellis missing time hasn’t helped either. We figured Pekka Rinne would be their downfall, but he’s been ok enough, especially in November.

When looking at Rinne though, you see a microcosm of the whole team. Because overall, everything suggests they should be higher than they are in the standings. They may have just fallen victim to the dreaded “sequencing.”

Everything Else

oldschool at predator

Game Time: 8:30PM Central
TV/Radio: CSN, NBCSN (US), SN360 (Canada), WGN-AM 720
God, Country, and Apple Pie: On The Forecheck

After their fourth straight overtime game to open up a playoff year, the Hawks are once again back at it in Music City tonight with a late start that should in no way lead to booze fueled agitation in the stands that Predators management has not fomented at all. But more importantly, while the Hawks emerged from Game 1’s mini-marathon victorious, tonight presents an opportunity to put a vice grip on the series before it even gets back to the west side.

Everything Else

predator vs oldschool

Game Time: 7:30PM
TV/Radio: CSN, SN-1, SNP, WGN-AM 720
Dollywood: On The Forecheck, III Communication

While the tradition of the Boxing Day game at the UC has now been lost to the new collective bargaining agreement, and the Hawks have already played once since the Christmas holiday, tonight’s game still has the the look and feel of a game on the 26th despite being on the 29th. It remains to be seen if the crowd will be as raucous, but with two of the top teams in the league going at it for Conference III supremacy nearing the halfway point of the season, there should be plenty to get fired up for anyway.

Everything Else

oldschool at 20140102035032!Grand_Ole_Opry_Logo_2005

Game Time: 7:00PM Central
TV/Radio: CSN, WGN-AM 720
Ghost With A Boner: On The Forecheck, III Communication

Tonight is literally the most important hockey game of the season to this point league wide, with the last two teams without a regulation loss squaring off in Music City. The somewhat surprising Predators holding a slight advantage in the standings in the early going, with a shootout loss in the one more game they have played than the Hawks, and Conference III bragging rights are on the line.

Everything Else

Leary vs. oldschool

FACEOFF: 7:30pm

TV/RADIO: WGN for both

NOT STUCK IN MEMPHIS: On The Forecheck

For the second straight game, the Hawks will get to host a team that played on the road the night before. Perhaps it’s a bid by the NHL to make it up to the Hawks for making them play 31 back-to-backs per year or whatever it was in previous years. Perhaps it’s just luck of the draw. Either way, the Hawks get their first look at a Nashville team that actually could be… dare I say it… entertaining? Nah, couldn’t be, could it?