Stanley Cup Playoffs Begin, Playoff-Bound IceHogs, Interest In Chicago’s Front Office, and Other Blackhawks Bullets
The 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs begin tonight. Are you as excited as I am about watching so many former Blackhawks try to win a championship somewhere else? The one team I’ll be watching closest because of their direct implications on the immediate future of the Blackhawks is the Rangers. How deep they go in the playoffs will determine what pick the Blackhawks get from the Patrick Kane trade. And, frankly, their series against the Devils might be the most compelling in the first round.
- Here’s your schedule for Monday night’s start of the playoffs with US television viewing:
- It took them until the last day of their regular season, but the Rockford IceHogs pulled off a strong victory on Sunday and qualified for the Calder Cup Playoffs. They’ll face Iowa in the best-of-3 first round of the postseason, with Game 1 coming on Wednesday in Rockford.
- One Blackhawks who isn’t in the playoffs (obviously) but was interested in ring distribution recently was defenseman Ian Mitchell. He got engaged over the weekend! Congrats to Ian and good luck!
- The Pittsburgh Penguins fired the entire top of their hockey operations department when they failed to reach the playoffs for the first time in almost two decades this season (you’re welcome). So now they’re searching for a president of hockey ops, a general manager and an assistant general manager. Which means it’s time to speculate who might make sense for those jobs. You might think a first-year guy with a background in baseball who was on the staff that built one of the worst records in the NHL wouldn’t be “a guy,” but Rob Rossi at The Athletic has Blackhawks associate general manager Jeff Greenberg on his short list of candidates. Here’s part of Rossi’s rationale:
Greenberg is from Pittsburgh. His father, Chuck, was a longtime adviser to Mario Lemieux. Though his NHL experience is limited, Greenberg should be well-vetted by FSG, which also owns the Red Sox. Going outside the hockey world, which is basically what bringing in Greenberg as GM would be doing, is something Beeston did not rule out when addressing parameters for hockey operations hires.
- The United States defeated Canada in Sunday’s renewal of one of the truly great rivalries in sports to win the IIHF Women’s World Championship.
- Finally, you know what I love? Home runs. When you can get multiple home runs? Especially cool. When guys go back-to-back? Sign me up! And the Cubs did that on Sunday. Love to see it.