Tkachuk the 4 (FOUR!) OT Hero, Dach Honored, Q Back? More Desert Drama, and Other Blackhawks Bullets
Did you stay up for the entire, almost four full overtime drama in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final last night? The Panthers and Canes played more than two full games to decide only one result to begin their series. Matthew Tkachuk ended the drama with the game-winner in the closing seconds of the fourth overtime. Have I mentioned the game took almost four complete overtime periods? There were NHL records, club records and historic numbers everywhere in one of the longest playoff games in history. This one regarding Brandon Montour skating almost a full hour of ice time grabbed my attention because Seth Jones is still the all-time leader in single playoff game ice time. According to TNT last night, Montour skated 8.3 miles in the game — more than one mile more than anyone else in the game!
- Jimmy Butler shot around on his offday between games in the Heat’s conference final series in a Tkachuk sweater. Do you think he stayed up to see the game-winner? For the sake of his performance in their next game I sure hope not!
- The last stat that got my attention this morning was another superb performance from Sergei Bobrovsky. A guy many thought was a financial albatross the Panthers would have to move after this season earlier in the year has been a legit savior for Florida in the postseason. He might be the front-runner for the Conn Smythe right now.
- We get the Western Conference Final rolling tonight in Vegas. I know I’ll be watching, largely for Max Domi (and with the Blackhawks’ owning Dallas’ third-round pick this year in mind). These two teams matchup incredibly well, with probably the biggest difference being in net. Who ya got tonight?
- Let’s not forget there’s a playoff game with direct Blackhawks implications tonight as well. The Seattle Thunderbirds host Winnipeg in Game 5 of the WHL championship this evening. Seattle holds a 3-1 lead and can close the series out, earning a trip to the Memorial Cup. Kevin Korchinski, Colton Dach and Nolan Allan have all had fine postseasons thus far and another round of high-level competition would be tremendous. Go Thunderbirds!
- Speaking of Dach, he was recently painted into the history of the Kelowna Rockets as part of their Wall of Recognition for Outstanding Achievement. Pretty cool video in here from the local news showing the work being done.
- This week, Blackhawks director of amateur scouting Mike Doneghey has been making the rounds. And I’ve cited a couple of his interviews in bullets throughout the week. One nugget that I loved in his conversation with Scott Powers at The Athletic is worth sharing again here because I’m on the Frank Nazar Bandwagon.
“Nazar, he was slated to play on that world juniors team in August. He was actually out there when he found out about the injury. He, for sure, would have been on the world juniors team in the Christmas time. I would have really liked to see how the dynamic went with (Adam) Fantilli and (Gavin) Brindley (at Michigan) if he was there for a full season. But we drafted Frank because he can absolutely fly. He’s ultra-competitive. He’s got an IQ. He showed that with the U.S. team and a small sample in Michigan.”
- That sure sounds like a perfect compliment for Connor Bedard in the future, doesn’t it? I’m excited to see what a healthy sophomore season looks like for Nazar at the University of Michigan.
- HOWEVER, everyone in the Blackhawks organization continues to appreciate the excitement around the prospects who are coming but also ask us to be patient and let these guys develop right. We only have to look at the previous regime’s failures (and there were many) in development to have cause for pause. So yeah, let’s all get excited about the guys who might make an impact in the NHL at some point. But let’s also be real about it not happening in early October this year.
- With all of the head coaching jobs open around the NHL, it’s already been reported that there might be some teams interested in Joel Quenneville — though the New York Rangers have already apparently passed. According to Darren Dreger on Friday morning, it sounds like Q will meet with the commissioner to discuss reinstatement once the season comes to an end (meaning after the Stanley Cup Final). That means a team would need to hire him pretty quickly if they want him installed as their head coach before the draft at the end of June.
- Apparently after the vote in Arizona was announced to be strongly against the Coyotes’ new arena plan, their best player’s dad wasn’t happy. Or was he? Clayton Keller’s father’s account tweeted some pretty strong thoughts about the state of affairs in the desert, saying his son wouldn’t be there for the coming season. And other players would follow suit. Bryan Keller, Clayton’s father, said later his account was hacked. Hmm…
- Finally, the Cubs have been struggling lately — it feels like the Blackhawks in November if we’re going to be honest. So is it time for the line blender to move from 1901 W. Madison up to 1060 W. Addison for the Cubs’ bullpen?