It was a busy Monday to jump back into the full work week for myself, but I’m glad to be back at the helm of the Bleacher Nation Blackhawks coverage after a fun weekend in Texas. Forgot to mention in yesterday’s bullets, but wanted to say a heartfelt thank you to our BN team, Brett, Michael, Luis, and Eli for helping cover the bases with the Blackhawks coverage while I was away!
Now jumping into one of the busiest times of the summer, today we find out that during this time when the Expansion Draft and Entry Draft and Free Agency all happen within a week of each other, Blackhawks President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Stan Bowman will speak just once to the media.
• A time when GM’s are normally front and center, multiple times, addressing their offseason plans and where the direction of their organizations are going, Bowman will make one singular appearance with the media, virtually.
He’ll most likely decline comment, but this won’t be the only time he’ll have to speak this month, and how the Blackhawks try to navigate the optics of a GM under serious investigation handling big decisions now will be interesting.
— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) July 20, 2021
• I fully expected to hear a prepared statement from Bowman to open the press conference about the lawsuits and allegations against the team and against him, and that “At this time I cannot comment further” or something like that. Then, the hope for the Blackhawks is that they can move on and talk about the Expansion Draft and Entry Draft.
• But I also fully expect the Chicago media to throw multiple questions at Bowman about the lawsuits and his involvement in them. Even if he gives the same, “no comment” answer, asking the pointed questions to Bowman will keep him, the team, and the story in the spotlight.
• Two writers who will be involved in the media availability and have been on top of the story are The Athletic’s Mark Lazerus and Scott Powers, as well as Katie Strang, but I’m not sure if she’ll be on the media call. Powers and Lazerus took questions regarding the lawsuits against the Blackhawks, and spoke with a legal expert, agents, and players to get their insight to the stories and allegations against the club. It is very well done and I highly recommend reading it.
— Scott Powers (@ByScottPowers) July 20, 2021
• One question that stood out to me, for hockey reasons, was the perception of the Blackhawks in free agency, which opens on the 28th of this month. In the article, one agent says that “money and term” will always be the deciding factor of where a player wants to go. But a former player interviewed says that if Chicago and another team are offering you the same deal, why go to Chicago? That’s something to keep in mind when thinking about a player like Dougie Hamilton, who is going to have MANY suitors this offseason.
• Michael: Speaking of dates and deadlines, now feels like a good time to remind you to follow our coverage of the Bears, Bulls, and Cubs, as well!
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) July 20, 2021
• In case you missed it yesterday, ESPN is reporting that the 2021-22 NHL schedule is set to be released on Thursday and will include a 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic break. Details still need to be figured out about the NHL’s possible participation in the 2022 Winter Games, but the plan still continues to include the break.
The 2021-22 NHL Schedule Will Reportedly Be Released on Thursday. It will include a Winter Olympic break. https://t.co/2uhd5kSRFA
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) July 19, 2021
• A schedule released yesterday, the Blackhawks have their 2021 preseason gets set.
— Mario Tirabassi (@Mario_Tirabassi) July 19, 2021
• Three sets of home-and-home games with the Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues, and Minnesota Wild. While I wish the Red Wings could continue to stay in the Central Division with Chicago, it will be nice to see the Blackhawks playing their usual foes again next season.
• Today is a double Blackhawks Birthday for two former Blackhawks Stanley Cup winners! Andrew Shaw turns 30-years-old, and Antonie Vermette turns 39-years-old!
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) July 20, 2021
• The Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft is tomorrow night, with the NHL Entry Draft following it on Friday and Saturday. Just in case you forgot.
• The NHL Entry Draft is usually a time when young men who have worked their whole lives to make it to the league, get to see where that hard work has taken them and where the next steps in their career are going to be headed. But for one player in this year’s draft class, that will not be the case. Logan Mailloux, who you might remember from this weekend’s bullets, has decided to withdraw from this year’s NHL Draft.
— Logan Mailloux (@loganmailloux_) July 20, 2021
• Mailloux was projected to go somewhere in the second round of the draft on my draft boards, but after the story from Sweden came out last week, Mailloux became virtually undraftable for teams. Now, the victim of his actions has spoken out about what happened.
"All I wanted was a heartfelt apology" — woman who was victimized by draft prospect Logan Mailloux in Sweden speaks out.
— Katie Strang (@KatieJStrang) July 20, 2021
• There is no excuse for violating someone’s privacy the way he did and Mailloux is now facing the consequences of his actions in multiple ways. If he is not showing remorse for those actions, there needs to be more measures being taken to get him the help and perspective on the gravity of what he did.
• On a positive note, after yesterday’s news from Nashville Predators prospect Luke Prokop, the NHL community stepped-up in support of Prokop and the LGBTQ+ community. The NHL announced yesterday a $100,000 donation to multiple organizations that support the LGBTQ+ hockey community.
— NHL (@NHL) July 19, 2021
• I also highly recommend listening to the latest edition of the “31 Thoughts” Podcast with Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek, as they speak with Luke Prokop about his decision to come out publicly and what it means to him on and off the ice.
• The Seattle Expansion draft is on Wednesday night, and there are going to be a slew of celebrities involved in announcing the picks for the newest NHL franchise, but I think this idea would be 100% the way to go to open the night…
omg seattle should announce a pick at the first ever starbucks and have a barista announce the name like “umm carson pierce?” and then ron francis looks at the camera and is like “i think you mean carey price”
— loui eriksson’s #1 fan (@erikssonsburner) July 19, 2021
• And just a reminder that it is highly likely that we will know some of the Seattle picks ahead of time, because no one can keep a good secret in sports. With the draft list due at 9:00 a.m. CT and the draft show starting at 7:00 p.m. CT (on ESPN2), there’s bound to be plenty of leaked information.
– 10 am eastern. Deadline for @SeattleKraken to submit its Expansion Draft selections.
– 8 pm eastern. Official announcement of the Kraken’s selections.
— John Shannon (@JShannonhl) July 17, 2021
• I can’t wait.
• That will do it for today. I hope you all enjoy your Tuesday!