Game Time: Way too fucking early
Too Many Goddamn Bridges: PensBlog
Well Toews and Crosby have already faced each other… so who the hell cares about this game anymore? The Hawks dismantled the Pens last year in very similar weather conditions in yet another outdoor game and then won in a shootout earlier this season. Therefore, Toews is clearly the better hockey player and nothing else matters, right? Right.
Ok, so maybe not. It’s still going to be a treat to watch two of the best centers in the league face each other. No doubt the broadcast crew is going to push some sort of rivalry between the two but when they only get to play each other two times a year at best, there’s really not that much there.
Fun fact! I moved to Chicago in 2005 and the first Hawks game I ever attended was against the Penguins. I couldn’t miss Crosby in his rookie year, right? The Hawks won 4-1 with Andy Hilbert getting the game winner on his second goal of the game. Who the fuck is Andy Hilbert? That was actually the only time Crosby has skated at the UC in his career so far.
This year, the Pens find themselves in an odd position of chasing the Islanders for the lead in the division. Seriously. The Islanders are in the lead. Look it up if you don’t believe me. While the Isles are having a great year, you still expect them to stumble before the year is out, especially since they’re fighting with Buffalo to see who can have the worst PK%. So while the Pens are in second in the Metropolitan, they are still likely to win the thing before biffing it in the playoffs. The Pens are seeing an usually fantastic year from Flower in the net. I still always think of him as a bit of a headcase though. If you get him moving around, there’s a good chance he’ll over-commit to something and the Hawks will be able to take advantage. Also, if you get him to play the puck.. all bets are off. He’s awful. He’s the reason you hate that stupid trapezoid. I would LOVE to see Fleury try and play the puck in the corners. Also, while looking up stats on Fleury I saw that Scott Darling and Antti Raanta are currently 4th and 5th in overall save% for the year. Weird.
Up front, the Pens certainly start with the Kid. It’s odd to not see Crosby in the contention for the overall points leader this late in the season but I wouldn’t be shocked if he’s pushing Kane in the final weeks. Crosby has been skating with Kunitz and Perron lately. Perron is more of a placeholder for Dupuis on the top line. Perron is also someone I still really can’t stand. Once a Blue, always a Blue. Fuck you too Gretzky.
On the back end, the Pens are led by the offensive juggernaut that is Kris Letang. At least they are when parts of him aren’t falling off. The Pens are better on the blue line than previous years though and when they get Maatta back they’ll be even more dangerous. Letang will always be a puck driver but suspect in his own end.
For the Hawks, Hartman will remain in the lineup which is certainly a good thing. Especially if it means Carcillo sits. As of right now, I haven’t heard who is scratched yet but Q has at least hinted that Smith would be back in. As we’ve mentioned here, Smith might not be putting up any points but he’s still a valuable asset for the Hawks. At least more so than Carbomb. It seems Cumiskey is a question mark as well, pending on the ability (so to speak) of Rosival.
Also, the Predators just picked up Cody Franson. Ruh roh. Good thing Q has already written off catching them this year.
Lets Go Hawks