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DeBrincat Reaching 50? Reichel on His Way Up, Kodak Moment, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

Last night had the recipe to be a disastrous game for the Blackhawks. They were down two of their top three defensemen and were playing their third game in-a-row on the road. With Seth Jones and Jake McCabe out of the lineup, there was over 46 minutes of hockey to be accounted for in the defensive rotation. Fortunately for Chicago, they had a rookie who was up for the task and the rest of the blue-line group pitched-in offensively.

•   Prior to last night’s game in Columbus, which was supposed to be Seth Jones’ return to face the team that traded him to Chicago, both Jones and McCabe landed in COVID protocol.

•   Jakub Galvas and Caleb Jones shuffled into the lineup for Chicago in their places.

•   With a defensive group that was very-much a patchwork group, the Blackhawks needed to generate as much offense as they could to provide support. Enter Alex DeBrincat:

•   Tying the game in the first period, DeBrincat tallied his 22nd goal of the season and gave him some separation in a group of elite goal-scorers in the NHL.

•   Later in the game, DeBrincat would add an empty-netter for his 23rd goal of the season in 36 games. He is on pace for 52 goals this season, which would be a career-high. His previous high-water mark for goals in a season is 41 from the 2018-19 season.

•   Last year, tallying 32 goals in 52 games during the abbreviated 2020-21 season, DeBrincat was scoring at again a 50-goal pace. Will he be able to reach the 50-goal mark this season and become the first Blackhawks player to do so since Jeremy Roenick scored 50 in 1992-93? I say yes. Why not?

•   Helping DeBrincat and the Blackhawks offensively last night was an unusual suspect as Calvin de Haan was able to jump into the rush in the second period and break the 1-1 tie with his first goal of the season.

•   He’s not a goal-scorer whatsoever, since it was nearly a year between tallies for de Haan.

•   And it’s good he made this one count, since history tells us he won’t score again this season…

•   That’s uniquely impressive.

•   Defenseman Connor Murphy also tallied a goal last night to help the Blackhawks top the Blue Jackets 4-2 for their second win in-a-row after losing their previous six-straight games.

•   Made more days off does really work?

•   Rookie defenseman Jakub Galvas made his NHL debut for the Blackhawks last night and nearly led the team in ice-time. He played 23:41 minutes, second on the team behind Connor Murphy, who played 23:45. Galvas was on the top powerplay unit for Chicago last night, recording 6:53 minutes of powerplay time. It was the most time a Blackhawks player has played in his team debut since Duncan Keith logged 24:18 in his debut in 2005.

•   According to Natural StatTrick, the Blackhawks had a 1.1 expected goals-for marker and a 57.5% Corsi-for advantage with Galvas on the ice tonight, the highest for all Chicago defensemen.

•   Prior to last night, Galvas had one goal and five assists  in 20 AHL games as a rookie for the IceHogs this season. But Galvas is no ordinary “rookie.” Over the past five seasons before coming to North America this year, Galvas has played professionally in the Czech Extraliga and the Finnish Liiga, playing in 208 games between three seasons with HC Olomouc and and two with Jukurit.

•   Galvas may not have been one of the top young players in the Blackhawks system to begin the year, but he has quickly become one to watch and might just stay around in Chicago for a while.

•   The top two young players in the organization, and by young I mean 23-years-old or younger, Kirby Dach and Lukas Reichel check in on Corey Pronman’s latest rankings for The Athletic…

•   You’ll also notice a pair of former Blackhawks checking in on this list as well as you scroll through.

•   Speaking of Lukas Reichel, it appears he is headed to the NHL roster soon.

•   Reichel was the 2020 first-round pick by the Blackhawks at 17th-overall. He had played two professional seasons in Germany prior to making the jump to North America this season. As a rookie in the AHL with the Rockford IceHogs, Reichel leads the team in goals (11) and points (20) in 20 games played.

•   There is value in him playing in the AHL and continuing to develop, especially given that the Blackhawks are not contenders this season. But if the Blackhawks believe that the season is not lost, that they can still make a run into the playoff chase, then they are going to do what they need to get there. Reichel generates offense and the Blackhawks need players that can do that.

•   Not having any trouble generating offense this season is Cale Makar…

•   Almost like it’s unfair.

•   If you missed this last night, Hip-Hop superstar Kodak Black was at the Florida Panthers game and had himself a night…

•   The video that originally circulated was…pretty suspicious of what was actually happening in that suite.

•   As it turns out, it was not as bad as it may have seemed at first. Imagine Gary Bettman having to address this situation!

•   The jokes write themselves, folks.

•   Providing plenty of Kodak Moments in his career, extending a Happy Blackhawks Birthday to the legend and Hockey Hall of Famer Marian Hossa!

•  Obviously not all of these highlights come with Hossa in a Blackhawks sweater, but at the end of the day, his three Stanley Cups did.

•   At 43, I bet Hossa could still play on this Blackhawks roster and be a key contributor.

•   We now know the Women who will be representing Team Canada at the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics and what an awesome way to announce your team!

•   USA and Canada will once again be the main attraction at this year’s Winter Olympics on the Women’s side.

•   In Bears news, the hunt for a new GM and new coach just seems to continually grow by the hour…

•   My two cents: Give me Brian Flores in Chicago.

•   In Cubs news today, World Series winner Jon Lester has announced his retirement.

•   Lester and Hossa, interchangeable as maybe the best free agent signings in Chicago sports history.

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



Author: Mario Tirabassi

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