Blackhawks News & Rumours: Delia, Connolly, World Juniors

Despite the current pause in league activity, let alone the NHL’s withdrawal from the 2022 Winter Olympics, there is still Chicago Blackhawks content to keep fans occupied in the meantime. Not all that is deemed newsworthy deserves to be celebrated, but there are some items that should be.

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Here to keep you caught up as we anticipate the unravelling of even more updates, this is the latest edition of Blackhawks News & Rumours.

Delia Credited With a Goalie Goal

Helping his Rockford IceHogs better the Texas Stars by making 24 stops in their 3-1 victory on Dec. 18 clearly wasn’t enough for Collin Delia. So he took things a step further and score the first-ever goalie goal for the IceHogs, becoming the 16th netminder in American Hockey League (AHL) history to do so.

Collin Delia, Rockford IceHogs
Collin Delia, Rockford IceHogs (Todd Reicher/Rockford IceHogs)

That said, it’s safe to say that the play didn’t unfold in the way Delia would have dreamt up when thinking of scoring from his own crease.

Basically, Delia was the last IceHog to touch the puck when he made a late-period save to shut down the incoming fury from the Stars, who had an extra attacker out with their goalie pulled. It was that same scenario that worked against Texas in this respect, as their own player’s attempted pass ended up heading all the way down the ice and into their own net.

Regardless of how it all transpired, the reality is that Delia now has a goal to his credit on his player profile. With the Blackhawks having lost their last two in overtime, perhaps encouraging some added offense that originates from between their own pipes is a strategy worth exploring when gameplay resumes.

Connolly Suspended by NHL Player Safety

Although Brett Connolly‘s positive impact was noted as being key to his recent call-up, he seemed to let his drive reach a gear it shouldn’t have in Chicago’s Dec. 18 contest against the Dallas Stars.

Brett Connolly, Rockford IceHogs
Brett Connolly, Rockford IceHogs (Jenae Anderson/The Hockey Writers)

Connolly executed a dangerous hit on Dallas’ Tanner Kero, which resulted in Kero being taken off the ice on a stretcher before heading to the hospital. There are no excuses for such unnecessary contact and Connolly’s four-game suspension should help support that stance.

With that said, it seems that most can agree that Connolly is not the type who’s out to injure. That commentary elevates to an even higher volume when it comes from the opposition.

“I know Brett Connolly,” Bowness said. “I coached him in Tampa. He’s a great kid.”

Regardless of anyone’s thoughts on Connolly or the hit, the focus should remain on Kero and his recovery. Hopefully, he’s back on the ice sooner than later, with no lasting impact from this unfortunate scenario.

Blackhawks Prospects Participating in 2022 World Juniors

It’s that time of the year, again. Hockey supporters get to elevate their fandom throughout the holiday season thanks to the World Junior Championship. It’s expected that onlookers will witness the NHL’s next set of stars shine bright, as a precursor to what they’ll achieve in the pros.

Some of today’s most successful Blackhawks represented their country at this tournament, before ever making the mark that they now have in the NHL. Future Hall of Famers Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, and Marc-André Fleury had all influenced podium finishes well before hoisting the Stanley Cup.

Having prospects perform well in this competition is a benefit to every respective franchise. The Blackhawks are hoping that the four they have participating will reach levels of success that foreshadow what they’ll infuse into Chicago’s lineup in the years to come.

Most of that talent will represent a single nation, with Drew Commesso (G), Wyatt Kaiser (D), and Landon Slaggert (LW/C) suiting up for Team USA. Not to be overlooked, Michael Krutil (D) will also be there on behalf of Czechia.

Landon Slaggert, Team USA
Landon Slaggert, Team USA (Credit: Rena Laverty/USA Hockey’s NTDP)

Slaggert and Krutil are familiar with what this tournament entails, while it will be the first such experience for Commesso and Kaiser.

Commesso was initially slated to take part last year, but was deemed unfit to play before the tournament began. Hopefully, that further fuels the netminder this time around, so he can showcase a level of skill that makes all those who passed on the former second-round pick regret ever doing so.

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All the while, any amount of winning that Commesso is able to encourage only further supports the Blackhawks decision to select him 46th overall in 2020.

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