The Rivalry Is Back, Blackhawks on the Move, Getting Even, Steve Kornacki (Big Blackhawks Fan), and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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The Rivalry Is Back, Blackhawks on the Move, Getting Even, Steve Kornacki (Big Blackhawks Fan), and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

This season was supposed to be characterized by the Blackhawks and Red Wings battling for the bottom spot in the Central Division and the top overall draft pick. But instead, the Blackhawks decided not to suck, leaving Detroit to take up the rear in the Division. This weekend will be another measuring stick test for the Blackhawks, but not to see how they measure UP to the Red Wings, but making sure they still measure ABOVE them.

•   So far this season, the Blackhawks have taken the Red Wings lunch money (4-0-0, out-scoring Detroit 15-5 in the process). It’s been fun to see the success that Chicago has had this season, especially against a rival franchise.

•   Detroit sucks. And they might for some time.

•   Watch, I just jinxed it and the Blackhawks will get run out of the building tonight.

•   This is not to say that the Blackhawks have been world-beaters, who can just brush off the Red Wings, thinking they can just roll the helmets out on the ice and win the game. Yes, they currently have a decent grip on a playoff spot in the Central Division, but the Blackhawks are far from a perfect team. Impressive given their expectations this season? Yes. But they have their flaws that can be troublesome as the season moves on, especially during this upcoming stretch of games in March.

•   The powerplay has been a huge factor in the early-season success. Chicago ranks 12th in the NHL in powerplay opportunities (64) and tied for second in the league in powerplay goals (21). They are second in the NHL with a 32.8% success-rate on the powerplay, behind…wait really? The Buffalo Sabres? Huh.

•   While it’s been awesome to see the powerplay having success, the Blackhawks cannot ride the coattails of the man-advantage the whole season. They need to be able to improve their play at even-strength.

•   At even-strength this season, Chicago ranks pretty poorly.

Corsi-For %: 46.76 (29th)
Shots-For %: 47.60 (28th)
Expected Goals-For %: 46.37 (29th)
Scoring Chances-For %: 46.00 (29th)
High-Danger Chances-For %: 44.19 (29th)
Shooting %: 7.75 (26th)
Save %: .924 (5th)
PDO: 1.002 (15th)

•   Their only saving grace (while not on the powerplay) has been the unreal goaltending that Kevin Lankinen and Malcolm Subban have provided. It’s not sustainable for the full season to ride those two in net, while still being one of the worst teams in the league when not on the powerplay.

•   Speaking of the goaltenders, in case you missed it yesterday, the Blackhawks made a handful of roster moves, including moving third goalie Collin Delia to the Rockford IceHogs on a conditioning assignment. The move allows for Delia to head to the AHL without going through the waiver process, so long as he is recalled to the Blackhawks at the end of his 14-day assignment duration. Delia has not played since January 17 and needs to get back into game action to stay fresh. The IceHogs have six games over the next 14 days, so you can expect that he’ll get at least three or four starts in that timeframe.

•   The move also will give players like Nicolas Beaudin and Wyatt Kalynuk much needed ice time as well. The Blackhawks are in a weird spot that they didn’t expect to be in at this point in the season: they have too many players worthy of ice-time. Instead of rotating their NHL lineup, they’ll get heavy minutes on a struggling Rockford IceHogs team. I’m sure IceHogs head coach Derek King will be happy to have them as long as they can.

•   A Happy Birthday to Blackhawks forward Matthew Highmore!

•   If you followed the 2020 Presidential Election, which I’m sure you did even if you say you didn’t, you may be familiar with the name Steve Kornacki. He became a viewer-favorite of NBC’s election coverage with his touchscreen map of the election and his simple shirt and tie, with rolled up sleeves and khaki pants fashion. But it wasn’t until Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon raided Kornacki’s messy office that I started to care about the guy

•   Featured prominently in this Tonight Show bit, right around the 1:19 minute-mark, is Kornacki’s Jonathan Toews sweater. On a clothes-rack that features only suit coats and dress shirts no less. Well, the Blackhawks took notice:

•   I still think these aren’t the best the Blackhawks could do with the reverse retro look. We’ll see how they play on the ice on Sunday.



Author: Mario Tirabassi

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