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Three In-A-Row, More Lawsuit Updates, Hossa and Wilson at the HHOF, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

With a 2-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes last night, the Blackhawks now find themselves on an official winning streak if you go by the standards set by Cleveland Manager Lou Brown in “Major League.”

Three wins in-a-row now for Chicago put them at 10 points in the standings. They are tied with the Dallas Stars, who have yet to win a game in regulation. They are one point behind the Colorado Avalanche, a team many picked to be Stanley Cup favorites this year. They are now ahead of four clubs including the Kraken, Canadiens, Senators, and Coyotes. Things are starting to look up for the Blackhawks under interim head coach Derek King, who is off to as best a start as an interim head coach has had in Chicago since Denis Savard took over for Trent Yawney in the 2006-07 season and won his first three games.

•   But before we lose ourselves too much into the good on the ice, we have to address the still ongoing litigation off the ice between the club and the representatives of Kyle Beach and John Doe 2. Yesterday, Susan Loggans, the attorney for both Beach and JD2, filed another motion to proceed with discovery in the lawsuit against the Blackhawks.

•   Loggans and the Blackhawks legal team team have begun settlement talks, but things have been rough from the start between the two sides. Yesterday afternoon, Loggans was on 670 The Score to discuss the current state of the legal process.

•   Loggans has analyzed that Beach lost anywhere between $60-100M in potential earnings in his NHL career because of what he went through with the Blackhawks and former video coach Brad Aldrich. While we don’t know exactly where the settlement talks have started, you can imagine why the Blackhawks would be less-than enthused to jump onto a $100M payout, even if doing the human thing would be to provide Beach and JD2, everything they deserve in the fallout.

•   Chicago has long ago punted on winning in the court of public opinion, even after the dismissal of Stan Bowman and Al MacIsaac, but after saying the right things from Rocky and Danny Wirtz, the ugliness of the legal process continues to out-weigh the “good” done so far.

•   Now to the game.

•   The Blackhawks and Coyotes, two of the bottom-feeders in the NHL to start this season, played last night in a non-televised  game, only available through ESPN+ and Hulu. While there were many complaints about the broadcast quality, the on-ice product was…well just about the same to start. After a scoreless first period, Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat hooked up for the game’s opening goal, reminding us all that the Blackhawks will go as far as this duo can carry them.

•   Kane’s setup is arguably the best assist we’ve seen all season. DeBrincat’s star power in the NHL continues to grow with his team-leading eight goal of the season.

•   Kane and DeBrincat rank first and third on the team in scoring this season and both have tallied at least one point over the three-game win-streak for Chicago.

•   Last season, Kane and DeBrincat carried the Blackhawks offensively with spotty help from Dominik Kubalík and rookies Pius Suter and Brandon Hagel. This season, Seth Jones has joined the fray and is second on the team in points with 13 in 15 games, while Jonathan Toews, Kubalík, and Hagel are all producing around a half-point per game pace to begin the season. If a player like Kirby Dach can find his groove this season to join the other six mentioned, Chicago could have a well-balanced attack to help off-set their historic defensive struggles.

•   Speaking of having a well-balanced attack, Dylan Strome has seen his ice-time increase under Derek King and due to a minor injury to Kirby Dach in the third period last night, Strome was able to get a powerplay opportunity and made the most of it.

•   Strome’s first of the season proved to be the game-winner in Chicago’s 2-1 win over the Coyotes last night. It also served as a confidence booster to Strome, who had been in and out of the lineup under Jeremy Colliton and under utilized in the lineup, most played alongside more grinder-type players and not exactly the most skilled.

•   Strome drew the penalty that earned that powerplay as well. Good to see him get that first one on the board this season.

•   Also helping the Blackhawks’ cause last night as another solid performance from Marc-André Fleury in net. After making 42 saves on Tuesday night against the Penguins, Fleury was called upon much less often against the Coyotes, but met the task nonetheless. Making 22 saves on 23 shots faced, he earned his third win of the season and is now five away from the 500-win mark.

•   Fleury and Kevin Lankinen have made 84 of 88 saves during Chicago’s three-game win-streak.

•   Even if the Coyotes, Penguins, and Predators are not a murders-row of opponents, the Blackhawks are not in the position to pick and choose which wins they get mean what, they just need to get wins anyway they can.

•   I felt like last night was going to be the night that Jonathan Toews broke his goalless streak to begin the season. Alas, he is still without a tally through the first 15 games of the season. He’s doing everything else around the game right, just has not scored a goal. It’s clearly getting to him.

•   Wednesday provides another opportunity for Toews to get on the board as the Blackhawks begin a four-game road trip starting in Seattle for their first-ever game against the Kraken.

•   It was only a matter of time…

•   In AHL news, the Rockford IceHogs did not have a good time last night.

•   Losing 4-1 to the rival Chicago Wolves, the IceHogs continue to give up the most shots per game in the AHL and are putting the least per game on net themselves. It’s not a winning recipe. They fall to 3-6-1 on the year.

•   Former Blackhawks Marian Hossa and Doug Wilson are part of the Hockey Hall of Fame class of 2020, but have yet to be inducted formally because of COVID complications. On Friday, the two received their Hockey Hall of Fame rings and are set to be inducted into the Hall, officially, on Monday.

•   Hossa has been away from the game and the Blackhawks since the club was swept out of the playoffs in 2017. Since then, Chicago has not seen the same kind of success on the ice. It’s no coincidence, if you ask me and Patrick Kane.

•   It’s becoming more surreal seeing players I watched growing up, not only retiring but now heading to the Hall of Fame.

•   Speaking of Hall of Famers, Alex Ovechkin scored his 742nd goal last night, surpassing Brett Hull for fourth all-time!

•   If Ovechkin can stay healthy and continues on this pace for this season, he’ll surpass Jaromir Jagr for sure. Next season would then likely see Ovechkin surpass Gordie Howe’s 801 goals.

•   Wayne Gretzky himself said that seeing Oevhkin break his record would be amazing for the game of Hockey, and I agree. For so long, Gretzky’s records were though to be untouchable. Now, Ovechkin is on pace to finish his career as the greatest goal-scorer of all-time.

•   Good news from Jack Eichel, it appears his disc replacement surgery was a success.

•   Eichel, now with the Vegas Golden Knights, is still on a three-to-five month recovery. Which means the earliest he could likely return to hockey would be around the All-Star/Olympic break, or the beginning of the postseason.

•   That will do it for today. Hope you all enjoy you Saturday!



Author: Mario Tirabassi

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