The Chicago Blackhawks’ preseason opener looked like a forecast for a lot of the games awaiting in the upcoming regular season, as the hosts lost 4-1 to the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night at the United Center.
St. Louis scored first on a power-play goal by Ryan O’Reilly just 2:23 into the game. The score remained 1-0 in favor the Blues until offseason signing Cole Guttman scored after a neat pass to the slot from Buddy Robinson:
Cole Guttman scores his first unofficial NHL goal. #Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/WbEitGiTv0— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) September 28, 2022
That goal came with 1:08 remaining in the second period before the Blues put the game away with three goals in the third period, including two more via the power play.
Let’s get right to it:
- Kevin Korchinski did not score in this game but it sure as hell wasn’t for a lack of effort. His best chance came off this rush and I’d encourage you to first look at the thumbnail of the video below. Kane has the puck on the near boards, just above the top of the faceoff circle. Korchinski is down near the hashmarks. But Korchinski had the hockey IQ to see the play develop and the skating ability to put himself in position for a potential goal:
This pass by Patrick Kane. My goodness. #Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/EGsY8NJr3Q— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) September 28, 2022
Korchinski skated 19:02 and had a pair of shots on goal while generally looking the part of a future NHL-caliber defenseman who can make plays in the offensive zone. Small simple size and all that, of course, but it’s absolutely a great place to start.
We’ll take it.
- Solid nights from both Cole Guttman and Buddy Robinson, although both players would have a long, long way to go to prove they’re anything more than bottom-six guys — and the Blackhawks already have plenty of those.
- Perhaps this is just an inner curmudgeon revealing itself but it feels like the broadcast was getting a touch carried away with all of the Andrew Shaw/Samuel Savoie comparisons. Shaw played in 500-plus NHL games as a fifth-round pick while Savoie is a third-round pick who’s probably heading back to the QMJHL in a week or two. Let’s pump the brakes a bit there. (Sidenote: will be happy to eat these words in a handful of years if Savoie proves to be the second coming of Shaw)
- St. Louis had the No. 2 power play in the league last season, so scoring a trio of PPGs shouldn’t be too surprising, but let’s mark that down on the list of “things that need to be better.”
- The Hawks seemed to generally control the play and had multiple periods of sustained pressure in the offensive zone. They just looked like a more organized hockey team than in seasons past. If Richardson ends up being around for the long haul, any signs that he implements a system which helps players flourish will be crucial to the development of all the young kids who are on their way to the team in the next few seasons. So even if this is a tanking season, we can still learn a lot about the new guy behind the bench during it.
- Keeping in line with the idea of this team not being one assembled to win, ask yourself this question: outside of Patrick Kane and maybe Max Domi, who’s going to put the puck in the net?
- Here’s hoping more Blackhawks prospects have a showing like Korchinski did in future preseason games.
The Blackhawks have a preseason game on Wednesday night on the road against the Detroit Red Wings at 6:30 p.m. Expect that lineup to feature a healthy dose of players who were not in the lineup on Tuesday night.