The Blackhawks didn’t get pummeled last night to the extent that they did in their first two games against the Jets this season. But that doesn’t make the 3-1 loss feel any better. Or the effort good enough. There were some questions and concerns about an effort that actually, in some ways, had the Blackhawks looking better against a really good Jets team than they had previously.
- So, about last night… head coach Luke Richardson appeared to be perturbed about the lack of motor from his roster in the first period. He went as far as to say they talked about that specifically going into the game against a team that has beaten the Blackhawks pretty handily twice already this year (4-0 and 7-2). The Blackhawks wanted to start the game hard and fast because the Jets played last night. The want didn’t translate to the ice, and that’s a problem.
- Richardson said after the game that Jarred Tinordi:
a) got into the lineup because Caleb Jones tweaked something in his hip at the morning skate and didn’t feel right when it was time to warm up,
b) told Richardson he was ready if needed. And he was needed, and
c) took a skate to the face during the first period and required extensive work to get it put back together, which is why he was late to be back on the bench in the second period after missing almost the entire first period. Richardson said there were “layers” of stitches and they’re going to keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t get infected or need any additional medical attention.
- Richardson took longer than usual to meet with the media after the game. He said he was checking on injured players (plural) and then had a conversation with the front office about all of the moving pieces that are coming with some of the players returning to the lineup. The Blackhawks have to keep two healthy goaltenders on the roster at all times and might have at least one back soon. They also now have eight defensemen on the NHL roster, although Caleb Jones (hip) and Tinordi (facial cut) have new physical issues. Richardson said roster decisions are coming soon.
- Seth Jones acknowledged the Blackhawks didn’t start well, also.
“I thought we came out slow in the first though. We weren’t very physical, we weren’t forechecking very much and they took it to us a little bit.”
- We’ll now wait and see what the Blackhawks will do with their roster. In net, it’s pretty clear that when one goaltender (either Petr Mrazek or Alex Stalock) is ready to come back, Jaxson Stauber will head back to Rockford. But on the blue line the Blackhawks may need to sent Ian Mitchell back, even though he’s played in the last two games (Filip Roos was a scratch on Friday night). If Roos has a contract clause that would allow his team in Sweden to recall him if he’s assigned to Rockford, that might complicate any desire the organization might have to get him some run in the AHL. When Tyler Johnson returns, that’s a whole other mess…
- Attendance was solid again last night. No, they aren’t filling the barn this season. But this is still better than I expected.
- If you didn’t know, the NHL has a roster freeze around Christmas every year. This year, the freeze is in effect for all players on an NHL active roster, injured reserve, or with non-roster and injured non-roster status starting at 11:59 p.m. (local time) Dec. 19 and running through 12:01 a.m. (local time) Dec. 28, with respect to waivers, trades and loans. If a team wants someone on the Blackhawks’ roster before that freeze, they now have ten (10) days to make that happen.
- Kane and the trade rumor mill came up again on the 32 Thoughts Podcast on Friday. It’s interesting that Elliotte Friedman mentions Kane chasing Stan Mikita‘s records as a reason to stay. Earlier this week Scott Powers at The Athletic noted that Kane said that was not weighing on his decision making process.
- The IIHF announced it’s 2023 Hall of Fame induction class on Friday. Blackhawks legend Cristobal Huet is included! Huet signed with the Blackhawks before the 2008-09 season and played the final two seasons of his NHL career in Chicago, posting a 46-29-8 record with the Hawks.
- It shaped up to be an interestingly quiet Friday night for Blackhawks prospects because five of them are training with Hockey Canada in advance of the upcoming World Juniors. So we couldn’t watch Ryan Greene skate with Boston University against Boston College (in a game that was absolutely blackout drunk…), no Colton Dach for Kelowna, no Kevin Korchinski or Nolan Allan for Seattle and no Ethan Del Mastro for Mississauga. But there were a few games to choose from out there…
- The biggest prospect game that had my eye was in Duluth. The Denver Pioneers are rolling right now in the college ranks, and their offense has benefitted from the insertion of Blackhawks prospect Aidan Thompson into their forward group. He’s mentioned in their pre-weekend notes before DU plays two other Blackhawks prospects, Dominic James and Wyatt Kaiser, with Minnesota-Duluth this weekend.
Two of Denver’s freshmen, Aidan Thompson and Jared Wright, have settled in nicely over the past month and have provided solid depth scoring for the squad. Thompson is on his second, three-game point streak of the season (one goal and three assists), while Wright tallied his second multi-goal effort of the year on Saturday and has seven points in the last six contests (five goals and two assists).
- The first goal of the night? James with an absolute missile. You love to see it. DU came back from a 2-0 deficit and won the game 3-2 in OT, however.
- Last night the IceHogs unveiled their new alter ego: the Screw City IceHogs. And can I just ask out loud how the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate got better alternate jerseys this season than the NHL team? These are pretty solid… and don’t look like Adidas used Microsoft Paint to create their “Reverse Retro” jerseys.
- Finally, I feel like we didn’t get this treatment for the Blackhawks’ dynasty team(s) because the core just slowly moved on. Either trades or injuries took the Blackhawks’ entire core away except 19 and 88. And now we’re all waiting to learn their futures.