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Fresh Brewed Coffee

December 1, 2021, 3:16 AM ET [114 Comments]
Theo Fox
Chicago Blackhawks Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Although the Blackhawks have 3 days off between their home loss to the Sharks and the next game in Washington D.C. to square off against the Capitals on Thursday, the past few days have been rather busy with news and updates related to the parent club, farm team, and prospects.


Roster Updates

In all honesty, 2018 7th round pick Josiah Slavin isn’t ready for the NHL yet having not even played half of an AHL season yet. However, a cup of coffee for a few games won't hurt his development and may in fact provide a window into how he can best refine his growth curve.

Just like MacKenzie Entwistle, Slavin is an industrious forechecker, competitive defender, strong penalty killer, and scoring opportunist. Both provide size and strength while having a natural willingness to do the little things to help their team win. They're a coach's dream.

As for Philipp Kurashev, it's no surprise that he was reassigned. He needs a confidence boost and a setting to regain his offensive touch. While he's a hard worker, he's also one of the skilled youngsters who needs to produce or else he just adds to the abundance of 4th liners.

Expect Kurashev to be 1C for the IceHogs now with Lukas Reichel on the shelf. If Kurashev is still with the Hogs when Reichel returns, then there are a few ways to deploy them, either as linemates taking turns at pivot or as 1C and 2C bumping Dylan McLaughin down a peg to 3C.

The nagging ailments are starting to pile up for Calvin de Haan. As such, more maintenance days for not only practices but also games may become increasingly prevalent as the season progresses. This would be a way to regularly play Caleb Jones and Riley Stillman once he's healthy.

What about Erik Gustafsson, though? Shouldn't he sit and play as sparingly as possible? When the Hawks signed him as a free agent during the preseason, I was shocked and annoyed. But I actually haven't minded Gustafsson much, at least in what could be a throw-away season.

Sure, Gustafsson has his glaring flaws but I'm not so sure if Wyatt Kalynuk is ready for steady NHL employment yet. Extra time on the farm would do him some good for long-term development. Let him log big minutes in all situations as one of Rockford's top 4 defensemen.

Kalynuk, Ian Mitchell, Nicolas Beaudin, and Jakub Galvas could grow together in the AHL as the Hogs 1st and 2nd pairs. All but Galvas have had cups of coffee with the Hawks already so give him his cameo but then start working them into the NHL regularly after the TDL and next season.


Coach Updates

On his Tuesday edition of Ice Breakers for the Daily Faceoff, Frank Seravalli had some not-so-earth-shattering insights about the Blackhawks search for a permanent general manager including words about interim Kyle Davidson but he also shared this interesting nugget:

"But one name I wanted to point out is Brian Campbell, the former Blackhawks defenseman, who won a Stanley Cup in Chicago. It seems like he’s taking on an increased role and presence around the team. He’s been on recent road trips, sitting in on meetings. No idea yet on what a formal title might be or what a formal role might look like, but he’s certainly a candidate of interest to have a long-term role in Chicago’s front office."

Not sure what to make of it but something to keep tabs on as decisions about management unfolds between now and the summer. It should also be pointed out that Chris Kunitz has spent time behind the Hawks bench ever since Derek King became interim head coach.


IceHogs Updates

In rare form for a minor league team in terms of public communication about injury statuses -- albeit still not very timely in relation to when the injuries first happened -- the IceHogs formally announced the following medical updates on 4 players:

* Lukas Reichel is in concussion protocol for an indeterminate period of time.
* Brett Connolly is out with a right leg injury for 1-2 weeks.
* Kale Howarth is out with a right shoulder injury for 2 weeks.
* Michael Krutil is out with a left hand injury for 1-2 weeks.

The Hogs kick off December with a road trip beginning in Milwaukee tonight to face the Admirals (Predators AHL affiliate) then they head eastward for a weekend set on Friday and Saturday in Grand Rapids to battle the Griffins (Red Wings AHL affiliate).


Prospect Updates

Several Blackhawks prospects were named yesterday to Team USA's preliminary roster for the World Junior Championships which takes place December 26 to January 5 at a pair of venues in Alberta (Edmonton and Red Deer). This foursome of Hawks prospects include:

* Drew Commesso (G), Boston University
* Wyatt Kaiser (D), University of Minnesota-Duluth
* Connor Kelley (D), University of Minnesota-Duluth
* Landon Slaggert (F), University of Notre Dame

Commesso will compete for the starting goalie role for Team USA. Kaiser and Kelley are D partners at NCAA #1 ranked Minnesota-Duluth and could remain a pair to take on defensive assignments. Slaggert played on the 4th line at last year's WJC and could do the same this year.


Survey Results

Thank you to those of you who casted ballots for the HockeyBuzz readers' poll to submit your perspectives on whether the Blackhawks still have rivalries with the Blues, Red Wings, Predators, or any other team. Survey results are below.

Do the Blackhawks still have a rivalry with the Blues?

* 66.67% said yes
* 12.50% said no
* 20.83% said kind of/sort of/maybe

Do the Blackhawks still have a rivalry with the Red Wings?

* 29.17% said yes
* 45.83% said no
* 25.00% said kind of/sort of/maybe

Do the Blackhawks still have a rivalry with the Predators?

* 54.17% said yes
* 16.67% said no
* 29.17% said kind of/sort of/maybe

If you feel the Blackhawks have a rivalry but it's not with either the Blues, Red Wings, or Predators, which team(s) is the rivalry with?

* Canucks (multiple votes)
* Wild (multiple votes)
* Coyotes (one vote)
* Penguins (one vote)


See you on the boards!

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