Schedule Shuffle, Could Bowman GM Team USA? Shenanigans In Anaheim, and Other Blackhawks Bullets | Bleacher Nation

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Schedule Shuffle, Could Bowman GM Team USA? Shenanigans In Anaheim, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

The Chicago Blackhawks had been blessed so far this season without having to deal with schedule issues due to COVID or any other reason. That was the case up until this morning when the NHL announced that the upcoming Friday-Saturday series against the Carolina Hurricanes would be shuffled around. The Blackhawks were the last team in the Central Division to not have their schedule changed, but due to shifts with the Dallas Stars and Tampa Bay Lightning schedules, the Blackhawks now have to deal with some changes to their plans. Saturday’s contest will be postponed and the Hurricanes will play the Lightning on Saturday instead. Again, this is not COVID-related for either the Hurricanes or Blackhawks and Friday night’s game will go on as planned.

•   For the time being, the Chicago Blackhawks still enjoy being tied for the Central Division lead with the Florida Panthers based on points (22). They lead both the Hurricanes and Lighting by one point. Based on points percentage, the Blackhawks are fourth in the Central Division with the Panthers still leading the Division. A reminder that the top-four teams in each division will be going to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It’s interesting times we are living in.

•   Yes, we know. Yes, WE KNOW. YES WE KNOW. The Blackhawks have played more games. Oh my god, we get it.

•   The Blackhawks have been performing outside of their expectations this season and a lot of what is happening on the ice can be traced back to good decisions by president of hockey operations and general manager Stan Bowman. Signing Kevin Lankinen. Signing Brandon Hagel. Signing Pius Suter. Signing Dominik Kubalík. Drafting Philipp Kurashev. These moves have made a huge impact this season for the Blackhawks and have a significant impact on the direction of the organization’s future. Yes, the scouting department deserves a ton of credit as well, but Bowman  still oversees the final decisions for the club. He gets a lot of deserved criticisms, but he also should get credit when things in his control go well.

•   That credit is being felt outside of the Blackhawks organization as well. On a recent edition of TSN’s “Insider Trading,” Frank Seravalli said that Bowman is the front-runner to be general manager of Team USA for the upcoming Olympics, but mentioned that USA Hockey will not be making any formal announcements until the 2022 Olympics are officially a go.

•   Speaking of Bowman and the international hockey scene, there are reports that the Blackhawks are pursuing Russian talent Damir Zhafyarov from the KHL. Zhafyarov has been a breakout talent in the KHL this season, scoring 59 points in 55 games this season. His contract with Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod ends on April 30, so keep tabs on that potential development.

•   And also speaking of Russian hockey, this youth program seems to be a bit problematic, no?

•   Anyway, transitioning from Russian Children’s Fight Club to something a bit more light-hearted, the Anaheim Ducks are having themselves some fun with the jumbotron with no fans at the Honda Center.

•   Well now this is just downright mean…

•   In Blackhawks prospects news, defenseman Alec Regula scored his first career professional goal last night in the IceHogs 3-1 loss to the Grand Rapids Griffins. Rockford is still looking for their first win of the AHL season, going 0-4-1 to start 2021.

•   Today has some history to it. Four years ago today, Patrick Kane became the first U.S.-Born player to score 20 or more goals in each of his first ten NHL seasons.

•   Kane has actually scored 20 or more goals in each of his 13 previous NHL seasons. He has seven goals through the first 18 games of this season, on pace for 21.77 goals in 2021. He is four goals away from 400 career tallies and nine games away from playing in 1,000 career games.

•   Finally, a reminder that the NHL is going to Lake Tahoe this weekend! The Avalanche will take on the Golden Knights on Saturday and the Bruins play the Flyers on Sunday. This weekend is already shaping up to be an amazing visual success for the league:

•   Absolutely beautiful.



Author: Mario Tirabassi

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