The Blackhawks took Thursday off, which was nice after a bustling week that will kick back into high gear with two games this weekend. The Red Wings visit the UC on Saturday before the Blackhawks play a “home” game against the Minnesota Wild in Milwaukee on Sunday. So let’s get ready to turn it back up a notch with game action coming.
- With all of the Blackhawks’ prospects playing college hockey this year, we’re going to keep you on top of when/where to watch some great games all season — and we’ll be watching them, too. This morning we picked our favorites in October, which include some prime-time games between ranked teams with Chicago draft picks on their rosters.
- Remember the time the Blackhawks hired a young unknown head coach who was supposedly a great communicator and it backfired harder than an ’86 Camaro? For almost three years? Yeah, I’m trying to forget, too. But the good news is this summer the Blackhawks hired a coach known all over the league from playing more than 1,400 games and being a world class gentleman of the game. And guess what? He’s actually a great communicator!
- Everything I’ve seen, heard and experienced from Luke Richardson is that he’s an incredibly simple man to understand. He tells you pretty much exactly what’s going on, and doesn’t wander around the point much. And he’s been that way with his players, too.
- Ben Pope at the Chicago Sun-Times wrote a marvelous piece on Richardson’s refreshing coaching approach yesterday. Highly recommend it. This quote from defenseman Riley Stillman isn’t something we heard between the names Quenneville and King being on the head coach’s office door:
“When you know, coming to the rink, exactly what your role is and what your job is, it takes the pressure off trying to find out what to do or how to be noticed. When your job is laid out for you and all you have to do is do your job, it helps everybody. Luke has done a great job with that.”
- Patrick and I got the honor of painting some of the United Center ice this year. But the ice was already down when we got there. So this brief video of the surface starting in Rockford is pretty cool.
- Sean McIndoe at The Athletic dropped his 2022-23 NHL standings predictions on Friday morning. He didn’t list them as traditional power rankings as much as grouping teams into sections. The Blackhawks found themselves in the “Bottom Feeders” section, which shouldn’t surprise anyone.
Kyle Davidson has a plan, and he’s not exactly being subtle about it. Given what’s waiting at the end of the draft lottery rainbow, it might be the right plan, even if you don’t have to like it. But with Petr Mrazek in net, nowhere near enough talent up front, and two franchise players being very politely asked to pack up their stuff and go, there’s no path to meaningful 2022-23 hockey here.
- You know, just a friendly reminder of the reason the Blackhawks aren’t necessarily trying to win as frequently as some might like this season…
- Mitch Marner is a forward who has a $10.903 million cap hit for this season (and two more after this). He was the fourth overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft and has produced 455 points in 427 career regular season games, including new career highs with 35 goals and 97 points in 72 games last season. So… the Leafs are looking to move him to the blue line?!?
- Former Blackhawks’ draft pick Justin Holl is currently the only right-handed shot on the Toronto blue line, thus the conversation. And Marner is considered one of the better defensive forwards in the entire NHL, so moving him back isn’t like asking a player who doesn’t play much defense to make the change. And Leafs head coach Shelden Keefe has said this might only be a situational move.
“Mitch spends a lot of time up at the blue line as it is. Obviously, the power play he plays up there quite a bit. So, it was just more natural for me to consider that because he’s done it at the NHL level. He’s run the power play from the top in a five-forward type of look in junior. So, he’s got lots of experience doing that.”
- Thursday was the first day for NHL clubs to put players on waivers to assign them to the AHL, and one familiar name made the list: Richard Panik. As a reminder, the Blackhawks traded Panik to the Coyotes four years ago in the deal that brought Anthony Duclair to Chicago. Also coming back to Chicago (for the first time) was defenseman Adam Clendening, who is back with the organization this year (again).
- Finally, it appears the Cubs are positioned to spend big money this offseason. And one top tier free agent has made it known he wants the bag. Where will Carlos Correa play next year?