Seth Jones Deal Getting Closer, NHL Entry Draft Day, Disturbing Lawsuit Details, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Seth Jones Deal Getting Closer, NHL Entry Draft Day, Disturbing Lawsuit Details, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

Yesterday was a wild day in the Chicago Blackhawks news cycle and it’s not going to get any easier as we head into the NHL Entry Draft weekend, starting today. Hold on to your butts, because I have a feeling things are only going to get crazier as the next couple of hours pass us by.

•   The biggest news of yesterday came in the afternoon, just before the NHL revealed the 2021-22 season schedule. Phil Thompson of the Chicago Tribune and Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun-Times both dropped hammers in the Blackhawks sexual assault, abuse, and harassment lawsuits and allegations against them.

A warning, if you have not read the reports yet, there are graphic details regarding the incidents that could be triggering to some.

•   This continues to get worse and worse as more details emerge from the cases. The Blackhawks want this to be swept under the rug and forgotten about, but the tireless efforts of a handful of journalists are keeping the story alive and front-and-center in the Blackhawks world. This should not be kept away from the public eye.

•   Blackhawks President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Stan Bowman spoke to the media for the first and likely only time for a long time yesterday. He touched on a multitude of topics, but started off the media availability talking about the lawsuits and allegations.

•   He did not comment on the allegations and lawsuits against the team and former video coach Brad Aldrich, of which Bowman is connected to from the alleged meeting between Paul Vincent and the Blackhawks front office in May of 2010.

•   While he said next to nothing about the allegations and investigations, he did say that he would be cooperating with the “independent review” being done by the law firm of Jenner and Block.

•   TSN’s Rick Westhead, who has been one of the journalists in front of the story, was in the media availability yesterday but did not have an opportunity to have his questions answered. Here are those questions…

•   Westhead this morning talked about the Blackhawks corporate sponsors and their lack of communication regarding the Blackhawks and the lawsuits against the team.

•   They are right. This should be the biggest story in the hockey world, but it is not being covered as such. Therefore, in a town dominated by the Cubs and the Bears, who you can always find things to talk about online, on TV, on sports radio, at the office, etc. Without the story being blasted across local channels, it has to be picked up by outside news sources like WBEZ and Canadian media like Westhead and TSN.

•   That is NOT to discredit the work that people like Thompson, Pope, Scott Powers, Mark Lazerus, Katie Strang, and others have done on this story. It is a criticism on the outlets that have a wider reach locally that have failed to give this story the run in the city of Chicago that it should be having.

•   We heard from Montreal Canadiens General Manager Marc Bergervin ahead of the Stanley Cup Final and his comments on the situation in Chicago. He was part of the Blackhawks front office in 2010, but says he had no knowledge of the allegations at the time. Also part of the Blachawks front office at the time is current Winnipeg Jets General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff. Yesterday, he made his first statement on the allegations.

•   Again, some people say they knew nothing. Some say those people are lying and everyone knew everything. And some say, there’s a mixture of when and who knew what and when. This story will continue to be a dark cloud hanging over the Blackhawks organization now, and well beyond the conclusion of the legal process.

•   In matters within the organization outside of the lawsuits, late last night there were reports coming from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman that the Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets are nearing a trade for Seth Jones. The caveat being that the Blackhawks are not going to make a deal that involves Kirby Dach or Alex DeBrincat.

•   Chicago is reportedly trying to get creative in their trade package to land the 26-year-old defenseman without using either of their two biggest future pieces to the rebuild puzzle. A possible trade scenario could involve the Blackhawks trading their 2022 first-round pick, along with Philipp Kurashev, Nicolas Beaudin, and Ian Mitchell. It is also possible the Blackhawks could use 2020 first-round pick Lukas Reichel in a deal. We’ll see how it plays out today since it is Day One of the NHL Entry Draft and things tend to get wild on Day One.

•   Speaking of the draft, if you missed it yesterday, here is the full mock draft that I did for the Blackhawks if I was in charge of picking players this year.

•   Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.

•   Also happening yesterday was the release of the full, 82-game schedule for the Blackhawks. You can find it here, with a couple of key dates to keep in mind…

•   The schedule released by the NHL last night has a Winter Olympic break built into it, pending the NHL’s possible involvement in the Beijing Winter Olympics. One of the hurdles to the league participating in the Olympics has been insurance on the players. But ESPN’s Emily Kaplan has a positive development on that topic…

•   While the NHL schedule was released yesterday night, the AHL schedule will be released this afternoon. Keep an eye out for the Rockford IceHogs schedule release last today!

 

•   That will do it for today. Enjoy your TGIF Friday and we will see you tonight for the first round of the NHL Entry Draft!



Author: Mario Tirabassi

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