So Much Overtime, Memorial Cup Field Set, Thoughts On Auston Matthews Buzz, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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So Much Overtime, Memorial Cup Field Set, Thoughts On Auston Matthews Buzz, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks, NHL

Unlike the NBA conference finals, the NHL’s semifinals have been highly competitive and excellent competition. Florida and Vegas have taken 2-0 leads in their respective conference final series thus far, but it hasn’t been easy. Tonight, the Panthers return home to an excited south Florida region that has the Heat one win away from the NBA Finals. Can the Panthers match the Heat’s 3-0 lead in their series with Carolina?

  • How about some NHL history on Sunday? Overtime has been the right time for the Panthers and Golden Knights early in their respective conference final series, but they haven’t been able to avoid it yet. This is the first time in the history of the league that each of the first four games of the semifinal series have gone to OT.
  • Sunday afternoon it was all about Mark Stone, Chandler Stephenson and Jonathan Marchessault for the Golden Knights. All three scored a goal, with Stephenson handling the OT GWG duties. All three had two points in the game. And they have each found ways to make an impact throughout the playoffs. This is the Vegas team we thought they could be with a healthy Stone… it just took a few months for us to get the complete roster on the ice together.
  • People have called the Florida Panthers the Comeback Cats for two years now… but maybe that nickname is going to be used by Vegas as the playoffs continue? Comeback Knights maybe?
  • The field for the Memorial Cup is now set. The Blackhawks’ three prospects — Kevin Korchinski, Nolan Allan and Colton Dach — and their Seattle Thunderbirds now know the other three teams in the mix for the prestigious CHL championship.
  • I think we need to take a moment on Monday morning to address something because it continues to get buzz round NHL twitter through the weekend. A story was published by a Canadian outlet about the Blackhawks being “front-runners” to acquire Auston Matthews from the Toronto Maple Leafs. The story was specifically saying IF Matthews gets to free agency that the BETTING ODDS favor the Blackhawks to sign him. The story is not that the Blackhawks are inquiring about Matthews or that he’s on the market. Or that Toronto is interested in a trade. This is a “best betting odds of signing a free agent in 13 months” story. Nothing more. And with Chicago’s enormous amount of cap space and being a big market in the United States, it would make sense that those who make such odds would think Chicago would be in the mix. Is there a chance? Sure. But let’s not start buying Auston Matthews jerseys quite yet. Save your pennies for a Connor Bedard in July, folks…
  • There are some teams still looking for their new head coach. Some might be waiting to see if Toronto makes a change. Others might be waiting for the league to have a conversation with Joel Quenneville at the conclusion of the season. But rumors are still swirling about others who are interviewing for openings now.
  • Craig Morgan shared a report this weekend looking at some potential destinations in Arizona for the Coyotes to look for a new arena. Per his report, the team is not for sale and the league is still committed to the team staying in Arizona (somehow, somewhere). Perhaps most intriguingly, Morgan reports the league has not set a timetable for the Coyotes to find a new site and get the wheels in motion for their new plan to begin. This is going to be an ongoing issue for the league to address so stay tuned…
  • Morgan also spoke with Logan Cooley about his decision to go back to college for another season instead of turning pro after a stellar freshman season at Minnesota. Morgan reported Cooley is still confident the Coyotes will “figure it out” regarding their arena issue, but the vote failing did have an impact on his decision.
  • Finally, let’s continue to be excited about prospects who might be headed to Chicago in the future.

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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