Happy Monday to the above-.500 Blackhawks and those who are celebrating. The Hawks have started their home schedule with two wins in as many starts, both exciting, come-from-behind victories. It was a fun weekend for hockey fans.
- But… this morning I asked a tough question: should we be happy the Blackhawks are winning games? They aren’t supposed to do this. And while many in the media have tried to tell the players they aren’t supposed to win, they haven’t bought that narrative. Clearly Luke Richardson and his staff are doing exactly what they half-jokingly told us they were going to do before the season: make Kyle Davidson’s job harder.
- Some of the responses on social media have been exactly why I wrote this column today. This one sums it up pretty well.
- Looking back at Sunday’s matinee win over Seattle, a few things stuck out. The first is something we’ve seen in all five games this season: effort. These Blackhawks are skating hard on every shift. They’re treating every game like a playoff game, and it’s paying dividends. This is a fun Blackhawks team to watch.
- Max Domi is off to a great start. We hoped he would score goals, and he has; Domi has three already after scoring 11 in 72 games last year. But where I have been most impressed by Domi has been in the faceoff circle. He’s won 65.4 percent of his faceoffs thus far, which is way above expectations. On a one-year deal at $3 million, the Blackhawks brought Domi in as a potential rental with hopes his play would merit a nice return. So far, he’s been good enough that if the Blackhawks decide to trade him at some point he’ll bring back nice value. Now, we have to wonder if the Blackhawks do indeed move him.
- The Blackhawks’ third line is legit. Jason Dickinson has been terrific since joining the team; he has four points in three games. We’ve talked a lot about Sam Lafferty being a revelation this season; his effort has been great but the production has come with it. Lafferty has five points in five games. And Philipp Kurashev, my preseason pick to lead the team in goals (because I assumed a fire sale was coming) has three points in five games. Getting 12 points from those three guys in five games (again, only three from Dickinson) has been a huge bonus for the Blackhawks early this season.
- I had a few fans reach out this weekend saying they were disappointed there wasn’t any kind of tribute for Eddie Olczyk on Sunday with the Kraken in town. Phil Thompson at the Chicago Tribune wrote about Edzo’s emotional return to the United Center.
- Looking at prospect action this weekend, how about this pass from Paul Ludwinski on Sunday? A great takeaway leads to a rush and a beautiful no-look drop pass for a goal. Love to see it.
- If you look at the bottom of the standings right now, you’ll see a team that was supposed to take a step forward this year — and has done the opposite. The Vancouver Canucks are awful. Really terrible. And things are going off the rails again this year.
- Last year, some outsiders blamed the coach. So the Canucks made a change and brought in Bruce Boudreau and played better after the move. But they’re right back in the dumpster this year. And some are calling for another coaching change.
- At some point, is it really the coach… or does the player mix need to change?
- I’m sure Dickinson is thrilled to be out of that mess. Poor Riley Stillman…
- Finally, the World Series matchup is now set. And Brett had some really good thoughts on what other baseball teams can learn from how the Phillies and Astros got to the Fall Classic. There are some good parallels to what an NHL team should be mindful of when they’re both rebuilding and when it’s time to go for it.
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