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Game Day Hawks vs Kraken plus Mrazek Extended

January 24, 2024, 9:52 PM ET [196 Comments]
Zach Jarom
Chicago Blackhawks Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The west coast road trip continues this time against the Seattle Kraken. The Hawks are coming off a 2-0 shutout loss against the league-leading Vancouver Canucks. It was the second time the Hawks were held without a goal in the last three games. Both goals were scored in the first 7 minutes of the game, and after that, things tightened up. The Hawks played much better as the game went on; however, they just couldn’t beat Demko, who has just played lights out this season. Mrazek again played a fantastic game, stopping 27 of 29 shots, and it was hard to fault him for either goal, as the Suter goal was thanks to an unreal pass that should not have gotten to him and then an absolute laser of a shot from Hughes. This was another one of those games that you take a look at the positives despite the loss; only losing to this team 2-0 is a big positive. The return of Foligno was huge, and the combo of him, Kurashev, and Raddysh might have been the best line of the night for the Hawks. Vlasic continues to impress, and the growth that we have continued to see from him this season has to get fans excited for the future.

That brings us to tonight’s game against the Kraken. This will be the third and final meeting of the season between these teams, with both teams picking up victories. The Hawks will hope for a better outcome than the last meeting, which saw the Kraken win 7-1 in an ugly game. The Kraken had been one of the hotter teams in the league, going on a nine-game winning streak; however, things have cooled off a bit, with them going 6-4 in their last 10 and currently on a four-game losing streak. Expect the Kraken to try and take advantage of the Hawks and use this as a right-of-ship game.

Projected line-ups

Tinordi gets back into the lineup as he takes over for Isaak Phillips, and Soderblm gets the nod in the net. Soderblom, despite not getting in the win column, has played much better as of late. He really started to play the role of Mrazek last year, where no matter how well he plays, the team just can't get the job done on offense. Besides those two moves, the rest of the line-up stays the same, which means Lukas Reichel will be a healthy scratch for two games in a row. I don’t know what the game plan is for Reichel going forward, but seeing how much confidence this kid has lost this season, you have to wonder if a trip to Rockford is really the only answer for him. Send him down for a few weeks and let him just play and find his game again. I am not ready to give up on the 21-year-old, but not playing him doesn’t seem like it’s going to get the response that is needed.

Mrazek Extended
The Blackhawks announced today that they have signed Petr Mrazek to a 2-year deal that will carry a cap hit of $4.25 million. Its not surprising how thrilled I am for this one, as I have been pumping his tires all season, but I am glad to see that he was willing to stay and try and see this rebuild through. Locking him down pretty much confirms that this year's deadline will be a less busy one for KD and the Hawks, but as he said a few weeks ago, if you trade these guys, then next summer you are going to be looking for those types of players in free agency, so why not cut out the middle man? It’s a great approach, and it will help to have some continuity with this roster. If these pieces can play at the rate they are this year, plus a healthy Bedard, maybe add Frank Nazar, and a willing Celebrini at the draft, this team could be more danagrous sooner than expected. Now, I am not saying playoff hockey is coming next year, but I think we will be celebrating more wins than complaining about losses.

That’s going to be it from me; puck drop is a late one with a 9 p.m. central time start time. This is a TNT/Max game, so Hawk fans near and far can enjoy this one. As always, let's go Hawks.

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