CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 09: Patrick Kane #88 of the Chicago Blackhawks moves around the net as Nathan Lawson #52 of the New York Islanders keeps watch at the United Center on January 9, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Blackhawks defeated the Islanders 5-0. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
The Hawks have one more assignment before we all take a break as the league's chosen few head to North Carolina (and what a prize that is, I'm sure). The Minnesota Wild are in town, in their last game of a long road trip and also their last game before the break. Whose bus starts running first? This will be the Hawks last home game for three weeks, as after the break they embark on a six-game trip while the ice show takes up residence on West Madison. So get a good look at the red jerseys, won't be seeing them for a while.
Word out of practice was that Jonathan Toews didn't skate but will play, which makes about as much sense as a David Lynch film. If Toews is hurt in any matter he should sit through the weekend, NHL marketing execs be damned. But i'm so sick of talking about players' injuries this week, so I'm going to leave it alone. The Hawks shouldn't need Toews, especially a hampered one, to get past Minnehaha. Marian Hossa was also not at the morning skate as he's sick, and will be a gametime decision. This is truly frustrating as Hossa's past two games were among his best in the recent months.
One would expect Jack Skille to return to the lineup after John Scott was inserted Sunday to provide...well, something, we just don't know what. But the Wild aren't an overly physical or ornery bunch, so Scott would serve even less purpose than he normally does. If it's possible that there's something less than zero, that is. Beyond that, the lines should remain the same, and hopefully Brian Campbell and Niklas Hjalmarsson have recovered from a case of the yips that affected them on the weekend.
Corey Crawford gets the start, as he probably should as he was exemplary all weekend. The Hawks need these two points before the break. A win will see them sitting a mere two points behind Nashville in 4th, and only six behind Detroit for the division. It'll also give them a bit of a cushion from those in 8th and 9th in the Conference. And more over, we'll all feel pretty good about a 7-2-1 record in the last 10. So do it.