After their second straight regulation loss, the Chicago Blackhawks admitted that the condensed schedule might finally be catching up to them.
“We’ve had a lot of games in the past 11 days,” Patrick Kane said in an ESPN report. “I think it’s seven games. So maybe there’s a little excuse there.”
He’s right, and that stretch included three one-game road trips.
In the grand scheme of things, a two-game losing streak is hardly a big deal, especially given the cushion the Blackhawks have given themselves. And yet, by the same token everything the Blackhawks do has been magnified by their success.
It wasn’t that many years ago that the Blackhawks were, as broadcaster Pat Foley put it in a NBC Sports report, “irrelevant,” but that’s changed.
Since Jonathan Toews was drafted in 2006 and Kane in 2007, a chain reaction has started that’s led to 203 consecutive sold out contests, incredible television ratings, and – oh yeah – the Stanley Cup in 2010, their first since the 1960s.
Their historic 24-game points streak is the latest in a running list of accomplishments that’s reconnected the Blackhawks to their city.
Expectations are high in Chicago this season and the playoffs aren’t far off either.
The Blackhawks are starting a stretch of off-days and will enjoy a similar stretch from March 21-24. That will give them a chance to rest up and prepare for the monumental task of finishing what they’ve started.
Streak over, but Hawks winning over Chicago’s heart
You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.
We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.
“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.
These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.
Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.
It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.
With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.
It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.
Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:
It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).
As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.
Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:
This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.
Update: Bullet dodged?