Richardson the Communicator, Toews Talks, All-Americans Impressed, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Richardson the Communicator, Toews Talks, All-Americans Impressed, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

The Blackhawks will put a cap on their calendar year-opening seven-game homestand tonight when the Buffalo Sabres invade the United Center. Buffalo was flat on home ice yesterday, losing 4-1 to the Florida Panthers. With the travel in between, we could see either a motivated team that wants to make up for a dud at home or, maybe, the same team that lacked enough giddyup yesterday in a matinee. For the Blackhawks… anything would be better than the loss to Seattle.

  • After Saturday night’s debacle against the Kraken, both Jonathan Toews and Max Domi talked about flushing a terrible performance and moving forward. The game was a departure from the strong efforts head coach Luke Richardson had liked in the previous five games; even though two of those were losses, he liked how the team had played. When he spoke after practice on Monday, Richardson was in line with his top two centers. That game is the past — and they’re leaving it there.
  • A few folks have asked me on Twitter why I feel so strongly that Richardson is the right coach for these Blackhawks (and into the future). After the Jeremy Colliton $#!+show, having a head coach who’s a clear communicator is wonderful. Having one that can admit mistakes, take ownership of them both privately and in front of the cameras, and who takes steps like this with valuable veterans is only going to make the Blackhawks a stronger team and organization. You have to appreciate the way Richardson is transparently helping this group of players come together and improve individually while trying to build the right culture in the room.
  • Ben Pope went on a deep dive into the slop I mean the Blackhawks’ offensive numbers for the first half of the season for the Chicago Sun-Times. I respect Pope’s work here but man this is a depressing read. As you might guess, the team with the worst point percentage in the NHL is at/near the bottom in every category possible. But there are a few notes in Pope’s piece that could provide hope for the near-term future, like the Seattle Kraken (who were bad last year) leading the NHL in goals per 60 minutes this year. The right additions and the right culture can change the script quickly. For Seattle, having Matty Beniers made a huge impact, too.
  • That burning smell you might sense coming from the Pacific northwest is the dumpster blaze in Vancouver. It certainly looks like there’s going to be a full-scale overhaul with the Canucks in the coming months. President of Hockey Ops Jim Rutherford, who has been successful in stops in Pittsburgh and Carolina before joining the Canucks, noted that the issues in the organization are much more significant than he initially thought when he spoke with the media on Monday.
  • Let’s keep in mind that the Blackhawks have done business with the Canucks recently. They stole Jason Dickinson in a trade that also included a second-round pick in 2024 for Riley Stillman in a cap dump before the season began. So there’s a decent relationship between Kyle Davidson’s office and the folks running the Canucks.
  • If he’s made available, I would be interested in the Blackhawks at least inquiring about Brock Boeser. The 25-year-old winger has a $6.65 million cap hit for two more years (the Blackhawks are going to need help getting to the floor in the coming years) and he’s young enough that he could help the Blackhawks for a few years. Buying right now might not be the Blackhawks’ priority, but the Blackhawks might be positioned to make a move like this with their cap flexibility this year and into the coming seasons.
  • Yesterday I wrote about how Rutherford’s comments about the trade market for their 27-year-old captain, center Bo Horvat, may tell us something about the value Chicago might be able to entertain between now and the deadline for some of their potentially available centers.
  • While we’re on the subject of potentially available centers in Chicago, the biggest name in that category is obviously Toews. But he has complete control of the situation by virtue of his full no-move clause. The longest tenured captain in Blackhawks history sat down with NBC Sports Chicago last week and spoke about where the team is right now, how he feels about his current game and that the future might bring. We shared that interview and grabbed some noteworthy comments from Toews earlier this morning.
  • On Monday afternoon the BioSteel All-American Game was played in Plymouth, Michigan. One of the players I was interested in watching was center Will Smith (not the Men In Black one), who is the No. 3–ranked prospect among North American skaters for the 2023 NHL Draft. He was named the player of the game and his team won the game. There’s a good chance he’s the fifth overall pick in the 2023 draft, so a player to keep in mind.
  • Another player who impressed — and who I’m going to keep in mind for the ’23 draft — was Danny Nelson (No. 22 North American skater). He’s listed at 6-3 and 202 pounds and projects as a mid-second round prospect (the Blackhawks have multiple picks in the second this year). He’s committed to play at Notre Dame next year, a program the Blackhawks know well and where Chicago has two prospects playing this season.
  • Finally, Patrick did magnificent work all weekend covering the NFL playoffs. And last night, while Dallas may have ended Tom Brady’s career with a stunning beat-down of the Bucs, the Big D stands for Drama this week. Will the Cowboys need to make a change at kicker during the playoffs? If the dictionary is trolling you, it might be time for an open tryout.

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