Rangers Fire Gallant, Oilers Fight Back, Who's Chicago's Next Captain? And Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Rangers Fire Gallant, Oilers Fight Back, Who’s Chicago’s Next Captain? And Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks, NHL

The Edmonton Oilers blew out the Vegas Golden Knights last night behind a dominant performance from Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid (no shock there). With that series now tied, both Western Conference series are all square. Carolina and Florida will look to take commanding 3-0 leads in their respective series on Sunday with three games back-to-back-to-back. Love to see it!

  • We are now one (1) day away from the 2023 NHL Draft Lottery. Where are you watching the festivities tomorrow night at 7 PM CT on ESPN?
  • Even with a big playoff game last night, the biggest news in the NHL came from a team that was eliminated earlier. The New York Rangers parted ways with head coach Gerard Gallant. This is going to be a fascinating summer for the Rangers after they went all-in this season, acquiring Vladimir Tarasenko and Patrick Kane before the trade deadline. They have some big time free agents to deal with, including both Kane and Tarasenko. And former No. 1 overall pick Alexis Lafrenière and defenseman K’Andre Miller are both RFAs this summer. Keep in mind the Rangers already have north of $71 million committed to only 14 players.
  • There have been rumors since the middle of the Rangers’ series against the Devils that Joel Quenneville would be a strong consideration for the Blue Shirts if they moved on from Gallant. But in the wake of Gallant getting canned, Larry Brooks of the New York Post is reporting Q will not be on the short list of candidates at MSG. Interesting.
  • Speaking of comebacks, last night Elliotte Friedman mentioned Stan Bowman’s name when discussing another job opening: GM in Calgary.
  • I think it’s safe to say the Vegas-Edmonton series is getting heated. With the Oilers drawing square with a win in Vegas last night in dominant fashion, the physical play got more intense near the end of the game. And the passionate fans in Sin City didn’t hold back with their feelings about the Oilers players, either.
  • Defenseman Ethan Del Mastro and the Sarnia Sting lost their Game Five to London last night. They’re down 3-2 in their OHL semifinal series. They could push the series to a Game 7 on Sunday.
  • The Seattle Thunderbirds lost Game 5 of their WHL semifinal series last night, but still hold a 3-2 lead in their series.
  • Ben Pope poked the bear yesterday, wondering out loud (well, in writing) who might be the Blackhawks’ next captain with Jonathan Toews no longer in the plans. Toews leaves after serving as the Blackhawks’ captain longer than any player in club history. When GM Kyle Davidson spoke with the media about Toews’ pending departure before the final game of the season, he talked about wanting young players to feel free to establish themselves as leaders in the room without deferring to a future Hall of Famer.
  • While I’m fairly confident I’m not the only person who isn’t putting either Seth Jones or Connor Murphy in the same class as Toews, they’re the two senior players left on the roster for next year. I’ve said IF the Blackhawks name a new captain, my vote would go to Murphy (although I admittedly don’t have one). But Pope does pose a strong possible scenario where the Blackhawks have a few A’s on the ice and nobody wearing the C.
  • Finally, in the “old friends who aren’t quite as good/working out somewhere else” category, it appears Willson Contreras is headed to DH duty. For good? Ouch!

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