Blackhawks Looked Uninterested, Players on the Bubble, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Blackhawks Looked Uninterested, Players on the Bubble, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

In last night’s “Pre-Gamin'” post, I said that there is no better way to spend a Friday night than with Blackhawks preseason hockey. I was wrong. I could think of many things I would have rather done with my Friday night last night than watch that particular game. Sure, it had its ups and downs like any preseason game, but I was uninspired by the low G.A.F exhibited by the Blackhawks last night.

•   If you would have told me back in May that this would be a scene before a Blackhawks game in October, I would have slapped you across the face.

•   I missed seeing the energy that Jonathan Toews brings to the Blackhawks squad. Through two preseason games, he’s looked good and that’s all we can ask for at this point in time.

•   Great to see the fans back in the United Center, too. I’ll miss the Patrick Kane-Tommy Hawk puck tossing saga, but I’ll trade it for fans being able to safely be back at the UC.

•   Unfortunately the fans in attendance last night were not treated to a spectacular effort from the Blackhawks, who were playing their second preseason game, while the Blues were playing their fourth.

•   Reese Johnson and Dmitry Osipov, two players who will start the season with the Rockford IceHogs made it exciting in the first period as they weren’t going to let the Blues players take any liberties with a more NHL-laden roster last night.

•   While this is not NHL Hitz 2002, with the fights=goals cheat code, the Blackhawks won two fights in the first period, but trailed 1-0 after the opening 20 minutes. In the second period, the powerplay got on the board for the Blackhawks. One thing that stood out to me last night and from Wednesday night regarding Chicago’s powerplay so far through two preseason games: the movement. Both the puck and players, movement on the powerplay is something the Blackhawks have not been great at for long stretches of time on the man-advantage. So far this preseason, we are seeing a lot of interchanging positions and purposeful passing and less of just giving the puck to Patrick Kane and then standing around wanting him to do something with it.

•   Alex DeBrincat was the man who scored the powerplay tally in the second period, and later he set up Caleb Jones for the second goal of the period for Chicago.

•   DeBrincat has talked this offseason and training camp about being able to add more playmaking skill to his game and being able to hold the puck longer and be able to “make that extra move.” If he keeps making plays like this, along with his goal-scoring ability, I don’t think it’s too out of line to think DeBrincat could reach the 40-40 mark this season (goals and assists, not home runs and stolen bases).

•   There was a scare in the first moments of the game for the Blackhawks as Patrick Kane left the ice and the bench early. He returned shortly back to the bench and remained in the game for the rest of the contest. After the game, we found out it was a cut on his hand and nothing serious.

•   With Kane talking this offseason about a “nagging injury” that hasn’t been able to fully heal, any time he’s missing time this season, or has to leave a game, Blackhawks fans are going to worry. He is still the stick that stirs the pot for Chicago.

•   Ultimately, the Blackhawks fell last night 6-3. They’ll have a chance at redemption tonight as they will face these same Blues. Well, not likely the same Blues as the lineup will likely change from last night. Same with the Blackhawks. A number of of the big name new players to the team made their preseason debuts last night like Tyler Johnson, Seth Jones, Jake McCabe, and Marc-André Fleury. Unfortunately, they looked like they were playing their first game and it was a preseason-effort. Not to be unexpected, but nothing that gave you any encouragement early-on in the preseason.

•   We’ll likely see a new lineup for the Blackhawks tonight, maybe with less “established” players and give those players on the fence of the NHL roster a chance to prove themselves again.

•   One of those players this preseason is Dylan Strome. Not a spot that many thought he would be in if you asked them just two years ago. But here we are and here he is.

•   Although Strome wasn’t the most noticeable last night, something that has been a struggle with him in his career is faceoffs and he did pretty darn well with it last night.

•   Another player who is on the NHL lineup fence is Alex Nylander. So far through two preseason games, games in which you would want to see him playing at a high level against, normally, lesser quality opposition, he has been ineffective.

•   Maybe he is still getting his legs under him, but he doesn’t have a lot of time and leash to work with to get an NHL spot heading into 2021-22.

•   Speaking of getting his legs under him, good to see that Calvin de Haan has recovered from the broken leg(!) he played with last season.

•   Yesterday morning, the Blackhawks signed Colton Dach to his entry-level contract. While he is going to go back to the WHL this season and play with a new Junior club (Kelowna Rockets), his plan doesn’t include a much longer stay in the WHL.

•   Following in his bog brother’s footsteps would be interesting to see for the Blackhawks. Just don’t push it as a PR move.

•   Hey! Remember raising banners? That was fun.

•   A member of those banner-raising Blackhawks was defenseman Duncan Keith. Now with the Oilers, Keith spoke to the Edmonton media yesterday and had some less than encouraging comments regarding the COVID protocols from the league.

•   The league allowed players to opt-out of this season, but according to Chris Johnston (who has a ton of new job’s, by the way), no players officially opted-out by yesterday’s deadline.

•   Other news around the league, the Vancouver Canucks looked in two franchise-players yesterday with Quinn Hughes and Elias Pettersson signing new deals.

•   The last remaining restricted free agent in the league now is Ottawa’s Brady Tkachuk.

•   It’s not a Blackhawks birthday, but can’t go without saying a Happy Birthday to the Phil “the Thrill” Kessel!

•   He’s the best.

•   Speaking of the best, what is Scott Powers up to this week…?

https://twitter.com/Mario_Tirabassi/status/1444008182163070978?s=20

•   Hossa looks like he could step on the ice tomorrow and still play in the NHL.

•   In other Chicago sports news, as bad as the preseason has gone so far for the Blackhawks, it’s not any worse than anything that is happening with the Bears.

•   Matt Nagy is doing his best to keep the heat off of Jeremy Colliton before the season starts.

•   That will do it for today. Hope you all have a great Saturday!



Author: Mario Tirabassi

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