Tampa's in Town, Bedard's Ridiculousness at the World Juniors, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Tampa’s in Town, Bedard’s Ridiculousness at the World Juniors, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

The Blackhawks will look to pick up their first win since before Christmas tonight when the fightin’ Brandon Hagels arrive at the United Center. Tampa comes in one of the best teams in the NHL (again) this season, the Blackhawks find themselves looking up at 31 other teams in the standings. So why not bet on a miracle, right? (Do not bet on the Blackhawks.)

  • I think every sports fan in the world was at a loss for words last night when the scene at Monday Night Football came to their attention. I was watching the final World Juniors game of the night (more below) and flipped over after that crazy ending to see something I never dreamt would happen. I played football in high school and college and absolutely love the game. But moments like last night give any parent pause.
  • My heart is absolutely broken for Damar Hamlin and his family and I’m praying that he can recover to be a healthy 24-year-old. Forget football. Just to be there for his family.
  • And I’m sure this will be one of those rare instances that make players in every sport ask questions about emergency response protocols in their sport. Earlier this year we saw a scary injury when Edmonton’s Evander Kane was cut by a skate blade and he received life-saving medical care at the rink. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes to make sure the worst case scenario can be treated. But I don’t think anyone could have dreamt last night’s scene would ever happen.
  • In case you had forgotten, the Blackhawks own three of Tampa’s top draft picks in the next two drafts thanks to a couple trades. So it’s worth us keeping a little bit of attention on how the Bolts are performing, especially when the playoffs start.
  • Brandon Hagel comes into the game tonight with 14 goals and 14 assists in 35 games this season. Which is right about where he should be after scoring 25 total goals last year 77 games between Chicago and Tampa. To his credit, Taylor Raddysh has scored 10 goals for the Blackhawks this season. But the focus of that trade was clearly about the picks.
  • Yesterday’s World Junior Championship games were filled with drama. The second game of the day saw Sweden dramatically came back in the third period and won on a short-handed goal from Blackhawks’ prospect and Sweden captain Victor Stjernborg inside the final minute of the third period.
  • Not to be outdone in any way, the nightcap featured the home team in Canada against a Slovak roster that was ready for the smoke. And they wanted all of it. The game was chippy, it had it’s share of whacks and cross-checks and mouths running and emotions. Canada took a lead, and gave it back. It took overtime for a decision, and it came off the stick of Connor Bedard to cap a three-point night that put him on top of his country’s all-time leaderboard for points in this tournament, passing Hall of Famer Eric Lindros. His performance — that included ten shots — was marvelous. The OT GWG? Ridiculous.
  • Bedard set (count them) five records in total last night. He also set a new record for the most points by a Canadian in a single tournament with 21, took over the Canadian record with 13 assists in a single WJC, and passed Jaromir Jagr for the most points by a player aged 18 or younger.
  • Again, we should not be asking who the No. 1 pick is in the 2023 NHL Draft. We should be crossing our fingers, toes, rubbing our magic lamps and doing whatever else brings you good mojo/luck to help the Blackhawks win the top pick.
  • The Blackhawks prospect pool is well represented in the first college poll of the new calendar year. They have players at Nos. 2, 4, 6, 7 (except Frank Nazar isn’t playing), 11, 12 and 18.
  • The IceHogs announced Saturday that goalie Arvid Söderblom is expected to miss 2-3 weeks with a groin injury he suffered during the first period of their game on Dec. 28. So let’s all cross our fingers the Blackhawks don’t have another injury issue (or two) on their NHL roster for a couple weeks while they’re at home.
  • The NHL announced before yesterday’s Winter Classic at Fenway Park that next year’s edition will be between the two most recent additions to the league. The Seattle Kraken will host the Vegas Golden Knights. That should be a good one!
  • Finally, because there’s a chance someone on the Lightning has a big night tonight, the Bulls were on the wrong end of a historic offensive performance last night.

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