"Tazer, I don't want to go to Ottawa, I'm tired."( Brian Cassella, Chicago Tribune)

So, the Blackhawks have to be the best 4th place Central Division team of all time going into an All Star break, right? If you would have told the general public a month and a half ago that the Blackhawks would be where they are at this point, they would have lost their collective shit. While most people aren’t freaking out quite yet,  the “trade Patrick Kane” movement that seems to spring up each time he hits a rough patch is back in force.

By far the most mind-blowing criticism we’ve seen in the past few days of Kane was that he was cherry picking  while 3 other Hawks were fighting in the defensive zone  (killing yet another too many men penalty) in the waning minutes of the Tuesday Nashville game. How can these people be serious? Why the hell else would Kane be on the ice at the end of a game on a penalty kill? THE HAWKS NEEDED A DAMN GOAL! OF COURSE HE WAS CHERRY PICKING! Game 5 in 2010 anyone?

Listen, we all know the Blackhawks lack a big time asset that will help us land the defenseman we need, but the notion that you would deal Kane at this point in his career is simply absurd and it’s getting extremely tedious going over this every time either Kane or the Blackhawks slump. Another thing, how many guys in the league would cut off a finger to have a down year in which they recorded 41 points in the first 50 games?

The standings aren’t really anything to get worked up over at this point anyhow. The Division leading Red Wings only lead the 4th place Hawks by 3 points – with the Blues and Predators smashed between them. How crazy is this? The Southeast Division leading Washington Capitals have only 55 points. The 4th place Hawks would either lead or be tied for the lead in 4 out of the NHL’s 6 divisions. Life ain’t fair, eh?

It doesn’t help that every team in the division is on fire while the Hawks are in a bit of a funk. Detroit and Nashville are  both 8-2-0 in their last 10 games while the Blues have gone 8-1-1. Unfortunately, the Blackhawks went 5-3-2 in that same stretch. Make no mistake, this race will be a dogfight to the very end. Making matters even worse, the Hawks are about to embark on an epic road trip that was dreamt up somewhere in the blackest pits of hell.

The upcoming voyage (longer than the November circus trip), which will begin on Tuesday night  in Vancouver (nice, easy start), will almost certainly set the tone for the rest of the season. Thankfully, after two tough losses to the Predators, the Hawks have a week to get rest and heal.  Joel Quenneville says that Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp will make the trip to Vancouver, but it is unknown if they will dress for the game. One shutters to think what that game could look like without the Captain and Shooter.

A guy that could certainly use the time off is Corey Crawford. While the second goal on Tuesday night was certainly not his fault, the first was soft and his performance on Saturday night in Nashville was dreadful. If the Hawks hope to make it out of this road trip higher than 4th place, a rejuvenated Crawford is essential. Hopefully seeing that ugly as shit Canucks logo lights a fire under him.

Moving to a lighter topic – the NHL All-Star draft was held tonight. Marian Hossa was picked by him fellow countrymen Zdeno Chara with the 7th overall pick and Kaner was selected by  Chara with the 23rd pick.  Hossa and Kane join former teammate and Stanley Cup champion Brian Campbell on Team Chara. Campbell was selected 2 picks before Kane in the 11th round.

Logan Couture of the Sharks was the final selection – what a loser.  Also, host James Duthie was fucking insufferable. Seriously, how creepy is that guy?