Picking a pack of pucks Thursday night 

October, 22, 2009

Did you see Blackhawks star center Jonathan Toews get rocked last night by Canucks D Willie Mitchell? I figured you did, but if you didn't, it's at about the 3:30 mark of this NHL highlight reel. That was some hard-core hockey, eh? It happened in the third period when Mitchell had just come out of the penalty box. Toews clearly never saw the Canucks D-man, who delivered a Scott Stevens-style hello to the young stud. Toews struggled to get to the bench and he was clearly dazed. He sat out the final 14 minutes of the game. Hopefully, the kid captain can return to action when the Hawks host the Predators on Saturday night.

But, that's enough "About Last Night" (one of my favorite '80s movies, by the way). It's Thursday and that means it's time for me to break out my Magic 8-ball. If you're someone who likes to make a wager now and again, please be warned that I offer no guarantees. You can think of it as some friendly advice.

New Jersey Devils at New York Rangers

I spent a few minutes at Devils practice on Wednesday. They haven't played since blanking the Carolina Hurricanes at the Rock on Saturday. Marty Brodeur says he's anxious to get back at it. Early in the season, he wants to be playing more than once a week. The Rangers, meanwhile, have spent the last two days licking their wounds from the 7-3 ass-kickin' they took at the gloves of the San Jose Sharks. Certainly, after the old I'll-fool-everyone-by-playing-the-backup-goalie trick, N.Y. coach John Tortorella has returned to his senses and he'll send starter Henrik Lundqvist to the crease. Ryan Callahan and Marian Gaborik may miss the game with the flu, but I'll still take the Rangers to get back on track with an OT win.

E.J. Hradek

Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
E.J. Hradek is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, joining the staff prior to its launch in 1998. He began covering hockey as a writer/editor for Hockey Illustrated in 1989.