Game Preview: Avalanche vs Blackhawks - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Game Preview: Avalanche vs Blackhawks

Sakic takes down Jarome Iginla
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
It's time for the Avalanche to embark on a 4-game roadtrip as they head into Chicago tonight. Well, I'm sure they're already there and are enjoying the Windy City. The Avalanche are headed in on a 2-game winning streak, both wins coming at home, while still searching for their first road win.

They will be attempting the feat with Jose Theodore in net. Well, he'll be starting the game anyways. The Denver Post reported on the starting goaltender choice yesterday afternoon and DD from In the Cheap Seats subsequently had an embolism. Ok, he wasn't that upset but judging by Dater's headline, sensationalism is where it's at when writing so I figured I would jump on the bandwagon.

In other goaltending news, Jeff Hacket is now a full-time goaltending coach with Theodore and Budaj. To that I say...he wasn't before? Why not? Wasn't it obvious that the team had goaltending issues? Or was everyone living in the glorious land of Oblivitarion?

Milan Hejduk is set to rejoin the lineup after sitting out a game with a sore back. The offense didn't suffer without him in terms of production but the jump he's shown all season long might have helped their anemic first period against the Flames. This means we'll see Marek Svatos back on the third line as the original RPM line is reunited after their brief breakup. It's unfortunate that Svatos has to work on the third line but you have to make the best of your opportunities.

I'd also expect Wojtek Wolski to remain on the JAW line with Sakic and Brunette. And that's just where I'd like to see him stay. Wolski has improved his game noticeably this year and I've been very happy with what he brings each night. He's stronger on the puck, he's stronger in the corners, he's stronger on the forecheck and he's starting to learn how to backcheck. He may not be the most defensively responsible forward out there, but is that what everyone truly expected him to be?

I've seen people dismiss the "He's young and learning" line of thought when it comes to Wolski's "liabilities" using an argument of "Well Stastny is young and look at him". Now I know I'm not the only one who sees the flaw in that logic. I never expected Wolski to be a 100 point getting, Selke winning machine so maybe that's why I'm not on his case as much. But he got 50 points in his rookie season and has 4 points in 6 games so far this year. So what exactly is the problem?

During the blogger roundtable, I gave Wolski the runner-up choice on being the new whipping boy. I hope that doesn't turn out to be right as I don't believe he deserves it. But it does give me a pedestal to stand up on and rant which is always fun.

So with that rant behind me, let's get back to the upcoming game. The Blackhawks will ice a lineup that won't include their leading scorer from last year, Martin Havlat. He is undergoing rehab on a shoulder he injured in their season opener. But fear not Hawks fans, youngsters Jonathon Toews and Patrick Kane are making up for his absence and then some. Toews has 4 points in 4 games while Kane has 4 points in 6 games. Young blueliner Brent Seabrook is at magic number 4 as well. The youth movement is strong in this one.

With Khabibulin turning back into the Bulin Wall, the Hawks aren't a team to be taken lightly this year.

Oh..and Stastny for President.

Related Links Preview On the Road Feature
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