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This Week in Chicago Blackhawks History: Playoff run concludes, new Hall of Famers & more

Greg Boysen Avatar
August 18, 2022

As we get into the “dogs days” of August, the major moments in Chicago Blackhawks history are few and far between. However, the team played their final game of the strangest season the NHL has ever seen. In addition to a slew of birthdays, the Blackhawks also had a handful of former players and one important executive added to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Let’s begin our weekly trip back through the decades to recall all the best memories.

August 18

1934 – John Sleaver was born in Copper Cliff, ON. The center’s only 13 NHL games came with the Blackhawks; one during the 1953-54 season and 12 in 1956-57. He scored one goal while picking up four penalty minutes. He played professionally until 1970, bouncing around between multiple minor leagues.

1935 – Forbes Kennedy was born in Dorchester, NB. The Blackhawks acquired the center with winger Ed Kachur in 1956 from the Montreal Canadiens for cash. He played 69 games in 1956-57 and scored eight goals and 21 points. The following summer, he was traded to the Detroit Red Wings with Bill Preston, Hank Bassen, and Johnny Wilson for Future Hall of Famers Glenn Hall and Ted Lindsay.

Kennedy is best remembered for an incident during the 1969 Stanley Cup playoffs when he was a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs. After his teammate Pat Quinn knocked out Boston Bruins’ star Bobby Orr with a big hit, Kennedy got involved in four fights and punched a lineman. He earned a lengthy suspension and never played in the NHL again.

2020 – The Blackhawks’ playoff run inside the Edmonton bubble ended after a 4-3 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 5 of their First Round series. Chicago built a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Jonathan Toews and Alex DeBrincat.

Vegas tied the game with a goal from Max Pacioretty in the final minute of the first period and another by Mark Stone in the opening minute of the second period. Patrick Kane gave the Blackhawks a 3-2 just over three minutes later, but it wasn’t enough. Alec Martinez tied the game with a power-play goal before Alex Tuch scored the series-clinching goal early in the final frame.

August 19

1956 – Mike Fidler was born in Everett, MA. Originally a third-round pick by the California Golden Seals in 1976, the left wing signed with the Blackhawks in 1982. He played the final four of his 271 NHL games in Chicago, scoring two goals and three points.

1958 – Darryl Sutter was born in Viking, AB. He was one of six Sutter brothers to play in the NHL, spending his entire playing career with the Blackhawks after being drafted in the 11th round (179th overall) of the 1978 NHL Amateur Draft. He scored 161 goals and 279 points in 406 games and served as captain for five seasons.

Sutter began a very successful coaching career in 1992 when he was named head coach of the Blackhawks, replacing Mike Keenan. He went 110-80-26 in three seasons before rejecting a second contract to spend time with his family. Two years later, he returned to the coaching ranks with the San Jose Sharks. He led the Los Angeles Kings to Stanley Cup wins in 2012 and 2014 and is currently in his second stint as head coach of the Calgary Flames. His first win in 2022-23 will be the 700th of his career.

1999 – Goaltender Arvid Soderblum was born in Gothenburg, Sweden. His first season in North America was a success. His .919 save percentage (SV%) was ninth among all AHL goalies and second among rookies. He even made his NHL debut in 2021-22, appearing in two games. He will be the Rockford IceHogs’ number-one netminder this season.

August 20

1907 – Defenseman Ernest Kenny was born in Vermillion, AB. He was acquired from the Edmonton Eskimos of the NWHL in 1934 for cash. He was held pointless in his four games for the Blackhawks. Fun fact, Kenny is the only Ernest to play in an NHL game.

1966 – Robert Dirk was born in Regina, SK. The blueliner was traded to the Blackhawks in 1994 by the Vancouver Canucks for a fourth-round draft pick. He played only six games and did not register a point. He was traded to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim the following offseason for another fourth-round pick, used to select Chris Van Dyk, who never played in the NHL.

August 21

1969 – The Hockey Hall of Fame unveiled its newest members. Sid Abel, Red Kelly, Roy Worters, and Bryan Hextall Sr. were all elected as players. Former Detroit Red Wings owner Bruce Norris was selected in the Builders category.

Abel played the final 42 games of his career with the Blackhawks while also being the last player/head coach in league history. Norris’ father, James, was an original financial investor of the Chicago Stadium and eventually owned the arena outright. He was also part owner of the Blackhawks from 1944 until he died in 1952.

1991 – Brandon Davidson was born in Taber, AB. The Blackhawks signed the free-agent defenseman in 2018. He had one assist in 10 games during the 2018-19 season before signing with the Flames.

1995 – Dominik Kubalik was born in Plzen, Czech Republic. The left wing was acquired from the Kings for a fifth-round pick in 2019. He scored 30 goals in his rookie season but never regained that scoring touch. After 32 combined goals over the last two seasons, Kubalik signed a two-year, $5 million contract with the Red Wings.

August 22

1946 – Ray McKay was born in Edmonton, AB. The defensemen played 28 games over three seasons for the Blackhawks, picking up a lone assist. The Buffalo Sabres claimed him in the 1971 Intra-League Draft.

1974 – Dickie Moore, Art Coulter, and Billy Birch were voted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, along with pre-NHL star Thomas Dunderdale. Tommy Ivan and Charles Hay were inducted in the Builders category, and former head referee Carl Voss was added too.

Coulter played the first 170 games of his career with the Blackhawks and was part of the 1934 Stanley Cup team. Birch’s final 22 games came in Chicago, and he scored the last two goals of his career.

After winning two Stanley Cups behind the Red Wings’ bench, Ivan served as head coach of the Blackhawks for two seasons. He was named the team’s general manager in 1954 and held that position until 1977. He built the 1961 championship team, amassed an overall record of 288-174-111 and went to the Stanley Cup Final five times.

1994 – Olli Maatta was born in Jyvaskyla, Finland. The Blackhawks acquired the two-time Stanley Cup winner from the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2019 for Dominik Kahun and a fifth-round pick. He had four goals and 17 points during the 2019-20 season and added three more goals during the bubble playoffs in Edmonton. The following offseason, he was traded to the Kings for Brad Morrison. The veteran defenseman will join Kubalik in Detroit this season.

August 23

1896 – Percy Traub was born in Elmwood, ON. The blueliner played 42 games for the Blackhawks in their inaugural season of 1926-27, picking up two assists. He was then traded to the Detroit Cougars (who eventually became the Red Wings) with George Hay for cash.

1982 – Igor Radulov was born in Nizhny Tagil, USSR. The Blackhawks selected the left wing in the third round (74th overall) of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. He played just 43 games in the NHL over two seasons before returning to Russia in 2004. He had nine goals and 16 points during his time in Chicago. He is the older brother of long-time NHL forward Alexander Radulov, who is still an unrestricted free agent.

August 24

1936 – Murray Balfour was born in Regina, SK. The right wing was acquired by Chicago from the Canadiens in 1959 for cash. He played 286 games over the next five seasons, scoring 66 goals and 153 points. In 1964, he was traded with Mike Draper to the Bruins for Matt Ravlich and Jerry Toppazzini.

1954 – Alain Daigle was born in Trois-Rivieres, QB. The Blackhawks selected the winger in the second round (34th overall) of the 1974 NHL Amateur Draft. He spent his entire career with the team, scoring 56 goals and 140 points in 389 games.

1973 – Andrew Brunette was born in Sudbury, ON. He played 1,110 career NHL games, the last 78 coming with the Blackhawks. He scored 12 goals and 27 points during the 2011-12 season. He took over as head coach of the Florida Panthers this past season after Joel Quenneville resigned following the Kyle Beach sex abuse scandal. He went 51-18-6 during the regular season but was not brought back after losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round of the playoffs. The New Jersey Devils quickly added him as an associate coach.

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