Fifth Third Arena Expansion, BU-Chicago Ties, Goalie Fight Averted, Reynolds Makes a Mint, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Fifth Third Arena Expansion, BU-Chicago Ties, Goalie Fight Averted, Reynolds Makes a Mint, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

The City of Chicago put out a press release on Wednesday that included some details about a planned expansion of Fifth Third Arena, the Blackhawks’ practice facility. It appears the vacant lot adjacent to the current structure is being purchased from RUSH University Medical Center to effectively double the size of Fifth Third Arena at a total cost of almost $90 million. From the release:

The agreement would allow RUSH University Medical Center to sell the former City-owned property at 303 S. Damen Ave. to the Chicago Blackhawks for $23.5 million …

The $65 million, 135,000-square-foot expansion is planned to include two hockey rinks for use by the team and other hockey clubs. The site would also have 180 parking spaces and landscaping, pending City Council zoning approval.

  • With that potentially good news out of the way, the Blackhawks could see their postseason dreams officially come to an end tonight apparently.
  • Drew Commesso still has work to do at Boston University, but it’s clear that he plans on being a Chicago Blackhawks goaltender when it’s time to turn pro (likely after this BU season ends). WTBU, the student radio station at Boston University, put together a nice piece including a conversation with Blackhawks analyst and BU alum Colby Cohen on the ties between BU and the Blackhawks on Wednesday and Commesso is quoted (see below) talking about his impressions of the organization that drafted him.
  • Commesso talked about his progress at BU:

“This year, I feel very confident in myself and in the team. Personally, I think I just got so much stronger this summer, put on a ton of weight,” Commesso said. “My goalie coach, Brian Daccord, prepares me every week. I’ve gotten so much better: my skating, my tracking, my puck handling, really everything. … [I’m] super grateful for him.” 

  • Commesso also had some great things to say about freshman forward and Blackhawks prospect Ryan Greene:

“He’s had such a big impact, especially as a freshman, for our team. The cool thing about Ryan is he’s obviously so gifted on the ice, but he’s one of the best hockey guys in the locker room. … The Blackhawks have been preaching the culture part of it, and I know he can add to that.”

  • While we’re talking about goalies, did you see the almost fight last night? Blues’ goaltender Jordan Binnington was up to his usual hot garbage tomfoolery — you know, getting scored on and then taking a cheap shot at the skater who embarrassed him. He got blown up last night by the Minnesota Wild and when he tried to pull his tired act again, our old friend Marc-André Fleury wasn’t having it. I really wish one time the officials would let the bell ring and allow Binnington to prove he’s a tough guy because he loves to start fights but never actually has to do the dance. He got tossed from this game — not the first time he’s done that this year for a team that’s not making the playoffs.
  • The Blackhawks have one prospect, Frank Nazar, at the University of Michigan right now. If the NHL Draft Lottery gives them the second (or third) overall pick, there’s a chance they add his Wolverines teammate, Adam Fantilli, to the mix this summer. Fantilli sure feels like the pick to win the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as a true freshman. The Finalists were announced on Wednesday.
  • Ryan Reynolds has been actively trying to get a group together to buy the Ottawa Senators. On Wednesday, a couple headlines caught my attention in good — and possibly related — ways. First, when he spoke at the conclusion of the GM meetings, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the sale of the Sens is “weeks away” and there has been “robust interest.” Then I read that the star of Deadpool and Green Lantern (yeah, I went there) sold his share in Mint Mobile, which was reportedly valued at $340M, with the company being acquired by T-Mobile. Elliotte Friedman wrote on Thursday morning that he is absolutely a serious bidder. So… he’s got the coin now to make a significant bid. I really hope he wins it because this would be so good for the game. From Friedman’s “32 Thoughts” column this morning:

Initially, those around the NHL were excited about Reynolds because he’s Deadpool. Now, they’re excited because he’s Deadpool, he’s a smart businessman, he knows marketing and the “Wrexham Plan” would come to Ottawa with him. 

  • Speaking of big numbers, there was a lot of scoring in the NHL last night. Indeed, it was a historically high-scoring night.
  • Finally, this was gut wrenching to watch unfold last night. I was locked-in on the World Baseball Classic last night watching Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic play an exciting game. Mets star closer Edwin Diaz closed the door and Los Rubios went crazy celebrating. This game was in Miami, the stands were packed and loud, and this was full-on Caribbean baseball at its finest. Unfortunately, during the celebration, it appears Diaz hurt himself pretty seriously. The Mets tweeted later last night that it’s a knee injury.

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