Quinn's players had completely forgotten how to win games. They carried with them the memory of only one win in their last eighteen games. "You must be careful," Quinn warned them. "You must watch diligently the errors of Strudwick and the offensive zone penalties of Moreau."
The players got together to discuss what Quinn had said and they were all saying, "Quinn is upset because we're losing and those two are leading the Race for the Golden Rooster; maybe he wants us to Stone them." ("Stoning" had become a locker room tradition where Ryan Stone was sent to play practical jokes on underperforming players).
Quinn became aware of this discussion and so he asked them, "Why are you talking about Stoning and that ridiculous Golden Rooster award? How is it that you still don't understand even the most obvious hockey cliches? Are you hearts really as hard as ston.... rocks? Even though you have eyes, it's like you're blind! You guys have ears, but you can't hear! When the season was young and we had five wins, how many more wins than necessary for the playoffs did I say we would have?"
"Twelve," they all replied, "but that seems very unlikely at this poin..."
"AND!" he interrupted, "Later in the season, when we were struggling and had nine wins, how many more wins than necessary for the playoffs did I say we would have?"
"Seven" they replied, "but once again that seems very unlik..."
"Do you not still not understand? I play Strudwick in the last minute, I don't match lines, I play Khabibulin with no rest until he breaks and do you still not understand? What is a win my friends? What are we trying to achieve?"
Chicago Blackhawks (35-13-4) @ Edmonton Oilers (16-28-6)
Rexall Place, 7:30 P.M. MST
More analysis after the jump...
Visiting Team Scouting Report: The Chicago Blackhawks are good by any measure. The salary cap could make it difficult to keep this team together but the Collective Bargaining Agreement needs to be renegotiated after next season so, if I were the Blackhawks, I'd try to keep as much of the team in tact as I could for just one more year after this one. With six contracts running through the 2013-2014 season (Kane, Toews, Bolland, Hossa, Campbell and Keith) the club is extremely well-positioned for a "wage rollback" which is clearly a possibility. They would also benefit from the players getting a raise in negotiations (in terms of percentage of revenue) since it would drive the cap up. It's very likely that after next season there will be cap relief, one way or another. This team could be good for a very long time.
And about that. They're fantastic. The Blackhawks lead the league in shot differential, clocking in at +9.6 shots per game. Both of their special teams are ranked in the top ten in the league and their goal differential on special teams as a whole is +19. They play in the much tougher Western Conference yet have a better goal differential and points percentage than any team in the East. Although they trail the Sharks in the standings they're a much better team than San Jose at EV and have superior depth at every position (like Andrew Ladd!) and lead that season series two victories to one (including one 7-2 blowout). They are absolutely the favourites to win the Stanley Cup. And I hope the fans enjoy every minute of it. Any team that endured over forty years of Bill Wirtz (and booed his memorial!) deserves it.
Expected Starting Lineups:
Chicago Blackhawks (35-13-4):
Brouwer - Toews - Kane
Ladd - Sharp - Hossa
Versteeg - Madden - Byfuglien
Eager - Fraser - Kopecky
Keith - Seabrook
Hjalmarsson - Campbell
Sopel - Barker
Edmonton Oilers (16-28-6):
Penner - Gagner - Cogliano
Moreau - Horcoff - Pisani
O'Sullivan - Potulny - Nilsson
Jacques - Pouliot - Stortini
Souray - Gilbert
Grebeshkov - Visnovsky
Strudwick - Chorney
Behind The Numbers:
- The "Ryan Smyth Deathmarch" Oilers: 2-16-1. The current "AHL Goaltending" Oilers: 1-15-2. We made it! We made it! We. Are! The!! Worst!!!! Hmmmm. If I remember correctly OT losses and SO losses now count for "winless" streaks but not for "losing" streaks. And that's pretty lame because if they didn't we'd be trying to tie the franchise record of 11 straight losses tonight. I guess we'll have to settle on chasing the winless streak record: The "Shame Corson" Oilers: 14-game winless streak The current "AHL Goaltending" Oilers: 10-game winless streak. Next five games: Hawks, Blues, Flames, Canes, Flyers. I believe!
- With a couple of points last time out Sam Gagner has moved into the top fifty scorers all time with the Edmonton Oilers. He's currently in a three-way tie for 49th spot with Raffi Torres and Martin Gelinas and only one point behind Marty Reasoner.
- Cristobal Huet is a good goaltender. From 2005-06 to 2007-08 he put up save percentage seasons of .929, .916 and .920. This year he's been significantly outplayed by backup Antti Niemi (.925 to .905) and he hasn't much to write him about last season either. The moral of this story is to never - e-e-e-e-e-ver - spend really big money on a goalie unless you are absolutely certain that he's among the top two or three goalies in the league.
Andrew Ladd's fight record against Ryan Kesler is a rather decisive 1-0. Since the Cancuks are boycotting HNIC (fools) Kesler gave his response to the Team 1040 after the game: "[Ladd] is a coward and that's the way it is..." Kesler's response was:
This poll is closed
Cowardly (Oh the irony!)
Whiny to the point of comical
Not quite as dumb as Burrows'