All under the clouds of the sexual assault, abuse, and harassment lawsuits and allegations against the team and former video coach Brad Aldrich.
So yeah, needless to say it was a wild day. All along the Stanley Cup Final continues between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Montreal Canadiens.
• Starting with Toews, he revealed that he has been dealing with Chronic Immune Response Syndrome in a video posted on his Twitter account. He spoke about the support he felt from the team and fans, his recovery, and his plans to play next season.
• While the news of Toews returning reverberated throughout the hockey community, later in the afternoon, The Athletic’s Mark Lazerus shared his interview with Toews in which he revealed A TON of information about his experience over the last year-plus of time.
EXCLUSIVE: I met with Jonathan Toews today to discuss the specifics of his illness, how COVID is involved, what the last year was like — "the best worst thing that ever happened to me" — and the sexual-abuse allegations engulfing the Blackhawks.
— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) June 30, 2021
• I highly recommend reading the full piece. Toews has gone through a lot while he was gone and to get back to this point in his health journey where he feels ready to play in the NHL again, is incredible. Also within the interview, Toews talks about the allegations surrounding the Blackhawks and the incidents in 2010. Again, read it.
• Following the news cycle surrounding Toews, the Blackhawks are apparently on the hunt for an “elite-level” defenseman with names like Seth Jones and Dougie Hamilton on the market. With that in mind, it made the news that the Blackhawks are reportedly open to trading future Hall of Fame defenseman Duncan Keith make even more sense.
There are rumblings Chicago is working on a potential Duncan Keith trade to either the Pacific Northwest or Western Canada. Word is Keith and team are working together to get him to a place he wants to go. We will see where this goes.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) June 30, 2021
• Keith has two more years left on his current deal with Chicago at a $5.538M AAV price tag. He has a full no-movement cause on the final two years and would have to give the Blackhawks permission to send him anywhere.
• This is not the first time that Keith has been involved in trade rumors, specially ones that link him to teams in the Pacific Northwest region of North America. Keith has mentioned before that if he did not finish his career in Chicago, he would want to be closer to his family and kids, who live in British Columbia. With the Seattle Kraken joining the league, there are now four viable teams in that area for Keith to potentially land with Seattle, Vancouver, Edmonton, and Calgary all in the area.
• Seattle and Edmonton make the most sense, since the Blackhawks could be trying to send Keith to the Kraken so they do not select a higher-value player in the expansion draft like Calvin de Haan. Edmonton is a playoff contender and had high expectations this postseason before the Winnipeg Jets spoiled them. Keith would want to be playing for a Stanley Cup before his career is over and Edmonton likely gives him the best opportunity.
• IF he gets traded, I will be incredibly sad to see one of my favorite all-time Blackhawks leave the team and not retire as a Blackhawk. Either way, Keith’s #2 sweater will hang in the United Center rafters one day.
• On a happier nostalgia note, today is July 1st, a day where the NHL usually has their free agent frenzy on the opening day of free agency. That will have to wait until later in July this offseason. But 12 years ago today, the Blackhawks landed Marian Hossa and the rest is history.
• Hossa finished his career as a member of the Arizona Coyotes, technically, and the Coyotes have their new head coach in place…
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) July 1, 2021
• Also happening around the league today, the Los Angles Kings have acquired Viktor Arvidsson from the Nashville Predators…
Return for Arvidsson is a 2021 second and a 2022 third. Both are LA’s picks (they have several).
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) July 1, 2021
• Last night was Game Two of the Stanley Cup Final between the Lighting and Canadiens, with Tampa Bay holding a 1-0 series lead. Montreal was looking to even the series and had a chance to enter the third period even at 1-1, but Blake Coleman had other, more dramatic, plans…
• In a game where the Canadiens actually looked like the better team and probably deserved to win, the Lightning were able to find a way to get the win behind an incredible effort from Andrei Vasilevskiy. Getting goals like these from Coleman may end up being the difference in the Lightning repeating as Champions.
Blake Coleman scored the game-winning goal at 19:58 of the second period to help the @TBLightning take a 2-0 series lead in the 2021 #StanleyCup Final.#NHLStats: https://t.co/wvGugHLsMi pic.twitter.com/GF6HAPi5Hc
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) July 1, 2021
• While the Lightning were getting some incredible chances from extra-effort plays, they were also handed some opportunities by the Canadiens. The most egregious coming late in the third period when Joel Edmundson handed a turnover right to Ondrej Palat…
• Tampa Bay is already a deeply talented team, I mean they are nearly $20M over the cap so what do you expect? But even though this team wouldn’t be legal in the regular season, you cannot be making these kinds of mistakes.
The @TBLightning own a 2-0 series lead in the #StanleyCup Final for the first time in franchise history. Eleven teams in the last 20 years have taken a 2-0 lead with nine clubs going on to win the championship.#NHLStats: https://t.co/wvGugHLsMi pic.twitter.com/YkcdxWpCTc
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) July 1, 2021
• Now the Canadiens will have to win four of the next five games in the series if they are to end Canada’s 28-year Stanley Cup drought. Teams that win each of the first two games in a best-of-seven Final hold an all-time series record of 46-5…Bonne chance les gars.
• Thanks to inspiration from Steve Simmons, I’ve been trying to learn some French. How am I doing?
• If you missed it last night, we posted our latest in the Wednesday Wishlist series with a new draft prospect on the wishlist: USHL Forward of the Year with the Chicago Steel, Matthew Coronato.
• It’s Canada Day today, but a much different feeling surrounding the day this year, considering the recent discovery in Canada of nearly 1,000 unmarked graves of indigenous people, mostly of children. I want to wish our fans and friends to the North a Happy Canada Day, and to take this message from the Ontario Hockey League into consideration.
• Finally, another update from former Blackhawks defenseman Stephen Johns from his #MentalMiles rollerblading journey across the country…
— Stephen Johns (@stjohns28) July 1, 2021
• Looks fun! I mean, I wouldn’t do it, but it looks fun for him.
• That will do it for today. Go enjoy your Thursday, it’s supposed to be a beautiful day.