Unlike our California rivals, Hollywood Hosers and San Jose Guppies, Blackhawks and Ducks fans have some shared experiences. Each team lost in the WCF before winning the Cup in the following season. Fans of both teams see how difficult it is in the cap age to keep a Stanley Cup team together.

Following a cap imposed summer makeover, the Blackhawks are showing a tendency Ducks fans know all too well, a huge disparity in home and away records.

Chicago is 4-7-0, losers of four straight at home and 4-2-2 on the road. The ‘hawks have lost 3 straight and are a dismal 1-5 in November.

Our Ducks might have the Hawks exactly where they want them even before the puck drops. Blackhawks are coming off the road and playing their second game in two nights at home.

Our Ducks are fresh after designating Saturday as travel day at the start of 3 games in four days. At least the first day of the tour our Ducks should be rested. Afterward Ducks head southwest 970 miles for a meetup with Stars who have a score to settle before flying 970 miles due north to go against the Minnesota Wild. Toss in the 2,000 miles between Anaheim and Chicago and this one brutal road trip.

How daunting is it when the current Stanley Cup champions are the soft spot in the schedule?Chicago has no injuries to report. Jonas Hiller took four stitches around the eyebrows after using his face mask to stop a puck during practice. Jonas will be reexamined this morning and his availability for tonight’s game will be determined at that time.

It was the typical standard for heads up play Jonas Hiller has established in his budding NHL career. Some goalies are known for standing on their ear. It was said Hasek had a slinky for a spine. Jonas Hiller makes a face-saving effort out there. Okay, I’ll stop.

It does seem Hiller takes a lot of pucks in the mask though. Kind of reminiscent of Gump Worsley except the Gumper didn’t wear a mask. (Note to Zseller, I call your old school Leo Boivin mention with a Gump Worsley, lol)

Ducks fans should also expect to see Luca Sbisa once again. Coach had Sbisa on the ice in one goal game with under two minutes to go Friday night. How’s that for believing in a kid?

Keys to the Game:

– Ducks must stay out of the box. Chicago has the 3rd best PP in the NHL.

– Ducks will need even strength scoring. Don’t look to the PP against a team that is averaging a Lady Byng like 10 PIMS per game, second best in the NHL.

– Minimize the impact Duncan Keith can have on the game by keeping away from him, especially on the deep dump.

– Keep the feet moving. Chicago is still a fast hockey team as Chris Pronger and the Flyers can attest.

Prediction? No way. Not this game. Not today. No doubt Chicago is struggling but this is still one very good hockey team. You never know when or if a reigning is going to remind themselves and everybody they are the current champ.

The last home game before a 6 game road trip, against a team they went 1-3 against in their Stanley Cup season? This game smells like a handicapper’s trap.

  1. czhokej says:

    bc, when I commented on Randy Carlyle’s statement about not chasing the puck too far from the goal, and opening holes in front of our goal, I was shocked. First, that statement is paradoxical, because of what we have seen on the ice for almost three years. How come RC did not know that before. Besides, some coaches are advocates of mobile aggressive defense (which of course requires a lot of synchronization with the rest of the players on the ice).
    I still remember your analysis of the same issue from the past.

    However, if Randy now knows and understand the problem, and if we keep winning, I am OK with it.

    This was the statement by RC: “You eventually learn as a defenseman that you don’t have to chase that little black thing all over the ice. It’ll come to you. Play inside the dots, like every coach in the league says, and the puck has to enter the area. There is no need to go rushing around and chasing and expending energy.”

    • BackCheck says:

      hey cz, I honestly grinned when I read your post on the OCR. I actually thought,”good eye cz. If I read that I missed the significance.”

      Where and how do we give or apportion credit? Are these changes we are chronicling genuine change or are the guys just executing the playbook better?

      When Mike Foligno was brought in, Coach talked about his ability as a communicator. Carlyle didn’t speak of Foligno as a change agent.

      Ducks employees, some past, some present have shared with me that Carlyle tips the needle on the prima donna meter into the red zone reserved for Barbara Streisand – Celene Dion types. If Carlyle walked into the room and said, “Hey S-head,” everybody but the Euro’s would say, “Yes Coach,” and Bobby Ryan would stand at attention.

      Maybe things did get lost in communication.

      Certainly Randy Carlyle deserves as a minimum, credit for his part in hiring Mike Foligno and for accepting change whether Carlyle initiated the changes or not.

  2. buick22 says:

    Wow, can I get a loan BC, that is some free credit you are throwing around…I am kidding, because RC does seem to be changing certain aspects of his outlook, maybe Foligno or Farrish are starting to point out the good/bad points of players, and how it impacts their strategies… he just chooses to ignore them on the road…the third vs Chicago was a coaching disaster.. and because of that, cash only from now on RC.

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