Scrimmage Notes (and Fights), Mitchell on Display, Will the Real Starting Goalie Please Stand Up? And Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Scrimmage Notes (and Fights), Mitchell on Display, Will the Real Starting Goalie Please Stand Up? And Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

The first week of Chicago Blackhawks training camp is officially in the books, capped off with last night’s intrasquad scrimmage at the United Center.

In a riveting 8-2 Team White win over Team Red, a number of Blackhawks players stood out from the group, and a number looked as if they need to be reminded that the season begins in TWO DAYS. The (real) Blackhawks begin the regular season in two days against the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning and if the scrimmage was any indication to how the season might begin, they are in for a waxing on Wednesday night. But we can’t worried about that just yet. Here are some observations and musing from Sunday night’s scrimmage.

•   First and foremost, the Highmore-Kämpf-Carpenter line looks in mid-season form already. Having made a name for themselves during the bubble playoffs, the fourth-line for Chicago stood out for Team White, accounting for four of their eight goals on the night.

•   That is not the line you want being forced to drive offense. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great when they can chip in offense from time to time, but if this line is going to have to be going for the Blackhawks to muster up any opportunities on offense, there’s bigger problems to deal with.

•   Another standout from Team White: Philipp Kurashev

•   Kurashev netted two goals in the scrimmage and seriously looked confident and like he belonged on the NHL ice. He is a center, but can play on the wing and honestly with the Blackhawks penciling in Strome, Söderberg, Wallmark, Suter, and Kämpf down the middle to begin the season, he’ll probably need to be used on the wing to start. I have no doubt in my mind, by season’s end, Kurashev will be a regular in the Blackhawks lineup.

•   Another glaring standout in the scrimmage, also playing on Team White, was rookie defenseman Ian Mitchell. It’s been noted so far in the training camp sessions that Mitchell looks like he’s ready to make the leap into the NHL. Sunday night’s scrimmage definitely helped his case.

•   Head coach Jeremy Colliton also was impressed by Mitchell’s showing in the scrimmage.

•   For the Denver University standout, this training camp has been an opportunity to showcase all the developments he made over his time in college and that he will truly earn his spot in the Blackhawks everyday lineup.

•   Now for some less than stellar observations from last night. Team Red, woof. For a team that was made up of mostly players that will be on the opening night lineup for Chicago, playing against mostly players who will be with the Rockford IceHogs or on the Taxi Squad, to put that kind of effort on the ice (even in a scrimmage), WOOF. They looked disinterested and were just flat-out out-played by their counterparts. Need I remind you that the season begins in TWO DAYS. This scrimmage should serve as a wake up call to the rest of the players that will make up the NHL roster, this season isn’t going to be a cakewalk by any stretch of the imagination. Better step up now.

•   While young defenseman Ian Mitchell showed out for Team White, young defenseman Adam Boqvist wasn’t as impressive for Team Red. Boqvist is going to be leaned upon much more this season and he seems well aware of how much will be put on his plate in year two.

•   Part of the problem with Boqvist and the Blackhawks Team Red performance was the powerplay. Jeremy Colliton has split the powerplay into two units with two different goals or philosophies during training camp. Powerplay unit one is focused on puck movement and creating chances, while powerplay unit two is focused more on shooting. Neither unit for Team Red did much of either philosophy on Sunday night. It’s the same old song and dance that we’ve seen from the Chicago powerplay for many years now. I really hope this isn’t going to be another awful special teams season.

•   We still don’t know who the Blackhawks starting goalie will be. Malcolm Subban and Kevin Lankinen allowed one goal each for Team White. Collin Delia allowed two and Matt Tomkins allowed six(!) goals for Team Red. While Tomkins never really was going to be in the mix for Chicago this season, Subban, Lankinen, and Delia still don’t have a true front-runner. I getting a feeling that Subban will be given the first start of the season, but my prediction is still that Delia will end up with more starts by season’s end.

•   Nick Seeler and Reese Johnson, both real players at Blackhawks training camp, fought each other in the scrimmage.

•   I’m fully prepared for the hockey-hardos to call me soft for this, but fighting your teammate in a scrimmage is stupid. Neither one of them are actually “fighting” for a roster spot. Why are you brain-damaging each other for no fans in the stands in a practice game? Stupid.

•   We still don’t know what the deal with Carl Söderberg is, other than it is being labeled immigration issues. Once he finally does get to join the team, he’ll still have to quarantine. So who knows when he’ll be ready to get on the ice at this point.

•   Evan Barratt, Nikita Zadorov, and Brent Seabrook has been missing from training camp after being listed as “unfit to participate.” Seabrook and Barratt have been out since the start, while Zadorov began camp on the ice but has been missing the past few days. No idea about Seabrook or Zadorov’s status, but Barratt has been doing on-ice workouts on his own, so hopefully we see him in full session soon.

•   Oh yeah one last thing, it appears Brandon Pirri is still a thing and is going to get a look with the Blackhawks. Who had that on their 2021 Blackhawks Bingo card?

Author: Mario Tirabassi

Mario Tirabassi is a writer for Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Mario_Tirabassi.