Fleury’s Hands, Prospect Check-In, All-Star Replacements, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Hope you all enjoyed the weekend. No Blackhawks hockey, but we were treated to yet another good weekend of football. Now, Chicago has two games leading into the NHL All-Star break, where they will have a full-week between games on February 2 and February 9, with only Alex DeBrincat in action between then with the Central Division All-Stars.

•   While DeBrincat is headed to the All-Star game, where he might participate in the breakaway challenge or the shooting accuracy event, it’s Marc-André Fleury who put on display that he’s not only skilled stopping pucks, he can handle them as well!

•   Stuff like this makes me wish the NHL shootout rules allowed for goalies to go against each other if there ever were to be a shootout that goes beyond the 18 skaters on the bench, like in soccer.

•   If this display of skill can do anything to better his trade value, I’m here for it.

•   Sorry for the sadness reminder…

•   Yesterday morning we found out that Claude Julien would not be headed to Beijing with Team Canada to be the head coach of the Men’s team after injuring himself in practice. Former Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton was promoted in his place. Now the leader of an Olympic team with no current NHL players, what’s in-store for the former wunderkind coach in Chicago?

•   Honestly, I kind of hope Canada wins Gold now. Just for the comedy of it.

•   Rude.

•   On Wednesday, the Blackhawks are holding their “Town Hall” Event to provide information and more details on the search for a permanent GM in Chicago and the direction and development of the organization following he fallout of the Kyle Beach sexual assault investigation. It will be the first time that Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz will be answering questions directly from the hockey media in nearly two years. The Athletic’s Scott Powers and Mark Lazerus have some burning questions  that need to be addressed Wednesday night.

•   The biggest question I have for the Rocky, Danny, and Jaime Faulkner in the GM search process is why do it now? Why do it seven weeks away from one of the seemingly biggest trade deadlines for the Blackhawks in recent years? At a time where the organization needs direction, why potentially make a change at the top this close to the deadline, potentially changing visions for the future from the guy who was put in place to steer the ship for the remainder of the season? (Michael: The easy answer is to have the new leader in place to make those big/tough decisions, but that’s a pretty surface level response. If that person comes from outside the organization, you’re putting them in an extremely difficult position to make decisions based on – probably – less information than they’d otherwise like to have. Moreover, the pool of available candidates midseason just *has* to be smaller than it would be in the offseason. I don’t think they’re rushing this move in terms of overall time spent, but I agree with Mario, in that it just feels weird to do it now).

•   Oh, and that whole sexual assault investigation, too.

•   Speaking of the future of the club, last night served as a big one for a number of Blackhawks prospects. In the WHL, Jalen Luypen scored his 16th goal of the season as part of Edmonton’s 6-0 win over Lethbridge. Luypen has 41 points in 40 games this season with the Oil Kings.

•   In the OHL, defenseman Ethan Del Mastro had a big night setting up goals, recording three assists in Mississauga’s 5-2 win over Niagara. Del Mastro has five goals and 30 points in 39 games this season, serving as Captain of the Steelheads.

•   On the college scene, Boston University got an upset win over 17th-ranked Providence with a 5-2 victory. In the win, Boston goaltender Drew Commesso stopped 36-of-38 shots for his 12th win of the season. He’s won six of his last seven starts since returning to BU from the World Junior Championships and has a .915 save-percentage with a 2.48 GAA this season.

•   Also happening in last night’s win for Boston was a goal from Wilmer Skoog directly off the drop of the puck on a faceoff…

•   Impressive.

•   A Happy 35th Birthday to former Blackhawks enforcer and 2013 Stanley Cup Champion Brandon Bollig!

•   The Montreal Canadiens are arguably the worst team in the NHL this season. They were also in the Stanley Cup Final last summer. One of the biggest reasons they have been in both of those positions is due to Carey Price. He’s been away from the team all season, but is working to come back to the club before the 2021-22 year is over. Eric Engels of Sportsnet has more on Price and his candid discussion on his future, his time away from hockey, and his work to get back on the ice this season.

•   The NHL, and clearly the Canadiens, are better with Price playing. Here’s to hoping both his physical and mental health are being taken care of and he’s able to return to playing hockey very soon.

•   We opened talking about the NHL All-Star game coming up this weekend. Unfortunately, a number of players who were voted in will not be making it to Vegas after all. Taking the place of Adam Fox in the Metropolitan Division will be Evgeny Kuznetsov.

•   Taking the place of Nathan MacKinnon in the Central Division will be Roman Josi.

•   With MacKinnon out, the Central Division needs a new All-Star Captain. That’s where Joe Pavelski comes in.

•   You love to see it for the former Wisconsin Badger!

•   With the All-Star weekend upon us, so is the end of the NHL Taxi Squad period.

•   Currently, the Blackhawks have no one left on their Taxi Squad.

•   Leaving you with this little factoid now that the Super Bowl matchup is set between the Rams and Bengals…

•   Eh, one more: Joe Burrow could become the first quarterback to win a National Championship, the Heisman Trophy, and a Super Bowl in their college and pro football career. He could do it all in a three-year span too. Wild.

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

•   We will see you later tonight for Blackhawks-Canucks at 6:30 p.m. CT.

written by

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

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