We kicked off our game-free Friday with some fun on Facebook and Twitter. The Blackhawks have a long, storied history (nearing 100 years) with some incredible players. So, if you could build a lineup (in a salary cap world) who would you take? Jump into the comments or let us know on your social media platform of choice what your $20 lineup would be.
What’s my dream lineup on a $20 budget? I’ll go with a forward line of Al Secord – Jonathan Toews – Steve Larmer (#retire28) with Brent Seabrook and Keith Magnusson on the back end and Tony Esposito in net.
- I just want to dig into the Blackhawks win from last night a little. Consider: the last time the Blackhawks won a regular-season game in Philly was 1996. The game-winning goal last night came from Reese Johnson — who was born in 1998.
- Other skaters in last night’s Blackhawks lineup who weren’t born yet the last time the organization won a regular-season game in Philly: Caleb Jones, Taylor Raddysh, Ian Mitchell, MacKenzie Entwistle and Philipp Kurashev.
- I made Reese Johnson the No. 1 star of the game last night, but check this out. He had a really good game beyond just scoring his fourth career NHL goal — and having it hold up as the game-winner.
- Scott Powers at The Athletic wrote about the impact Seth Jones‘ improved play has had on the Blackhawks’ recent stretch of wins. Since he was paired with Jake McCabe (who many, including me, would argue has been Chicago’s most consistent player this year), Seth has played a much better game and the analytics have shown the improvement. But Seth isn’t a numbers guy; he cares more about feel.
- Here’s what McCabe told Powers about working with Seth:
“I think we’ve both been skating pretty well as far as our gaps have been really good,” McCabe said. “We’re reading off each other. We’re being aggressive. That first goal against tonight I was probably a little too aggressive. We’ve found some camaraderie as far as breaking out the puck, reading off each other and just having really good pressure points and not spending too much time in our D-zone. I think it starts with that. And then obviously he’s a special player when he’s down in the offensive zone. It’s been going good for a little while here, so just want to keep continuing on with that.”
- This was a fun, interesting read from earlier this week at Adjusted Hockey. He frames the conversation around a couple former Red Wings — Mike Vernon and Chris Osgood — but former Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford comes up in the discussion. One of the crazy stats he pointed out: since 1980, the same number of goalies have won multiple Stanley Cups as have won just one (12).
- The chart below is included in the article. Pidutti explains Goals Saved Above Average (GSAA)as “the number of goals saved (or allowed) vs. the league average save percentage on the same number of shots. An average goaltending performance in a season or playoff season is therefore zero goals above average.” Crawford was so freaking good during the 2013 Cup run (should have won the Conn Smythe in my humble opinion), but you can see this metric doesn’t hold up his ’15 run as well.
- After deliberations, Pidutti makes a pretty good case for Crawford to be among the list of netminders with multiple rings who aren’t going to make the Hockey Hall of Fame. But hey, we’ll always have Corey’s F-bomb from the rally.
- Yesterday, fan voting opened up for college hockey’s version of the Heisman Trophy, the Hobey Baker Award. Yeah, there are 82(!) candidates on the ballot, but four of them are Blackhawks’ prospects. Also on the ballot: University of Michigan freshman center — and potential No. 2 overall pick in the 2023 NHL Draft — Adam Fantilli.
- The NHL named the 12 All-Stars as voted on by the fans last night. It’s crazy to me that this will be Artemi Panarin’s first all-star game! As you might have assumed, the Blackhawks did not have a second player voted into the game. Colorado and the New York Rangers had two more players added to their divisional rosters. And how about adding Auston Matthews and David Pastrnak?
- The NHL also revealed the throwback-inspired All-Star Game sweaters. They’re going with just Eastern and Western Conference names, and all four teams will have dark and light options (hello sales!) so if we get the same conference in the final one team can switch. What do you think? I love them. Now if only they said Campbell and Wales…
- The Buffalo Sabres retired Ryan Miller’s number last night. Miller is a USA Hockey Hall of Famer who had a terrific career in Buffalo… and was also a fixture in ridiculous Patrick Kane trade rumors for years. So, in honor of his banner going up, why not dust one off for old time’s sake?
- Finally, the Bulls won a game in France yesterday afternoon (our time). After the game, one young fan got the chance to talk to one of Chicago’s superstars — and it was fabulous.