I want to circle back to the performance last night from Petr Mrazek. The numbers at the end of the game (four goals against) won’t be as pretty as he would probably like, but the poor guy faced 35 shots in the first two periods. If you stop 44 shots, you should have done enough to pick a win. Unfortunately for Mrazek, his teammates put a season-low 14 shots on net last night. If you didn’t stay up to watch the game, Chicago’s offense would have put you to sleep.
- With losses in their last two contests — and a win last night from the Ducks — the Blackhawks inched closer to being back in the No. 2 spot in the Connor Bedard Sweepstakes. Chicago has two games in-hand on Anaheim, who are mere percentage points ahead of the Blackhawks for the second-best odds in the lottery.
- Yeah, this kid got the memo. The fan tweeted back at Charlie last night with a couple more photos. I’m not sure if we’ve already assigned him the number, but I do love how the name looks on the best jersey in professional sports.
- Tonight we’ll all be able to watch the 2023 Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, with Brent Seabrook behind the bench coaching the White Team. Bedard headlines a group of 40 of the top draft-eligible prospects in a showcase that Blackhawks fans should be all over. Reminder: Chicago has four picks in the first two rounds of the coming draft (and they haven’t started trading yet).
- The game is on NHL Network for those interested. The puck drops at 9 PM CT.
- Yes, there will be other celebrity coaches involved (including the Sedin brothers), but Seabrook has been working with the Vancouver Giants as a player development coach this year, but moves into a head coaching capacity tonight. I asked two of his former teammates, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, what they thought about him moving into coaching. And… what advice they might have for the players on his team tonight.
- Mark Lazerus made the trip to Vancouver for last night’s loss, and took a side trip over to catch up with Seabs. That’s what his teammates called him, and now that’s what the kids on the Vancouver Giants call him as a volunteer player development coach. It sounds like Seabrook is taking to the coaching thing, and it’s really great to hear he’s enjoying the game again after putting his body through hell on the ice as a player.
“He’s very passionate, and he loves the game,” Giants assistant coach Adam Maglio told Lazerus. “He works with the coaching staff and obviously he’s relatable to the players. So it’s a lot of one-on-one talks with guys, or we’ll utilize him for a team talk. He’s kind of a Swiss Army knife for us when he comes in.”
- While we’re all over the subject of Blackhawks legends who wore the number 7 in Chicago, big happy birthday wishes go out to Chris Chelios! Yeah, I fully recognize there are fans in this fine city that will never forgive the local legend for accepting a trade to Detroit. But he was a phenomenal captain in Chicago, won two Norris Trophies as a Blackhawk, and is one of the greatest American-born players in NHL history. Now, his daughter Caley is doing a great job all over the broadcasts of Blackhawks games and he’s even pinch hit in the radio booth. HB 7!
- Congrats to Luke Philp for making his NHL debut last night. He skated a team-low 8:45 last night, which was both a biproduct of the amount of special teams and Chicago’s offense struggling. He was credited with one hit in the game and had a couple nice plays in the offensive zone. With Tyler Johnson out for who know how long, he could get more ice time between now and the All-Star Break.
- My last thought on last night’s game: the Blackhawks lost a couple games early this month when head coach Luke Richardson thought the team played fairly well. In their last three games, they have one win they got away with because Jordan Binnington sucks. The terrible version of the offense returned. Love me some Ben Pope but I share this tweet from him not because he wrote a magnificent recap of last night’s cure for insomnia, but because the shot total history he mentions is… noteworthy.
- Finally, the other team in Chicago that already owns a No. 1 overall pick has options. A lot of them. And it’s going to make for an incredibly fun rumor mill for our team covering the Bears and the NFL in the coming months. Bear Down!