Takeaways and observations: Adam Boqvist scores overtime winner as Blackhawks beat Red Wings in Traverse City opener

NBC Sports Chicago

Takeaways and observations: Adam Boqvist scores overtime winner as Blackhawks beat Red Wings in Traverse City opener

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — The Blackhawks kicked off the 2019 Traverse City Prospect Tournament with a 5-4 overtime win over the Detroit Red Wings, but it didn't come without drama. And lots of action.

After jumping out to a 4-1 lead in the first period, the Blackhawks allowed three unanswered goals in the second frame but hung on to force overtime, where Adam Boqvist scored the game-winning goal just 43 seconds into it. 

Here are three takeaways and some observations from the victory:

1. Adam Boqvist salvages quiet first game with game-winning goal

At Blackhawks development camp in July, Boqvist was easily one of the most noticeable prospects. But that was to be expected. Traverse City is a much better way to evaluate where these guys are at in their progression.

It was a quiet first game for the 2018 eighth overall pick, but he erased it all when he scored a slick 3-on-3 overtime goal short side to give the Blackhawks a tournament-opening win against the host team.

"I want to play better and help the team so we don't have to go to overtime," Boqvist said. "I don't think the puck [wanted] to be on my stick today. I don't know. First game. Tomorrow I'll be better I hope."

2. Kirby Dach using tournament as springboard into training camp

As expected, Dach was one of the best players on the ice. Good things happen when he's out there. He scored a goal, added an assist, finished with a +2 rating and recorded three shots on goal.

Dach, although focused on this tournament, certainly wants to make a strong first impression as he prepares to battle for an everyday roster spot on the Blackhawks when training camp starts next Friday.

"Yeah, I think it's a good way for me to kind of get my feet wet and running before I hit the ground in training camp," Dach said. "It's a good tournament, lots of high-paced competition. It's a lot of fun to be here."

3. Alexis Gravel's strong outing and game-saver

The box score shows that Gravel allowed four goals on 33 shots for a save percentage of .879, but he was way better than what the numbers on the surface indicated. The Red Wings came out flying in the opening minutes, and scored three of their four goals on the power play. The Blackhawks didn't make it any easier on him in the second period when the Red Wings outshot the visiting team 17-5.

"The second period we collapsed on him, we didn't let him see the puck much and they were getting some power-play goals," coach Derek King said. "Nothing you can really do about that. ... You tell him after the second, hold the fort for the crew and he listened, he did. He held it in for us and made it a good hockey game and we were fortunate enough to come out on top."

Perhaps the highlight of the night came when Gravel robbed Red Wings prospect Filip Zadina, who was taken No. 6 overall in 2018, of a goal in a 4-4 tie in the final minute of the game:

Other observations:

— Free-agent invite Riley McKay played right wing on the first line centered by his Saskatoon Blades teammate Dach and former WHL forward Brandon Hagel. McKay registered a secondary assist on Dach's goal, blocked a shot off the inside of his foot while trying to kill a penalty that got his teammates fired up, then later on forced a neutral zone turnover and nearly scored on a breakaway. He was noticeable.

— Chad Krys committed two penalties (tripping and roughing), and the Red Wings scored on the first one just 3:10 into the game. His roughing penalty stemmed from a big hit he laid on Zadina. Krys did, however, finish with a +3 rating, which was tied with Mikael Hakkarainen for the game-best.

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Kris Versteeg pens emotional letter to Blackhawks organization after release from Rockford IceHogs


Kris Versteeg pens emotional letter to Blackhawks organization after release from Rockford IceHogs

Kris Versteeg made his NHL debut with the Blackhawks and won two Stanley Cups with the team, but his comeback attempt has ended.

Versteeg, 33, requested his contract with the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs, be terminated. Versteeg joined the IceHogs on a one-year AHL contract after last season, but was limited to six games so far this season due to injury.

“Earlier this week, Kris approached us about mutually terminating his contract, at which point we asked him to take another couple of days to think about it,” IceHogs general manager Mark Bernard said. “We spoke again Saturday morning and he had come to his final decision. Since 2007, when Kris first became a member of the Blackhawks organization, he has represented us with class and professionalism. He will always be a member of our organization’s family and we wish him and his family all the best going forward.”

Versteeg had two stints with the Blackhawks from 2007-2010 and 2013-2015, playing on the 2010 and 2015 Cup winning teams. He last played in the NHL two seasons ago with the Calgary Flames. He spent last season overseas in Russia and Sweden before signing with the IceHogs.

Versteeg wrote a letter to the Blackhawks organization that makes it sound like the end of a chapter for him:

To the Blackhawks organization,

It all started in February 2007, while I was riding a bus with the Providence Bruins. We were on our way to play the Manchester Monarchs when head coach Scott Gordon called me to come see him up at the front of the bus. Scott said “Steeger... I hate to tell you this, but we just traded you.” All I can remember about this moment was that my mind was racing. I couldn’t hear anything but my own thoughts. It was only two weeks prior that we played a team that was loaded with young, exciting, and promising talent. With so many young players I remember saying to one of my teammates after the game “I sure hope I never get traded there.” After a couple minutes I finally asked Scott and said, “to who?” Scott picked up a pen and a piece of paper then wrote…CHICAGO. The team no more than two weeks ago I was dreading at the very thought of being traded to. At this exact moment I remember looking at that paper saying to myself “this is not good!”

What I didn’t know at that moment, is that I was being traded to an organization that would not only give me my first chance, but my second and final chance. I would like to give thanks and show my sincere gratitude to John McDonough, Stan Bowman, Mark Bernard, Al MacIsaac, Jay Blunk, and of course Rocky Wirtz and the entire Wirtz Family. You brought me in that day and gave me a new home. This organization gave me everything that I have today, and for this I am grateful. I, as well, would like to thank all members of the Blackhawks/IceHogs organization from top to bottom, and most importantly… the great fans of Chicago and Rockford.

Little did I know that day when I saw Scott write CHICAGO on that piece of paper that this word would forever be written all over my heart, and soul.

Thank you for everything.

Yours Truly,

Kris Versteeg

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How to watch Blackhawks vs. Hurricanes: Time, TV schedule and streaming info

USA Today

How to watch Blackhawks vs. Hurricanes: Time, TV schedule and streaming info

The Blackhawks host the Carolina Hurricanes in the second fame of a three-game homestand. The Blackhawks have been playing well as of late thanks to a schematic change made by head coach Jeremy Colliton.

And the Hawks are making a push up the standings in the process.

On Tuesday night, Patrick Kane will also look to celebrate his birthday in style by continuing his hot streak, which has been a vital part of the Hawks success this season.

Here's how you can watch and stream the game:

Date: Tuesday, November 19
Time: 7:30 p.m. CST
Location: United Center | Chicago, Ill.
TV: NBC Sports Chicago
Stream: MyTeams

NBC Sports Chicago Coverage

SportsTalk Live: 6:00 p.m. CST
Blackhawks Pregame: 7:00 p.m. CST
Blackhawks Postgame Live: 10:00 p.m. CST*

* - Immediately following conclusion of the game

Can't watch this game because your provider dropped NBC Sports Chicago?  Go to MYSPORTSCHICAGO.COM or Call 1-844-700-NBCS to get your Chicago sports back!