Kubalík's Ice Time, Same Old Song and Dance, Subban's Night, Seabrook Updates, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Kubalík’s Ice Time, Same Old Song and Dance, Subban’s Night, Seabrook Updates, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

What did we expect? The Tampa Bay Lightning are one of the top three Stanley Cup favorites this season and they are missing their best player. The Chicago Blackhawks were favorites to finish near the bottom of the league even with their best players in the lineup. Last night’s game was not surprising, but it doesn’t mean it still wasn’t disappointing. As a fan, you want your team to compete and be fun to watch. Unfortunately, in game one of the 2021 season, the Blackhawks we’re neither. That’s likely to be a common theme this season.

If you need it, here’s a quick visual recap:

•   First off, before the game the Blackhawks announced that they would have three alternate captains this season with Jonathan Toews out indefinitely. Duncan Keith and Patrick Kane, alternate captains from last season, would be joined by defenseman Connor Murphy.


•   A very cool and well-deserved honor for Murphy.

•   If you missed the postgame reaction from last night, you can find it here before I dive into the postgame quotes and reactions from the Blackhawks.

•   First, Connor Murphy:

•   “Obviously not good enough.” Spot on, Connor.

•   This is going to be a theme this season, as it has been for the past two seasons. Chicago has given up the most shots on goal of any team over the past two years. If they are going to have any success, that cannot be the case again this season. The goaltending is too inexperienced at this point and the team defense has to be better. The Blackhawks are not built to out-score teams this year. It won’t work that way.

•   Now from Dylan Strome:

•   I really hope that wasn’t your best.

•   I’m not sure outside of the beginning three minutes of the game, and the final two minutes of the second and third periods, what Dylan is talking about. Those were the only stretches where I felt Chicago was controlling much of anything. That’s roughly seven minutes of a sixty-minute contest. Can’t win that way.

•   Malcolm Subban had a rough go in his first start with the Blackhawks allowing five goals on 33 shots faced:

•   Yes, that second goal was bad. You wish to have that one back. Goals one and three are difficult goals to hang on Subban. Same for goals four and five, you want those saves, but those are high-danger, highly effective shots from elite players. What can you do?


•   I’m hesitant to jump on the “Bench Subban!” train, he did have some moments where he made incredible saves. It’s one game against the defending Stanley Cup champions and current Stanley Cup favorites. He had very little help all night.

•   Finally, head coach Jeremy Colliton:

•   “After 3-0 we weren’t good enough.” AFTER? Come on. This Blackhawks team cannot make mistakes, take penalties, or miss on chances. Literally every opportunity they have, they are going to have to make the most of because there will not be many. The early 3-0 hole, just can’t happen.

•   That line has the most skill on it for this roster. The problem is, that line only works when you have a complimentary skill line ahead or behind it. The Blackhawks don’t have that this season without Jonathan Toews’ abilities on both ends of the ice to anchor a top-line. Strome is not that player. Alex DeBrincat is a facilitator and shooter, Strome is a facilitator, Kane is a facilitator and shooter, but none of them are puck-winners. None of them are built to play in the corners or around the net. That line will have to be mixed elsewhere.

•   While we’re on it, here’s how I would change the forward lines after game one:


•   I’m done with Brandon Pirri 2.0. I was willing to give it a chance, but no. What are we doing here?

•   Unacceptable. Kubalík had 11:38 minutes of ice-time last night. Second-fewest, just ahead of Matthew Highmore. Unacceptable. He wasn’t hurt. And for no one to ask Colliton about it? Come on. The Blackhawks need their best players to step up and lead the team. Kubalík is one of their best players. Why was he played so little? It made no sense and we got no explanation.

•   We did get some clarification on why Brent Seabrook has been M.I.A. from the Blackhawks. Bob McKenzie during the first intermission said that Seabrook tweaked his back prior to camp and has been dealing with those issues. It confirmed a report earlier in the day from 670 The Score’s Jay Zawaski:

•   Ian Mitchell’s debut was just OK. He had a couple moments where he made some good plays, showed off his “Hockey IQ” and puck movement abilities like in the video below:

•  It was very evident though that Mitchell is going to have some growing pains ahead of him. It’s the first game, probably getting the jitters out. But let’s hope they were just jitters because there is a lot on his shoulders this season. Fair or not.

•   That’ll be fun.

•   Graphic on the broadcast last night:

•   People are REALLY hoping for that big underdog payoff. Good luck to you.

•   Speaking of the graphics and in-game presentation, I’m still baffled that NBCSN cannot give the viewers a shot on goal counter on the broadcast. But sure, tell me how many miles someone skates in a game…

•   No fans in the stands apparently makes for some boring intermissions…

•   Finally, if you missed the early game last night, then you may have missed Sidney Crosby doing Sidney Crosby stuff:


•   That is just insane hand-eye coordination.

Author: Mario Tirabassi

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