Blackhawks: Exciting Homestand Finale, Stalock Concern, More

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Exciting Homestand Finale, Stalock Concern, Provorov Drama in Philly, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

If you’re waking up this morning thinking the Blackhawks just accepted the L from a desperate, trying-to-make-the-playoffs Buffalo Sabres team last night, THINK AGAIN. Two goal deficits in the third period are not safe in this town… if you play as little defense as the Sabres did last night. Seth Jones brought the heroics with the game-tying and OT game-winning goals and Philipp Kurashev had what I submit was the best, most complete game of his NHL career.

  • The game was the finale of the Blackhawks’ seven-game, 17-day, calendar year-starting homestand. Chicago finished the homestand with a 4-3-0 record… and are now third in the Connor Bedard Sweepstakes. Yup, the Blackhawks aren’t the worst team in the league today. So… how do we feel about that?
  • With news on Tuesday morning — just before the morning skate — that Alex Stalock was dealing with concussion symptoms again, there is concern for the Blackhawks’ goaltender. He’s dealt with a lot of health issues just to get back to the NHL this season, and he missed six weeks earlier this season after he suffered the first concussion of his career against the Islanders. His first full practice after returning from an illness that cost him a few games was Monday. He had an awkward collision with Jarred Tinordi but was able to finish practice, but apparently his symptoms came back.
  • If you’ve read or watched anything from Stalock this year off the ice you know he’s an engaging, light-hearted guy who has fun. He’s also climbed to the top of the Blackhawks’ depth chart between the pipes and been really good when he’s been healthy on the ice this year. So this sucks all the way around. Here’s hoping he’s able to get back on the ice soon.
  • Max Domi has become such an important part of the personality of the Blackhawks this year. On the ice, he’s fiery and passionate. Off the ice he’s always positive, ready and willing to give advice or help someone. And his persistent effort has become emblematic of this year’s team — with an organization that gave him a chance to bet on himself.
  • Good news for everybody out there in (digital) radio listener land! The NHL and SiriusXM Radio announced a seven-year extension on their agreement on Tuesday. I listen to this network more than probably any radio station while driving (note: Spotify is not a “radio station”) so keeping puck on the airwaves is a beautiful thing. And, having been a guest a lot of the shows on the channel, there are a lot of great people on the network and I’m happy for them more than anything else.
  • Tuesday night, the Philadelphia Flyers hosted their Pride Night. The Flyers have been among the more accepting and engaging organizations with the LGBTQ+ community, with players Scott Laughton and James van Riemsdyk serving as ambassadors and leading specific initiatives around the event.
  • Last night, Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov opted to not participate in the pre-game warm-up skate. He did not participate in the pre-game warm-up skate because the Flyers were wearing rainbow jerseys for Pride Night. His reasoning is below (see tweeted video). But he did dress for the game; in fact, he led the Flyers in ice time at 22:45.
  • When asked about why he was able to skip the warm-up but still play in the game, Flyers coach John Tortorella deferred to it being his convictions and allowing the player to “stay true to himself.” Torts has a checkered past when it comes to respecting his players’ perspectives. In 2016, he told ESPN at the World Cup of Hockey: “If any of my players sit on the bench for the national anthem, they will sit there the rest of the game.” He backpeddled on that stance in 2020, saying he would want to engage in conversation and take the matter to the team.
  • While I understand and can appreciate that Provorov says that his Russian Orthodox religion is the root of his stance — note: Red Wings star Pavel Datsyuk had a similar issue back in 2013 — I also believe that you can make choices while understanding there are consequences for those actions. And, if the Flyers were sincerely celebrating Pride Night, the seventh defenseman should have dressed out of respect for Provorov not wanting to participate in the evening’s events — and, more importantly, the LGBTQ+ community that was the focus of the events before and during the game off the ice.
  • The Flyers organization could have handled it better, too. Many media members expected more from a respected organization.
  • Note: the Flyers’ next game is Thursday night in Philadelphia. Against the Blackhawks.
  • On a more hockey-related and positive note, last night Dryden Hunt scored a goal eight seconds into his first shift for the Maple Leafs. Toronto came back and beat the Panthers in a game that will likely get Florida head coach Paul Maurice fined (he complained about the Leafs getting ten power plays in the game). Why do we care about Hunt’s goal? Because it isn’t very common for a player to score a goal for three different teams in the same season.
  • Finally, the Bulls are in Paris. The City of Lights is also known to be one of the more romantic places in the world. So of course Derrick Jones Jr. went for it and took advantage of the opportunity to put a ring on it while on the trip. Congrats to the happy couple indeed!

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