playin' Checkers on a Chessboard

From the Genius that brought us “John Scott as Power Play Forward” and “Daniel Carcillo On The 2nd Line“, Joel “Stache” Quenneville is proud to present “Michal Handzus: Winger“. I think he’s doing it on purpose at this stage, just to annoy.

As soon as we all heard that Zus was activated from IR prior to the Vancouver game we knew that he’d be straight back into the lineup. We were mostly pleased by this as it likely meant an end of Sheldon Brookbank at Forward. We blithely assumed that he would slot in to the 4th line or, in our worst imaginings, in between Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad with Brandon Pirri dropping back. But no, Q had a brighter idea.  Not only is Zus going to be on Kane’s line, he’s going to be on the wing.

Now, I haven’t won a couple of Cups, neither do I know what goes on in the Hawks Locker Room. But from where I’m sitting this looks just plain dumb. The biggest plus for Handzus is his ability to win draws. The biggest minus is his skating speed. So what better way for him to knock off the rust of a long layoff than playing in an unfamiliar position against one of, if not THE, fastest teams in Hockey? He’s also been a Corsi disaster area this year (and Kane and Pirri already don’t need any “Help” in that department) so is likely to be chasing shadows all night.

Maybe this will work out and Q will be hailed as a genius. Colour me unconvinced.

If Q has decided that a November game against Edmonton is unimportant enough to mess around his already jangled Offensive lines, what are we to make of his decision to send Corey Crawford out for appearance #15 in a row?

Crow played really well in Vancouver and had a bloody busy night. A rest would be exactly what the doctor ordered and would also give Antti Raanta a chance to get acclimated to the NHL against the dangerous but vulnerable Oil and the piss-poor Flames (and if both these games are biffed, how much does that really matter in the grand scheme of things?). If Crow tweaks something we’ll have two Goalies with approximately 12.5 nanoseconds of NHL time backstopping a Cup defence.

I don’t get it, I really don’t. Anyway, onwards:

The Oil are on something of a hot streak, scoring goals for fun and converting frequently on the PP. Penalties need to be kept to a minimum tonight as skating with the likes of Hall, RNH and Eberele is tough enough at Even Strength.

Otherwise it’s same as it ever was: the Oiler’s D stinks like week-old Imo’s Pizza but even that stench is nothing to the waft of corruption rising from the corpse of Devan Dubnyk. Shoot often, get to the net and generally keep it busy around him and the goals will come. If Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook can repeat their performance against Vancouver on Saturday then this could be a long night for the Oil.

But we’ve seen crazy things happen in Alberta before and tonight may well be no exception.

Finally, word is that Marian Hossa will rejoin the team in Calgary. This is a very Good Thing, even if it means Jeremy Morin will be an Ice-Hog again. And it will.