After a lovely run of surprisingly strong hockey, the Blackhawks have now blown leads in consecutive games and come home for a Sunday evening game against the Minnesota Wild having lost two in a row. Are two straight losses surprising? No. Disappointing? Shouldn’t be. But the Hawks could/should have won both games and didn’t. We’ll see what they bring to the home ice on Sunday.
- To the point I just made, it really is something that we’re only a couple weeks into the regular season and we suddenly have raised expectations for this Blackhawks team. After the preseason, people were wondering if this team would win a single game before November. Now, there are fans who are legitimately (and rightfully) unhappy they’ve lost a couple games.
- We need to remember, however, that it’s still early in the season but the last ten days have been an absolute grind. Today will be the Hawks’ sixth game in ten days and third in four. And what teams are starting to learn about these Blackhawks is they’re going to play a physical game. So what do they do? Match the physicality. And the Sabres (to their credit) played a similar style of game against the Blackhawks as we’ve seen from Chicago a few times in the last couple weeks.
- Ben Pope was the only beat reporter covering the Blackhawks to make the trip to Buffalo. He was clearly impressed by the play of Arvid Söderblom — as we all were. Söderblom took the L but he played a terrific game; the skaters in front of him left a lot to be desired from the jump. At least the Hawks were able to sneak out the overtime point in this loss (they failed to do that Thursday night against Edmonton).
- We’ll see Alex Stalock in net on Sunday when the Minnesota Wild take the ice. The Wild took a regulation loss against the Red Wings on Saturday night and got away from their game (according to the coach’s postgame comments). So we’ll have two teams playing tonight who should be disappointed by their performance the previous evening.
- The IceHogs hung an eight-spot on the Belleville Senators last night. Lukas Reichel (two goals, one assist) was one of eight Rockford skaters to post a multi-point night on Saturday. The final scored was 8-2 and the only concern in the blowout win was the departure of goaltender Jaxon Stauber, who was injured in the second period and replaced by Dylan Wells. Another injury in net with the top netminder on the IceHogs’ roster currently in Chicago creates a tough trickle-down of need. We’ll see if Stauber is good to go soon.
- Minnesota-Duluth picked up a big win on Saturday night and Blackhawks prospects filled out the highlight package. Dominic James scored twice to lead the offense over Cornell.
- Defenseman Wyatt Kaiser also had a fantastic goal. I’ve written a fair amount about the two Blackhawks’ prospects at UMD because there’s a lot to like about both of their games. Kaiser could be a really nice surprise as a possible top-four defenseman in the NHL in the not-too-distant future after being a third-round pick in 2020. And James, a sixth-round pick in 2022, showed well at the World Juniors in August and could be a nice player as well.
- Wanna see a little Landon Slaggert‘s Halloween best? Notre Dame put it out there on Saturday.
- Finally, Bear down!