Lightning and Habs on the Cusp, Nylander Exempt, Foley's Final Season, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Lightning and Habs on the Cusp, Nylander Exempt, Foley’s Final Season, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

From Pat Foley, Alex Nylander, and more allegations against the organization, it’s been an eventful 18 hours or so for the Chicago Blackhawks, all while the Montreal Canadiens took care of the Vegas Golden Knights in Game Five and are now one win away from reaching the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since winning the Cup in 1993, the last Stanley Cup won by a Canadian team.

•   Yeah, it’s been quite the week already. And it’s just Wednesday morning.

•   Last night, the Montreal Canadiens were on a mission. They got on the board first against the Golden Knights and never looked back.

•   Remember when Kotkaniemi was scratched to begin the Stanley Cup Playoffs? Yeah, safe to say he should have been playing this whole time. The kids in Montreal have definitely been alright in these Playoffs.

•   Montreal took their 1-0 lead into the first intermission. In the second period, they doubled the lead to 2-0, thanks to the not-a-kid anymore Eric Staal.

•   Staal’s been a fantastic acquisition for the Canadiens and has proven to be an intricate part of their run to a 3-2 series lead in the Stanley Cup Semifinals.

•   Even with all these young players excelling, you still need those veterans to help lead the way from time to time.

•   Speaking of young talent…Cole Caufield.

•   Corey Perry, 36, assisting on Caufield’s, 20, third goal of the postseason to give the Canadiens a 3-0 lead in the second period.

•   Caufield is going to be a rookie next season and I don’t know the early odds, but I’d be willing to put a large amount of money on him winning the Calder Trophy as next season’s rookie of the year.

•   Montreal would go on to win the game 4-1 over Vegas to take a 3-2 series lead heading into Game Six back in Montreal at the Bell Centre on Thursday night.

•   Carey Price and Andrei Vasilevskiy are tied for the most playoff wins this postseason with 11 in 16 games each. They are also first and second in save percentage and first and third in GAA among active goalies led tin the playoffs.

•   Price is the clear front-runner for the Conn Smythe award with the Canadiens this postseason. Clear.

•   Montreal killed-off two Golden Knights power plays last night, extending their streak of consecutive penalties killed in the postseason to 28-straight.

•   Two of those top four other teams went on to win the Stanley Cup, with Montreal in the top five still active, obviously.

•   Game Six in Montreal is set for Thursday night. Game Six in New York happens tonight between the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders. The defending Stanley Cup Champion Lightning holding a 3-2 series lead over the Islanders, with a chance to go back to the Stanley Cup Final at the expense of the Islanders for the second year in-a-row. Puck drop tonight at Nassau Coliseum is set for 7:00 p.m. CT.

•   News around the league yesterday involving the Islanders came in the form of legendary General Manager Lou Lamoriello winning the NHL’s GM of the Year award.

•   Lamoriello wins the award in. back-to-back years with the Islanders, having helped build the team that has made it to the third round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in back-to-back seasons. In fact, only behind the Lightning, the Islanders have the most playoff wins since the 2018-19 season.

•   That’s an impressive feat for a team that has not made it to the Stanley Cup Final in that span of time. The Islanders will need to tie the Lightning for the most postseason wins since 2018-19 if they are to overcome their current 3-2 series hole and advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

•   Must be nice to have a competent general manager and win playoff games. I remember what that felt like.

•   But instead, these are the postseason headlines the Blackhawks are currently dealing with.

•   More details coming out surrounding the Blackhawks and former video coach Brad Aldrich in the multiple lawsuits brought against the franchise involving their handling of Aldrich’s history of sexual assault, abuse, and harassment while he was with the club and after he left the organization, but still benefitted from their support. All allegedly at this time, but with the stories beginning to mount against Aldrich and the Blackhawks, this is becoming something they will not be able to sweep under the rug.

•   Bittersweet news for the Blackhawks broadcast as the team announced today that legendary play-by-play broadcaster Pat Foley would be calling it a career following the 2021-22 season.

•   Foley has been the voice of the Blackhawks on Radio and TV for 39 of the last 40 seasons. It’s an incredible career coming to a close and I just hope that the team can make Foley’s final year worthy of his time and his legacy.

•   In expansion draft news surrounding the Blackhawks, late last night, Scott Powers of The Athletic reported that forward Alex Nylander would be exempt from needing protection in the upcoming Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft.

•   Because Nylander mossed all of last season with a knee injury, he is being considered a second-year pro still and will be exempt from needing protection. So the Blackhawks now have an extra slot they can use to protect another player that would have likely been left exposed to Seattle. That’s good news for Chicago.

•   Finally, I wanted to bring attention to this Radiothon initiative being promoted by 670 The Score in Chicago today. The Radiothon will benefit former Chicago Bear Sam Acho’s charity Athletes for Justice and the Austin Harvest food mart in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago.

•   Their goal is to raise money and awareness for the Athletes for Justice’s Austin Harvest food mart project. Austin Harvest is in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago and was originally a pop–up food mart that was a converted liquor store. The mart addressed a food desert in the city and was staffed as an after-school program three days a week by local kids. The program was successful and they want to build a permanent structure that can be open 7 days a week to fully service the community and employ more kids from the neighborhood.

•   From the event information page: “What About Chicago is a play on words on the bad faith question asked by people who don’t care about Chicago. They ask it to point out problems in our city as a means of deflecting from real issues often implying or directly stating that the people of this great city aren’t working every day to improve it. We wanted to answer that question defiantly and show that there are plenty of Chicagoans doing everything they can to improve our city. Athletes for Justice is a Chicago-based charity made up of Chicago athletes making a difference locally.”

•   Their goal is to raise $500,000 and are already nearly a quarter of the way there. If you feel inclined, I would encourage you to make a donation, however much, to this incredibly important project for the community of Austin and the City of Chicago.

•   That’ll do it for today. Enjoy your Wednesday!



Author: Mario Tirabassi

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