Pittsburgh Penguins @ Chicago Blackhawks
United Center. Chicago, IL
8:30 PM EST. AT&T Sports.
Last night the Penguins raised their fifth Stanley Cup banner to the rafters and Sidney Crosby reluctantly gave back his precious to the keeper before taking on the Blues in Pittsburgh. Since the NHL is brilliant and the league obviously favors the Penguins the team had the luxury of boarding a plane and flying to Chicago for the second part of their first of nineteen. NINETEEN! Back to back situations this season. Nearly one quarter of the Penguins schedule will be played the day after a game.
Tonight the team takes on Mr. Leadership and the Blackhawks in what should not be, in any way, shape, or form, suggested as a potential Stanley Cup Match up. Every year since 2010 people have wished for it. NBC has blue balls just praying for it. The truth is, it won’t happen this year, and it’s not because the Penguins aren’t good enough. The Blackhawks aren’t the same Blackhawks. Well technically they are the same which is what makes them less likely to succeed. Following a tear fest between Kane and Toews where they begged for Brandon Saad to come back so they can play house again the team caved and delivered. At the ridiculous price of “the Breadman”. Saad!
During their weekly Pat and Leah Podcast, Pat went on record saying Chicago doesn’t make the playoffs this season. Jeremy Roenick went on record last night saying Chicago makes it to the cup final. One of these two is right, the other still gets highlights. The fact is that the Blues are automatically in the preseason based on some unknown grandfather clause, the Wild got Dad power, and Nashville most likely won’t regress and even if they do their defense is enough to get them in. The Blackhawks got a lucky break this season when Marian Hossa suddenly became allergic to his equipment and has been determined ineligible to play hockey this year. I’m sure it has nothing to do with his front-loaded contract that was basically going to pay him league minimum and some peanuts this year while costing Chicago $5.27 million against the cap.
With the loss of Hossa’s salary the Blackhawks have managed to open up $0 dollars and ice a team with 7 guys you’ve heard of before. It’s almost as if they are challenging the Flyers for worst cap management. For example, look at the starting lineup:
Oh yeah, they went and resigned Patrick Sharp too. They are essentially a Brian Campbell away from looking like a 2010 alumni game roster. If Duncan Keith or hell even Brent Seabrook gets injured then Chicago will be left with no choice but to track down Rob Scuderi. When Toews and Kane both make $10.5 million each it should make you want to bow down at the feet of Malkin and Crosby. For the price the Hawks pay for those two the Pens get Sid and Geno plus 50% of Kessel. Peace. I mean, don’t get me wrong, Evgeni Malkin is nowhere near the player Johnny Toews is but what can you do? There’s only so many spots available in the top 100 players of the league.
Minor shoutout for the night, this will be the first game with Steve Mears taking over the play-by-play instead of Paul. Which after seeing Paul last night it seems he’s adjusting well…
Two games in two nights, hockey is back! Shoutout to Stephen S for the glorious use of President Phil Kessel in the gameday banner.