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Good morning, Blackhawks fans.
We’re back with another edition of the Blackhawks Beat. Let’s see if the Hawks can make it two in a row tonight against Patrick Kane’s Red Wings.
Typically, these weekly Blackhawks Beat columns are locked for CHGO Diehards only, but because of the breadth of the news this week, this one will be unlocked. Regardless, please consider becoming a Diehard. It comes with great perks, discounts and access to all of our great written content, including Greg Boysen and Mario Tirabassi’s weekly Rebuild Report.
I typically try to keep these things light-hearted, but with such an insane week with so many twists and turns, it will get slightly more serious than usual.
Here we go, and thanks for reading…
Tuesday, November 21: The Blackhawks promote Kevin Korchinski to the top power play unit at practice. Corey Perry is also on PP1 when practice concludes. After practice, Perry is seen interacting with kids, signing autographs and greeting each of them for approximately 5-10 minutes. The team then heads to Columbus for the next day’s game.
Wednesday, November 22: The Blackhawks make Perry a healthy scratch at the last minute ahead of their game against the Blue Jackets. The Hawks lose the game 7-3. After the game, head coach Luke Richardson calls the scratch an “organizational decision.” He offers no further details.
Thursday, November 23: The Blackhawks hold practice at Fifth Third Arena. Before practice, they announce that winger Taylor Hall will miss the remainder of the season with an ACL injury. Perry misses practice again. After practice, Richardson is once again vague on the details of Perry’s absence. “I know you have questions about Corey Perry not playing last night and attending practice today but we’re going to keep that internal in the organization right now. I’m not going to be able to answer any more questions on that.”
Friday, November 24: The Blackhawks hold a morning skate ahead of their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Perry is not on the ice. After the skate, Richardson gives another non-update update. “It’s just going to be kept internal for now in the organization. Hopefully we’ll be able to give updates soon but we can’t give a timeline on that.” The Hawks beat the Maple Leafs 4-3 on the back of Jason Dickinson’s hat-trick.
Saturday, November 25: Blackhawks GM Kyle Davidson breaks his silence, meeting the media before practice at Fifth Third Arena. “It’s been a team decision so far to hold him out and that’s all I’m able to provide,” Davidson says. “I’m just going to not comment on any possible outcome of this.” Later that afternoon, Perry’s agent, Pat Morris, provided the following statement: “Corey Perry has stepped away from the Chicago Blackhawks to attend to personal matters. Corey and his family appreciate privacy at this time.”
Sunday, November 26: The Blackhawks lay an egg vs the St. Louis Blues. Perry is again out of the lineup. Nick Foligno sounds off on the team’s commitment after the game.
Monday, November 27: A salacious rumor begins to surface regarding Perry and a teammate’s mother. The rumor catches fire, and is even ‘winked at’ by ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski.
Members of the Blackhawks beat, and national NHL media immediately debunk the rumor, but it seems too late, as it’s become the talk of the internet.
Tuesday, November 28: News breaks that Patrick Kane will be signing with the Detroit Red Wings.
At 2 pm, the Blackhawks announced they are placing Perry on unconditional waivers, and will terminate his contract as soon as he clears. At 4 pm, Davidson meets the media and give as much info as he possibly can, calling the situation a “workplace matter.”
In a story marked 2:38pm ET, ESPN’s Emily Kaplan reports, “Perry indeed traveled with the team to Columbus last Tuesday, a day before the game, and an incident occurred that day involving a team employee.”
Before the game, the Blackhawks announce they have traded for Vancouver winger Anthony Beauvillier.
The Blackhawks defeat the Kraken 4-3, and many Blackhawks are asked about Perry’s dismissal after the game. “It’s a hard day,” Foligno says. “It doesn’t make it any easier because we care about Corey a ton and we’re gonna wish him well. But the group in here has to galvanize around this and make sure we’re holding ourselves to a high standard, and how serious the Chicago Blackhawks are about that and the culture they want to build here. We’re lucky to be a part of it.”
“He’s a brother and we care about everyone in this room,” Seth Jones adds. “We don’t have any details of what happened, but I know the organization wants to keep a (level of) conduct here, and a place where we hold each other to a standard. I guess that was broken.”
Wednesday, November 29: The Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli advances the story. “According to sources, an alcohol-fueled incident involving Perry was alleged to have occurred during an event that included corporate partners and team employees in attendance,” Seravalli wrote. “It remains unclear what allegedly took place, who witnessed it, and who reported it to the team.”
Thursday, November 30th: Corey Perry issues a statement, taking full responsibility for his actions.
OK. Now you’re all caught up. I will try to tackle these things one-by-one, and if you’ve made it this far, thanks for sticking with me.
On the handling of the Corey Perry situation
Initially, I was critical of how the Blackhawks handled their messaging around Perry. In my mind, it was too vague, and left the door open for wild speculation. After talking to some sources inside the organization, I came to a realization that there were things that couldn’t be revealed, and backed off my statement, holding judgment until the story played out. Now that Davidson has shared as much as he is able, I think the Blackhawks handled the situation fairly well.
Kaplan’s report, which I mentioned above, lines up with the info I was given over the last few days. I wasn’t confident enough in the info to report it on my own, but in my mind, anything Kaplan reports is as good as gold. With this in mind, it’s clear to see why Davidson and the organization handled things the way they did. There is a victim on the other side of this story. That victim deserves privacy and protection.
Davidson is feeling personally responsible for the reprehensible rumor from earlier this week.
“What’s gone on over the last 24 hours has been very disturbing, and I feeling like I’m wearing it,” Davidson said Tuesday. “I’m carrying that.”
Perhaps more immediate clarity could have prevented crazy rumors from spreading, but with all the info we have now, it just wasn’t possible to share more or give more. It’s also unfair for Davidson to hold himself responsible for the world’s lack of media literacy. In 2023, people should be able to decipher between a random person’s tweet and actual sourced news.
I would like to hear from Danny Wirtz over the next few days. Since he’s taken the reigns (officially and unofficially) there have been a pair of controversies. The Perry situation, and last year’s decision to not wear Pride Night jerseys. That news was given to the media via sources, and wasn’t directly addressed by the organization until the damage had been done. Now, with the Perry situation, I think it would be meaningful for Wirtz to show his support for Davidson’s decision. It would also give him the opportunity to let people know that the policies the Blackhawks have put in place for their employees worked in this circumstance, and the Perry outcome is proof.
On Taylor Hall’s injury
Mainly, I just feel awful for Hall. The ACL was his third injury (that we know of) of this season. He did everything he could to remain in the lineup, including skating on a torn ACL. He’s been labeled as injury-prone for a couple of years now, and his brief 2023-24 experience with the Blackhawks won’t do anything to change that. Fortunately for Hall, he has another year remaining on his contract, so he has 2024-25 with the Blackhawks to shake that reputation and earn his next contract, be it with the Blackhawks or elsewhere in the NHL.
On Patrick Kane joining the Red Wings
Twenty years ago, I think this one would have hurt a lot more. It took me decades to get over Chris Chelios’ move to Detroit, but when I got the news that Kane had chosen the Red Wings, I met it with a big “meh.” And I wasn’t alone.
47% of Blackhawks fans we polled (which is undeniable scientific fact) also said, “Meh.” Maybe it’s a coping mechanism. Maybe it’s because fans had the chance to say goodbye to Kane all of last season. Maybe it’s the fact that the Red Wings rivalry is as dead as dead can be these days. Whatever it is, this move feels just like it would feel had Kane jumped to the Islanders or Panthers. It’s going to look weird, and that’s about it.
On the Anthony Beauvillier trade
With Hall and Perry gone, Davidson had to do something to address the offense, and while Beauvillier isn’t exactly the second coming of Mario Lemieux, he will help Richardson with scoring depth and flexibility. Beauvillier is good enough to play on the top-six in Chicago, but is versatile enough to move up and down the lineup. “He’s definitely a little spitfire out there,” Richardson said after Tuesday’s game. “He can skate, he can shoot, he brings energy. Hopefully, he brings some consistency and some extra scoring, which we could use right now.”
Beauvillier, 26, has eight points in 22 games played with Vancouver this season, and 237 points over 512 NHL games. He was drafted 28th overall by the New York Islanders in 2015, and carries a $4.15 million cap hit that expires after this season when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
Also, Beauvillier is fun to say. Bo-VILL-e-ay! Bo-VILL-e-ay!
The Week Ahead
Tonight – at Detroit Red Wings
I know what you’re thinking, and it would be amazing, but Patrick Kane won’t play in this game. He did appear at Wednesday’s morning skate, which gave us the first glimpse of Kane in a Red Wings uniform, but the expectation, according to Kane, is he’ll begin playing for Detroit next week.
Saturday – at Winnipeg Jets
The Jets, who have beaten the Blackhawks in all five of their last matchups, are off to a better start than many expected (currently third in the central division with 26 points). After last season’s first-round playoff exit to Vegas, head coach Rick Bowness called out his team. “We had no pushback,” Bowness said. “Their better players were so much better than ours tonight. They deserve to win. They were the better team in the regular season. They were the better team in this series.” So what’s changed for the Jets this season? “I think the room’s tighter, I think the culture here is outstanding because of the players,” Bowness said on Tuesday. “It starts with that off the ice. That’s where it all starts, you’ve gotta have that chemistry, you’ve gotta have that culture off the ice. This team is a tighter team off the ice and it’s shown itself on the ice.”
Sunday – at Minnesota Wild
The Wild just made a change at head coach, firing Dean Evason for John Hynes. Something had to give in Minnesota. They’re 5-10-4 start was way below expectations. The Wild beat the Blues 3-1 on Tuesday night, so we’ll see what difference Hynes makes, but this feels like a change for the sake of change. I guess you can’t fire the players, right Jay Woodcroft?
Tuesday – vs Nashville Predators
Believe it or not, the Nashville Mid-ators have won six games in a row. I don’t know how and I still think they’re average as hell. There. There’s your game analysis.
Thanks for making it all the way to the end. Hopefully, next week’s Blackhawks Beat will be about friggin’ hockey!
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