The Blackhawks are in Boston tonight for a rematch of the 2013 Stanley Cup Fi…. yeah, not so much. There are a few players left on the Boston roster from nine years ago, but the only two left on the Chicago roster are Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. But I’m definitely excited to watch the Toews-Bergeron matchup tonight.
- HB, 88! Kaner turns 34 today.
- Off the top, a couple lineup notes. After practice on Friday, head coach Luke Richardson said Ian Mitchell will draw into the lineup on Saturday in place of… Caleb Jones. Filip Roos will also be in the lineup in Boston against a Bruins team that comes in undefeated on home ice.
- Richardson wouldn’t commit to one of his defensemen being on a top power play unit, saying it would probably be up to who was playing well or who was more fresh, but he’d like to get Mitchell some work on that special teams unit.
- Caleb Jones has had a few rough games in a row, hitting bottom with a minus-five rating in the Blackhawks’ 5-2 loss to St. Louis earlier this week. Richardson just wants him to get a night to reset and be ready for Pittsburgh on Sunday.
- Speaking of Sunday, Richardson said he hopes forward Tyler Johnson could be in the lineup for the home match with the Pens. Tyler’s been skating with the team for about a week and has ramped up the contact and pressure he’s put on his sprained ankle and it’s about time for him to be back in game action.
- How about THIS for a panel discussion: Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Patrick Sharp talking about playing with Marian Hossa with Eddie Olczyk as the emcee? Yeah, I’ll be there in a heartbeat! It starts in the atrium at 3:50 tomorrow. If they only have 20 minutes devoted to this collection of starts, they might want to start introducing them at 3:30 to get the ovation over with.
- Mark Lazerus at The Athletic wrote a really good piece on Saturday lending some perspective to the development curve for defensemen, with the swap of 23-year-old Ian Mitchell into the lineup for 25-year-old Caleb Jones coming in Boston today. I have tried a number of times here and on social media (and at my previous site) to remind people that defensemen making the NHL as a teenager or even 20-year-old isn’t common, and establishing himself as a bona fide NHL regular before 23 is commonplace. From the Laz story:
At 25, [Caleb]Jones is the same age as Johnny Oduya was when he finally became a full-time NHLer. Mitchell is just a year older than Duncan Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson were when they broke in for good. Players like Seth Jones and Brent Seabrook, who were full-timers by 19 and 20, respectively, are the exception, not the rule.
- This is really good for all of us to keep in mind, not only now with Mitchell (and Roos for that matter) but also as we all put the hype train on the likes of Alec Regula, Alex Vlasic, Isaak Phillips, and more recent picks like Kevin Korchinski, Ethan Del Mastro, Nolan Allan and Sam Rinzel.
- This is also why the Blackhawks’ front office preached patience when talking about a rebuild timeline. GMKD knows the bounty of defensemen in the organization might be very good in time. But they need that time to truly be ready. Even Duncan Keith, arguably the greatest defenseman in franchise history, needed time before he broke in.
- Finally, at least the Blackhawks’ star players are buying into their head coach this season. It looks like that might be an issue for the Bulls right now.