Hello again. How are you doing? You taking care of yourself? You getting outside, getting some sunshine if possible? Take a walk. Read a book. Do that thing that’s been on your “to do” list. Or don’t. Do whatever you feel like you need to do to take care of yourself.
For me, I needed to not be on social media as much as possible yesterday. I’m consuming tons of hockey content daily, and I’m not complaining. This is my job, this is what I have always wanted to do. But sometimes it gets to be too much. Not just content overload, but sometimes there can be a subject matter overload. I’ve gotten to that point with the continued developments surrounding the Chicago Blackhawks. I can’t and won’t bury my head in the sand when it comes to these alleged incidents and stories coming out surrounding the team and former video coach Brad Aldrich. But yesterday, I just needed to not be in the thick of it.
Today is another day. We’ve already had a new-ish development and I have barely had time to finish my coffee this morning. We’ll get into it soon, but just a reminder that taking a break now and then from these stories, and from anything else in your life that can cause major stress, is necessary for your self-care. Just want to be looking out for you.
• The Stanley Cup Final gets underway tomorrow night in Tampa at the Amalie Arena as the Tampa Bay Lightning look to defend their 2020 Stanley Cup crown against the Montreal Canadiens, who are looking to end theirs and Canada’s 28-year Stanley Cup drought.
• The Canadiens have been on an incredible run through the postseason, topping the Canadian Division-favorite Maple Leafs, then sweeping the Jets like it was nothing, and then capping it off with a six-game series win over Stanley Cup top contenders in the Golden Knights. One major player in their run, who has gone somewhat under the radar in these playoffs, is forward Joel Armia. Unfortunately for Montreal, it appears that Armia will be unavailable to them to begin the Cup Final.
Marc Bergevin says Joel Armia is not practicing today due to the NHL's COVID-19 protocol and there will be an update later today.
— Arpon Basu (@ArponBasu) June 27, 2021
• Armia has eight points in 17 games in the postseason, including a league-leading three short-handed points and two short-handed goals. He did not make the trip with the team to Tampa, so it appears he will be out until at least Game Three of the series.
• This is not the first time that the Canadiens have had to deal with COVID during the final stretch of the postseason. Their head coach Dominique Ducharme has been out since Game Three of the Semifinal series against the Golden Knights. In his absence, assistant coach Luke Richardson has taken his place behind the bench. But it appears that Ducharme will be able to return to the team for Game Three of the Final, which will take place in Montreal.
Dominique Ducharme says he will back behind the bench for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final.
— Joshua Clipperton (@JClipperton_CP) June 26, 2021
• Montreal will need all hands on deck, players and coaches, to continue their current run in these playoffs.
• One of their biggest contributors in the postseason has been goaltender Carey Price. Are we shocked? Price is second in the league in the postseason with a .934 save-percentage and second in the league among goalies to play beyond the first round with a 2.02 GAA marker. He is second in both of those categories to Tampa Bay goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Carey Price on Andrei Vasilevskiy: "He's been playing great. He's a big body, battles hard. It's the same story with every goalie, we gotta get some traffic and battle for some rebounds."
— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) June 27, 2021
• Price will have to continue to match the performance of Vasilevskiy, and maybe even out-duel him, for Montreal to have their best chance at pulling off the upset and denying the Lightning their repeat championship. He’ll have to do so against a team that has all of the top-five point producers in the postseason on it, led by Nikita Kucherov (27 points in 18 games) and Brayden Point (14 goals in 18 games).
• Remember that new-ish development I talked about earlier? Here’s what we got…
Asked MTL GM Marc Bergevin, who was w/ Chicago as Director of Pro Personnel in 2010, what he knew about sexual assault allegations against Brad Aldrich. He said he was not aware of those allegations at the time.
— Katie Strang (@KatieJStrang) June 27, 2021
• Bergevin was previously mentioned in TSN’s reporting on the Blackhawks allegations as having no knowledge of the incidents in question in 2010 while he was the Blackhawks’ Director of Player Personnel, according to a statement on the matter from the Canadiens. This is the first time that he has been publicly asked about the incidents and his knowledge, and he stands by what was said in the Canadiens’ statement.
• Here’s where I stand on it…
I find it highly unlikely that Marc Bergevin knew nothing. You're telling me the team psychologist, a skills coach, all of upper management, an assistant coach, and the entire roster knew of what happened, but the Director of Player Personnel did NOT? Come on. #Blackhawks
— Mario Tirabassi (@Mario_Tirabassi) June 27, 2021
• This comes one day after Rick Westhead of TSN reported that then-Blackhawks assistant coach John Torchetti had knowledge of the incidents and the accusations of the two former players against fellow assistant coach Brad Aldrich at the time.
A former Chicago Blackhawks associate coach has confirmed that a meeting took place during the 2010 NHL playoffs in which the team’s management discussed the alleged sexual assault of two Blackhawks players.
— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) June 26, 2021
• This all coming after the many, many, many reports being corroborated by former players (including Brent Sopel and Nick Boynton), and by unnamed members of the Blackhawks front office and even the marketing staff.
• Listen, if the “rumors” at the time got to the marketing staff, then you can’t tell me that in some way, shape, or form, the news didn’t reach Bergevin’s ears.
• Also coming from Westhead last night, it appears that the $150,000 sought by the plaintiffs in the case against the Blackhawks is a placeholder. The final number could be much, much higher.
The former Blackhawks player suing the team after he was allegedly sexually assaulted asking for $150K in his claim.
That number is a placeholder.
Illinois juries decide damage awards, although lawyers can suggest sums. Player's lawyer tells me she'd suggest $10M+ in this case.
— Rick Westhead (@rwesthead) June 26, 2021
• The more this story gets talked about, the better. Maybe not better for the Blackhawks, but we are way beyond defending the organization at this point.
• The silence from them and from the league continues to speak louder as the days go on.
• I’ll leave you with this from former Blackhawks defenseman Stephen Johns, as he continues his cross-country rollerblading trip…
— Stephen Johns (@stjohns28) June 27, 2021
• I went to Yellowstone once as a kid in the winter. It was pretty awesome. Saw a bunch of buffalo on a snowmobiling tour.
• That will do it for today. Enjoy your Sunday and take time to take care of yourself today.
• 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.