Pius Suter Hat-Trick, Lankinen's Net, Playoff Blackhawks?! Scott Darling Returns, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Pius Suter Hat-Trick, Lankinen’s Net, Playoff Blackhawks?! Scott Darling Returns, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

It feels so much better heading into a new week knowing that the Chicago Blackhawks got into the win column over the weekend.


Yes, it was against the Detroit Red Wings who are … bad, but the Blackhawks showed that while they are also not a good team, they have the ability to play with confidence and control games. And much of that confidence comes from the play they received in net from Kevin Lankinen against Detroit. Lankinen has made three-straight starts for Chicago, his first three career NHL starts, and has accounted for all of Chicago’s points in the standings with a 2-0-1 record. I’ll admit, I did not expect him to come out of the taxi squad this early in the season and I certainly did not expect him to be the first goalie to take the reins of the starters position, but here we are. It’s a better place than we were a week ago.

•   I am very much trolling for fun here, but the numbers don’t lie…

•   LOL

•   What was also a lot of fun on Sunday afternoon was watching the emergence of Blackhawks rookie Pius Suter. The 2019-20 NLA MVP has looked like a legitimate NHL-caliber forward in his first few games with Chicago, but had yet to be truly rewarded for his play. That is, until his breakout performance against the Red Wings:


•   Suter’s hat-trick had plenty of history behind it. Both recent…

•   And not so recent…

•   It was great to see him get going against Detroit. Suter anchoring a line with Alex DeBrincat and Patrick Kane as his first NHL assignment is not as easy a task as you would think. There’s a ton of pressure to be able to produce in that role, and it has to be more than just passing the puck to Kane and letting him do the work.

•   Here’s a bit more from head coach Jeremy Colliton on Suter’s start to his NHL career:

•   Also playing with confidence for Chicago is goaltender Kevin Lankinen. He’s 2-0-1 in his first three career NHL starts and saved 55 of 58 shots against the Red Wings on Friday and Sunday. He’s the first of the three goaltenders to step forward in the starting goalie competition.

•   The emergence of Lankinen, Suter, and other rookies like Philipp Kurashev, Ian Mitchell, and Brandon Hagel have to give the Blackhawks as a whole confidence knowing that production and responsibilities will be able to be doled-out evenly and not fall only on the shoulders of the veterans.

•   Now, early this month I harped that not every game is going to be against the Tampa Bay Lightning and this weekend’s action proved that to be true. But on the flip side now, not every game is going to be against the Red Wings. The Blackhawks have a more challenging stretch of games coming up, travelling to take on the Nashville Predators, hosting the new-look Columbus Blue Jackets, and then hosting the Carolina Hurricanes. Well, at least for now they are supposed to host the Hurricanes…

•   But that’s for the future Blackhawks to worry about. All they can control are the games in front of them.

•   Here’s to the confidence built against Detroit rolls into the next stretch of games.

•   A Happy Birthday to Blackhawks legend Chris Chelios!

•   Speaking of former Blackhawks, Tony Androckitis from Inside AHL Hockey is reporting that goaltender Scott Darling is returning to the Blackhawks organization with the Rockford IceHogs. Darling is on the IceHogs roster for training camp under a Professional Tryout (PTO) agreement. Rockford opens training camp today, with the season set to begin on February 5.

•   Darling helped the Blackhawks on their way to the 2015 Stanley Cup and last played in the NHL in 2018-19 with the Carolina Hurricanes. He played last season with HC Innsbruck of the EBEL (now known as the ICE hockey league) in Austria.

Author: Mario Tirabassi

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