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The Blackhawks played their second preseason game in as many nights on Wednesday night, and despite being significantly “out-talented” when comparing lineups, they emerged with a 4-2 win in Detroit.
Here are some ‘Hawks Hits’ from the win.
A Glimpse into the Future
With the score tied 1-1 in the first period, Kevin Korchinski picked up the puck in the Blackhawks end and started striding forward. It didn’t look like much, until Korchinski filled the puck to a breaking Lukas Reichel, who used his speed to blow past the Red Wings defenses and break the deadlock.
As it stands right now, Korchinski and Reichel are the biggest parts of the team’s future, and to see both players show exactly what made them first-round picks on a singular play was special to see. Plays like this were commonplace during the dynasty era. Hopefully, these two will form a frequent connection when the Blackhawks are ready to contend again. If both hit their ceilings, that could be a little sooner than expected.
Lafferty Wears the A
Without Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Connor Murphy or Seth Jones in the lineup, the Blackhawks were without their typical group of captains for Wednesday’s game. Jujhar Khaira, and Reilly Stillman wore As, as did Sam Lafferty. While it wasn’t necessarily a surprise to see Lafferty sporting the A, it feels almost symbolic. A year ago, Alex Nylander was “competing” for a roster spot on the Blackhawks, while Lafferty was doing the same in Pittsburgh. On January 5, the teams got together to give both players a change of scenery. Nylander went to the AHL. Lafferty, who scored an empty netter in Wednesday’s win, became one of the Blackhawks’ more dependable players for the stretch run of the season. It was Kyle Davidson’s first move as GM, and it paved the way for the vision of what he wants this Blackhawks team to be. Fast, tough and competitive. Meanwhile, there was no better representative of the late-Bowman years than Nylander. All the skill in the world, with zero compete. As Davidson’s work has continued, the moves he’s made have followed that trend. Speed, toughness, competitiveness. Despite working for Bowman for years, Davidson couldn’t have a less similar approach to roster building.
Not All Seashells and Balloons
It should be noted that the Red Wings had a significant amount of their NHL regulars in the lineup, including Dylan Larkin, Lucas Raymond, and Moritz Seider, so the Blackhawks were overmatched talent-wise in this game.
But I found myself a little disappointed in the performance of a couple of Blackhawks.
Boris Katchouk was non-existent in the game. Both he and Taylor Raddysh turned some heads after arriving in Chicago after the Brandon Hagel trade, but Katchouk fell off quickly after the deal was made. He had zero points and was a -5 in his final 10 games of the season, and made little impact in the preseason matchup with Detroit. The Blackhawks have a lot of options to fill in forward spots, especially when you see players like Cole Guttman, Buddy Robinson, Michal Teply and Josiah Slavin vying for roster spots. It’s one preseason game, but hopefully this puts Katchouk on notice.
I was also looking for more from Philipp Kurashev. He ended the game with an assist but otherwise faded into the background. Davidson has shown zero loyalty to those players acquired by his predecessor. I’m hoping Kurashev improves as the preseason progresses. I’m confident he will. With Katchouk, I’m not as certain.
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