Comin’ Home – Stars vs Hawks Preview, Pregame Thread, Secret Santa Drawing

dallas-stars-l-green05 vs AltLogo

Game Time: 7:00PM
TV/Radio: CSN, NBCSN (Yanks), TSN2 (Hosers), WGN-AM 72
Texan Book Of The Dead: Defending Big D

After what can be considered a successful stretch by all non-meatball, bloodlust accounts, the Blackhawks will return home after a 6-1 Circus Trip, with the only blemish coming in the opener away from home against the deplorable Avalanche. Tonight they’ll kick off a month wherein 9 of the next 14 games will be on home ice, starting tonight with the Stars. Who says you can’t ever really come home for the holidays?

For the visiting Stars, they hit West Madison a bit ouchy. Top goal getter and center Tyler Seguin was left at home to sit dizzily in his own filthy Dallas condo after sustaining a concussion on an as-yet undetermined play on Friday against the Hawks. Seguin has been nothing short of a revelation working with Jamie Benn on the top line for the Stars in Lindy Ruff’s chuck-and-duck system, and his absence will force the Ginger Ninja Cody Eakin into #1 center detail with Benn, and Alex Chaisson on the opposite side. Eakin has been solid as a #2 center since coming over in the trade for uberweasel Mike Ribeiro, with 6 goals and 8 assists so far this season, while winning a dead even 50% of his draws (184 won, 184 lost). Any line with the terror that is Benn on it will at least be competent, and though Eakin is solid, he lacks the flash and gamebreaking ability that Seguin provides.

But past that is where things get a little icky for the Stars, and that was even with Seguin in the lineup. Their de facto second line now consists of Shawn Horcoff in between what’s left or Erik Cole and the still raw Valeri Nichushkin. Pittsburgh castoff Dustin Jeffrey will get a look between Rich Peverley, who curiously isn’t manning a pivot despite prior success there, and the seemingly ageless Ray Whitney, whose feet can keep up with his hands even less so now at 42 than at 27. The ever yappy Vern Fiddler centers Ryan Garbutt and Antoine Roussel, who are agitating bowling balls barely aware of a puck being on the ice, Garbutt’s two goals against the Oil notwithstanding.

Things are no better on defense, where the Black Knight Stephane Robidas will be out indefinitely after having his shin disintegrate on him making a harmless turn bodying up on Jonathan Toews on Friday. The long uttered descriptor of the Stars’ defensive corps has been “If Stephane Robidas is your #1, then your team sucks”, so now that they’re without him in all the situations he plays in, it’s not looking pretty. No one is really sure what Trevor Daley actually does, and Sergei Gonchar, while still effective 150 feet away from his own net, has always been an adventure even before the sands of time have started to catch up.  Alex Goligoski is doing little to make Joe Niewendyk look any smarter for trading James Neal for him and has been relegated to the third pair many nights. Brendan Dillon has been the Stars best overall defenseman to this point, adding a physical presence to go along with a corps-leading 9 points and a +8. The other Benn and something called Kevin Connauton round out the third pair.

In net will be the only-underrated-because-he’s-always-hurt Kari Lehtonen, who threatened to do what he usually does once a year to the Hawks by doing cartwheels in the crease for 65 minutes and 11 shootout attempts. Lehtonen has been excellent for the Stars this year, with a .926 save percentage and a meager 2.18 goals against. He’s had to be, with the Stars allowing 32.1 shots a game while only putting up 29.4 themselves. And for a team that barely draws even in Corsi attempts, that’s a combination that will lead to being underwater in goal differential and in last place in the Central division (albeit with 28 points that any team out East would kill for), as the Stars are.

As for our Men of Four Feathers, they really couldn’t ask for a better scenario under which to return home, having taken 12 of 14 points, 10 in regulation. There will no doubt be much prattling on the broadcast regarding the first home game being the toughest after a long road trip, but since the arrival of Daydream Nation, the Hawks are 4-1 in these games, outscoring the opposition 21-15, so there’s basically no truth to that old warhorse in this case.

Once again, Michal Handzus will be out, this time with a case of the goop or the consumption or something, and is at home having his humors drained while Sheldon Brookbank draws back in at forward, and Brandon Pirri is once again drawn back in between Kane and Saad. Given the last change at home and now having Hossa healthy against a depleted Stars team, this line will be given every opportunity to run wild.

Things will remain the status quo on the back end, with Duncan Keith and Nacho Libre likely seeing a lot of Jamie Benn tonight, forcing the Stars other lines to muster some manner of attack. Corey Crawford will reclaim the cage, having only made 2 starts in the last week, which is the equivalent of a six month furlough after the month straight of appearances he had to make. The results were certainly there Friday in Dallas, as Crow was quite sharp in outdueling Lehtnonen, save for one wandering boner as he is wont to do, allowing Rich Peverley to score early in the game.

While the Stars are hurting, they’re not punchless. Jamie Benn hasn’t needed Tyler Seguin prior this year to brutalize opponents either from the center or wing position, regardless of what jamokes he might be skating with. And though the Stars power play is dead last in the league, at only 10.3%, giving Sergei Gonchar time to pick his spots from the point isn’t a good idea against what’s been a bad (albeit improving) Hawks PK. And there’s always the chance that Lehtonen goes off and shuts the door from the opening whistle. But with the Blues losing in LA last night, the Hawks now have an opportunity to open up a miniscule gap even while not having games in hand. It’s best not to squander it while finally at home. Let’s go Hawks.

  • Accipiter

    Fallopian Tubes !!!!

    • Z-man19

      we finally get a new thread and this is how you open up?

      • Accipiter

        I am why you can’t have nice things.

        • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

          especially nice pants.

          • Joe Banks

            Pants? Pants? – We don’t need no stinking pants!

    • 334Rules

      Wasn’t that a Mike Oldfield song?

      • laaarmer

        I thought it was the subway to Fallopia

        • Joe Banks

          To get on the subway to Fallopia, does it require a transfer at Belmont?

        • 334Rules

          Is that you, Todd?

      • Joe Banks

        Mike Oldfield… that rings a bell!

    • guest

      I like the phrase “moooterus”

  • lizmcneill

    Peverley is a better center than 3 in that lineup. Nice to know Q isn’t the only coach with bizarro decisions.

  • Z-man19

    Wait, is the game on NHLN or NBCSN?

    • http://www.thecommittedindian.com/ Matt McClure

      NBCSN. Corrected. My apologies.

      • Z-man19

        Thanks

    • Accipiter

      LIVE ON
      TSN2, NBCSN, CSN-CH

      • laaarmer

        Is that LIVE ON or LIVE ON (Macklemore)

      • Joe Banks

        Hopefully, I can get TSN… sigh

    • laaarmer

      Bing Biing Bing

      • Z-man19

        you left

        • laaarmer

          I was bored. This is less boring.

          • Z-man19

            How can we make your day BETTAH?

          • laaarmer

            You could not make me run a 2-1/2 hour Bantam practice by myself tonight.

          • Z-man19

            cancel it, that was easy, what’s next?

          • laaarmer

            hockey is never cancelled. It’s like an unwritten rule. “We payed for the ice……”
            Maybe I’ll just bag them.

          • Accipiter

            Teach them how to block shots.

          • laaarmer

            Actually it’s going to be skating and passing skating and passing, then some more skating and passing.

          • Accipiter

            Stretch passing ?

          • laaarmer

            Umm, no.

          • Accipiter

            Just remind the young d not to model their game around Seabrooks.

          • laaarmer

            Because he….

          • laaarmer

            If I had a D like Seabrook, this team would be undefeated. Unfortunately, we do not.
            What we like to do most is not cover a guy in the slot and send both D below the goal line. Oh and turnovers. Can I tell you about the turnovers? 50+ per game.

          • Accipiter

            That sounds about right.

          • laaarmer

            It is, for all it’s bad and aggravating moments, fun and rewarding to watch. They do a lot of things poorly and not the way we practice, but they play their asses off all the time. Then, they do something during a game we have been working on in practice, and all the time spent with them is worth it. I love it and really wouldn’t miss a minute of it no matter how tired or mad I am at them.

          • Joe Banks

            Then you are hooked!

          • laaarmer

            How can you not be?

          • birdhead

            you’re a marshmallow, veronica laaarms.

          • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

            That many turnovers, that’s gotta be the coach.

          • laaarmer

            Nope
            It’s the skill level of the players and their level of panic under pressure.

          • 334Rules

            Yeah, that whole growing up to make $7mildo a year is BOGUS, man.

          • laaarmer

            But there are parents who think their kid, who is on our mediocre team at 14 YO, is going to get a D1 scholarship or get drafted by the O.’
            These kids are going to be good adult league players in a few years. None are going much, if any, farther than that. They just love to play

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            stretch limo passing?

          • Jim A

            Make them skate with a puck.

          • Country_Bumpkin

            And the hitting. Most important in hockey. Gotta start ‘em young ya know?

          • Z-man19

            A beverage, something to read and a chair. You yell GO about every 2 minutes. 45 GO’s and you are done.

          • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

            Don’t forget HIT and SHOOT.

  • flahawkfan

    I think I had my humors drained yesterday. Or maybe it was the day before.

  • Joe Banks

    Doctor McClure, so good to see you!
    “Something called Kevin Connauton”? – Priceless.

  • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

    First game back after a long long long and historically successful road trip against a banged up not very good when they’re healthy team. I think we all know the score.

    • Z-man19

      Hawks win to prolong their streak?

      • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

        Yeah. D Star blows up. Kane finds out the girl he loves is his sister.

        • Accipiter

          After he nets a hat-trick ?

          • Z-man19

            and 4 assists

          • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

            Q: No, Patrick. *I* am your father.

          • Joe Banks

            nooooooooooooooo.com

          • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

            Search your mustache. You know it’s true.

        • lizmcneill

          But Chewbacca plays for the Sharks.

          OTOH, Shaw is clearly R2D2 (I’m convinced half of R2′s beeping was robot swearing)

          • Joe Banks

            Are you sure? Do R2 units require sutchers?

        • 334Rules

          Creepily, he doesn’t seem to mind.

          • Joe Banks

            What with all the 4 year olds in the stands that look just like him, what’s a few more with webbed feet?

  • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

    “case of the goop” … that was good stuff.

    • Joe Banks

      Hey man, there is nothing funny about a case of the goop…
      I HATE when that happens!

    • Country_Bumpkin

      That is funny shit.

      • Joe Banks

        Depends.

        • Country_Bumpkin

          I just shipped the bed!

          • DesertHawk

            You’re in a weird non canon relationship with your bed now?

          • Joe Banks

            Did you use Fedex?

  • Joe Banks

    I am nervously awaiting a telephone interview… they want to know how smart I am…

    • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

      Don’t mention us.

      • Joe Banks

        But TCI is a “font” of knowledge! Everything I know, I learned here!

        • 334Rules

          You are sooooo screwed.

          • Joe Banks

            I feel like the red shirt in a Star Trek landing party…

        • bizarrohairhelmet

          that’s the font I used in my resume, too. Also, resumes cannot have too much glitter.

      • MattC86

        They already asked me for a reference.

        Sorry ’bout that, Joe.

        • Joe Banks

          I know I can count on all of you!

  • MattC86

    LET’S DO THIS – LEEEEEEEEEROY JENNNNNNNNNNNNNNKINS!!!!

    Sorry. Had to show this video to a new analyst at my company, who is far too young for my sanity and sobriety. Too young for Leeroy Jenkins. I hate life.

    But seriously, folks. Let’s go Hawks. Hopefully the leeches take their time with Mr. Handzus.

  • Country_Bumpkin

    Dear Hawks fans at tonight’s game,
    1. Do not goalie chant.
    2. To the chimps sitting on the glass, stop pounding on it when the players are near you. It’s annoying as fuck.
    Yours,
    CB

    • Joe Banks

      By Chimps do you mean the type of people that pull off a player’s helmet while their special gal pours a 10 dollar drink on them?

      • Country_Bumpkin

        Ding Ding Ding Ding

        • MattC86

          = Used car dealership owner. Shockingly enough.

          • Joe Banks

            Amazing

      • bizarrohairhelmet

        that’s quite a bit of $ to spend on a drink for a date or a player. hopefully that player puts out.

  • jordyhawk

    I like to have fun. So just for fun if I was coaching I might try Benny on the third line for a shift or two instead of Brookbank (I just said try, I didn’t say forever).

  • Joe Banks

    Red Light District has run it’s final post… it’s tough in the blogosphere, isn’t it?
    http://www.chicagonow.com/red-light-district/2013/11/crawford-shines-in-dallas/

    • DesertHawk

      Bummer I guess? He needs an editor if he’s gonna keep blogging elsewhere. But he likes Crow, or so it seems, so that’s bonus points in my book.

  • Paul the Fossil
  • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

    XMF is coming back, right? The upboat percentage of every poster drops precipitously when he’s not in the threads.

    • Z-man19

      He’ll be back

    • VanDorp’sMullet

      I’ll help stem the tide. I’m an enthusiastic upboater.

      • Z-man19

        Upboats for all

    • birdhead

      ikr, I estimate 40-60% of my upboats come from XMF. important contributions! (Not being sarcastic, I genuinely appreciate his positive vibe)

      • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

        Same … I hope mine didn’t sound sarcastic. Tends to be a normal tone for me. Maybe it sounds weird when I’m earnest.

    • DuHawk

      I don’t really know what all went down the past couple days, & I’m not sure if I want to. What I know is that XMF has consistently been one of the most welcoming folks here, & as a fairly new commenter, that has meant a lot.

      If something happens that causes him to be scarce around here, well the community is worse off for it.

      Again, I really don’t know what all went down, so that’s all I’m going to say on the matter.

      • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

        I agree with this, word for word, letter for letter, even with the ampersand … despite having been around for some time.

    • MattC86

      He left? What did I miss?

      I posted one “can’t we all get along” post then hightailed it out of there.

      • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

        I don’t think he was “done and gone” … I just think he was disillusioned with everyone not getting along and everyone being pissy to boot. I only caught scraps of things this morning, I wasn’t around (I was busy last night with my seniors phone scam).

  • DuHawk

    Hello friends.

    • Joe Banks

      Hello, Du!

      • DuHawk

        Hello Joe.

    • Z-man19

      Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu

      • DuHawk

        Zzzzzzzzz??

        • Z-man19

          ??

          • DuHawk

            Confusion overwhelmed me.

          • Z-man19

            The extra u’s got to you?

          • DuHawk

            I’m slow.

          • Z-man19

            I’m thick

          • DuHawk

            I get a little thicker every day. It sucks getting old.

          • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

            That’s the pills, DuHawk, that’s not age.

          • Z-man19

            What pills are you taking?

          • DuHawk

            More importantly, will you share?

          • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

            Hmm. Right. Those pills help out on the Mohs scale, they’re not for circumference.

          • Z-man19

            Are you calling us rock heads?

          • Z-man19

            Preach it Du

    • VanDorp’sMullet

      Du.

      • DuHawk

        Good evening, my mulletted friend.

  • Hi, I’m Bob LeDonne

    SORRY IM A LATE

    Had to fix the states pension mess. Now I can focus on winning tonight’s game.

    • bizarrohairhelmet

      Are you using the “managerial I”?

      • VanDorp’sMullet

        I think he’s using Quicken.

    • Joe Banks

      Hi Bob! – did you fix it?

  • MySpoonIsTooBig

    Considering the lack of anyone talking about it, am I seriously the only one who saw Robidas step on the puck? Dude didn’t have “his shin disintegrate on him making a harmless turn” or get injured sliding into the boards; as he was turning to defend Toews he stepped on the puck and his ankle/lower shin twisted a full 180 degrees. His foot literally pointed directly behind him for a moment, it was gruesome

    • Accipiter

      Yus, that is the way I saw it. His ankle broke as soon as he stepped off the puck, his skate edge caught the ice in a bad way. It looked very bad.

      • Z-man19

        I was wondering about that, his leg looked awkward before he hit the boards. I just didn’t care to see it again to verify

        • MySpoonIsTooBig

          I made the mistake of watching the slo-mo replay CSN aired immediately afterward, it was not pleasant to see

          • Z-man19

            I couldn’t understand why he didn’t straighten his leg out before he hit, he couldn’t

      • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

        Ages ago I remember some sort of informal survey among players about the Toughest Player when it came to pain tolerance. Robidas had quite a few votes.

    • VanDorp’sMullet

      For some reason, leg injuries really give me the willies. I can’t watch things like that.

    • Joe Banks

      I watched the replay trying to figure out what happened, but did NOT see that…

      • MySpoonIsTooBig

        Be thankful you didn’t see it, it wasn’t pretty

  • RVWW

    Time to step on throats and get some separation in the division… LET’S GO HAWKS!!!

    • VanDorp’sMullet

      I’m itching for a West East St. Louis rematch.

      • Joe Banks

        Holy Jumpin’!!!

  • BestPredsForward

    Jeebus, did Tab get a bunch of his buddies and make it rain “angry meatball” the last couple days?

    • DesertHawk

      Cause everyone who was annoyed with the things that were said, is clearly a meatball. That’s my downboat by the way.

      • BestPredsForward

        I’m sorry, it just seemed like something happened and I wanted to know what happened.

        • Z-man19

          Angry people, discussions about angry people, arguing about what we should argue about, group therapy and now the recovery stage.

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            Recovery Stage. Also known as The Great Slatterning.

          • BestPredsForward

            Seems like everyone was going through Hockey Withdrawal after the first multi-day break since mid-November

        • DesertHawk

          Some folks have gotten tired of the constant beating on certain points. This was pointed out in a less than civil manner. McClure kinda exploded at someone, people disagreed with McClure’s behavior, stupid Tweets were made about the collective. Folks got more angry. Folks got over it, and started lampooning the whole thing. Fels and Killion came in and started putting out fires. And it’s been a bit on edge since, but calming down.

  • 2883

    So about Brookbank….