Hockey Night In Canada, Gary Bettman Speaks, So Does John Tortorella, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Hockey Night In Canada, Gary Bettman Speaks, So Does John Tortorella, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

Yesterday was a heckuva day for the dinosaurs of the NHL. From Gary Bettman, to John Tortorella, to Mike Milbury, everyone’s favorite curmudgeons came out to say something dumb all within a 24-hour span. It was like the holiday dunner table and your uncles all came together to crack jokes about “Face Space” and “YouToos.”

•   For Tortorella, it was his very predictable reaction to the Trevor Zegras-Sonny Milano alley-oop goal that pretty much crossed him off the list for any team looking for a head coach that can coach in the modern game. Including the Blackhawks.

•   Yeah, keep that dude away from Chicago, please.

•   For Milbury, who actually has a podcast, it was his salty take on his former player Derek King’s job in Chicago that reminded us that the NHL is better with less Mike Milbury in it.

•   Honestly, I’m just impressed Milbury knows what a podcast is.

•   And for NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, it was his opportunity to speak on a number of topics at the league Board of Governors meetings that allowed him to crack his ol’ grandpa jokes and revel in the fact that pretty much everyone besides the team owners want him out of his job.

•   What was refreshing was seeing Marc-André Fleury’s agent, Allan Walsh, speak out on Twitter in real-time to Bettman’s comments.

•   Walsh, who is no stranger to speaking his mind about the league and the players he represents, dropped this little nugget regarding the NHL media and the handling of the sexual assault lawsuits against the Blackhawks brought on the team by Kyle Beach and “John Doe 2.” I think we can all have an educated guess as to who the league might be trying to bar from having media access…

•   This, if true, is an incredibly concerning situation for the league and those that cover the sport. Hockey has had a lot of skeletons in its closet come to light in recent years and most of it wouldn’t have happened without hard-hitting, tireless work from journalists like Rick Westhead and Katie Strang, among many others. The most recent scandal regarding the Blackhawks and the sexual assault allegations against former video coach Brad Aldrich came back in the face of the NHL when it was revealed that the league had been made aware of the situation in 2010, and like the Blackhawks, did nothing about it. Hockey fans have only known Gary Bettman as NHL Commissioner of the league for nearly 30 years. He’ll turn 70-years-old in June. If ever there should be a time to change the voice at the top of the league, I think it would be now.

•   Here’s a goal I hope all the olds hate.

•   Elias Pettersson pulls off the “Forsberg” in a shootout win for the Vancouver Canucks. Vancouver, by the way, undefeated since making major changes in the organization and hiring Bruce Boudreau as their new head coach.

•   Those coaching changes, I tell you, they make a difference. Would be interesting to know what the Blackhawks could be right now had they made the change after four or five games instead of 12.

•   Speaking of the Blackhawks, this is a Blackhawks site after all, they are in Toronto tonight to take on the Maple Leafs for Hockey Night in Canada. The marquee Saturday night matchup north of the border will see Chicago, 9-5-0 under interim head coach Derek King, take on the Maple Leafs, a team that is two points back of the top spot in the NHL overall. For King, playing in the Hockey Night in Canada game has been a success in the past, even if his kids don’t respect it.

•   After getting a shutout win for his 500th in his career, Marc-André Fleury gets the night off and Kevin Lankinen gets the start tonight for the second of back-to-back Original Six matchups for the Blackhawks.

•   Fleury will have his 500th win honored on Monday night when the Blackhawks return to Chicago to face the Calgary Flames.

•   There will be a change, not only in net, but in the forward lines for the Blackhawks tonight. After scoring the insurance goal in Thursday night’s game, Henrik Borgström comes out of the lineup with a non-COVID illness and Dylan Strome, surprise surprise, comes into the lineup.

•   Joining the Blackhawks today at morning skate was newest forward Kurtis Gabriel, who Chicago just acquired from the Maple Leafs.

•   Gabriel will not be in the lineup tonight for the Blackhawks and I have a sense that unless he gets in and does something amazing, or provides something the Blackhawks are desperately missing (which would be goal-scoring) I doubt he will stick long in the NHL lineup. He’s been a career-AHL player outside of 49 NHL games over his eight-year professional career.

•   Doesn’t mean it can’t happen, but I wouldn’t put too much stock in Gabriel making the NHL lineup that much better, if at all.

•   You want holiday style? Frölunda HC coaches have your holiday style…

•   You know who probably hates this? John Tortorella.

•   Hey! NHL All-Star voting is open as of today, so be sure to stuff the ballot box for Patrick Kane, Alex DeBrincat, Seth Jones, and John Scott, I mean Marc-André Fleury.

•   Voting is open through January 8.

•   That will do it for today. Hope you can enjoy your Saturday and we will see you tonight for Blackhawks-Maple Leafs at 6:00 p.m. CT!

Author: Mario Tirabassi

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