toews-thornton-fight

Tonight, as you all know by now, the Blackhawks will attempt to set the NHL record for most consecutive games with at least a point *to start the season (edited to reflect reality). It’s cool factoid, yeah, but ultimately it means very little if a Cup doesn’t accompany it.

First, the Sharks. It’s been something of a strange season so far for this bunch. After starting out as one of the hottest teams in the NHL, the Sharks have cooled considerably. Just 1-4-3 in their last 8 games, the Sharks will look to recapture some of their earlier momentum and avoid a season sweep against a suddenly and unexpectedly healthy Blackhawks team.

San Jose plays some of the best defensive hockey in the league, but can’t seem to find the back of the net consistently. The Sharks rank 22nd in the NHL is goals scored, averaging just 2.5 goals per game.

The Sharks will roll with the following tonight:

There is good news, fantastic news and awe-inspiringly splurgtastic news tonight for the home team.

The good news is Brent Seabrook should return to the lineup for the first time since taking a puck square in the balls. Most of us would be willing to give Seabs all the time he needed to, uh, heel – but most of us probably don’t have the gigantic iron balls of Brent Seabrook. Joe Thornton seems like the kind of douche who would probably give someone a cup-check after that, so keep your eyes open, Seabs.

The fantastic news is Corey Crawford is back on the ice and will be available to the Blackhawks tonight. While tonight Ray Emery will get the crease, it’s nice to know Crawford’s concussion wasn’t of the Dave Bolland or Marian Hossa variety. You can probably expect to see #50 in net Sunday against Columbus barring some kind of unexpected setback.

Finally, the splurgtastic news. Many of us thought it would be a good, long time before we saw Marian Hossa again. Well, lo and behold, we were wrong. Hossa is not only skating, but he won’t even miss a single game. YOU CAN’T KEEP DOWN THE HOSS. Unless you’re Raffi Torres, of course.

In other news, Daniel Carcillo will make his first appearance since the season opener in Los Angeles as the left wing on the 4th line with Marcus Kruger and Michael Frolik. Carcillo has (for good reasons) many detractors around town, but I can’t help but feel his return means less Brandon Bollig, which I hope we can all agree is a good thing. Kruger and Frolik have been fantastic, they deserve a left winger who can play a minimally competent offensive game. Carcillo can do that.

It’s usually wise to pounce on a team that has troubling scoring early on. Go Hawks.