Introduce Yourself – Sharks vs Hawks Preview, Pregame Thread, Flash Flood Warning

sharkticons vs oldschool

Game Time: 6:00PM Central
TV/Radio: WGN Ch. 9, WGN-AM 720
Pirates of Silicon Valley: Fear The Fin

It’s become somewhat of an annual occurrence over the last 5 or so seasons, where the first meeting of the year between the Blackhawksand Sharks, normally around this time in November, is viewed as a barometer of one another’s success and potential in advancing through the Western Conference. Both have been conference Finalists at least twice in that time, and based on the early returns this season, there’s no reason why it couldn’t happen again for either squad.

For the visiting Sharks (feel free to skip ahead from this point if this all sounds very familiar), things have cooled a bit since starting the season ablaze in October. Though the Sharks have now won three straight against Western Canada, prior to that was a five game winless streak, in which the Sharks still managed a point in four of them, even if they probably got jobbed by poor officiating with Buffalo in town. They’ve done in primarily through offense, as the Teal boast four players with 20+ points (Thornton, Pavelski, Coutoure, Marleau), and early Calder favorite Tomas Hertl with 18 and leading the team in goals with 12. The Sharks win a lot of draws, with Thornton, Pavelski, and Couture all well over 50%, and they drive a ton of possession from the center position. As a compliment they also boast some cannonball wingers in the form of rat-faced Tyler Kennedy and LOCAL BOY Tommy Wingels, who’s having something of a breakout season.

That solid forward group is doing everything it can to mask what can be described as a mediocre defensive group. Dan Boyle has come back from the horrific hit Max Lapierre adminstered to him, and appears no worse for wear in the offensive zone. But that’s been Boyle’s issue in his post TB days, is that he’s really only effective facing one direction. Marc-Eduard Vlasic and Justin Braun now form the de-facto top pair, each seeing over 20 minutes a night. But the Sharks are still counting on well over 18 minutes a night from Brad Stuart and Scott Hannan because apparently Todd McClellan doesn’t realize it’s not 2003.

Behind all of this is old friend Antti Niemi, who’s having another solid year with a 2.13 GAA and .918 save percentage, even if they aren’t the Vezina caliber numbers he put up last year. Niemi only faces 25.7 shots a game, which is a function of his forwards always having the puck. Certainly everyone knows the book on him by know with his stabby glove hand, but the key is to have the puck long enough to be able to pick that shot.

As for our Men of Four Feathers, there’ll be no time to wallow after last night’s embarrassment in Music City. There’s still no word on whether Marian Hossa will play tonight, but given that the news of the day only involved a promotion of Antti Raanta to back up Crawford after Khabibulin’s crotch exploded last night, it stands to reason that either Hossa’s going tonight, or Sheldon Brookbank will once again get 6 shifts at forward.

The keys for the Hawks tonight will need to be puck support on faceoffs, as well as pursuit of the Shark defensemen, as none are wizards with the puck or can skate themselves completely out of trouble. Forcing them into quicker decisions than they’d like is the best way to keep the puck away from their forwards. Additionally, taking advantage of their lack of speed as a unit with soft chips to the outside on zone entry should buy the Hawk forwards the time they need to set up for quality shots on Niemi, and not just hurl them at his chest like last night. Furthermore, staying out of the penalty box is even more important tonight than usual, because even if the Hawk PK wasn’t awful, the Sharks’ power play could still make it look stupid with how well they move the puck.

In the early going of this season, the Hawks have only walked away with 1 point out of four in two games against the Blues, the only other Western Conference heavyweight they’ve faced to date. If they’re going to be able to actually win within this meat grinder of a conference and not just rack up points against garbage out East, tonight would go a long way in showing they can do so. Time to batten down the hatches. Let’s go Hawks.

  • bizarrohairhelmet

    Brookbank at forward is like herpes, and not the good kind.

    • Accipiter

      Simplex 1 or 2 ?

      • bizarrohairhelmet
        • Accipiter

          Oh no.

        • Fleshrifle

          ICE Fckn Pirates…saw that in the theaters as a kid. Great dig

        • 10thMountainFire

          Wow. I haven’t seen this in decades.

          • Accipiter

            Almost 3 decades, if my math is solid.

          • 10thMountainFire

            We don’t use the metric system down here, commie.

          • Accipiter

            Aye, comrade.

          • 10thMountainFire

            Space herpe.

          • Accipiter

            No thanks, I have enough problems.

          • 10thMountainFire

            I’m not your diary.

          • Accipiter

            I’m putting that in my diary.

          • 10thMountainFire

            Use a sad face emoticon.

          • Accipiter

            A *Saad face.

    • VanDorp’sMullet

      You’re right… he’s not particularly dangerous, but hangs around and has occasional ugly flair ups.

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

      The bad kind at forward, the good kind at defense … but herpes all over, whatever we’re calling it.

    • Joe Banks

      And just what is your idea of what the “good kind” of herpes is?

  • Accipiter

    Hi ! Where’s HIBLD ?

  • DesertHawk

    Hey e’erbody!

    • CozBullsFan

      Howdy DH

  • Hi, I’m Bob LeDonne

    Introduce myself? How?

    • 10thMountainFire

      With your words, silly.

    • bizarrohairhelmet

      What does the fox say?

      • Joe Banks

        Moo

    • CornelisonsFlagPointer

      I see what you did there.

    • Accipiter

      Hi ! He’s HIBLD .

  • 2883

    No Hossa. Crow in nets

    • lizmcneill

      fire up the blender. fuck.

    • 10thMountainFire

      Any word on anyone pending recall from Rockford or if we’re skating one down for the time being?

      • lizmcneill

        Moonpie at RW again, probably. Aka Kaner/Shaw/Steeg doubleshifted all over the place.

        • 10thMountainFire

          I quit.

          • lizmcneill

            I don’t think we have the cap space to recall Mo now that Raanta is up (Khabi just on normal IR, not LTIR yet)

            ETA: yup, cap space with Mo and Raanta up = $-239,178.

          • 10thMountainFire

            So essentially, just administrative until Khabi moves to LTIR…

          • Joe Banks

            Tribune reports Khabby on IR…

          • lizmcneill

            That doesn’t give cap relief, I think it’s just to get the roster slot or to be allowed to have 3 goalies in Chicago.

          • Z-man19

            Do they have to wait a couple days to move him to LTIR?

          • 2883

            A player doesn’t come off the cap limit unless he misses 10 games or 21 days.

          • Z-man19

            That just made me puke a little, Moonpie at F for the circus trip, AWESOME

          • lizmcneill

            Prayer circle for Hoss’ LBI.

          • 2883

            My mistake.. it’s actually 10 G and 24 days.

            See this page:

            http://capgeek.com/faq/how-does-long-term-injured-reserve-LTIR-work

          • justforkicks

            you can be a certain percentage over the cap though, can’t you?

          • lizmcneill

            Bonuses can go over, base salary can’t in the season unless it’s an emergency recall.

    • VanDorp’sMullet

      Well… that’s a bummer.

  • 10thMountainFire

    Hammer’s so excited and he just can’t hide it.

    http://blackhawks.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=22706

    • Accipiter

      I can’t hide it either when I get excited.

      • 10thMountainFire

        You should. You’re an awful dancer.

        • Accipiter

          Only when I’m dancing.

      • Z-man19

        Put some pants on, might help

        • Accipiter

          Jogging pants ?

          • Z-man19

            Leotards

  • CornelisonsFlagPointer

    Howdy, ya’ll!
    If I call you ma’am, don’t take offense like the lady down at the 7-Eleven. Being born and raised in Texas, I was taught to treat folks respectfully.

    • Accipiter

      You take that back !!!

      • CornelisonsFlagPointer

        More like, “I ain’t no MA’AM!!”, as she scowled over her golden booger/nose piercing.

        • 10thMountainFire

          ‘Ok then… sir?’

    • 10thMountainFire

      That goes for a lot of places. Many women don’t like to be called ‘ma’am’. I learned that the hard way as well.

      • DesertHawk

        Along those lines… Female officers in the military, WHY(?!) would you think I’d called you “man”? Not only is that the wrong gender, it’s not the proper form of address between an enlisted person and an officer… maybe just assume that you misheard me? Especially when we’ve never interacted before and there’s no reason to assume I’d be so blatantly disrespectful.

        • 10thMountainFire

          Sounds like a case of the stupids.

  • Joe Banks

    Weird. In late breaking Tribune article, the following statement is made: Marian Hossa missed his second straight game Sunday with a lower-body injury but Quenneville said the Hawks are “hopeful” Hossa returns Tuesday

    • CornelisonsFlagPointer

      Wasn’t it a LBI when he got scratched after warmups earlier this season? (sorry, can’t remember who they were playing, but think it was on the road…)

  • Fleshrifle

    Let’s hope we’re all listening to DLK and Thortoning our own Slappy at the end of tonight

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMXwIWk3bnY

  • Joe Banks

    First period score: Caps 3, St. Louis 0. Halak gets pulled…

  • Guest

    Ah finally. Been looking forward to this one the most. Go Sharks!! (not a troll)

    (in fact im from Chicago)

    • Accipiter

      I see your Go Sha-arks !! and raise you Go Hawks !!!

    • ahnfire

      I hope your team loses miserably! ;D

  • ahnfire
  • cliffkoroll

    Excellent preview