ARIZONA RED LIGHT DISTRICT: Blackhawks 6, Nordiques 2
Raffi Torres. Raffi Torres. Raffi Goddamn Torres.
That's all we heard about during the runup to this game. Torres' cheap shot on Marian Hossa during last year's playoff, after Torres' cheap shot on Brent Seabrook in the previous year's playoff, after...look, this guy is just a massive dickhole.
So Jamal Mayers dropped the gloves, and to Torres' credit he didn't turtle. Which I fully expected, what with his being a massive dickhole and all.
Once that was out of the way, the Chicago Blackhawks were able to get down to the business of kicking the ever loving shit out of the Quebec Nordiques 6-2 in jobing.com Arena in Glendale Arizona.
Let's get to this:
The Belmont Transfer administered to the Nordiques by the Blackhawks tonight. Sending Barbados slim out to trade hertz donuts with Torres didn't make nearly as much of a statement as completely humiliating them in what figures to be the Blackhawks' last regular season game in Arizona. I'm pretty sure the Western Conference is wondering that the hell has gotten into the Hawks. Basically, they just all got healthy.
Patrick Kane is just playing on a level we've never seen from him, not even in the 2010 playoffs. He and the puck keep intersecting at points when there is an opportunity to either score a goal or hit a man who is open. Sunday's game marks the Hawks hitting the quarter pole, and Kane is second in the NHL in scoring. No American has ever won the Art Ross Trophy, Pat LaFontaine missing by one point. But Kane's going to be on the leaderboard all season.
Patrick Sharp. Handsome still didn't get a goal, drawing iron in the second period. But he racked up 3 assists, and appearing to press a little less. I fully expect him to go on one of those 6-goals-in-2-weeks runs that he goes on.
Lighting up Mike Smith. Smith let in 6 goals, winding up in front of more red lights than an Amsterdamn streetwalker. Last year, Smith was a colossal jagoff in the playoffs. Not only diving to draw a game misconduct on Andrew Shaw, but throwing his blocker at anybody who came within 10 feet of his net. As the Iron Sheik would say, he get humbled old country way.
The Hawks only have one game left against the Nordiques, and next season they will probably switch conferences with Winnipeg. All their deals with Satan expired in the Western Conference Final last season. They're not Columbus bad yet, but the Hawks have been padding their stats on these guys.
McClure said it perfectly on Twitter: "Did someone seriously wear one of those vitamin piss yellow Starter jerseys without the slightest bit of irony to a game?" I'm surprised Ronnie Woo Dio hasn't rocked one of these yet.
Next up for the Hawks is the end to the road trip, a Sunday game against the Nashville Predators.