The Blackhawks put an end to their losing streak with an overtime win. They were outplayed most of the night in every aspect of the game, but they competed.
This team has done that in almost every game this season (with the two exceptions being the opener in Denver and Tuesday night against the Islanders). They don’t quit, and that’s a reflection of really good character in the room and really good coaching. So props to Luke Richardson, his staff and the players for having the intestinal fortitude to make games hard every night.
- How the heck did the Blackhawks win last night? His name is Arvid Söderblom. I argued before the season began that he’s the best goaltender in the organization (he is, still, by the way). But the two veterans on the NHL roster sent him to Rockford. He’s been forced into action because of injuries and been simply marvelous. Congrats to him for his first NHL win. He was awesome.
- Look, last night’s game wasn’t the most exciting performance, and it certainly wasn’t a classic Blackhawks-Kings battle like we were treated to early last decade when these two teams dominated the Western Conference. But it came down to the superstars making plays, and Jonathan F***ing Toews did it again.
- Toews had a brutally bad night at the dot, winning only 3 of 16 faceoffs in regulation. But he came onto the ice for one faceoff in overtime — and won it. Then he won a battle to get the puck, and worked to get himself into position to score the overtime game-winner. He’s got seven (7!) goals already this season. It’s been one helluva start to the year for a guy some people told us had nothing left in the tank.
- A couple more Toews thoughts. First, the NHL shared a note that makes you wonder if his nickname should be “Mr. Overtime” instead of Captain Serious.
- And Phillip Danault, one of this generation’s top “one that got away” players for Blackhawks fans, had a great night in the faceoff circle last night. He emerged as a bona fide top center in Montreal and got the bag from the Kings. Before last night’s game he credited Toews for his development as a center.
- By the way, do you think Kyle Davidson laughs every time he watches Jason Dickinson do something significant? Chicago’s GM took advantage of the Canucks trying to dump salary and got a second-round pick with Dickinson for Riley Stillman, and all Dickinson has done is produce. He scored five goals in 62 games last year in Vancouver. He has four in nine games in Chicago this season. Early huge win for Davidson.
- We’ve seen new players and coaches/managers make appearances at the United Center before, and Thursday night was another example. After being introduced as the new manager of the White Sox earlier in the day, Pedro Grifol took in a hockey game.
- In honor of last night being Hockey Fights Cancer night at the United Center, I jumped into the ol’ Throwback Thursday machine to remind the kids that there was once a No. 19 on the Blackhawks who came from North Dakota and won a Selke Trophy in this town before Toews. Troy Murray was a tremendous center in his own right. And he’s become a fabulous broadcaster as well. But, more than anything, he’s a class act. We’re fortunate to have Troy in this town.
- Jaromir Jagr is a legend as much off the ice as he is on it. And he reminded us of that reality on Thursday when he paid… “tribute” to the Pens wearing their throwbacks.
- To some, Dominic Basse is the “other” Blackhawks goaltending prospect playing college hockey right now. But he’s off to a great start to the season at St. Cloud State — one of the top ranked teams in the nation. On Thursday, the USHL named him the Goaltender of the Month for October. (We’re also noting Adam Fantilli here because, you know, 2023 draft stuff.)
- Alexander Ovechkin is squarely in the conversation of the greatest goal scorers in NHL history, and on Thursday night he moved up the all-time leaderboard. With goal No. 786 he is now tied with Mr. Hockey himself for a remarkable NHL record. Pretty amazing stuff from the Great Eight.
- There was a lot of conversation on the Twitters yesterday about Auston Matthews. As you can see in the video breakdown below, posted by former NHL player Mike Rupp.
- Here’s another take that I happen to agree with, not just because I’ve worked with Dave Pagnotta at The Fourth Period for more than a decade but also because I think he’s on point with a measured response.
- Former Blackhawk Andrew Shaw, who knew a thing or two about when to dance, weighed in. Shaw was a guy on the Blackhawks who often jumped in when someone took a shot at one of his teammates. Him pointing specifically at “leadership” is an interesting part of his response.
- Flyers coach John Tortorella had some thoughts (surprise!) and, as usual, didn’t have a filter when sharing them with the media.
- My take: after he took exception with a hit on Patrick Kane from behind the other night, Max Domi made it pretty clear. There are a couple guys on the Blackhawks you don’t hit like that (he specifically mentioned Kane and Toews). And while Kane isn’t going to drop the mitts very often, he rarely backs away from the action. What Matthews did is a terrible look. In fact, it’s a way to have other guys on your team — who are protecting you and coming to your defense — get hurt when other bodies jump into the mess. Is this a cultural problem in Toronto? I think that talk is part of that media market. But, again, to just laugh and watch everyone else on the ice go after it (when you’re a big human being) isn’t the play here. Sorry, Auston.
- Finally, happy birthday to a legit GOAT. Can’t wait for him to enter the Hall of Fame.