Colton Dach Injured, Korchinski Part of Bedard History, Phillips Impresses, and Other New Year's Day Blackhawks Bullets

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Colton Dach Injured, Korchinski Part of Bedard History, Phillips Impresses, and Other New Year’s Day Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

Welcome to 2023, Chicago Blackhawks fans! Will this be the calendar year that changes everything for the franchise? Will Connor Bedard hear his named called first by Kyle Davidson in Nashville this summer? There’s still half a season to play and a draft lottery to determine the answer to that all-important question. And those games start today with the Sharks swimming into the United Center for a New Year’s Day battle with the dead last Blackhawks.

Because of an important injury, I’m going to start our first bullets of the new year in Canada at the World Juniors.

  • Before we get to the history that was made, unfortunately a Blackhawks’ prospects were dealt what appears to be a tough injury. And this one hurts a little extra. Colton Dach initiated a hit early in the third period and went down hard. As he struggled to get off the ice you could hear him scream during the broadcast. They were calling it a shoulder during the rest of the game; Dach went straight to the room with assistance and did not return.
  • This one hurts on so many levels. Not only is Colton trying to establish himself as his own player, but he’s already dealt with two concussions this season. And now getting hurt at the World Juniors is a nightmare scenario because his brother, Kirby, broke his write in a tune-up game before his final tournament opportunity.
  • Later in the third period, the Blackhawks’ top pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, Kevin Korchinski, scored his first goal of the tournament. It was an absolute beauty from a bad angle.
  • The primary assist on the goal went to, you guessed it, Connor Bedard. And it was a historic assist (his fourth in the game). I could get used to that combination for a long time in Chicago…
  • Nolan Allan had the second assist on Korchinski’s goal. Ethan Del Mastro also had an assist in the game. The biggest concern is Dach’s injury for Canada, who dominated Sweden to advance to the quarterfinals with another big win.
  • During the 2022 calendar year, the Blackhawks posted a 25-50-12 record (.356 point percentage, 62 points) which was the third-worst in the entire NHL. So yeah, I’m thrilled to flush twice and forget last year ever happened for the Hawks.
  • The Blackhawks’ loss on Saturday afternoon was arguably their most embarrassing performance of the year. They were completely skated out of the barn by a team that was only one win ahead of them in the standings — a team they beat easily eight days earlier. That one shouldn’t sit well with most of the guys in the room.
  • But we’re seeing some indications that Isaak Phillips belongs in the NHL. He’s been pretty good since he got called up this time and was rewarded with his first NHL point. As you can see below, he also graded out the best on the roster.
  • When Jarred Tinordi is ready to come back, the Blackhawks are going to have to make a decision on their blue line. They’re already healthy scratching Ian Mitchell way more than they should, and Phillips showing that he’s one of the six best defensemen in the organization right now complicates matters. Maybe Davidson can find someone to take a veteran off his hands early so both Mitchell and Phillips can stick in the lineup for a while down the stretch?
  • Dominic James scored the first goal of the afternoon for Minnesota-Duluth, who won the game 2-1 to close out their calendar year.
  • Notre Dame faced Alaska on New Year’s Eve (because why not?) and Landon Slaggert had a pretty defensive play that turned into a scoring chance late in the first period.
  • Finally, this dunk was entirely too emphatic to keep out of the bullets to start the new year. Let’s have a great one, folks!

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