Blackhawks

Five Things from Blackhawks-Coyotes: Forgettable second period

Five Things from Blackhawks-Coyotes: Forgettable second period

GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Blackhawks certainly know drama these days.

I joked about grabbing brown paper bags and inhaling deeply after their second period on Thursday night. But considering recent outings it's understandable why some likely watch this team with apprehension.

Still, they got out of the desert with two points, and they needed them. So before we pack up and head to the final stop on Ice Show Trip, Part I, let's look at the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks' 4-3 victory over the Arizona Coyotes.

1. A very strong start. The 3-0 lead was certainly a bonus but the Blackhawks' all-around game was great in the first period. They shot (15 shots to the Coyotes' six). They swarmed in on turnovers, they created traffic and they didn't let up through the first 20 minutes. But…

2. A terribly undisciplined second period. The Blackhawks committed seven penalties on the night. Five of them came in the second period and three of those were delay-of-game penalties. Oh, and they gave the Coyotes, down 3-0 at the time, a 5-on-3 just 19 seconds into the second period, too. The Blackhawks gave the Coyotes life, and they took advantage of it. Quenneville's frustration with that period was evident in his post-game press conference.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]  

3. Early power play success. The Blackhawks had scored just one-power play goal in their last 20 opportunities entering Thursday night. Against the Coyotes, they did a lot with a little: on their first two power plays, they one shot on each and one goal on each (Kane and Hossa). They went quiet in their final two power plays but their work on it in the first period was encouraging. 

4. Second line gets going again. Kane's goal came on the power play but he, Artemi Panarin and Artem Anisimov nevertheless woke up when they were together. Panarin scored his 18th of the season in the second period; that goal proved to be the game winner. The Blackhawks can't rely solely on this line like they did last season but they definitely need it to be better than it's been in recent outings.

5. Learn from this. Corey Crawford said it, and he's right: Thursday was a reminder that, if you have a second period like the Blackhawks did it doesn't matter if you're playing the best or worst team in the league. You're playing with fire. The Blackhawks almost kissed away a tremendous first period. They lost momentum early in the second period and struggled to get it back. The full 60-minute game continues to elude them.

Five Blackhawks make top 100 prospect list

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USA TODAY

Five Blackhawks make top 100 prospect list

After missing the playoffs for two straight seasons, the Blackhawks are in a transition period coming off the team’s long run as a Stanley Cup contender. There is hope for a relatively quick return to contention with a number of highly-regarded prospects.

ESPN ranked the top 100 NHL prospects on Wednesday and the Blackhawks have five skaters on the list.

Leading the way for Blackhawks prospects is Kirby Dach, who was the third pick in this year’s draft. He is ranked No. 6 overall. The top two picks from that draft, Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko, are the top two prospects in the rankings.

Adam Boqvist is the second Blackhawks prospect, coming in at No. 29 overall. The defenseman was the No. 8 overall pick in the 2018 draft.

Defensemen Ian Mitchell (No. 68) and Nicolas Beaudin (No. 82) and right winger Alexander Nylander (No. 88) round out Blackhawks prospects in the top 100. Mitchell opted to return to the University of Denver for his junior year. Beaudin was the Blackhawks’ second first-round pick in 2018, picked No. 27. Nylander was acquired in the offseason in exchange for young defenseman Henri Jokiharju.

With five prospects on the list the Blackhawks had more than most teams. The Los Angeles Kings had the most prospects on the list with seven while the Edmonton Oilers and New York Rangers each had six.

ESPN also ranked the Blackhawks pool of prospects as ninth-best in the NHL.

 

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Former Blackhawk Dustin Byfuglien considering future in the NHL

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USA Today

Former Blackhawk Dustin Byfuglien considering future in the NHL

Former Blackhawks player Dustin Byfuglien is taking personal time off to consider his NHL future, with sources speculating he may retire this year.

 

Byfuglien is 34 years old and currently plays on the Winnipeg Jets. The Jets announced on Sept. 13 that Byfuglien would be taking time off from the team, declining to cite an official reason for his departure.

“I met with Buff yesterday and we had some conversations and in the conversations, he indicated that he needed some personal time,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said last week to the Canadian Press.

Byfuglien has two years left on his contract, with an annual value of approximately $7.6 million.

Byfuglien was an eighth-round, 245th overall draft pick for Chicago, entering the NHL in 2003. He played with the Hawks until 2010. In his NHL career, Byfuglien has played in 869 regular-season games, scoring 177 goals, 525 points and 1,094 penalty minutes.

While many fans of the Jets and Byfuglien may be sad if he does decide to retire (remember, nothing is official yet), it wouldn’t be unreasonable for Byfuglien to be considering retirement considering his age. According to Natural Stat Tick and The Athletic, the average age for an NHL player during the 2017-18 season was 27.1, with Chicago and Winnipeg at the center of the bell curve. Byfuglien is seven years older than the median and while he isn’t the oldest player in the NHL by a long shot, he’s no spring chicken either.

Whatever Byfuglien decides to do, he has had an illustrious and impactful career in the NHL and we wish him nothing but the best going forward.

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