I’m back home from vacation, and feeling ready to get the final weeks of summer down and the NHL season underway. That, and more importantly, feeling refreshed and ready to welcome our daughter into the world very soon!
It’s funny what a change of scenery and an effort to disconnect from the world can really do for you. Makes you more appreciative for what you have going for you in life and makes you take in the little things just like you would the big things, too.
• One of the other things in life that makes you realize what is truly important is losing a loved one, sadly. We’ve talked a lot about the passing of former Blackhawk Jimmy Hayes in the past days. Yesterday was the funeral for Hayes and his brother Kevin shared a story during the service that was just one of many that encapsulated who Jimmy was in the hockey community.
Kevin Hayes shared this beautiful story at his brother Jimmy’s funeral. pic.twitter.com/jkVosgLNmo
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) August 30, 2021
• For more on Hayes’ impact in his community of Dorchester and the kind of person he was, I strongly encourage reading Steve Buckley’s latest for The Athletic…
In Dorchester, Jimmy Hayes gets a special goodbye from youth hockey players lining the streets
— Steve Buckley (@BuckinBoston) August 30, 2021
• Going to change gears now, but one last remembrance for Hayes from the Boston Bruins:
Forever a Bruin.
Forever a Bostonian.
Forever in our hearts.
Rest in peace, Jimmy. pic.twitter.com/PWJKMnsilr
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) August 31, 2021
• We’ve been talking about the upcoming 2021 Blackhawks Prospect Pyramid coming out later this week, and prospect rankings are the flavor of the day in the NHL this time of year as training camps and rookie camps approach. From The Athletic’s Corey Pronman, the Blackhawks check-in at No. 23 of all NHL teams’ prospect system rankings.
— Scott Powers (@ByScottPowers) August 31, 2021
• Not great. But not unexpected.
• Pronman has Dach as the highest-rated prospect in the Blackhawks system and, spoiler alert, so do I. Others listed in the Top Ten in the system by Pronman include (in no order): Philipp Kurashev, Ian Mitchell, Alex Vlasic, Drew Commesso, and Lukas Reichel, to name a few. While Dach is easily the head of the prospect class, the fallout from him is steep in Pronman’s eyes and it’s hard to argue. From what we know of the major players in the prospect system, they are likely mid-level NHLers in their near futures or project-out a mid-level professionals at best.
• Chicago is not loaded at the top with “prospects,” but there are enough young players in the mix to believe that a new “core” is being put in place to have the torched passed to them once the Toews-Kane era of hockey ends for the Blackhawks, whenever that may be. Dach is part of that group, as is Dominik Kubalík, Brandon Hagel, and Alex DeBrincat.
• For DeBrincat, after his bounce-back season last year, he solidified his status in the NHL as a true top-tier scoring threat and even landed inside the NHL Network’s Top 50 players list heading into this season…
— NHL Network (@NHLNetwork) August 31, 2021
• Take that list for what you will every year, but seeing DeBrincat getting the recognition as a top-level player in the NHL is something the Blackhawks community has been talking about for a short while now.
• Yesterday we learned who would be competing for the IIHF Women’s World Championships Gold Medal after the Semifinal round. In convincing fashion, the U.S. took care of Finland again in the tournament with a 3-0 win to move on to the Gold Medal game.
One step closer to gold. Check out the highlights from the #WomensWorlds semifinal win over Finland!
— USA Hockey (@usahockey) August 30, 2021
• The U.S. will have a shot at making it six IIHF World Championships Gold Medals in-a-row.
• Standing in their way is the only team to beat them at this year’s tournament, a dominant 5-1 loss in the preliminary round, as Canada took care of Switzerland in the Semifinal to also move on to the Gold Medal Game.
• Sounds familiar right? Team Canada versus Team USA. This will be the 19th time that the U.S. and Canada will have met in the Gold Medal Game in the tournament’s history. Only once in the tournament’s history has the U.S. and Canada not played for the IIHF Women’s World Championships Gold Medal, in 2019 when the U.S. topped Finland in a shootout, the last time the tournament was held.
• The U.S. has won eight of the last ten IIHF Women’s World Championships Gold Medal Game matchups against Canada dating back to the 2005 tournament. The Gold Medal Game drops the puck tonight at 6:30 p.m. CT and the game will be on NHL Network.
• That will do it for today. I hope you all enjoy your Tuesday!