Canadiens and Lightning Set for Stanley Cup Final, Things Getting Worse for Chicago, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Canadiens and Lightning Set for Stanley Cup Final, Things Getting Worse for Chicago, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

I know the headline says, “… And Other Blackhawks Bullets,” but let’s have an honest moment here: is there any other news surrounding the Blackhawks that matters right now other than the alleged cover-up of the sexual assault, abuse, and harassment incidents involving former Blackhawks video coach Brad Aldrich and the team’s handling of those allegations? No.

There should be no story bigger than it in the entirety of the NHL right now. This should be all over hockey news, sports news, and legitimate news news. The Blackhawks are a Billion-dollar organization with an alleged sexual assault cover-up case looming over them. How are MORE people not talking about this? The subject matter is extremely difficult to cover and talk about, but these allegations and the victims of these incidents deserve to have their story told and deserve to have their opportunity for justice.

•   Will they? Who knows at this point. The process of the legal system is something in which I’m not that well-versed. I’m best when I get to talk about hockey.

•   Whether or not this whole situation ends up going to court, or getting more out front in the hockey world and in the public eye, we are already at a point where this story cannot be swept under the rug, or forgotten by Blackhawks fans/the hockey community at large. It is another stain on an organization that has been no stranger to scandal over the past decade-plus.

•   With the Blackhawks approaching one of the most important times of the season with the Expansion Draft, Entry Draft, and Free Agency beginning, how are they going to navigate this, strictly from a hockey standpoint? What free agent wants to walk into this type of situation? How do they, the Blackhawks and the league, expect this to “go away” while the most eyes and ears possible are on the league during the Stanley Cup Final and the beginning of the offseason? It won’t. It shouldn’t.

•   Here is the latest development from Rick Westhead of TSN…

•   I am told – by Brett, the former lawyer – that this is all very standard practice on behalf of the plaintiffs. The Blackhawks have already made a request to dismiss the case and avoid this kind of discovery (requests for records, answers, depositions, etc.), citing the statute of limitations in the state of Illinois, which arguably wouldn’t allow this case to be filed against the team or Aldrich.

•   Again, this is all to my very minimal court system understanding. What would be a major next step on behalf of the plaintiffs, those former players suing the team, would be if the courts allow for discovery to proceed before the motion to dismiss is decided (or if they lose the motion to dismiss). To my understanding, in that scenario, the Blackhawks would either have to turn over a lot of documentation – or admit they didn’t document anything after being told of what happened. Basically at that point, their desire to settle before reaching any further legal actions against them would be at its highest, right or wrong.

•   What has essentially made matters worse for the Blackhawks is that former players are now going public with their corroboration of the stories against the team, including Nick Boynton to The Athletic and Brent Sopel on Twitter…

•   What more do we need to hear for this to be taken seriously by more of the mainstream hockey world? I don’t understand it.

•   I wish I could just take about free agents and trades and stuff.

•   Also happening yesterday with the Blackhawks, their first acknowledgement of Pride Month.

•   It took them to the end of the month. Which was pointed out to me, many times, that they do this every year. Yeah? So they do the bare minimum every year? Shocking.

•   While I’m very sour on the organization right now, I will still promote the work they actually are doing to support the LGBTQ+ community.

https://twitter.com/NHLBlackhawks/status/1408444883858341889?s=20

•   Like I wrote about a few weeks ago, the Blackhawks are last in line for basically everything in the NHL when it comes to the world around them. Should we be surprised at this point? No.

•   There actually was a hockey game last night. A pretty important one.

•   The Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders squared-off in Game Seven at the Amalie Arena. It wasn’t a barn-burner, but it kept me on the edge of my seat for the entire 60-minute effort.

•   In the end, the only breakthrough in the game came from the Lightning’s Yanni Gourde while on the penalty-kill…

•   Short-handed goals in Game Seven’s are not the most common feat, even less so when those goals become the game-winners.

•   With the Lightning up 1-0 early in the second period, they were able to hold the fort and shut down the Islanders for the final two periods. Tampa Bay held the Islanders to just 18 shots on net in the game and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped all of them.

•   With the win, the Lightning are headed back to the Stanley Cup Final, looking to defend their 2020 championship and become the first team to repeat as champions since the Penguins in 2016 and 2017.

•   For as much as Florida gets ragged-on for not being a “traditional” hockey market, there has been some serious Stanley Cup Playoff action to take place in the Sunshine State over the past nearly 30 years…

•   The superstition of not touching the Prince of Wales Trophy or the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl after winning the Eastern or Western Conference Final doesn’t really have merit. Just as many teams have gone on to win the Stanley Cup after touching the trophies as have gone on to not win the Stanley Cup. But, you know hockey has to be weird and dumb with these things sometimes.

•   Last year the Lightning had no problem touching the Prince of Wales Trophy and went on to win the Stanley Cup. This year…

•   Maybe more of the same?

•   Now we have our Stanley Cup Final. The Montreal Canadiens will take on the Lightning, with the Final series staring on Monday night. Here’s the full schedule:

•   I’ve said for a long time this postseason, I don’t know how you beat this Lightning team in a seven-game series. The Islanders almost did, but in the end fell short. This Canadiens team is on a special run, and a hot goaltender like Carey Price can get you far, but the Lightning have their own hot goaltender in Andrei Vasilevskiy to counter that.

•   It has a David vs. Goliath feel to it, that’s for sure.

•   I mean, I might jump on Montreal for the upset? Just to make things interesting.

•   The matchup will also see a number of former Blackhawks facing-off…

•   The Canadiens are looking to end a 28-year drought for themselves and for Canada in the Stanley Cup Final. I can’t wait.

•   Also happening around the league yesterday, the Toronto Maple Leafs have hired Chicago Steel General Manager Ryan Hardy to become their new Senior Director of Minor League Operations. Hardy has been the GM of the Steel since 2018 and helped guide the Steel to a Clark Cup championship this past season in the USHL.

•   Congratulations to Hardy and the Maple Leafs on the hire.

•   The NHL Awards will be condensed this year into a 30-minute broadcast with most of the awards having already been handed out. The award show will take place on Tuesday, June 29th.

•   Also happening today, the Para Ice Hockey World Championships Gold Medal game between Team USA and Canada in the Sled Hockey World Championships…

•   If you’ve never seen Sled Hockey before, this would be a good one to check out! Go USA!

•   That will do it for today. Go Enjoy your Saturdays!

•   REMINDER: Be sure to send in your questions for Monday’s Mailbag segment! Use the hashtag #BNHawksMailbag on Twitter or send them to Mario.tirabassi at bleacher nation dot com! Can’t wait to see what you have for me this week.


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Author: Mario Tirabassi

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