Better Blackhawks Come Up Short Against Avs in OT

The Colorado Avalanche visited the United Center for the first time this season on Tuesday night, a game you could have only watched on either ESPN+ or Hulu. Marc-André Fleury made his first start since landing on the COVID list during the holiday/COVID shutdown against a team that was absolutely rolling before the league took a break.

The Avs started the season with a long list of injuries, including a few to significant players. After a 4-5-1 start, Colorado rolled off a 13-3-1 record before Christmas. They beat Anaheim 4-2 in their first game back after the break on Sunday.

On the other end of the ice, the Blackhawks have lost their first two games of the new calendar year in ugly fashion.

In what-took-so-long news, Erik Gustafsson was a scratch. Hopefully he does that more frequently the rest of the season.

The game opened up with Connor Murphy finding his way to Gabriel Landeskog and the gloves dropped; Murphy clearly remembered a questionable hit Landeskog had on Kirby Dach in a previous meeting.

After the fight, the first period went sideways for Chicago. Two penalty kills were made less impressive by two goals from Erik Johnson and Alex Newhook. Indeed, if not for a few incredible saves from Fleury, the Blackhawks could/should have been chasing more than two after 20 minutes. Colorado out-shot the Hawks 14-5 in the first period.

With the exception of an Erik Johnson penalty late in the first that overlapped into the opening 96 seconds of the second period, the middle frame was played completely at full strength and the Blackhawks found some rhythm. In fact, they dominated the period. Chicago was credited with 17 shots on net to seven for the visitors. Only one of those shots found the back of the net; Jonathan Toews won a puck battle and then went to the front of the net and won again to cut the lead in half.

Toews goal came with assists to Seth Jones and MacKenzie Entwistle, who returned to the lineup.

Chicago had to feel good about the effort in the second period and Colorado threw them a couple bones early in the third. Nathan MacKinnon went to the box 34 seconds into the period and was joined there by Tyson Jost 56 seconds later.

With the two-man advantage, the Blackhawks took advantage. Alex DeBrincat tied the game at two.

With MacKinnon out of the box, Chicago decided to add a third goal and take the lead. DeBrincat’s second power play goal of the night turned the tables completely on the Avs.

The goals came 40 seconds apart. Seth Jones and Patrick Kane picked up assists on the first PPG. Kane and Dylan Strome were credited with apples on the second.

Predictably, the Avs cranked up the physical play now chasing one goal after having a two-goal lead in the first period. At 11:44 into the third, Erik Johnson scored his second of the night to tie the game at three.

Both teams put a rush on as the period continued and Fleury got some help from the corner of the net late in the period. Toews sprinted up the ice and rifled a shot on net that was saved by Darcy Kuemper at the horn to close out regulation. We were headed to overtime.

Fleury stopped 29 of 32 in the first 60 minutes of hockey. Kuemper faced 30, stopping 27 for Colorado.

Dach won eight of 19 faceoffs and had three shots on net in 21:24 regulation. Toews won 12 of 22 at the dot and was credited with two shots on net in 17:23 in the first three periods. It was Dach who started overtime with Seth Jones and Philipp Kurashev — a different look for the Blackhawks. And Dach lost his first two faceoffs in the opening seconds of the overtime.

DeBrincat and Kane then came out with Calvin de Haan. Kane almost had a breakaway attempt but Devon Toews was able to break up the play.

Jones and Toews were joined by Brandon Hagel. Toews danced through traffic and got a shot off but it hit the iron. It was a vintage, circa-2009 move from Toews that he just missed finishing. The posts made as many saves as the goaltenders in OT at this point.

Half-way through the overtime, Cale Makar made a ridiculous play. He undressed Dach with a cut back and then deked Fleury before roofing a back-hand shot. The play was… Patrick Kane-like. And from a defenseman!

Chicago lost 4-3 and remains winless in 2022, but this effort was much better than the previous two efforts since the shutdown.

34 thoughts on “Better Blackhawks Come Up Short Against Avs in OT

  • January 4, 2022 at 10:23 pm
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    tab

    that is some amazing work on your part to have such a complete recap so soon after the game.

    makar, toews, and byram on the blue line. wow!!! almost as good as our back end.

  • January 4, 2022 at 10:44 pm
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    Had a chance to listen to part of the game on the way to the airport tonight, if you thought the TV announcers have been brutal lately, radio announcer wasn’t much better.

  • January 4, 2022 at 10:56 pm
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    Nice to see some life out of Toews (Jonny) – until he plays like that consistently I won’t get too excited

    The effort was better and no Gus made the experience more enjoyable but they made so many mistakes that without 2 PP goals and great goaltending COL wins this game 5 – 1

    However they did score on the PP – I’ve been calling for weeks for Toews to be taken off PP1 and replaced with Strome and they finally did it and Strome got a nice assist on the 3rd goal (2nd PP goal)

    Maybe Toews was pissed to be taken off PP1 and that’s why he played well

    The turnovers and puck management are just horrendous – they’re usually just one step ahead of disaster – they struggle to make simple plays and to make the correct decision in all 3 zones

    The lack mobility and puck skills of particularly 44 and 6 with honorable mention to 5 are a sight to behold

    Dach completely schooled in OT by Makar who sensed Dach coasting a bit and what a great finish

    Tell me again why Entwistle was scratched for Gabriel? Mack had an impact

    Now bring Slavin back and sit either Khaira or Carp whose puck skilled rival McCabe and DeHaan

    At least Seth was back on PP1 – I can’t believe they ever took him off of it and for Gus

  • January 4, 2022 at 11:37 pm
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    Makar’s play was sick. However, Dach could have been a bit less “sleepy” on that one. He was coasting, standing straight up, in no position to make any play whatsoever. Sometimes he’s as stiff as a board out there. This was one of those times.

    And I would like for someone more knowledgeable than I explain why Dach was out there so much on 3 on 3? Why? He’s a liability at the dot. He’s not likely to score. He’s not a finisher. He’s not an adept assist man. Why was he out there so freaking much? As Tab mentioned he lost his face-offs out there. Is there some defensive matchup that was desirable that I was missing? Don’t you want Toews out there as much as possible in that overtime scenario? I just didn’t get the lineups that were put out there.

    Please, someone help me out.

  • January 4, 2022 at 11:43 pm
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    Dach was the # 3 pick….that’s why he is out there….no other reason.
    Didn’t see the game since it was in Hulu…I pay for center ice and still can’t get the game….oh well.

  • January 4, 2022 at 11:43 pm
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    Good effort to battle back after the first. Fleury held them in the first period. Toews best game since his return, good to see, King said after the game the pk needed help so he used Toews there and reduced his pp time to even things out. Entwistle best game so far, maybe getting scratched sparked him, who knows but didn’t get sitting him either, but looked like a bigger version of Hagel out there with his 2nd and 3rd efforts all night. Makar goal was something to see, i don’t think it mattered who was covering him with all that room on the ice in 3 on 3. Blackhawks won the special team battle, got solid goaltending and their best players were that, need more of that for sure, but puck handling still an issue. Good for Murphy to send a message to Landeskog for his cheap shot on Dach last game.

  • January 4, 2022 at 11:47 pm
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    Big Indian, King said Dach and Kurashev shutdown Mackinnon and Makar pretty good all night. He didn’t see changing that in ot and that its something they are going have to learn at some point in time, good of time as any i guess.

  • January 5, 2022 at 12:47 am
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    Dach is a professional athlete. Soon to be what – 21 years old. He’s out there because he needs to be out there for the next 10-15 years. He needs to figure it out. His name is not Toews, Crosby or McGod. He’s Kirby Dach. He’s never gonna be any of those other 3.

    Right now, he’s an embarrassed Kirby Dach. He got undressed and will continue to be undressed for a few days because of the way the game ended. Laughed at, made fun of, be written about all over social media and talked about on TV. He’s the butt of the joke right now. I’m betting he doesn’t like it. That play won’t look good on his resume come the summer when he wants his new contract.

    He will be ready when he is ready. This was a step in the right direction – a valuable lesson that people learn on their path to being good at what they do. Put him back out there and let him fail until he figures it out. And he will. And when he does, he will be Kirby Dach. Not Toews, Crosby or McGod.

    Anyone on this board besides me ever fail at anything? If so – how did you react to it? I’m guessing that Kirby Dach isn’t sleeping well tonight. And he shouldn’t. If he does, then all the Walldogs here will be correct.

    Put him back out there again. I’ll wait a little longer to see how this goes.

  • January 5, 2022 at 2:20 am
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    Makar is in rarified air even when on the road. Amazing talent

  • January 5, 2022 at 7:49 am
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    Avs have a good club and I expect them to be hanging around in June ! The Hawks played well enough to get a point ! This covid thing is a mess even in Canada ??! Pops 4

  • January 5, 2022 at 7:56 am
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    @Wraparound

    You nailed it! My sentiment also

    @Beer League

    Try this link for all the games

    https://nhl66.ir/simulator

    Makar is one amazing hockey player. I not sure of anyone playing hockey today could’ve
    stopped him on that play. I found it odd that Fluery got deeked out on that goal though.

  • January 5, 2022 at 8:03 am
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    Let Entwhistle/Slavin/Hardman play, Khaira couldn’t snag a slow moving puck for a breakaway, Carpenter is what Carpenter is and I can’t figure out what he brings, PK play maybe but the PK stinks.

    Maybe the Whistle/Slav/Hard line won’t score much to begin with but they’ll hustle cause some problems and could develop into a pretty good 4th line and just maybe develop into a good 3rd line.

  • January 5, 2022 at 8:17 am
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    OyVey!!!!

    From 32 thoughts

    https://www.sportsnet.ca/nhl/article/32-thoughts-nhl-faces-tight-scheduling-finish-season-time/

    11. When Sportsology’s Mike Forde was hired by Capitals’ owner Ted Leonsis to advise on hiring with his NBA Wizards, Forde eventually recommended promoting interim GM Tommy Sheppard to the full-time role — with support. Word is the Blackhawks really like their current interim, Kyle Davidson, so it’s not a surprise if he stays in a prominent role. What I wonder about is if Ed Olczyk ends up in a John Davidson-type role there, too.

  • January 5, 2022 at 8:58 am
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    Was just as surprised as the TV announcers were that it turned out to be a good game
    1- nice to see Toews getting some consistent strength back in his game even if endurance is still lacking; going to the right places to score!
    2 – Avs D = A+
    3 – Kurashev is actually bringing something on the ice of late, but he’s got to keep getting stronger and contributing more, rather than settle for what he’s doing
    4 – ESPN+/Hulu streaming has been terrible in my experience- lots of buffering and then minutes-long stretches with super low-def video while it catches up … felt like I was back in my college dorm room watching a game on my 10” TV, but back then I could at least pretend to try fixing it by adjusting the rabbit ears, … thought the play-by-play and color commentary were pretty good though

  • January 5, 2022 at 9:05 am
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    Hawks had a good game against a top team in the league ,Fleury again save them many time and Toews is getting better every game.DCat is a pure sniper and that why he reached 20 goals yesterday .Whist. is focus every game and I think he will become a good regular player for the Hawks ,he works hard .

  • January 5, 2022 at 9:29 am
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    cale makar abuses kirby dach to score the game winner. bear with me. there is a method to my madness.

    i coached an under nine girls travel soccer team. one of the girls was a seven year old who was at least a year younger and a head shorter than the next youngest kid and shortest kid. great differences at that age. she was my leading scorer and by far the best player on the team. she was all of that because she demanded, expected, and had the confidence to be great even at that young age. she had a mindset that nothing could stop her from succeeding. she ended up being the leading scorer on her high school team for four years and made all state four years. certainly she developed wonderful skills over her career, but the source of her greatness was her mindset. her expectation and desire to be a great player.

    when cale makar skated behind the hawks net in ot last night he did not emerge on the other side looking to pass. he KNEW he was going to find his shot because he has the mindset, desire, and expectation of himself to be a great player and make a great play. and he certainly found that shot and made brilliant stick handling moves to beat a great goalie. he wasn’t surprised he pulled it off. he believed he would.

    kirby dach does not have the mindset of greatness. he doesn’t shoot because he doesn’t have the confidence to be a scorer. he doesn’t beat defenders to the net one on one because he doesn’t have the expectation, desire, or confidence to be great. to impose his will on the opponent. he doesn’t make great passes very often because at the nhl level he isn’t good enough to make great passes. in short ….. he doesn’t have the mindset of a great player to allow the skills he has to pull off playing as a great player. it has nothing to do with his age, his injury, his lack of preseason camps. he just doesn’t play like a player who expects greatness out of himself. his mistakes aren’t made while he is trying to make great plays.

    brandon hagel does expect greatness from himself. he doesn’t have the shooting ability or stick skills to be a great player, but he does have the expectation, desire, and mindset to be a great third line winger, which he is developing into. there is never a puck that he chases down to the other end of the ice that he does not expect to win. even if he is three strides behind the opponent he is thinking he is going to find a way to come off the boards with the puck. he expects and desires greatness of himself in the role he plays. his relentless motor comes from his mindset that he will not be denied.

    i am very tired of all of the excuses the dach apologists posit. sure he is young, sure he was injured, sure he hasn’t played a lot of games, etc., etc. but nothing in his attitude, demeanor, or body language on the ice indicates he has a mindset that seeks and expects greatness out of himself.

    right now, on an extrapolated eighty two game season, dach is on a pace to score 32 points, hagel 44 points, and entwhistle 29 points. dach has had the luxury of extensive time playing with de brincat, kane, and kubalik as well as being a fixture on the power play. entwhistle doesn’t have that luxury at all and hagel does to a much lesser degree. yet hagel is producing much better than dach and entwhistle almost as well.

    dach is playing like a decent third line forward. until and if he develops a mindset to be great that is all he ever will be in the nhl. by his age only experience should be holding him back, not his mindset. it is not unlikely he will in the league another 10/12 years. maybe an eric nesterenko or chico maki kind of guy as he gets some experience under his belt and a little stronger. but any gm looking at the future of this team cannot be expecting him to be a top six forward much less a top six center.

  • January 5, 2022 at 9:54 am
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    The Hawks played better than in the last two games, but there are still holes everywhere throughout the lineup. At least the turnover machine, aka Gustafson was in the press box! It’s time to bring up Reichel, Nylander, and Hardman up front and play Entwhistle and Slavin…put Carpenter, Strome, and Khaira on the taxi squad, release them or trade them – I don’tcare! Also, it’s time to promote Kalynuk, Phillips, Mitchell, and Regula. Let’s move out everyone on defense who doesn’t have the last name Jones! I just want a reason to watch these Hawks, and the product on the ice sucks! Let the kids play!

    We need to trade Kane, but the intern-GM is never going to make that trade because he will get crucified as the guy who traded Kane, and he’s not a hockey guy and not experienced enough to make the best hockey trade. He will get Stan’d or fleeced – same thing! I don’t want this guy making that kind of trade, and on the flip-side, when we do get hockey people in here, Kane’s value will have tanked. That is why you don’t hire interim’s for more than a week. Have a backup plan and execute! This is on Danny Wirtz! He is putting us behind the eight-ball once again.

  • January 5, 2022 at 9:59 am
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    Hawks29, you forgot that Dach was that year younger 9 year old who was better than all the older players. Continued to be right up until as star of his major junior team, allstar in whl, named captain of his world junior team until injured. He has shown he does possess all those qualities you say he needs, just like most 20 year old star players before him he has hasn’t adapted his game completely to Nhl level yet, the shame of it all.

  • January 5, 2022 at 10:14 am
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    I haven’t given up on Dach being a top 6 forward (centre or wing) yet although I would like to see him have more confidence in himself (especially his shot) and to see him start to process the game at the NHL speed better

    A lot of bigger players take longer to develop (of course with exceptions like Mario) – I’d like to see to an upwards trajectory through the rest of this year

    At this point his career could still go in many different directions – too early to be definitive

  • January 5, 2022 at 10:17 am
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    If Stan hadn’t been there to outsmart everyone (again!) we might have gotten stuck with Byram and Evan Bouchard instead of killing it with Boqvist and Dach. We were so, so lucky to have him. Spreadsheet Stan – gone but not forgotten.

  • January 5, 2022 at 11:00 am
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    We cannot give up on Dach, Kurashev, Borgstrom, and Kubalik! I see potential there! I’m wanting and expecting more from all four of them, but I want them to succeed here and not elsewhere!

  • January 5, 2022 at 11:35 am
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    Speaking of Bouchard. A couple of sites, including the Hockey News have opined that the Oilers need to be in on Fleury and will be required to give up a top prospect to do so.

    If it happens , not sure who or if it would be picks. They have a first and a second this year (no third)
    They also have Broberg in the AHL.

  • January 5, 2022 at 11:43 am
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    The issue with this Hawks team isn’t that third and fourth liners are being swapped in and out for someone moderately better or worse than the one being replaced. It’s that the top end talent is not playing up to their role/minutes.

    The only players who have been performing as needed/expected are DeBrincat, Jones and for the most part, Fleury and Hagel.

    Toews needed to come back and be preCovid Toews and that hasn’t happened.

    Kane needed to perform as a top 10 NHL player and that hasn’t happened. Not sure exactly what his ailment is, but whatever it is, it clearly is affecting his play negatively. He is not the same player he was most of last year.

    One of the trio of Dach/Strome/Borgstrom needed to step up and fill the role of #2C and that hasn’t happened. I think Dach will be better,eventually, but I think he is simply not ready to bear the burden of playing a top six role right now.

    Kubalik needed to produce like he did the past couple of years and that hasn’t happened.

    Kurashev needed to take a step forward and up until very recently, that hasn’t happened. Maybe there is hope he can build off his recent success, but I am not holding my breath.

    McCabe has been ok, but not great. Murphy has been ok, but not great. DeHaan has been ok, but not great. Someone needed to step up and be great here and that hasn’t happened.

    IMO, the Avs really sat back and let their foot off the gas. Most teams look at the Hawks as a game to either catch a breather or pad their stats, sometimes both. The Hawks did play a lot better this game, but I would submit that the Av’s allowed the Hawks into the game more than the Hawks forced their way back into the game. The minute the Hawks took the lead, the Avs put on pressure and forced their way back into the game.

    I really wanted the Hawks to do well this year to mitigate the loss of their first round pick. If some of the things that the Hawks needed to have happen start happening, this team might be able to fight their way up the standings, but it is really hard to be hopeful right now.

    Looks like the Hawks have given up on Nylander. Traded for a former 4th rnd pick?

  • January 5, 2022 at 12:04 pm
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    Hawks trade Alex Nylander to the penguins for Sam Lafferty

  • January 5, 2022 at 12:15 pm
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    A question for anyone, including Tab: Why all the vitriol towards Gustatfsson?

    Is he really a “turnover machine” as Tommy Ivan suggested? If he is, then so are de Haan, Murphy, McCabe and Jones, but none of them get the bashing that Gus does.

    While +/- is said to be an “outdated” statistic, Gus is one of only 3 Hawks with a +/- greater than zero. What’s bad about that?

    He is 10th in points and 15th in points per game – not great certainly, but not bottom of the barrel either. He’s 3rd in Goals For percentage, T2 in raw goals for, 11th in raw goals against, and first in goal differential (all these stats are even strength) – hardly the worst defensive showing on the team.

    He definitely is not Norris trophy candidate, not a high-talent d-man, I get that. If he were traded away, sent to Rockford or released outright, I would not be disappointed. But I just don’t understand why so many people have such a high level of disdain for Gustafsson?

  • January 5, 2022 at 2:11 pm
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    ian

    there are many players in all sports who star as younger players and hit their ceiling when they hit the top professional league. as an example the 4a player in baseball. or the great college football or bball player who never finds his way in the pros.

    i have nothing against dach, i want him to be all that bowman thought he was. i just don’t see him flying around the ice trying to be a great player, trying to make great plays. this was the year that he had the benefit of training camp and the year he was going to take steps forward. do you see any indications his game is progressing? he averaged .36 points per game in his rookie year when his atoi was only 14:16. this year he is averaging .39 points per game and his atoi is 19:29. that’s a 36% increase in playing time and less than a 10% uptick in scoring. his face off winning percentage is abysmal and right where it was two years ago. hope he finds his way and sooner than later. hope to be wrong about him, but right now he is just a decent third line winger.

  • January 5, 2022 at 3:28 pm
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    @Tommy- why burn a year of Reichel’s ELC on this waste of a season?

  • January 5, 2022 at 4:55 pm
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    Hawks 29
    About Dach
    Maybe he will take more time to develop ,maybe nobody knows but I remember long time ago the coach from team Canada said he doesn’t like Lemieux #66 to play for team Canada because similar reason you give about Dach . I know Dach is far from being Lemieux but it’s really difficult to know at 20 , yes he was hurt badly and he has a lot off pressure on him but still is a similar player to Kakko , and Lafreniere who are also 20 ..I respect your opinion but I think you are wrong about the kid ( but it’s just my opinion and only time will tell where he will be in 3-4 years from now at Makar age today.
    Just my 2 pesos

  • January 5, 2022 at 5:34 pm
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    hawks 2010

    i hope you are right and he finds his way. been a hawks fan for 65 years. i want him to do well.

    my entire take is he should have stayed in juniors another year and then spent a year in rockford. that would have him as a rookie this year on year one of his elc. that is what i believed from day one. playing in chicago when he did was nothing more than bowman hoping for the best and trying to save his job. same for boqvist. two teenagers breaking into the nhl. hasnt yielded great results.

  • January 5, 2022 at 5:43 pm
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    In defense of Dach, remember he is only 21 years old. His peak physically won’t be reached until at least 24 years of age. That is when he will be at his strongest and fastest as he gains more knowledge on gap control and angles to take both in attack mode and defensively.
    In addition, his tentativeness could be due to the injury he suffered on what looked like a harmless check in the middle of the ice. There could still be some weakness in the wrist or hand
    area.
    As for trading Kane, how do we know if Wirtz would allow it. If he is in the ear of Davidson, that is further proof that the front office needs to be cleaned out. In fact, if Wirtz is in Davidson’s ear that means this franchise is in trouble for years to come.

  • January 5, 2022 at 6:57 pm
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    Hawks29, Dach was drafted to replace Toews as an all around no. 1 center, not be an offensive juggernaut. Dach’s job last night was to go against Mackinnon and Makar, except for that ton of room on the ice in the 3 on 3 skill showcase goal, they were pointless. That alone should say he is showing considerable development in taking the load from Toews in that area. He plays 20 minutes a night, logging big time on both special teams and will be a big part of both for years to come. If he needs to have growing pains adapting his offense and need to figure out the faceoff part, then what better year to have those growing pains than this one.

  • January 5, 2022 at 11:53 pm
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    ian

    last night was one game. how many posts did mc kinnon hit? toews has not just been an all around center. for several years he was in the discussion as the best player in the game. in addition to being one of the best face off men in the league he has been one of the best defensive centers in the league and has averaged 70 points and +15 a season over his career.

    dach was likely drafted out of desperation as bowman’s failures to draft and develop centers rivals his failures of drafting and developing defenseman. the hawks center cupboard was bare and so dach, imo, became a need pick and bowman passed on byram because he thought boqvist was the answer as his number one d-man. being drafted third does not anoint him as toews replacement. that is a bill of goods bowman wanted to sell the fans.

    i am not criticizing you for wanting to be patient with dach and in reality there is no other choice. i am just looking at him in terms of where he is now and i have not seen indications in his game that he is going to be a top flight player. i hope i am wrong.

    as i have said i have nothing against dach and wish him well.

  • January 6, 2022 at 5:36 am
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    Hawks29 time will tell, thats what gets me here, everybody wants to develop young players but expect them to all be generational players out the gate and have no npatience for real development. As somebody pointed out it would be nice if every draft pick was a Mcdavid or a Toews or a Kane but that’s fantasyland not reality. I didn’t do a game by game summary you asked if I saw Dach showing improvement so that is the answer you got.

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