Thank You and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Thank You and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

I’m never really good at stuff like this. I tend to ramble. So let me get the news out first and then I can get to the rambling part.

This is my last Bullets post for Bleacher Nation Blackhawks and today is my last day leading Blackhawks coverage for the Bleacher Nation site.

Just about 15 months ago, I started here with Bleacher Nation and helped launch the site’s coverage of the Chicago Blackhawks. It has been a wild 15 months. From Jonathan Toews’ mystery illness to the sexual assault investigation to the coaching and front office changes and everything in between, we’ve been here talking about it and processing it all together as fans. We also got to watch some hockey games, too.

I had no idea what was ahead of me when I got this opportunity to spearhead the Blackhawks coverage for Bleacher Nation. I hope I did alright. I am leaving the site on my own terms, but this is not a negative situation. I’ve never been happier to work with a group of people like I have been with the guys at Bleacher Nation. I was not searching for a reason to leave, but a career opportunity presented itself to me that I could not pass up. More on that later.

I want to thank Brett and Michael for bringing me in to be the starting point for Blackhawks coverage and for being two of the best leaders I’ve had the chance to work for. I also want to thank Luis, Eli, and Patrick for being an incredible group to work with, bounce ideas off, and have endless conversations about DeMar DeRozan’s MVP season, Justin Fields, and to let me ramble from time to time about what a dumpster fire the Blackhawks have been. Again, I wouldn’t be leaving this group for no good reasons.

I want to also thank everyone who went to bat for me at the beginning of this journey for Bleacher Nation Blackhawks coverage and for everyone who has read our work and engaged with us along the way. Talking about this Blackhawks team has been “fun” at times, challenging most of the way, but it wouldn’t be the same without you all.

I won’t be away for very long. I’m excited for what is next in my career path and I cannot wait to share more of that with you all in the coming days.

Once again, thank you to the readers and the Bleacher Nation team! Thank you, thank you, and thank you a thousand times over!

Now, on to the hockey.

•   It appears the Blackhawks have narrowed their GM Search…

•   Interim GM Kyle Davidson, Tampa Bay Lightning assistant GM Mathieu Darche, and Chicago Cubs assistant GM Jeff Greenberg have made the cut to the next round of the selection process, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

•   For a long time, the messaging has been that it would take someone to have an incredible interview process to unseat Kyle Davidson for the position. Davidson was put into the interim GM spot after Stan Bowman was dismissed from the team and originally was told he would hold that position for the remainder of the season, much like interim head coach Derek King after he replaced Jeremy Colliton. If the Blackhawks are going to go outside of Davidson, the guy who has been controlling the team for pretty much the entire regular season, Darche or Greenberg better have knocked the socks off of Danny Wirtz, Jaime Faulkner, and Mike Forde.

•   We are three and a half weeks away from the NHL Trade Deadline. Chicago has too much riding on this year’s deadline moves to get them wrong. Unless the GM ends up being Darche or Greenberg and they are hired this weekend, I don’t see how the team can hire someone who isn’t Davidson.

•   The funny thing is that there will be fractions of fans who will be upset with whoever is hired as the permanent GM. But this hire will take time to either pan-out, or be deemed a failure. Unless the Blackhawks had hired Peter Chiarelli, the new GM will need to have some leash from the fan base to see what they do in the short-term and how it plays out in the long-term.

•   So who do you think it should be?

•   Chicago Sun-Times’ Ben Pope went on a polling place bonanza yesterday, so make sure you make your votes count!

•   Here’s my quick answers: Darche, No, Fresh Perspective, No, Yes, 46-58 (less than 50 though), Someone Else, 2025, Yes, Yes, Quebec City.

•   On the topic of Lukas Reichel, while I selfishly want to see him play the rest of the year in the NHL, I do see the value in having his contract slide a year. There’s really no wrong answer with how to handle him for the rest of the season, we just need to know there is a plan in place.

•   He could also play the majority of the rest of the year in the NHL and still go back to the AHL to help the Rockford IceHogs as they try to get into the Calder Cup Playoffs. Again, just want to know there is a plan in place and not just a day-by-day “we’ll see how it goes” kind of situation.

•   Yesterday we had a number in jury updates from the Blackhawks…

•   We do know that Jake McCabe will not be playing tonight, but good to see he is on the ice this morning.

•   In response to McCabe’s injury, the Blackhawks have recalled rookie defenseman Jakub Galvas.

•   It was expected that Erik Gustafsson would slot back into the lineup for tonight, but maybe the Blackhawks continue to go the route of playing their younger players and put Galvas into McCabe’s spot for the time-being.

•   I think we all didn’t give Sam Lafferty a fair shake when he was acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins earlier this season. He has been under-the-radar in his time in Chicago, but he has been effective and has been more noticeable in recent games. He’s on a cheap expiring deal, but maybe he could be a part of the Blackhawks future in a depth role?

•   Or he could be flipped at the deadline? Who knows, there still isn’t officially a GM in place so it’s the Wild West out here.

•   An update from the IIHF regarding the Ukraine-Russia situation in Europe:

•   We’ve already seen Jokerit pull out of the KHL playoffs, the UEFA Champions League Final move from St. Petersburg to Paris, and F1 cancel the Russian Grand Prix. Have to imagine that in the end, IIHF will pull events from Russia as well.

•   History was made last night as Zdeno Chara set the record for most NHL games played by a defenseman, officially passing Chris Chelios…

•   He will pass Mark Recchi for seventh all-time with his next game played. If Chara plays again next season, he could become the seventh player in NHL history to play 1,700 games and if he were to play in all 82 games of the 2022-23 season, would finish the year second all-time behind Patrick Marleau (1,779).

•   I say go for it.

•   Well, that will do it for today and for my time with Bleacher Nation. I truly hope you all enjoy your Friday and are taking care of yourselves.

•   We’ll talk again soon.



Author: Mario Tirabassi

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