We have some actual hockey to talk about! No, it doesn’t count (officially), but the US squad played their second and final pre-tournament warm-up game before the World Juniors begin this week. And they looked a lot better than they did in their first game, so that’s good. Let’s get into it.
- Here’s the lineup the US started with. Yes, there are too many forward lines and defensive pairs. That’s the point of pre-tournament games — to get an idea for what works and who should be in the final roster when the games count. You will notice alternate captain Landon Slaggert (aka Slaggs) on the top line wearing a very specific number and Wyatt Kaiser on the top defensive pair.
- The US put five goals on the board in the first period, running the Swiss out of the rink early. Kaiser was credited with an early assist and Dominic James scored the fifth goal of the frame. Here’s a breakdown of the five goals:
- The final score was 6-1 with Red Savage scoring a third-period goal. Slaggert picked up an assist on the Savage goal, giving three of Chicago’s four prospects on the American roster a point.
- These warm-up games weren’t televised, but the WJC tournament will be on NHL Network this entire week. We shared the schedule for the United States, who start their quest for gold on Tuesday night.
- On Saturday, we asked the NHL and Commissioner Gary Bettman for an All-Star Game in Chicago. Did you know the United Center has never hosted the event? Once?!? The iconic 1991 NHL All-Star Game is the last time the Blackhawks hosted. That needs to change. And we need something other than the 2023 Draft Lottery to look forward to right now.
- Ben Pope at the Chicago Sun-Times reports forward prospect Lukas Reichel is bulking up as he looks to establish himself as an NHL regular. The Blackhawks’ first-round pick (No. 17 overall) in the 2020 draft, Reichel appeared in 11 NHL games last year and found one assist on his resume. He was terrific in the AHL last season, scoring 21 goals with 36 assists in 56 games for the IceHogs.
- The new front office is committed to giving players time to develop, but the time should be now for Reichel to get a long look at the NHL level; they wanted him to get a lot of run in the AHL last season but still burned the first season of his contract.
- A fun one from earlier this week, we looked back at the list of players who appeared in just one game for the Blackhawks during their NHL careers. There are a few names you might remember on the list, and a few that will undoubtedly make you share your head.
- Finally, since the Cubs and Blackhawks have us doing little more than keeping an eye on the future, let’s get excited about the debut of Ben Brown. The Cubs received the pitching prospect from the Phillies in the David Robertson trade and he looked marvelous in his first start for the organization.