Nassau Coliseum, home of the New York Islanders (Blackhawk Up image)

Back to the grind: Blackhawks at Islanders preview

If you see a bunch of overly tanned players on the ice tomorrow, do not adjust the tint on your television sets. The two-week Olympic break is over, the beaches are closed to players and it’s time to cram a quarter of the NHL schedule into a month and a half. Welcome back.

Unfortunately for Blackhawks who enjoyed a wonderful vacation, the scenery goes from dynamic to dog shit tonight as the ‘Hawks are forced to skate in the toilet bowl of sports arenas, the Nassau Coliseum. Despite the fact the Islanders have played parallel to the look of their stadium, they’re only six points out of a playoff spot in the horrific Eastern Conference.

Antti Niemi will be in goal for the ‘Hawks — much to the delight of the meatballs — while Kyle Okposo (40 points) and Matt Moulson (36) attempt to get a couple through.

The Islanders savior and No. 1 overall pick John Tavares is having a decent rookie season with 34 points (17G, 17A), but his minus-18 +/- rating is one of six Islanders players with a minus-12 or worse, which includes Brad Park’s gawdawful minus-20.

Defenseman Mark Streit is one of the few bright spots for this franchise just waiting to be moved or contracted. He’s scored 31 points and leads the Isles in ice time at over 25 minutes per game. If this were a video game and you could turn the fatigue off, the Isles would have Streit on the ice for every minute.

Everyone will be wondering if the six Blackhawks Olympians and four who played all the way through to Sunday will be worn out tonight. The obvious goal for Q-Stache is to hope the ‘Hawks can get up early and rest his stars and skip some shifts so the rested guys can finish out a victory. Either way, I don’t see Q extending the play of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Marian Hossa or Tomas Kopecky. Keith most likely will not play his usual 26 minutes, and I see Brian Campbell taking on a few extra minutes of ice time tonight.

With Rick DiPietro out (I know, shocking), Dwayne Roloson should be in net for the Isles opposing Niemi. Puckdrop is an early 6 p.m. CT start. I admittedly will not be able to see much of this game as I’ll be attending the English Beat and Fishbone show at House of Blues with my PBR-drinking father. Nothing like some ska and reggae on a Tuesday night.


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  • kdub

    So tell me..

    If Q and the rest of the brass agree that there are egregious problems with Huet, why are the fans who feel this way still MEATBALLS (as you call them time and again)?

    You defend the guy by throwing down a goals against average which isn’t even his, but belongs to the defense. And then you blame the few mistakes the defense does make with every goal, when it’s the job of the goalie to make a stellar save every once in a while.

    The fact is, when the shots against are 40-15 in the Hawks favor every single night, whether they win 3-2 or lose by the same score, Huet is OUTDUELED by the other goalie EVERY SINGLE NIGHT.

    The fact is, you’re a condescending know-it-all idiot, and the meatballs and Chicago Blackhawks brass alike know it.

  • Alan Smithee

    Could be worse on Long Island. The game could be blacked out because no one shows up to games. The team could have done absolutely nothing since the Korean War as opposed to the Cold War. Their young star could’ve spent the summer answering questions about why he beat up a cabbie over pocket change.

    There’s something about glass houses that seems appropriate here…

  • Jeff

    Kdub, your opinion is definitely respected. However, I now expect you to go around to every Blackhawks blog and call them “condescending know-it-all idiots,” because all of us feel the same way.

    Going against your points, if you want to say I’m defending Huet, go ahead. I defend BOTH of these goalies constantly. The reason I refer to Niemi supporters is because they’re not JUST Niemi supporters — they’re supporters for a trade and anything but Huet, which is F-ing stupid.

    If you’re going to say Huet’s GAA is his defense’s, doesn’t Niemi’s GAA belong to the defense, too? And are you saying Niemi is NEVER outdueled? Even though the shot totals are heavily in the favor of the Blackhawks when he’s in net, too?

    My problem with this goaltending debate is that there is no fucking debate. SCH won’t talk about anymore, and Sam get’s beyond upset when he has to. Same with the other ‘Hawks bloggers. The ‘Hawks are 2 points out of the top spot in their conference, and you want to make changes? What’s wrong with what we have? Huet and Niemi are doing just fine for what they’re asked to do.

    You want Thomas Vokoun or Halak because Huet and Niemi have no playoff experience? Tell me how many playoff series Vokoun and Halak have won combined.

    You can call me whatever you want, but the term meatball didn’t come from me and didn’t come from outside of this situation. Every person who has watched hockey for more than the two seasons you probably have believe this goaltending situation is simply so people in Chicago can find something to bitch about, because it’s what HAS to be done for some stupid reason. You fall in that category.

    Thanks for reading — now go tell the rest of the Hawks blogosphere the same thing you told me.

  • ChiSucks

    HAHAHA!! Islanders 5 BlackSucks 3!!!

  • Jeff

    Hahaha, laugh it up! It’s a good win for you guys. Unfortunately it only got you two points and you’re still out of a playoff spot in a terrible conference :-) Good luck the rest of the season!