There is a LOT to discuss today, so let’s right dive in.
• Adam Boqvist, who’s appeared in just six games this season, was removed from the NHL’s COVID Protocol list yesterday, after reportedly actually being infected with COVID-19 (remember, not every player on the protocol list has necessarily contracted the virus – in fact, the league tightened those restrictions since the regular season began). But again, Boqvist did have COVID and is now working his way back.
Jeremy Colliton said Adam Boqvist did have COVID-19. Colliton said Boqvist hasn't been able to train and will need time to skate before determining when he can return to game action.
— Scott Powers (@ByScottPowers) February 9, 2021
• Obviously, that is scary news and you hope everything proceeds slowly and cautiously as he makes his return. As yet another young player who’s supposed to take a step forward this season, Boqvist has been inconsistent overall, but effective on the powerplay and remains important to the long-term vision of the franchise. We’re ready to see him back out on the ice. And we’re obviously even happier that the team feels he’s healthy enough to begin making his way back.
• Setting the COVID stuff aside, President/GM Stan Bowman rates Boqvist’s pre-COVID production a bit more positively than we do. In an interview at The Athletic, Bowman paints a picture of Boqvist as one of the most reliable defensemen on the team up until his absence, suggesting that most of the goals given up on his watch weren’t particularly his fault. But I’d have to disagree. Boqvist has not shown the requisite improvements from last year to this year defensively. Not yet, anyway. And, sure, you want him to jump into the attack and produce on offense when he’s out there, but his frequently poor positioning this season is evocative of the problems we saw in his rookie year. Young defensemen like Ian Mitchell and Nicolas Beaudin are beginning to look like better options for Chicago than Boqvist does right now. We’ll see what happens now when he can eventually return to the lineup.
• Moving on.
• Of rookie forward Brandon Hagel, Bowman said the following: “He’s like the Energizer bunny, he’s got such a good competitiveness and he never stops.” He’s not wrong. Hagel has been all over the ice for the Blackhawks since getting into the lineup earlier this season. He has not once given head coach Jeremy Colliton a reason to take him out due to his motor and drive on the ice. Hagel is the kind of player the Blackhawks have used to swing momentum this season. He finishes checks, pursues the puck carrier tenaciously, and has created a few turnovers into breakaway chances. He has yet to convert on one of those chances, but I’m sure he will eventually. Hagel has a scoring touch to his game that is yet to be realized at the NHL level. Once he gets a taste of it, he could be in for a breakout season.
— Brandon Cain (@brandonmcain) February 7, 2021
• Also within Bowman’s interview with The Athletic: an update (or non-update, really) about second-year forward Kirby Dach. It appears that Dach’s recovery from wrist surgery is on track, but that the Blackhawks will not be rushing him back before he is fully ready to go.
• Not so much good news for Brent Seabrook. Bowman spoke with Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun-Times, providing an update on the 35-year-old defensemen. It’s been a full year since Seabrook had surgeries on his shoulder and both hips, and he has not played in an NHL game since November of 2019. After tweaking his back prior to training camp in early January, it appears Seabrook is still a ways away from returning and the Blackhawks are concerned about the longevity of his playing career.
• Patrick Kane leads the team in points this season with 17 in 13 games played. He was recently named the NHL’s second star of the week after seven points in a three-game span. He has ten points (3 goals, 7 assists) over a five-game point streak heading into tonight’s contest against the Dallas Stars. Kane has eight points in his last six games against the Stars, with at least a point in each of those six games.
• After an overtime win on Sunday afternoon, the Blackhawks continued making their mark on their first trip to Texas this season. Thanks to Philipp Kurashev, the Stars will be investing in some new glass.
(That’s it. That’s the tweet.) pic.twitter.com/YmbbC2dPQy
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) February 8, 2021
• Speaking of making big impacts, Jack Roslovic is making quite the impression in Columbus since being traded from the Winnipeg Jets.
— NHL (@NHL) February 9, 2021
• That’s so gross.
• Also making an impact in Columbus since coming over from Winnipeg is Patrik Laine. Although I’m not sure this kind of impact was what he was expecting…
Well, #CBJ have been through their four lines here early in the third and it appears Patrik Laine is still benched.
His last shift game ended with 6:19 remaining in the second period.
— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) February 9, 2021
• Who am I kidding, we all knew this was going to happen.
— Jeff Svoboda (@JacketsInsider) February 9, 2021
• Makes you think about the organizational dynamic.
Really seems like the GM and the coach aren't on the same page in #CBJ.
Torts slowly but surely built up a defensive powerhouse. Jarmo targeted Domi and Laine, two pure offensive players.
Unsurprisingly, it's not going well so far.
— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) February 9, 2021
• And speaking of organizational dynamics, it appears the Pittsburgh Penguins may have found their next general manager…
Ron Hextall has been offered the GM job of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Two sides are talking numbers at this point, but it’s possible that a handshake agreement is in place as soon as today. #TSN
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) February 9, 2021
• Finally, a double congratulations on a fine career for the Lamoureux twins! Monique Lamoureux-Morando and Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson have hung up their skates after 14-year careers. Both were instrumental to the success of the United States Women’s Hockey Team over the years, including the game-tying and game-winning goals against Team Canada in the 2018 Olympic Gold Medal game.
— Olympic Channel (@olympicchannel) February 9, 2021