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Blackhawks Wrap: ‘I’m Just Happy To Be Here’



Bedard Chi

In this week’s Blackhawks Sunday Cinema and Hockey blend, I’m bringing in a baseball movie. 1988’s Bull Durham is a classic, dealing with the clash of veterans and rookies, mentoring, winning, losing and a whole other host of material I don’t have enough space to write about.

But it’s the perfect choice after a week of development camp where the organization focused on the whole mind as well as the whole body.

The Blackhawks and Bull Durham

Kevin Costner plays Crash Davis, a well traveled catcher who is brought in to a Single-A ball club to mentor and teach the erratic Ebby Calvin Laloosh. The scouting report on Laloosh: he has a “million dollar arm but a five-cent head.” Laloosh is certainly “all over the place,” especially on the mound. A flame thrower on the mound, he lacks control and focus. The even keeled veteran Davis has seen it all, and delivers his first lesson by telling Laloosh “Don’t think–it can only hurt the ballclub,” following a punch to the face after calling him out.

As the movie continues on, Laloosh listens to Crash, who mentors him on everything from what pitches to throw to following superstitious rituals in the middle of a winning streak. Mixed with humor, there are important lessons doled out in the classic. But when Nuke finally makes it to the Show, his postgame interview reveals all of the tutoring paying off. He speaks of how he’s “just happy to be here,” when arrogance in the past would have clouded his judgement.

Philosophies Between the Blackhawks and the Film

Davis brought him along to where he needed to be. The ballclub was right with its assessment.

Many of those philosophies were on full display this week at Blackhawks development camp and in the offseason as well.

The stark difference is that Nuke Laloosh, who earned his nickname by his short attention span as being “nuclear,” needs the coaching and mentoring to calm down.

17-year-old Connor Bedard is as polished as one can be at that age. He’ll still engage with personalities, as seen on TNT when with the panel. But his answers are clear and his modesty and humility genuine. It was also on display with other Blackhawks that have been drafted be it Kevin Korchinski, Frank Nazar ,Oliver Moore, and Sam Rinzel. All five have been drafted by Kyle Davidson.

All five have confidence and maturity that are being banked on as he constructs a core. But the philosophy of bringing in the well traveled veteran is certainly there. Corey Perry spoke to it when he was asked about meeting and eventually mentoring Bedard this season.

“It’s not so much for me on the ice, it’s away from the rink,” Perry said.  “It’s in the dressing room, just being a good teammate and just trying to help him with day-to-day stuff, just trying to make sure he knows what to do, where to go, be on time, all those kind of things and then the on-ice stuff, it’ll take over as the season goes.”

Bedard, Other First Rounders are No Nuke

Davidson has brought in the players he has seeking leadership values and has said as much. But for all of it to work, they have to surround those players with the right people, from coaches to teammates right down to the development staff. This mirrors why the Durham Bulls purchased the contract of the wise Triple-A Davis to work with Laloosh.

The investment was too great, along with the talent, to be lost. Be it Perry, Nick Foligno, or Taylor Hall, there is a clear role they bring that extends beyond the rink. The younger players will be brought along but as they make it, the thinking is that Bedard, Korchinski (who will likely make an appearance this year, if not the whole year) and presumably Lukas Reichel will be in the spot to bring them along.

While that may seem like some time, it may very well not be. Moore might be ready as soon as next season. Nazar maybe slightly longer, only because injury robbed him of a full season at Michigan. If Rinzel has a good season as well, he might also make an appearance earlier than expected. Out of the five, he and Nazar seem to be the likeliest where Chicago takes its time.

Without any of that mentoring yet, though, Bedard already gets it.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” Bedard said about his first week in Chicago.  “Getting to come her, I was happy it was kind of right away, get to the city, see everything and obviously meet all the staff, all the players and being here and see the facilities and everything. I loved it and had a lot of fun.”

Like Laloosh, he’s just happy to be here. Unlike Laloosh, his most important lessons from mentoring will be in the season ahead.

CHN Top 10

  1. Chicago Staple JP Graziano and the hockey team that won it all
  2. Connor Bedard on Development Camp: “I loved it”
  3. Corey Perry on coming to Chicago: ‘Happy to be on this side.’
  4. Leadership is taking center stage as the Blackhawks build its young core
  5. The Social-Emotional approach of the Blackhawks Development Camp
  6. Editor’s Choice: Filip Zadina, Dan Cleary, and Finding Ones’ game elsewhere
  7. Drew Commesso emulates an NHL star for his workout regimen
  8. Kyle Davidson believes Gavin Hayes has a knack to find the back of the net
  9. Samuel Savoie is one to watch out for
  10. Korchinski and Rinzel could be a future pairing

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