All the talk of hockey by politicians is fucking weird - it annoys me to see the two mixed but it's also getting me even more excited for the season to actually start. We know we're all close know.. who isn't getting excited about $7 beers already?
With the season so close - I thought it'd be a good time to get in touch with some of our foes around the central division and see what's going on with them. Hopefully, once a week til the season starts I'll be posting short email interviews with authors of other blogs from around our division. Sam and I will also be doing some individual player previews once we figure out what the hell we want to say about them. So in all - it's going to start getting busier around here now that we've survived the summer.
So first up on the interview schedule - it's Sean Gallagher (another one.. not the former cub) from St. Louis Game Time:
I was in such a state of shock that the Hawks actually signed two of the best free agents this year (even if one of them is yet another overpaid goalie) that I barely paid attention to other moves made in the central division around free agents or anything else, so what are some moves the Blues made, were there even any? Anyone prospects coming up?
The biggest move the Blues made this summer was to not re-sign Matt “Big Country” Walker, allowing him to go to Chicago where he can wander the streets in full bewilderment a la Crocodile Dundee. The bright lights of the Windy City ought to quickly have Walker in all sorts of mad-cap adventures that culminate with his down-home country charm and wit allowing him to escape city slickers with high falootin’ hubris as well as crafty ne’er-do-wells who mistake a bumpkin accent for stupidity rather than realizing that smart is smart, no matter how ‘country’ the person may be. Oh, and they also signed a bunch of guys who will fill out the roster in Peoria.
What should we expect from the Blues this season? What are you looking forward to seeing?
You should expect the Blues to pretty much suck, throwing their fans onto the horns of a dilemma: root for the team to win more or root for the team to lose more, pushing them towards a shot at the first overall pick and John “Sidney Crosby carries my jock” Tavares. The Blues will play lots and lots of youngsters in key spots this year which means that fans will see lots and lots of enthusiasm. And lots and lots of mistakes. I’m personally looking forward to seeing TJ Oshie who has been a one-man wrecking ball and offensive star for the North Dakota Fightin’ Sioux for three years. A youngster who also managed to out-score a talented young man named Jonathan Toews when the two were linemates in Grand Fork, ND, we just hope his game translates to the N as well as Mr. Toews’ did.
I know about your thoughts about Matt Walker, what can we expect from him? Should we hope he is going to punish St. Louis the way Edmonds did recently?
Matt Walker, when he’s not working away at a cure for cancer, perfecting his “sound” on the pan flute or hand-buffing his custom-built monster truck, will provide the Hawks with exactly the same thing he provided the Blues: solid if unflashy defense, simple no-mistake play in his own zone and exactly one goal every nine years or so. He’s a great guy to fans, a great teammate in the room and very much the definition of a seventh defenseman. Plus, he’s like a crazy-savvy neo-hero in the mode of Crocodile Dundee as previously mentioned.
Are we going to see much from Erik Johnson this year? What's the word on his shoulder?
You’re going to see more of Erik Johnson than you care to as a Hawks fan. His shoulder is supposedly 100% (don’t know why he didn’t say 110%, but we’ll let it pass) and his role on the team is guaranteed to expand over last year’s when he played limited minutes and in limited situations and still led the blueliners in points.
Last I heard, the Blues were still interested in Shanahan, think he'd come back to St. Louis? He continues to play for teams I tend to despise, except for the Whalers of course, (who can hate the whalers?) is that whole situation being held up by the Sundin fucker?
The Blues broke with NHL tradition by coming right out to the media and announcing, “We’re in the fucking Brendan Shanahan sweepstakes!” knowing full well that fans in this town love former heroes. They then, very unsubtly, announced that single-game tickets were on sale the very next day. The Shanahan move is a shitty PR scheme if we’ve ever seen one. Why would a guy like that come here for the last year or two of his career? What benefit could there be? I mean, unless he wants to trade in his wife (the former Mrs. Craig Janney) for yet another teammates’ wife.
Any luck finding that Jay McKee picture in drag? That has to exist somewhere right?
The best Jay McKee in drag pic we could come up with was a photochop of him as the real Marilyn Monroe. I haven’t slept well since I saw it. Speaking of Fragile Jay McKee, if your team is interested in him, we can work something out. Some Chicago-style hot dogs, perhaps? Hell, I’m sure we could pop for the plane ticket and everything….
There was a little bad blood between our two teams this year, Savard claiming some cheap shots and Jackman apologizing for hurt feelings (a noble gesture from a lovely youngman, I'm sure) - Think that will carry over to this year? How many fights between our squads do you see?
Blues/Blackhawks games have always had an extra edge, but back in the days when our team was good and yours was deeper in the standings than Bill Wirtz is now and during the days when we both sucked, the rivalry died a little. Last year was the first real charged up games in quite a while. Even in the stands it was getting pretty chippy, which we can all enjoy. We love when you guys come to town because our fan bases can argue and make fun of each other, but at least there’s some sense of mutual respect. Red Wings fans, by comparison, are just an ungodly amount of retarded. I hope they all die. As for the games, I’d put the over/under on on-ice fights at 2.5 per game.
Finally, how do you see the division playing out? Who finishes where? What will the record be between the Blues and the Hawks?
Division: expect the Wings to walk away again, the Hawks to beat out the Preds for the two spot and the Blues and Jackets to battle for last. Expect the Blues to always get up for the Hawks, as Oshie tries to outduel his fellow “underage in a bar” arrestee buddy Toews and Johnson to tries to out-MacInnis his landlord and break a goalies’ hand with a slapshot like Al did when you guys thought Thibeault was a good goalie. I’ll go ahead and predict a season split between the two, with each team getting one win in the other guy’s barn.
A big thanks to Sean for answering the questions - and it's always good to hear other teams hate Detroit nearly as much as we do..
Coming up next week: I don't know.. maybe Nashville? Who ever answers their email first I guess