On a rainy Monday morning in the greater Chicago area, we patiently wait for hockey that matters to begin with the first round games in the World Junior Championship tomorrow. We now know which four Blackhawks prospects will represent Canada and the United States. We also know who will coach Frank Nazar at Michigan. So let’s jump into the action.
- A couple Blackhawks prospects made news on Sunday for different reasons as we get closer to the game counting at the World Junior Championship in Edmonton. Frank Nazar didn’t make the final roster for the United States, but the other three Blackhawks prospects who were among the 27 who made the trip north did make the last cut.
- Canada announced an injury opened the door for defenseman Ethan Del Mastro to re-join the group. Del Mastro makes four Blackhawks prospects competing in this year’s WJC.
- If you’re going to watch Canada, Del Mastro might be the primary reason but you’ll undoubtedly want to keep an eye on Connor Bedard. You know, the reason a few teams are trying so hard to be awful this season (including our beloved Blackhawks). The pandemic changed his role on the roster for Canada, and fans of terrible teams should be watching to see just how special this kid can be on the ice.
- Speaking of Bedard, Tankathon dropped their first 2023 NHL mock draft of the summer. I think we’re all understanding that the Blackhawks will have good odds of being at/near the top of the lottery, and in this mock they have Chicago winning the Bedard Sweepstakes and getting the top overall pick.
- Tankathon also has the Blackhawks’ second pick in the first round (Tampa’s, which they received in the Brandon Hagel trade) coming in at No. 28 (#retire28) overall. They have the Blackhawks selecting defenseman Hunter Brzustewicz from the Kitchener Rangers at that pick.
- The University of Michigan fired Mel Pearson as their head men’s hockey coach after a lengthy internal investigation into accusations of a toxic culture in the program. Sunday afternoon, the Wolverines learned one of their own — Brandon Naurato — will serve as the interim coach. Naurato played for Michigan and spent a few years in player development with the Red Wings before returning to Ann Arbor as an assistant coach last season.
- The Boston Bruins announced Patrice Bergeron has signed up for one more year. He’ll reportedly receive a $2.5 million salary with another $2.5 million in bonuses.
- Make sure you vote in our Monday Twitter poll!
- Finally, we love a good throwback and it appears MLB (and Nike) nailed it with the uniforms the Cubs and Reds will wear in this year’s edition of the Field of Dreams Game.