Players can say what they want, but some games are definitely statement games. That would be the case in tonight’s game between Chicago and San Jose at HP Pavilion. The two clubs rank first and second in the National Hockey League’s overall standings. Even though it’s November, one can say this is a big game.
“Obviously we’re aware of the standings,” forward Jed Ortmeyer said. “Everyone knows when it’s one and two. We know they are a good team regardless of their place in the standings.”
Ortmeyer acknowledged as a hockey fan, this is the type of game he would watch.
“You come to see (Dany) Heatley, (Joe) Thornton and (Patrick) Marleau and (Patrick) Kane, (Jonathan) Toews and (Marian) Hossa,” Ortmeyer said. “The stars are definitely on the ice and these are marquee teams and organizations.”
Hossa, who signed a 12-year contract in the offseason and then had shoulder surgery, is scheduled to make his Blackhawks debut tonight. He’s set to play with Toews and Kane to form a top line that could rival the Sharks No. 1 line of Heatley, Thornton and Marleau.
“He can beat you with speed or power,” Boyle said of Hossa.
Head Coach Todd McLellan said the six superstars could see a lot of time together, noting he may match the lines some.
Chicago needed overtime to win the first meeting between the teams, 4-3, on Nov. 15 at the United Center.
“I’m excited for the game,” defenseman Dan Boyle
said. “They took an extra point away from us in overtime.”
The overtime happened because Chicago rallied from two goals down in regulation.
“We should be able to hold a two-goal lead no matter what the situation,” said McLellan.
BOYLER WILL BE THERE
Boyle skated this morning after having missed the last two practices. Following today’s morning skate, he said he’ll be in the lineup.
“I’m playing,” Boyle said. “This is too big of a game to miss.”
Boyle was quick to the point when asked if it was his call or McLellan’s.
“I don’t know if he knows,” Boyle said with a smile.
Boyle attempted to skate yesterday and had a tough time, but gave proper credit for his quick turnaround.
“Good props to the training staff,” Boyle said.
“ALL THE NEWS THAT’S FIT TO PRINT”
The New York Times today referred to tonight’s contest as the game of the year thus far in the NHL season. A story also pointed out a funny bit of play-by-play from Randy Hahn from a long ago Chicago-San Jose game: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acxOaklk8Hs&feature=player_embedded. Check it out.
In recent years, a Chicago-San Jose game would be a University of Wisconsin alumni reunion. The Sharks have two ex-Badgers (Heatley and Joe Pavelski
). The Blackhawks would’ve had at least one with right wing Adam Burish. But Burish is on Injured Reserve, so he’s not available tonight. Other former Badgers who’ve seen time in Chicago include right wing Jack Skille (now with Rockford in the American Hockey League).
San Jose and Chicago will play Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. and the game will be on CSN California, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.