Five Things: Toews, Blackhawks get physical with Blues


Five Things: Toews, Blackhawks get physical with Blues

Bringing players back into the fold usually yields great results.

The Blackhawks were hoping they’d get that when they welcomed Duncan Keith and Michal Rozsival back on Saturday night against the St. Louis Blues, and that’s what they got. They played a stronger game. They looked more balanced. They looked a little more like themselves.

So before we head back to Chicago, let’s look at Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ 4-2 victory over the Blues.

[MORE: Blackhawks rally to beat Blues in wild game]

1. Duncan Keith is back. Remember all that stuff about the Blackhawks watching his minutes? Who bought that? If you were one of those who knew it was going to take a crowbar to pry Keith off the ice, you’re correct. Keith, barely four weeks off surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee, played 27 minutes, 34 seconds. Keith expects to play on Sunday against Calgary. Said Corey Crawford, “He looked pretty good out there. Playing that many minutes, it’s always tough no matter how much you do it in the gym or whatever. It’s always tough the first game back. It seems like you try to get that second wind when you come back but he was really good.”

2. Patrick Kane does it again. The Blackhawks were regaining momentum back late in the second period and thanks to Kane, they also regained the lead. Kane’s power-play goal, the eventual game-winner for the Blackhawks, was his 12th of the season. It also extended the forward’s point streak to 12 consecutive games, two shy of his career best. Said Blues coach Ken Hitchcock of the Blackhawks finding the late answers, “That’s what that team’s done… they make big plays at the right time. That’s why they win championships. If we want a piece of the pie in this division, in this conference, we’re going to have to have more people make big plays at the right time.”

3. Michal Rozsival returns. No, the veteran defenseman didn’t log Keith-like minutes – Rozsival played a little more than 13 minutes – but he brought stability to a defensive group that needed it. Coach Joel Quenneville said, “Rozi gives you real good patience back there, good play recognition, sees plays and has patience with the puck. It’s a different look with those two back there [Keith and Rozsival]… so welcome back to the two of them.”

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

4. Others scored. This is what the Blackhawks needed more than anything: more guys contributing offensively. Andrew Shaw scored his second goal of the season, tipping a Keith shot early in the game. Trevor van Riemsdyk added his second of the season, scoring from the left point in the second period. Keith said, “it seemed like we had some good contributions from a lot of guys. A lot of good things out there and things that we can work on and build off of.”

5. This fight was OK. Quenneville talked recently of Jonathan Toews’ recent penchant for pugilism. He said it was a fine line on whether he wanted his captain involved in fights but on Saturday night, he agreed with Toews fighting David Backes. The Blues captain boarded Niklas Hjlmarsson early in the second period and Toews went after Backes. Hjalmarsson returned to the game after going to the locker room immediately after that hit.

SportingNews Top 50 NHL Prospects lists Boqvist at 10 and Kirby Dach at 13

USA Today

SportingNews Top 50 NHL Prospects lists Boqvist at 10 and Kirby Dach at 13

NHL draft analyst Steve Kournianos released his list for Top 50 players in NHL pipelines for the upcoming 2019-20 season. To the delight of Blackhawks fans everywhere, Adam Boqvist and Kirby Dach were ranked at number 10 and 13 respectively.

Kournianos described 19-year-old defender Boqvist as a dominant rookie with 40 assists and 20 goals during his tenure with the London Knights. Fans speculate whether the Blackhawks will keep Boqvist on his junior squad for another year or pull him up to play with the American Hockey League Rockford Ice Hogs.

Kournianos said Dach was one of Team Canada’s top players at the World Junior Summer Showcase. The 18-year-old center is sure to be one of Canada’s main forwards during World Juniors and Dach has the flexibility to play anywhere in the Blackhawks lineup. Dach’s entry-level contract allows him up to nine NHL games this season, giving him the chance to return to the AHL or NHL after his junior season in the Western Hockey League is finished.

Both Boqvist and Dach are key player for the future of this team and it will interesting to watch the Hawks develop these younger players.

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Blackhawks Talk Podcast: An inside look at the Blackhawks Hockey Ops department with Senior VP Al MacIsaac

USA Today

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: An inside look at the Blackhawks Hockey Ops department with Senior VP Al MacIsaac

On the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle catches up with Senior VP of Hockey Operations, Al MacIsaac. They discuss the process the Blackhawks took in transforming the roster this off-season. MacIsaac is entering his 20th year with the Blackhawks and talks about the organizational changes over the last two decades. He also weighs in on the role analytics plays in evaluating current or potential Blackhawks and he explains why the team made a commitment to make its new practice facility the “gold standard” of the NHL.

0:45 – MacIsaac on changes within the Blackhawks organization in the last 20 years

4:00 – How the Blackhawks have added great depth this summer

5:25 – A good problem to have with two good goaltenders

6:23 – How the hockey ops meeting went at the end of last season

8:45 – How much the Blackhawks use and rely on analytics

10:27 – The importance of the Blackhawks strength and conditioning programs

12:24 – The planning behind Fifth Third Arena’s development

14:40 – The dynamic between hockey ops and business ops

16:37 – Agreements and disagreements within the hockey ops group

18:32 – MacIsaac’s longtime relationship with Mark Bernard

20:27 – Looking ahead to training camp and the regular season

22:42 – Tough decisions will need to be made when the season starts

Listen here or in the embedded player below. 

Blackhawks Talk Podcast