An Identity Win, Home Crowd = Energy Boost, Mrazek Injury Concern, Kane Trade Talk (Again), and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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An Identity Win, Home Crowd = Energy Boost, Mrazek Injury Concern, Kane Trade Talk (Again), and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

How bout them Blackhawks? The Blackhawks have overcome two-goal deficits twice already in this young season, have already eclipsed last season’s total number of short-handed goals in four starts, and have a win over the Red Wings in their home opener on the sheet. What a night!

  • There was so much to take away from last night’s win. Three guys scored their first goal of the season. The Blackhawks didn’t rely on Patrick Kane or Jonathan Toews to create energy or make a big/special play. They accepted a physical challenge from Detroit and played with a chip on their shoulder. And, most importantly, they never went away.
  • Sam Lafferty, Max Domi and Connor Murphy talked about how the Blackhawks’ performance last night is kinda who they are. “I think that’s how we have to play as a team,” Lafferty said postgame. “If we do that consistently we’ll give ourselves a good chance every night.”
  • There are much worse identities to have as an NHL team than competing hard and never going away. We’ve talked about the Blackhawks probably not having the offensive firepower to hang around with the elite teams in the league this season, but they’re going to try their best — and that’s really all we should ask for from a rebuilding team. Hell, ask Vancouver if they would prefer their collection of talent or the Blackhawks’ work ethic right now…
  • And the United Center was lit. Most of the new guys were excited to play in front of the United Center, and the atmosphere lived up to the hype. It was an old school Chicago-Detroit throw down, and every guy after the game said the vibe gave the team energy on the ice.

“[The United Center’s reaction to the penalty shot goal] honestly gave me chills,” Andreas Athanasiou said after the game. “I kind of black out in those situations. I heard the crowd, and I didn’t know what to do. It’s one of those situations where you just blackout, and you’re just so filled with emotion. Get the place rockin’ and the boys goin’ when we’re down a little bit.”

  • The best player on the ice for Chicago last night was Lafferty. And that’s been the case pretty much every game to start this season. If he’s the kind of player Kyle Davidson wants to build around, sign me up!
  • Not everything worked out perfectly, unfortunately. It didn’t take long for the Blackhawks to announce a roster move because of Petr Mrazek‘s injury; he was not able to come out for the third period. Alec Regula was sent to Rockford to make room for Arvid Söderblom.
  • Because the Blackhawks have now played four games this season, let’s crank the rumor mill back up! In all seriousness, this is going to be out there this entire season… until 88 makes a decision. As I shared earlier this week, Kane‘s agent (who also reps Toews, Seth Jones and four other Blackhawks) talked to Pierre LeBrun about the future of his client in Chicago. The news there: no news. As Kane has said pretty consistently, they’re going to hang on in Chicago for the time being and feel out how the season is going before making that a thing.
  • On Friday evening about an hour before the puck dropped at the United Center for the first time in the 2022-23 season, my buddy Dave Pagnotta of The Fourth Period shared some comments about Kane’s future (and David Pastrnak if you’re into that sort of thing. Pagnotta isn’t reporting that a deal is happening any time soon, but he did share a few teams who may (wink) have interest.
  • Those teams: Rangers, Islanders, Stars, Blue Jackets, Maple Leafs, Oilers. And Pagnotta (like agent Pat Brisson with LeBrun earlier this week) considered how Claude Giroux left Philly last year. And Pagnotta does report teams have chatted with Kane, Brisson and the Blackhawks have indeed quietly had conversations but nothing of any significance over the summer.
  • I wrote about Michigan freshman center Adam Fantilli back on Sept. 5 because he’s probably going to be the second or third player selected in the 2023 NHL Draft. I believe he’s more than a “consolation prize” if a team doesn’t get the top pick (Connor Bedard) — he’s one helluva prospect. Chris Peters shares that sentiment and wrote as much on Friday.
  • Fantilli must have known people were talking about him because he went out and scored a hat trick for the Wolverines last night.
  • Oh, hey, look! Ethan Del Mastro destroying a puck!
  • Finally, the Bulls get one of their star players back in the lineup to start his season today.

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