Previews

This Time With Feeling: Devils at Hawks Preview/Pregame Thread/Ribbon Cutting

jon_lovitz-devil-snl-46_2 vs. Hawk Wrestler

FACEOFF: 7:30pm Central

TV/RADIO: CSN, WGN Radio 720

MR. MEPHISTOPHELES, PLEASE: In Lou We Trust

Once again, the Hawks try and get on track on this homestand, although considering their coach conceded the division yesterday in the press and their six points behind St. Louis, one wonders if this is no longer a final stab at making a chase of it and merely a time where you don’t have to pack anything. Gee, no wondered the Hawks have kind of mailed in most of the past two games. They’ve basically concluded they’re not playing for much, other than home ice against St. Louis which is hardly something you’d want a medal for. Either way, tonight is yet another banker, or at least it should be against the faded and broken couch New Jersey Devils.

But before we get to the Devils, let’s go through the complete kindergarten recess roster management the Hawks have managed in the past 12 hours. Late last night (funny how it was last night, huh?), the Hawks sent down Teuvo Teravainen and called up Ryan Hartman and Kyle “The Defensive Zone Is That Way” Cumiskey.

On the surface, maybe, it makes sense. Teuvo probably has a couple things to work on, though remains at least twice the center that Andrew Shaw is and wasn’t really given a chance to succeed playing with two offensive clods in Shaw at center and Bickell. But whatever. Not a hill I’m going to die on, yet.

Because, the call-up of Hartman made some sense. While his offensive game isn’t near fully polished, he at least had the skill-set to be a bowling ball on the 4th line right now and replace Carcillo, who has provided exactly nothing since November and can’t crack five minutes against any team that’s still breathing. Ok, let’s see what the kid can do and all that, and certainly his skills translate better to a 4th line (assuming you ascribe to the theory the Hawks even need a “4th” line, which I don’t) than Teuvo’s.

Apparently, Michal Rozsival is now “hurt” (translation: old, slow, and bad and none of these is curable) so Cumiskey is up. And I guess since the Hawks need more skating back there, he’s the most reasonable call. I don’t like it, but I get it.

Then we get to this morning’s skate, and realize Q has completely boned it all up. Let’s get to my favorite part: Bickell-Shaw-Carcillo is now your 4th line. Which is utterly fucking hilarious, to the point that I want to light by ball-hair on fire, because before the game against the Canucks Q told us that Teuvo couldn’t really play on a 4th line. Today, with this set-up, he’s basically telling the world he played him with fourth-liners, and out of position as well. Brills.

It gets better. Ryan Hartman is replacing Ben Smith and not Carcillo. And on what I can only assume is a checking line? Maybe? It’s with Kruger and Sharp, so I have no idea what it is and I’m sure Sharp doesn’t either. Granted, Smith hasn’t been great this year, but as we’ve pointed out in the past he’s still doing most of what he did last year and just not getting as many pucks to go in.

He’s also on the top PK unit, a role I assume now goes to Saad. Which means the Hawks will have four penalty killing forwards instead of 4.5 (Saad really only gets used on the PK if they don’t get enough stoppages and they can’t just roll between 16-28 and 19-81). Not like conserving Hossa’s legs for the rest of the season, a season Q has basically admitted doesn’t really matter any more, would be a good idea or anything.

So Carcillo doing nothing for five minutes? Good. Smith playing well on the penalty kill and at least serviceable at evens? Bad. OBEY MY DOG!

Does anyone begin to think the lessons of last year have been learned at all? I’ll just sit here and wait for none of you to say yes.

And of course, the beaters will make fun of me and anyone who says the same stuff because it really shouldn’t matter tonight. That’s because the Devils suck out loud, and that’s with a wheeze and cough because of how old they are.

Time may have finally come today for Lou Lamoriello, who has completely puked up a roster here that’s not capable of competing. Hey remember when everyone thought this might be a sleeper team in the East before the season? Yeah, that happened. This is an old, slow, and degrading team.

Some of Lou’s free agent signing the past couple seasons: Tuomo Ruutu, Martin Havlat, Scott Gomez, Michael Ryder, Steve Bernier, Mike Cammalleri. None of these guys make the Devils any younger or faster, and they’re not even fast enough to play the trap-style or shot-suppression that they at least specialized in. They give up 30 shots per game, which is not Devils-like. But what is Devils-like is that they can’t produce anything offensively, tickling Buffalo for shots-for and goals-for per game. “Tickling Buffalo” would not be a happy children’s book, to say the least.

HOT GOALIE ALERT: Of course, it won’t be that easy, because Cory Schneider is rocking a .942 SV% since January 1st. So yes, he can steal a game all by himself, and lately he nicked a point off the Penguins with 41 saves, two off the Sharks with 34, made 4o in a loss to Boston, and 33 against the Leafs in a win. So yeah, that’s totally going to happen now.

But whatever. Q already told us it didn’t matter, and he’s probably right. So don’t worry about this being something to build on or getting back on track for the bigger battles ahead. We’re basically running out the clock until Game 1 in St. Louis on April 15 or 16. Or I suppose Nashville, but they’d actually have to lose a few games for that to happen, and they haven’t proven they’re going to lose one.

If you’re heading to the UC tonight, make sure to pick up a copy of our gameday program outside. We have three sellers on Madison, one on Wood, and one on Damen. If you’re not, then you can get the digital copy right here, or you can sign up for the rest of the season for just $45!

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