On Deadly Ground – Hawks at Oilers Preview, Pregame Thread, Image Retouching

AltLogo at team_photo3421

Game Time: 8:30PM Central
TV/Radio: CSN, WGN-AM 720
Keystone XL Pipeline: Copper & Blue

Tonight in the northern most professional sporting arena on the continent, the Hawks will reach the median point of their annual Circus Trip, having taken four of a possible six points so far. Naturally, they’ll catch the hosting Oilers in the midst of their most competent stretch of the year to this point, as if this team didn’t already give the Hawks issues.

Entering tonight, the Oilers have won three straight at home, have been off since Thursday night, and goaltender Devan Dubnyk has been given one of the NHL’s three stars of the week. Things are looking about as up as they possibly could for the Oil, all things considered. During this mini stretch, the Oilers have outscored their opposition 15-3, even if all three convincing wins have come against the equally terrible Flames, Jackets, and Panthers. It leads one to question just how productive this stretch ultimately even is for Edmo, as playoff aspirations waved bye-bye to them about a week into the season, and this fart of adequacy in the last week could very well screw them out of yet another #1 overall pick with Buffalo having long circled the toilet bowl and making their way through the sewer systems of this season.

As can be imagined, they’ve done it with a heaping helping of special teams during this stretch, scoring 5 times on 11 opportunities, and stopping all nine against. But again, considering the competition and the offensive talent the Oilers boast, this shouldn’t be all that surprising. Also not surprising is David Perron scoring without the encumberance of it having to matter or not, with 18 points in 20 games, good for second on the team tied with RNH, and behind Jordan Eberle’s team leading 20.

Where things have gone balls up for the Oilers in general has been there deservedly maligned blue line, which doesn’t have anything by way of positional discipline in the entire corps save for maybe captain Andrew Ference, who’s in way over his head as a top pairing guy anyway. Justin Schultz continues to provide offense from the back end, but he’s certainly not outscoring his defensive inadequacies.

In net for the Oilers, the Humongous Big show will have to wait until this homestand ends, as Devan Dubnyk will get the opportunity to ride things out. Even with this three game win streak which included a shutout, Dubnyk’s save percentage is still sub-.900 at .896, while the Oilers allow 30.0 shots against per game. Whatever that’s a recipe for isn’t appetizing.

As for our Men of Four Feathers, word out of the morning skate is that not only will Michal Handzus rejoin the lineup on a wing on the second line, but Corey Crawford will make his fifteenth straight appearance starting tonight. Since I haven’t won one Stanley Cup let alone two like Joel Quenneville, I really have no room to criticize these moves, because after all he’s the coach and he clearly knows best. But in the chance that Stan Bowman reads this blog, as I fall asleep clutching my blankie made of Corsi spreadsheets every night hoping, and I do finally hear my mom bellow down into the basement that he’s on the line and finally asking me to coach, knowing that if I were in charge the Hawks would be undefeated, I better have my opinion down in print just in case. So with that said, let it be on the record that both of these ideas are pretty fucking stupid.

Yes, Crawford finally looked solid on Saturday night and Quenneville usually likes to reward a win with another start, but he’s going to need a rest at some point or another, and if the basement dwelling Oilers aren’t the opportunity to do it, spiky as they may be, then when is? Perhaps the one silver lining of Crawford’s struggles of late may bump him off of the Team Canada roster, which would give him a nice forced hiatus in the middle of February, if he hasn’t already collapsed by then.

For Handzus, Quenneville just simply can’t seem to help himself. Of course with that line now finally humming a bit, thanks in large part to Brandon Saad’s puck pursuit, there’s going to be a way to shoehorn in Handzus’ goofy ass, this time on the wing, where he’s even less effective, as he’s not taking draws. He’s even a redundant left hand shot to Pirri’s, so there’s not even an advantage to having him take draws on one side of the ice. Exacerbating things further is the opponent, who for all of their silliness can most certainly skate, which has never been Handzus’ strong suit even before he was 78 years old and had body parts falling off.

Games in Edmonton are always weird even to watch. They start late, the camera is low, the lighting is poor, and the benches and penalty boxes are on the opposite sides of the rink from every other building in the league. Adding to that that over the past five years, there hasn’t really been a close game between these two teams played there, as the fast ice always leads to one team blowing the other’s doors off and never looking back. But even in catching the Oilers on a hot streak, the strategy remains the same with defensive responsibility with minimal pinching (that means you Nacho Libre), and forcing the Oil to work for the puck in the corners at both ends. Not giving this talented group any more time and space with stupid penalties would also be a plus. And of course, put everything on net and make Dubnyk earn every bit of that .896 save percentage. Let’s go Hawks.

  • raditzzzz

    this may be a product of an inside group agreeing with itself, but pretty much everything you just wrote about the hawks situation is exactly what i was thinking, phrased in a more comedic and satirical manner.

  • Country_Bumpkin

    Dear Hawks,
    If you find yourself on the man-disadvantage, do not let Nail Yakupov sit on the right dot waiting to blow a puck up Crow’s arse.
    Yours,
    CB
    P.S. Q, you are playing with fire by sending Crow out there again.

    • wardrums

      This!

    • wardrums

      If you got em, smoke em.

      In Q’s defense, throwing Rantta to wolves in Edmonton might not do a lot for his confidence. Edmonton can come at you fast and furious and if the defense in front of you, fowards and D are thinking – “Ah, this is Edmonton – we just need to show up with our reputaion,” well, Katy bar the door. Wed is a better start, although the flames have been coming on.

      • Z-man19

        A wardrums sighting

  • Z-man19

    So is Brookbank in at F, or Morin?

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

      Morin. Brookbank on D, Rozy taking a seat.

      • Z-man19

        Gracias, I can live with that and the thought that Zus on the 2nd line might last 2-3 shifts until the blender gets turned on.

        • wardrums

          What’s red and green and goes round and round – Kermit the frog in a blender

          • Z-man19

            Or The Wild at home

      • Hags

        So what happens in Calgary when Zus and Brookbank start at forward and Morin scratches?

        • 10thMountainFire

          I drink even more.

        • Z-man19

          You go slam your hand in a door for typing that

    • MoneyBoy

      Saad to 1st line?? Steeger on 3rd??

  • AirTrafficAJ

    Don’t hope too hard, Sam. I spent 5 seasons sleeping with my Sabremetric jammies, and Ozzie Guillen never called. Q seems of the same vein.

    • cliffkoroll

      That’s not Sam, It’s Howard Beale!

    • VerStig

      “As for our Men of Four Feathers…”

  • Toews still makes funny faces!

    I wonder at times if Q’s lack of trust with/in players like Morin is that they do not fully understand the system the Hawks are playing. I am not talking just good pressure on the Fore and Back check, or being more concerned about the defensive aspect. But rather on the complexity of how it all works together. The system the Hawks run is very inter-responsible, each player needs to be aware of what each players role is on the ice, but to also secondary roles and when they need to be filled in. When does the LW fill in for the RD or maybe the LD. When do you chip, when do you dump, when do you carry, when do you pinch when do you sit back, etc……
    Watching the Hawks, they are one of the best teams at filling holes extremely quickly when one skater leaves their normal position to press the play, or just in general aware at all times where each player SHOULD be (the down side I think is what we think is the occasion “blind” pass, that was actually supposed to go to a skater who was supposed to be there). The Hawks play an extremely deep and complex scheme at times, which brings out their strengths.
    I wonder if Morin’s problem with Q is, he just does not have a handle of it yet and makes too many “system” mistakes we do not see, but effect the Hawks style of play and limit their chances.

    • BrandonPirri

      Maybe Q has decided that he wants Morin to shit the bed so when the SM-Liiga is over, he can bring in Teravainen. It’s a silly thought, I’m sure.

      • Toews still makes funny faces!

        Don’t you have a game to get ready for?

        • VerStig

          He’s depressed just thinking about having to center for Handzus

          • mad-hatter

            There goes that line’s stellar possession numbers.

      • mad-hatter

        Q makes questionable decisions on his roster, but purposefully sabotaging one player he does not.

    • mad-hatter

      I would buy this argument if Shaw didn’t jump in immediately when he was first brought up.

      • MattC86

        I agree with this, but I will also say in Q’s defense – if any of you think Morin has been impressive at all, you’re smoking the same thing Q is when he put Zus on the 2nd line as a wing.

      • Toews still makes funny faces!

        IIRC Shaw was not a 12min + FWD at the get go, he did still have to cut his teeth too. There were times with him as well where he played next to nothing.

        • mad-hatter

          Actually he was. He only played under ten minutes once in 2012, and under twelve five times.

        • Toews still makes funny faces!

          FTR,
          From 05JAN12-02FEB12 Shaw was at 13:00min/G except his debut at 12:29 and was routinely cracking 15 and even 20 min at times. Then from 03FEB12-09MAR12 he looks like he was in the Dog House, cracking 15 only once with all other games below 13:00 and even one down to just 5:08. He was a -3 on 02FEB12 and then he was also taking a shit ton of PIM during this stretch also with more minus ratings, which being in the box would affect TOI somewhat, but not enough to makeup for the total drop in TOI seen.
          After 11MAR12 his TOI increased, he never was worse then a -1 in any game, and lest a game with 17 mins (prob fight and MC) his PIM went down never drawing more than a single minor and never in consecutive games.
          Even Shaw had time in Q’s Dog House

          • Z-man19

            These two things are not comparable IMO, Shaw got a much longer leash, deservedly or not

          • Toews still makes funny faces!

            The team was also not as strong as today’s is either IMO. Allot more players around to step up today than in early 2012. Shaw was more a necessity player then, than Morin is today.

          • Z-man19

            I’ll agree with that and there wasn’t a cap issue either IIRC. I’m certainly not an expert but I’d think Morin would need more than 5 minutes a night to get his feet under him. Shaw may not have survived under similar circumstances

          • mad-hatter

            I really don’t consider that Q’s doghouse, especially since those games he had shortened TOI was also during The Other Streak, no doubt a result of Q just tightening the bench.

    • 10thMountainFire

      Hard to understand a system from just practice, though. No TOI, no real affection for the system.

    • wardrums

      I thought Q’s system was, “Hit Somebody!”

      • Toews still makes funny faces!

        No, that is Mouth Breathers and the Eastern Conference.

        • wardrums

          who is mouth breathers?

          • wardrums

            I’m guessing the Blues?

          • 10thMountainFire

            Yahoo commenters?

        • DesertHawk

          As someone with chronic sinus issues, I hate that mouth-breathers implies stupidity. :breathes heavily through open mouth:

          • birdhead

            *fistbump of allergies*

  • lizmcneill

    Is Nacho Libre Seabs?

    • bizarrohairhelmet

      Nacho Seabre

      • MattC86

        Beauty.

      • 10thMountainFire

        Wow, top shelf.

  • lizmcneill

    Why the fuck is Zus on the second? That’s a recipe for Kaner playing keep-away all by himself in the ozone for 3 seconds as Pirri hangs back like a defensively responsible center without the best speed in the team, and Zus trundles up the other side like he has cement in his skates. Surely the blatantly obvious place for Zus is with Shaw so that line can buy a faceoff and has one member whose thoughts do not go PUCK PUCK NET NET NET PUCK NET as soon as they get possession?

    • 10thMountainFire

      Looks like I’m drinking tonight.

      • Z-man19

        Like you needed an excuse

        • 10thMountainFire

          Like you thought differently.

          • Z-man19

            I rarely drink during games, I rarely drink any time actually

          • 10thMountainFire

            Truth be told, I only drink when Q sits Morin. I’m in a program now.

          • Z-man19

            I think I heard your liver just declare bullshit

          • 10thMountainFire

            I have a spare in a jar in the closet. Contingencies…

          • Z-man19

            Also a reserve meal

          • 10thMountainFire

            ‘Always have a plan.’

      • DuHawk

        Hmm, seeing you talking about drinking just made me thirsty. I believe I’ll have one.

      • birdhead

        I appreciate that you and liz share most of my panic buttons.

        • 10thMountainFire

          I think all of us may end up fighting over that button before long.

          • birdhead

            I’m reassuring myself that the plus side of Q’s juggliness is surely that he won’t keep Zus up there, with Versteeg available, if it doesn’t work out.

          • 10thMountainFire

            Or someone is sent to the dog house… Steeger? Pirri?

          • cliffkoroll

            ah, the plus side of juggliness:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgDC3FUpMuQ

          • 10thMountainFire

            birdhead, I just hit the panic button. You have to be quicker.

          • birdhead

            I’m at work. Is that boobs or clowns?

          • DesertHawk

            Katy Perry in an Elmo shirt… so… both?

          • birdhead

            Katy Perry is never a plus side. Weak effort on Cliff’s part imo.

          • 10thMountainFire

            Yes.

          • birdhead

            it’s always nice to know that my finely-honed internet bear trap instincts are still working.

      • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

        This is different how?

        • 10thMountainFire

          The type of liquid in the glass?

  • steeg of their own

    Second line winger? Apparently Q really got into the bud up there in Vancouver and is now high off his ass.

    • 10thMountainFire

      Kaner on the fourth and Brookbank centering the first. Because why not?

  • DuHawk

    Hello friends.

    • Z-man19

      Du

      • DuHawk

        Z.

        • 10thMountainFire

          Du.

          • DuHawk

            Hello XMF.

            Does Zus as a 2nd line winger give you an aneurysm like it does me?

          • MoneyBoy

            YES! my fellow DuHawk… it sure as shit does!!

          • 10thMountainFire

            I just decided that my workout tonight will involve Johnnie Walker while on the treadmill.

          • DuHawk

            I approve of your multitasking.

          • 10thMountainFire

            Say that to the poor guy that is going to have to clean up that treadmill afterward.

          • Z-man19

            He should talk with the guy that cleaned Du’s couch

  • MattC86

    Us: “Please, don’t let Q put Handzus back as second line center. . . Please, God. . . ”

    Q: Laughs to himself, fills out line-up card. . . . “wait til those assholes get a load of this”

  • 10thMountainFire

    Zus on the second simply to scare Pirri?

    • Z-man19

      Trial by slow fire

      • 10thMountainFire

        But I got a down boat. And it’s only the pre game…

        • Z-man19

          Zus does a fan or two

          • 10thMountainFire

            Gonna be a solid night.

          • Z-man19

            It was probably ‘cip

          • 10thMountainFire

            I’m looking at him through the window right now.

          • Z-man19

            Does he look tired, needs some rest?

          • 1benmenno

            I’m on the other side of the house, watching his TV through the window. Another Mennonite money saving trick.

          • Z-man19

            All the wheels stay on?

          • 1benmenno

            Oh, you mean the wheels on my bandy wagon.

          • Z-man19

            Yes

        • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

          Maybe one of us is Pirri?

          • 10thMountainFire

            Friendly fire!

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            who needs enemies

  • Hi, I’m Bob LeDonne

    I’m here!
    I’m clear!
    I don’t want anymore bears!

    • Z-man19

      How is Yogi these days?

      • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

        Smarter than the average bear.

    • CornelisonsFlagPointer

      • 10thMountainFire

        As a Bears fan, I’m starting to feel like a Cubs fan.

        • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

          1908 > 1985
          1945>2005

          It ain’t even CLOSE. Cubs are by FAR the best losers in town.

          • 10thMountainFire

            I was speaking more to year after year being led to believe we’re a contender when really we just ruin draft position.

          • 1benmenno

            I was talking football with some woman in downtown Chicago and she kept calling Cutler a pussy. Whoa, I said, you’re sounding like the mayor of Toronto.

          • 10thMountainFire

            Was this woman wearing a Ditka sweater?

          • 1benmenno

            No, but she didn’t know how to pronounce Toews, so I’m guessing she doesn’t know much about either sport. Very opinionated however.

          • 10thMountainFire

            Too many meatballs for lunch.

      • DesertHawk

        Why does his head have a dent?

  • Z-man19

    If someone already broke this news here, I missed it so sue me. 10 former NHL players have filed a lawsuit against the NHL over concussions. Many expect the number to go way higher than 10 before it’s over

    • 1benmenno

      I just heard it myself. On Accipter’s television.

      • Z-man19

        You at least bring him some prison wine?

        • 1benmenno

          I heard that swill causes concussions.

          • Z-man19

            That’s from you falling down from drinking too much of the swill

          • 1benmenno

            I hate when you’re right. Also, more seriously, the lawsuit may do more to eliminate fighting than anything tried before. At least, that’s what CBC says

          • Z-man19

            There’s a reason the NFL made major rules changes in the last two years, a lot of cash went out the door. It’s only a matter of time the NHL follows suit

          • 1benmenno

            I hate when you’re right, except this time.

          • Z-man19

            Check your mail

  • CornelisonsFlagPointer

    Howdy, Ya’ll!
    I hope this doesn’t jinx it, but after my experience with ChiCitySports’ Bears forum yesterday, I have love for our chatmonkey that shall not be named.
    That, and hoping for good things for Hossa.

  • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

    Even with all the terribleness, Ed always plays the Indianhead hard (or the Indianhead plays Ed soft?). Even though the winning streak for Ed has come against the have nots of the league, it’s a warning to the Hawks D to bring their A game.

    • steeg of their own

      I think the Hawks have tended to take Edmonton for granted. They certainly don’t get up for the Oilers in the same way they do for the Canucks or the Sharks or whatever.

      • 10thMountainFire

        The difficulty we face with Edmonton is also largely due to their speed, in my opinion. They just seem to play the tempo game well when they face us.

        • 1benmenno

          like the Avs

          • 10thMountainFire

            Yep.

          • birdhead

            +1 I always think the Hawks are surprised when they play a team that can really skate.

          • DesertHawk

            There aren’t many, that are as “good”, that really can skate with us.

          • 10thMountainFire

            Which makes me not quite like the idea of facing the Avs in the first round.

          • DesertHawk

            I fear no team. The boys can take all comers, assuming health and a living Crow.

          • 10thMountainFire

            I don’t fear them. But I’d rather not step in front of a team like Colorado.

          • DesertHawk

            That’s why we need a living Crow.

        • steeg of their own

          I think their tendency to play super-fast defensively irresponsible hockey encourages the Hawks own tendencies to want to go nuts on speed and fancy plays and forget about the less-fun work of being defensively aware. At which point it tends to bite the Hawks in the ass.

          • 10thMountainFire

            I like this. And with their net minders, this plays well for us if we can bury chances.

  • laaarmer

    It’s because Hossa is out, right? Come on.

    • 10thMountainFire

      It’s going to be ok. Come here and tell me all about your day.

    • Z-man19

      Hey laaarms

      • laaarmer

        Hey. Wanna go down to the fillin station for a bottle a pop?

        • Z-man19

          No

        • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

          I was going into Toshe station to buy some power converters.

          • laaarmer

            I don’t know what that is.

          • laaarmer

            Now I get it.

          • steeg of their own

            Simmer down, Luke.

    • laaarmer

      It is because he is out though or did I miss something?

      • Z-man19

        It being Zus?

        • laaarmer

          No Hossa.
          If He is not playing, what is wring with what Q is doing.
          (Unless, of course, he is playing)

          • Z-man19

            he won’t be back until Calgary, Hossa that is. The question being, why put Zus in on a line that has done pretty well as it was? If there is center help needed, it’s not really been on the 2nd line.

          • laaarmer

            Is Saad playing on Toews line with Sharp?
            Zus on 2nd with Pirri and Kane?
            What is the problem here?

          • ahnfire

            I believe Saad was playing with Pirri & Kane?

          • Z-man19

            Thought Saad got moved up with 19 when Hossa had to go home?

          • laaarmer

            Exactly, but Hossa is not playing, so you move Baby Hossa (LC SAAD) to his spot and you have a spot open on Pirri and Kanes line. Bickell is injured, and you are getting a solid Defensive forward back with Zus. It’s not bad thinking if in fact Zus is healthy.

          • ahnfire

            I think though that Saad is better served on Pirri & Kane’s line, as it evens out the lines a bit more, giving the second line a bigger puck-pursuit guy.

          • laaarmer

            So then you put #23 with Toews?

          • ahnfire

            Not ideal, but I think it balances the lines a bit better.

            Basically, Bicks or Hossa has to come back now, please.

          • ahnfire

            Nope never mind. It was 20-19-10, 37-23-88.

          • Z-man19

            I would assume so. Wouldn’t Zus be more effective playing center on another line instead of playing wing on another line? I honestly don’t think it matters, Q will have it blended two shifts in anyway

          • birdhead

            The problem is Versteeg-Pirri-Kane Saad-Toews-Sharp has been a good and productive top six while Hossa has been out, and many people think Handzus has more to offer on the third or fourth line than he does dragging up and down the ice two metres behind Kane and Pirri.

          • laaarmer

            You know, this is complete BS.

          • Z-man19

            care to expand on the BS?

          • laaarmer

            What you are saying many people think.
            First, Handzus is slow, but he is a capable NHL player and everybody that knows anything knows that.
            Second, what is wrong with Versteeg Kruger and whoever the other guy is playing with the so called 3rd?
            Third, the Handzus meme is getting tiring.

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            C’mon. What are people going to complain about if they’ve nothing to complain about?

          • DesertHawk

            Q trying to kill Crow. :pounds drum:

          • Z-man19

            Kruger plays fourth with Bollig and Smith. 3rd should be Zus, Shaw and Morin, since Shaw could use some help winning a draw or two and maybe, just maybe be able to take a draw in their dzone once in a while.

          • 10thMountainFire

            This.

          • 2883

            This isn’t bad, but neither is putting some speed on that 3rd line with Versteeg…

          • birdhead

            I don’t see how “more to offer on the third or fourth line” is the same thing as “not a capable NHL player”. Many capable NHL players are not top-six material. I wouldn’t suggest Shaw in the top six, that doesn’t mean I think he belongs in Rockford.

          • laaarmer

            Handzus is “defensively responsible” Versteeg is also, but in Q’s eyes, not as much.

            What Q is doing is perfectly acceptable.

          • 10thMountainFire

            Acceptable doesn’t always mean it’s the best option.

          • laaarmer

            AHHHHHHHHHH!

          • 10thMountainFire

            Breathe.

          • Z-man19

            I think the first Zima just went down

          • birdhead

            So would be putting Shaw in the top six, that doesn’t mean I have to agree with it or that saying that I think Versteeg adds more is bullshit.

          • laaarmer

            Wow, you like to misconstrue things, which is BS.

            “What you are saying many people think” – which is “Versteeg-Pirri-Kane Saad-Toews-Sharp has been a good and productive top six while Hossa has been out,” He has missed how many fucking games? 1? 2?

            How have they been productive? Is it because you think they are, know they are, or anticipate them losing all the games with Zus in the lineup, which you know they will not and did not.

            Playing Handzus is not a bad thing. You know it and all you other fuckers know it as well. Bickell and Hossa are out. What the fuck!

          • 10thMountainFire

            So quote some numbers that prove to the contrary. Because Kane’s +/- has been steadily increasing since he got lined with Pirri. That’s not to say this Pirri is the reason he’s improved that particular marker but it remains to be seen how you can argue against that… at least now, anyway.

          • laaarmer

            He is still with Pirri! Goddamnit!

          • 10thMountainFire

            LOUD NOISES!

            The point is that Zus is being placed on that line for reasons other than what Saad does there. And we all know it won’t be long before he’s sent back to the middle and Pirri moves to another line position. Our anticipatory fear is that Zus replaces Pirri and the line slows. The transition game notwithstanding, Kane has shown some capacity for playing well with a center who can move up and down ice better than Zus.

          • laaarmer

            If/when Hossa comes back something will give. Bickell too, something will give. It’s all good though. The team will be getting better.
            I fail to see how playing Handzus where he MIGHT play, is the end of the team as we know it tonight.

          • 2883

            It’s either whine about this or whine about Bollig though laarmer….

          • 10thMountainFire

            That’s a fuckin lie. This is a legitimate debate. If people here want to take to condescension and calling the other side’s claims ‘bullshit’, good on them. But take as good as you give.

          • laaarmer

            I’ll wash your mouth out with soap you bastard1

          • 10thMountainFire

            I’ll enjoy it, you old fuck!

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            I’ll teach your grandmother to suck eggs!

          • 10thMountainFire

            I will smash your face into a car windshield, and then take your mother, Dorothy Mantooth, out for a nice seafood dinner and never call her again.

          • 2883

            This isn’t really much of a debate, Handzus in the lineup makes the Hawks better. Q rolls 4 lines and does more mashups than Ratatat. So the lines you begin with are certainly not the way it’ll end… We’re straining at gnats.

          • laaarmer

            There are not enough upboats!

          • 10thMountainFire

            That’s a flat-out black/white statement. How? In what terms? At the expense of speed on a line where Kane and Pirri have been pushing the puck well into the offensive end? If that slows with Zus, as good a set a hands as he has, how does that make us empirically ‘better’?

          • laaarmer

            How does it not?

          • 2883

            Because Kane can drag a dead carcass around the ice for 60 minutes and look amazing.
            My apologies to Dave Bolland ..

          • 10thMountainFire

            So ‘make Kane work harder because Zus’ is your answer?

          • Z-man19

            so why not give him a live carcass and let him kick some ass?

          • 10thMountainFire

            Winnah.

          • 2883

            He’s still got Pirri and to be honest, you took one of the best players that he played with off his line already (B.Saad)

          • 10thMountainFire

            Ok, point taken. If you move Saad, yes that does that.

            But if you’re down-boating, you’re a fuckin child.

          • 2883

            I rarely upboat, and downboat even more rarely.. so no it’s not me.

          • 10thMountainFire

            If it’s someone not in the debate, no worries. But if it’s one of us talking, grow the fuck up and stop being a whiner. (not you, generally)

          • laaarmer

            This is right!

            When Handzus was playing with Kane, it was Bickell right? Right? Fucking Bickell. Maybe it was Sharp before he had a baby. Did you know he had a baby. Hossa did too. They both had kids.

            Anyway……….

          • 10thMountainFire

            I know it’s right. I said so. Then I upboated it.

          • 2883

            The lines I’d love to see when we’re healthy are..

            Sharp/Toews/Hossa
            Saad/Pirri/Kane
            Bickell/Shaw/Versteeg
            Bollig**/Kruger/Smith (Morin)

            ** Bollig is only there because I’ve got empirical evidence that he will be there no matter how poorly he plays.

          • 10thMountainFire

            This. Agreed.

          • laaarmer

            Somebody will be traded.
            Smith
            Morin
            Handzus
            Roz

          • Z-man19

            Morin and/or Zus

          • 2883

            Don’t think you necessarily need to make a trade… you can send Morin and/or Smith to Rockford I believe still without the need to clear waivers (might be wrong)

          • Z-man19

            not Smith, I don’t think

          • 2883

            you’re probably right there… he was the one I was unsure about.
            Even so I don’t think there is a need for a trade

          • Z-man19

            depends on how long Khabi is on LTIR and what they do with the roster once Kostka comes back, it’s tight

          • 10thMountainFire

            Yes.

          • 2883

            I don’t think Roz fixes the forward logjam but he certainly frees up some cap

          • Z-man19

            I’ll kick a mule in the ass if Rozs gets traded, not happening

          • 10thMountainFire

            Leave Laaarms alone. he’s had a rough day.

          • laaarmer

            God, this place sucks.

          • 2883

            I’ve been there man. Keep your head up , have a drink and listen to whatever relaxes you.

          • laaarmer

            I’ll relax and watch Handzus feed Kaner some passes and then I’ll maniacally laugh and eat some Chips Ahoy

          • 2883

            Haha. I mean if that’s your thing, rock it. I can only have a few tonight, so I am going quality tonight

          • laaarmer

            What? Double Chips Ahoy?

          • 2883

            Hahah, nah a higher quality beer. Raison D’ Etre. Brown ale.

          • 10thMountainFire

            I’ll watch Pirri pot a few helpers and a goal and toast your ignorance.

          • laaarmer

            You mean the ignorance that Handzus isn’t replacing your pin up? Or the ignorance that Hossa and Bickell are injured so Q is playing the next best player where he thinks it’s right. Correct me if I’m wrong, Q is an NHL coach and we comment on a blog. I thought so.

          • 10thMountainFire

            My pin-up is Natalie Portman. Pay the fuck attention.

          • laaarmer

            In my own words Bullshit.

            You have a bathroom thing going with Pirri and Morin and you know it.

          • 10thMountainFire

            Right next to Toews, Saad, and Hossa.

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            biscuits ahoy

          • 10thMountainFire

            Yet you rabble on.

          • Z-man19

            Zus is where?

          • 10thMountainFire

            The aether.

          • Z-man19

            Zus will play, I don’t know where, but he will play

          • 10thMountainFire

            I’d love him centering the fourth.

          • Z-man19

            Kruger centers somewhere and wherever that is, that will be the checking line

          • 10thMountainFire

            Kruger in the middle on the third, Shaw to wing on fourth with Smith. Bollig eats a bowl of shit in the press box.

          • Z-man19

            like last year, the label of third and fourth line doesn’t mean anything. Kruger’s line will check, the other will bumslay

          • 10thMountainFire

            I’m good with that. I just think removing Bollig, inserting Morin, and adjusting Zus’s role would exponentially increase our awesomeness.

          • Z-man19

            Bollig is a checker and face puncher, I’ll bet he starts a majority of the playoff games if healthy. I don’t like it, I’m just saying

          • 10thMountainFire

            Of course. But we were speaking about maximization of capability, right? In this scenario yes Q-apologists (not you, Z), Q is fuckin wrong for Bollig being permanent party.

          • Z-man19

            Q will have his checking line. Until Morin can do that better than Bollig, we get Bollig

          • 10thMountainFire

            Well, he has to be on theice first.

          • Z-man19

            that would help

          • 2883

            Who fits better on that hcecking line Zus or Smith

          • Z-man19

            I’d say Smith. Let Zus center the bumslayer line and he can fill in on the top lines when needed

          • 2883

            The Bum slayer line is Bicks/Shaw/Steeger, I love that line…

          • Z-man19

            Bicks comes back when? Until that happens, we don’t know what that line will be like. Bicks got hurt in Steeger’s first game, right?

          • 2883

            1st or 2nd game, I think Steeger played in Nashville and Bickell got injured the very next game in Colorado. But yeah, Can Shaw or Zus play LW I don’t know

          • Z-man19

            Shaw please

          • 2883

            Krug and Frolik were money last year.

          • 2883

            Likely forcing Smith to the bench

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            Handzus on the team versus all the other player options? Best option we have.

          • Z-man19

            who is arguing otherwise? why not put him somewhere else than the 2nd line which hasn’t shown that it needs any adjustment

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            how many shifts you think he plays on the 2nd? 4 or 5?is that what peeps are squealin’ about. Practice?

          • Z-man19

            Practice? We talkin about practice?
            What else are we going to talk about? I heard the sky is falling

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            And just what has Saad done lately besides hinted at being the second coming of JeHossa? huh?

          • 10thMountainFire

            He’s made me excited. Like, ‘excited’.

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            He’s tickling you in your mind’s groin?

          • 10thMountainFire

            All day and every night.

          • 2883

            I don’t think anyone here is saying that Handzus is not an upgrade over MP at forward.. I think they’re arguing about his placement on the lines.

          • 10thMountainFire

            Fucking goddamn this. Thanks, 2883.

          • ahnfire

            breathe, laaarms.

          • Z-man19

            three other people are typing, relax laaarms, have a Fresca or something

          • 10thMountainFire

            Artois Cidre

          • 2883

            I wouldn’t wish that on Brandon Bollig, have a good beer. I’m drinking Raison d’ Etre tonight

          • 10thMountainFire

            I don’t drink that shite.

          • 2883

            you don’t drink DogfishHead? k… your loss my nerd.

          • 10thMountainFire

            I’m a grown up.

          • 2883

            DFH is a grown up brewer… I didn’t drink DFH until I was like… 25ish…

          • 10thMountainFire

            I’m old. I drink piss and scotch.

          • 2883

            I drink some of that too, but I have work tomorrow

          • 10thMountainFire

            I have blog writing tomorrow so… I guess more scotch to make it work.

          • 2883

            I follow the logic of Hemingway: “Write drunk, edit sober”

          • 10thMountainFire

            Exactly.

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            Kill yourself when the drink is stronger than you are.

          • 2883

            hah. I don’t know pure grain alcohol is pretty rough. It’s like drinking pure poison

          • 10thMountainFire

            No, that’s the Hunter S Thompson logic of writing.

          • 2883

            Rum Diaries

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            except Hemms did it first.

          • 10thMountainFire

            Hemmingway saw war, Thompson did not.

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            HST saw giant freaking bats that didn’t exist for other men. What’s your point? Hemms offed himself when his manly image could no longer be maintained.

          • 2883

            Cocaine is a hell of a drug.

          • 10thMountainFire

            Chris Odonnell is not Hemmingway. Ask your parents.

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            Your perception is only truth for you. Ask yourself.

          • 10thMountainFire

            Socrates established you have all the answers. Find the key and unlock the door. It’s on you.

          • laaarmer

            What are you writing about? Handzus?

          • 10thMountainFire

            Your face.

          • laaarmer

            No, you can do better than that.

          • 10thMountainFire

            I provide updates on your posts with an anger-o-meter. In the middle is a photo of Zus and the meter fluctuates based on BCS-style amalgamation of number of posts, profanities, and upboats.

          • laaarmer

            I provide updates on your posts with bags of flaming shit. The higher the flame, the less well written the comment/blog entry.

          • 10thMountainFire

            I’m an admitted monkey. What’s your excuse?

          • laaarmer

            I have no excuse. I’m just an abrasive asshole through and through.

          • 10thMountainFire

            Your parents seem like nice people. Did you lick power lines as a kid or something? I bet they wish you did. There would be an excuse.

          • laaarmer

            Fuck this place!

          • 10thMountainFire

            I hate your face.

          • Z-man19

            now now laaarms, where else can you go and get this much entertainment?

          • 10thMountainFire

            The circus is at the UC.

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            With that kind of experience out, might be good to have someone who’s got a few NHL seasons under the belt in one of the most important lines.

          • birdhead

            I am not saying and have at no point said it was bad to play Handzus with Hoss and Bicks out, and nor has anyone else. The sum total of my opinion on the matter is that I’d rather see Handzus on the fourth than on the second, because I think Versteeg-Pirri-Kane is a better line. Sure, it’s true, there haven’t been many games for me to say that.

          • laaarmer

            They were good with Handzus playing with Kane. Kane was bad, but the team was good. They have only lost a handful of games all season, and they were not Handzus issue, nor were they all Kane’s or SEABROOKS!

          • birdhead

            They were also good with Versteeg playing with Kane, and Kane was also good. Handzus has played 36 minutes at ES with Kane this year, Versteeg has played 31 minutes, if you’re basing “Handzus will be fine with Kane because the team is good this year”, I mean, that’s true, the Blackhawks are a good team, nothing is going to sink them. But all things being equal, I’d rather having Kane be good than bad. He’s kind of an important part of the offense so …

            I’ll entertain an argument that Handzus on that line makes all four lines balanced but you have to actually make that argument (I mean you don’t have to but I wish you would instead of just saying “Don’t have opinions, the Blackhawks are successful and have a good roster!!!!” Yes they are and yes they do but discussion is why we’re all here …)

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            Not me. I’m here to come up with lines like “in your mind’s groin”. My job’s done here.

          • birdhead

            that was a pretty good line.

          • 10thMountainFire

            It was.

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            thanks. it’s even better if you think of it being sung by Tears For Fears.

          • laaarmer

            Everybody wants to rule the Squirrels

          • laaarmer

            See below.

            Bickell.

          • birdhead

            Well you wanted to know what the problem was. I think that’s a reasonable summary of what people think the problem is.

          • 10thMountainFire

            Maybe to you it is.

          • 2883

            They really weren’t all that productive goal wise against Vancouver. 2 Goals and the 2nd was the 4th line scoring… I don’t disagree with you that Versteeg’s a better fit for that line than Zus but it’s not as if they’ve been scoring 5 goals a game.

          • Z-man19

            can’t say they got their ass handed to them either.

          • 2883

            Nope I can’t. but I think it spreads the talent out over all 4 lines and we know how much Q likes to roll 4 lines

          • 10thMountainFire

            What does that matter if he’s juggling lines halfway through the second?

          • 2883

            Also just because guys start skating with each other doesn’t mean they won’t be skating with each other with 17:50 to go…..

            in the first period

          • 10thMountainFire

            Or double-shifting?

          • 2883

            Bollig for the double shift

          • 2883

            ALL OF THE DOUBLE SHIFTS

          • 10thMountainFire

            Drink.

            Oh, wait that’s me.

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            First period. If there are no dominate possessions, he’ll juggle pretty quickly. Bellyaching about starting lines is about as fruitful as putting tits on a boar hog.

          • Z-man19

            I find this invigorating

          • 2883

            What does my ex girlfriend have anything to do with the starting lines?

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            The line to your ex starts here?

          • 2883

            SHe would’ve been a lot more attractive had someone put tits on her… but she was a boar hog

          • 10thMountainFire

            Right but that doesn’t disavow the notion that Zus slows that Pirri-Kane dynamic.

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            The Pirri-Kane dynamic is more the Kane-whomever dynamic. Its not about speed or scoring off the zone entry. Get the puck in the offensive zone. Get it to Kane. get open or get in front of the net. Zus can do that.

          • Z-man19

            before the period ends?

          • 10thMountainFire

            Disagree. Look at Kane’s numbers with Zus v Pirri.

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            make me

          • 10thMountainFire

            This house is a prison.

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            You know what’s good for shoulder pain? If you lick my butt hole.

          • birdhead

            They were the best possession line against Vancouver. Without checking I imagine they were pretty sheltered, but honestly I’m fine with that. Going back through, it’s true, by the numbers they haven’t been that impressive in the few games the Hawks have played without Hossa lately.

            Let me say instead, to me it felt like they’ve been clicking (to an extent that surprised me; I wanted to leave Saad-Pirri-Kane together), and I don’t think Handzus is an improvement. I think X-Pirri-Kane will make a fine, sheltered offensive line, and I think Versteeg does more to add to that than Handzus does.

          • Z-man19

            If memory serves, Pirri actually took some dzone draws in that game, can’t say against who but pretty sure he did.

          • birdhead

            He did: 30% OZone, 40% NZone and 30% DZone, to put him basically middle of the pack in terms of even-strength zone starts. Kruger-Smith-Bollig were the only forwards less sheltered (Kruger and Bollig had no starts whatsoever in the offensive zone and were both around 70% in the D zone, which is kind of an amazing stat and really I think underlines what people have been saying about Kruger not being as replaceable as he seems.)

            On the other hand, Kane was 37.5%, 50% and 12.5%, and Versteeg was 55.6%, 33.3% and 11.1%. the only player more sheltered than Versteeg was Morin, who had 100% of his zone starts in the offensive zone.

          • Z-man19

            I’ve been checking the FO stats after each game just to get an idea of where guys are taking most of their shifts. Kruger is just getting hammered with dzone starts. That kid may just be better than Bolly on the defensive end.

          • birdhead

            ExtraSkater has a handy leaderboard for that now. Bollig and Kruger are the second and third-least sheltered players in the entire league. (Also, yes. I am shocked that Bollig is there. Last season he was one of the most sheltered players on the team.)

          • Z-man19

            I’m still not sold that he belongs, but getting harder to argue

          • birdhead

            He’s playing regular shifts, can win a board battle, isn’t hogging offensive-zone starts and doesn’t pick pointless fights. He’s never going to be my favourite or anything but things could be a lot worse.

          • Z-man19

            it’s been a while since the Hawks had a needless fight

          • 10thMountainFire

            That was Brookbank’s role earlier this season

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            All the needless fights are being handled by the internet fans of the team…

  • laaarmer

    What are the general thoughts from you assholes on Stella Artois Cidre?

    • Jeff Lebowski

      Newest addition to AB Inbev shitty beverage list?

      • laaarmer

        My wife likes it. I haven’t tried it yet and you are probably right.

        • bizarrohairhelmet

          One of my fav ‘light’ beers is a black and tan made of Guinness and Ace Pear Ale. This Cidre stuff may work as well.

          • laaarmer

            I’ll take a Miller Lite, thanks.

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            I can give you a glass of water and write “beer” on the glass with a sharpie if you like.

          • Z-man19

            might piss in it to give it some color

          • 1benmenno

            IPA?

          • MattC86

            My hero. Real beer or GTFO.

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            Right. There are so many good beers out there. Why settle for the Walmart brand?

          • laaarmer

            No, I’ll have a few Miller Lites and some Chips Ahoy for the game, thanks.

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            Can I write “Biscuit” on your Chips Ahoy?

          • laaarmer

            We can should Seabrook Chips Ahoy?

    • bizarrohairhelmet

      Fuck. Cidre? Q can’t do shit right. It’s Ace Pear all the way. Even a blind man can tell you that.

  • The Doctor

    Handzus…why, God? Why do you punish me so?

  • Hi, I’m Bob LeDonne

    Disqus mobile!!!!!!!

    • Z-man19

      you will chuck your phone in less than 10 minutes+

    • Bob Lanz

      Hi i’m NOT Bob LeDonne but I love his insurance spots

  • Bob Lanz

    So its all been said already but why the FUCK is Zues playing on the second line ahead of Versteeg. he should be downboated to the 4th line Smith up to the third line and that’s is how we easily take two. Why oh why do Q forsake us fans. But then again we would never break up DDN… now would we

    • laaarmer

      I haven’t thought about it much

      • 1benmenno

        liar

  • 10thMountainFire

    Well, we burned a hole in this one.

    • 2883

      I’m listening to Ratatat and drinking, Ya’ll are way too hyped for a pre-game thread

      • 10thMountainFire

        I troll Laaarms like a fuckin all-star.

        • 2883

          Meh, trolling is for teenagers and troublemakers. I’m neither so I’ll just sip on this beer

          • 10thMountainFire

            You just did.

    • DesertHawk

      A whole?

  • ahnfire
    • 10thMountainFire

      Great. Another room to make a mess in.

      • ahnfire

        behave. i am in no mood.

        • 10thMountainFire

          Incorrect. You’re in a ‘bad’ mood…

          • ahnfire

            not yet, but you needle me and I will be.

          • 10thMountainFire

            I still love you.

    • laaarmer

      Later assholes!

      • Z-man19

        bye sweetie

      • 10thMountainFire

        Make sure you hydrate. You have to be ready to condescend to all of us on the post game thread. Have a list of names to call us ready.

        • Z-man19

          he needs a list?

          • 10thMountainFire

            I still love him, scruffiness and all.

      • The Doctor

        If assholes are later, what’s now?

        • 10thMountainFire

          Taint.