For those who haven't heard, Coach Quenneville is in the hospital with an undisclosed ailment, though they assure us it has nothing to do with his ticker.
Considering the Hawks' CIA -level secrecy about injuries, we'll just call it a mid-body injury (thanks Fifth Feather). Any guesses about what happens long term would be wild speculation. What we do know is that assistant Mike Haviland will take over for tonight's game, and considering this involved a hospitalization, Havy might be the acting head coach on Friday as well.
But I don't know that, and neither does anyone else.
How does this affect the players? If they have an ounce of human emotion left and realize they very well may be hurting their coach (joke people), they'll come out firing tonight like we've never seen. They owe Quenneville that much, even if they stopped listening to him a while ago. Haviland won't change anything system or lineup-wise, and he couldn't on the latter considering the team's injuries.
Who does Haviland have to work with? Patrick Kane took the morning skate, so unless he vomited on the Indian Head at center ice, he will play tonight. Ryan Johnson also skated, but he's on the injured list through Friday. Fernando Pisani did not participate, and he looks to be a long-term absentee.
The other news of the past couple days is the formation of a new second line, with Dave Bolland centering Marian Hossa and Michael Frolik. Bolland has fell on his face every time the Hawks tried to vault him to the No. 2 center role in his three full years here, but this one has to work. He's playing far better than he did earlier in the year, and this appears to be the perfect blend of power and skill, if Hossa is close to 100 percent. Frolik has excellent hands and make plays, and Hossa can win the puck along the boards along with Bolland. But Bolland and Hossa together has been tried before, and it hasn't worked.
This also leaves the Hawks bottom two lines a complete mess, with Tomas Kopecky having to center a third line between Bryan Bickell and Troy Brouwer. It leaves the question of who on that line can successfully complete a pass. But they're all big, so maybe they can crash a bit and create some energy.
The Hawks have to begin the rescue mission of their season tonight. And facing a team that played last night and a backup goaltender that's been getting face-palmed the past month, there are no excuses that I know.