Playoff Eliminations, and Comebacks, and Collapses (Oh My!), and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Playoff Eliminations, and Comebacks, and Collapses (Oh My!), and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

No “Summer of Ovi 2.0” is a major bummer for hockey fans, as the first eliminations in the Stanley Cup Playoffs happened yesterday. The Washington Capitals fell in Game Five to the Bruins to end their season and the Colorado Avalanche swept the St. Louis Blues in possibly the most predictable and satisfying series to watch as a Blackhawks fan in these playoffs so far.

•   When the NHL season begins in 2021-22, the Blackhawks and Avalanche will be back in the same Division after being split in the shortened 2021 season. That’s going to be a rude awakening for Chicago unless a number of players take major steps forward in the offseason and maybe add some pounds.

•   The Stanley Cup Playoff have been a reminder that this is “Big Boy Hockey” that requires you to have your “Big Boy Pants.” The Blackhawks, one of the literal smallest and lightest teams last season, will need to go to the tailors this offseason and make sure their “Big Boy Pants” fit and are stitched up and ready to go once the puck drops on the 2021-22 season.

•   A reminder: the 2021-22 Central Division will be Chicago, St. Louis, Winnipeg, Colorado, Minnesota, Nashville, Dallas, and Arizona. Five playoff teams and Dallas and Arizona, along with the Blackhawks. SHEESH.

•   Back to the action at hand yesterday. While the Capitals didn’t get the win, at the very least T.J. Oshie provided a slick highlight that ended in a day-making gesture to a young fan.

•   Like, I’m a grown man and even I’d be giddy after getting a puck from a player in that fashion. That was awesome.

•   Speaking of awesome, David Pastrnak:

•   Doing things like that makes me quickly forget that he’s unable to get the puck out of the corner of the rink so often…

•   Who among us, right?

•   With the win, the Bruins eliminate the Washington Capitals and along with Alex Ovechkin not getting to raise another Cup for at least another season, this maybe was Zdeno Chara’s last game. His former teammates from the Bruins gave him a ton of love and respect before shipping him to the offseason.

•   It’s tough seeing guys like Ovechkin, Oshie, and Chara’s season come to a end, but I am not sad to see Tom Wilson get eliminated form the playoffs at the same time.

•   With the end of the season for the Capitals, so ends Alex Ovechkin’s current deal with Washington. A historic, at the time, 13-year deal worth $124M, signed back on January 10th, 2o08. For context, I’m 31-years-old now and when this deal was signed, I was turning 18 (on that day, my birthday), hadn’t chosen a college yet, had not started dating my future wife yet, and had not lived in a house of my own. I’ve done all those things since. Time flies, man.

•   Ovechkin has said that he wants to play a few more years, but that he plans to end his hockey playing career back in Russia in  the KHL playing for his hometown Dynamo Moscow. He has also said he will not play for any other NHL club besides the Capitals, so one would expect that he and the club will agree to a potential short-term deal to end his NHL career with the Capitals at some point.

•   One team not worrying about the offseason just yet are the Colorado Avalanche as they put the exclamation point on a four-game series sweep of the St. Louis Blues. You love to see it.

•   One thing you don’t love to see, as a Blackhawks fan, is Brandon Saad continuing to play a fantastic underrated role with the Avalanche. Or maybe you do love to see it because you like Brandon, I do and I’m glad he’s doing well.

•   Watching the Avalanche and Saad is bittersweet since they are amazing to watch play, but also they are coming back to the Central Division next season and are likely going to run over the Blackhawks on a regular basis. Also Saad thriving while Nikita Zadorov was less-than good for Chicago is salt in the wound.

•   Hey, at least the Blues are exiting the Playoffs with barely a whimper and probably not having too much fun. Right, Ryan?

•   “Confidence: The food of the wise man, but the liquor of the fool.” – Vikram

•   Very much looking forward to the Avalanche and (probably) Golden Knights series coming up here in round two of the Playoffs as Vegas holds a 3-1 series lead over the Wild heading into tonight’s Game Five.

•   In fact, we could see three eliminations tonight as the Golden Knights and Wild square off in Game Five, as do the Panthers and Lightning with Tampa Bay leading that series 3-1, and we will see if the Winnipeg Jets can pull off the four-game sweep and upset the Edmonton Oilers in shocking fashion.

•   It was all made possible by the epic collapse of there Oilers in Game Three last night. After having zero combined points in Games One and Two, Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid woke up in the first period of Game Three and combined for four points on the first two goals of the game.

•   The Oilers were having the response game they desperately needed after dropping the first two games of the series at home and only scoring one goal in the process. They held a 4-1 lead in the third period…but 4-1 leads for Canadian teams are dangerous.

•   The Jets stormed back in the third period, scoring three goals in the back-half of the period with the 4-3 and 4-4 game-tying goal coming 16 seconds apart thanks to Blake Wheeler and Josh Morrissey.

•   YELLOW.

•   The Jets forced overtime at 4-4 and then Nikolaj Ehlers netted his second goal of the game to give the Jets a commanding 3-0 series lead.

•   That quick-cut to McDavid…oh buddy. I don’t know what he’s going to do it the Oilers get swept. They’re likely not coming back from down 0-3 and winning the series and you have to think that Edmonton has not been able to put together a team that can win consistently without McDavid having to score 100 points every year, including when they only play 56 games.

•   The comeback was historic for TWO franchises last night.

•   Love a good Atlanta Thrashers reference.

•   Again, a reminder that the Jets will be back in the Central Division again next season.

•   Shifting to the Blackhawks, a Happy 25th Birthday to Pius Suter!

•   Suter needs a new contract this offseason and I would be very surprised if the Blackhawks don’t bring him back on a relatively affordable deal. He led the team in points for rookies in 2021 with 27 in 55 games and was fourth on the team overall. His 82-game pace for scoring would have been 40 points. Not too bad and his versatility across the lineup is useful to Chicago.

•   Speaking of contracts and Chicago, the Blackhawks will have a lot to juggle this offseason and for a few offseason with Andrew Shaw and Brent Seabrook’s deals on the books for the 2021-22 season and Seabrook’s beyond that.

•   The Athletic’s Scott Powers dug into the options the club will have to navigate those deals and what it will mean to the Blackhawks in a flat-cap league for the next season or two. Check it out!

•   If you were watching the PGA Championship yesterday, you would have seen old guy sports history as Phil Mickelson at 50-years-old, became the oldest PGA player to win a major. His victory inspired many in the sports world including Patrick Kane…

•   Kane has said he wants to play as long as he can and looks to be hitting his peak of his physical performance now in his early-30’s, so it’s possible he could play another five, seven, 18 years?

•   If he did play until he’s 50, Kane would break every Blackhawks player record in the books, assuming he played with them until he was 50. Which with the way the team is looking, he might have to if they want to keep selling tickets.

•   Yikes. That should do it for today. Have yourselves a Monday!



Author: Mario Tirabassi

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