TGIF, am I right?
Congratulations everyone, we’ve made it to the weekend! First work week of 2021 is in the books and I’d say, it was pretty much awful. So let’s have a Friday and talk about another day closer to the start of the NHL season.
• I’d like to start off by asking you if you have heard the good word about our lord and savior, Duncan Keith?
• I don’t use this word often, but Keith’s hair is MAJESTIC.
• Duncan Keith has been going through a bit of a rejuvenation in his life. As we discussed in yesterday’s bullets with Andrew Shaw, Keith seems to have found more vigor for life outside hockey and, at the very least, is being more open about it via social media.
• If you’ve followed Keith on social media over the years, his Twitter and Instagram were…blah. He’d post every once in a while and it was almost always sponsored or felt like a PR person wrote the post. In the last few months, however, Keith has opened up more online, showing more of his off-ice personality and life than we’ve been accustomed to seeing – including just how freakin’ hard the 37-year-old works:
I don’t believe in magic but I have some tricks. pic.twitter.com/mBmDFq7VpG
— Duncan Keith (@DuncanKeith) May 18, 2020
• Honestly it’s just a matter of time before this guy is baptizing people in British Columbia…
Life is about energy. The powers of the sun and water have a powerful ability to heal. I use many methods to stay in shape but when it comes to my mental health I always return to Mother Nature. pic.twitter.com/lqtuixIcDt
— Duncan Keith (@DuncanKeith) July 10, 2020
• At 37-years-old, having been in the NHL with the Blackhawks since the 2005-06 season, Keith is the most senior Blackhawks player on the roster, just ahead of Brent Seabrook in NHL games played. Without having Jonathan Toews with the team for the foreseeable future, Keith will be seen at as one of, if not the biggest leader in the locker room. Seabrook is a locker room leader as well, that’s well documented and part of the reason he’s still got a roster spot with Chicago. But for guys who can be on and off the ice relied upon every day, Seabrook’s no longer that guy. Patrick Kane will be the other top leader in Toews’ absence.
• I suspect both Keith and Kane will wear the “A” for the Blackhawks, much like they have done in the past. The interesting part is that third “A,” assuming the Blackhawks will give one out. In times that Toews has been out of the lineup before, they have held three alternate captains, so I’ll stick with the assumption. Might the team rotate the third letter around? Possibly. But I have a guess as to who will wear the third letter.
• Connor Murphy. I know, I know, not the sexiest pick. But Murphy has been around the Blackhawks for a decent amount of time now, this will be his fourth season in Chicago, and has been one of the more visible players in the community and is looked at as a veteran leader within that locker room. Murphy had worn the leadership letters before with the Coyotes, as well as serving an alternate captain (2016, 2018) and Captain (2017) of Team USA for the World Championships. He’s also one of the more effective defensemen that the Blackhawks currently have, so that helps secure his lineup spot.
• Who’s ready to hit the ice in FIVE DAYS?!
• Clearly the United Center is ready. Nothing better than fresh ice.
• Looks like the Blackhawks are mixing things up on Day Five of training camp.
#Blackhawks mixing up the groups a little bit.
Notable changes: Adam Boqvist is in the second group today; Andrew Shaw is in the first.
(Should be noted, there’s no significance between Groups 1 and 2. Keith, Kubalik, Murphy, etc. among players in Group 2 as well).
— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) January 8, 2021
• In disappointing prospect news:
Two guys who have been disappointing in camp, IMO, are Matej Chalupa and Michal Teply.
They've looked noticeably slower than most—relatively poor skaters. Teply was just effortlessly closed out by Chad Krys. Chalupa has fumbled the puck quite a lot.
— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) January 8, 2021
• Kind of makes you wonder about Teplý, if you pair this observation by Ben with the report from yesterday’s bullets about him nearly being left off the Czech Republic’s Junior team ahead of the World Junior Championships.
• Now, as we are all ready for hockey to be back in full swing, we’re going to constantly be reminded that, “oh yeah – that whole pandemic and all.” Today is one of those days:
The Columbus Blue Jackets have held a number of players out of today’s scheduled practice out of an abundance of caution and in accordance with NHL Covid-19 protocols.
— CBJ Public Relations (@BlueJacketsPR) January 8, 2021
• The Blue Jackets, not confirming any positive cases, are holding a TON of players out of action today.
#CBJ missing from skate today:
F Emil Bemstrom, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Max Domi, Nick Foligno, Nathan Gerbe, Liam Foudy, Mikhail Grigorenko, Boone Jenner, Mikko Koivu, Eric Robinson, Alexandre Texier.
D Vladislav Gavrikov, Seth Jones, David Savard, Andrew Peeke, Michael Del Zotto.
— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) January 8, 2021
• The Dallas Stars full-on canceled their whole day today.
— Saad Yousuf (@SaadYousuf126) January 8, 2021
• The NHL is keeping things on the DL when it comes to COVID cases during training camp. But when the season opens in five days, any players or coaches testing positive will be made public. That’s something that the league rarely has ever done with making injury, illness, or information on any reason for absence that public. Hopefully, it’s not a major problem, but the health and safety of everyone involved in the league and the teams come first.
• Speaking of absences, former Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford missed practice with the New Jersey Devils again today.
Corey Crawford is absent from practice (scrimmage) for 'personal' reasons. His fifth straight missed practice (the past 3 for personal reasons; first two for maintenance).
— Mike Morreale (@mikemorrealeNHL) January 8, 2021
• We’ve seen things like this before with Crawford in his time with the Blackhawks. Hoping for the best for Corey in whatever the situation might be.
• I’d hate to end things on a sour note, so here’s Elias Pettersson nearly taking one in the chops:
View this post on Instagram
• He’s fine. Everything’s fine.