Stalock Winning Games and Fans, More Richardson Praise, the Kessel Run, Scary Moment for McDavid, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Stalock Winning Games and Fans, More Richardson Praise, the Kessel Run, Scary Moment for McDavid, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

It’s Game Day in Chicago! Tonight, the Florida Panthers visit the United Center. The Hawks have competed hard in their last four games, winning the last three. Can they keep up with the team that had the best record in the NHL last season? We’ll find out this evening.

  • Health Updates: Jason Dickinson and Connor Murphy didn’t skate on Monday but they’re okay. Boris Katchouk skated with a regular jersey on yesterday, so he might be closer to returning. Here’s Katchouk talking about his progress on Monday:
  • After practice on Monday head coach Luke Richardson said the plan is for Alex Stalock to start Tuesday (against Florida) and Thursday (against Edmonton). Arvid Söderblom will likely get one of the back-to-back games over the weekend. Richardson said it will be “at least one week” if not more before Mrazek is ready to come back.
  • Speaking of Stalock, Ben Pope at the Chicago Sun-Times wrote a nice piece about the Blackhawks’ starting netminder (for the time being). He’s a lively guy who could quickly become a fan favorite if he puts together a stretch of games like he has early this season.
  • On Monday we learned the Blackhawks are in no rush to put an ad on their iconic jerseys, which is good news for many fans. That doesn’t mean they won’t at some point, however. They’re just being very intentional about their search for the right brand partner.
  • In this week’s “32 Thoughts” Podcast, Elliotte Friedman wouldn’t quite go so far as buying the Blackhawks’ surprising start. But he did heap praise on Richardson and noted how the vibe in the room has totally changed in Chicago.
  • They also talk about defenseman Ethan Bear, whose time in Carolina appears to be coming to an end. Both sides want that to end, too, so look for a deal there. Should the Blackhawks inquire? No. They have too many defensemen already and why give up another asset to add in a position of depth already? If you’re viewing him as a rental, wouldn’t someone else trade for him now if he’s out there? Yeah, he’s a right-shot defenseman (in demand) but he hasn’t played yet. Friedman reports there was a trade request last summer from Bear. He says the Canes aren’t going to retain salary because they don’t have a cap problem and view him as an NHL player… who isn’t playing for them.
  • The crew at NBC Sports Chicago wondered out loud if the Blackhawks are better than we thought. If you recall, back in September I asked if the Blackhawks are bad enough to accomplish their goal of a top-three pick. At that time, I didn’t think the Blackhawks were one of the league’s absolute worst teams (but acknowledged potential departures could ease the slide late in the year). Their performance on the ice has clearly exceeded expectations for anyone/everyone outside of that dressing room. And the coaching staff has cultivated an impressively quick chemistry development on a roster full of players on short-term deals.
  • It hasn’t been two weeks into the NHL season yet, but we’re in “which scout(s) are in which press box” season. And it is somewhat notable that the Blackhawks were on the list for the Devils-Caps on Monday night.
  • I’m going to immediately temper any “OMG TRADE WATCH” thoughts with the reality that the Blackhawks play the Devils on Dec. 6 and the Caps on Dec. 13 and this may just be a case of early homework. It may also be a case of a scout’s in town and wanted a free meal (not really). But it is something to keep an eye on, so we’re writing it down for later.
  • It’s also worth noting the Capitals have nine UFAs after this season…
  • We got a new college hockey poll on Monday. The Blackhawks now have prospects at Nos. 2, 3, 4, 9, 11, 12, 13 and 19. I updated how the Blackhawks’ college prospects are doing on Monday afternoon in this week’s Around the NCAA.
  • After the Bears’ stunningly dominant win against the New England Patriots last night (and the Bulls also beating Boston), I asked this on Twitter. Vote and let me know where your confidence is at on these three teams.
  • The Blackhawks host the Oilers on Thursday night, but there was a moment on Monday that made me wonder if we would see Connor McDavid in that game. Jeff Petry tripped him up on a rush and McDavid went into the net hard (see below). He did return to the game and finished the night skating over 19 minutes but without a point.
  • The Oilers didn’t get a point from McDavid but still put a six-spot on the previously unbeaten (in regulation) Penguins.
  • Phil Kessel tied the NHL record by playing his 989th consecutive game in Vegas last night. I really enjoyed this collection of stories, anecdotes and memories from Kessel’s career in honor of the accomplishment. He is expected to be in the Golden Knights’ lineup tonight, breaking Keith Yandle’s record.
  • Finally, Bear Down! Happy Victory Tuesday to those who choose to celebrate.

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