Blackhawks

When the NHL could realistically finish 2019-20 season after latest developments

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USA Today

When the NHL could realistically finish 2019-20 season after latest developments

It's not surprising, but the NHL officially postponed the Scouting Combine, NHL Awards show and 2020 NHL Draft that was originally scheduled for June 1-6, June 18 and June 26-27, respectively. Many questions still remain, but the latest development provides a little more clarity on a timeline.

For one, by pushing back the three major events, the league has acknowledged that it's not ready to punt on the 2019-20 campaign just yet. It's still hopeful that the Stanley Cup will be awarded in some capacity, even if it's forced to adjust its playoff format.

Which leads us to our next question: When could the NHL realistically finish the season?

Here's what we can piece together:

— On March 16, the NHL and NHLPA were targeting the possibility of opening a mini training camp period roughly 45 days into the 60-day period recommended by the CDC. That would have meant a return around mid-May at the earliest.

— The NHL was originally looking to squeeze in the remainder of the season by July 24 — the beginning of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo — because it would have interfered with NBC's television schedule. That's no longer the case after the IOC announced it has postponed the Olympics, likely until 2021.

— In the latest general managers conference call on Tuesday, the NHL reportedly asked teams to submit their building availabilities through the month of August.

The situation is fluid, but at this point, it doesn't make sense to start up the season as soon as possible only to shut back down again. Which brings us to a proposal that was internally discussed eight days ago, according to TSN, but has now emerged as perhaps the most likely scenario.

In summary:

— A mini training camp in early July

— A finish to the regular season in late July

— Playoffs in August and September

— NHL Draft and free agency in October

— Beginning of the 2020-21 season in November, which would probably include a shortened preseason, no NHL All-Star weekend and the elimination of bye weeks in order to salvage an 82-game season.

This would allow players to treat the current hiatus as their extended offseason while also giving them another couple months after the playoffs conclude to rest and recharge before kicking things back up again.

It's not perfect, but this sure does feel like the most logical solution. And quite frankly, there aren't many alternative options.

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Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Elliotte Friedman on the tough road ahead for the NHL

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Elliotte Friedman on the tough road ahead for the NHL

Host Pat Boyle and NBCS Chicago Hawks insider Charlie Roumeliotis are joined by Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada, as they discuss what lies ahead for the NHL as they figure out ways to resume or move on from this season and how those decisions impact the Hawks financially and how it impacts the roster going forward.

(1:10) - Elliotte Friedman on being a Hawks fan growing up

(4:26) - Everyone hoped the salary cap would go up, now it may go down

(6:30) - Friedman's comments about Dylan Strome were taken out of context

(8:40) - What will the Hawks do at goaltender?

(14:00) - Is there motivation to get hockey going in July or August?

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

NHL 20 sim: Brandon Saad shows shades of Marian Hossa in Game 2 win

NHL 20 sim: Brandon Saad shows shades of Marian Hossa in Game 2 win

 

Game 2: Blackhawks at Blues (April 10)

Result: Blackhawks win 6-2 (Series tied 1-1)

Three Stars:

1st Star: Brandon Saad (2 G, 1 A, 4 SOG, +3)

2nd Star: Olli Maatta (3 A, +2, 1 SOG, 1 H)

3rd Star: Jonathan Toews (1 G, 1 A, +3, 8-14 FO)

Brandon Saad showed shades of his 2014-15 self that was often compared to a young Marian Hossa. He netted two goals, got the primary assist to tie the game in the 2nd, and was a force at both ends recording four shots and a +3 rating. Olli Maatta provided some unexpected offense, chipping in with three assists including the primary helper on the eventual game-winner. The Captain stepped up when needed as well. Toews got the Hawks on the board to tie things in the second, and Chicago never looked back from there.

Scoring Summary:

First Period

-   6:59 Alexander Steen (O. Sundqvist, J. Kyrou) 1-0 

Second Period

-   1:19 Jonathan Toews (B. Saad, A. DeBrincat) 1-1

- 1:46 Brandon Saad (J. Toews, A. Boqvist) 2-1

- 5:04 Alex Nylander (O. Maatta, C. Murphy) 3-1

- 7:01 Drake Caggiula (O. Maatta) 4-1

- 15:03 Kirby Dach (Unassisted) 5-1

- 16:52 Vince Dunn (J. Faulk, S. Blais) 5-2

- 17:32 Brandon Saad (O. Maatta, A. DeBrincat) 6-2

Third Period

- No Scoring

Box Score:

Shots on Goal:

-   Chicago: 24

-   St. Louis: 22

The Blackhawks found a nice combination of depth contributions and stars stepping up. Established veterans like Toews and Saad did the heavy lifting early, then the depth and youth put the game to bed with a strong finish to the second period. With the first line through the fourth line all chipping in, the Hawks might be tough to beat if they are able to keep up that formula.

Goalies:

-   Corey Crawford: 20/22 (.909 SV%)

-   Jordan Binnington: 18/24 (.750 SV%)

Corey Crawford looked like the consistent, two-time Cup winner the Hawks need in net to win a series over St. Louis. After surrendering an early goal, Crawford was lights out despite an early push from the home team to try and put away the Hawks quickly. Once Crawford settled down, so did the visitors. While Binnington clearly didn’t have his best night, he was also a victim of some bad luck surrendering a pair of goals due to some unfortunate bounces. Much like Crawford in Game 1, Binnington didn’t get too much help in front of him.

Power Play:

-   Chicago: 0-1

-   St. Louis 0-0

After five combined penalties in Game 1, the referees swallowed their whistles and let the boys play. With just one power play in two games, there is no doubt Jeremy Colliton would like to see his team get a few more chances on the man advantage. On the other hand, the Hawks showed how important staying out of the box is for their defense and for their goaltender, especially against a power play unit as potent as the Blues’.

Notable Blackhawks performances:

-   Kirby Dach (Goal)

-   Drake Caggiula (Goal)

-   Alex Nylander (Goal)

After strong finishes to the regular season, Dach and Nylander were held in check in Game 1. That changed in a big way in Game 2. Both picked up their first career playoff goals; Nylander netting the eventual game-winner and Dach icing the game with a greasy goal in front of the net. Caggiula played his role well too, being a pest in front of the net, which led to his tally. The Hawks checked all the boxes they needed to pick up a win in Game 2. Now the series swings back to the Madhouse on Madison where the home crowd will undoubtedly be rocking. Blackhawks fans will experience their first home playoff game since April 2017.