GM Search Updates, Fleury Returning Next Year? Canada Golden Again, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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GM Search Updates, Fleury Returning Next Year? Canada Golden Again, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

If you’re like me, you stayed up late watching the U.S.-Canada Women’s Gold Medal game. And if you’re like me, an American, you were disappointed. There’s a ton to be proud of from the Women’s U.S. team and taking home an Olympic Silver Medal is never bad, but it’s not a Gold. Hopefully the short-comings of this 2022 squad can be remedied for the 2026 games and for the international tournaments between now and then.

•   Last night was full of history, first starting with Hilary Knight setting the U.S. record for most Olympic Games played for the Women’s team.

•   Knight was one of the best players for Team USA at these Olympics and has been the face of Women’s U.S. Hockey for a very long time.

•   She made her impact in the Gold Medal game last night with a late-second period goal to get the U.S. on the board and start to mount the comeback effort when down 3-0.

•   Knight’s line with Kendall Coyne-Schofield and Hannah Brandt was the most effective for Team USA last night in generating offense. But the depth behind that line wasn’t enough to handle one of the best Canadian Women’s teams that has ever been constructed.

•   Led once again by Marie-Philip Poulin, Canada was just too much for the U.S. for the second time in the tournament.

•   Poulin finished with three points on the night with two goals and an assist. She has scored seven of the ten goals scored by the Canadian Women’s team in the last four Gold Medal games. That will likely never happen for a very, very long time in Men’s or Women’s international hockey.

•   Also having a historic night for Canada was the tournament’s leading-scorer Sarah Nurse, who set the new record for points in an Olympic Tournament.

•   Like I said, this was one of, if not the best Canadian Women’s team that has been put together from top to bottom. In the end, the U.S. comeback effort was too little, too late after being down in a 3-0 hole, they fall short 3-2. Canada claims their fifth Women’s Gold Medal.

•   Here’s to hoping it won’t be another 20 years between Golds for the U.S. Women’s team.

•   Here’s an insane story regarding U.S. starting goaltender Alex Cavallini, who apparently played the entire Olympic tournament with a torn MCL.

•   While her ability to play through that at the level she did is valiant and down-right impressive. It’s also INSANE that she was forced to play through it with the talented goaltending options the U.S. could have had in her place like Maddie Rooney, Nicole Hensley, or Aerin Frankel, who wasn’t selected for the team. Just seems like a reckless decision.

•   Speaking of goaltending options, Marc-André Fleury sure made it sound like if the Blackhawks started winning more games, he would want to stay in Chicago another year…

•   Problem is, I don’t foresee the Blackhawks winning a ton of games the rest of this season or next season. Not enough to entice him to stay, at least.

•   Chicago would love to have him stay and have him come back. Both the organization and the fan base. But as March 21 approaches and the number of teams that want or need goaltending help for a playoff run grows across the league, the chances Chicago does not trade Fleury seems to decrease.

•   Enjoy him while we can. He’s just so G-D likable.

•   This guy couldn’t lie with a straight face if he tried.

•   If not Fleury, maybe Alex DeBrincat?

•   No. That’s just silly.

•   The Blackhawks appear to be adding to their list of GM candidates. According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Toronto Raptors VP of Basketball Operations Teresa Resch will be the seventh candidate interviewed for the open GM position.

•   Resch has been with the Raptors since 2013, working in the NBA league offices before that. She was instrumental in the development of the Toronto roster and scouting, helping put together the team that won the 2019 NBA Championship.

•   It’s another outside of the box candidate for the Blackhawks along with Cubs assistant GM Jeff Greenberg. If Resch has the right eye for scouting and talent development, I’m all for it. She could also become the first female GM in NHL history if she were to be hired in Chicago. Which would be pretty cool.

•   Good news for Women’s hockey, the IIHF says that the previously canceled U18 Women’s World Championships will be rescheduled for June and will be held in the States.

•   Also getting rescheduled will be the Men’s World Junior Championships. The IIHF says it will take place in August with a complete restart of the tournament and teams would be allowed to change their rosters from their original selections.

•   This could mean a lot of top prospects could be held back by their NHL clubs, since the tournament is taking place so close to the beginning of the 2022-23 NHL season. As far as Blackhawks prospects go, I would assume the four that were set to play in the originally scheduled World Junior Championships (Drew Commesso, Wyatt Kaiser, Landon Slaggert, and Michael Krutil) would all rejoin their teams, but a player like Lukas Reichel with Germany may opt to skip the rescheduled tournament to focus on his upcoming rookie NHL season net year. Plus, then whole Kirby Dach situation from the 2021 tournament might scare the Blackhawks from allowing a player like Reichel to play.

•   Speaking of Reichel, he and the Rockford IceHogs won their fourth-straight game last night, picking up a win over the Milwaukee Admirals in Milwaukee.

•   Reichel had a two-point night, giving him 33 points in 33 AHL games this season as a rookie. He leads the IceHogs in goals and points this season and is one of eight active rookies playing at a point per game pace this season.

•   Rockford is now 21-16-4 this season and sit in third-place in the Central Division based on point-percentage (.561) and have recorded a point in nine of their last 11 games (7-2-2).

•   In potential “prospect” news, there seems to be some more steam behind the Blackhawks going after upcoming KHL free agent Andrei Kuzmenko, as The Athletic’s Scott Powers writes:

•   Kuzmenko and the Blackhawks have been linked for some time now and with Chicago’s need for incoming young talent, it could be an opportunity for the 26-year-old to make the jump to the NHL and the Blackhawks to get another “Panarin-esqe” of player in the organization.

•   Tonight will be a historic broadcast as J.T. Brown and Everett Fitzhugh will become the first all-Black broadcast team for an NHL club when the Seattle Kraken play the Winnipeg Jets.

•   This is awesome. Knowing the work Brown has done since retiring and how good Fitzhugh is, this should be a great broadcast and it means so much for representation around the game of hockey.

•   Happy Blackhawks birthdays to Stanley Cup winner Michael Frolík and former goaltender Darren Pang!

•   It’s another birthday celebration in Chicago sports today, a little bit more notable than Frolík and Pang. It is Michael Jordan’s 59th Birthday today!

•   There is none greater in NBA history.

•   Looking to carve his own path into Chicago Bulls and NBA history is DeMar DeRozan. He continues to be the catalyst to the Bulls’ success this season and, again, he’s having a legitimate MVP year.

•   The city is better when the Bulls are buzzing, and if I’m paying attention to basketball, it means the Bulls are buzzing.

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

•   We will see you later tonight for Blackhawks-Blue Jackets at 7:30 p.m. CT!

Author: Mario Tirabassi

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