Chicago Hockey is Back Tonight! Seattle Kraken Make Their Debut, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Chicago Hockey is Back Tonight! Seattle Kraken Make Their Debut, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

It’s here. It’s beautiful. It’s opening night for the Chicago Blackhawks.

After five months away, the Blackhawks are back tonight, playing meaningful hockey as they travel to take on the Colorado Avalanche in the first game of the 2021-22 regular season. The game will be the second of a double-header on TNT, the first time the network has broadcast hockey, so that will be fun too.

•   The most fun thing tonight, win, lose or draw, will be seeing Blackhawks Captain Jonathan Toews back on the ice with the team in a regular season game.

•   Toews set forth his goal back in July when he announced his return for this season to be able to take the opening faceoff of the season. Barring any last-minute shenaniganery, Toews will be out for the first puck drop of the Blackhawks’ season.

•   I’m ready. So very ready.

•   Here is how the Blackhawks put together the opening night roster, once Andrew Shaw’s contract was able to be placed on LTIR.

•   As we are just about 11 hours away from puck drop, here’s a number of predictions, some bold some mild, about the 2021-22 season for the Chicago Blackhawks.

•   I’m way more optimistic about this season than I was heading into the start of last season. With good reason, too. The Blackhawks decided rebuilding was for scrubs and losers and decided to build a contending team this summer. With the moves made, the Blackhawks should be much better than last season. While I still think they will fall short of a playoff spot, I’m very open to be proven wrong.

•   Bigger. Better. Faster. Stronger. Hopefully that translates on the ice.

•   One player hoping to become the “next Brandon Hagel” this season is MacKenzie Entwistle. Entering his third professional season, the former third-round pick by the Arizona Coyotes is looking to continue his work from the preseason into the regular season and play his way into a regular lineup spot. I’ve always liked his game and his mentality.

•   Rooting for this kid.

•   Enough of me gushing over the team, here’s the latest from Mark Lazerus and Scott Powers of The Athletic with a look at how the rest of the league perceives the Blackhawks:

•   One player that will not be with the organization for the 2021-22 season is Matej Chalupa. The Blackhawks placed his on unconditional waivers yesterday to terminate his contract. Chalupa signed with the organization ahead of the 2019-20 season, but hadn’t broken the NHL roster and was not going to this season.

•   Yesterday started the rumor mill in the NHL and Dylan Strome’s name landed on the potential trade block after multiple reports indicated that the Blackhawks were listening to interest in the 24-year-old centerman.

•   On TSN’s Insider Trading, Pierre LeBrun again mentioned that the Blackhawks could be shopping Strome early-on in the season.

•   LeBrun mentioned today that maybe the Ottawa Senators could be a potential trade partner with Chicago. We will see how things develop.

•   Another developing story for the Blackhawks and one that will continue well into the regular season are the multiple lawsuits against the club. On Tuesday, the team filed a motion to consolidate the two lawsuits into one. More from Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun-Times:

•   On the side of the plaintiffs, they are looking to depose former Blackhawks team physiologist James Gary, now that he is retired. Gary is a key figure to the case of the former Blackhawks players from the 2010 that came forward with allegations against former video coach Brad Aldrich.

•   Unfortunately, for whatever the reason, it appears Gary may be hard to get involved in the case at this point. Again, we will see how these things continue to develop.

•   In case you missed the latest Drew Barrymore Show, because I know I would never miss it… Seth Jones and Jonathan Toews were guests and competed against Ike Barinhotlz to see who knew more about the city of Chicago. The loser of the contest had to appear on a Drew Barrymore Show billboard in the city…

•   Jones and Toews lost. So if you see this around the city, you’ll know why.

•   Last night we saw the debut of the Seattle Kraken on the ice. The 32nd NHL franchise opened the season on the road against the 31 NHL franchise, taking on the Vegas Golden Knights. Because the game was in Vegas, of course the presentation was going to be over the top and epic. Plus, it was the re-debut of the NHL on ESPN, so you knew the Golden Knights would do it up.

•   “BUt WiLL hoCKeY SurViVE iN VegAs?”

•   Speaking of the re-debut of the NHL on ESPN, in case you missed it, here is the intro video to the broadcast last night. Have some tissues ready.

•   While the Golden Knights got off to a hot start, the Kraken were not going to just roll over in their debut game. Here’s some helpful hockey trivia for you that may earn you a free beer one day. Ryan Donato scored the very first goal in Seattle Kraken history:

•   Oh great…

•   The Kraken and Golden Nights put on a show in the opening night of the season, with Seattle battling back to tie the game in the third period 3-3. But it’s not a true NHL introduction until you are the victim of the “rules.”

•   Chandler Stephenson scored the eventual game-winner after the puck deflected off his skate. But the play would be contested that it was a kicking motion, which is not a way you can score a goal in hockey. Ultimately, the goal was upheld to make it 4-3 for Vegas.

•   Can we just allow kicks and headbutts for goals? Let’s have some fun!

•   Two things were evident last night: The Golden Knights are going to be a problem in the league this year, and the Kraken should be able to hang with them in the Pacific Division.

•   That will do it for today. Hope you all have a great Wednesday ahead of you!

•   See you tonight for Blackhawks and Avalanche on TNT! It’s a…9:00 p.m. CT puck drop? Oh no…

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Author: Mario Tirabassi

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