The Nashville Predators sit in a 4-way tie for the 5th through 8th spots in the Western Conference, with the Blackhawks nipping at their heels only 2 points behind. A win for the ‘Hawks tonight puts them into that pile as well, with momentum on their side. Put simply, it’s another must-win game. Just like the last one, and like the other 21 left to be played after tonight.
I’m investing in a defibrillator. This is getting ridiculous.
Nashville had several notable pieces of news today: forward Marek Svatos ended his 60-day stay in Music City when he was claimed off waivers by the Ottawa Senators (to fill the void left when they shipped Alexei Kovalev to the Pittsburgh Penguins, continuing the we-give-up-again sell-off now getting to be an annual ritual); winger Marcel Goc’s status was changed to “out for the season” following the announcement that he will undergo shoulder surgery; and blueliner Ryan Suter has been cleared to play, and will be back in the lineup tonight against the Blackhawks.
We will also get a look at newly-acquired Mike Don’t-Call-Me-Mr.-Underwood Fisher, fresh off the dogsled from Ottawa in order to be with his new bride, American Idol winner and country music bimbette Carrie Underwood. Maybe Carrie will sing the National Anthem? Or just hang out in the locker room making sure the boys are (*ahem*) motivated for tonight’s game? Wouldn’t implants cost less in Canada with their single-payer health care system?
The other puzzler out of Nashville is the news that two days ago Anders Lindback, the goaltender who has given the Blackhawks fits this season, was demoted to Milwaukee. So it’s more than likely we’ll see Pekka Rinne between the pipes tonight, who has not had the best luck lately. He’s 0-2-0 in his last 2 starts, and his save percentage looks more like the grade on my daughter’s last Algebra test than something worthy of a starting goalie.
No offense, baby girl. There’s nothing wrong with a ‘B’.
With the lineup in a state of flux and the Predators boasting only one win in their last four tries, Nashville Head Coach Boris Badonov is reducing his press statements to things about “dealing with adversity” and “dedicated professionalism”. What he really means is, if his team doesn’t get their shit together soon, they should look at the calendar: the trade deadline is Monday.
Speaking of which, the Blackhawks had another kind-of-maybe-potential penalty-killing defenseman (something Hawks’ GM Stan Bowman has been openly trying to acquire) taken off the market early this afternoon, as former Blackhawk Brent Sopel was traded from Atlanta to Montreal. His salary made him a difficult fit in Chicago, and we may still see him return next season. But for now, that’s no longer an option, and the hunt for the last piece of the Blackhawks’ playoff puzzle continues.
Apart from that, however, the Blackhawks’ roster is in fine shape coming into tonight’s tilt. The only “injury” is to Nick Boynton, who must have suffered it while turtle-waxing his man-jumblies as he has been scratched from every game since February 7th. But everyone else has been cleared to play, and Nick Leddy has been recalled from Rockford and reports to be healthy and game-ready after a bout with the flu. Fernando Pisani is symptom free after recovering from trichotillomania (pronounced ‘kun-KUSH-un’, but not by anyone in the Blackhawks organ-eye-zation).
Tonight we can expect to see the same lineup from our games last week, with one notable difference: Head Coach Joel Quenneville will be back behind the bench, throwing fits, waving his arms, and grooming his Yosemite Sam while hearing Blackhawks fans let out a HUGE sigh of relief. No offense to Assistant Coach Mike Haviland, who did an admirable job in Coach Q’s absence. We just like to see QStache where he belongs — red-faced and hollering while storming back and forth like a caged wolverine.
7:00pm start time for tonight’s game. And in another geographical anomaly, who put Nashville in the Central Time zone? It’s like 100 miles east of Sawyer, Michigan, which is Eastern Time. WTF, man? Anyhow, Comcast SportsNet for the TV coverage, broadcast radio is WGN AM-720 as usual, and XM subscribers should find the game on channel 207.
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