This Is The Best We Can Do: Rangers 0 – Hawks 0 (Rangers Win Musical Chairs)

Box Score

Natural Stat Trick 

Hockey Stats

So let’s burn a couple things off the top here. After watching these things for a while now, 3-on-3 OT is just as much of a gimmick as the shootout so we’re just going to list them as a tie with the joke qualifier from now on. At least I will.

Second, any point gained where the Hawks are missing their top center, a top-4 defenseman, and their starting goalie should be viewed as a point gained. It feels like a certainty we’ll look back on these in a couple months and marvel that the season didn’t get away from them.

That said, the Hawks faced a team also missing their top center, a very productive winger, a wiener tucker, and going with their backup, though he’s played better than the most handsome man in the world, and couldn’t pull off two points. It feels like opportunity lost. Will it matter in the end? Probably not.

Let’s clean it up:

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Broken Star – Rangers vs Hawks Preview, Static Route Configuration

 vs 

Game Time: 7:30PM CST
TV/Radio: CSN, NHLN (US), WGN-AM 720
Buggin Out: Blueshirt Banter

While this is supposed to a premiere matchup on the league’s calendar as far as regular season games in December go, and on paper it still is with one conference leader hosting the 2nd best of the other on a weekend night, the actual composition of the rosters on both sides still lacks the punch that it should have, no matter how many times the words “potential matchup in June” are uttered during the broadcast.

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Rangers Spotlight: 2016 – A Statistical Oddity

A few years ago, 2013 to be exact, those of us who pay attention to possession numbers couldn’t wait to tell Toronto Maple Leafs fans, and their coach really, that their record was something of a mirage. The small sample size of that particular schedule and some excellent play from James Reimer had masked what really wasn’t a very good team, and their Corsi number showed it. The counter that came from the organization itself and a good portion of their fanbase was that they quality of shots they gave up and that they engineered made up the difference. We all laughed and laughed at this notion, even though one day someone was going to actually do that.

Maybe it’s this year’s Rangers?

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The World Is Flat

We’ve moved beyond the quarter-mark of the season, almost at a third of it. In the first month of the season, we all sort of marveled at how sloppy the hockey was. We blamed it on the World Cup, with most teams not getting to have a training camp with their full rosters for more than a few days. While play has tightened up a little bit, as the season enters its third month we’re still left with a product that quite simply, isn’t very good.

What’s become clear is that the salary cap has flattened the entire league so that there’s little difference between the best team and the worst team. If you toss out overtime losses, which are essentially ties settled by glorified skills competitions, no one in the Eastern conference is below .500. Only 12 points separate the conference leading Habs from the bottom-dwelling Islanders. While that’s not a gap that’s going to be made up (likely), it’s not all that large for an entire conference.

Thinks are a little more split in the West, where the conference-leading Hawks have a 17 point gap over the wooden spooners, the Avs. But we’ve all seen what a conference-leading Hawks team in the past looks like, and it’s pretty obvious this isn’t the same vintage. Adding to the Hawks somewhat shaky hold on the West is that they lead the league in wins in overtime, which isn’t really a true test of what kind of team you are. They’re 13th in regulation wins.

Essentially, we have a mishmash of a lot of the same things.

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Wrecked Up And Paralyzed, Desert Dogs Are Sableized – Coyotes vs Hawks Preview, Insurance Audit

nathan-arizona vs. Hawk Wrestler

RECORDS: Coyotes 8-12-4  Hawks 16-8-3

PUCK DROP: 7:30pm

TV: CSN

LOTTA STORIES IN THE DESERT: Five For Howling

Projected Lineups

coyotes-lineup-card

blackhawks-lineup-card

SCORE-ADJUSTED TEAM CORSI %: Coyotes- 44.0 (30th)  Hawks – 50.1 (15th)

SCORE-ADJUSTED xGF %: Coyotes – 39.5 (30th)  Hawks – 47.4 (24th)

POWER PLAY %: Coyotes – 15.3 (21st)  Hawks – 15.7 (19th)

PENALTY KILL %: Coyotes – 80.8 (21st) Hawks – 70.7 (dead ass last)

If the Hawks could schedule it themselves, and really given the pull they have with the league they may want to try it, they’d schedule the Yotes four or five times while they’re without  Toews and Crawford. Because curveballs don’t hang much worse than this, and it’s boosted with the Coyotes having played last night in Ohio. Whatever is ailing the Hawks, this is how you medicate it.

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