Better Than You, Goal-Deficient, Captain America, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Better Than You, Goal-Deficient, Captain America, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

You knew last night was going to be a difficult game to watch between the Blackhawks and Avalanche. But to Chicago’s credit, the first 20 minutes looked like a promising night was in-store for the underdog Blackhawks. That was, at least, until the next 20 minutes of hockey, when the Avalanche shifted into a gear the Blackhawks don’t have and the game was eventually put out of reach. Some night, you just get beat by a better team. Last night was one of those nights for Chicago.

•   Remember when the Blackhawks used to do that to other teams?

•   Speed, skill, bit of physical play, rolling four lines, it’s a winning recipe that right now, Chicago can’t replicate.

•   They tried to go blow-for-blow with the Avalanche last night, but a few missed opportunities to score, untimely penalties, and a defensive breakdown and that’s all she wrote. A performance like the Blackhawks gave last night, against half of the league, would have likely turned in favor of Chicago. But there’s a reason why the Avalanche are not in that half of the NHL.

•   Win or lose, we still get pizza.

•   I miss that about little league.

•   Last night was the third time this season that the Blackhawks have been shut-out. It’s the tenth time this season that they have scored one or no goals in a game. Forget needing to get supplemental scoring, the Blackhawks cannot even get primary scoring this season.

•   While Chicago has committed to and had some success playing a more low-event, defensively-sound game, you can’t expect to win a lot of the time when you are averaging just 2.29 goals per game. Imagine where Chicago would be without the play of Marc-André Fleury this season? We’d be talking about Shane Wright a LOT more.

•   Under Derek King, the “new” style of play has worked to some extent for Chicago. Being 14-11-5 sounds like a better trajectory of play than 1-9-2. The Blackhawks have given King the leash to play-out the rest t of the season as interim head coach, but has he done enough to remove the interim tag and stay in his position beyond this year? The Athletic’s Mark Lazerus has more on that question…

•   With their head coaching and GM search “ongoing,” Chicago is not showing the sense of urgency to get people in place that other teams who have fired their coaches/GMs have this season. Leaving the options for both positions a little sparse. Maybe King and interim GM Kyle Davidson just stay in their roles for another season?

•   One position the Blackhawks are going to fill is a President of Hockey Operations. It’s anyone’s guess which direction they go, especially since there is a sense they will go “outside of the box” with the hire. I’m going to beat this drum until the day they hire someone for the position, but I want Kevin Weekes in that role. Weekes spoke on the recent racial issues that have come up in the hockey world yesterday on NHL Network…

•   Obviously his credentials go beyond being able to speak on the racial issues within the game. But for a Chicago team looking to hire from outside of the organization, Weekes’ perspective on the game and the direction the sport is going would be critical to putting the Blackhawks on a new path forward after the way the “One Goal” era of the team came to an end.

•   Speaking of GM and coaching searches…

•   Not a very inspiring list to say the least.

•   But back in the NHL, a historic hire from the Vancouver Canucks as they made Émilie Castonguay the first-ever female Assistant General Manager in the team’s history.

•   Crazy that it has taken this long with so many talented women around the game of hockey, but that’s hockey for you. Congratulations to Castonguay, who adds her new front office role to her extensive résumé which already included a successful NCAA career and being the first female player-agent certified by the NHLPA, representing the likes of Canadian Women’s star Marie-Philip Poulin and 2020 NHL Draft first-overall pick Alexis Lafrenière.

•   Speaking of the stars of the Women’s hockey world, awesome news yesterday as Kendall Coyne-Schofield was named Captain of the U.S. Women’s Olympic Hockey team headed to Beijing!

•   This is the first time that Coyne-Schofield will be Captain of Team USA at the Olympics and the third time in her playing career that she will have worn the “C” for the U.S. She and the rest of Team USA begin their defense of the 2018 Gold Medal on February 3 in their first Olympic game against Finland.

•   And speaking of Kendall Coyne-Schofield, three years ago today at the NHL All-Star game, she made history…

•   Crazy that this was already three years ago. Now, the Palos Heights-native is a development coach in the NHL with the Blackhawks and is headed to her third Olympics in her career.

•   Now on the Men’s side of the Olympic Hockey tournament, Team Canada has named their roster officially.

•   Former Indy Fuel and Rockford IceHogs goaltender Matt Tomkins will be with Team Canada headed to Beijing.

•   Last night, NHL history was matched as Keith Yandle skated in his 964th-straight game, tying the “Ironman” record set by Doug Jarvis.

•   Unfortunately for Yandle and the Flyers, they dropped a 3-1 game to the Stars, their 12th-straight loss (0-9-3). Yandle can set the record with his 965th game played tonight when the Flyers take on the New York Islanders.

•   Someone who knows a lot about playing a ton of NHL games is former Blackhawks Captain and Hockey Hall of Famer Chris Chelios. A veteran of 1,651 regular season and 266 postseason games, Chelios is turning 60 today!

•   Hopefully his birthday toast goes a bit better than this one did on New Year’s Eve.

•   Ending today with an awesome story of Quinton Byfield and his biggest fan, Quinton Byfield…

•   You love to see it.

•  Our friends at Obvious Shirts have some new gear for Chicago-native, Illini-Alum, and Chicago Bull rookie AYO DOSUNMU!

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



Author: Mario Tirabassi

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