Game Time: 7:30pm
TV/Radio: CSN/WGN 720
One Day We'll Get an NHL Arena: Islanders Hockey Blog
So that first game back was a bit of a dud, huh? Well, apparently the Hawks are determined to continue on this rollercoaster stretch, so hopefully we get treated to a win tonight. (Although if we're to choose between tonight and tomorrow, I'd rather the win be against St. Louis. I'd hate to go all the way down there for a loss...)
Anyway, tonight's game is against the Islanders, who are still the losingest team in the East but are riding a mini-streak of two wins themselves. That doesn't tell us anything about what to expect tonight, naturally. The Hawks have been relying primarily on the incredible play of one Jonathan Toews, but even in the last game he couldn't do enough, so we'll be faced with a couple of changes when we see the Isles tonight.
Kane's move back to wing took a couple of headlines. The Great Kane at Center Experiment was nice while it lasted, but it has stopped doing much of anything recently. He'll be back on a line with Toews and maybe that jumpstarts the first two lines. Or maybe The Great Kane Back at Right Wing Non-Experiment meets an early end. Or maybe Quenneville decides to do the line-a-palooza mid-period. Any of those is just as likely as the other. Kruger will center the second line in his place and I'd be interested to see what that looks like, since Kruger's done fairly well in the last few games.
Bolland, Seabrook, and Montador missed yesterday's practice but only Bolland wasn't on the ice for the morning skate. I've long since stopped relying on Quenneville whenever he talks to the beat writers about injuries, and nothing about the Hawks' history with handling player injuries inspires confidence in how I think they're handling the injuries this time. Whether it's Bolland's foot that never quite healed or his back acting up again or who knows what, he's still apparently playing tonight. Some may say the team goes as Bolland does, but the thing is, if he's only at fifty percent, is that really all that much better?
Tonight also sees Ben Smith back in action after a few games of being scratched. Whose place is he taking? Take your pick of any of the Hawks' underperforming forwards (or defensemen-masquerading-as-forwards), but my guess is either Bickell or Carcillo in the press box tonight.
Finally, Crawford needs to have a strong game tonight. Where the Hawks managed two wins in between their ugly games, only one of them has been with Crawford fully with the team. He starts tonight, which makes me wonder if perhaps this means Emery gets the go-ahead tomorrow (normally the case, but the last time we had a back-to-back Crawford started both) against the much-tougher opponent. We'll take it one game at a time, I guess. The Hawks have to, too.