Constructing an Opening Night Roster, More Memories of Tony Esposito, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Constructing an Opening Night Roster, More Memories of Tony Esposito, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

How we doing out there Blackhawks fans? How’s your summer going? Hope you are all enjoying the warm weather and enjoying life outside before we are all shuttered back indoors for the fall and winter and hopefully not longer than that. But don’t worry, at least we’ll have the Blackhawks to watch to pass the time.

•   How about a #ThrowbackThursday to start us off today…

•   A shiny nickel to the first person who can name this former London Knight not named Patrick Kane.

•   This week has been a rough one for Blackhawks legends after the team announced Troy Murray’s cancer diagnosis and with the passing of legendary goaltender and team ambassador Tony Esposito. This morning, some more statements on Esposito’s passing came through with Captain Jonathan Toews and former Captain and teammate of Esposito, Denis Savard, sharing their memories of “Tony O”

•   We also heard from Blackhawks star winger Patrick Kane and newest goaltender Marc-André Fleury on the passing of Esposito…

•   The outpouring of fond memories of Esposito on and off the ice has been a true testament to his character. If you feel inclined, I would take up Scott Powers on his offer to share some of those stories below…

•   Cannot wait to read more of the stories from everyday people and fans about their experiences with Esposito after sharing my one interaction with him. He was one of the true greats.

•   Transitioning to the Blackhawks of present, Dom Luszczyszyn and his contract models over at The Athletic have not been friends to the Blackhawks so far this offseason.

•   First off, in his annual “Worst Contracts” post, Seth Jones’ new deal with the Blackhawks not only likely set the market for defensemen this offseason, but also looks to be one of the worst in the league…

•   And that very same contract for Jones is the reason you’re going to have to do a lot of scrolling to find the Blackhawks on Dom’s list of the most efficient teams when it comes to handling the salary cap…

•   While the outlook on paper for the Blackhawks for next season is optimistic, the handling of the salary cap beyond next season is going to get a bit dicey. There is a chance that the cap ceiling moves up from $81.5M to $82.5M for the 2022-23 season, but with the pandemic ongoing and possibly getting worse again, the league cannot bank on the financial gains being what they may have first expected for the upcoming season.

•   But that is all for the future Blackhawks front office, with or without Stan Bowman, to figure out. As for the present, I took a swing at putting together a cap-compliant and competitive opening night roster for the 2021-22 Blackhawks. I think this team will be competitive in the Central Division and could potentially find themselves in the playoff hunt if I do say so myself.

•   Again, all on paper so far as we are still over a month away from training camp opening.

•   The team being competitive seems like the organizations best bet to try to keep fans in the stands at the rate that the team as enjoyed over the past decade. With a home sellout record of over 500 consecutive games on the line, it appears the off-ice issues with the club are starting to make season-ticket holders question their loyalties to the team. From Scott Powers and Mark Lazerus of The Athletic, it appears that the court of public opinion may condemn the Blackhawks in their pockets, even if the legal courts do not…

•   Season-tickets not being sold and corporate sponsors backing out of partnerships are two of the biggest ways for people outside of the organization to force a team to really take notice when things are going wrong. I’m not sure we will see a wide-scale financial “Armageddon” for the Blackhawks, but there will be enough, in my opinion, for changes to be considered. We will have to see.

•   I have little-to-no artistic abilities. I couldn’t even do that weird, block-like “S” that seemingly every late-90’s/early-00’s kid would draw on their trapper-keepers. But I can appreciate when people have incredible art skills. This is one of those times…

•   WOW. The details in this work are incredible. There’s reflections in the visor and you can see the spots where Kane missed when shaving his face earlier in the day. Amazing work.

•   With the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus looking like it is going to make life for all of us very, very difficult in a very short while, different venues are beginning to require proof of full vaccination to participate in the events. We’ve seen bars, restaurants, concert venues, and many more places put these practices into place. Now those practices are reaching the NHL with the Winnipeg Jets requiring proof of full vaccination for employees, event staff, and fans for entry to their games.

•   Good.

•   If you are willfully unvaccinated at this point in time, you no longer get to do the fun things in life. You are the one that is posing the health risk to everyone around you. Get the shots so we ALL can get back to and stay in our normal lives once again.

•   That will do it for today. I hope you all enjoy your Thursday!

•   Get the shots.

Author: Mario Tirabassi

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