The Chicago Blackhawks (11-26-2) will have a mid-afternoon tilt with the Calgary Flames (17-17-5) today with a puck drop at 2pm.
Previously on Blackhawks Hockey:
Well, there was bad news and then worst news. Not only did the Blackhawks lose the game, they lost Connor Bedard and Nick Foligno to injury in a 4-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils.
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Scouting the Opponent and Miscellaneous Musings
The last preview ended using a “storm cloud of losses” to describe the latest stretch of losses. It’s gone from a storm cloud to an all out black-out of that has upended the Blackhawks season. Again, no one expected them to win a Stanley Cup or make the playoffs.
But no one expected them to be fielding an AHL heavy roster that sees players picked up via waivers and a trade using a future seventh-round pick.
The main attraction to this season, Connor Bedard, is now shelved, dampening an anticipated Connor McDavid-Bedard matchup at home on Tuesday. Attention shifts now to Bedard’s long term health with a fractured jaw, which means taking things slower to ensure there isn’t a higher possibility of re-injury.
Speaking of McDavid and Bedard comparisons, McDavid was injured after the 13th game of the season if his rookie year, a shoulder injury that shelved him until February. For those concerned about the duration or the difficulty of the injury, McDavid serves as an apt comparison. He returned and the rest is history. Edmonton did their due diligence to ensure all would recover well and it did.
Now, the Blackhawks are in the same boat, having to protect their generational player but endure what could very well be a brutal stretch of games without him. Add in the loss of Nick Foligno, who has been good number wise and in terms of leadership on and off the ice. He hasn’t worn the C but he’s essentially been the captain.
So now, the first game without Bedard and Foligno all season long takes place today, giving a sobering vision of what’s to come. As players recover, the team that was initially planned will once again return. This team has surprised at times, too. Don’t be surprised to see some snarl.
But from the realistic side of things, it will be a challenging few weeks for fans, players, coaches, and the front office as they figure things out absent of the key pieces they were set to rely on.