A WILD Waste of Time, Hartman's Revenge, DeBrincat Debate, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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A WILD Waste of Time, Hartman’s Revenge, DeBrincat Debate, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

Last night was a game that felt very familiar. It was an effort from the Blackhawks that felt like the team we saw start the season. One goal led to two goals led to three goals and quickly, they had no response and the game was out of reach. 30 seconds into the game, they draw a powerplay. Four minutes into the game, they are trailing 2-0. That’s what happens when you face a team that is going to be in the Stanley Cup playoffs and are not ready to play.

•   It also doesn’t help when some dummy jinxes Ryan Hartman into having a two-goal night…

•   It’s me. I’m the dummy.

•   Hartman is having a career-year for the Wild this season, and good for him. With his pair of goals last night, he is up to 18 this season, one behind his previous career-high of 19. He’s also up to 32 points, which surpassed his previous career-high of 31 points. Both his previous goals and points career-highs came with the Blackhawks in the 2016-17 season.

•   Hartman also did it last night while battling the tummy grumbles.

•   Hey, at least he had a good time in his return to Chicago to ruin the Blackhawks’ evening.

•   I get that everyone wants to slam Stan Bowman for his terrible roster management. Trust me, I’m with you. But let’s not act like this version of Ryan Hartman was what we were expecting him to be back five-six years ago. This isn’t even the version of Hartman Minnesota fans were expecting from him this season. He’s having a great year. Sometimes guys take a while, a long while, to find their stride and sometimes it is a flash in the pan season.

•   The Blackhawks might have out-shot the Wild last night, 36-30, but they were not in control for much of the game, if at all. When you come out flat against a good team, you play from behind.

•   This is not a Blackhawks team that is built to play from behind, even if they do it a lot.

•   Chicago’s -23 goal differential in the first period is tied for the worst in the NHL with the Arizona Coyotes. Their 45 goals allowed in the first period is tied for the second-most with the Seattle Kraken, just behind the Coyotes’ 48 goals allowed. Their 22 goals scored in the first period are the second-fewest in the NHL, just ahead of the New York Islanders’ 21. The Blackhawks also have a -7 goal differential in the second period and a -6 goal differential in the third period this season, not as bad, but still not indicative of a team that can play from behind.

•   Marc-André Fleury was pulled in the second period after allowing four goals on 13 shots. He was making his eighth-straight start for the Blackhawks.

•   Defensive breakdowns doomed the Blackhawks a number of times last night. But Kevin Lankinen showed up in relief of Fleury to make 16 saves on 17 shots faced in his first action since December 18.

•   Expect a roster move today to replace Riley Stillman after he left last night’s game with a shoulder injury.

•   After the game, King said that Stillman’s injury was an old “nagging” injury again. So we will see how long he’ll be affected.

•   Away from last night’s game, there was plenty of buzz surrounding the Blackhawks and what they may or may not do as the NHL Trade Deadline approaches. One of the biggest reports came from Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli, stating that Alex DeBrincat may not be one of Chicago’s “untouchable” players at the deadline. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was on NHL Network yesterday, and he said he believes the “untouchables” list for Chicago is longer than Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Seth Jones, and that DeBrincat would be on that list…

•   I’ve said it a few times, but it would be foolish to not have Alex DeBrincat as a part of the Blackhawks’ future plans. He’s a proven 40-goal scorer in the NHL and has scored at a 50-goal pace over the past two seasons. Doing so all at the age of 24. Guys like that are not a dime-a-dozen in the NHL. Unless you are getting an unholy trade package in return for DeBrincat (Multiple first-round picks and NHL-ready prospects) you don’t make that deal.

•   The Blackhawks honored Les Grobstein in the press box last night. A great gesture for the Chicago sports icon.

•   Another great gesture made by the Blackhawks last night was sharing the #TapeOutHate campaign from the Hockey Diversity Alliance, with a message from Patrick Kane in support of the work the group and HDA member Matt Dumba is doing to address racism in hockey.

•   More of this is necessary to share the work of the HDA and other groups like it to make hockey a better and more inclusive sport for players and fans alike.

•   Need proof? The AHL suspended Krystof Hrabik of the San Jose Barracuda 30 games for a racist gesture aimed towards Boko Imama of the Tucson RoadRunners earlier this month.

•   Hrabik released a statement and says he will be going through the NHL’s education and training protocols on racism and inclusion, headed by Anson Carter, Kim Davis, and the NHL Player Inclusion Committee.

•   But that’s not really good enough at this point. This is the SECOND time in the last two years that Boko Imama was the target of racial abuse on the ice. You might remember that former Blackhawks defenseman Brandon Manning was suspended five games for using a racial slur in a game towards Imama, but paid a little more than the five games for it.

•   But suspensions and being able to pummel the guy who calls him a slur isn’t OK for Imama, and it’s not OK for hockey. It happens all too often at all levels of hockey and it is keeping talented kids away from the game because they are being targeted.

•   I suggest reading Greg Wyshynski’s feature for ESPN on NHL All-Star Nazem Kadri, in which he talks about his involvement in the HDA and his experiences throughout his career dealing with racism, from youth to the NHL, to get a sense of what most BIPOC players have to go through and unjustly overcome just to be involved in hockey.

•   Sad news in the hockey world last night as New York Islanders legend Clark Gillies passed away.

•   Gillies was a member of the dynasty Islanders in the early-80’s, winning four Stanley Cups with New York and playing in 958 games in his career.

•   It appears the Buffalo Sabres will be bringing back the Black-and-Red version of their sweaters from the late-90’s and early-2000’s as an alternate sweater.

•   Solid choice by the Sabres.

•   Can we confirm that “Ryan Poles” is not just Ryan Pace wearing a Nick Foles jersey?

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

•   We will see you later tonight for Blackhawks-Wild, part two, at 8:00 p.m. CT.



Author: Mario Tirabassi

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