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The Blackhawks played their second preseason game in as many nights on Sunday, this time heading over to Detroit to face their old rival Red Wings. Connor Bedard, Lukas Reichel and Wyatt Kaiser were the headliners for Chicago, while Jaxson Stauber got the call in goal to start the game.
The Red Wings jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, with Daniel Sprong and Michael Rasmussen beating Stauber in the first period. After Bedard opened the second with a glorious scoring chance, Elmer Söderblom (yes, he’s Arvid’s brother) capitalized on a Paul Ludwinski turnover to make it 3-0 Detroit. Moments later, Antti Tuomisto beat a partially screened Stauber from the right point. After a chaotic shift for the Blackhawks, the Wings, and Rasmussen, scored again. 5-0.
With 7:00 left in the second, the Blackhawks put goaltender Drew Commesso in net, replacing Stauber. Late in the second, the Blackhawks had a five-on-three powerplay for over 90 seconds but failed to convert.
Early in the third period, defenseman Louis Crevier scored his first goal of the preseason with a point shot through a Bedard screen. Jason Dickinson picked up the assist. Moments later, Alex Vlasic got and five-minute major and was ejected from the game for a knee-to-knee hit on Söderblom. JT Compher scored on the penalty almost immediately, making it 6-1 Detroit.
Take this game, ball it up, and throw it in the trash. Most of the guys on this team won’t be in Chicago when the season begins. This is what the preseason is for. It was ugly, but ultimately meaningless.
The Hawks are back at it Tuesday night, where they face these same Red Wings at the United Center. We’ll have your postgame as soon as the game ends.
Mario: Be More Assertive, Connor
While Connor Bedard didn’t have a bad game tonight, nor was he the reason for the poor result, but there were times tonight where you’d want to see him be more assertive. He clearly has the talent to do so, I think he just needs to believe that he can have the leash to do so.
On a powerplay that went from five-on-four to a five-on-three in the second period, I found myself yelling at the TV (for a preseason game) for someone, anyone to shoot the puck. Then I realized I was yelling at Bedard of all people to shoot the puck. We know he has the capability to put the puck on the stick of his teammates from spaces and angles that most other NHL players can’t, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but i want to see him use his shot way more than i wanna see him try to setup a perfect sauce pass across the ice to Taylor Raddysh. No offense to Taylor Raddysh.
We’ve heard from Elite Prospects’ Cam Robinson and Flo Hockey’s Chris Peters that Bedard scoring fifty or even sixty goals in a season isn’t out of the realm of possibility. He doesn’t need to do that this season, but in a setting where he’s the most dangerous player on the ice, especially in a five-on-three setting, I’ll let the meatball in me take over and I’ll be yelling for Bedard to SHOOT THE PUCK!
Jay: Wyatt Kaiser Gives the Right Side a Try
For the opening of camp and the first couple of preseason games, Nolan Allan was playing on the right side. Sunday, Allan was sent to Rockford, so Wyatt Kaiser got the shot.
If you haven’t been keeping up, the Blackhawks have many solid defensive prospects, but all of them are left-handed shots / left-side defensemen. Their right handed defensemen are Seth Jones, Connor Murphy and Nikita Zaitsev. They’d love for somoone to emerge and claim thath third right side spot from Zaitsev.
Darren Pang interviewed Kaiser during the first intermission of Sunday’s loss, and asked what kind of adjustments he’s made to play on his off side.
“It’s different,” Kaiser said. “In the neutral zone, you’re catching it on your forehand, not really facing the ice as much. If you’re trying to attack you’re on your backhand. You have to recognize spots you’re in. Sometimes you have to punt the puck off the glass and play for another day.”
Last week, I asked Luke Richardson about what factors he’d consider when deciding who to try on the right side.
“There’s advantages and disadvantages. I think physical guys get more benefit out of that. When you turn and pivot to the wall, your stick, as a lefty on that side, can cover more ground if a guy is going wide on you. If someone turns back, you can flush the puck up the wall. Even pucks coming up the wall in the offensive zone, you can pull that off your backhand (and) you’re automatically in good shooting position off the wall.”
Kaiser doesn’t fit the “physical defenseman” description, but the offensive element of the role serves him very well. He’s a solid puck mover with skilled hands and a good shot. Despite the game’s ugly final score, Kaiser had a solid game handling his off side for the first time. He ended the night -2 with three shots on goal and led all Blackhawks with 23:10 of ice time.
Connor Bedard Gets New Linemates
The Blackhawks took their shiny new toy out on the road for the first time tonight as Bedard made the trip to the Motor City. For the first time since training camp began, he centered a new pair of linemates in Andreas Athanasiou and Taylor Raddysh.
“I think it was good to maybe give AA and Raddysh a try with Connor tonight, and I thought we saw a nice goal in overtime the other night with them,” Luke Richardson said Sunday morning. “I thought Rads played well last night and he’s a heavy shooter. so it makes sense to try that and see what goes from that. And then it gives Reichel an opportunity to play center with maybe two less experienced guys than he’s used to and see if he can take one more step in trying to drive that line.”
According to Natural Stat Trick, the trio spent 6:58 of ice time on the ice together at 5v5. Detroit did a very good job defensively as there seemed to be very little space on the ice and they kept the scoring chances at a minimum. The Bedard line had six shot attempts to the Red Wings’ 10.
Bedard looked like he was going to score his first goal of the preseason early in the second period when he undressed Detroit defenseman Simon Edvisson but was denied by veteran goaltender James Reimer.
Richardson shuffled the lines for the third period and put Raddysh with Jason Dickinson and Lukas Reichel. Colton Dach was moved up to the line with Athanasiou and Bedard. They didn’t get a ton of ice time, thanks in part to Alex Vlasic getting a bogus major penalty for kneeing. Dach and Bedard produced a give-and-go scoring chance late in regulation, but this time Alex Lyon denied No. 98. Bedard finished his night with no points, four shots on goal and a hit. He finished as an even in game where his team surrendered six goals.
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