About Last Night, a Roller Coaster Morning, Injury Updates, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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About Last Night, a Roller Coaster Morning, Injury Updates, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

Well that was one hell of a morning. It started with me thinking about last night’s loss by the Chicago Blackhawks to the Tampa Bay Lightning with 0.1 seconds left on the clock in overtime, and ended with me staring off into the distance, thinking about which Brent Seabrook playoff overtime goal was his best. It was a wild ride.

•   In case you missed it, and I don’t know how you could have, Brent Seabrook is retiring. After 15 seasons in the NHL, all with the Blackhawks, Seabrook is hanging up his skates for good.

•   Citing injury complications, Seabrook ends his career having played the third-most games as a member of the Blackhawks, trailing only Duncan Keith and Stan Mikita. He won three Stanley Cups with Chicago and a 2010 Olympic Gold Medal with Canada. He also finishes with the most postseason goals by a defenseman (20) in Blackhawks history.

•   What a career.

•   I’m sure a lot of you are thinking ahead about what the implications of his retirement and his remaining contract mean for the Blackhawks. We’ll have more on that later today, but the simplest answer is that he is still on the books but will be placed on LTIR due to the long-term injury impacts on his decision to retire, so his contract cap hit won’t count against the Blackhawks, so long as he is on LTIR.

•   Speaking of long-term injured reserve, the Blackhawks made three moves today to place Seabrook, Andrew Shaw, and Zack Smith on LTIR. Seabrook, obviously, is retiring. But the future of both Shaw and Smith remain to be seen.

•   Shaw is dealing with another concussion, suffered back in early February, and was moved from injured reserve to the long-term designation. His previous concussion put him out of action for 14 months and had him considering retirement. Hopefully he is able to see another full recovery and can make whatever decision is best about his future.

•   As for Smith, he had back surgery almost a full year ago on March 6, 2020. He was supposedly ready to join the Blackhawks prior to training camp in January, but those plans got derailed.

•   Unfortunate news for Smith. He is in his final year of his current contract.

•   With the three moves to LTIR, the Blackhawks have $23.0M in cap space now, according to CapFriendly. What the Blackhawks do with that cap space will be very interesting to see as we move closer to the trade deadline in April.

•   Speaking of roster moves, the Rockford IceHogs have signed Russian goalie “prospect” Ivan Nalimov to an AHL contract. Nailmov was a 2014 draft pick by the Blackhawks and has played in Russia for the past eight years for various teams in the KHL.

•   The IceHogs have just a few more days with goaltender Collin Delia before he needs to return to the Blackhawks from his conditioning assignment. I’d expect Nalimov to get a good look in net with Rockford after that time.

•   Hey, about last night.

•   If you missed it last night, the Blackhawks held a 2-0 lead over the Lightning heading into the third period and ended up dropping the game 3-2 in overtime after Tampa Bay scored with just 0.1 seconds left on the clock.

•   It sucked. But what didn’t suck was watching the Blackhawks dominate the best team in the Central Division for about 50 minutes of what was a 64:59.9 minute game.

•   The response to the loss last night could have been sunnier, acknowledging that they still got the one point for going to overtime. But that’s the old Blackhawks from mid-January. These are the NEW Blackhawks, the ones that can compete with any team in the Division and the ones that are focused on making the postseason.

•   The loss hurts, but the good thing is that the Blackhawks get two more cracks at topping the Lightning for the first time this season coming up tonight and on Sunday afternoon. The Blackhawks are currently in a playoff spot and any points they can squeeze from the Lightning are good points to have. I expect a good response from Chicago in the rematches.

•   Hey, at least we got this out of the way last night too…

•   Finally, in former Blackhawks news around the NHL last night, the Calgary Flames fired head coach Geoff Ward and named Darryl Sutter his replacement.

•   Sutter played with the Blackhawks from 1979-1987 and then was part of the coaching staff in 1987-88, and then again from 1990-1995, serving as head coach from 1992-95. Sutter won two Stanley Cups as head coach of the L.A. Kings in 2012 and 2014, and he previously coached the Flames from 2002-2006.

Author: Mario Tirabassi

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