I'm pretty upset that I used the caveman graphic for the preview of the Blues earlier this week. It would have went perfect with this preview, thanks to Canuck goon extraordinaire Rick Rypien who ASSAULTED A FAN last night in Minnesota.
We're still waiting on Rypien's disciplinary hearing. He'll likely get suspended somewhere between 5 and 10 games.
Rick Rypien isn't the only guy the Canucks will be missing, though. Keith Ballard, Alexandre Bolduc, Alexandre Burrows, Sami Salo, and Roberto Luongo's talent will all be missing tonight.
Lungo got shelled last night by the offensive powerhouse Minnesota Wild. He gave up 6 goals on 18 shots before being pulled at the end of the second period. He hasn't had a very good season so far. His .888 Save Percentage in good for 32nd in the league. Its still really early in the season and he'll probably find his form, but reporters are saying Corey Schneider could get the start.
Update: The Canucks have confirmed Luongo will be starting in net tonight. Dan Hamhuis is a game time decision.
The Hawks need players like Bolland, Brouwer, Skille, and the like to start contributing some more points. It'd be nice to see Kane and Toews crack the scoresheet as well. Toews tends to have these slow starts every year so I'm not terribly concerned about him quite yet.
Turco will be in net again. It was a little strange to see the Hawk announce that the day before the game. Its been a while since we've seen something like that and I guess I've become accustomed to waiting until after the morning skate to find out who will be between the pipes. Its a good sign though. Q is showing confidence in Marty and Marty can start to get into a rhythm playing most games.
Keys To The Game
- Shots on goal - The Hawks have been outshot in most of their games this year. Have to get that shot differential back into the + side if they want long term success. The Canucks have added a few defensemen since the Spring, so the Hawks need to attack the system.
- Bodies in front - Big Buff is gone. It is time to put another big, stinky ass in Bobby Lu's face. Kopecky will be there with the first line and PP unit. Bickell and Brouwer should also try to wedge themselves in front of the net.
- Neutral Zone Play - The Blackhawks' system is puck possession. The Canucks like to jam up the neutral zone defensively. It'll be up to the forwards to gain the zone and hold possession. If they can't get the puck in, they'll have to rely on dumping and getting chippy in the corners. On the other side, the Hawks will have to slow down the Creepy Twin Line. Those guys are real good and we'll need to see a whole lot of backchecking.