The Blackhawks host the Arizona Coyotes today. Talk about a sexy Friday night matchup at 1901 W Madison! Arizona comes in near the bottom of the league. Near enough that they can see the Blackhawks owning the cellar. If you’re looking for a good time, though, the Blackhawks have waived fees on all tickets the rest of the season. Come on out! Hit me up on Twitter if you’re there and say hey. Let’s talk some puck.
- Last night the NHL named every team’s representative in the 2023 All-Star Game. Yeah, they’re trying to eliminate another John Scott moment, so they’re taking the full roster build out of the fans’ hands and just telling us who will represent every team.
- Chicago’s representative is… defenseman Seth Jones. If we’re going based on players who you might represent the franchise longer than the next three months, I get it. But he has missed one of the three months of this season because of an injury (10 of 37 games entering Friday). He hasn’t been the Blackhawks’ best player this season. And neither Eastern Conference roster has a single defenseman so it wasn’t about roster construction, either.
- If I was putting the roster together, it would have been Jonathan Toews. He’s tied for the team lead with 11 goals and is leading the entire NHL in faceoff percentage (64.2), ahead of Patrice Bergeron, Bo Horvat and other great players. He’s back, and it would have been a nice look for him to get a trip to Florida for my birthday (which is when the ASG is being played). But he’d probably rather find a beach or a golf course and get away from the ice for three days.
- Canada won an absolute classic game against Czechia in overtime to clinch the gold medal in the World Junior Championship last night. The host team — who were technically the “road” team last night because they lost to Czechia in group play — took a two-goal lead to the third period. That lead evaporated in less than 60 seconds in the third period and there was drama. The two teams plays more than six minutes without a whistle in OT before a great give-and-go executed to perfection ended the game. It was an amazing game between two teams loaded with future NHL stars.
- You know what I absolutely, positively love to see? An image of Connor Bedard taking a victory lap with two prospects — Colton Dach and Kevin Korchinski — who were drafted by and have already signed with the Chicago Blackhawks after receiving their gold medals. Give me these three on the NHL roster at some point, please hockey gods!
- The United States beat Sweden in a wild bronze medal game. It was 1-0 after the first period and the two teams scored nine combined goals in the second period. That game also required overtime to finish, with Chaz Lucious completing his hat trick to clinch bronze for the US. Blackhawks prospect and Sweden captain Victor Stjernborg won nine of 24 faceoffs and skated 18:16 in the loss.
- Earlier this morning I broke down how the Blackhawks’ five (then four) prospects did in the tournament. The guy who impressed me the most was one of my top standout performers from all of the prospect practices and events and games from the preseason: Ethan Del Mastro. He was a workhorse on the blue line for Canada.
- Tonight at the United Center, many of us are excited to see Lukas Reichel make his Chicago debut this season. Head coach Luke Richardson guaranteed that both players who were called up on Wednesday will be in the lineup tonight, which means Brett Seney will make his Blackhawks debut.
- Seney signed a one-year deal with the Blackhawks and was sent to Rockford quickly during camp. He knew the role he was being asked to play in the organization when he signed and accepted it. And he’s been terrific for the IceHogs this season; he’s second in the AHL in points.
“He’s just been consistently good,” Richardson said after practice on Thursday. “That’s why they wanted to reward him. He’s just consistently a good player. You have to be if you’re second in scoring in the American League. It’s a good league, it’s a tough league. When you play like three in four nights and you’re traveling on a bus and on a commercial plane, it’s a tough league. So for a guy to do that, to be consistent, that’s a really good accomplishment for him.
“And he’s not a big, big guy. He’s just a smart player. He’s also offensive, too, which can help us right now.”
- Not big is right. He’s listed at 5-9 and 156 pounds. But he’s been productive this season and the Hawks are going to give him a shot at the show on Friday night.
- Finally, I do love some good free agent drama that doesn’t involve one of Chicago’s teams looking like clowns. And right now the Carlos Correa debacle continues to be the gift that keeps on giving.