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This week in Chicago Blackhawks history: August playoffs and more

Greg Boysen Avatar
July 29, 2022

The Stanley Cup Playoffs in August? That is exactly what happened to the Chicago Blackhawks in the strange year of 2020. In addition to a whole slew of birthdays, this upcoming week also saw a late NHL Entry Draft, the addition of a hockey legend to the organization, and more. It’s time to hop aboard the CHGO time machine for our weekly look back at Blackhawks history.

July 29

1925 – Ted Lindsay was born in Renfrew, ON. The left wing spent much of his Hall of Fame career with the Detroit Red Wings. He was traded to the Blackhawks in 1957 with goaltender Glen Hall for Bill Preston, Hank Bassen, Forbes Kennedy, and Johnny Wilson. Lindsay played three seasons in Chicago, scoring 44 goals and 123 points in 206 games before he retired in 1960. He came out of retirement in 1963 for one final season with the Red Wings. He retired for good in 1964 with 379 goals and 851 points in 1,068 games.

Lindsay’s legacy remains to this day as he helped organize the players’ union in the late 50s, which was a contributing factor in the trade with the Blackhawks. His efforts eventually led to the NHL guaranteeing a minimum wage, an increase in pension and medical benefits, and giving all players the right to be the sole judge of their physical fitness to play after an injury. In 2010, the league changed the name of the Lester B. Pearson Award to the Ted Lindsay Award. The trophy is given to the NHL’s most outstanding player of the regular season as voted on by the players.

1931 – Jerry Toppazzini was born in Copper Cliff, ON. The well-traveled winger came to Chicago for the first time in 1954 when the Boston Bruins traded him for center Gus Bodnar. He scored 11 goals and 30 points in his 83 games with the Blackhawks. In 1956, he was traded to the Red Wings with Dave Creighton, Gord Hollingworth, and John McCormack for Tony Leswick, Glen Skov, Johnny Wilson, and Benny Woit.

He eventually ended up back in Boston and was dealt to the Blackhawks again in June of 1964 with Matt Ravlich for Mike Draper and Murray Balfour. However, in October, he was once again traded to Detroit for Hank Ciesla. Toppazzini was known as a defensive specialist and an elite penalty killer. He set an NHL record with eight shorthanded goals for the Bruins during the 1957-58 season.

1932 – Left wing Pete Conacher was born in Toronto, ON. He is the son of Charlie Conacher and nephew to Lionel and Roy, who are all enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Pete played 131 games for the Blackhawks between 1952 and 1954, scoring 26 goals and 46 points. He was traded with Bill Gadsby to the New York Rangers for Rich Lamoureux, Nick Mickoski, and Allan Stanley.

1959 – Former captain Dirk Graham was born in Regina, SK. He was acquired from the Minnesota North Stars in 1988 for Curt Fraser. He played 546 games in Chicago and scored 152 goals and 343 points. He won the Selke Award in 1991 for being the best defensive forward in the league. He became the first player of African descent to be named captain of an NHL team when the Blackhawks put the C on his sweater in 1988. Graham retired in 1995 and joined Craig Hartsburg’s coaching staff. He was named head coach for the 1998-99 season but was relieved of his duties 59 games into the season. He currently serves as a scout for the San Jose Sharks.

1990 – Jan Rutta was born in Pisek, Czechoslovakia. The Blackhawks signed the defenseman out of Czechia in 2018. He had eight goals and 26 points in 80 games over two seasons. In 2019, he was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning for fellow blue liner Slater Koekkoek. He found a consistent role in Tampa and was part of their Stanley Cup victories in 2020 and 2021. Rutta signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins earlier this month.

1990 – Tyler Johnson was born in Spokane, WA. The undrafted free agent had 161 goals and 361 points in 589 games for the Lightning, winning two Cups along with Rutta. He was traded to the Blackhawks in 2021 with a second-round draft pick for Brent Seabrook’s contract. Injuries limited the veteran forward to just three goals and seven points in 26 games last season.

July 30

1912 – Jack Portland was born in Waubaushene, ON. The Bruins traded the defenseman to Chicago for Des Smith. His stint in Chicago lasted 26 games before he was shipped to the Montreal Canadiens for cash.

1920 – George Johnston was born in St. Charles, MB. The right wing played 58 NHL games for the Blackhawks between 1942 and 1947. He scored 20 goals and 32 points with Chicago before playing nine more seasons in the AHL, PCHL, and WIHL.

2005 – The NHL Entry Draft was finally held in Ottawa after it was postponed due to the owners’ lockout. The Pittsburgh Penguins used the first overall pick to draft Sidney Crosby, which worked out well for them. Dale Tallon used the seventh overall pick to take forward Jack Skille, passing on players like Anze Kopitar, Tuukka Rask, and T.J. Oshie, who were all selected later in the first round. Skille scored 12 goals and 25 points in 79 games over four seasons with the Blackhawks. In 2011, he was traded to the Florida Panthers with Hugh Jessiman and David Pacan for Michael Frolik and Alexander Salak.

The best pick of the draft came in the fourth round, when defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson was taken 108th overall. He became a key member of three Stanley Cup championships in the Windy City. The only other members of the 2005 draft to dress in the NHL were Mike Blunden (43rd overall) and Evan Brophey (68th overall).

July 31

1929 – Goaltender Ray Frederick was born in Fort Frances, ON. He went winless in his five career NHL games during the 1954-55 season.

1962 – Troy Murray was born in Calgary, AB. The Blackhawks took the rugged center in the third round (57th overall) of the 1980 NHL Entry Draft. He played 668 games for the Blackhawks and scored 197 goals and 488 points. He won the Selke Award in 1986; the same season, he scored a career-high 45 goals and 99 points.

2008 – Scotty Bowman joined the Blackhawks as a senior advisor of hockey operations. This allowed him to work alongside his son Stan, the general manager at the time. When he retired from coaching in 2002, he amassed 1,248 regular-season wins and 223 postseason victories to go along with nine Stanley Cup championships. He got his name on the Stanley Cup three more times, as an executive, in 2010, 2013, and 2015.

August 1

1918 – Harold Jackson was born in Cedar Springs, ON. The defenseman had a goal and four points in 41 games for the Blackhawks. He was part of the 1938 Stanley Cup win, playing in one postseason game. He was traded to the Cleveland Falcons of the IAHL with cash and Charley Mason for Phil Hergesheimer. Jackson eventually ended up with the Red Wings, where he won a second championship in 1943.

1925 – Enio Sclisizzi was born in Milton, ON. He was acquired from the Red Wings in 1952 with Fred Glover for cash. The left wing played the final 14 games of his NHL career with the Blackhawks, picking up two assists.

1967 – Dan Vincelette was born in Verdun, QC. The Blackhawks selected him in the fourth round (74th overall) of the 1985 NHL Entry Draft. He had 17 goals and 32 points in 137 games before he was traded to the Quebec Nordiques in 1990 with Mario Doyon and Everett Sanipass for Michel Goulet, Greg Millen, and a sixth-round pick. Exactly one year later, he was dealt back to the Blackhawks with Paul Gillis for Ryan McGill and Mike McNeill. Vincelette had three goals and eight points in 29 games during the 1991-92 season. He was selected by the Lightning in the 1992 Expansion Draft but did not play another game in the NHL.

1984 – Danny Richmond was born in Chicago, IL. The defenseman was a second-round (31st overall) pick of the Carolina Hurricanes in 2003. He was traded to the Blackhawks in 2006 with a fourth-round pick for Anton Babchuk. He played 39 games in Chicago over three seasons, picking up a pair of assists and 68 penalty minutes. In 2008, he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins for forward Tim Brent. He also spent time in the St. Louis Blues, Toronto Maple Leafs, Washington Capitals, and Colorado Avalanche organizations but never played in the NHL again.

2020 – The Blackhawks beat the Edmonton Oilers 6-4 in Game 1 of their Qualifying Round series. This was the first game since March 11, 2020, after the league shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After allowing an early power-play goal by Connor McDavid, the Blackhawks answered with four first-period tallies. Jonathan Toews scored twice, along with Dylan Strome and Brandon Saad. Dominik Kubalik added two goals in the middle frame. He had assists on three of the four first-period goals to finish his first career Stanley Cup playoff game with five points.

August 2

1925 – John McCormack was born in Edmonton, AB. After seven seasons between the Maple Leafs and Canadiens, including a Stanley Cup in Montreal, the Blackhawks claimed the veteran center in the 1954 Intra-League Draft. He had five goals and 12 points in 63 games during the 1954-55 season. He was then included in the trade with the Red Wings that brought Toppazzini to Chicago.

1937 – Howie Young was born in Toronto, ON. The journeyman defenseman and right wing had multiple short stints with the Blackhawks. The Red Wings traded him to Chicago in 1963 for goaltender Roger Crozier and Ron Ingram. He had seven assists in 39 games the following season. In February of 1964, Young was traded to the Los Angeles Blades in WHL. He returned to the Windy City in 1968 when the Blackhawks claimed him off waivers from the Oakland Seals. This time around was more successful as he scored three goals and 10 points in 57 games. He spent the 1970-71 season with the Vancouver Canucks before finishing his professional career in the World Hockey Association.

1970 – Tony Amonte was born in Hingham, MA. The Rangers drafted the right wing in the fourth round (68th overall) of the 1988 NHL Entry Draft. He was traded to the Blackhawks at the 1994 trade deadline with Matt Oates for Stephane Matteau and Brian Noonan as New York geared up for a Stanley Cup run. Amonte became a star over nine seasons in Chicago, scoring 268 goals and 541 points in 627 games. He signed with the Phoenix Coyotes in 2002. He also had stops with the Philadelphia Flyers and Calgary Flames before retiring in 2007 with 900 career points.

1999 – The Blackhawks signed free-agent forward Wendel Clark. His stint in town was not very memorable. He was released after scoring two goals in 13 games. In January of 2000, he returned to the Maple Leafs for the third time in his career, where he scored two goals and four points in 20 games before officially retiring at the end of the season.

August 3

2020 – The Oilers evened up their Qualifying Series with the Blackhawks at one win apiece with a 6-3 victory. McDavid was too much to handle as he scored two goals in the first four minutes of the game on his way to a hat trick. The Blackhawks got to within one goal heading into the third period thanks to tallies from Patrick Kane, Koekkoek, and Olli Maatta. Kirby Dach and Alex DeBrincat each had two assists in the losing effort.

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