Two games on the weekend, two points in the standings… and two overtime/shootout losses. The Blackhawks were down a couple bodies this weekend but the bigger takeaway was that finishing the deal is going to be a work-in-progress for this team. They’re still competing every night, but they’ve now let three in a row go the wrong direction that could have been wins.
- The goal Andreas Athanasiou scored last night was the kind of stuff that makes you want a cigarette and a cold shower. Filthy dangles and the finish for the money. I’ve been hard on him at times because there have been some near misses and finishes that didn’t happen, but he’s settling in nicely and starting to put up numbers.
- The Blackhawks keep battling but came up short in the shootout on Sunday night against their division rivals from Minnesota. One battle that I absolutely appreciated was Max Domi jumping Tyson Jost after Jost put a dirty hit from behind on Patrick Kane. Kane was vulnerable and went down hard but got up ok. We haven’t seen that kind of fire from a guy on this roster standing up for a teammate after a suspect play in a few years so this one fired me up.
- Jonathan Toews was a beast last night. He won 15 of 18 faceoffs, scored his fifth goal of the season and put a team-leading three shots on net. It was interesting that he changed up his shootout approach against his friend Marc-André Fleury. Those two exchanged a smile earlier in the game when Fleury denied a Toews scoring chance. It’s just good to see a healthy, happy, productive Toews. The healthy and happy come first. But the production being there is also nice.
- There was some friendly concern for a former Blackhawk. Ryan Hartman dropped his mitts with Jarred Tinordi and, though he tried to throw a couple punches, the fight ended somewhat quietly. Hartman was clearly hurt, however; it appeared he went straight to the room with what appeared to be a shoulder issue. He did not return.
- Cue the Miley. Boris Katchouk came in like a wrecking ball last night and poor Freddie Hockey (can we do that with all of the Gaudreaus?) felt it.
- In case you missed it watching the Bears lose in Dallas or taking a nap or doing literally anything else with your Sunday afternoon, the Blackhawks are going to be without Seth Jones for 3-4 weeks because of a broken thumb suffered in the Hawks’ loss in Buffalo. It’s the third significant injury already this season and takes one of the leading ice time guys in the entire NHL out of the lineup. But missing bodies mean open doors to the next man up.
- From elsewhere in the NHL, this caught my eye last night. The Anaheim Ducks had some beautiful warmup jerseys for their Día de Muertos celebration on Sunday. The artist who designed them got to see his work on the sweaters in the dressing room. Pretty cool stuff.
- Finally, we’re focused a lot in this Blackhawks space on the development of young players. In Dallas yesterday, Bears fans saw their young quarterback take another step forward.