Did you survive Cyber Monday? I get emails whenever someone in our house buys something on Amazon, so let’s just say my phone notified me of every member of my extended family’s Christmas presents between Thursday night and when I fell asleep last night. All I want for Christmas is a Blackhawks win (and some new Airpods and maybe a Starbucks gift card or 12… ). Let’s jump into Tuesday morning’s bullets.
- Here’s your non-Blackhawks Goal of the Night from Monday. Reminder: Tage Thompson is 6-7 before he puts skates on. Wow!
- The Blackhawks didn’t practice on Monday, so I’m waiting to see if Jarred Tinordi or Sam Lafferty are ready to go when they hit the ice today. Tinordi missed Sunday’s game (“a little banged up”) and Lafferty has missed the last two games with an upper-body issue. It will also be interesting to see if Tyler Johnson and/or Alex Stalock have progressed and are any closer to rejoining the lineup.
- Ben Pope shared a really fun story about Reese Johnson yesterday. I always laugh when prospects are asked what the first big thing is they’ll buy when they sign their rookie deal. Usually it’s a new car; sometimes it’s a house for the parents. When Reese signed a two-year extension with the Blackhawks, his first with fully guaranteed NHL money attached to it, he bought… a farm. 37 acres to be exact. Apparently he loves the outdoor life.
‘‘I never grew up on a farm, but I always loved being outside and I have lots of buddies that farmed and lived on acreages,’’ Johnson told Pope. ‘‘I always thought it’d be super-cool to have your own chunk of land to invite friends and family out and host big dinners and smoke some good meat.’’
- With the Oilers coming to town tomorrow night, and some of the pieces the Blackhawks might be able/willing to move at some point this season, I found Elliotte Friedman’s 32 Thoughts television appearance interesting over the weekend. He said Edmonton is looking for affordable, physical depth forwards.
“One thing I think the Oilers are looking at is just some depth forwards who are edgy or can grind a little bit,” Friedman said. “I think there’s a feeling since Evander Kane went out that they’re a lot easier to play against and I think the Oilers are looking to see — they are tight against the cap — can they find a budget player or two that can make a forward in some of their forward depth.
- (Checks the Blackhawks’ payroll) “Hi, Ken Holland? It’s Chicago. Do you remember Jujhar Khaira? He was there a couple years ago? He knows your room fairly well? Yeah… so he’s a UFA after this season and has a $975,000 cap hit. Perhaps we could also interest you in a lightly used Boris Katchouk at $758,333 for this year and next season?”
- There’s a fairly big game tonight in the WHL. Colton Dach and the Kelowna Rockets will face off against Connor Bedard and the Regina Pats. While Blackhawks fans might be interested in seeing how Dach performs against Bedard’s squad, it’s also worth watching this game to keep an eye on one of Dach’s teammates: Andrew Cristall. He hasn’t been in the conversation with Bedard at the top of the 2023 NHL Draft, but he’s a legit scorer who will absolutely be in play in the top half of the draft. (Remember: Chicago owns Tampa’s first-round pick in 2023 assuming it isn’t in the top ten overall from the Brandon Hagel trade.)
- College hockey has a new No. 1. Minnesota jumps Denver into the top spot, with St. Cloud State staying at three this week. Boston University made a big jump back into the top ten and the biggest climber was Michigan State, up five spots to No. 11.
- The Blackhawks have prospects at Nos. 2, 3, 6 (except Frank Nazar isn’t playing), 7, 10, 12, 17 and 20.
- Starring at Michigan this season is freshman center Adam Fantilli, who is putting up potentially historic numbers. Which brings us back to the “why are the Blackhawks bad?” conversation. I profiled Fantilli all the way back in September as a stud who would be a tremendous “consolation prize” if the Blackhawks don’t end up with the top pick next summer.
- Finally, tis the season for us to be considering a star leaving town. Now only on the ice, but apparently on the diamond as well. With full apologies to my colleague Patrick Flowers, the White Sox watched their veteran leader walk away for nothing yesterday. He didn’t win three championships in Chicago, but José Abreu was the heart and soul of the Sox. Now, he’s headed to Houston; Abreu signed a three-year, $60 million deal to join the defending champions. Brett had thoughts about the Cubs not signing the veteran first baseman (which I tend to agree with).