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Kings @ Blackhawks or The Nightman Cometh

March 10, 2010

Just a few quick notes before we get started:

  • There was no recap from the Wings game. That was mainly because I was both frustrated and tired. Sorry.
  • I went on the Hockeenight Puckcast on Monday night.  I had a lot of fun and you should go give it a listen if you haven’t already. HOCKEENIGHT meets BLACKHAWKS DOWN LOW. (Fork gave me the code to put it on here, but WordPress hates me)
  • Stay up to date on the playoff picture with Mirtle’s Playoff Push. SPOILER ALERT: The Hawks need to pick up 3 points to nab the 8th spot (assuming 94 points gets the 8th spot). Puts the season in perspective a little.
  • Speaking of perspective, I think everyone needs to check out this story of former NHLer Jeff Christian who’s 8-year-old daughter, Ryan, is battling cancer.  Seriously makes you wonder how important our little goalie controversy is.

Now onto tonight’s game.

Game Time: 7:30 PM CST
TV/Radio: CSN / WGN (720-AM)
Left Coast Envy: Jewels From The Crown (Their standings stuff is a must read)

Stat Pack:

Blackhawks Kings
L10
6-3-1 6-3-1
Record at Home: 25-7-2 on the Road: 19-10-3
PP% 19.6% (8th) 20.0% (6th)
PK 84.4% (5th) 80.3% (22nd)

The Hawks have had two days off since that disaster of a period on Sunday.  Hopefully the defense was able to get some rest and look over their form as they shat the bed.  It was easily the worst defensive effort of the season.  The cup half full perspective of that, though, is that the Hawks can play like absolute dog shit and still have a chance to win.  The refs sucked too, but whatever. Shit happens like that sometimes. We probably won’t miss those 2 points too much.

But back to my original point: 2 days off.  There should be no excuse for not giving a full 60 minute effort tonight.  And they’ll need one to BEAT LA.  The Kings are sitting in the 5th spot right now and its almost a lock that they’ll play Phoenix in the first round, which would be a great matchup.  The only question is who will end up with home ice. The Kings are a point behind with a game in hand.

Their three big players are Kopitar, Doughty, and Quick.  Anze Kopitar leads the team with 30 goals and 38 assists.  He’s the biggest scoring threat on the ice.  Its a shame none of the trade rumors of Kopitar to the Hawks never came through. I would love to see him on this team.  He’s only 22 and doesn’t even have tons of offensive support. The guy is gonna be great.

Doughty is another superstar in training. He’s Duncan Keith’s biggest competition for the Norris Trophy this year.  And the dude is only 20 years old.  He’s 2 months younger than I am, and I’m really starting to question every decision I’ve made about my future. Last year he had 27 points in 81 games and was -17.  This year he has 50 points in 61 games and is +17.  Did someone forget to tell him that it takes time for defensemen to develop?

Jonathan Quick is the Kings workhorse in net.  Their backup has only started 6 games all season.  He already broke the franchise record for wins in a season.  He’s also the future goalie for Team USA (not Hockey Canada like I first put stupidly).  He didn’t dress at all this Olympics, mainly because of some Miller guy you might have heard of.

So basically this team has tons of talent and potential mixed with a few old guys like ex-Hawk Michael Handzus.

For the Hawks, BURISH IS BAAAAACK.  I can’t wait to see him step out onto the ice and I imagine the place is gonna go bananas when his name is announced in the starting lineup.  Look for him to bring the noise and hit everything that moves.  Fraser will sit, so it looks like Eager and Kopecky will be on the 4th line.

Niemi is getting the start in net.  This is his chance to really take the reins with a quality start.  If not, expect a rotation of Niemi at home and Huet on the road until one guy sets himself apart.

Sopel is back in the lineup, but Q isn’t sure who will sit in favor of him.  It’ll be interesting to see his speed after having a whole lot of time off.  My first guess is that Hendry will be the scratch.  His game Sunday wasn’t as bad as Seabs or Campbell, but those guys are more important to the team tonight than Hendry.

And finally, its Savard Heritage Night.  Talk about a bittersweet moment for him.  He really was emotionally invested into this team before he got the can, which crushed him.  I got to meet him last year and sit down and talk for a while.  He said after he was fired he went down to Arizona with his wife to get away from hockey.  Unfortunately, every down there is from the North or Canada so he didn’t stop hearing about it. Some vacation, huh?

It’ll be a tough game tonight, but its definitely a winnable one. Let’s Go Hawks.

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