At some point, the Chicago Blackhawks will be Connor Bedard’s team. Maybe not now, but if Tuesday’s 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche revealed anything, it was that the budding superstar will do whatever it takes to win.
Despite the God given skills he’s been blessed with, Bedard simply doesn’t rest on it. Instead from a young age, he’s honed those skills, famously when he was hurt, too. The resolve and work ethic the 18-year-old has is beginning to show on and off the ice.
Never more obvious than in last night’s win. But this goes beyond Bedard and with the rest of the Blackhawks, who no matter how bleak or lousy things have been this season–and it’s had its moments–they haven’t once rolled over or decided to mail it in.
If Tuesday showed anything, it’s to never truly count this team out.
Blackhawks Resolve Starts With Luke Richardson
It’s comical when fans call for head coach Luke Richardson to be held accountable for the poor play on the ice, something that is completely out of his control at times. As of late with one wounded Hawk after another being placed on either IR or unavailable, Richardson has played the role of maestro, needing to strike the right note here and there to make sure things don’t go completely flat.
So Tueday’s decision to put Lukas Reichel on the top line with Bedard certainly earned some eye rolls. Reichel, who until last night, hadn’t scored since November 30th, was hardly fitting the profile of goal scorer. But he did just that, shoving off a month’s–and season’s worth–of frustration with a huge tying tally.
Richardson preaches about mental toughness and having to push through. He’s talked about the careful balance of teaching the positive with the negative. It would be very easy to lose a team reeling with injuries and frustrations.
Instead as Tuesday pointed out, they’ll dig deep and pull a rabbit out of the hat sometimes.
Not All Sunshine and Rainbows
This isn’t to gloss over, however, what’s been a tough season to watch. As written about extensively, the Blackhawks aren’t designed to make the playoffs or go on long heaters. They’re made to ice a transition season where good habits and culture are built as a lot of losing is likely to be the norm.
They’re going to lose a lot more than they win. Tuesday’s game will be one of the anomalies–an oasis bookended by a string of losses. Heck, they’ve only had one winning streak all season and it ended at two.
But Tuesday showed that the process is moving along. The right man is leading the team. A generational player is rising and flourishing amidst a lot of losses and that the message is not being blunted by a bevy of numbers in the L column.
One has to stop short of saying it was a statement game because there’s not much of a statement to be made this season other than ‘let’s hope we get another high draft pick.’
Nick Foligno always talks, in some variation, about showing what “Chicago Blackhawks” hockey is all about. There was a glimpse on Tuesday of what they want it to be.
Imagine when it’s every night.