Game One |
Vancouver Canucks' Dan Hamhuis gets his stick high on Jonathan Toews.
Few rinks have seen as passionate, dramatic, and memorable occasions as the Rogers Arena when the Hawks show up. Whether it's been a Canuck meltdown, or OT winners, or the rivarly spilling into the unpleasant areas, this is the site where the bile has hit the highest of heights. Tonight the Hawks and Canucks add another chapter.
First on the Hawks front, some injury news. It appears Dave Bolland will play, but Brent Seabrook won't. Once again the Hawks will have to face their blood rivals without one of the more key components. To make up for Seabrook's absence, Steve Montador will partner Duncan Keith, Hjalmarsson and Leddy will remain together, and John Scott wil pair with Sami Lepisto and we'll all hide behind the couch. As far as Bolland, he will center the fourth line while Marcus Kruger remains in Bolland's usual role between Michael Frolik and Bryan Bickell. This is either because the Hawks don't think Bolland can skate his normal minutes coming off a foot injury, or more likely Coach Quenneville is out of his mind and hasn't seen how ineffective the trio of Kruger, Frolik, and Bickell has been on either end of the ice despite Kruger's efforts. If Bolland proves to still be taking in oxygen, watch for this to change after a period.
Oh, and the Hawks waived Rostislav Olesz today, taking 18 games to figure out what we all knew in the summer. That would be that he can't play. Look for Ben Smith to get a recall somewhere in the next couple days.
On the other side, the Canucks came off that beating they gave the Hawks to split with Southern California swing, taking it to the Kings and having the same done to them by the Ducks. They then returned home for an easy win over the Islanders, as if there's any other kind against the Isle. Roberto Luongo is on the shelf, which upsets Hawks fans because there's hardly a drop off with Cory Schneider and his gleaming ginger-ness taking his place.
No point in breaking down tactics or matchups or any of that. You know the script by now. This is Tilt #32 between these teams in three seasons plus, there's hardly any secrets left. Obviously, it would be a good idea for the Hawks to stay out of the box. That didn't really help last time.
if the Hawks can be much cleaner out of their zone than they were in the 1st period the last time these teams met, it will go a long way to improving on that effort. Even with Seabrook out, with the defensive pairings actually making sense that should be the case. Always a tasty affair.
Sam Fels is the proprietor of The Committed Indian, an unofficial program for the Blackhawks. You may have seen him hocking the magazine outside the United Center at Gate 3. The program is also available for purchase online. Fels is a lifelong 'Hawks fan and he also writes for Second City Hockey .