I hope y’all got a decent night’s rest last night. After 9 PM CT starts on Wednesday and Thursday night, the NHL gave us Friday night to sleep before the Hawks hit the ice for a third straight late-night start in San Jose tonight. There was a lot of college and junior action last night, with some good results but one huge concern.
- Since the Blackhawks didn’t play last night, our top line item of note — today, concern — is Colton Dach. Kelowna lost 5-4 last night, but Dach left the game late in the third period after a check to the head. Dach needed help from a trainer to leave the ice after the cheap shot.
“It was a high hit that resulted in an upper-body injury,” Rockets head coach Kris Mallette said after the game. “We’ll see, the doctors are looking at him right now, we’ll have an assessment as we go.”
- Obviously this is a huge concern. Dach suffered a concussion during the prospect showcase and missed almost all of training camp before clearing protocol and returning to make one NHL preseason appearance. A second significant concussion this soon after his last one is not good.
- I’ve been telling you for about a month now that Jonathan Toews still has some gas in the tank. And to not buy into the “he’s washed” preseason talk. And, though two games, he’s backed up my confidence/faith on the ice with two strong performances. On Friday, Mark Lazerus of The Athletic looked at Toews’ good performances so far.
- The Rockford IceHogs open their 2022-23 season tonight! On Friday, they announced their formal leadership group for this season. Garrett Mitchell is the IceHogs’ captain. The assistants will be Adam Clendening, Josiah Slavin and Dylan Sikura.
- Here’s the full Rockford roster:
- Captain Ethan Del Mastro picked up three assists as Mississauga topped the London Knights 5-4. I got a text from the game that said Del Mastro is playing a totally different level this year than he did as their captain last season; he’s dominant. Physically owning both ends of the ice and playing with confidence. Love to see it.
- “Guess who’s back… back again…” An AP report out of Milan is telling us former Blackhawks head coach Mike Keenan has agreed to serve as the coach of Italy’s team in the 2026 Olympics. Keenan, who will turn 73 on Oct. 21, coached the Blackhawks for four seasons from 1988 to 1992, leaving after the Penguins swept Chicago out of the ’92 Stanley Cup Final. He returned after one year away to coach the Rangers for one season — winning the Stanley Cup with Steve Larmer and Mark Messier on the ice for the final seconds. Kennan coached in the KHL for four years; his last season as a coach was 2015-16 in Russia (he didn’t coach a game during the 2017-18 season).
- Paul Ludwinski made his season debut for Kingston last night. He, like Dach, left the prospect showcase games because of a concussion. Ludwinski did not appear in an NHL preseason game, however, so his return is a great sign. We’re hoping to see great things from one of the Hawks’ second-round picks from this summer.
- Samuel Savoie picked up two points in a nice win for Gatineau last night. He showed off his speed on the penalty kill and creating chances and scored one of his own to seal the deal last night.
- In college hockey news, I have some serious concerns about the scene at the University of Michigan. Fox’s college pregame show is in Ann Arbor for the big matchup of top-ten teams when Penn State faces the Wolverines in the Big House later this morning (noon ET). So Notre Dame alum Brady Quinn and USC alums Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart showed up at the rink to watch some puck. Of course, USC is leaving the Pac-12 for the Big Ten so maybe this was a wake-up call to what sports in a real conference looks like… but…
- Unfortunately for Drew Commesso, Michigan blew out Boston University last night. Commesso allowed six goals in 25 minutes before getting the hook. Michigan won the game 9-2. Ryan Greene won half of his 16 faceoffs but did not register a point.
- Notre Dame beat Northern Michigan 3-1 in a physical game that had a ton of penalty minutes piled up. Ryder Rolston had an assist and led the Irish with seven shots on net. Landon Slaggert was credited with one shot on net and a blocked shot in the win.
- Minnesota-Duluth lost to Minnesota State 6-0. Dominic James won eight of 15 faceoffs and Wyatt Kaiser blocked one shot in the loss.
- Ohio State and UConn skated to a 0-0 tie.
- St. Cloud State won, but Dominic Basse didn’t start.
- Finally, let’s get hyped about a Cubs prospect going off in Arizona.