Tuesday night didn’t quite feel right with so many familiar Blackhawks players missing. It was like the side salad that gets served before the appetizers. As for Thursday night’s game? Still not quite the main course, but you can bet I was arm deep in tonight’s appetizers when they were brought out. Wait, what am I talking about?
Oh, that’s right. Hockey. Ryan Hartman started off the scoring for the Hawks, showing off his midseason form by scoring a goal without using his stick — Hartman’s signature. Brent Seabrook scored a trademark goal of his own with a blast from the point on the power play. Alex DeBrincat scored on the power play as well (more on that in a bit) and Brandon Saad had a hat trick as the Hawks ran away from the Detroit Red Wings B-team (and that’s probably generous).
Other than the goals, the only other item of note in this one was the injury to young defenseman Luc Snuggerud, who departed from the action in the second period and did not return. [UPDATE] Snuggerud’s injury was deemed upper-body and the severity of the injury will be determined on Friday, per Joel Quenneville in the postgame press conference.
Everything else about this game looked pretty good from a Chicago perspective. Well, except those collars on the Hawks sweaters. Someone at Adidas needs to fix that, quickly.
DET GOALS: Rasmussen (1)
CHI GOALS: Hartman (1), Seabrook (1), DeBrincat (1), Saad 3 (3)
Alex DeBrincat just might be here to stay
After a lackluster showing at prospect camp, the hype train for DeBrincat had slowed down a touch. It’s full speed ahead all over again after Thursday night. He scored his first goal of the preseason with a power play tally in the second period and was part of a dynamic line along with Patrick Kane and Nick Schmaltz. It was constant motion while that trio was on the ice together. The puck and the players were never static. Even though this was DeBrincat’s first pseudo-NHL experience (insert your preseason disclaimers here), there wasn’t anything to suggest that he couldn’t earn a roster spot in the next few weeks.
Yes, it's the preseason.— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) September 22, 2017
Yes, it's against a B team.
But yes, Alex DeBrincat very much looks like he can play this game. #Blackhawks
And while we’re on the topic of the players on that line, it’s worth noting that Schmaltz had an impressive 7-for-9 night at the faceoff dot, a major flaw of his in 2016-17.
The defense still has a lot of questions
And we didn’t get a ton of answers on Thursday night. While the PK pitched a shutout by killing off all of seven its opportunities, the lack of 5-on-5 play made it hard to get solid evaluations of the players who were on the ice except for a few scattered moments. Viktor Svedberg made a blind backhand pass while on the PK that ended up on the stick of a Detroit Red Wing in the slot — not a mistake that can be made by a player who was likely already destined for Rockford. Jordan Oesterle jumped into the play nicely and made a good pass to set up Saad’s third goal. Duncan Keith and Seabrook took turns pinging posts on the power play. Connor Murphy didn’t do anything out of the ordinary and Snuggerud’s night was uneventful prior to his injury. Most of the D-men who are on the bubble weren’t in the lineup on Thursday night.
The goaltender position does not
Corey Crawford played just two periods, but still had to make 30 saves while facing 31 shots in his 40 minutes of work. With the Hawks penalty kill getting so much work, Crawford was called upon to make several difficult saves and he passed the test just about every time.
- Brandon Saad (CHI): 3 goals, 8 SOG
- Alex DeBrincat (CHI): 1 goal, 4 SOG
- Corey Crawford (CHI): 31 shots faced, 30 saves