Blackhawks News & Rumors: Kane, Guttman, Reichel, Richardson

As the preseason winds down for the Chicago Blackhawks, there continue to be some important decisions being made regarding what this team will look like by the time the games that actually matter get underway. Nevertheless, those battling to make an impression have certainly done their part to this point. Even if the team as a whole still doesn’t quite look ready to compete.

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In this edition of Blackhawks News & Rumors, some that were working toward cracking the opening night roster no longer have that chance while Chicago’s coach finds a creative way to make friends.

Guttman Impresses Early in Chicago

Although it’s easy to assume a player like Patrick Kane is good to put on a show, even Chicago’s new bench boss has quickly accepted that a group effort will be required. Let alone if the Blackhawks are going to remain even remotely watchable when their stars aren’t on the ice this season.

Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks
Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks (Amy Irvin/The Hockey Writers)

That said, what Chicago’s newcomers are capable of is much more of a mystery at the moment. Yet, is that area of the organization’s makeup that could prove to be far more critical when it comes to assessing and propelling its progress. So, fans getting to witness what a prospect like Cole Guttman will bring to the mix has been a welcomed sight.

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Although exhibition contests are often a failed representation of the product that will be on display once the regular season takes effect, when something goes right during the practice performances then there’s no reason to avoid shining a spotlight in celebration.

Like Guttman’s gritty goal in Chicago’s first preseason game, which illustrated the type of work ethic fans can now anticipate out of the forward in the near future.

For now, though, Guttman has been sent down to join the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League (AHL). This isn’t a bad thing for the 23-year-old, as he’ll get to develop alongside the rest of their prospect pool. Each with a shared intensity infused into their work ethic, with the collective goal of becoming full-time Blackhawks one day.

Reichel Relegated to Rockford

Like Guttman, Lukas Reichel has also been cut from Chicago’s training camp roster. Meaning, he won’t be starting the season as a Blackhawk. Unlike Guttman, though, this move was a little less expected given Reichel’s impressive showing in Rockford last season, making it seem far more likely that this would be his year to break out at the NHL level.

Lukas Reichel, Chicago Blackhawks
Lukas Reichel, Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

What’s more, Reichel performed well alongside the pros he was paired up with in the weeks leading up to this decision. From shining during the rookie showcase to cracking the highlight reel in preseason, he appeared like a perfect fit for the club. And he likely will be, just not quite yet.

Although this decision may have surprised many, including Reichel, the reality is that a rebuilding Blackhawks squad might not offer the 20-year-old the same type of potential confidence boost to his career as dominating the AHL can.

“Why not go down [to Rockford] and be the best center down there?” Richardson said. “Work on your game, get a little harder in one-on-one battles and manage the puck and light it up down there.

After setting rookie records as an IceHog last season, and knowing his ultimate destination is Chicago, it’s all but a sure bet to assume Reichel will be itching to put on a show wherever he hits the ice.

That said, there’s no doubt we’ll be seeing Reichel in a Blackhawks uniform at some point this season. It’s simply a matter of when and for how long.

Cheers to Coach Richardson

What’s a surefire way to get a room on your side? Luke Richardson seems to have cracked the code. Leveraging the Blackhawks’ new partnership with the local beverage company, Richardson began a recent availability session by spreading the wealth to the writers who cover his team.

While likely a clever marketing play, it’s hard to hate on the creativity. Plus, keeping the mood light is going to be an important goal for Richardson to maintain this season, given the results expected under his watch.

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Nevertheless, good on Richardson for having some fun. We’ll see if that type of approach bleeds into his locker room, too. Who knows, perhaps there will be more smiles than expected in Chicago this season.

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