Mitchell Sent Down, Lineup TBD, Kirby's Return, Hockey Mourns Salming, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Mitchell Sent Down, Lineup TBD, Kirby’s Return, Hockey Mourns Salming, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

Well, I survived the football game yesterday (not by much). I’m pretty sure I pulled every muscle below the waist possible, but I’ll be able to chirp the kids about my three (count ’em, 3) interceptions until next year’s game. It just might take me until Tuesday to walk normal again. In any event, I’ll be doing my best to talk around the United Center this afternoon for an Original Six matinee on Black Friday.

  • Ian Mitchell was sent back to Rockford on Thursday. Happy Thanksgiving, eh? It made sense for him to get back to the IceHogs so he can skate more minutes; the Hawks are still carrying seven defensemen with him back in Rockford (who also have a bloated roster). I still think they need to do something to move a body or two off the blue line(s).
  • Sam Lafferty was one of the Blackhawks’ skaters who wasn’t 100 percent at the end of Wednesday night’s game in Dallas; he didn’t appear in the third period. Colin Blackwell also got the day off from practice on Thursday. With at least two forwards in less than ideal shape, it sounds like the Blackhawks are going to wait until game time to decide who can go.
  • Kirby Dach returns to the United Center, and he’s having a terrific season for the Habs. With 17 points (4 goals, 13 assists) in 20 games, he’s playing well ahead of any pace he ever had with the Blackhawks. Of course Montreal stopped asking him to be a center, which helps. But how do we feel about a productive Dach skating well for someone else? I wrote about that recently, and it’s worth revisiting before today’s game.
  • Ben Pope chatted with Patrick Kane about a tough stretch on the calendar and his offensive struggles. The good news: Kane loves the game (obviously) and his body actually feels better than it did last year, when he played through a lot of discomfort to produce 92 points in 78 games. Understanding his body at this age is important, and he told Pope that’s something he’s working to improve.

“Obviously I’d love to have a little bit more production, but, to be honest with you, I feel better this year than I did last year,” he said. “You learn different things [over time] about your body and what’s going on and how to maintain it. [With] little injuries here and there, how to take care of them. I’m happy with the way things have gone so far this year with my body.”

  • Apparently they had significant enough problems in Nashville before today’s Colorado at Nashville game that the league has already postponed this one. No, not because of a COVID outbreak, but because of a break in a pipe. Whoops! (I’m wondering if Crash Davis was anywhere near Nashville overnight…)
  • The hockey world lost a legend on Thursday. Börje Salming, who had been fighting ALS for some time, lost that battle yesterday. Salming was a trailblazer for players from Sweden and became one of the greatest players in Maple Leafs’ history. He was a legitimate icon.
  • A couple weeks ago over the weekend that the Hockey Hall of Fame celebrated this year’s inductees, Salming made a a couple appearances at Leafs games. One was with a collection of other hall of famers. The other was a night on which they celebrated him specifically. Salming had lost the ability to speak, but his emotions were obvious. I’m not sure how you could watch either of those ceremonies without needing a kleenex. It was truly powerful to not only see his response, but see how other hall of famers and his former teammates love him to this day. He’ll be missed. RIP.

“It was his way of saying goodbye,” an emotional Darryl Sittler told NHL.com on Thursday. “To you, to the fans, to the city, to all of us.”

  • Finally, since the center position will get a lot of attention in today’s Blackhawks game why not stay with the idea and consider the Cubs’ needing a centerfielder this winter?


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