It was a good weekend for the Chicago Blackhawks, from a roster perspective, if you ask me. The biggest news coming on Sunday afternoon as we finally get our answer from Marc-Andre Fleury on his commitment to play for the Chicago Blackhawks this season.
• Short, sweet, and to the point: “I’m in”
• Fleury making his decision to play this season with the Blackhawks makes Chicago a very interesting team for the 2021-22 season, along with all the other moves made so far this summer. While adding Seth Jones and Jake McCabe improved the blue-line and getting (hopefully) a full season from a healthy Jonathan Toews will improve the forwards group, adding Fleury in net for this season could be the most important, short-term, addition.
The billboard outside Fifth Third Arena tonight: pic.twitter.com/nWLAK02AkC
— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) August 1, 2021
• Needless to say, Chicago is getting excited.
• As are those who love a good revenge story…
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) August 1, 2021
• I’m not saying I’m going to Vegas for my birthday weekend now, but I think going to Vegas for my birthday weekend now would be fun.
• After the NHL Draft and the opening frenzy of free agency, most NHL GMs speak to the media following their major moves on Day One or Two. For the Blackhawks, for many reasons, we have not heard from Stan Bowman. With the news of Fleury committing to play, Bowman is set to speak later this afternoon and the newest member of the Blackhawks will speak at some time on Wednesday.
#Blackhawks president of hockey operations and general manager Stan Bowman will speak to media via Zoom at 3 p.m. Monday. It will be Bowman’s first press conference since free agency started.
New Chicago goalie Marc-Andre Fleury will speak Wednesday. Time TBA.
— Brandon Cain (@brandonmcain) August 1, 2021
• Bowman will have the opportunity to address the 2021 NHL Draft class, the trades of Nikita Zadorov, Seth Jones, and Marc-Andre Fleury, and the other additions made during the opening of the NHL Free Agency period. We’ll also likely hear more about what direction the team is now heading after these “win now” moves following a year+ of hearing about how Chicago was in a “rebuilding” process. Oh, and we’ll probably hear more prepared statements on the sexual abuse allegations and lawsuits the organization is facing.
• Speaking of which, in lieu of a “Monday Mailbag” post today, I plan to “go live” (as the kids say) on Twitter tomorrow to check in with ya’ll. It has been a very, very weird summer for the Blackhawks and I think it would be a great opportunity to throw some things out there regarding the off-ice issues surrounding the team, how it could impact the rest of the summer and beginning of the season, and what to expect from the club on the ice now that they are no longer in a “rebuilding” mode, clearly. I look forward to it and I will post the “going live at…” time later today on the Bleacher Nation Blackhawks’ Twitter.
• Quickly, mentioning Nikita Zadorov, he has filed for salary arbitration with the Calgary Flames.
17 players filed for arbitration today: Aston-Reese (PIT), Colton (TB), Copp (WIN), Dickinson (VAN), Dunn (SEA), Erne (DET), Fabbro (NASH), Gilbert (COL), Hill (SJ), McNiven (MON), Mete (OTT), Pelech (NYI), Pionk (WIN), Sanford (STL), Saros (NASH), Vrana (DET) & Zadorov (CAL).
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) August 1, 2021
• Have fun with that.
• A Happy Blackhawks Birthday to one of my favorite players from the late-90’s and early 2000’s, Tony Amonte!
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) August 2, 2021
• Speaking of Blackhawks celebrations, in case you missed it, Saturday night was Alex DeBrincat’s wedding. Alex and his wife Lyndsey had what looked like an awesome wedding reception that was star-studded with current and former Blackhawks players.
• They looked like they had a hell of a time at the reception, but that wasn’t the end of the night. Some of the players headed to “Mom’s Place” in River North, where some of the boys tried their hand at karaoke with what I think was Fountains of Wayne’s “Stacy’s Mom.” (P.S. I did not take this video, but it was sent to me by a friend who declined to be credited.)
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) August 1, 2021
• They’re better at hockey than they are at singing.
• And while Saturday night looked like a GREAT time, it didn’t stop there. On Sunday, we saw Adam Boqvist post a photo of himself, Jonathan Toews, Riley Stillman, and Brandon Hagel at Lollapalooza in Grant Park.
• While the music festival did require proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a recent negative COVID test for entry, the optics of the players in the middle of a sea of humanity while the country faces another spike in COVID cases wasn’t the best received image. Especially for Toews, who missed the entire 2020-21 season and revealed he dealt with a chronic immune response issue.
• Look, far be it from me to throw stones. These guys obviously followed the rules to get into the festival and that means they either had a negative test or are vaccinated, both of which are good things in the moment, especially if the case is that they have received the vaccination. It’s likely that nothing will come of this, but again, the optics are not all that great. One thing I will say, it’s good to see that Toews, a person who is highly in-tune with his health and nutrition and treats his body like a science project, is feeling healthy enough to let loose this weekend. Hopefully an encouraging sign heading through the rest of the summer and getting closer to training camp.
• That will do it for today. Enjoy your Monday!