Filling Out The Dance Card

With the West now officially all sewn up — the Hawks will start at least the first three series on West Madison — let’s take a look at who is going to show up here for Game 1 on April 30 or May 1 (or later maybe, these schedules can get silly).

There are up to six teams that could land in the 8th seed, and they break evenly into two groups of three. One group being the longshots to end up in 8th, either being unlikely to fall there or unlikely to climb there. And the other are the three who are likely to be there. The first group contains St. Louis, Minnesota, and Phoenix. The second group is Detroit, Columbus, and Dallas.

Let’s look at each, and see what would be the best matchup (as if I’m going to pretend it’s not Dallas).

Minnehaha – Current Position: 6th (51 points) – Chance of 8th: 7%

Remaining Schedule: at Sharks, vs. Flames, vs. Kings, vs. Oilers, at Avs

St. Louis has a game in hand on them, and you kind of expect a ho-hum finish for the Wild here. At the Sharks is tough, and it’ll depend on how much the Kings care in the last week (though they’ll probably want to cinch up home-ice in the first round at least). Their division games should be swept aside, seeing as how two are at home. In the three games with the Hawks, they’ve managed one shootout win, but the last two (5-3 and 1-0 wins for the Hawks) were not as close as they looked. The Wild come with some star power in Parise, Pominville, and Koivu, with the potential for Cullen or one or two others turning into playoff heroes. But it feels like 7th seed where they’ll end up.

Projected Finish: 6-7 more points, 57-58 points.

Fear Level: 4:There’s a scary top line, and Ryan Suter. But Backstrom isn’t the type to win a series by himself, and the depth gets awfully thin awfully fast at both forward and defense.

Scum Jr: Current Position – 7th (50 points) – Chance of 8th: 5%

Remaining Schedule: vs. Coyotes, vs. Stars, at Avs, vs. Avs, vs. Flames, vs. Hawks

The Blues are going to have to well out of their way to fuck up wrestling sixth away from the Wild. They have a game in hand, and they don’t face anyone in the playoff picture currently (until the Hawks in the last game that will probably be a dead rubber) and have all but one game at home. In fact, they may have a decent shot at getting 5th from the Sharks or the Kings if either collapse. As far as how they match up with the Hawks, while most of the fear has subsided in a deluge of Blues stupidity and childishness, there’s still the worry of their defensive and physical game wreaking havoc. But more likely, they’re headed for Vancouver or L.A. for their Game 1, and no one here is going to complain about that.

Projected Finish: 9-11 more points, 59-61 points

Fear Level: 6.5: Don’t have to worry about it for a bit though, if at all. This schedule is just too easy for them to drop too far, and they even have room for one clunker. The game between the Hawks and them on the last day of the season probably won’t matter for each team. But a first round date with either the Kings and Canucks will be challenge enough, and I doubt they’d be favored in either. So at least one problem will be going away for the Hawks without having to do anything.

Columbus: Current Position – 8th (49 points) – Chance of 8th: 30%

Remaining Schedule: at Kings, at Sharks, at Stars, vs. Preds

The Jackets are a wonderful story, but it’s still going to be a very steep climb for them. They have to wheel around tonight after their dramatic win in Anaheim to face the ornery Kings, and that’s a tough go. The Sharks are always a challenge in San Jose. That Dallas game is shaping up as pretty huge, and might be the Stars’ last throw of the dice. Then there’s the whiffle-ball Preds to wrap it up. The Jackets would love to bring it down to that game.

Projected Finish: 4 more points – 53 total

Fear Factor: 5   I saw everyone’s knees starting to shake about meeting the Jackets last night after they won, and I don’t understand why. I mean I understand the ghosts of Jon Casey and Curtis Joseph still lurk in our mental closets of nightmares past. And they’ve played the Hawks tough. But they haven’t won any of them. They’ve scored five goals in four games. Yeah, they have a hot goalie. But you’ve seen Bobrovsky in the playoffs before. It was a Dali painting. And James Wisniewski and Jack Johnson still skate the most minutes on the blue line. Bob might steal one game. He’s not going to steal four.

Scum: Current Position – 9th (47 points) –  Chance of 8th: 31%

Remaining Schedule: at Canucks, vs. Coyotes, vs. Kings, vs. Predators, at Dallas

If you didn’t catch the Wings’ loss to the Flames last night, you missed comedy on the level of Dr. Strangelove. While the default position on Scum is to be pretty sure that they’ll come out of this, there’s something definitely wrong here. There’s hardly the positive feelings that you get in Columbus or Dallas, who aren’t supposed to be here and are playing like they don’t have a care in the world. Detroit is also not supposed to be here, but this is definitely Dante from Clerks not supposed to be here. Still, the schedule opens up for them, and they do have a game in hand and the tiebreaker on the Jackets.

Projected Finish: 6-8 points, 53-55 points

Fear Factor: 4.5  I’m sure Wings fans would point out that they have pushed the Hawks to OT three times in four games. What. Ever. Two of those came in extremely busy stretches for a tired Hawks team, and in every game the Hawks had long stretches where they could do whatever they want. Yeah, Dats and Z are still here, Franzen could wake up. But the defense just sucks, there’s no way around it. And whatever his contract extension might say, Jimmy Howard is not winning a series by himself.

Dallas: Current Position: 10th (45 points) – Chance of 8th: 17%

remaining schedule: vs. Canucks, at Blues, at Kings, at Sharks, vs. Jackets, vs. Wings

As entertaining as the television would be if it came down to that last game against Scum, you look at these next four games for the Stars and it’s hard to see a way through. Can they even win two of those? That would be minimum requirement, and then sweeping the last two home games, which would only get them to 53 and that might not be enough. And there’s just not enough about them. Bachman’s bubble was burst by the Hawks. Lehtonen may come back but is he really the carry-a-team type? There’s Jamie Been, Ray Whitney, Loui Eriksson and….what, exactly? You just can’t see it.

Projected Finish: 5 points, 50 total

Fear Factor: 2   The only fear is that they won’t get 8th. If they do, this would just about be the easiest matchup for the Hawks. What do you fear about them?

Phoenix: Current position: 11th (43 points) – Chance of 8th: 3%

remaining schedule: at Blues, at Hawks, at Wings, vs. Avs, vs. Sharks, at Ducks

Forget it. They pretty much have to run the table here, and they’re not going to, especially with Mike Smith hurt again.

Projected Finish: 6 points – 49 total

Fear Factor: 1  Only because they’re not going to make it. If they did sneak in, it goes up as we know Smith is capable of stealing a series. Though he hasn’t looked like that guy this year. But still, Dave Tippett will always clown Q in a series. But you don’t have to worry about it.

After writing all this out, it’s looking like Detroit. As we thought it would two weeks ago. Bring it.



  • mightymikeD

    Exactly. Bring It. Flicking the Wings out of the First Round would put a beautiful shine on this year’s series sweep, Division title and #1 Seed in the West.

    • HawkIPA

      No better way to send them packing to the Eastern Conference.

  • Waylon

    Just one little tiny worry – if you believe that there exists some kind of law of cosmic hockey averages, the fact that DET hasn’t won one game all year gives me some reason to think that they’re capable of playing above their heads in the playoffs. Howard gets hot, Datsuk is basically Datsuk, and their D reverts to ’09 levels. Sounds ridiculous, but past paranoia strikes deep with that franchise.

    • MySpoonIsTooBig

      Except that it is physically impossible for their D to revert to ’09 levels what with Lidstrom having returned to his home planet and all

      • mightymikeD

        that’s the bunny. I know a Detroit series would be murder on our livers and vesigial sanity but they are eminiently beatable over 7 games.

    • Sparky_The_Barbarian

      We’re what, something like 16-6 v Scum since we met in the conference finals in 09? My biggest fear wouldn’t be Franzen waking up, but our blue line going to sleep.

      • chichicagochi

        Am I missing something? Franzen is on a 3 game G streak… he’s awake

    • 334Rules

      They WILL play above their heads. For one game. Just enough to piss the Hawks off and earn an epic DLR’ing to send them packing.

  • nextgame

    I think it’s more the ghost of Mike Smith from last year, rather than Jon Casey or Curtis Joseph, that would freak this crowd out about facing the BJ’s right now.
    I totally agree with Waylon. Even though there’s no logical reason to believe that Scum could muster enough to take four of seven, so many years of Red Wing paranoia runs deep. Facing them in the first round makes my sphincter tighten.

  • AirTrafficAJ

    Watched the Scum game last night. The 2nd goal that Howard gave up was SOOOOOO awesome. Calgary dumps the puck in, with icing being waived off. ZERO Scum d-men chase the dump in, and Howard waves his paddle in the air, as if to say “Where the fuck are you idiots going?”. He then tries to fling the puck around the boards where it’s intercepted by Begin and casually skated around the net and deposited.

    I laughed so hard I nearly fell off my seat at the bar. Sweet Christmas.

  • mad-hatter

    We can dance if we want to. We can leave your friends behind. ‘Cause your friends don’t dance and if they don’t dance well they’re no friends of mine.

  • Preacher

    The only one in this group that realistically scares me is Scum Jr., if for no other reason than the fact that they would most likely injure one or two of our key guys during the series. I actually think we’d win the series, but the abuse we’d take would leave us weakened for the next rounds. Ideally, the Nucks and Blues try to kill each other along with the Kings vs Ducks, then face each other next. (Is that even possible?) Whatever. We’ve got to beat whoever is in front of us.

    • mightymikeD

      7 games, quadruple OT every night. mmD eats three times his bodyweight in popcorn.

      • MySpoonIsTooBig

        Meanwhile, MySpoonIsTooBig drinks 3 times his body weight in whisky…

  • justforkicks

    I’m more worried about us then the other teams – injuries (well guess I’m worried about the other teams here because they are assholes), pp, keeping this version of our goalie, committed to defense team, rolling four lines. Fuck the rest of the western conference, we are the motherfucking Blackhawks and this year is our fucking year.

  • Paul the Fossil

    I’d happily wager a month’s rent on the Hawks winning the first round against any of these teams. There’s just really no basis for thinking that the Blues or Wings or BJs could beat the Hawks 4 times in 7 games.

    The Canuckleheads or Ducks in a 2nd round, clearly the Hawks would be the favorites but far from a lock. Those are flawed teams but dangerous ones.

    Going up against the Kings…that’s the true fear. No doubt in my mind that pending Sid’s health the Hawks and the Kings are the two best top-to-bottom teams in the league right now.

  • Paul the Fossil
    • MattC86

      Of all the 2010 guys who left, Ladd was the one I wanted so desperately to keep.

      • Accipiter

        I wish we could have hung on to Brouwer as well.

        • bizarrohairhelmet

          and maybe VerRAPPER

        • chichicagochi

          Brouwer is a joke compared to Stals/Bicks

          • Accipiter


          • The Doctor

            Bicks and Stals, 9 goals and 13 assists each. Brouwer with 17 and 13, plus the whole thing about being useful on the PP.

          • chichicagochi

            He plays on L2 for WAS with Ribeiro serving him up and PP1 with Ovechkin/Green/Rib/Backstrom combining for ~5 more minutes of icetime a game than BB.
            Troy works hard, that’s great, but the fawning has got to stop. He’s a mediocre player, hard worker who makes the best of his opportunities playing with All-Stars. and shit talks his former teammates.

            Is anyone useful on the PP for CHI?

          • The Doctor

            Good point. However, you seem to forget that both Stals and Bicks have had chances with the top guys on the Hawks with middling results.

      • Hack

        At 4.4 per for three more seasons, that contract just keeps getting better.

    • mad-hatter
      • The Doctor

        Hey, it’s me!

  • mightymikeD
    • bizarrohairhelmet

      mmD you are a mu**er fu**ker and parasitic symbiotic who needs to SEIZE THE DAY! CHARGE!

      • mightymikeD

        funnily enough, that was exactly what Sister Teresa Murphy wrote on my final report card in 6th Class back when I was 11

        • Z-man19

          How bizarre, my wife says this to me almost daily

          • Accipiter

            Which part ?

          • mightymikeD

            she tells him about my 1987 report card.

          • Hey mmd … I never remember exactly where you are. But if you’re somewhere close to Bristol, Glasgow, Manchester or London, check out Matthew E. White, who’s making an appearance very very soon. My guess is you probably know him well already, but if not, I have a feeling he just might fit into one of your pockets of like.

          • mightymikeD

            I’m in Londres.. and I don’t know him, although I recognise the name. His London show is already sold out (the QEII hall, as well.. impressive) but he’ll be back in September to play in Shepherds Bush, which is just up the road from me.

          • Check him out! His horn section played on The Mountain Goats last album, which was one of Darnielle’s weaker albums, I thought … but there’s a good horn section on it.

            But ya, check out Big Inner. Bet you’d like it.

            You gents have fun tonight, I’m gonna go out whoring. Or no. Beer and trivia. Same thing?

          • mightymikeD


          • Z-man19

            The unpleasant part

    • CozBullsFan

      HAHAHA! Whoever wrote that is brilliant. He trolled Ogre and Philaster so hard, they couldn’t tell if he was seriously calling them out or not. Most of that post probably went over their heads when they read it. If people really took time to see past the crazy, he makes a lot of good points.

      10/10 Would read again!

  • Jim A

    Watching Blues v. Yotes. Phoenix announcers calling for Backes to be ejected. Coming from them, it’s hilarious.

    • putmeinthemadhouse

      what did he do

      • Jim A

        Ran a guy from behind. The usual. He got a minor, but they were actually yelling that he should be thrown out. From the guys who see nothing wrong with Raffi Torres’ (until now, of course) or Shane Doan’s cheap shit, it’s really funny.

  • 1benmenno

    Speaking of Ladd, he and Byfuglien led Jets over Canes last night.