Monday Matinée, Prospect System Rankings, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Monday Matinée, Prospect System Rankings, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

There’s really no good way to introduce today’s Blackhawks Bullets.

•   The Chicago sports world lost an absolute legend today as long-time sportscaster Les Grobstein has passed away.

•   I didn’t know Les personally, but going through social media today, you can see all of the people he influenced in the sports media business and outside of it as fans. For over 50(!) years, Grobstein was embedded in Chicago sports and there may never be another like him. If you want to help his family with covering costs for his funeral, there is a GoFundMe where you can donate if you wish.

•   Today is also Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a day to memorialize the life, work, and impact that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had on the U.S. and global Civil Rights movement. Still to this day, King’s work and words ring true in the fight for equality and justice, and there is still much more work to be done for his dream to be true across America and the world. In the hockey world, the fight against racism in the game and truly making the sport equal opportunity for all walks of life to play and enjoy it continues. In honor of today, here’s Scott Burnside of Daily Faceoff, talking about The Carnegie Initiative, an organization working to make hockey inclusive and welcoming to all, named after the late Herb Carnegie.

•   The Carnegie Initiative Summit is being held in Boston today and tomorrow, where fellow Black Hockey pioneer Willie O’Ree will have his number retired by the Bruins.

•   And in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the NHL is giving us a number of afternoon hockey games that will spill into the primetime evening slots too. Included in today’s afternoon matchups is a 4:00 p.m. CT/2:00 p.m. PT puck drop between the Seattle Kraken and Chicago Blackhawks, in Seattle.

•   Aside from the Blackhawks-Kraken game, another showcase of bottom-feeder NHL teams happens this afternoon as the Montreal Canadiens and Arizona Coyotes, last and second-to-last in the NHL, face each other in the “Shane Wright Lottery” game.

•   Chicago has won four-straight heading into today’s contest, doing so mostly while Seth Jones, Jake McCabe, Kirby Dach, and Dylan Strome have been away on COVID protocol. Yesterday, some good news for the Blackhawks as McCabe comes out of protocol as part of a number of roster moves made by the club.

•   Getting McCabe back will make a difference in the defensive rotation for the Blackhawks. Also in the moves made yesterday was Chicago sending Lukas Reichel back to the Rockford IceHogs in the AHL. He made his NHL debut and nearly scored his first NHL goal in his first two-game stint with the Blackhawks.

•   Reichel is head-and-shoulders above the rest of the current Blackhawks prospect system, which has been ranked 25th in the NHL this season by The Athletic’s Scott Wheeler in his annual prospect system rankings.

•   19 prospects worth mentioning for Wheeler in the Blackhawks’ system, you can find our deep-dive on the Blackhawks system here, with more than 19 mentioned.

•   One prospect not named by Wheeler is Russian forward Artur Kayumov, currently playing in the KHL with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. He has been invited to the pre-Olympic camp for the Russian Men’s Olympic Hockey team.

•   Kayumov, 23, has 19 points in 42 games this season in the KHL.

•   Some of the prospects mentioned in Wheeler’s rankings, including Reichel, are in action this afternoon in the AHL as the Rockford IceHogs host the Chicago Wolves for a 1:00 p.m. CT puck drop!

•   The IceHogs are currently in a Calder Cup Playoff spot in the Central Division based on point-percentage, holding a 14-12-2 record. The Wolves are leading the Central Division with a 23-6-3 record, but head-to-head this season, Rockford holds a 4-1-1 record over their in-state rivals.

•   Continuing down the prospect system ladder, tonight is the ECHL All-Star game! The Blackhawks organization will be represented by Indy Fuel defenseman Mike Lee, as he and the rest of the ECHL All-Star team will compete in skills events and a game against the ECHL All-Star game hosts, the Jacksonville Icemen. Also competing at tonight’s ECHL All-Star event are four Women’s hockey stars as Jillian Dempsey, Allie Thunstrom, Sophia Shaver, and Loren Gabel join the festivities.

•   Pretty significant for the women’s game to have representative players from the top two women’s leagues (PWHPA and the PHF) competing together.

•   Today is also a significant day for many reasons in Blackhawks history. First, in 1962, Chicago goaltender Glenn Hall made his 500th(!!) consecutive start in net.

•   No goalie will ever start 500 consecutive games ever again. That’s for certain.

•   Eight years after Hall made his historic 500th start, Blackhawks legend Jeremy Roenick was born!

•   Roenick played 524 of his 1,363 career NHL games and scored 596 of his 1,216 career points while with the Blackhawks from 1988-1996. He also played in 82 of his 154 career playoff games while with Chicago. Although he never won an individual award or a Stanley Cup, Roenick was a nine-time NHL All-Star and one of just 20 NHL players to reach 1,300 games played with 500 goals and 1,200 points scored. 18 of those 20 players are in the Hockey Hall of Fame, the only two that are not are Roenick and Jaromir Jagr, who is still active. Put Roenick (and Steve Larmer while we are at it) in the Hockey Hall of Fame already.

•   Another Blackhawks birthday today as legendary emergency goalie Scott Foster turns the big 4-0!

•   The sweater number 90 has been worn by two Blackhawks players in history: Scott Foster and Tyler Johnson. Which one will have it retired?

•   Also happening on this day in Blackhawks history, a shootout for the ages.

•   The goal scored by Pavel Datsyuk is the highlight, but the all important ‘W’ went to the Blackhawks.

•  The Bulls are adding Malcolm Hill and cutting ties with Devon Dotson.

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

•   We will se you later this afternoon for Blackhawks-Kraken at 4:00 p.m. CT!

Author: Mario Tirabassi

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