Falling Behind, Canucks COVID Issues, Bedard Is Bored, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Falling Behind, Canucks COVID Issues, Bedard Is Bored, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

It was a game that the Chicago Blackhawks looked like they’d finally woken up on time, got to the rink, and knew that the game started when it did. Then, they lost. The Blackhawks fell 3-0 to the Nashville Predators yesterday afternoon, dropping their fifth game of the season to the Predators and dropping two points behind Nashville in the Central Division standings in fifth-place. Chicago is 0-3-2 against the Predators this season, with three remaining games against them this season. They’ll likely need to win all three to even think about climbing back into the fourth and final playoff spot in the Division.

•   In a game where the Blackhawks out-shot and out-chanced the Predators heavily, Chicago was done-in by their own mistakes. One bad penalty on the day and the Predators score. A lazy pass gets intercepted and turns into a penalty shot, which they convert. A juicy rebound to an unmarked man finds the back of the net and the game is over. At this point in the season (basically the playoffs for the Blackhawks), you can’t have those kinds of mistakes if you are trying to be a playoff team.

•   Chicago has a combined five wins and 13 points earned against the top three teams in the Division. No wins and just two points against the team directly above them in the standings. I can’t explain it.

•   The next nine games for the Blackhawks will be against the teams in the playoff race, with three more against Nashville, and a two-game set against the Red Wings, Blue Jackets, and Stars each, with Dallas coming up next back in Chicago.

•   Chicago’s special teams should have been an advantage for them against the Predators yesterday. Nashville has the league’s worst penalty kill and the Blackhawks boast the third-best powreplay in the NHL. Chicago also has been extremely disciplined as of late, taking just one penalty in each of their last four games, including yesterday’s contest.

•   Hockey is that way sometimes. You can try to do everything right, and it all goes wrong.

•   I talked about it in the pregame before yesterday’s game, but Patrick Kane hasn’t been the MVP-caliber player he was earlier in the season. He’s looked downright pedestrian against the Predators this season and while he has still been getting on the scoresheet pretty regularly, he has just two goals since February 28th.

•   If the Blackhawks are going to climb ahead of the Predators and get a hold of fourth-place in the Central Division, they’ll need Kane to get back to the front of the line of the offensive attack. Although, it could always be worse.

•   One thing that was a positive from yesterday’s game was Kendall Coyne-Schofield stepping in for Eddie Olczyk on the Blackhawks broadcast with Pat Foley. It wasn’t the first time Kendall had done an NHL broadcast, and it showed.

•   It’s always fun to get some different voices on the broadcast when Olczyk is off doing National broadcasts. Coyne-Schofield and Patrick Sharp have filled in this season and I’d think NBC Chicago would have them back again.

•   The Blackhawks will be getting Vinnie Hinostroza back in Chicago soon, likely today, but he’ll have to go through a quarantine period before he is able to officially rejoin the Blackhawks. He drove from Florida to Chicago to try to cut down that quarantine time.

•   A double Happy Blackhawks Birthday today to Cam Barker and Yanic Perrault!

•   On Friday morning, Brandon Hagel was placed on the COVID Protocol list for the Blackhawks. He was removed on Saturday morning and played against the Predators. We now know that it was a false positive test. So crisis averted for the Blackhawks.

•   The Vancouver Canucks, however, have not been so lucky. The situation has gotten worse and worse for the Canucks as the number of positive COVID cases grow and the fact that these COVID cases are from a variant the NHL hasn’t dealt with before.

•   The health of all the players and staff has to come first in this situation. I don’t see how the Canucks come back to play the remaining games left on their schedule.

•   For a more in-depth analysis on what this will mean for the Canucks and the league, I highly recommend Thomas Drance’s latest for The Athletic on the situation.

•   Shifting to Chicagoland hockey, congratulations to the Chicago Steel on bing the first team in the USHL this season to clinch a playoff spot.

•   The Steel are just a powerhouse in the USHL and look to recapture the Clark Cup this season after falling in the 2019 Final and having the 2019-20 postseason canceled.

•   Speaking of Junior Hockey powerhouses.

•   Regina Pat’s 15-year-old phenom Connor Bedard is just bored now and trying to do anything to entertain himself as he slays these 17, 18, 19-year-olds. He has 22 points in 12 games in his first season of WHL hockey. He has at least one point in all 12 games this season. He’s 15.

•   That’s all for today! Enjoy your Sunday and a Happy Easter to those who celebrate!



Author: Mario Tirabassi

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