Blackhawks

Winter Classic between Blackhawks and Blues will start at noon

Winter Classic between Blackhawks and Blues will start at noon

ST. LOUIS – The Winter Classic between the Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues is still scheduled to begin at noon today, the NHL announced this morning.

The current forecast on Weather.com shows a 65 percent chance of rain around noon; rain is expected to end around 3 p.m. If it’s just light rain, it shouldn’t be a problem. The league said, “the decision was made after consulting with meteorologists regarding the latest weather reports, which while the weather forecast is unpredictable, the original start time should provide the best opportunity to play the game.”

Here are some scenarios if the game is not completed:

·        If the game has to be stopped permanently due to unplayable weather conditions, it will be deemed "official" after two periods. The team leading at the time play is stopped will be declared the winner and will be awarded two points in the standings.

·        If the game is tied at the time play is stopped permanently, any time after two periods of play, each team will be awarded one point in the standings, with an opportunity to earn an additional point in a standard shootout format. If weather conditions permit, the shootout will be conducted at Busch Stadium immediately after regulation play has been stopped. If weather conditions make it impossible to conduct a shootout safely at Busch Stadium, the shootout will take place at United Center on Sunday, February 26 prior to the regularly scheduled St. Louis-Chicago game, with St. Louis deemed the home club for shootout purposes only.

·        If the game is started, and stopped permanently due to unplayable weather conditions, and fewer than two periods of regular time has been played, the game will be officially "postponed" and, if possible, will be played in its entirety at Busch Stadium on Tuesday, January 3. If the game cannot be replayed at Busch Stadium on January 3, it will be rescheduled at Scottrade Center for a date to be determined later in the season.

The Blackhawks talked on Sunday of dealing with the uncertain start time. Coach Joel Quenneville said the Blackhawks have rolled with various start times before, and this was no different.

“We’ve played in a lot of different games, time schedules over the course of a season or career. Early starts, mid-afternoons, 6 o’clock, 7 o’clock, we’ve had 8:30 [p.m.]. Sometimes you skate, sometimes you don’t,” Quenneville said on Sunday. “We’ll see what happens early [Monday] and go from there but I think we’ve adapted as you go along. Going into a game like [Monday], we’re excited about the game and if it starts at noon, it’ll be great. If it doesn’t, both teams will adapt the same way.”

GM Stan Bowman: Blackhawks 'unlikely' to trade out of No. 3 overall spot

GM Stan Bowman: Blackhawks 'unlikely' to trade out of No. 3 overall spot

The 2019 NHL Draft is 48 hours away from now and the Blackhawks are slated to pick third overall for the first time since 2006 when they took Jonathan Toews. Coincidentally, that draft happened to be in Vancouver. 

The Blackhawks are sitting in a unique spot this time around.

The consensus is that Jack Hughes and Kappo Kakko will go first and second overall, respectively, which essentially puts the Blackhawks in a position where they have the first overall pick in a different draft. There's a large group of players to choose from and there doesn't appear to be much separation amongst them.

So would the Blackhawks consider trading out of the No. 3 spot if a team wants to make the jump and the Blackhawks feel good about their player being on the board a few picks back?

"That’s a tough question to answer because it's not like we have a magic formula that we’re waiting for some to call and offer us," GM Stan Bowman said on Wednesday during his pre-draft conference call. "If somebody made a really appealing offer then we’d have to consider it, but that hasn’t happened yet. If it does, then as a group we’ll talk about it. That’s one of those things where a team has to want to put together a really appealing package to move up. It’s happened before, pretty rare though. So I wouldn't say it's out of the realm, but it’s unlikely to happen."

All signs point to the Blackhawks keeping their pick at No. 3, as expected. And it sounds like they already know who it's going to be, which isn't surprising considering the Blackhawks have done extensive research on the prospects — both on and off the ice — for months now.

The Blackhawks staff met on Wednesday a group, they'll meet again on Thursday, and then one more time on Friday before the draft to finalize their list. At this point, it's more about ironing out the later rounds.

"It’s more just fine-tuning the list," Bowman said. "We have more than just one pick in the draft. We’re looking at players we think are going to be around in the second round, and then we don’t have a third-round pick right now so there’s a bit of a gap there between our 43rd and then the two picks in the fourth round. So we have to look at that and determine which players we’re going to target for those rounds. I wouldn’t say there’s anything new that's being discovered at this time of year.

"We’re not going to be cramming last minute. I think we’re going to be very comfortable with the guy we pick when we get to Friday night."

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2019 NHL Draft Profile: D Bowen Byram

2019 NHL Draft Profile: D Bowen Byram

From June 10-20, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile one top prospect per day — 11 total — leading up to the 2019 NHL Draft as the Blackhawks prepare to pick third overall.

Bowen Byram

Position: Defenseman
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 193 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report from Blackhawks vice president of amateur scouting Mark Kelley:

"He's had an outstanding year. Second half of the year he's really been outstanding. He really kind of drew a lot of attention to himself. Well-deserved. He's a dynamic player and he affects the outcome of a game."

Byram describes his own game:

On Duncan Keith comparisons: "I would say that’s pretty accurate. He’s a really energetic guy, good on both sides of the puck, kills penalties, runs the power play. That’s kind of how I’d describe myself, for sure. That’s definitely a fair comparison."

NHL player comparable: Duncan Keith

Fit for Blackhawks:

The Blackhawks have used their last three first-round picks on defensemen, but positional needs aren't a priority when you're drafting this high — although, in the grand scheme of things, it's a pressing need despite the overflow of defensemen in the pipeline. TSN's Craig Button has said multiple times on the Hawks Talk Podcast that Byram is a future No. 1 defenseman in the NHL, and he would immediately become the top prospect in the organization.

Byram, known for his swagger and two-way game, has drawn comparisons to Drew Doughty and Keith, both of whom have won a Norris Trophy — Keith has two. More importantly, Doughty and Keith also have their names on the Stanley Cup multiple times and were both driving forces during those title runs. These are the types of defensemen you win championships with.

Byram set records in the Western Hockey League as a 17-year-old, and he could probably step into the pros immediately. But that's asking a lot for a defenseman, so he'd be more likely to become an everyday NHL player starting in 2020-21.

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