Following a 1-9-2 start to their season, which had the Chicago Blackhawks doing anything but smiling, they’ve now won four straight are among the hottest teams in the league. Certainly, that’s enough to turn any early-season frowns upside down. For now, anyway, as long as things continue to progress in the right direction.
Although it took some long-overdue personnel changes to see such results come to fruition, there are also familiar faces who have simply stepped up and into a more impactful role all the while. Both branches of improvement have proven necessary for the uplift in Chicago’s collective effort of late.
The club hopes to keep their streak alive this weekend when they visit the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks. For now, these are the latest stories surrounding the Blackhawks today.
Hossa & Wilson Officially Enter the Hall of Fame
The NHL’s Hockey Hall of Fame (HHOF) Class of 2020 was finally able to enjoy their well-deserved celebration, making it official for all those included in last year’s announcement. Among the impressive group were former Blackhawks, Marián Hossa and Doug Wilson.
Wilson secured Chicago’s blue line for 14 seasons, from 1977-78 to 1990-91, accumulating 779 points in 938 games throughout that span. Beyond his extraordinary production as a defenseman, Wilson ending his tenure with the Blackhawks at plus-121 helps illustrate that it was to their benefit in both regards when he was on the ice.
Hossa last played for the Blackhawks in 2016-17, following an eight-year run with the franchise in which he was a member of the exclusive group that helped the organization capture three Stanley Cups in a six-year span. One of the league’s most talented during his tenure, the winger collected 186 goals and 229 assists in 534 regular-season contests with the club. Add in his 73 points through 107 postseason games with Chicago, and his impact is impossible to ignore.
Go figure that, despite it having been Hossa’s first game in four years, he stole the show with his hat trick performance in the HHOF Legends Classic. A perfect way to encapsulate just how prolific he was throughout his career.
Chicago Welcomes Cookson to Coaching Staff
Rob Cookson has joined the Blackhawks as the newest member of their coaching staff. Being hired on as an assistant, the move also saw Marc Crawford transition into becoming an associate coach to Derek King.
“Rob’s extensive NHL experience will complement our staff immediately,” said Kyle Davidson, Blackhawks Interim General Manager. “It’s his fresh perspective, however, that will really benefit the team as we work on this transition. We look forward to Rob meeting us on this road trip and I know he is eager to get going with this group.”
Most recently, Cookson was coaching HC Lugano in Switzerland, where he had a chance to gain familiarity with Philipp Kurashev before Kurashev became a Blackhawk. Prior to heading overseas, Cookson’s resume already included 11 years of NHL coaching experience, as part of the Ottawa Senators, Calgary Flames, and Philadelphia Flyers.
Cookson has been part of some deep postseason runs throughout his tenure in the NHL, including a Stanley Cup Final appearance with Calgary in 2004. He’s also been a member of Team Canada’s coaching staff at various international tournaments, helping the country achieve medal finishes at the Olympic Games, World Championship, and World Junior Championship.
Jones Collects His 300th NHL Point
It’s safe to say that one of Chicago’s most polarizing offseason acquisitions was Seth Jones. Known as an offensive and dynamic defenseman, Jones had already accumulated 286 points in the nine years he split between the Nashville Predators and Columbus Blue Jackets before landing in Chicago.
Considering what the Blackhawks gave up to obtain his talents, let alone that they almost immediately secured him to an eight-year extension at $9.5 million per that kicks in as of 2022-23, they were obviously anticipating that he’d provide much of the same on their backend. Fortunately for them, he’s made good on that thus far.
In what was the first game that he and brother Caleb played together at the NHL level, Seth opened the scoring just over 15:00 into the match against the Seattle Kraken to achieve the 300th point of his NHL career. Jones now has two goals and 12 assists through 16 contests this season, averaging just under 26:00 per night for the Blackhawks.
DeBrincat Records Gordie Howe Hat Trick
Not since Artemi Panarin accomplished the feat back in 2016-17, has a Blackhawk done enough to see their name end up in every area of any given game sheet en route to earning a Gordie Howe hat trick.
A goal, an assist and a fight.
It is hockey’s hitting for the cycle, its triple-double but with quadruple-double frequency. An individual Triple Crown all crammed into a single game, typically achieved by horselike men.
Well, another Blackhawks superstar has joined the ranks of those who have accomplished the feat. With a first period assist, a second period goal, and a third period fight, Alex DeBrincat earned his first-ever Gordie Howe hat trick.
If for nothing else, what this helps illustrate is the evolution of DeBrincat’s game. It would be silly to suggest that he’s there to fight, but seeing him willing to elevate his role speaks volumes to the type of leader he’s looking to be for this team.
That said, DeBrincat certainly serves the Blackhawks best when he’s focusing on production. His nine goals so far through 2021-22 leads the team in scoring. A pace that could see him reach 46 — his highest total to date. That is, if he can avoid any unnecessary hand injuries from involving himself in battles he doesn’t need to be part of.
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Freelance thinker, paying too much attention to digital aesthetic. Oxford comma enthusiast. Spider-Man supporter. Sports fan, with two favourite hockey teams. If the Blackhawks and Maple Leafs ever meet in the Stanley Cup Final, you can find me wherever they’re playing that night.