Let’s jump right into today’s Chicago Blackhawks’ news and rumors! In this latest edition, we discuss a former Blackhawk player returning to the fold, along with some nostalgic playoff history. We also explore what a few of the players have been up to in the offseason, including the latest Blackhawks Foundation event and a more personal side of defenseman Calvin de Haan.
Franson Returns To IceHogs
We begin with some news from the Blackhawks’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs. The team announced Wednesday they have signed former IceHog Cody Franson to a one-year contract for the upcoming 2020-21 season. The 33-year-old defenseman has spent the last two seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League with the Omsk Avangard.
Franson played 23 games with the Blackhawks before being put on waivers and then re-assigned to the IceHogs in the 2017-18 season. Having spent nine seasons at the NHL level, one wouldn’t blame the blueliner for having a bad attitude about the move. But Franson did no such thing. Instead, the veteran embraced his mentor role with the younger IceHog players. He also naturally excelled in the AHL.
In 37 games, Franson recorded 28 points and was named the team’s Defenseman of the Year. He also helped lead the IceHogs to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history. He registered another 13 points in their postseason run, which was second among defensemen on the team.
What’s a bit mystifying about this signing is the IceHogs already have a crowded blue line with 10 other potential defensemen in the mix. Although, according to my recent lineup projections, a few of those could be slated for the Blackhawks. My guess is Ian Mitchell and Lucas Carlsson end up in Chicago instead of Rockford this coming season.
IceHogs’ head coach Derek King shed some further light on the Franson signing.
Cody is going to be a great addition to our squad and it will be like adding an extra coach for us. He may not have known it, but I kept an eye on him during his first time with us (2017-18 season) and he’s been coaching the younger players ever since. He’s a tremendous addition to our defensive core, the team overall, and willing to take younger players under his wing to show them how to be a good professional.
Could the IceHogs be grooming Franson for a future coaching position?
Playoff 10+ Goal Scorers
Are you ready to be depressed? Ok, I guess that’s not a very good lead into this next segment. Below is a recent tweet from NBC Sports. It’s very bittersweet for Blackhawks’ fans.
Yep, even with potentially four games left to play, three Tampa Bay Lightning players have already scored 10 or more goals in the 2020 postseason. The last team to accomplish this feat was the 2010 Blackhawks. Patrick Sharp, Dustin Byfuglien and Patrick Kane were certainly a joy to watch in those playoffs, but it was so long ago.
Does anyone remember who was the next highest postseason goal scorer for the Blackhawks 10 years back? No, it was NOT Jonathan Toews (7 goals). Although Toews did have the highest number of assists (22) and points (29) of the entire team. Give up? It was none other than Dave Bolland, who notched eight goals in 22 games. Who woulda thunk it? Ah, those were the days.
Related – 7 Fun Facts About Dustin Byfuglien
Well, we all know the Blackhawks also brought home the ultimate prize in 2010. Will the Lightning do so as well? Not if the Dallas Stars have anything to say about it. Tune in to the Stanley Cup Final Games 4 & 5 this weekend!
Blackhawk Closest To the Pin
We had a few player sightings last week. Blackhawks’ players, coaches, staff and corporate sponsors participate annually in the Four Feather’s Golf Invitational, a charity event hosted by the Blackhawks Foundation. One proceeding that’s always a point of interest is the competition for the Closest to the Pin trophy. This year the players involved were Connor Murphy, Alex DeBrincat, and Kane. Check out their friendly rivalry below.
An epic battle of skill featuring Alex DeBrincat (@Brinksy97), Patrick Kane (@88PKane) and Connor Murphy⛳️— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) September 23, 2020
See which Blackhawk wins the Closest to the Pin trophy at this year's Four Feathers Invitational! pic.twitter.com/kZXid2XdKJ
Geez! Did Kaner and Brinksy forget about haircuts when they got back from the bubble?! What’s with all that flow protruding from their caps? Thank goodness the clean-cut Murphy has a little more sense. Even if he does stink at golf. But I love DeBrincat’s tongue-in-cheek acceptance speech.
Huge honor for me to be the first two-time winner of this award. Working all off-season with my Swing Coach Tiger Woods. He’s gonna be really thrilled to hear I’ve won it again. And you know if hockey doesn’t work out maybe I have a shot at the PGA.
So DeBrincat was won two times in a row. I wonder if he can make it a three-peat?
De Haan’s Craft Brewery
It’s always fun to see a more personal side of the players we watch on the ice. On that note, did you know Blackhawks’ defenseman Calvin de Haan is also a restaurateur? That’s right, he and three friends teamed up to renovate an old building in their native home of Carp, Ontario. It’s a craft brewery called Ridge Rock Brewing Company, and appears to be the pride and joy of the town.
If you check de Haan’s Twitter page, he retweeted on Sept. 22 the brewery has officially been open two years. Other retweets show pictures of the restaurant as well as de Haan with his three other business partners, enjoying a brew.
What an excellent endeavor! If you ever find yourself in Carp, be sure to stop in de Haan’s restaurant for a craft beer!
Stay tuned to The Hockey Writers for more Blackhawks’ news and rumors as we hear them. It won’t be long before we have plenty to share about the 2020 NHL Draft, free agency, training camp, and the upcoming season. Never a dull moment!
Gail Kauchak has covered the Chicago Blackhawks as a content writer since 2014. She previously wrote for Fansided’s Blackhawk Up, and has been part of The Hockey Writer’s team since 2017. It’s not always easy to balance life’s responsibility’s with one’s passion, but Gail’s doing her best to make it happen. Quote to live by, “Follow your dreams, and good things will happen.” Wait, maybe it’s “Good things happen when you shoot the puck!” You get the idea.
Follow Gail for her unique commentary about this storied franchise. And be sure to catch her and the rest of the Blackhawks’ crew on their weekly Blackhawks Banter show, as well as follow her on Twitter.