You Can’t Go Home Again – Oilers At Blackhawks: Preview/Pre-Game Thread/Sales Training Retreat

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Game Time: 7
:30PM Central
TV/Radio: CSN, WGN-AM 720
Tanks Even In Their Fantasy League: The Copper And Blue

Well that homestand didn’t really seem all that long, did it? After spending the majority of the season on the road, we all looked forward to seeing the Hawks spend some time on the familiar (though lousy) United Center Ice. Yet tonight’s match up against the Oilers is the end of the homestand, though we’ll see them again Friday against the BJ’s again. (Note – none of this applies to Fels who is likely at the end of his already very short rope after a ton of home games and Indians to produce. Have fun tonight buddy)

Tonight we welcome the team that’s been slowly building their way up to having playoff potential for the last, well, I guess since they made the finals and lost to Carolina… which still has to smart. This year was supposed to be the year the Oil finally got it together and ending their streak of high draft picks with a potential run to the post-season. But it hasn’t quite turned out as they’d hoped. They’ve been flirting around with .500 all season. Lucky for them, that makes them pretty competitive in the Northwest Division.

So what has gone wrong in Alberta? Well, a lot.

First and foremost is the lack of ability to score while the opposing teams rolls out 5 skaters. Edmonton is dead last in the league for 5-on-5 goals with only 16 so far this year. San Jose is second to last but even they have already broken the 20 goal mark (with 23). Combine that with being middle of the pack (16th) in goals against at even strength and it’s a recipe for a pretty awful team.

The saving grace of this Edmonton team has been its lethal power play. They’re 7th in the league at converting with the man-advantage and it could be the only saving grace for the team so far this year. This could be especially troubling for a Hawks team that has been down a man far more often than we’re used to this year. The Hawks are averaging 12.9 PIM/Game which is a lot higher than we’re used to from a normally smart team. Taking stupid penalties against this Oilers squad is likely to spell the end of this amazing streak the Hawks have found themselves on to kick off the year.

Recent history between these two teams also spells trouble. The Oilers have built themselves on speed and skill rather than size, something very familiar to us here in Chicago. While most teams can’t allow and can’t follow the Hawks when they want to turn the game into a ping-pong match flying up and down the ice, the Oilers will thrive at it. The Oilers put up 8 or more twice against the Hawks last season in the rare Anti-DLR games. That includes one absurd performance by Sam Gagner where he tallied 8 points. The Hawks are always looking to open the game up to showcase their speed and the Oilers have been one of the few teams readily willing to counter.

Gagner leads this team with 17 points, though 9 of them have come on the power play. He’s still getting hosed at the dot though but that’s a common theme for all of the Oilers who are dead last among winning the draw. Behind him is equestiran faced Taylor Hall who continues to showcase himself as an upcoming star in the league. Unfortunately for Edmonton though, Hall is sitting out this game after attempting to make Cal Clutterbuck’s knee bend the opposite direction (or as many people will call it, karma).

Another big story for the Oilers is the play of #1 draft pick Nail Yakupov, he of the epic post game interviews. There’s no doubt he’s going to be another solid player for the Oilers but he’s struggling to find his spot on the team at the moment. He’s bounced around lines pretty often and can seem lost on the ice at times as he adjusts to the game in the NHL. He’ll burn you if you let him, so the Hawks need to keep an eye out for it.

As for the men of four feathers, today not only marks the end of the home-stand but also the end of 3 games in 4 days. With Crawford starting last night (and looking shaky but somehow solid at the same time), it would surprise no one to see Emery get himself another start between the pipes. It will be our old friend Nikolai Khabibulin getting the go for the Oilers. Bulin has been solid for the Oilers so far this year with a .942 SV% and 1.89 GAA. He’s only allowed 7 goals on 120 shots faced for the year.

The plan for the Hawks ought to be incredbily simple. While the Oilers enjoy playing the same uptempo game as the Hawks, they lack the puck winners the Hawks employ. So even if the Oilers do somehow win a faceoff, the Hawks will have a better chance at getting it back. With the control the Hawks have shown with the puck, it won’t make things easy for the Oilers to control the game for long stretches. The Hawks main focus has simply be to stay out of the penalty box. Remaining at even-strength ought to prove to be the winning strategy as we close out this stretch at home and get ready to head to St. Louis for Thursday… where you’ll be watching the game with us at The Bottom Lounge

  • http://www.polyptych.bandcamp.com/ Samuroth

    Ha! Equestrian Faced Hall. That’s great.

  • Accipiter

    Hi ! Where’s HIBLD ?

    • Z-man19

      15-0-3?

      • Accipiter

        I don’t want to give away too much.

  • AirTrafficAJ

    I’d never seen that interview from Yakupov. Holy shit that’s epic.

    • AMR

      That is exactly how I imagined a Russian person learning english would sound like when speaking english

    • Everybody Wants Some

      That is hilarious!!!! 30 guys from Siberia in Russian jerseys cheer go Russia and we win.

  • JesusMarianHossa

    Hemsky is either going to score a goal just to piss off MM or go off for maintenance in the 2nd period never to return. I’m not quite sure which yet.

  • Woods

    LET’S GO HAWKS

  • FattyBeef

    That interview was brilliant

    • Skags

      Psstack. We win Canada so Russia.

      • ilikeanactivestick

        He’s trying so hard. I’d probably sound just as incoherent in Russian.
        Хоккей деньги ешь меня

  • justahawkfan

    Luongo may be my favorite person ever, which is probably sacrilegious but:

    Strombone ‏@strombone1
    I just wanted to apologize to all the people who had to replace their Budweiser Red Light bulb after yesterday’s debacle #LUON8O

    • ChiBlackhawks

      I love anyone who’s self-deprecating.

    • justforkicks

      his twitter is awesome

      • pompoon

        It’s almost subversive

        • birdhead

          It’s certainly done an incredible job of getting people to change their tune about him. But I agree, I think it is subversive, I think it highlights the way we talk about people when we think they’re not listening.

      • AirTrafficAJ

        Borat won “the twitters” with his posts about how crazy Tim Thomas was.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=549444529 Michael Jacobi

    I’ll get to see the Oilers in the open sewer with a big metal frown that is St. Louis on Friday. Here’s to the Hawks staying out of the box and lighting up Khabby.

  • justforkicks

    Clowe with two games for leaving the bench

    • justforkicks

      MarkLazerus
      Shanahan: Clowe left the bench on a legal line change, but immediately initiated an altercation. Not an auto 10-game ban, but punishable.

      • Z-man19

        I wonder how long it took Mayers to engage with dickwad after Mayers came off the bench. I guess the last 5 minutes of the game might be the difference.

        • justforkicks

          it was in the middle of his shift or something so it wasn’t like he came off the bench for that sole reason, even if it was. Clowe got off the bench and engaged Shaw right away.

          • Z-man19

            IIRC, Mayers came off the bench and went right to DW, still think it has something to do with late in the game. I should read the rule book but I lazy

          • justforkicks

            maybe, i don’t remember enough to say either one of us are right tbh.

          • Z-man19

            I don’t either but I like being right so…. :)

          • AirTrafficAJ

            If you listen to Shanny’s “explanation” of the ruling, he claims it was a line change, then goes on to say he came off the bench to fight Shaw.

            It’s my opinion that Shanny is in over his head, and his time as a player is clouding his judgement on these rulings. The NHL should consider putting someone in that office who was not a player. That way they could enforce the rules as written and not subject to interpretation.

          • Z-man19

            I’m guessing he gets a lot of ‘advice’ on most of his rulings. Some of the stuff he says just doesn’t sound like it’s all his idea or he’s 100% behind the ruling.

          • Hawkeytalk

            I concur. Shanny was more his own man at the start of last year, it’s in his voice. Now he’s wearing a muzzle of sorts, and it feels like he’s being edited.

          • justforkicks

            his rulings frustrate me like crazy – shanny definitely has his own wheel of justice spinning imo.

          • Accipiter
          • Skags

            The NHL does not have their shit together.

            Player safety? Ain’t nobody got time fo dat.

          • birdhead

            I thought the reason they chose Shanny was specifically because he was a player, and not all that clean of a one, and understands the player perspective. They didn’t want the office to lack credibility with the players themselves.

  • justforkicks

    Emery in net and bolly not playing

  • birdhead

    @chriskuc: Ray Emery will start in goal for #Blackhawks vs. Oilers. Center Dave Bolland will not play.

    • justforkicks

      plus more news:

      TramyersCSN
      Emery starting, Bolland out tonight. Q expects Bolland to start skating again this week. Montador, Olesz have been skating. #Blackhawks

      • birdhead

        Do we know what’s wrong with Bolly? Concussion?

        • Accipiter

          UBI, progressing.

          • Z-man19

            get out there kid, your ready for the show

        • justahawkfan

          I’m venturing on a bum shoulder or something. I feel like concussion speak is more day-to-day

          • birdhead

            Probably right.

        • justforkicks

          no idea, i have yet to be able to, or see anyone be able to, pinpoint what happened to him. I’m assuming not a concussion – think he has a history and doubt they’d state it that way if he did

          • birdhead

            I’m just super paranoid about concussions now, SIGH. Why won’t they just admit what’s wrong? Dammit.

  • DuHawk

    3 games in 4 nights makes me urpy, but it’s nights like these that make Q’s confidence in rolling all 4 lines so important.

    Avoiding the conga line to the penalty box would also go a long way towards 2 points.

    GO HAWKS!!

  • Z-man19

    Is disqus still on the fritz?

    • Flavius

      Looks that way to me…so far

  • justforkicks

    how do i have -4 notifications right now?

    • ahnfire

      They’re replies that arrived after you loaded the page.

      • Z-man19

        If Disqus isn’t working, how can that be?

    • Accipiter

      You have to be better defensively.

  • Joe Banks

    Stay outta the box, and penetrate Khabby… early and often.
    No Bolland… so how do we feel about Kruger at 2C so far?

    • Accipiter

      I wonder how Khabby feels about that statement ?

      • http://www.facebook.com/hair.helmet Hair Helmet

        titillated

  • Z-man19

    A little surprised Brookbank isn’t in the lineup instead of Rosz

    • CozBullsFan

      I think he’s out because it is highly likely he would become a traffic cone with the speed of the Oilers.

      • Z-man19

        He’s faster than Rosz, that guy is S L O W

  • http://www.facebook.com/hair.helmet Hair Helmet