Game Time: 6:30 CST
TV/Radio: NBCSN (Chicago & National), WGN-AM 720
Mom’s Spaghetti: Winging It In Motown
With the homestand that spanned the the bye week now sufficiently flushed down the crapper, the Hawks hit the road again for their inaugural visit to Little Caesar’s Palace in Detroit, or The House That $5 Hot and Readies Built, to face the Red Wings for something that is supposed to vaguely resemble a rivalry.
The Red Wings thoroughly blow this year, and while that brings joy to many in this fair city and beyond, that didn’t stop them from completely pecker slapping the Hawks on their home ice going into the bye week. Since then, the Wings have lost in regulation to the Stars and Hurricanes, Petr Mrazek pitched another shutout against the Devils, and most recently fell to the Flyera in overtime. They currently sit at 46 points in the Flortheast division, and are unlikely to entertain any delusions of grandeur about making the playoffs this year, missing out for the second year in a row.
That’s not to say that they’re bereft of talent, at least up front. While Henrik Zetterberg ages about as gracefully as possible, there is some promise in the likes of Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, and Greece Lightning Andreas Athanasiou. Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyqvist kind of are what they are at this point, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t useful players (in theory). Of course, Justin Abdelkader with his hilariously bad and interminable contract are still here wasting everyone’s time, so it’s not all upside in the Paris Of The Midwest.
No, the real problems lie on the blue line for the Wings, where they have been an absolute mess since failing to land Ryan Suter in the wake of Nicklas Lidstrom’s retirement. They’re asking for meaningful minutes out of Jonathan Ericsson, Niklas Kronwall, and Mike Green still at this stage in their careers, though Green should yield a nice raft of bodies and picks at the deadline. Danny DeKeyser is what he is at this point, which is a tweener as far as a puck mover and free safety and probably should be bum slaying on a third pairing. The problem is that he’s playing on the top pair with Green of late, and things deteriorate from there. They’ll be doing all of this in front of Jimmy Howard, who has been tepid this year with a .921 at evens and a .913 overall, and those numbers simply don’t move the meter any more in today’s NHL.
As for the Men of Four Feathers, at least the lines and pairings made sense last night, but because they lost, everything will be all blown the fuck up today with no morning skate. But even with everything on paper seeming alright with what Q tossed out there last night, the usage is still all fucked up. Giving the Tilt A Whirl ride that is the Porkins/Gustafsson, giving them second pairing minutes or any kind of defensive responsibility that can be avoided is complete folly. Let Murphy and Kempny get out there and absorb things, and have the odd couple of Keith and Oesterle take on middle six lines. But again, all of this could be rendered moot by a coach who has no other tactics at this point but to make changes for their own sake as he pouts over losing his precious Swedish meatbag to Arizona. Anton Forsberg should get the cage tonight, as if it makes a damn bit of difference.
This season is beginning to circle the toilet bowl in short order, and another effort going into another break like the last time these two faced won’t alter the trajectory much, but it will likely cause more than a few former posters of the old 300 Level message board to set themselves on fire. Actually, that’s not a bad thing. Let’s go Hawks?
Game #49 Preview