Hockey

Look, it’s difficult enough to get in any way fired up for mid-February, post-All-Star games against non-marquee opponents when a team is good, but it’s been a good goddamn long time since the West Side Hockey Club could make that claim, which makes this stretch even more of a grind than usual. About the only thing left to be determined for this season with this team is who is going to get the privilege of being shipped elsewhere in the coming weeks, and even that can’t really happen until a new general manager is hired in THAT protracted process. Throw in the fact that these are makeup games to begin with and the weather is shitty, and it’s not exactly a recipe for scintillating hockey. The fact that the Hawks’ roommates are now on their all star break certainly helps ease some of the scheduling conflicts that the Covid postponements could have caused, but that’s still put a very quick 3 games in 4 nights on the table for the Hawks, starting this evening.

2/17 – vs Columbus

Game Time – 7:30PM CST
TV/Radio – NBC Sports Chicago, WGN-AM 720
Justin Fields. That’s It.  – The Cannon

At long last, Amy’s Oldest gets his “reunion” against his old Q-pilled brothers in arms in Columbus, having missed the first encounter at Nationwide as a last minute Covid scratch. Whether or not any of that matters between these two go nowhere teams is up for debate, but at least there might be slightly more juice to this one at least to start. Arvid Soderblom gets the start tonight out of necessity given the back-to-back, and it will be the first non-Fleury start since he returned from the Covid list after the Holiday Break/Pause. Soderblom predictably looked like a deer in headlights having to spell Colin Delia in his first ever NHL appearance, but settled down a bit the following night against Calgary, where he made 37 saves on 41 shots, getting done no favors by the team of front of them. Coincidentally, the Jackets are arriving in town having most recently caught a beat down in Calgary with their new acquisition Tyler Toffoli, but had won 5 of their last 6 games, the loss being the Panthers hanging 8 on them. This Jackets group isn’t any damn good and has really no finishers other than Patrik Laine when he’s interested, but there’s enough of a floor here to beat bum ass teams, and a getting a rookie goalie in his second ever start would seem to fit that bill.

2/18 – vs Dallas

Game Time – 7:30PM CST
TV/Radio – NBC Sports Chicago, WGN-AM 720
Southfork Ranch – Defending Big D

So with Ben Bishop finally calling it a career after something like 14 backiotomies, the Stars now only have to split time between the three somewhat useful goalies they have in net in Braden Holtby, Anton Khudobin, and Jake Oettinger, though Khudobin has been buried in the minors for some time. Between Holtby and Oettinger, both have nearly identical save percentages at 5v5 (.923 and .922 respectively), which is a nice rebound for Holtby after his disastrous turn in Vancouver. Neither of them are signed past this season, so that leaves Hall of Famer Jim Nill with some decisions to make. The obvious choice is to cash in on Holtby at the deadline for a team looking to solidify their crease situation into the spring and then plan on giving Oettinger the full workload next year. But the conundrum lies in the fact that the Stars are only a point out from the last wild card spot, and have games in hand on the Kings and Ducks ahead of them, as well as the Preds whom they’re 3 points behind. It’s difficult to see this Stars team as presently constituted as on track for anything but an ass waxing in the first round against the Avs, Knights, or possibly even the Flames, but this group is living proof that goofy shit happens in the playoffs. It’s just not necessarily wise to bank on it.

2/20 – vs Florida

Game Time – 2:00PM CST
TV/Radio – NBC Sports Chicago, SportsNet 1, WGN-AM 720
Cruisin’ Like A Fanboat On The Glade – Litter Box Cats

The Panthers are very good. They are second in the league in points behind only the Avalanche, and they just beat the Canes in their own building last night. And Sasha Barkov did this devilry. There may be a hope that the Cats get into the city on Saturday night and hit it hard prior to the matinee and the fact that the Hawks are pretty bad, and if the Hawks stay disciplined in limiting chances they might be able to keep it close. But those are very big ifs and a wholly incongruous matchup where the Panthers shouldn’t ever have to get out of 2nd gear.

Hockey

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Game Times: 6:00PM (5/9), 7:00PM (5/10)
TV/Radio: NBC Sports Chicago, NHL Network, SportsNet (5/9), NBCSN (5/10), WGN-AM 720
JerryWorld: Defending Big D

First of all Happy Mothers Day out there to all whom it may apply to. And anyone who actually cares for the mother figures in their lives would be best served to keep them as far away from watching these games as possible. Seats still available!

Hockey

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Game Times: 7:00PM (4/6 & 4/8)
TV/Radio: NBC Sports Chicago, WGN-AM 720
μολὼν λαβέ: Defending Big D

It’s going to be a common refrain for the next 3 weeks, but once again the Hawks are faced with a series against a direct competitor in the division with an 8 point swing potentially on the table against the Dallas Stars, who still have three games in hand against the West Side Hockey Club.

Hockey

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Game Times: 7:30 PM
TV/Radio: NBCSN (3/9), SportsNet (3/9), NBC Sports Chicago, WGN-AM 720
Dammit Pantera, This Beer Is Warm: Defending Big D

 

As hard as it is to believe, this series in Dallas will mark the halfway point of this abbreviated campaign for the Hawks, as it’s both zipped right by and felt interminable somehow simultaneously. They’ll face a Stars team that itself is adrift and had better get things straightened out in a hurry given the onslaught of makeup games they now face after both covid and Texan disasters in the past two months.

Hockey

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Game Times: 2:00PM (2/7), 7:30PM (2/9)
TV/Radio: NBC Sports Chicago, ESPN+ (2/7), WGN-AM 720
Sky Point Riley Gale: Defending Big D

This past fall or summer or whatever (time has no meaning anymore), the Stars nearly set the hockey world back 20 years by boring-ing their way to the Cup Final only to be fodder for the eventual and inevitable champion Lightning, with interim coach and NHL lifer Rick Bowness largely keeping Jim Montgomery’s desolate and exhausting defensive system in place which clearly belied Montgomery’s personal life. But that run earned Bowness a Magic Training Camp of his own, and after being the first of now countless covid breakouts across the league, the Stars have somehow turned into a pinball machine of scoring.

Everything Else

Box Score
HockeyStats.Ca

 

The back end of the divisional home and home historically tends to be a testier, albeit sloppier and more sluggish affair than its precursor, and tonight was no different considering just how spirited last night’s tilt in Dallas was. Given the Stars’ final push in regulation last night, it looked like both teams took quite a bit to get into the swing of things this evening.

But with the Stars depleted, the Hawks had enough to outgun them finally in overtime. Hawks 4, Stars 3, now time to look at the electoral map.