Game Time: 11:30AM Central
TV/Radio: NBC, WGN-AM 720
Go East, Young Man: Winging It In Motown
Oh, the lovely NHL Game of the Week. I can’t imagine how much this messes with the players habits, seeing as how hockey players are such creatures of habit. Instead of the normal morning skate, afternoon nap and whatever else they must get up to before a game, they get to just basically wake up and play. And it breaks the habits for all of us as well. Luckily for me, my favorite bar decided to open up early. God bless ’em.
As Fels mentioned in the wrap on Friday’s game, the Blackhawks seem to have a habit of playing just a touch better than their opponents this year. This was true the last time the Hawks and Scum met as well. Oddly enough, the last time these two met the Hawks had just finished off the Blue Jackets in a game that was more difficult than it needed to be before needing OT to take down the Wings.
In that game, we were still looking at the glory of the early season rust from both sides after the long off season. The play was sloppy and rushed and didn’t quite ever kick into the high gear both of these teams are capable of. Still, the Hawks managed the win in extra time off a Nick Leddy wrister. That game set the new club record for the best start to a season. We know how well the Hawks have done since then.
Scum on the other hand have had a bit of an up and down season. They’re still mired in battle against St. Louis and Nashville for second place in the division. Only a single point separates the three teams, though St. Louis has games in hand against the other two. The Wings are playing pretty solid .500 hockey of late, they’re 3-1-0 in the last four but were 0-3-2 in the five before that. They dismantled the Canucks before falling apart in the third to the Kings and needed a shootout to win over the Sharks.
As to be expected, Zetterberg leads the team in points even though he seems to be doing so without much flair for the year. I wasn’t even sure he was having a solid year until I looked up the points earlier this morning since I don’t seem to read or hear much about his play this year. As always, Pavel Datsyuk is the player you love to watch while still fearing what he can do both with and without the puck. Scum will be without the talents of Valtteri Filppula, Mikael Samuelsson and Carlo Colaiacovo, which is thankful since trying to remember how to spell their names is a struggle. The speedy Helm and criminal Bertuzzi are also sitting for the game with back injuries.
It seems Jimmy Howard gets the start for the Wings this morning while the Hawks have yet to announce who will go against him. Everyone else seems to still be asleep so there isn’t much news on what may change for the Hawks. Early guesses are that Bolland will miss his fifth straight game with the dreaded “upper body injury”.
Somewhat sadly, this will be the first game the two franchises have played since the news that longtime rivals won’t be seeing as much of each other due to the realignment of the league starting next year. The Scum are moving over east and taking Columbus with them. This rivalry hasn’t been what it used to be in year’s past thanks to more intense hatred directed towards Vancouver and the re-emergence of bile directed towards St. Louis. Still, it will be sad to not see these two teams (who have played more games against each other than any other two in the league) face off several times a year. Though imagine how nasty a meeting in the finals would be? That’s a long way off though. Two points are all that matters today.
Let’s Go Hawks