Not only have the Chicago Blackhawks finally broken the six-game skid that ran through parts of two different calendar years, but they’ve also begun a type of streak that they haven’t experienced since after their coaching change in mid-November. Can they get three consecutive wins on Thursday?
This seems much more likely than it did just weeks ago. The Blackhawks have been able to benefit from a team effort, and this is evident. The veterans are performing when they need it, and the newer players take over when they are needed. They’re simply looking for better ways to compete.
RELATED: Blackhawks News & Rumours: Nylander, Söderblom, DeBrincat, Strome
As we wait to see if Chicago can extend their current run, catch up on the latest stories surrounding the club in this edition of Blackhawks News & Rumours.
Fleury Wins in Vegas Return
There was no doubt that Marc-André Fleury‘s return to his former home rink would be an emotional one. Helping the Vegas Golden Knights reach the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season, let alone winning his first-ever Vezina Trophy as a member of the club, it’s safe to say that Fleury was instrumental in helping to establish a foundation for the organization’s fanbase.
Fleury’s first visit back in Vegas was sure to include its rightful fanfare. The moment was not over. That video tribute stopped and the puck was in play, it was a safe bet that we’d witness a much less friendly Fleury. He has made a career out of proving skeptics wrong and he’d do the same on this particular night.
When setting the tone for the evening there are a few things you need to remember. The first was that the Blackhawks, who were struggling to win against a strong lineup of Golden Knights players, were seen as underdogs. Second, but no less important, it’s been made more than evident that Vegas believes Robin Lehner is the better netminder of the two.
None of that got in the way of Fleury’s 30-save performance, though. Fleury demanded attention all night to win the 2-1 victory. Meanwhile, those in charge of naming the game’s three stars still found a way to sprinkle in some disregard for his greatness by placing him in the middle of that pack.
But Fleury, the more experienced goalie, got the last laugh. In fact, Fleury landed at least ahead of Lehner. It’s rightfully so.
Although it’s too early to tell if Fleury will still be a member of the Blackhawks when they return to Vegas on March 26, you can rest assured that he’ll be up to the task of repeating this type of dominance if he’s the one controlling Chicago’s crease.
De Haan Scores First of 2021-22
Averaging nearly 19:00 of ice time and two blocks per night through his third season with the Blackhawks, it’s obvious that Calvin de Haan is an important member of their blue line. His impact is greatest when it comes down to providing production and not limiting it, even though he maintains top-pairing minutes.
That said, de Haan made sure to notch at least one on the year in Chicago’s 4-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets this past Tuesday. As Ben Pope highlighted this. following the contest, scoring a single goal every season seems to have become de Haan’s pattern.
With the latter half of the 2021-22 campaign remaining, we’ll see if de Haan can break his own streak and start a new one that includes accumulating at least two goals per year. Any point production should be treated as a bonus, since his reliability is best demonstrated beyond the scoresheet.
What you should expect out of him is to continue managing heavy minutes — not score goals.
Galvas Impresses with His NHL Debut
Jakub Galvas, a Blackhawks draftee in 2017, has been playing in Europe since then. But he was offered a spot on the Rockford IceHogs roster to begin the 2021-22 season. Not only that, but his performance with Chicago’s American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate has been enough to Give him a callJoin the big club.
Galvas made his NHL debut on Jan. 11 against the Blue Jackets, logging the second-most minutes of any non-goalie in Chicago’s lineup that night. He was also relied upon in every scenario throughout the game — even strength, shorthanded, power play. The 22-year-old Continues to amazeWith every opportunity that is offered.
“I’ll be honest with you, I was very surprised how good he played,” King said “I knew he was pretty calm with the puck and could skate and could make plays and was a smart player, but he looked really good today. He was a great player. That’s not easy.”
Regardless of the reasoning behind how Galvas got into Chicago’s locker room, the reality is that he now has a chance to make a case for why he should stay there. It would appear he’s already succeeding, as all signs point to him Staying in their active lineupFor at least one more night.
Reichel is a player with the Blackhawks
Lukas Reichel’s ability to play in Germany as a teenager, and his continued progress, make it probable that he would be able to thrive when he came to North America. Judging from his numbers with the IceHogs early on in 2021-22, it’s fair to say that was an accurate presumption.
Producing at a point-per-game pace in the AHL, Reichel’s 20 points and 11 goals both lead Rockford’s roster in each respective category. Reichel is more than ready for the NHL, even though it’s a significant step up in competition.Blackhawks debutJanuary 13, 2019, against the Montreal Canadiens
We will not know how long he stays with Blackhawks. However, it is worth trying to gauge his abilities at the highest levels of play. He can only provide upsides to a struggling Blackhawks team.
This opportunity will allow the club to evaluate the strengths of Reichel and will encourage the club’s enthusiasm. The winger is, by far, Chicago’s most anticipated prospect at the moment. He’s already done enough to earn this shot, so good on Chicago for letting him take it.
It doesn’t matter that Reichel is likely to return to the IceHogsHis progress will be enhanced by the experiences he can gain in the interim, sooner than expected. To encourage this elevation, it is necessary to play among the best. This is the first step in Reichel’s journey to becoming the NHL regular we all hope he will become.
Shaw’s Legacy Set to Be Celebrated
Chicago made an announcement in preparation for their 2021-22 calendar A number of important games are availableAdded fanfare was planned. Legacy Nights were also on the agenda, where retired Blackhawks would receive recognition for their contributions to the franchise. The ceremony was followed by postponement of Marian Hossa’s eventAndrew Shaw is next to replace the original Nov. 9 date.
Shaw will be honored when the Blackhawks play the Canadiens on Jan. 13. It’s fitting, considering that those were the only two teams he played with in his decade-long NHL career.
Shaw was a fan favourite for his 544 regular season games, and 72 playoffs games. Shaw’s passion was infectious. He was a tireless worker, willing to sacrifice everything for his team every shift. Although he spent time playing in both cities, most of his NHL tenure occurred where he reached the heights of his career — in Chicago.
Shaw had 151 points and 689 hit in 362 games while a Blackhawk. He also had 35 points and 167 hits during 67 postseason contests. Shaw was a constant source of energy for the line-up and his contributions were crucial. He was a constant source of energy throughout the entire lineup. Both Stanley Cup runs that he was a part of, in 2013 et 2015.
His latest concussion occurred midway through 2020-21 campaign. Shaw decided to retire. This was a difficult decision for the then-29-year-old. It was, however, the best decision for his health.
While there’s no telling what more Shaw could have accomplished, had it not been for his history of injury forcing him out of the game, all he was able to achieve in Chicago makes him more than worthy of his Legacy Night celebration.
RELATED: Blackhawks banter: Chicago needs 4 players to move ASAP
His two former teams will hopefully be able to return the favor by performing a show for Shaw, considering the entertainment value he provided both franchises’ fanbases at all times.
Freelance writer, obsessed with the digital aesthetic. Oxford comma enthusiast. Spider-Man supporter. Two of my favourite hockey teams are sports fans. If the Blackhawks and Maple Leafs ever meet in the Stanley Cup Final, you can find me wherever they’re playing that night.
You can find me and more of the work I have done at mralwayswrite.com.