Game Day: Hawks vs Canucks Bedard Update and Perry
The Hawks kick off a four-game series tonight as they take on the league-leading Vancouver Canucks. This will be the second time these teams face off, with Vancouver picking up the 4-3 victory in Chicago back on December 17th. Vancouver is hands down one of, if not the biggest, surprises this season. A team that seemed to be stuck in limbo with some bad contracts on the books and a lot of questions about their future regarding young players resigning. However, Rick Tocchet has this team playing great hockey and getting the most from his players, something that seemed to be really falling short last season. JT Miller has returned to form after a strange season last year of fighting with his own team and picking up the “locker room cancer” tile. He is leading the way with 63 points. Elias Pettersson is playing like a man who is due for a contract, and even though he will only be a RFA at the end of the year, he is making things a bit more pricey for GM Patrik Allvin with his 61 points so far. You then have Brock Boeser finding the scoring touch once again, leading the team with 27 goals, and you can't forget about Captain Quinn Hughes, who might be the favorite for the Norris Trophy. This team is getting it done at all ends of the ice, and that goes for in-between the pipes as well. Thatcher Demko is having a career year with a 24-8-1 record and a.919 SV%. He has set a career high in shutouts with four and is well on his way to setting a new career high in wins (33 back in 21-22). This is a team that has been fun to watch and seems to be the real deal in 46 games so far. Can they keep it up in the second half of the season? I really think so, and I am pulling for them.
The Hawks are coming off a 4-3 overtime win over the New York Islanders last Friday. This game put the Islanders in panic mode, as after this game, Lou Lamoriello would go on to fire head coach Lane Lambert and bring in legend Patrick Roy. The biggest takeaway from this one is that the Hawks finally scored more than one goal. While that was nice, it was almost a waste as they would blow a 2-goal lead in the 3rd period, and if it wasn’t for Mrazek, this one would have been a lot worse and never stayed as close as it did. Seth Jones decided to pick a big moment for his first goal of the season, as he was able to put away the game winner just 22 seconds into overtime, giving the Hawks their 14th victory of the season.
Papa Foligno is back in the lineup after being out the last seven games with a fractured finger. He is excited to get his veteran leadership back into the lineup, and with the progress this team has been making, having him is going to be a much-needed addition. With Foligno back, Coach Richardson will be healthy, scratching Lukas Riechel. The forward just has not been able to find his game this season, and taking a step back and watching things from the press box for the next game or two might just be the best move for the 21-year-old. Connor Murphy is still out with his lower body injury, and Tinordi will also be a healthy scratch in this one. As a surprise, one Petr Mrazek gets the call in net.
Coach Richardson reiterated today that Bedard is still at least six weeks away from potentially returning to the lineup from his fractured jaw. This really isn’t a surprise, as most people anticipated a no-rush approach to his recovery, as the bigger picture is much more important here. It is a bummer that he isn’t in the lineup tonight, as it would have been the first time he played in his hometown of Vancouver. Despite this news, he has been on the ice almost every day since being given the OK, and when it is time for him to return, he should be able to return full speed and pick up where his fantastic rookie season left off. The league did announce, however, that they would be replacing Bedard and Vegas’s Jack Eichel in the all-star game with Vincent Trocheck and Kyle Connor. So the Hawks will not have an all-star rep this year, which is a bummer for Jason Dickinson and Petr Mrazek, as I felt one of them could have easily taken Bedard's spot.
Perry signed with the red hot Edmonton Oilers officially today. There isn’t much to really say about this other than I wish him the best of luck, and I really hope that whatever help he sought out over the last few months since being let go by the Hawks truly helped and is on the right path going forward. Despite how his stint ended, I really enjoyed his little time in Chicago, so I am glad to see him get another shot.
That’s going to be it for me. Puck Drop is scheduled for 9pm central time and as always, Lets Go Hawks.