Lessons to Learn, Dach Is Working His Way Back, International Women's Day, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Lessons to Learn, Dach Is Working His Way Back, International Women’s Day, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

Yesterday afternoon was a reminder that there is still a ways to go for this Chicago Blackhawks team to being a true contender for anything more than a one-and-done playoff team. Yes, being in the conversation of making the playoffs is a huge step up from what was expected of this team in the first place, but thinking of anything beyond that is a stretch. Case-in-point, the three-game set against the Tampa Bay Lightning in which the Blackhawks went 1-1-1, but left points on the table.

•   The Blackhawks held leads of 2-0 and 3-0 at different times against the Lightning over the past three games. In fact, since the beginning of February, Chicago has had seven multi-goal leads in games (excluding empty-net goals) and they have blown those leads six times.

•   The common theme after Thursday’s blown 2-0 lead and loss in overtime, and Sunday’s blown 3-0 lead and 6-3 loss was that the Blackhawks are still learning what to do and not to do when trying to close out games.

•   The Lightning made the Blackhawks pay on Sunday, scoring four of their six goals on the powerplay. Chicago entered the game having gone 11-of-14 on the penalty-kill against the Lightning this season, they’re now 12-of-19 in five games.

•   You want the Blackhawks to know that they can be better and should be doing better in games like these. That’s the kind of mentality that teams who believe they can achieve more need to have when you reach the mid-point of the season and have a shot at proving a ton of people wrong (myself included) and make a playoff run.

•   It wasn’t all doom and gloom in the end – taking three of six points against the Lightning is a positive building block, especially when it was perfectly possible that they walked away with two or fewer. The Blackhawks still hold onto a playoff spot in the Central Division by a healthy margin and have an opportunity to widen that gap with a two-game series against the Dallas Stars coming up next.

•   Pius Suter added his eighth goal of the season in the loss on Sunday. He leads all NHL rookies with eight goals this season, two ahead of teammate Philipp Kurashev (who also scored on Sunday), Los Angeles’ Gabe Vilardi, and Minnesota’s Kirill Kaprizov.

•   Speaking of rookies, Wyatt Kalynuk made his NHL debut yesterday with the Blackhawks. Playing 10:50 minutes in his first taste of the NHL. Kalynuk is the sixth rookie to make his debut with the Blackhawks in 2021.

•   Also coming out of Sunday’s game was a dangerous hit by Connor Murphy on Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak.

•   Murphy was given a match-penalty and was ejected from the game. Cernak did not return to the game following the hit.

•    It was a dangerous hit up high. Murphy doesn’t have a track record for gooning players and will not face a suspension for the play. Cernak is reportedly on the ice with the Lightning for Monday morning’s practice, so that is good news as well.

•   Also on the ice Monday morning was Blackhawks forward Kirby Dach!

•   Dach has been the entire season after breaking his wrist at the World Junior Championships with Team Canada. He was given a four-to-five month timeframe to return, but it looks like he may be ahead of schedule.

•   On Monday morning, Colliton also said that Dach will travel with the Blackhawks to Dallas to continue getting practice with the team, but there is no official timetable for his return. Either way, this is a huge step forward for him and for the team.

•   Speaking of the upcoming road trip, Tuesday night’s game against the Dallas Stars will be the 1,000th regular season game in Patrick Kane’s NHL career. It’s a shame that the game couldn’t have been yesterday at the United Center like it was originally going to be, but the winter storms in Texas a few weeks back caused changes to the Lightning, Hurricanes, and Blackhawks schedules and Kane’s 1,000th will now be on the road. The next home game for the Blackhawks isn’t until March 23 against the Florida Panthers, it will be Kane’s 1,006th game.

•   He becomes the seventh player to play 1,000 career games with the Blackhawks, joining Bob Murray (1,008), Eric Nesterenko (1,013), Bobby Hull (1,036), Brent Seabrook (1,114), Duncan Keith (1,164), and Stan Mikita (1,396). Chicago has 30 games left this season, so barring injury (knock on all the wood possible), Kane will surpass Murray and Nesterenko for fifth all-time by season’s end.

•   Today, Mark Lazerus of The Athletic published an incredible oral history of Patrick Kane’s youth hockey days. It’s one of the best stories I’ve read in a long time. In it, Lazerus talks with former teammates and opponents of Kane from his youth hockey days to get a glimpse into the player Kane was about to become and how he developed into a future first-overall pick and a future Hall of Famer. I highly suggest reading it.

•   Finally, today is International Women’s Day. A day to honor the women in our lives and around the world who make a difference every day. But it shouldn’t be just ONE day, we should be recognizing the amazing impact that women have on the world around us every day. Especially in the hockey and greater sports world, where women have had to struggle and fight for their place in the community, when it shouldn’t have to be that way.

•   Watching the PWHPA game at the United Center on Saturday, along with the NWHL Playoffs back in February was amazing. The level of respect the women who play in the leagues, who cover the sport, and those that make things like the women’s professional league and the Dream Gap tour successful needs to be much, much higher.

•   And quickly speaking of the NWHL Playoffs, the Isobel Cup WILL get handed out to a champion after all!

•   Organization’s like Black Girl Hockey Club have done so much to help further the inclusivity of women and BIPOC into the hockey community, and I suggest giving them your support for the great work they do.

•   Be wise and listen to Emily Kaplan, too:

Author: Mario Tirabassi

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