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It took three games, but the Blackhawks picked up their first win of the season, beating the Sharks 5-2 in San Jose on Saturday night. The Blackhawks got goals from Jonathan Toews, Taylor Raddysh, Jason Dickinson, and Sam Lafferty.
Both of Lafferty’s goals were shorthanded and Luke Richardson also picked up his first win as Blackhawks head coach in a good night for Chicago.
Here are three hits from the game:
1. Blackhawks show resilience
The Blackhawks started the game very well. In fact, they didn’t allow a San Jose shot on goal until 11:11 into the first period. But after that, it was all Sharks until intermission. San Jose ended up scoring a pair of goals, and went into the first break with a 2-0 lead. The 2021-22 Blackhawks would have absolutely collapsed in a similar situation. This team, despite their lack of overall talent in comparison, is not last year’s Blackhawks. They’re battling. They’re competing. They came out in the second period and put their foot on the Sharks’ throats, scoring five unanswered goals, including a pair of shorties from Lafferty.
“I didn’t say too much (after the first period), but just made them realize what went on in the period, that we were moving our legs and then we weren’t,” Richardson said. “The compete level had to rise up. And the veterans took that one step further. We came out and played great.”
2. Jason Dickinson’s memorable debut
Last week, the Blackhawks traded defenseman Riley Stillman to the Vancouver Canucks for forward Jason Dickinson and a second round pick in the 2024 draft. Dickinson, who made his season debut after visa issues, recorded a goal and two assists in just over 12 minutes of ice time.
“That was all I wanted to do tonight: just play hockey,” Dickinson said after the game. He did that and more. He showed speed, tenacity and a little more offense than anyone could have realistically expected in his debut.
Blackhawks GM Kyle Davidson has shown a knack for these kind of trades, where he helps a cap-strapped team save some money by prying away another asset. Dickinson’s play style also reflects the kind of team Davidson is trying to put together.
3. How will Richardson handle discipline?
Andreas Athanasiou has had a frustrating start to his Blackhawks career. He has one assist in the team’s first three games of the season, but has spent a lot of time palms up, arguing with referees. Saturday night, he picked up a pair of penalties, and a 10-minute misconduct. So how will Richardson handle a situation like this? Yes, we all understand that wins and losses don’t matter this year, but the team is trying to build a culture. Richardson doesn’t seem to have the personality to publicly blast a player or call someone out in the media. Perhaps he’ll let the veterans handle Athanasiou on their own, but it wouldn’t seem right for the speedy winger to maintain his spot on the top line with Patrick Kane and Max Domi. Maybe it’s a reduction of ice time. Maybe it’s less power play time. Maybe it’s handled behind the scenes, but situations like this will be our first look into Richardson’s handling of discipline.
Congratulations to Richardson on his first win as Blackhawks head coach. He’s only 85 wins away from catching Jeremy Colliton.
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