Hockey

vs.

RECORDS: Hawks 3-6-2   Kings 4-9-0

PUCK DROP: 9:30

TV: NBCSN Chicago

BLEW INTO TOWN ABOUT AN HOUR AGO: Jewel From The Crown

We’ve remarked on it the past couple years when these two met, but it’s hard to believe that in just over four seasons, these two went from playing possibly the best and highest-paced seven-game series in recent NHL history to a game the rest of the league laughs at and scalpers take the night off. These have been two of the worst teams in the West, two of the worst in hockey, and they’ll get together tonight to do…something at Staples Center. The league is probably delighted this will take place in the dead of night and in the weird shadows where no one might just happen by it.

First the Hawks, who will at least be having a New Toy Night. Adam Boqvist will make his NHL debut, and the Kings are about as soft of a landing as you could ask for one. Many have remarked that there’s at least least an air of desperation about his promotion, if not a full-blown air-raid siren. And there is. But the thing is, the Hawks have to be desperate. Were they two whiff this road trip, the season might be over before Veteran’s Day. And while there might be one or two other d-men in Rockford who can provide more mobility (then again, any glass blower regularly makes products that would) and skill to the Hawks’ blue line, none of them have anywhere near the upside that Boqvist does. None are going to give you anything more than a third-pairing boost. If all the stars were to align for Boqvist, he can be so much more.

He could also be so much less. We don’t know, they don’t know, but the Hawks have played themselves into Hail Mary territory. That doesn’t mean that Jeremy Colliton can’t throw one in the wrong direction or take a sack, which he seems intent on doing with his lineup from practice yesterday. Keith is hardly a babysitter type, and asking him to clean up Boqvist’s messes won’t go well, and it’ll go worse if it has to go the other way. He has two, left-sided d-men who are perfect free safeties for a player like Boqvist in de Haan and Maatta, and has decided to pass on that for what’s behind Door #Stupid.

It gets better, as Patrick Kane is now a third line player and we’ve of course never seen him turn his nose up at such an assignment, and rightly so. The thing is this set-up isn’t too far from being pretty good, if Dach and Shaw were slotted up with Kane and Kubalik-Kampf-Caggiula can be a hybrid 4th line/checking line. We might get all that by the 2nd period.

Anyway, Brent Seabrook is back, and you can probably expect him to be until Connor Murphy returns. What that pairing with him and de Haan is supposed to do besides be an informercial for windburn balm…well, you figure it out.

Luckily for the Hawks, they’ll be playing as big of a mess as they are, if not bigger. Coach Todd McLellan called out his team after they got clubbed by the Hawks last weekend, and they responded by giving up 49 shots to the Canucks and their four players. So yeah, not great. They’ve also had a reshuffle, and McLellan tried to put everyone on notice by scratching deadline fodder Tyler Toffoli. He’s back, probably reminded he’s trying to cash in a big check next summer. Which will make his reaction to Ilya Kovalchuk‘s blank expression and koala-like effort something worth watching.

Despite their shit record, the Kings have actually pushed the play pretty ok this year, as McLellan teams do. They haven’t gotten a save from either Quick or Campbell all season, which has undone whatever good work they’ve produced. And considering the hair ball the Hawks just coughed up and how they’re being aligned tonight, don’t be surprised if the Hawks lose this possession battle. And badly. And if they don’t get some saves from Crawford that they did get from Lehner the past two games… well, you can probably start the foreboding organ music.

Saturday night’s all right for fighting…is it all right for whatever this is?

Everything Else

Jesse Cohen runs the “All The Kings Men” podcast, and you can follow him @KingsMenPodcast.

Much like the Hawks, how do the Kings rebuild with this much bad money around? They can’t buy out everyone, and they can’t trade most of it either. 

I’m not sure there’s much the Kings can do but hope the contracts aren’t as bad as they seem. I don’t think there’s going to be a ton of interest in most of the players deemed to have “bad” contracts. Dustin Brown was considered one of the worst contracts for a few seasons but rebounded nicely.
Let’s say they have….   9 “bad” contracts? (oh god it hurt to write that): Kopitar, Brown, Kovalchuk, Carter, Toffoli, Doughty, Martinez, Phaneuf, Quick
I could see a scenario where they buy out one (Phaneuf), trade 1 or 2 (Quick/Kovalchuk), get moderate on ice value for three (Kopitar/Doughty/Brown…   don’t fight me on this one), get reasonable on ice value for 2 (Toffoli/Martinez).
BUT it’s a lot of “ifs”

Is there anyone under 30 on this roster worth caring about?

Under 30? Like presently in a Kings uniform? I think Carl Grundstrom has some interesting potential as a second liner? There are some decent role players but anybody like an Elias Petterson? No.

Are we far away from Jonathan Quick ceding the starter’s role to Jack Campbell or someone else?

The Quick issue comes down to other teams interest. If someone out there is willing to pay what the Kings want my guess is they’ll have no problem turning the net over to Cal Petersen if there aren’t any takers then I think we’re all Ride or Die for Jonathan Quick

Would Jack Hughes solve all the problems here?

Jack Hughes MIGHT solve ONE problem. Whoever they draft in the first round is for the future not the present.  Whether or not that would go any distance towards solving other problems… well… I kinda doubt it but I’m a pessimist.
*Smash cut to Jack Hughes lifting the Stanley Cup in LA next year as I am proven an idiot once more.*

 

 

Game #78 Preview Suite

Preview

Spotlight

Q&A

Douchebag Du Jour

I Make A Lot Of Graphs

Lineups & How Teams Were Built

Everything Else

evil empire at king

Game Time: 9:30PM Central
TV/Radio: WGN Ch. 9, WGN-AM 720
Fountain and Fairfax: The Royal Half, Jewels From The Crown

Tonight the Hawks will conclude their annual November two-week displacement from the United Center at the hands of Sirs Barnum and Bailey on Figueroa against the Kings, who are taking a novel approach to their regular season by at least cultivating the image that they give a shit about it. But much like their visiting counterparts, they still do not give a shit about women or human decency. 

Everything Else

king vs evil empire

Game Time: 7:30PM Central
TV/Radio: CSN, NHL Network, SportsNet Affiliates, WGN-AM 720
Dean’s List: The Royal Half, Jewels From The Crown

The Kings and Blackhawks have one of the modern NHL’s true great rivalries, with the two teams alternating Stanley Cup titles over the last four years. But their competitiveness with one another extends to off the ice issues.

While last year’s Hawks team was clouded by rumors and innuendo of off-ice misdoings, the Kings came right out in the open with it by having both the now departed Jarret Stoll and Mike Richards arrested separately for drug possession. And that’s on top of Slava Voynov being essentially convicted and deported for beating the shit out of his wife. However, in a seemingly unending game of one-upsmanship, the Hawks’ highest profile player made himself the subject of a sexual assault investigation, something the Kings were familiar with three years ago with Drew Doughty. But where the case against Doughty was largely forgotten and evaporated through strongarming the victim, Kane was removed from a video game cover and is still under investigation.

It wasn’t just limited to the players, either. After Dean Lombardi allowed Slava Voynov to skate with the team while suspended because he felt like he needed it, John McDonough basically undid a career of evil public relations genius with a single ass-showing press conference at the haven of progressive sexual politics and scandal-free placidity that is Notre Dame. But these are competitive men who have helmed these teams to near dynastic levels of on ice success, and Dean Lombardi was not going to go quietly into the night. Upon reaching an even more dubious settlement after his evil outright termination of Mike Richards’ contract, Lombardi literally shed tears over how he was duped and how wronged he felt by Mike Richards’ addictive spiral with pain killers, as if the bullshit tough guy culture of the sport didn’t basically strong arm him into using them to keep himself on the ice. Lombardi did not feel wronged or duped by Slava Voynov’s violence towards women however, and still holds’ Voynov’s rights should he ever be allowed in the US again, at the very least preventing him from playing for another team.

Even the fans get into the act as well. Whereas Kings fans initially just spouted typical victim-blaming vomit (serious trigger warning), or in the case of most fan-run outlets just forget in the face of Stanley Cups and Norris finalist campaigns about Drew Doughty’s misdoings, Hawks fans took things to another level. Staging rallies, organizing Twitter hashtags, threatening sports radio anchors to the point of calling out of work, or demanding apologies (that are never, ever, EVER fucking coming), they’ve taken the empty-souled fanboy routine to dizzying new heights.

And now with the first meeting of these two teams happening tonight at the United Center, everyone on both sides is surely breathless with anticipation with what the next step in this rivalry will be.