Ever watch those movies where the superhero has something going on in his life and has to leave for a while and when he is gone, the whole city erupts and violence is everywhere ? Well, the same can be said (not the violence part) for BC Hockey. The past couple of games have not been up to the standards that this club holds for themselves and with the #4 New Hampshire Wildcats waiting in the wings, the Eagles need to have as good a week of preparation as they've had all year. Now, I'm sure you all are aware that BC is going to get back a guy that's not too bad at hockey and he kind of proved it vs the best 20 year olds in the world. Ya, that guy would be Johnny G. I'm not saying you can throw out the past few games as it clearly showed some flaws in each and every guy but in reality, getting #13 back helps in so many ways that go beyond his playmaking abilities. First of all, this will be the first time since November 11th that the Eagles will have their full forward lineup. With Destry Straight out for about a month and Johnny G is Russia, many guys were put into roles that may not have been best for them. Now with Johnny Hockey back and ready to roll, BC will be able to recreate it's two outstanding scoring lines of Johnny-Mullane-Whitney and Hayes-Arnold-Silk/Straight. It's kind of ironic because you really couldn't pick a better weekend for these guys to be back.
I'll save my previews and stuff for later in the week but for now, all you need to know about UNH is that they're very good, especially in their own zone. It's going to the toughest test of the year for a BC team that will hopefully get back to hitting it's stride like it was just before winter break. Some people may tell you differently but not having Johnny G on this team is like the Broncos being without Peyton Manning. It's a whole new ballgame when 13 is on the ice because he makes every guy that is out there with him a better hockey player. Look, BC only lost one game this season when they had their full slate of forwards. Straight being out for so long also left a hole on both the second and third lines and it will be interesting to see whether the staff puts Destry back with Kevin Hayes and Bill Arnold or if they decided to keep Brendan Silk on the second line. I would try to guess but right now, I don't think they could go wrong either way although Silk has certainly started to put the puck in the net since he was moved up.
From goaltending, to offensive production, to the power play, and especially to the defenseman, everything is going to need to be in tip top shape for Friday night. UNH is probably the deepest team in the league meaning the Eagles' third and fourth lines are going to need to step up and play some good hockey. One of the biggest areas that Johnny G will help in is special teams. Whether it's penalty killing or on the power play, it gives the Eagles a little more depth and options (especially on the power play where 13 is a magician). Yes, some will freak out because of the losses to Minnesota and the tie vs Yale and some will tell you that BC is overrated because of it but if you ask me, I wouldn't say a thing until #13 hits the ice on Friday night.