Tanking Emotions, Toews' Mom Support, Prospect Updates Galore, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Tanking Emotions, Toews’ Mom Support, Prospect Updates Galore, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

Does it feel awkward to anyone else that it’s an honest struggle to enjoy a good, competitive performance by the Blackhawks right now? Inside the United Center (and on social media) there was a significant “What are they doing?” contingent in the fan base when the Blackhawks took a lead and, frankly, dominated two periods last night.

In fact, if you look back at the comments from almost anyone following the Hawks for about 50 minutes of the game last night, it was pessimism because the entire point of this season was… to not win. And now that we’re in the final week of the regular season, it feels like winning anything is paramount to making the rest of the season’s losing fraudulent. And yet we still haven’t found balance between the portions of the fan base that will either bang the drum of “it’s a lottery and the Blackhawks aren’t going to win so what’s the point?” or scream “if they win and screw it up fire everyone!”

  • During his media time after the morning skate on Monday, Jonathan Toews was asked if his mother worries about him — and if she’s been supportive of his looming decision regarding his future in the game. The Blackhawks captain cracked a smile. Hockey moms, man…
  • Time for a prospect updates dump! In case you missed it, reports everywhere on Monday said the Blackhawks are signing Boston University goaltender Drew Commesso to his three-year, entry-level contract. According to a number of outlets, the deal will begin next season. Which then begged the question: will he report to Rockford, even if only to get some experience around professional players during the playoffs? Scott Powers at The Athletic reported Commesso will not join the IceHogs — at least until training camp in the fall.
  • Ben Pope at the Chicago Sun-Times provided a series of updates on prospects, some of whom have signed their entry-level contracts and a couple who haven’t (and might not). The common theme throughout any conversation or story about Chicago’s pipeline is SPEED. The Blackhawks are collecting speed in volume right now.
  • Some folks have asked about/worried that Notre Dame forward Landon Slaggert might either a) test free agent waters next summer, or b) see his stock with the organization slide because his numbers weren’t as good this season on the surface. As I’ve pointed out previously, Slaggert is returning to school because he wants to skate with his younger brother. And his numbers were down this season in part because of a few physical issues he dealt with throughout the season. And the Blackhawks are still high on his value as a prospect.

“We’ve communicated to him how we feel about him,” Blackhawks assistant general manager Mark Eaton told Pope. “He could be a big part of what we’re trying to build. We don’t worry too much. Obviously, we’d love to have Landon at the end of next year, but we’re going to just continue to do our job to support him and give him all the resources he needs to continue to develop.”

  • Pope also notes the Blackhawks would like to sign Russian center Ilya Safonov when his KHL contract expires in two years.
  • Three Blackhawks prospects — Ethan Del Mastro, Paul Ludwinski and Gavin Hayes — earned some recognition in the OHL’s coaches poll. The league announced the results on Monday. Postseason honors and league-wide notice like these aren’t direct lines to NHL superstar status, but it does show that the Blackhawks are identifying some good, young players to be part of the future solution in Chicago.
  • The Tri-City Americans were eliminated from the WHL playoffs with a Game 6 loss on Sunday night, which means the junior career of forward Jalen Luypen has likely come to an end. He had a terrific season last year for the Edmonton Oil Kings before an injury ended his postseason; that injury also cost him a full summer of camps in Chicago and delayed the start to his 2022-23 campaign. Nevertheless, the Blackhawks signed him to an entry-level contract last summer. Luypen was assigned to Rockford on Monday evening to help the IceHogs’ playoff push.
  • In news that will impact the Central Division, Front Office Sports is reporting on Tuesday morning that former Tennessee governor Bill Haslam will acquire a 60 percent majority stake in the Nashville Predators. Their report indicates the process will take four installments, so Haslam won’t fully assume the majority stake until 2025.
  • If the last name rings a bell, his brother is Jimmy Haslam — the owner of the Cleveland Browns who recently bought a significant stake in the Milwaukee Bucks as well.
  • Before last night, we hadn’t seen a defenseman hit 100 points in a regular season since Rangers’ great Brian Leetch hit the number during the 1991-92 season. Well, erase that fun fact because Erik Karlsson reached a century last night. Even though the Sharks are just a little behind the Blackhawks in the Bad for Bedard Sweepstakes, Karlsson made history.
  • Not only did Karlsson hit a big number for the season last night, but two legends reached an even bigger, more historic benchmark. Longtime Sharks star Joe Pavelski, who is in Dallas now, reached 1,000 career regular season points.
  • He wasn’t alone. Longtime Flyers captain and now Ottawa Senators forward Claude Giroux also reached 1,000 career regular season points last night.
  • Finally, the Cubs won a game last night. In dramatic fashion. But it was the old ballpark joining the celebration that stole the show. The Cubs had new lights installed at Wrigley Field during the offseason, and they can do some fun tricks with them now. Like… dancing along with “Go Cubs Go” after the W flag is raised.

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