Bedard Race Tightening, Reichel’s Development Curve, Tyler’s Struggles, and Other Blackhawks Bullets
A couple folks on Twitter and Facebook noted that the best case scenario for this week would be the Washington Capitals losing to the Blue Jackets on Tuesday night and then taking it out on the Blackhawks when Chicago visits their barn on Thursday night. Well, last night was a wild one in DC and Columbus got it done in OT, pulling off a stunning 7-6 comeback win. That not only could/should motivate the Caps to get right against the Hawks on Thursday, but also makes the bottom of the NHL’s standings a little more closely crowded with a dozen games left for Chicago and Columbus, respectively.
- Scott Powers looked at Lukas Reichel‘s longest stretch of games at the NHL level to date in his young career. There’s some good in there and some areas that still need development; Powers notes that Reichel could still use some more strength on his frame. But, when we step back and remember that he’s still just 20 years old and remind ourselves that he’s still maturing, that will come. This analysis from Corey Sznajder in the piece was especially interesting:
“(He has) good chemistry with (Andreas) Athanasiou, so he can work the give-and-go game and not try to start every rush on his own,” Sznajder said. “Good anticipation in defensive zone to steal pucks and start breaks. … Looks like a strong power-play guy with finding seams from the right flank. … (Athanasiou) taking some burden off him in the neutral zone, so I’ll have to see if that part of his game comes around.”
- So you’re telling me that playing with speed helps Reichel? Good, because that’s the one trait the Blackhawks’ front office has put a huge arrow at in every draft pick and player acquisition to date.
- Ben Pope wrote a story on Tuesday about Tyler Johnson‘s offensive struggles of late. He’s getting plenty of opportunities — the most on the roster, in fact — but he hasn’t found the back of the net since Feb. 28. I love that he’s able to put some perspective on the struggle, understanding as a veteran that stretches like this happen and all you can do is keep working.
- This point in the piece was interesting to me: “[Johnson] leads all Hawks forwards in scoring chances per 60 minutes during this stretch at 9.6; Taylor Raddysh and Boris Katchouk are the only other Hawks above 6.7.” What do those three players have in common? They came from Tampa. Wanna be like the best? Emulate — or acquire — them.
- Last night Blackhawks prospect and Seattle defenseman Nolan Allan scored a goal in the opening minute of the game. Seattle won again, clinching the top seed in the WHL playoffs — in which they’ll face Kelowna in the first round. Kelowna, of course, traded their captain, Blackhawks prospect Colton Dach, to Seattle after the World Juniors. So we might have a revenge series on tap (if Dach’s healthy enough to play). The good news: Dach returned to the Seattle lineup last night after missing the previous six games. The other good news: Seattle has Kevin Korchinski in their lineup as well — our top-ranked prospect in the Blackhawks’ system.
- Last night the Colorado Avalanche announced a three-year extension for head coach Jared Bednar. Makes sense, considering he’s already led them to one championship and the team seems to really like playing for the guy. The only bad news in this is that the Avs are in the Blackhawks’ division and have a good coach for at least three more years.
- Finally, if you went to bed early last night or watched something other than the World Baseball Classic championship game, I’m sorry. It was everything. And it ended just as the Hollywood script wanted: Shohei Ohtani against Mike Trout in the bottom of the ninth with two outs. And Ohtani did the thing.
- After the game, Ohtani met with the folks at MLB Network and Pedro Martinez said what we all want to say to Shohei: thank you for being you. Goosebumps, man… goosebumps. This kid is so special. To think we’re able to watch guys like him and Connor McDavid do things that have never been done in different sports at the same time is really remarkable.