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Blackhawks Scrimmage Notes: Team Black Beats Team Red, Kirby Dach Scores OT Winner

Chicago Blackhawks

The Chicago Blackhawks continued training camp on Tuesday for day five of preseason practices. With their first preseason game coming up tomorrow night against the Detroit Red Wings, Tuesday’s practice was a split-squad scrimmage between Team Black and Team Red.

While the first few days of training camp should lend little weight to lines and pairings, it’s been interesting to see the development of the DeBrincat-Johnson-Kane line, as well as the McCabe-Jones top-pairing on defense.

Those two sets of players have been consistently paired together every day in camp so far. Also of note heading into Tuesday’s scrimmage was rookie Lukas Reichel playing on the wing with Jonathan Toews and Brandon Hagel, as well as a player like Dylan Strome being paired with Brett Connolly and Cam Morrison, two players who are very unlikely to end up with the Blackhawks this season.

The first goal of the scrimmage came from a nice all-around effort from Dominik Kubalík as he stripped the puck in the neutral zone, with Philipp Kurashev and Kirby Dach connecting to transition a two-on-one chance where Kubalík finished on the other end.

The trio of Kubalík, Dach, and Kurashev is a relatively new forward combination in the early stages of camp, but if that ends up being a third-line option for the Blackhawks, I would have little issue with it. Dach is working at center to begin camp, and behind veterans like Tyler Johnson and Jonathan Toews, he’ll have to work to earn more ice-time at the center position. Having a finisher like Kubalík paired with two-way forwards like Dach and Kurashev could make for an effective third-line with a focus on generating offense and scoring chances.

Team Black took a 1-0 lead into the second period, but Team Red was able to tie it up thanks to some training camp surprise players in Reese Johnson and Michal Teply, two guys who will likely start the season with the Rockford IceHogs.

Both Teply and Johnson have been impressive in the early stages of camp so far, and it’s a positive sign to see them creating opportunities, even if it’s just in the split-squad scrimmage. Bodes well for the IceHogs, that’s for sure.

The teams would not find a difference-making goal in the third period and would head to overtime.

In the overtime period, it would be Kirby Dach taking the puck from Caleb Jones (after Jones made a great move to avoid Alex DeBrincat) to the front of the net and slamming the game-winner past Team Red goaltender Kevin Lankinen to give Team Black the 2-1 win.

Dach finished with the game-winner and a primary assist in the game.

Yes, it’s still early in the preseason, but let us put too much weight into the lines and pairings, Jeremy!

Jake McCabe and Seth Jones have been paired together in every drill and scrimmage opportunity through the first week of training camp. McCabe’s mobility looks good so far in the preseason, so I think any worries about him after missing most of last season with Buffalo due to a knee injury should be quelled by the time the regular season begins.

Lukas Reichel hasn’t looked out of place so far through the first week of training camp. His foot speed looks to be at an NHL-level, which is always a concern for a young player making the transition to the faster NHL game. He’s been given the opportunity recently to play alongside established Blackhawks like Toews and Hagel, and has been in the “main” group of players for pretty much every day of training camp so far. If he continues on this trajectory through the preseason, I’d give him a very likely chance of not only being with the Blackhawks to begin the season, but playing in a significant position.

Time will tell, of course, and the first opportunity for these guys to play against non-teammates comes tomorrow night in the first game of the preseason against the Red Wings. Cannot wait.



Author: Mario Tirabassi

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