PUCK DROP: 6pm
TV/RADIO: WGN for both
WAITING TO DOT THE I: Jackets Cannon
As has been the case for the past three seasons, the Hawks last game of the season doesn’t amount to much more than a glorified scrimmage. There aren’t even individual milestones to grab. Hossa isn’t going to play, so 500 will have to wait until October (and none of us thought that would happen when this season started), Kane already has his 100 points. I guess they could go David Robinson here and try and get Kane six goals to get to 50. About the only thing worth watching is Corey Crawford getting one dress rehearsal before the playoffs. And considering the amount of players that the Predators are putting in suits, you can be pretty sure it’s going to be in St. Louis.
For the Hawks, the only players other than Hossa and Shaw getting the night off look to be Toews and Hjalmarsson, who both could certainly use the break. The Hawks are making noise about wanting to secure home ice in a possible conference final, and you have to love the optimism. But we all know this game is going to be about getting through in one piece.
For the Jackets, this is also about getting through in one piece so as to fully enjoy the golf and water skiing that’s on their docket starting next week. It’s been nothing short of a disaster of a season for Columbus, but when you hire a retread like John Tortorella whose first act is to chase away your most talented player, you get what you deserve.
You can see the makings of a decent team here if you squint, but one that Torts is assuredly going to fuck over every which way. Brandon Saad and Boone Jenner (Gold Dust Woman) have both pierced 30 goals for the first time in their careers. Cam Atkinson, who usually murders the Hawks, leads them in scoring. With Seth Jones and Ryan Murray already here and Zach Werenski joining next year, you could have something of a blue line. Except Torts is going to hate Werenski after about five minutes and probably chase him out of town too.
There still isn’t a center here worth giving a shit about, and there are some bad veteran contracts that aren’t going anywhere for awhile. This is a team nearing the cap that didn’t come close to the playoffs, and it’s going to be near the cap again next year and that’s without extending Jones yet. Where that center or two is coming from is a guess that I can’t make for you. But I’m open to suggestion.
The only results that matter to the Hawks are what goes on with the Stars and Blues, and as stated the Stars are facing something of a gimme with half the Predators showing up for their last game as they are entrenched as well. Quite frankly, there isn’t going to be a wrap on this one because everyone has something better to do tonight, even if that’s just cursing the gods because there’s accumulated snow on the ground in fucking April. Everyone take a breather, and we’ll reconvene on Monday to start previewing what is looking more and more like another dentist appointment with the Blues.