USA Sent Packing, Awful Goaltending Projection, Seattle Lands a Second Olczyk, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

If you stayed up into the middle of the night watching the United States battle Czechia, you were only disappointed if you had money on the Americans advancing to the semifinals. Czechia played a marvelous game and orchestrated an enormous upset to shock the World Juniors. On to Friday for four teams — not the USA.

  • Only two of the Blackhawks’ prospects advanced at the World Juniors on Wednesday. The United States was shocked by Czechia in the late game and their tournament is over. On the other end of the emotional pendulum, Victor Stjernborg was named the Best Player for Sweden in their win. We wrapped up the three games with Blackhawks prospects overnight.
  • At the NHL level, the Blackhawks made the Jack Johnson signing official on Wednesday morning and then rumors soon followed that former University of Denver captain Cole Guttman will sign with the Blackhawks. The ties between the Blackhawks and DU run deep — all the way back to the late 1960s. We looked at the history yesterday.
  • Speaking of the Johnson signing, the University of Michigan product did his first podcast interview since signing with the guys at Blackhawks Talk for NBC Sports Chicago. He has an interesting perspective on coming to a team that is on the polar opposite side of the success pendulum as the team he skated for last year.
  • Travis Yost at TSN wrapped up his rankings series with goaltending depth on Wednesday. Not surprisingly, the Blackhawks’ tandem of Petr Mrazek and Alex Stalock ranked near the bottom of the league.
  • Here’s what he had to say about the debacle the goaltending situation could be in Chicago this season:
  • Petr Mrazek is coming off a hideous season in Toronto (89 percent stop rate; -13 goals saved versus expected), and Alex Stalock hasn’t seen meaningful NHL action in three seasons. Stalock is also now 35 years of age and will be playing behind perhaps the worst team in hockey.

  • If that isn’t a ringing endorsement of a tank campaign, I’m not sure what is!
  • Man, this one is still way too soon.
  • While hockey was buried on ESPN, there were only a few puck advocates at the worldwide leader. One of them was Linda Cohn. She recently appeared on the Sports with Friends Podcast and talked about the NHL’s relationship with ESPN. This is a fun listen for fans who are glad hockey is back on the four-letter network if only for the increased exposure of the greatest game out there.
  • Earlier this week, the Seattle Kraken announced another Olczyk is headed their way. Nick will join his father in the broadcast group in Seattle. Congrats to a great kid who’s going places and does a great job!
  • Finally, since we’re going to be focused on prospects with our Blackhawks coverage a lot in the coming weeks/months/years because of the rebuild, our Cubs counterparts here at Bleacher Nation took some time to discuss the business of prospect rankings. How — and why — are they always so different? And what should we buy or sell when reading someone’s prospect rankings?
  • written by

    Tab Bamford has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks for almost two decades. He joined Bleacher Nation as the lead Blackhawks writer in May 2022. Tab is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association and is the author of two books about the Blackhawks: "100 Things Blackhawks Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die" (Triumph Books) and "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter/X/Instagram/Threads at @The1Tab

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