The Chicago Blackhawks look to get back on the winning track Friday night, hosting the San Jose Sharks in what should be a festive United Center audience. The 'Hawks bested San Jose 5-3 just ten days ago, but are still going to have their hands full in the rematch.
Rather than toss off a formal preview of the game, I thought I would sit back and share some thoughts as we count down the minutes to the puck drop. Feel free to comment on any of my ramblings.
1. Ray Emery has been tapped for the start tonight. Maybe it's a chance to rest Corey Crawford with Razor playing great in net in his last couple of starts.
I know that I touched on this last week, so forgive me for beating what you may feel is a dead horse. However, it just seems odd that Crawford comes off two great starts and would be playing on three days rest, yet isn't being rolled out there again tonight. How much rest does the guy need?
Emery certainly has earned the extra playing time, and he did play a great game in a 3-2 overtime win over the Sharks in Chicago last February. Plus, with the Kings in town Sunday afternoon, Crow should get plenty of action...
...or not. Word is that Henrik Karlsson was recalled to back up Emery tonight. So Crawford is suffering from some sort of condition that is going to keep him out of action. Let's hope he's just a little sick.
2. Patrick Sharp surprised a lucky fan the other day for a Illinois Lottery promotion. Do you think wearing the dog costume tonight would bring him better luck around the net?
3. Whether you think Brandon Bollig is a prize fighter on skates of a fourth-liner who has a sliver of upside when his gloves are on, it's hard to stomach the four to five minutes coach Joel Quenneville gives him to play. If rolling four lines is going to be more than just talk, Bollig should be logging more like eight or nine minutes when he plays.
That may not be the case when Daniel Carcillo is ready to return. I think Bollig is capable of skating fourth-line shifts, but I don't see him doing that very often with Carbomb available.
4. With 13 points in 13 games and a plus-10 rating, would it be fair to say that Jonathan Toews has avoided a slow start and eased all of our concussion concerns?
5. Who is going to emerge as our main competition in the Central Division? Nashville has won two in a row and are five points back. St. Louis is struggling with Jaroslav Halak dealing with groin issues.
All right, I'm spent. I'm also ready for some hockey tonight. I'll post more on Crawford tomorrow as details emerge. Keep your fingers crossed.