With the Hawks’ issues and trajectory pretty clearly mapped out now that the exhibition season two-thirds over, this week the focus will turn external to see what in the hell the rest of the league is doing. And today starts with the Hawks’ most direct competition, the Central Division.
Game Time: 2:00PM Central
TV/Radio: NBC, TVA-S, SportsNet, WGN-AM 720
Holidae In: St. Louis Game Time
After having the tide of the series flip on a dime on two controversial goal calls (and one not at all controversial slashing call), the Blues are now afforded with an opportunity to show the hockey world that their continual, perennial faith in them is justified. To show them, yes indeed, this time it will be different.
Game Time: 7:30PM
TV/Radio: CSN, WGN-AM 720
Toasted Ravs, Man: SLGT
Tonight’s game between the Hawks and Blues is being labeled a playoff preview by all of the flapping heads around the league, and in one sense, that’s not accurate at all given the number of injuries on both sides that will surely answer the bell this time next week, as well as the fact that this first round matchup is anything but a foregone conclusion. And in that respect tonight already is a playoff game unto itself. Should the Blues gain a single point, they will clinch some form of home ice and the Hawks will be locked into third in the Central. However a Hawks regulation win still keeps them in position for home ice if not the division, depending on the outcome of Stars/Avs. The Hawks would still need some help from the Preds and/or Capitals on Saturday, but they still have to close out their regular season home schedule properly tonight to give themselves a chance.
Game Time: 7:00PM Central
TV/Radio: NBCSN, TVA-S, WGN-AM 720
Literally A Fucking Radioactive Trash Pile: St. Louis Game Time
Because literally nothing John McDonough and Jay Blunk do is on accident or by coincidence, the NHL’s quiet announcement that they have concluded their “investigation” of Patrick Kane and have predictably found nothing calls into question a couple other media blips over the past 24 hours.
First, yesterday afternoon the geniuses running the Hawks’ social media department thought it was important to include Patrick Kane and his mother in a tweet acknowledging International Women’s Day, which is insulting and disgusting. And today it leaked that Sports Illustrated will be doing a (regional) cover story on just how much Garbage Dick has had to overcome this year on his way to being the league’s leading scorer and a Hart Trophy front runner. Because John McDonough is very good at his job, these events are not to be viewed as anything other than deliberate and connected.
And the purpose of it is potentially two-fold. At the very least, with any bureaucratic loose ends now tied up with the conclusion of the NHL’s farce of an investigation, which allows McDonough and Blunk to start building a ground game and controlling a narrative ahead of what they figure to be a bright and direct spotlight once again on this team into May and June. The second more stomach-churning purpose is for a potential Masterton Trophy nomination, the NHL’s perseverance award for which every team submits its candidate. It would be a tremendously nauseating and ballsy move on their part, considering recent winners include a widower, a bereaved father, and an MS sufferer. But John McDonough is known for big moves after all.
[extremely sportsy radio host voice]….just like tonight’s big rivalry night tilt in St. Louis between the Blues and Hawks!