4 Takeaways from the Blackhawks First Preseason Game

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4 Takeaways from the Blackhawks First Preseason Game

Chicago Blackhawks

The Blackhawks lost their home preseason opener in front of a United Center that was about 30 percent filled (I might be giving way too much credit here). To their credit, the Blackhawks skated with the Blues for about 45 minutes, but it then quickly looked like the tank was empty. More than just the youngsters were starting to get caught flat-footed, the turnovers were coming too frequently and Alex Stalock couldn’t keep everything out of the net.

  • Kevin Korchinski is going to be a dude.

We’ve all raved about his skating and hands and offensive instincts and all of that stuff since the draft. And with good reason — we’ve watched him skate against other Blackhawks prospects (twice), and the Wild’s prospects in a couple games. But on Tuesday night we got to watch him against a St. Louis lineup that had some legit NHL players in it.

And his speed was noticeable all night. Again.

Watch this play. Charlie rightfully points out that Patrick Kane is one of maybe 4-5 people on the planet who can conceive of, much less make this pass. But that’s Korchinski flying up the back side of the rush in position for a potential goal.

This kid’s offensive ability and skating are legit. And now we’ve seen it against NHL players. Let’s not start the hype wagon that he’s going to come in here and skate 27 minutes per night and turn the franchise around in a couple months. But tonight was an exceptionally good showing for his debut (of sorts… it’s preseason).

  • More like “Goal Guttman,” amirite?

We’ve talked about Cole Guttman being a player who doesn’t blow you away (like Korchinski often does) but he just always seems to get himself into the right place at the right time. That’s what you do when you’re the captain of an NCAA championship team, and Guttman hasn’t disappointed since signing with the Blackhawks this summer.

He got his first professional goal (well, sort of… it’s still preseason) on Tuesday night by going to the front of the net. Guys who do this consistently can make a nice career for themselves in the NHL. This was a great moment for Guttman, but — more importantly — it tied the game late in the second period.

  • Faceoff success

Yes, this was a preseason game. But the Blues dressed Ryan O’Reilly (who had a three-point night), so we should care to an extent. Max Domi has been in the 46 percent range for most of his career, but he actually had a strong night at the dot. Domi won 12 of his 16 faceoffs (75 percent) in the game.

Jonathan Toews did his thing (won six of 14) as well and Guttman won six of 12 at the dot. If the Blackhawks can actually win faceoffs this year, that will go a long way in helping them drive offense and try their best to be more competitive.

  • Penalties Killed

St. Louis scored three power play goals on the night, which isn’t ideal when new head coach Luke Richardson is trying to change that system to be more aggressive. The last one, with Patrick Kane in the box following a classic “I’m gonna trip this guy because I’m done for the night” move, came less than 20 seconds into the St. Louis advantage.

This is going to be a work in progress, folks. So let’s not cancel the season after allowing three power play goals. We’ll probably see worse at some point in the next (counts days until the Blackhawks are in Denver) 15 days…

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Author: Tab Bamford

Tab is the Lead Blackhawks voice for BN. He is the author of two books about the Blackhawks, most recently "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter at @The1Tab