A Tank Win, Rockford Reinforcements, Frozen Four Drama, Horvat Throws Shade, and Other Blackhawks Bullets
The Blackhawks got a little help in the draft lottery standings last night, but it could have been more. The Anaheim Ducks blew a lead late in regulation and then coughed up the game in overtime, losing 5-4 in Arizona. The overtime result pushes them one point behind Chicago and Columbus in the Bad for Bedard Sweepstakes standings; the Blackhawks are now in second place with three games left.
As a reminder, the Blackhawks are not fully tied with the Blue Jackets for last place. There are tiebreakers, and Chicago’s two more regulation wins than Columbus’ with three games remaining means we need a little help.
- The bad news for the Blackhawks on Saturday was Taylor Raddysh‘s regular season coming to an end. He’s got a groin issue that’s going to take a couple weeks to feel better and the Blackhawks’ season ends on Thursday. He got to the 20-goal plateau, which is awesome for him. I’m excited to see what he can do in another full NHL season with (hopefully) some good players around him.
- We expected Alex Vlasic to head to Rockford when the Blackhawks got back from their three-game road trip. It appears he’ll be joined on that charter/Uber trip by Lukas Reichel. Reichel’s final NHL game of the 2022-23 season was on Saturday night; he’ll go back to the IceHogs to help their playoff push in their closing couple weeks of the regular season as well.
- The incredible hockey drama on Saturday night was in Tampa. Quinnipiac pulled their goaltender down 2-1 with a little over three minutes left in regulation and were able to tie the game late, and then won it right off the OT faceoffs. Absolutely thrilling result in the NCAA national championship game! Congrats to Quinnipiac!
- Some other interesting news from the college ranks that impacts the Blackhawks in the 2023 NHL Draft. Elliotte Friedman reported during his 32 Thoughts intermission report on SportsNet that the Philadelphia Flyers are not going sign Boston University senior center Jay O’Brien, allowing him to reach free agency. O’Brien, 23, was the 19th overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft. With him not signing in Philly, the Flyers will add a compensatory pick this summer — the 19th pick in the second round (51st overall). With the Blackhawks holding either three or four picks in the second round, this will likely push the picks owned by Tampa and the Rangers back (if the Rangers’ pick doesn’t convert to a future first based on their postseason success).
- This is also an interesting name to consider because the Blackhawks have so much recent experience with BU. Obviously Drew Commesso and Ryan Greene played there this year, but Vlasic was at BU for O’Brien’s first two years with the Terriers. O’Brien is a six-foot, 184-pound center who had eight goals and 24 assists in 39 games this season. Could O’Brien be an August free agent option for the Blackhawks? We’ll have to wait and see, but Chicago signed Cole Guttman after his rights weren’t picked up by Tampa last year.
- Connor McDavid became just the sixth player in NHL history to record 150 points in a regular season. It’s absolutely ridiculous what he’s doing this year. I really hope fans across the NHL don’t take how special this kid is for granted because he’s absolutely a true generational talent.
- Can we take a moment and appreciate Bo Horvat throwing shade at Vancouver last night? He was asked about the atmosphere in the Isles’ barn and he didn’t hold back. Love to see it.
- Finally, the NFL draft keeps getting closer and the Bears continue to have top prospects visit for a sit-down chat. The latest is another edge rusher from the SEC. Who would you pick if you were the Bears’ front office?
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