Kane Practices, Kaiser’s Improvement, College Tournaments Heat Up, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Caleb Jones Chicago Blackhawks
Caleb Jones Chicago Blackhawks

Despite having already played two games with the Rangers, Patrick Kane was able to skate in his first practice with his new team on Tuesday. He talked to the media about trying to fit in and you could tell just from the way he spoke about “this team” vs. “my team” that he’s still trying to reconcile no longer being a Blackhawk. All involved parties were glad to be able to skate together without a game taking place.

“You obviously expect a lot of yourself coming into a good team, a great organization, great players that you’re going to be playing with,” Kane said. “First couple of games probably could have went a little better, but then you take a step back and look at the whole situation, what’s been going on the past couple weeks, 16 years in one place, just getting acclimated to the normalization of a new team. I’m trying to give myself a little bit of a break, but as time goes on here, I have to try to fit in more and more.”

  • Briefly updating the Bad for Bedard Sweepstakes standings after a wild Tuesday night — that included Columbus blowing a 4-1 lead in the third period against Pittsburgh (they still got one point in OT). The bottom four are pretty well established at this point but the question is which team can lose more than the others. The Blackhawks have game(s) in-hand on most of the other teams with a sub-.500 point percentage entering Wednesday.
  • The NCHC tournament begins this weekend with Aidan Thompson and the top-seeded Denver Pioneers looking to add a conference tournament run to their regular season championship. Blackhawks fans will also be interested in the 4-5 matchup of Wyatt Kaiser, Dominic James and Minnesota-Duluth against Dominic Basse and St. Cloud State.
  • Thompson was denied a spot on the conference’s All-Rookie Team, which was announced on Tuesday. That isn’t a terrible surprise given his season began late because of the injury he suffered over the summer. Still, Thompson was one of four freshmen to average a point-per-game in the NCHC this season. Pretty impressive stuff.
  • Ben Pope at the Chicago Sun-Times wrote about Kaiser elevating his game his game this season thanks, in large part, to an overhauled training program. I recently wrote that Kaiser is expected to be one of the college players who might see some action with the big club before the end of the regular season. Based on this comment, it would be a surprise if we don’t see Kaiser on the NHL roster at some point in the coming weeks:
  • “It has really translated onto the ice,” Mark Eaton, the Hawks’ assistant general manager overseeing development, told Pope. “He’s playing the best hockey that I’ve seen him play in three years since we drafted him.

    “It has been a steady rise in his play. He has had a long year with development camp [in July], then World Juniors in August right into Duluth’s season, really without any break, and he looks faster and stronger than ever.”

  • In the Big Ten, Frank Nazar and Michigan will host Jake Wise and Ohio State beginning Friday in the semifinals of their conference tournament.
  • The CHL released their updated power rankings on Tuesday morning. Like the college rankings in the US, the Blackhawks have prospects all over the list. In fact, Chicago has three prospects — Kevin Korchinski, Nolan Allan and Colton Dach — on the No. 1 team this week (Seattle). Samuel Savoie is skating for No. 2 Gatineau and Ethan Del Mastro is playing well for No. 9 Sarnia.
  • Speaking of Olympiques de Gatineau, you can watch Samuel Savoie and his teammates on the NHL Network CHL Game of the Week on Friday night. Savoie has 24 goals and 30 assists in 51 games this season and doesn’t turn 19 until March 25th.
  • Flyers defenseman Tony DeAngelo, fairly well established as one of the most unlikeable players in the sport, will have a hearing today with the Dept. of Player Safety after getting tossed from last night’s game for this cheap shot. He was looking for a fight the entire night and, when Tampa’s skaters didn’t care enough about him to oblige, he speared Corey Perry in the junk. I hope the league tosses him for a few games because this is ridiculous.
  • Finally, baseball has new rules. And I feel the same way.
  • written by

    Tab Bamford has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks for almost two decades. He joined Bleacher Nation as the lead Blackhawks writer in May 2022. Tab is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association and is the author of two books about the Blackhawks: "100 Things Blackhawks Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die" (Triumph Books) and "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter/X/Instagram/Threads at @The1Tab

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