The Blackhawks take on the Ducks in Anaheim in a rare weekday afternoon game on a holiday weekend -- the starting time is 3 p.m. CST -- and it's time for goalie Marty Turco to step up and play the way management hoped he could play when they signed him to replace Antti Niemi when they didn't (or couldn't) keep Niemi due to his arbitration award.
That's old news, of course, and par for the course in the salary-cap era of the NHL, but it was brought out again two nights ago when Niemi played his best game of the season against the Blackhawks and Turco... didn't.
It may be that Corey Crawford will get more playing time as the season goes on -- just as Niemi did last year after numerous failures by Cristobal Huet. Remember Huet? He's still being paid by the Hawks, because he had a $5.6 million deal through this season, but the Hawks had to dump him too to get under the salary cap, so Huet is plying his trade in Switzerland this year. Crawford gets the start this afternoon.
The Blackhawks can still have a decent road trip with wins today in Anaheim and tomorrow against the Kings in Los Angeles -- at least there isn't another flight in between these games -- and then head home. The good news is that at the end of this road trip, the Hawks will have finished up one-third of their road schedule. The bad news is that they haven't played well at home yet, going only 5-7.
Today's game will be televised on WGN (Chicago only).