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Game Day: Hawks vs Sens and Quick Hits

February 17, 2024, 5:41 PM ET [212 Comments]
Zach Jarom
Chicago Blackhawks Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
After a long month and a half, the return of Connor Bedard was finally here, but unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to spark the struggling Hawks offense. Not that anyone was expecting anything other than what we have gotten from this team as of late. With this season being full of lows, it was great to get Bedard back. The vibes you felt talking to other fans and seeing the hype on social media made it feel like this team had something to play for once again. It was a rough start to his return as he lost to Sidney Crosby, giving the Pens a 1-0 lead just 15 seconds into the game, and then tried to force a cross-ice pass, leading to a Reilly Smith backhand goal that Soderblom needed to have. After the first, he seemed to find his grove and pick up his first point back with an absolutely beautiful pass to Kurashev. The line of Bedard, Kurashev, and Foligno really was taking off prior to Bedard's injury, so it was great to see them connect in game one, and hopefully this will lead to more offense going forward.

The Hawks wrap up their five-game homestand against the Ottawa Senators in an early contest. This will be the first time these two teams are meeting this season. The Hawks have played well against the Sens, going 16-2-1 over their last 19 contests, and really dominate them at home, going 11-1 in the last 12 games at the UC. Ottawa comes in to this one after snapping their four-game winning streak and getting spanked by the Ducks 5-1 on Thursday. This Senators team has been a bit of a disappointment this season, as some had them challenging for a wild card spot or at least being in the hunt for it, but they currently sit 14 points back of the last spot. They have played decent hockey as of late; as I mentioned, they were just on a 4-game winning streak and have gone 6-2-2 in their last 10 games. This is a team that is still looking for their identity, but the future is looking good, having locked down what could be a good core group of players in Tkachuk, Stutzle, Norris, and Chabot through at least the 2027-2028 season.

Quick Hits
Lukas Reichel

This was going to be a breakout season for Reichel; he was going to finally get his shot at a full-time roster spot, and with the hype around Bedard, he would get the chance to avoid playing on the top lines and take his game to the next level. Sadly, this has not been the case, as he has struggled to find his game and has seen him spend quite a few games in the press box as a healthy scratch. Coach Richardson was asked if a trip to Rockford was in the plans for the 21-year-old, and it doesn’t sound like they are ready to make that move just yet, but the idea is starting to surface a bit more.

Injuries
Coach Richardson is hopeful that Raddysh will be able to play today against the Senators. He missed practice yesterday dealing with a right quad injury. Another player who could find his way back into the lineup here soon is Anthony Beauvillier, who has been out with a broken wrist since January 3rd. He was back skating with a team in a normal practice jersey, so expect him to be back in the lineup soon.

That’s going to be it for me, puck drop is set for 2pm central time. As always, Lets Go Hawks!

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