If I do my math right, Jay Bouwmeester last missed a game on March 3, 2004. On March 6, he suited up for the Florida Panthers against the Tampa Bay Lightning, and hasn't missed a single game since. To put that into perspective, the Blues had just fired Quenneville and were playing in front of Chris Osgood. Pavol Demitra was scoring for the Blues.
That's been awhile.
JayBo was traded from the Panthers in June of 2009 to the Calgary Flames for a draft pick and Jordan Leopold. Ironically, they now find themselves teammates with the St Louis Blues. As they pair up with Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk, we're hoping that they rejuvenate the defensive game, as well as adding some spark to the offense. What is amazing (if you don't look at the teams he's played for) is that, with all of the games JayBo has played, he's never been in a playoff game. This probably represents his best shot at playing in the postseason. I have to think that will fuel him for the rest of the year, and I'm hoping that drive is infectious to the rest of the locker room. If you're playing for each other, you're less likely to slack off. To Steel our Resolve, we turn to the Iron Man.
The Enemy: The Chicago BlackHawks were relatively quiet at the trade deadline. I suppose you can afford to stand pat when you clinch your division by Groundhog's Day. In any case, the one move they did make was picking up Michal Handzus for a 4th-round pick. This year, Handzus has 1 goal and 1 assist in 28 games as a Shark. This is actually his 2nd stint with the Hawks - Handzus played 8 games for them before getting hurt and missing the rest of the 2006-2007 season. The return that Chicago is REALLY excited about, though, is Marian Hossa. He's coming back from injury and brings his 13 goals/10 assists back to the top line. Those 23 points are third on the team, surpassed only by Patrick Kane (19-24-43) and Jonathan Toews (17-19-36).
As for the net, Chicago will be starting Corey Crawford. He's gone 15-4-3 with a 1.97 GAA and .925 Save Percentage. The backup will be Ray Emery (12-1-0, 2.09 / .919).
Final Verse: The game starts at 7:30 PM, with the broadcasts on the usual FoxSports MW and KMOX 1120 AM. The GDT should drop shortly ahead of the puck. Until then, consider this your pregame warmup. You guys don't need much motivation in hating the 'Hawks, but this should at least get the blood pumping:
Official Iron Man Movie Trailer (via yond41m3)