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Blue Jackets @ Blackhawks Game Preview

January 14, 2010

Game Time: 7:30 Central
TV/Radio: Comcast/WGN Radio (720-AM)

If you’re going to the UC for the Hawks-Blue Jackets game tonight, take a good look around.  Chances are you’ll forget what it looks like by the next time the Hawks play at home.  The next 8 games are on the road and we have a nice 20 day break between home games.

The only other time these two teams played the Hawks won 4-3 in a shootout.  It was an eleven rounder that ended with Seabrook deking to the backhand and beating Mason.  Why does it seem like every time Seabs scores everyone is laughing their asses off.  I think seeing him score is like watching a dog walk on its hind legs; its funny, strange, and awesome, but you know its just not normal.  Mason, on the other hand, seemed fairly pissed.  I’d be pissed too if I was stuck on a team with 2 people who could score AND I had to live in Columbus (I have an irrational hate of Ohio).

The BJs are in the Taylor Hall running right now.  They’re trying to outsuck the Blues and Oilers to get to the bottom of the standings, but they can’t even lose well.  Even after winning 4 of 6 in January, they’re 8 points out of the 8th seed in the West and still 8 points ahead of the Oilers.  They seem to have 2nd to last locked up quite nicely.  If you think the Hawks have a goalie problem, look no further than Steve Mason and Mathieu Garon.  These guys are currently in the middle of a game of starting goalie hot potato. Neither seems to want to keep it.  Mason’s last start was January 5 where he gave up 6 goals on just 13 shots against Vancouver. Then just when it looked like Garon stole the starting spot from Mason with 3 straight wins, he mails in a dog turd of an effort against the Blues.  He gave up 3 goals on 9 shots before Hitchcock gave him the heave-ho.  Mason saved all 16 shots he faced so my guess is we’ll see him again tonight.

Of course the whole goalie issue could mean nothing if the Hawks try to skate through the trap all night (lookin’ at you Versteeg).  The Hawks have either demolished the trap (New Jersey) or played right into it and lost because of it (Anaheim).  I don’t see it being a huge issue tonight though.  Coming off a 3 day break and after losing 2 straight, you bet your ass that Q has these guys focused on a good game tonight.  Sending a strong message tonight can potentially set the tone for Saturday night in Columbus.  God knows there won’t be any fans there to make any noise to mess with that tone.

Huet is getting the start and Hossa should be back since there haven’t been any Jack Skille Express sightings on I-94 today.  Barker is still questionable, but is there really any difference without him?  Hendry has been filling that spot well.

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