There’s something almost… refreshing… about watching really good hockey without a rooting interest. This weekend was a fun one for playoff hockey and we got an extended taste of how the NHL’s new broadcast partners — ESPN/ABC and TNT — are going to handle the postseason.
This is a relatively big week early in the Blackhawks’ offseason calendar. The NHL Draft Lottery is set for Tuesday night. If the Blackhawks don’t finish with one of the top-two overall picks, Columbus knows they have Chicago’s pick in the first round.
Without anything new coming from the Hawks, here are a few things that kept our attention.
• Monday’s shocking NHL news right out of the gate was the Islanders parting ways with head coach Barry Trotz after four seasons in which he won a Jack Adams and took the Isles to two Eastern Conference Finals. We weighed in on the Blackhawks coaching search… Kyle Davidson should be on the phone with Trotz ASAP. It might be a long shot for the Blackhawks to land a coach of his caliber given where the franchise is on the ice right now, but you have to at least make the call. He’s one of the best coaches of the last 20 years in the NHL and his defense-first style of play would suit the offensively-challenged Blackhawks moving into the next generation.
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) May 9, 2022
• I would understand if Muse by Clio wasn’t at the top of your bookmarks as a hockey fan. But there’s a nice article there about Eryn McVerry, who recently took over as the EVP of marketing and content for the Blackhawks. It’s worth a few minutes of your time to get to know a little more about a new voice in the Hawks’ business ops group. Before coming to the Blackhawks, the University of Michigan alum (who got her Masters at Michigan State) was with the Tampa Bay Lightning. So she knows what winning — recently — looks like.
• The Rockford IceHogs begin their next playoff series against their rivals in Rosemont on Thursday night. IceHogs vs. Wolves with money on the line. You love to see it.
• The IceHogs went 8-3-0-1 against the Wolves this season, including a 5-0-0-1 record at Allstate Arena. Lukas Reichel had five goals and ten assists in the 12 games between the two teams this season. Here’s the postgame comments from goaltender Arvid Söderblom, who was terrific against Texas and could be a big part of the Blackhawks’ plans in net at the NHL level next year.
• There was big news in women’s hockey on Sunday. Mikyla Grant-Mentis signed a contract with Buffalo in the Premier Hockey Federation for a dollar amount that was previously unheard of in women’s hockey. While the number isn’t as gaudy as we’ve become accustomed to in men’s hockey, this is a big step in the right direction for professional women’s hockey.
Professional women's hockey has its first $80,000 US player following the deal Mikyla Grant-Mentis reached with the Premier Hockey Federation's Buffalo Beauts https://t.co/74FgCqw0BR
— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) May 9, 2022
• Here’s Monday night’s schedule for the Stanley Cup Playoffs
Panthers @ Capitals — 6 pm CT (WSH leads series 2-1) — TBS
Rangers @ Penguins — 6 pm CT (PIT leads series 2-1) — ESPN
Avs @ Predators — 8:30 pm CT (COL leads series 3-0) — ESPN
Flames @ Stars — 8:30 pm CT (DAL leads series 2-1) — TBS
• The three finalists for the Norris Trophy were announced on Monday morning. Nothing surprising — or Blackhawks related — to see here.
Victor Hedman (@TBLightning), Roman Josi (@PredsNHL) and Cale Makar (@Avalanche) are the three finalists for the 2021-22 James Norris Memorial Trophy. #NHLAwards #NHLStats: https://t.co/2QeoUrEkek pic.twitter.com/x5lOD3gaA2
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) May 9, 2022
• How do the “experts” grade the Bears’ first pick in the 2022 NFL Draft? We’ve got you covered.
Sporting News (A), CBS Sports (B+), and The Athletic (B) each gave #DaBears selection of CB Kyler Gordon passing grades.
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) May 9, 2022