I’m sure there are those who wouldn’t mind re-living last Saturday’s embarrassment down in Nashville, but I’m not among them. As far as I’m concerned we should have pulled the team off the ice and forfeited when the bloop grounder to short hopped past Corey Crawford. That was the sign that it was not our night, and no measure of effort nor change in strategy would change that.

The Hockey Gods played a joke at our expense, and we walked away with a 5-2 loss. Thanks very much, assholes.

How did Nashville do it? The same way they always do. They played their usual more-boring-than-Latin-mass style of defensive hockey, and took advantage of the many, many scoring opportunities we gave them. Were it not for some heroics by Marian Hossa the Blackhawks would easily have been shut out.

Tonight, let’s not be such easy prey, shall we fellas?

That is no small task, not only given what we’re up against, but what tools we have to do it with. Confirming our worst fears from Saturday’s game, Captain Jonathan Toews is out of the lineup tonight with what is reported to be an arm injury. The timing on this actually couldn’t be better, for he has a full week to heal over the All-Star Break before the Blackhawks’ next game in Vancouver. But tonight, we must do without. And that’s not going to be easy.

At practice on Monday, the Blackhawks were running drills with the top two lines as Dave Bolland centering Viktor Stalberg and Patrick Kane, and Marcus Kruger between Marian Hossa and Andrew Shaw. Bryan Bickell gets out of the doghouse for a game, inserted on the 3rd line with Michael Frolik at center. (EDITOR’S NOTE: Early Tuesday the team recalled Brandon Pirri from Rockford, so Bickell is *STILL* in the doghouse.) While that situation looks bleak, you’ll recall that sometimes this kind of adversity injects energy into the forwards. What I’m worried about is the defense.

Once again, the name that pops to the top of the shit list is Nick Leddy. Saturday he was minus-2 over 22 minutes of ice time. Granted, this was his first game in the negative in more than a week. But his last 4 games show (once again) where his focus is: scoring. He has an assist in each of his previous 4 games, following up a stretch where he was a combined minus-9 over 4 games in the early part of the year.

Leddy is an offensive defenseman, I get that. But defense has to be his first job, not an afterthought. He’s also young, I get that too. But the time to “let him mature” is not when we’re entering a critical 8-game road trip chock full of four-point games against Western Conference opponents.

If the team is sold on him, that’s fine. But there are guys who can take his minutes and do a better job while he learns how to play his position. In the last 5 games combined, Steve Montador and Sean O’Donnell both have flat plus-minus ratings as the bottom pairing, averaging about 15 minutes a night. Give one of them that extra 7 minutes that Leddy is getting now, and the team might not have to clean up the kid’s messes as often.

Duncan Keith. What the hell is the problem, man? One night you score the game-winning goal; the next you are standing at the blue line like a movie theater usher, shrugging your shoulders as two players walk around you to score. What won you the Norris Trophy was not talent, or conditioning, or donating 7 Chicklets to another chapter in the annals of hockey lore. It was consistency. Night-in, night-out, top-caliber play. Find it. Soon. PLEASE.

Administrative nonsense: Captain Serious is not in IR, but is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Neither he nor Patrick Sharp, who is on IR, will dress tonight. No injuries reported on the Nashville side. Expect Pekka Rinne in goal again for the Preds, and surprisingly, Crawford is the announced starter for the Blackhawks. Hope he’s taking infield practice before the game.

The usual 7:30 puck drop at the United Center this evening. Comcast SportsNet has your television coverage; the game is presented on broadcast radio by WGN AM-720; XM subscribers will find the game on channel 205; and Sirius Premiere is being coy about where the game will be slated — check listings online or on your satellite radio.

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