Oil Spill, Drew! Changes North of the Border, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Oil Spill, Drew! Changes North of the Border, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

After a week off, and having to pay attention to so many things outside of the Blackhawks’ on-ice product, it was a nice change of pace to actually watch a hockey game last night. And the Blackhawks didn’t disappoint in their first game back from the NHL All-Star break, topping the Edmonton Oilers 4-1 and getting Oilers coach Dave Tippett fired in the process.

•   Fresh off his “Hangover” experience at the NHL All-Star weekend in Las Vegas, Alex DeBrincat wasted no time getting himself and the Blackhawks on the board last night.

•   DeBrincat’s 27th goal of the year has him on a 47-goal pace for the season. He would add an assist minutes later, on the 2-0 goal from Brandon Hagel (Hagel’s 13th of the season and DeBrincat’s 12th assist of the season).

•   It would be a shaky second period for the Blackhawks getting out-shot 20-6, but Marc-André Fleury was up to the task and kept the Chicago lead safe at 2-1 heading into the second intermission. In the third period, Dylan Strome would tally his eighth goal of the season and Kirby Dach would add his seventh to make it a 4-1 game and that would be all the cushion that the Blackhawks would need.

•   Chicago had just one win in their previous eight games leading into the NHL All-Star break, so it was refreshing to see the return to action start on the right foot.

•   On the other side, the Oilers dropped to 5-7-3 since December 29 with the loss last night. It was their second loss in back-to-back nights having allowed four goals. It was enough to get head coach Dave Tippett fired this morning.

•   Edmonton’s AHL affiliate head coach Jay Woodcroft will take over the team.

•   The Oilers were once thought to be Stanley Cup contenders this season. Why wouldn’t they be with Connor McDavid and Leon Draistail? But as we have seen time and time again in Edmonton, McDavid and Draistail alone cannot drag the team into the postseason. Now sitting in fifth in the Pacific Division and five points back of Calgary for the Western Conference second wildcard spot, if the Oilers are going to get into the postseason, they must address their defense and goaltending and Marc-André Fleury is likely not going to want to head to Edmonton either.

•   Also making changes yesterday were the Montreal Canadiens with the firing of head coach Dominique Ducharme.

•   And in a surprise twist, with no previous coaching experience, Hockey Hall of Famer Martin St. Louis was named the interim head coach in Montreal.

•   This should be very, very fun to watch from a distance in Montreal.

•   More coaching news yesterday, St. Louis (the city) extended their head coach Craig Berube three-years through the 2024-25 season.

•   Well deserved for Berube, who is 133-71-30 behind the bench in St. Louis and led the Blues to their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

•   Ok, back to the Blackhawks. Last night was not only important for the action on the ice, it was important for what we saw on the broadcast before the game and during the intermissions. Blackhawks CEO Danny Wirtz had a sit-down interview with NBC Sports Chicago’s David Kaplan to discuss everything that had happened over the past week since the Town Hall event. First things first, Danny addressed his Dad Rocky’s outbursts at the event:

•   He also was able to answer the topic of the question that was originally asked to him, that set-off Rocky at the Town Hall event:

•   Wirtz was also able to address the current GM search and what the organization is looking for in their re-vamped vision for the GM role:

•   You can find the full interview with Wirtz and Kaplan here:

•  And speaking of the GM search, another name was announced by the Blackhawks yesterday as they interviewed Tampa Bay Lightning assistant GM Mathieu Darche.

•   Darche is another name that we highlighted prior to the search beginning for Chicago, so it’s good to know that the search committee is listening to our suggestions. So that is now six people that the Blackhawks have interviewed for the GM position with Darche added to the list of Peter Chiarelli, Scott Mellanby, Eric Tulsky, Jeff Greenberg, and current interim GM Kyle Davidson.

•   One name that was on our list and is no longer in-play is Cammi Granato. Formerly of the Seattle Kraken, Granato was named the assistant GM for the Vancouver Canucks.

•   Granato now joins Émilie Castonguay as the first two female assistant GMs in Canucks team history.

•   If you are looking for Super Bowl betting promos, we’re gathering them all here. This is basically the biggest time of year to get the promos, so if you’re into it at all, make sure to check it out. For example, BetMGM has a 20-1 odds boost promo that allows new users to Bet $10, Win $200 if the Rams or Bengals score a touchdown.

•   In Olympic news, Blackhawks goaltending prospect Drew Commesso got the first start of the Men’s tournament for Team USA early this morning against hosts China. The start made Commesso the youngest goaltender to start an Olympic game for the Men’s U.S. team. He made the most of it in a dominant 8-0 win for the U.S., making all 29 saves asked of him.

•   How’s this for a Chicago connection to the U.S. Men’s first win of the Olympics?!

•   Seven of the eight goals from the U.S. came from current NCAA players. Don’t look now, but this non-NHL U.S. team might be pretty fun to watch.

•   On the Women’s side, Team USA plays tonight in their quarterfinal matchup against the Czech Republic.

•   The U.S. looks to make it seven Olympics in-a-row making it to the semifinal with a potential win tonight.

•   Yesterday we learned that long-time Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask’s comeback efforts would end, as would his playing career.

•   Rask was one of the best goalies in the NHL for close to a decade and a major reason why the Bruins were perennial Stanley Cup contenders. Rask backed-up Tim Thomas during the 2011 Stanley Cup run for Boston and helped the Bruins to the Cup Finals in 2013 and 2019. He won the Vezina in 2014 and since the 2010-11 season, Rask ranks seventh in wins among all goaltenders and is second in save-percentage (.920) among 37 goalies to play at least 300 games. Quite the career.

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

Author: Mario Tirabassi

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