Saturday, April 4, 2009

Windy City Wipeout

The Preds mash unit competed gamely against a Blackhawk squad trying to lock down a playoff spot for the first time in seven years, eventually falling 3-1. The team played with heart, but let's face it, the offense was anemic and rarely challenged the Hawks. Cal O'Reilly continues to prove that he belongs with the big club, netting the Preds lone goal. Other than that, Khabiboulin was able to see the puck pretty cleanly and was not called on to make many difficult saves. The Preds will face another difficult challenge tonight back in their own barn as they play the streaking Blue Jackets. It goes without saying that we have to have a solid effort and get these two points to have any shot at making the post season. Good news (finally) for the Preds as John Glennon of the Tennessean is reporting that Jason Arnott will be back in the lineup tonight. We desperately need him

Thoughts from the road. The United Center is a huge edifice about three miles from the heart of downtown Chicago. There is not much around the UC, so games there do not have the energy that you see in downtown Nashville before a game. Once inside the UC, you find a non-descript venue that is surprisingly mundane. We were fortunate to have a box for last night's game- on the 8th level of the arena. I don't want to say we were high up, but the planes landing at O'Hare sometimes obscured our view. Once inside the arena itself, you realize just how ginormous this place really is. It holds 22,000 for hockey, and it was full last night. The sight lines are good, but when you are at the top, the players look tiny on the ice. The fans are surprisingly laid back. I thought there would be more energy considering the Hawks are heading to the playoffs for the first time since 2001, but the crowd was quieter than I expected. They did get cranked up late in the third when it became apparent that they had the game won; prior to that they seemed to sit on their hands. About half the crowd wore Blackhawk sweaters (I even saw an old Steve Sullivan sweater on a fan), and the Chicago fans I talked with know their hockey. Just not a very energetic crowd.

Four games left. We need some help, and we need to take care of business on the ice. Time for our 7th man to crank it up tonight. Time for the boys to bring their best effort.

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