The Chicago Blackhawks took the short flight over Lake Michigan to Detroit for the final two-game series of the season against the Red Wings yesterday. It’s going to be a tough two-game set, even though the Blackhawks have a 5-1-0 record against the Red Wings this season. While Detroit is in last-place in the Central Division this season, they have been more competitive than most game them credit for heading into the season, but so has Chicago. The trip needs to be all business for the Blackhawks as they are in a must-win mode from here on out for 2021, trying to climb their way back into a playoff position.
• I can’t stress this enough: THEY CANNOT OVERLOOK DETROIT.
• Chicago has a chance ahead of them to possibly pull-even with the Nashville Predators in the Central Division over the next three days *if* they can get two wins over the Red Wings and the Carolina Hurricanes get two regulation wins over the Predators. That’s a tough ask for the Hurricanes, facing a hot Predators team that is 8-2-0 in their last ten games. But anything is possible this season. The Hurricanes are 4-0-0 this season against the Predators and the Blackhawks are 5-1-0 against the Red Wings this season, so if the results over the next three days follow the previous records’ pattern, there’s a chance that when the Blackhawks and Predators face each other next week for the final three times of the season, that they could be even in points and the standings.
• Prior to heading to Detroit yesterday afternoon, the Blackhawks were given the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. According to head coach Jeremy Colliton when he spoke to the media after practice, it appeared that “a good number” of player took the vaccine, but not all did.
Colliton says a lot of the players did take it but implies not all did.
— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) April 14, 2021
• It’s not entirely surprising that not everyone took the vaccine for the Blackhawks, people have their different reasons and I’m not going to judge those who have legitimate hesitations, but it is disappointing that Chicago wasn’t 100% on board for it.
Colliton on how many Blackhawks players opted to get the vaccine today: "I think it's a good number that took it. I got it, so obviously I'm in favor of it. Every single person that gets vaccinated is a step closer to getting back to normal both as a team and in public life."
— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) April 14, 2021
• This coming on the same day that Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller spoke to the media, very candidly, about the situation the NHL is putting the Canucks in, trying to complete their season with 19 games in 31 days while the team recovers from a hefty COVID outbreak.
• Following Miller’s comments yesterday afternoon, the Canucks and the NHLPA had a meeting to discuss the situation and what to do moving forward. The two sides talked again this morning, with more players expressing their concerns.
Canucks players had a Zoom call with NHLPA last night. Obviously some concerns from some about being ready to play Friday-Saturday. Medical testing for some players before practice today will be an important factor in what comes next. Fluid situation to be sure.
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) April 15, 2021
• This is something the league needs to take to heart and realize that the players’ wishes need to be respected. Sure, in the public eye, these players don’t want to seem like they are afraid or willing to “opt-out” of the rest of the season, but they need to be able to express that and not face ridicule. These are hockey players who play through unimaginable pain and injuries during the playoffs and no one is the wiser, so when they have physical concerns about playing hockey, you need to listen.
• Switching gears, a Happy 52nd Birthday to former Blackhawks goalie and current Chicago goalie coach Jimmy Waite!
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) April 15, 2021
• We spoke in yesterday’s bullets about the fact that the United Center will likely not be welcoming fans back before the ends of the NHL and NBA seasons. I’ve come to terms with that a little bit, but it’s still sad to see other arenas allowing fans back in small capacities and Chicago is still on the outside.
• Then we get this today. A seemingly harmless tweet from Patrick Kane, clearly directed to him from the team, saying how much the team misses the fans in the United Center. for 28 of the 30 seconds in the video, my hear was racing, “Is this it? Is this how they announce fans coming back?!”
— Patrick Kane (@88PKane) April 15, 2021
• Nope. Season tickets for 2021-22. I am upset.
• While the Blackhawks organization is planning for the future in more ways than one, it’s going to be fun to look back at the last night the team made the fans in the United Center, and around the league, very happy. Starting today, six years ago, the Blackhawks began their sixth Stanley Cup Championship run in franchise history.
• On April 15th, 2015 in Nashville, the legend of Scott Darling was cemented in Blackhawks lore. Making 42 saves in relief of Corey Crawford, Darling pitched a shutout against the Predators and helped backstop a 4-goal comeback as the Blackhawks won in double overtime thanks to future Conn Smythe winner Duncan Keith’s overtime tally.
• That team was so G.D. good.
• That’s all for today. Have yourselves a Thursday! We’ll see you tonight for Blackhawks and Red Wings at 6:30 p.m. CT!