Blackhawks Oust Senators In Hayden Debut

The waiting is the hardest part.


Blackhawks fans have been reading and hearing about John Hayden for four years while he competed at Yale. After his collegiate career ended late last week, he signed with Chicago and joined the NHL club in Montreal. On Thursday night, with Artem Anisimov out for the rest of the regular season, Hayden made his NHL debut – on a line with Jonathan Toews.

Waiting four long years to see Hayden in a Blackhawks sweater didn’t feel nearly as long as the first 40 minutes of the game in Ottawa. The Blackhawks held a 22-21 shot advantage after two periods, but neither team had scored. Scott Darling was fantastic in his return to action but Mike Condon was equally up to the challenge.

Hayden didn’t wait long to make an impression, though. Coach Joel Quenneville opened the game with Marian Hossa skating with Toews and Richard Panik but brought the rookie out with his captain for the next shift. Hayden immediately got in one big hit and almost lined up another Ottawa skater before heading off for a change.

Condon’s shutout lasted eight minutes into the third period until Duncan Keith put home his sixth of the season.

Artemi Panarin picked up his 40th assist of the season on Keith’s goal.

Three minutes later, Brent Seabrook went to the box for tripping and Chicago allowed a power play goal for the first time in March. Kyle Turris tied the game at one 12 seconds into the advantage, ending Darling’s shutout bid.

Chicago got a power play when Derick Brassard went to the box at 14:15, and received a brief two-man advantage when Marc Methot joined him 97 seconds later. The Brassard penalty ended without any scoring, but 47 seconds into the Methot-only power play Patrick Kane set up Panik.

Panik’s 18th of the season would hold up as the game-winner and the Blackhawks continued their hot stretch. With a Minnesota loss, the Hawks are now three points up in the Central Division.

Darling was superb, stopping 33 of 34 as the Hawks were out-shot yet again. The skaters in front of Darling blocked another 24 shot attempts, led by six from Johnny Oduya.

Nick Schmaltz, skating as the center between Kane and Panarin in the place of Anisimov, won only two of nine at the dot and had a team-high four giveaways. Panarin had a team-leading five shots on goal.

Hayden skated 8:44 in his first taste of NHL action and did some nice things. He put one shot on net, finished tied with Jordin Tootoo for the team lead with three hits and was also credited with one takeaway.

26 thoughts on “Blackhawks Oust Senators In Hayden Debut

  • March 16, 2017 at 11:36 pm

    Hawks are in first by 3 points. They continue to prove their detractors wrong over and over again!

  • March 17, 2017 at 12:09 am

    The heavy, what makes a good man.

  • March 17, 2017 at 12:16 am

    It wasn’t pretty, again, but there are some good takeaways from this game.

    First, Darling didn’t miss a beat after his layoff and continued his excellent goaltending giving Q two goalies he can rely upon down the stretch and into the playiffs.

    Second, the team defense is rounding into shape. They have given up more shots than you’d like to see but most of those shots aren’t Grade-A chances and with the Hawks goaltending they aren’t giving up many goals. It may not seem like it but there are only 5 teams that have given up fewer goals than the Hawks and 4 of those teams have played one fewer game.

    And lastly, he didn’t set the world on fire, but Hayden did OK in his NHL debut. After getting knocked on his butt 2 or 3 times in the first, he continued to battle and he did OK for himself along the boards and using his size and strength effectively. The main thing I was watching was his skating and he’ll never be confused for a great skater but he looked better than I feared and probably good enough to have an NHL career.

    Oh yeah – Wild lose, Hawks up 3 points so even their game in hand can’t make up the difference. This should be an exciting stretch run.

  • March 17, 2017 at 6:54 am

    Hayden discovered that the “big boys” league is faster and fiestier than he’s used to but I think he will be fine- I’m sure it’s tough playing wing when you are a natural centre- but would be interesting to see him centre Kane and the breadman -winning at the dot and physically dishing out feeds for the best 1-2 scoring duo! Alas- it’s off to hockey Mecca- where I finally get a “live” look at my beloved Hawks against all we, in the GTA have to suffer in listening to every day- the Toronto Maple Leafs!!

  • March 17, 2017 at 7:34 am

    I have to ask though, who is the lesser of two evils, nashville or st louis? For whatever reason, I liked the idea of playing nashville first round.

  • March 17, 2017 at 7:38 am


    Snoozer- of a game… like watching Tennis… Sens Coach- really has that team playing some tight/smart checking… Most icings in a game this year or period???
    Ernie – get on that!

    when Tootoo- is one of your most noticeable forwards… you probably should lose… Goalie win there.

    Seabs – plodding again… but did tie up stick and save goal.

  • March 17, 2017 at 8:32 am

    Ernie –
    I’m with you 100%, looking forward to the wife/my annual trip to watch the Leafs/Hawks – 3rd year since we transferred up to the Big Smoke.

    Going to a couple OTT games earlier in the season, they are much improved in their pace of play and defensive game. Their move up the standings makes more sense and they (along with the Habs) have been playing some good hockey. Both were solid wins for different reasons.

    Here’s to a Saturday win, with my $17.50 Molson Canadian at the game!

  • March 17, 2017 at 8:43 am

    Good victory, and Darling rock solid. Kudos to Hayden, but his skating limitations will be a problem in terms of fitting into the Q system longer term. But a decent depth piece to have in the organization can be his ceiling.

  • March 17, 2017 at 8:55 am


    Hayden played RW pretty much all season this year. He’s played center in the past but is certainly not inexperienced playing wing. And while his skating wasn’t as bad as I had feared, it’s not great and he would be more of a boat anchor for 72-88 than a center, at least at this point in his 1-game old NHL career. I think he’ll make a good winger, probably bottom-6 when the dust settles.

  • March 17, 2017 at 9:37 am

    Not a bad debut for Hayden but he probably does not belong in a top six role. He looks slow to me. I would rather see Hartman or Hossa on the first line instead of Hayden during 15’s absence. Put Hayden on the fourth line with Kruger. Darling could start for half the teams in the league. No way will he be a Hawk next year unless Crawford is traded.

  • March 17, 2017 at 9:48 am

    1961… I was also a little disappointed in his skating… But- being high IQ guy… I hope he was just playing it safe… and cheating to the D- side of things and staying “out of trouble”… Kind of reminded me of Bolig… didn’t get in trouble… but cheated to the D-side (and stayed off of the viewing screen)- for the most part.

  • March 17, 2017 at 9:53 am

    Don’t forget he is coming straight from NCAA where he wasn’t a “professional” in term of prep, nutrition, strength and conditioning through out the season.

    Look at Hartman/Hino for example of guys who had a couple of game last year and then invested their summer “off” with the Hawks staff to train on their weakness and see what a difference that can make.

    Comes down to the individual (as some have commented on TT’s dedication to the profession for example), but I would say a guy who wore the C for his team is not guy who just coasts through things. Let him get a taste now and what the team has in mind for his role, then see what he does from there.

    In juniors, either you score or you hit, but not everyone can be the superstar scorer in the NHL, half the guys need to change their game to stay up.

  • March 17, 2017 at 11:12 am

    $ 10.25 for a tall can @ the Sens game last night ,they taste really good @ that price .
    Awesome standing ovation for Big Hoss,s 1300 game . Darling played lights out ,won the game for us . Schmaltz gave the puck away 6 times that i counted . He is a stand out though ,his speed and stick handling are top quality . Tootoo played a great game ,had some good hits ,handled the puck well and created some good havoc . Hayden did not look out of place , guess i gotta eat my words on the kid eh Ernie . Just a thought when 15 comes back Desi out ,Hayden inserted in that line ? Desi looked like a fumble fu3k @ times . Had a great time ,lets keep racking up the wins ,.,.,.Happy Irish Day .

  • March 17, 2017 at 11:40 am

    No doubt Hawk, I actually like the Canadian Tire Centre over there. When I come in for work I stay over in Kanata, works out well to go catch a game if they are in town. Nice rink, good options and above average fans when it comes to seeing an opponent’s jersey in their section. Now Montreal and Toronto, let’s just say I saw a couple guys throw down toward the end of the 3rd last year…

    Sadly March break blew-up my plan for “business travel” to MON, OTT and back home for Saturday’s game. Had it all mapped out at the start of the year, but no one was around this week… boo!

  • March 17, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    Previous comment don’t post. Did anyone see the post game q interview?

    Q said Hayden was “good”. That’s about as glowing a praise from Q ever spoken.

    He was then asked about his D. Someone asked a question that was inaudible. It may have been about Darling. Q had this shit eating grin that was followed by this sinister laugh. If someone would make a gif it would rival only the St Louis ball grab and grow some gif.

  • March 17, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    The Hawks are 3 points behind the chase for the presidents trophy. The 2 teams that made the biggest moves at the deadline have hit a damn wall. The Wild and Caps.

    4-5-1 for the caps
    4-6-0 for the wild.

    This is why you don’t make big moves.

  • March 17, 2017 at 2:30 pm


    I think Nashville is more talented but I’m with you I’d rather see Nashville not Stl. However, its the damn Kings that I hope the Hawks avoid. There they are sitting 4 points out and getting healthy despite Kopitar and Dustin Brown eating about 14 million and not contributing anything. Thats a scary team to face in the playoffs. They still are well coached and have big guns up and down that lineup

  • March 17, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    Watched last two games in person-envious of you guys that get to watch games in Chicago-
    watched with a former exec of the Senators-he estimated that there were 2500 to 3000 Hawk fans in attendance. I was close to the ice so got to see Hayden sent out for the ‘rookie’ solo skate.
    Got to talk to a Ottawa scout at the end of the second-without prompting he said the 2 take aways (other than the obvious) were that Darling is as good as he had heard and that Schmaltz was a huge surprise-he really liked him.
    Ottawa is a good team, and played well when they showed up.

  • March 17, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    @Noonan: I missed last night’s game, but remember Matt Carey making same debut in Ottawa.

  • March 17, 2017 at 10:07 pm

    Lets hope Hayden plays more than 2 NHL games.

  • March 18, 2017 at 8:09 am

    1961, thanks for making my wedding – was great to see you, meant a lot to all of us. Couldn’t agree with you more about #33. Been closely studying him since his advent – he’s the real deal. Silky kicks, wicked hands, uncanny anticipation, outstanding puckhandler. Height gives him a decided advantge in traffic. Extremely confident, doesn’t get frazzled. I believe that Q understands this tremendous luxury better than we do, is clearly planning on a pseudo platoon system in the playoffs to keep both fresh, and will settle on/toward whoever he trusts the most as the expected run deepens. Don’t envy Stan’s position, but I think he knows who he’d prefer to keep.

  • March 18, 2017 at 10:23 am

    LBS8844- I had a great time visiting with everybody again. Say hello to everyone for me. The Hawks have a real interesting decision to make concerning their goaltending in the future. I guess we won’t have to worry about that until after the playoff run.

  • March 18, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    I saw that Matt Carey game , i can,t remember who was out ,.,.,.but it was one of our top players ,.,.we lost the game .,.,and Carey is buried . Hope Hayden is around for many to come . As for Darling ,he has had the privilege of having Crow as a mentor , Crow is a calm ,cool pro . Lets hope we can keep this goalie tandem together for a few more years . Darling is a special player for sure .

  • March 18, 2017 at 3:40 pm

    Was 5-3 Ottawa and Kane was out with a knee/leg injury after Brenden Morrow of the Blues fell on him.

  • March 18, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    Sikura returning to school and Hossa out tonight

  • March 18, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    Hope he’s Ok but he can use some time off.
    P. Kane dropped into Hockey Central at noon as a construction worker-it was kinda funny. (it’s on You Tube) Stellick wasn’t in on the joke.

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