Blackhawks

The moment Dale Tallon knew Blackhawks would draft Patrick Kane No. 1 overall in 2007

The moment Dale Tallon knew Blackhawks would draft Patrick Kane No. 1 overall in 2007

Ever since Dale Tallon made him the first pick of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, Patrick Kane has dazzled Blackhawks fans for 12 seasons.

But imagine a world where Kane went second to the Philadelphia Flyers or third to the Phoenix Coyotes. Or a world where Jakub Voracek’s No. 93 was displayed widely across the city of Chicago instead of Kane’s No. 88.

Tallon, the former Blackhawks general manager and current Florida Panthers GM, was on the NHL Executive Suite podcast on Wednesday and shared the story of exactly when he knew that Kane would be the Blackhawks’ selection:

“Patrick Kane ... it was, I remember Rick Dudley and I going to watch him play in a game in London against Plymouth. Patrick got hammered. A big, hard hit from Jared Boll, who was a big, hard-nosed kid that played in Plymouth. And he got hammered right in front of us. We were sitting right there in the corner. And he picked himself up and brushed himself off and I think he got two goals and two assists after that. We looked at each other and said, ‘That’s our guy.’

"After we had won the lottery, there was discussion whether it would be [James] van Riemsdyk or [Kyle] Turris or [Jakub] Voracek or those guys and we kept that going. We didn’t tell anybody what we were doing but I remember we looked at each other in that particular game, we said ‘that’s our guy’ because he wasn’t afraid to go with the tall trees. He wasn’t a very big guy, but he played in traffic. He wasn’t afraid. That was the one thing that people said: ‘Well how could you draft a guy that small first overall?’ But it was the size of his heart that was more important.”

Tallon and the Blackhawks made the correct choice. Kane immediately burst onto the scene in the NHL, won the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie, and eventually went on to help the Blackhawks to three Stanley Cups. van Riemsdyk and Turris went second and third, respectively, and both have had fine careers. And still, Kane has more career points than both of them combined.

Voracek went seventh in that year’s draft to the Columbus Blue Jackets. After a few seasons with Columbus, he was traded to the Flyers and eventually prospered into an NHL All-Star. Voracek’s name was linked to the Blackhawks leading up to the draft, but according to Tallon, they were just trying to keep people off their scent. Once they won the lottery, they knew their man:

“His talent was ... no other guy in that draft had his talent. It was just a matter about his size. That was the only drawback. I mean, I liked Kyle Turris and van Riemsdyk and all those players. As a matter of fact, I was flying to Halifax from Chicago and I was changing planes in Ottawa and when I landed in Ottawa to change planes, my phone had blown up because we had won the lottery.

"And so I was going to Halifax. Voracek was playing in Halifax. And so I went there and as I landed in Halifax, people wanted me to come home and not go. I said ‘I’m gonna keep going’ because I want people to think we might draft that guy.’ I wanted to leave doubt right ‘til the end. And so I went to Halifax and we thought that Voracek was going to be our pick. And I like him, and I think he’s a great player, but after a lot of deliberation and hard work and scouting and watching a lot of game ... it was Patrick Kane that was the logical choice for us.”

And it’s been “Showtime” in Chicago ever since. And as the Blackhawks prepare for their next potential franchise-altering draft selection next month, they’re hoping the pick is more on the Kane-spectrum than the Turris-spectrum.

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Blackhawks make roster moves ahead of three-game road trip

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USA Today

Blackhawks make roster moves ahead of three-game road trip

The Blackhawks recalled defenseman Adam Boqvist and forward Matthew Highmore from the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL on Monday morning before heading out on a three-game road trip. The Hawks also moved Andrew Shaw (concussion protocol) to long term injured reserve, meaning he isn't eligible to return until after Christmas (Dec. 27). 

Duncan Keith (groin injury), Drake Caggiula (concussion protocol) and Shaw won't travel on the trip. Olli Maatta missed the last three games with flu-like symptoms but will go on the trip. When he gets in isn't certain.

The Blackhawks will take on the Golden Knights in Vegas on Tuesday before heading to Arizona for a Thursday rematch with the Coyotes (lost 4-3 in a shootout in Chicago on Sunday), then to St. Louis to take on the Western Conference leading and defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues. 

The trip will prove to be a vital one with Hawks, 12-12-5, sitting in last place in the Central division, but only four points out of a wild card spot.

Call-ups

Boqvist has one goal in six games with Chicago this season and is excited about another stint with the Hawks.

"I think I kind of know how to play now," he said. "I got six games playing with Duncs (Duncan Keith) and Mats (Maatta). They helped me a lot as well. I know kind of what is going (on) out there now, so it's good."

The defenseman knows he'll have to contribute more offensively this time up. 

"I think I've come [back] more comfortable," Boqvist said. "I can't find the net, though, but it's good to help the team to win."

"He's done well down there," Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton said. "Reports have been good and I've had a chance to watch a couple games, too. I think he continues to get better so hopefully that process continues and can continue here."

Highmore has zero points in two games with the Hawks this year. 

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Was Dennis Gilbert's Sunday scrap the right move for Blackhawks?

Was Dennis Gilbert's Sunday scrap the right move for Blackhawks?

When Blackhawks defenseman Dennis Gilbert skated after Jason Demers, hitting him into the boards, challenging him to fight and beating the doors off him in the second period with Chicago leading 3-2, he was sticking up for a teammate and trying to give the Hawks some life, but it cost them a puck in their own net.

So was it the right move?

"It is if we kill it," Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton said of the Hawks being forced to kill Gilbert's instigator penalty. "And I think it sends a good message to the rest of the players that we're in this together and we're going to take care of each other. 

"But I would have liked us to react better the rest of the game after that and that's what we should do to protect each other. I thought that the penalty kill, we were looking for goals at times and when we had the chance to get the puck 200 feet down the ice, we didn't always do that. And I'm not against scoring goals, but let's be smart about it. It cost us."

Gilbert was responding to Demers' hit on Alex DeBrincat in front of the Coyotes' bench near center ice that caused DeBrincat to fall hard into the wall.

"Well, I think it was [a] pretty blatant [penalty] that was missed," Hawks defenseman Calvin de Haan said. "Alex's head went right off the boards. I don't know how they didn't call that one. But good on Dennis to step up and sometimes it takes a big set of cajones to do that. 

"He tried to get a spark for us and I think trying to stick up for your teammates is still part of the game, especially on a hit like that. Kudos to him and I think it was a key time in the game for us and he tried to turn the tables for us."

Gilbert received the instigator for going after Demers, which resulted in a Coyotes' power-play goal from Carl Soderberg. It was Gilbert's second fight in two games. 

"I think it fires us up," DeBrincat said. "I think he’s protecting me. I think he obviously thought it was a dirty hit and takes control of the play. 

"I think it makes a good play for me. I like that he does that. Obviously, at the same time we get a penalty out of it which is not always the best. 

"I think our bench can roll with that and try to kill that off. Unfortunately, we didn’t. Any other penalty we can probably kill off from that one."

Sticking up for a teammate in that fashion goes a long way. The Hawks have been missing a player that makes the opposition answer for their sins the way Gilbert does. You'd like to avoid taking an instigator, but the Blackhawks had an issue with a dangerous hit not being penalized.

It's up to the penalty kill to make that a good penalty. Unfortunately for Gilbert and company, they didn't get the job done. 

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