Happy Birthday Coach, BU's Tampa-Bound, the Rebuild Foundation, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Happy Birthday Coach, BU’s Tampa-Bound, the Rebuild Foundation, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

Today is Blackhawks head coach Luke Richardson‘s 54th birthday. Anyone who has paid attention to what the Blackhawks have done on the ice this year know that, even with one of the worst records in the NHL, the improvement we’ve seen from last year’s unmitigated disaster is night and day. Almost every night we’ve seen a good effort from the Blackhawks, which is a reflection of their leader. Off the ice, however, he has instilled even more confidence that general manager Kyle Davidson got it right with his first major hire in the permanent GM seat. Here’s hoping the Blackhawks give Luke another hard-fought loss for his birthday (so he can enjoy wins in the near future thanks to the pick said loss would afford the Hawks).

  • A quick piece of roster housekeeping to begin this morning. The Blackhawks activated Reese Johnson off IR in time for him to be in the lineup on Saturday and sent goaltender Anton Khudobin back to Rockford.
  • Also, Ben Pope reported on Saturday that Philipp Kurashev‘s left arm was in a sling from the hit by Tom Wilson… so that’s far from ideal. It led to Andreas Athanasiou getting reps at center yesterday. Double-A didn’t win a faceoff, but Richardson liked what he saw. With that being said, if one of the “final outcomes” for his season is skating at center…?
  • It’s worth considering for a moment that the Blackhawks — especially general manager Kyle Davidson — have specifically said they want Lukas Reichel playing top-line center and he was doing that for a lot of this season in Rockford. But now, with the NHL roster down to (checks notes) Jason Dickinson and Jujhar Khaira as regular NHL centers, they’re keeping him on the wing. Reichel has been solid at the wing; he scored his fourth goal last night. But the fact he’s not getting any run at center is interesting. Maybe they don’t want to rush his development (cough, Kirby Dach, cough).
  • Dominic Basse was the back-up for St. Cloud State as they took on the top-seeded Minnesota Golden Gophers. Minnesota’s No. 1 for a reason and they skated away with the victory, ended Basse’s season.
  • In Sunday’s action, Jake Wise and Ohio State face Quinnipac at 3 PM CT and then Frank Nazar and Michigan battle Big Ten rival Penn State at 5:30 PM CT for the final two spots in the Frozen Four. Both games are on ESPNU.
  • Three of the four teams playing today are from the Big Ten, and with Penn State playing Michigan the conference is assured of at least one team in the Frozen Four. There’s a chance Wise joins Commesso in being on a regional all-tournament team; he had four assists in Ohio State’s first game.
  • Another brief reminder of why we’re hoping the Blackhawks lose games:
  • In case you missed it, the Blackhawks signed forward Paul Ludwinski to his entry-level contract yesterday. He’s the “other guy” drafted with the two picks Chicago received from Ottawa in the Alex DeBrincat. He’ll probably go back to junior next season; this year has been interrupted multiple times by injuries. However, even with the missed time and issues, Ludwinski still produced 34 points in 47 games with Kingston in the OHL.
  • The ink getting put to paper with Paulie means the Blackhawks now have six players under contract currently skating in juniors: Ludwinski, Jalen Luypen, Colton Dach, Kevin Korchinski, Ethan Del Mastro and Nolan Allan. I would bet the Blackhawks have a long conversation with Gavin Hayes before too long as well. These guys are going to be the building blocks of the first wave of the rebuild.
  • Finally, since we’re focused on the future, why not do the same thing with the next generation of Cubs? You know what’s nice? Home runs. When prospects hit four in a row? [Evil grin…]

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