Nothing New Here. Move Along.

This is really quite simple. The Columbus Blue Jackets, albeit lately playing well, are the worst professional hockey team among the 30 that make up the National Hockey League. They score the 2nd fewest goals in the NHL, give up the 2nd most goals in the NHL, have the 26th ranked powerplay, the worst penalty kill, generally don’t score first and might have the single worst general manager since Mike Milbury turned the Islanders into the Pirates of this league. In short, the Columbus Blue Jackets are absolutely terrible and probably should be competing for the Calder Cup instead of the Stanley Cup.

We got that covered? Great.

As for our Blackhawks, they are riding a three game win streak coming into tonight and have put some space between the 7 and 8 abyss that was once much closer in our rear view than we would have liked. There’s a date with the rival Canucks tomorrow on West Madison and that’s going to be the narrative that is trotted out as to why this is a trap game. Maybe it is a trap game. Personally, I think the Blackhawks are buckling down right now without their Captain and focus hasn’t been an issue for a while. We all know Viktor Stalberg loves to torch the Jackets. Then again, he torched a certain Russian defenceman for the Capitals on Sunday as well. Patrick Kane is playing some of his best hockey of the 2011-12 campaign right now. We’re also in the midst of one of the Good Corey appearances. That last one is what I’ll be watching more than anything tonight.

I conceded the crease to Ray Emery when he was hot a few weeks ago. More than happy to give it back to Crawford right now because for one, he’s the hot goalie of the moment. He’s our resident Molly Ringwald if it were 1986. He’s also who we’ve tied our hopes to in net for at least the next two seasons. The Blackhawks playoff chances are better with a good Corey Crawford in net than a good Ray Emery. Coming out and having a solid performance, especially at even strength, against the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight will be a nice primer for a tilt against Vancouver tomorrow. Which brings us to the matter of this back-to-back. As I write this, there’s no confirmed goalie for tonight’s tilt except that Pat Foley’s nemesis Steve Mason will be in the cage for Columbus. Quenneville is to the point of riding the hot hand that I firmly believe he’d start Crawford back-to-back nights if he felt it was the best chance to win. It’ll trickle out closer to gametime, but if Crow plays tonight, it needs to be well.

Columbus isn’t making chicken salad out of the chicken shit they’ve got. Rick Nash is the guy we concern ourselves with and he’ll probably be seeing as much Dave Bolland as Quenneville can get out there against him. Past that? Just look at the opening paragraph to see what the Jackets have. I’m not even going to bother researching numbers of note for this game because there aren’t any. I’m sure of it.

Don’t have a let down tonight, Hawks. Big game tomorrow, sure. Doesn’t mean tonight’s two points aren’t equally as valuable. Get them in regulation and get out of Ohio. We’ll deal with the actual NHL team that’s on the schedule tomorrow at that scheduled date.