No Games Until the New Year, Coming Out of the Break, Lawsuit Update, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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No Games Until the New Year, Coming Out of the Break, Lawsuit Update, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

The Blackhawks were supposed to get back to playing games tonight when they would’ve played hosts to the Columbus Blue Jackets. But the NHL postponed that game, leaving three games on the NHL schedule for tonight.

•   At least, that’s the plan.

•   After tonight’s game was postponed, the NHL also postponed the final game of the 2021 calendar for the Blackhawks yesterday afternoon.

•   This means the Blackhawks will not be playing until 2022, when they face the Nashville Predators in Nashville on New Year’s Day. One of eight games scheduled for the NHL alongside the Winter Classic in Minnesota between the Wild and Blues. Which is dumb, if you ask me.

•   In the calendar year of 2021, the Blackhawks played 86 games with a 35-40-11 record. They finish 22nd in the NHL in points-percentage for the 2021 calendar year.

•   Also closing in the 2021 calendar year are the lawsuits against the Blackhawks stemming from the sexual assault cases against former video coach Brad Aldrich. After reaching a settlement with Kyle Beach earlier this month, the case involving “John Doe 2,” the Michigan high school student who was assaulted by Aldrich in 2013, was dismissed in the past week.

•   There was no clarity if the case had reached a settlement, but according to TSN’s Rick Westhead, the indications from the lawyers for “John Doe 2” were that a settlement had been reached.

•   Even with games not happening for the Blackhawks, they are still on the ice for practices, preparing to hit the ground running beginning on New Year’s Day. After the Christmas Holiday break, it was probably good for them to get their legs back under them before hitting the ice for a game.

•   Hopefully with the extended break and getting to put in a little extra work before playing a game that matters, the Blackhawks can avoid having an underwhelming resumption of games.

•   One thing that has been the focal-point of conversation surrounding the Blackhawks this season has been their ability to win faceoffs. Jonathan Toews, as you would expect, is leading the team in win-percentage (59.5%) and total faceoffs taken (592). But what is surprising is that the rest of the team, as a whole, are winning just 42.5% of their draws. The worst of them, of regular faceoff-takers, is Kirby Dach. Winning just 32.7% of his draws this year.

•   Dach was supposed to come into the Blackhawks organization and become the next do-it-all centerman for Chicago once Jonathan Toews was no longer able to be that player. After 112 NHL games, mostly as a center, I think Dach is a winger. Yes, he’s still learning the game at 20-years-old, but as the sample size grows and the development of the skill remains stagnant, the writing on the wall gets bigger.

•   A few center men prospects the Blackhawks have drafted since Dach in 2019 are doing pretty well for themselves this week. Ilya Safonov recorded a hat-trick in the KHL yesterday for Ak Bars Kazan.

•   Safonov’s hatty was his first as a professional. He became the youngest in team history to record a hat-trick and he did it with just three shots on goal in the game. Make ’em count, eh?

•   Jalen Luypen, the top center for the Edmonton Oil Kings in the WHL and a 2021 seventh-round pick for Chicago, also got in on the mutli-goal action last night.

•.  Luypen has 14 goals and 35 points in 31 games this season. His 1.13 points per game marker is the highest among Blackhawks prospects in the system who are not playing professionally in North America.

•   He has 95 points in 165 career WHL games, with 64 points coming in his last 54 games over the last two seasons. Looking like a steal for Chicago.

•   The center prospect everyone is looking forward to is Lukas Reichel. With good reason, too. Reichel is leading the Rockford IceHogs in goals and points as a rookie this season in the AHL, and it feels like a matter of time, given the new roster measures put in place by the NHL, that Reichel will eventually be playing in the NHL this season. He was supposed to be available for Team Germany at the World Junior Championships this year after missing the last tournament due to COVID protocols, but did not decide to play for the Germans for this year’s tournament. But who needs him right?

•   It’s been interesting to watch the ascension of Germany as a hockey nation. With Leon Draisaitl as one of the best players in the world, the growth of the game has led to prospects like Reichel, Tim Stützle, and Moritz Seider looking to be the next crop of stars in the league.

•   Remember when the Blackhawks were in the market for Jesper Wallstedt? That might have been a good idea to follow through with…

•   I mean, Drew Commesso is nice, but how often does a generational talent in net like Wallstedt fall to the latter half of the first round of a draft? Not often. Speaking of Commesso, Team USA plays their second game of the World Junior Championships today at 3:30 p.m. CT against Switzerland. Commesso will be in net, with Chicago prospects Landon Slaggert and Wyatt Kaiser also in the lineup.

•   Speaking of USA Hockey, the organization has requested that the IIHF reschedule the currently canceled U18 Women’s World Championships tournament.

•   The IIHF made the decision to cancel all January tournaments, including the U18 Women’s World Championships. This is the second year in-a-row in which that tournament was canceled, but the U18 Men’s World Championships and the Men’s World Junior Championships were both held in the same time frame. It’s not fair to the Women’s players for their development and for the exposure of their game on the biggest stages.

•   If the IIHF can move the U18 Men’s tournament from Michigan to Texas last year, they can certainly find a way to move the U18 Women’s tournament in a similar manner. It’s only right.

•  The Bulls are very good.

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

Author: Mario Tirabassi

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