There will be hockey today. The Blackhawks and the Wild will wrap up the Tom Kurvers Prospect Showcase when they get together this afternoon at Fifth Third Arena with the Blackhawks looking to rebound from a loss to Minnesota on Friday night.
- The Blackhawks will be without forward Colton Dach, who left Friday night’s contest after the first period and never returned. We learned on Saturday before practice that Dach suffered a concussion on Friday night, ending his time at the prospect showcase this week.
- IceHogs head coach Anders Sorensen told us after practice that he wasn’t sure when Dach’s concussion occurred in Friday night’s contest. Sorensen also said that Lukas Reichel felt fine after missing 16 minutes of action in the second period on Friday night after hitting the boards awkwardly on a hit from Adam Beckman.
- Yesterday’s practice consisted of a lot of five-on-five action as the Blackhawks “worked out the kinks” from Friday night, according to Sorensen. The Blackhawks emptying the tank in the first period was their downfall, and they’ll need to play a more balanced game today if they want different results against the Wild.
- Sorenson believes that losing both Dach and Reichel during the end of the first and the beginning of the second period played a role in the intensity drop-off for the Blackhawks: “I thought we were playing well there, and then we lost him [Reichel], and we obviously lost Dach, and then we get a power play, and two of the guys on the power play disappear. Yeah, we lost the momentum for sure. And then we had to go three centers for a little bit and got out of sorts for a little bit, but we’ve got to be better in those situations for sure.”
- Third-rounder Samuel Savoie believes the Blackhawks just need to play a more balanced game: “I think that hockey is a game of highs and lows. In the first period, we were high, and after that, we were a bit low. Tomorrow we just have to stay in the middle. Don’t get too high, don’t get too low. So, I think that was our game today.”
- Speaking of Savoie, he was one of the standouts during Saturday’s practice, turning in some strong shifts in 5v5s.
- Sorensen joked on Friday night that Savoie might be a bit of an Andrew Shaw comp …
“Fan favorite, huh?” Sorensen chuckled. “No, I really like him. It’s hard not to like him. He’s a hockey player, no doubt. He’s a little bit of a throwback, but he loves to be in there and loves to mix it up. I was really impressed. Takes pucks to the net… yeah. Andrew Shaw-type, maybe.”
- While that might be a bit of a generic comp, Savoie does have some Shaw-like qualities. From what we’ve seen during our look at him at the development camp and now the Kurvers Showcase, Savoie is a high-energy player who will cause opposing teams headaches and be happy to do it. Literally happy. Every time I look at this kid, he’s got an ear-to-ear smile going.
- Goaltender Jaxson Stauber talked about what an honor it was to wear a Blackhawks sweater on Friday night.
- Stauber played the entire game on Friday, allowing five goals to the Wild, something he wasn’t thrilled about when I spoke to him yesterday after practice. The Providence netminder said it was a good learning experience and a reminder of how much faster the game is played at this level.
- I expect to see Mitchell Weeks in net for the Blackhawks prospects this afternoon. You can catch today’s game on YouTube and Blackhawks.com once again. I will be there in person to cover the action, so follow along on Twitter if you can’t catch the game or you’re busy indulging in hours and hours of RedZone.
- Speaking of football, here’s our Bears-Packers preview to get you primed for tonight’s primetime visit to Green Bay. We’ve also got some Bears bets in there if you partake in that sort of thing:
- Before Matt Eberflus’ first visit to Green Bay, here’s how other Bears head coaches have fared in their first meeting with the Packers and across their tenure on the Chicago sideline: