Matthews Returns, Stalock Update, Seth’s Buy-In, Gamer Max, and Other Blackhawks Bullets
Good news for the Maple Leafs — and the tank — before tonight’s game. Auston Matthews is back after missing the last three weeks with a lower-body issue. Matthews has 53 points in 47 games this season and would look absolutely lovely in a Blackhawks’ sweater when he hits UFA in a couple summers. Yes, that’s me throwing it out there (again… been saying it since the end of last season when the fire sale became apparent). That is my “pretty please, Santa” wish list No. 1 in free agency in two years. When, you know, the Blackhawks have zero (0) forwards currently on their NHL roster under contract.
- Here’s your Wednesday tank update. The Blackhawks remain in the No. 2 spot with two games in-hand on teams 1 and 3. And, banged up in the second half of a back-to-back against a Leafs team that’s getting an elite scorer back, it certainly feels like they might creep closer to that one spot by this time tomorrow. And I meant to say seven teams other than the Blackhawks with a sub-.500 point percentage.
- We got a brief update on goaltender Alex Stalock after the morning skate on Tuesday. While not a great update — certainly not necessarily encouraging — it’s good to know that it isn’t necessarily a concussion. Though this is clear as mud…
- Mark Lazerus is on a heater this week. This morning he shared an article on Seth Jones adjusting to the reality he didn’t sign up for in Chicago.
“It’s not something that, a few years ago, I thought was going to happen,” Jones told Laz. “This wasn’t really in the plans. When I looked at our team, I saw we had a bunch of young players that we could build around. And now it’s kind of taken a turn.”
- Seth is the longest-signed player on the roster — by four years. He’s in the first year of an eight-year deal with a no-move clause and a cap hit the Blackhawks probably couldn’t move if they wanted to — or he wanted them to. He told Laz he hopes the franchise turns the corner sooner than the front office has told us (4-5 years) and is putting on a brave face. But it’s understandable if he’s frustrated that a team with so many good pieces 19 months ago is now in position to have a top-three pick in the 2023 draft.
- Even though we haven’t seen him in two weeks, Jonathan Toews‘ name came up on NHL Network last night when they were discussing potential second-line center fits for Carolina (a team that has also been linked to Patrick Kane recently). They have plenty of cap space to do something interesting with Max Pacioretty on the shelf for the rest of the year.
- Max Domi dusted off his video game skills and got after it on NHL 23. This is a fun video. Domi is just a marvelous personality who is so engaging all the time.
- If you’re interested in watching one of the Blackhawks’ top defense prospects on Friday night, Ethan Del Mastro and the Sarnia Sting will face the London Knights on NHL Network at 6 PM CT.
- Ready to feel really old? Nick Leddy skated in his 900th career game last night. Yes, the artist formerly known as the Blackhawks’ young defenseman who jumped into the NHL when Brian Campbell got hurt. He earned himself a nice run in Chicago reached a big milestone last night. Congrats!
- Finally, I love the confidence of young players that buy into the direction of their franchise. And it absolutely sounds like the Bears have a group of players who are ready to turn them from the worst team in the league into a contender ASAP. I’m looking forward to the day we hear these comments from young Blackhawks.