Brandon Hagel Leads Blackhawks Past Red Wings

On Monday night, the Blackhawks took a group that was pretty close to a possible opening night roster to Detroit for a preseason game.

Tyler Johnson was between Alex DeBrincat and Patrick Kane as the top-line center and Jonathan Toews was between Philipp Kurashev and Dominik Kubalik again. The defensive group included Seth and Caleb Jones, Calvin de Haan, Connor Murphy and Jake McCabe; Jakub Galvas was the lone prospect on the back end.

So you would hope the Blackhawks would look better. And they did… for 20 minutes. Chicago sprinted to a dominant three-goal lead after the first period, but had only a 4-3 lead after two periods. Three minutes into the third period, the Red Wings tied the game with their powerplay goal of the night. The Hawks scored the final two goals of the night to earn the regulation victory (though there was a pre-scheduled shootout at the end).

As we have done throughout this postseason, we aren’t going to get into an incredibly in-depth breakdown of a preseason game but there were a number of things that stuck out from Monday night’s game.

Brandon Hagel was the best player on the ice for Chicago. All of the puck-attacking effort that fans fell in love with last year was on full display on Monday night. He saved a couple icing calls and set up Mackenzie Entwistle for a pretty goal in the second period. With the game tied in the third, Hagel forced a turnover that turned into another rush with Entwistle, who scored his second of the night off another pretty pass from Hagel. Hagel finished the night with three assists. How and where Jeremy Colliton puts Hagel will be interesting to follow this season because he has value up and down the lineup.

Mackenzie Entwistle has had a nice camp. There are simply too many bodies for him to make the NHL roster to start the season, but he looked pretty good late last season; he scored one goal with one assist in five games. He showed good instincts again on Monday night and has a nice release. The Hawks may have picked up a gem in the deal that sent Marian Hossa’s contract to Arizona in 2018.

The Blackhawks penalty kill sucks. Detroit scored on four of the Blackhawks’ first five penalties and had 15 shots on net in those five powerplays. If the Blackhawks have any prayer of being a playoff team, they have to be better than this when short-handed.

Jonathan Toews had another good night. He wasn’t asked to skate as many minutes as he did earlier in the preseason, but he looked strong again. He had the primary assist on the Blackhawks’ first two goals of the night and won the majority of his faceoffs again (11 of 16). He added a third assist on DeBrincat’s empty-net goal in the final 13 seconds of regulation.

The Seth Jones – Jake McCabe pairing needs work. A lot of it. They haven’t looked to be in-sync yet at all in preseason game action.

Henrik Borgstrom is one of my top-four centers on the roster right now. He had a great night at the dot (won eight of 11) and Colliton put him on the zone for a defensive zone draw with Detroit’s net empty late in the game. It’s clear Colliton is in love with the idea of Tyler Johnson being one of his centers, but Borgstrom has shown value this preseason. If your four centers are Toews, Johnson, Kirby Dach and Borgstrom on Opening Night that’s an enormous upgrade from every game last year.

28 thoughts on “Brandon Hagel Leads Blackhawks Past Red Wings

  • October 4, 2021 at 9:36 pm
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    More Entwistle, Hardman ,Borgstrom and Reese Johnson and no more Nylander,Strome would be my initial hope for the opening night lineup.

  • October 4, 2021 at 9:51 pm
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    Hagel Hagel..Always one off the top player for the Hawks every game .what a deal at 1.5 million/ year.
    Entwistle is growing into a nice player specially with Hagel beside him .
    Toews is looking really good and I hope they will not play him in Minnesota.
    Their will be many hard decision to make in the next 10 days .
    S Jones … need to adjust to the Hawks system .

  • October 4, 2021 at 9:57 pm
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    Tab is right on
    Hagel 1st star
    Entwistle 2nd star

    Borgstrom needs to skate w more talent

    Kane and D cat… looked off all nite.

    I hope Kane is coasting til regular season
    Cuz his skating looked off all nite.
    Or- his injury from last season is really going to be an issue. sports hernia or hip labrum? But really seed to be missing that elite quickness and explosion

    Jones and Dcat- several bad giveaways

  • October 4, 2021 at 10:31 pm
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    Fleury looks like he is mostly in mid season form, hard to blame him for pk hanging out to dry time and again. Hopefully considerable improvement happens there. Vets played like it was a meaningless exhibition game after the quick start. Agree Hagel and Entwistle best fwds easily tonite. Borgstrom could be answer to Dach fos woes, plus showed he can make some big league setups. Also lpoks like he can shoot from slot without needing alot of space.

    Right now on opening night, unless he plays last 2 pre season games and forces the issue, Reichel will start in Rfd. Hardman will need time in Rfd. to get his game up to snuff in Rfd. too. I would, if the plan is to build Toews his own line to start with, then give 8 and 23 a chance there:

    Cat T. Johnson Kane
    Kurashev Toews Kubalik
    Hagel Borgstrom Dach
    Entwistle Carpenter Gaudette
    Khaira. Nylander.

    Connelly buried, Strome moved. Have a physical guy and skilled one in pressbox if going with 14 fwds.

  • October 4, 2021 at 10:49 pm
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    Carpenter definitely earning a spot on 4th line to start. Working his butt off out there.

    Always liked Seth Jones ( but not this contract). Right now I think his brother is outplaying him. That’s not a good thing, and I suspect it will change by October’s end.

    PP looking patient, almost to a fault at times. Kinda mechanical. PK looking awful, yes. But I think Detroit also does an exceptional job of getting the best shot on their PP. I like their movement and have always been a fan of getting the puck to the bumper man or the bumper moved in front. Hawks could learn something by watching their tape.

  • October 4, 2021 at 10:59 pm
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    Ian – I think you’re on the right track with those lines – I was thinking that exact same top 3

    However as much as I like Entwistle I don’t see him starting over Khaira and there’s no point having him on the roster as a 13th forward – he should be 1st FW called up though

    Didn’t see every minute of the game but I thought Seth had a very strong game – I must have missed his turnovers although it couldn’t have worse than Kane who was constantly turning over the puck – not worried about him though or Jones

    Galvas will start in RKF – being interesting to see if Stillman is able to take #6 D from Caleb who seems to have it at the moment

    Toews very good

  • October 5, 2021 at 12:08 am
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    ian, wrap, tim w. others

    wondering your thoughts ….. it appears a slam dunk that de brincat, kane, and johnson start the season together. fast forward to december one. it isn’t working and johnson is playing poorly. almost no chance he sits, but what are your thoughts about the four lines if he deserves to be dropped to the fourth line? imo it is pie in the sky thinking to anoint him as 1c. not likely he has those skills at this point in his career.

  • October 5, 2021 at 6:08 am
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    hawks 29, good chance that all lines are different throughout the year than they are to start year. Imagine if Cat and Kane stay together that Dach is in the middle for awhile anyways. Johnson played 2nd C some for Bolts last year when needed and was fine there, so he may do alright for a place holder role. Suter played there last season, Cat and Kane had very good offensive numbers, Johnson may not have as good offense skills as Suter anymore but does bring a more well rounded game. Could see him as 4th C or as Tab says moved to wing by end of season if everybody stays healthy though, if not he can provide depth up the lineup at C.

  • October 5, 2021 at 6:33 am
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    Sorry to be Debbie downer but-

    Am I the only one worried about Kane and his “lingering injury”?

    Hope he is just coasting thru camp. BUT, he has really showed lack of burst and his elite change of pace/jitter bug moves thus far.

    Honestly thought that was weakest/least effective line , all nite kane-tj-dcat

  • October 5, 2021 at 7:04 am
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    The Kane line wasn’t that good I agree – Kane and DCat were constantly turning over the puck but they’re a veteran line that doesn’t have to give it their all in pre-season

    Still that line is too small I think to work long term

  • October 5, 2021 at 7:23 am
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    I think that Gaudette, Borgstrom, and Entwhistle have made the team! I also think that Dylan Strome is going to being shipped out very soon. Carpenter and Connelly better hope that they get picked up on waivers or it’s Rockford Files with Angel for them. Reichel and Nylander will be in Rockford to get more ice time, but they will be back soon.

  • October 5, 2021 at 8:21 am
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    HAWK 29, I would not have T.Johnson with Kane and Debrincat. I would put him with Hagel and 1 of the physical forwards on a line. I don’t think his play will warrant any concerns.

  • October 5, 2021 at 9:14 am
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    Bluto vets who know they have a roster spot approach pre-sesson differently than youngsters who are playing to earn a spot or bigger role. I wouldn’t put too much into what the core type guys appear to be doing or not doing in these games. If it continues into regular season then something may be up, but more than likely they step up their play when real games start.

    I’m hoping for chemistry and balance in the line combinations more than anything. Similar to the opinions you should mortgage the future for today, some say mortgage today for the future, finding the right balance there is key. Some people want skill over physical play, others want physical play over skill. Finding the right balance to go with good chemistry and not a bunch of individuals trying to do their own thing , which starts with of course eith everybody buying into what the coach is selling. If that doesn’t happen, obviously its easier to try and find a 1 head coach the players will buy into vs 23 new players who will buy into what the coach is selling. Heres hoping.

  • October 5, 2021 at 10:08 am
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    The game report from Captain Obvious lowlights the dreadful PK … it really looked like Detroit had a plan and the Hawks didn’t know how to defense it … that’s a problem.

    Would we be concerned about Kane if we didn’t know about this mysterious “lingering injury”? He’s showed this same “lack of motivation” level of play many times throughout his illustrious career. Were they all injury related? Maybe, but then he turns back into Superman and everything is good again. That won’t last forever but it’s too early to be concerned, in my opinion.

    The PK was one thing to be concerned with but a close second on the concern list is the Hawks are still passing through the middle of the ice and having their passes picked off. They need to stop that.

  • October 5, 2021 at 10:47 am
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    JC – like him or not, has always said he likes balance across his lines. He wants 4 lines that can score and play defense. Most of us are accustomed to a more talent driven setup of 4 lines with specific purposes. JC’s plan allows for more player movement among the lines purely by definition, as opposed to specific roles for each player. I do believe this has been part of the strain across the team in recent years as he demands each line also be able to play defense. Dcat has bought it. The young guys have been buying it – Hagel, Hino last year, you know who works defensively and who doesn’t.

    Many here don’t think JC has a clue about hockey. Listen to what he says and actually try to hear it and you can better understand what he is trying to do with the team. He wants a group of well rounded players, not a group of single role players. Obviously, he’s not gonna get 18 of them on the ice each night and roles will evolve, but an interchanging of the parts is more likely to take place with his open theory of lines.

    Many of us see hockey and most of life as specific roles. He wants less of that on his hockey team. It should be an easy sell to the less talented, and a tougher sell to the more talented. That’s been the case so far in his tenure.

    I’m feeling a change in philosophy as well as mindset on the team as players and coach are coming to more of a middle ground. His hope for a massive work ethic , for me, is understandable. But reality is that most athletes like to be good at some things and don’t care about others.

    It’s a tough sell. My little cardboard sign with Dilbert on it says it best: “Change is good. You go first”.

  • October 5, 2021 at 10:50 am
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    I think I would like
    Kane and Dcat to skate w bigger, longer Center
    Borgstrom
    Dach

    TJ
    I would like to see faster, forecheck guys w little grit
    Hagel, Gaudette, Entwistle, Hardman all work for me

  • October 5, 2021 at 11:39 am
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    SS that balance throughout is what Vegas has tried to do with their lineup and sonething Bowman has compared what he would like to see with the Blackhawks.

    Most of the more talented on this team have bought into what it takes to win at this level, so how do you say its harder for them. Their experience and ability to help sell that to others is invaluable. A young guy playing hard every shift to earn a spot doesn’t necessarily translate to a team being the same page and finding the chemistry it takes to win. Role players are a very important part of that as the PK shows clearly, everybody doesn’t do everything well at this level.

    EB agree winning the middle zone battle is key a better possession game and limiting the scoring chances against.

  • October 5, 2021 at 1:33 pm
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    Onteresting situation, Kalynuk out with ankle injuries for few weeks, who makes roster now. Galvas appesrs?to have a favorable spot at the moment.

  • October 5, 2021 at 1:58 pm
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    Agree Ian – Vegas is the epitome of what I was talking about, and I find it no coincidence that JC is trying to implement that type of structure when Bowman has professed the same thoughts. Sounds like the organization actually has a plan, doesn’t it? And here on this board, we discuss and dissect the results of those organizational decisions.

    The pushback from the players when JC came onboard defends my comments about resistance to change. We all saw it. You, for one, defended it by saying JC wasn’t qualified to coach the team at that point, an opinion you certainly were entitled to have and was shared by many here. But I believe it was the unknown factors of JC that created a lot of doubt, meaning JC had to prove himself to the doubters here (and the veteran players), a task nearly impossible because the players didn’t take to the change(s). Their egos had been crushed by the change, and they needed to push back. That also was clear to even a blind man, as it could be heard from player comments. Watching the games was a testament to a team that had been torn apart at the seams.

    Time heals most things, and Toews (who clearly wasn’t a JC fan, and was not alone among the players by any means) had a full year to reflect and see the steps taken by this team last winter when they forged an optimistic look even here among the JC doubters and haters. Even some of the Walldogs had to eat some warm crow. But then the team reverted to its norm, and we ended up where we figured to be at season start. But that spurt showed that effort affects performance, which has a big input on the outcomes. You think JT didn’t like the new look of his mates and the results they were getting? What did JT think when he saw Kane totally quit playing defense in overtime and even Strome could see it – a pivotal moment in the season? I also think no coincidence that from that point Kane DECIDED to be a part of the team, working harder than I can ever recall at being a defensive force and a true and complete leader on his team. That probably warmed JT’s insides and made him realize that there was indeed something happening in the culture, and his burning desire to compete came surging back. For me it assured me that Coach C had finally gotten through to the group, that the turnover of players and attitude was just about complete, and that NOW we could start to evaluate Colliton for his coaching abilities, when he is getting COOPERATION from his “star” players. Anyone else notice JT isn’t lost in defense this year, wandering to the corner to help when he shouldn’t? He’s reinvigorated and – for now – ready to be the leader in effort and results this team needs. I hope he has a fantastic year.

    I would say I am offended that you think so little of my hockey knowledge that I don’t understand the need for role players, but that would likely be just taking the bait!! Clearly every team needs role players, but those players are more valuable to the team when their abilities are stronger in each of their other weaker categories. That, as I am sure you understand, is was makes them more interchangeable. The term SPECIAL TEAMS is used for the power play and penalty kill. That term speaks for itself. I strongly believe I don’t need to explain its meaning!!

    I will also say that a glaring hole in our team is the overall skating of our defense. Seth Jones aside, we really don’t skate very well and recovery from the chasing of players on the PK is killing us. Perhaps sitting back a bit more would be helpful. There appears to be less chasing by Dmen above the dots than last year – A change I like. Let the forwards chase, but that exposes the top of the zone. I don’t have the answer, for sure. But I do know that the idea of leaving a guy to stand in front of the net unchallenged isn’t the answer to preventing goals!! Detroit exploited their ability to create 2on1 situations on the PP and really did it well. Textbook.

    Can you imagine the text exchanges from Lehner and Fleury after that game? Talk about being left on an island…

    I welcome the addition of McCabe. Good signing at a decent price. Tyler Johnson looks to be a stabilizing addition too. I think he enjoys the PP time.

  • October 5, 2021 at 3:26 pm
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    SS what Kane did last year by trying to become more of a 2 way player shows how much of a professional he really he really is. Which by the way was one of my complaints from the start against Colliton, was his lack of professionalism as a head coach at different times, not get into that now but i hope he proves me wrong and is the guy take them all the way, as i’ve said many times. No problem saying when i’m wrong but a couple of hot streaks last year on an overacheiving team with no pressure to perform is not what i meant though.

    My opinion on role players can be a number of things, pk just an obvious one last night. Sorry if you find it offensive how i disagreed with your take on them.

  • October 5, 2021 at 4:41 pm
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    Agree about Kane stepping up to a new level of professional by playing defense. I welcomed it with a big BDT though. Why wouldn’t that be the standard of expectation for a star player rather than a new level? That’s where I differ from most about Kane. I love when he plays defense. He creates havoc because of his skill set – great hands and reads plays very well. He is a difference maker when he chooses to play defense. He has been given a pass for years for his lack of defensive effort. That was less of an issue with a team that had more defensive talent, but it is essential that we get his best effort now to help show through effort how to be a team player and impact the game at both ends of the ice. In my opinion, a guy playing at both ends of the ice is more important than a guy only interested in playing at one end. I would rather have 5 Hossa clones than 5 Kane clones, unless those Kane clones are gonna play defense like Kane is capable of playing.

    My point about role players is that it should be obvious to most people who follow the game – that would be most here – that they understand what a role player is and how they are necessary to the team. The more skills each player has, quite obviously the more valuable they are to a team, whether that is scoring, checking, fighting or just being better defensively. But effort and versatility – which is what Vegas has and we don’t yet – are a player’s greatest assets to a team. And I think that is what Colliton is trying to get on his team. My opinion.

  • October 5, 2021 at 5:39 pm
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    SS, Kane was respect of every player in the lockerroom, deservedly wearing an “A” on his jersey. He is 3 time cup winner and one of the greatest players in franchise history, your negative opinions of him do nothing but diminish your credibility as far as i’m concerned.

  • October 5, 2021 at 7:06 pm
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    I can live with that, considering I already knew that!!

    I respect the game more than to accept a player with immense abilities relying on his teammates to bail his lazy butt out. He has unreal offensive skills – truly elite. But his effort frequently is that of a spoiled individual who has chosen to not reach his full potential. He will be a HOF player for sure. But he could be more than just one of the best offensive players to ever play the game.

    In the world of sports, it is about rings and honors. In life, it is about relationships and what you do for interactions with the rest of society. I think there should be more overlap than the typical fan or groupie seems to expect. I would prefer my teammates look at me for being the best I can be for the team every time we play together, rather than the guy who obviously only cares about what is best for me. Every time he doesn’t bring it down to the other end of the ice and someone else has to do his job, he is letting teammates down. You choose to give him a pass. I get that. I don’t give him a pass.

    And in Kane’s case he has been a major part of those 3 rings. But just cuz you get a ring doesn’t make you a star. It means you were on the team when they won. Rings don’t give credibility – that comes from a different place.

  • October 5, 2021 at 9:12 pm
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    I hope Strome stays, but he needs to play with skilled players. Seems like most folks here just say, oh, Strome sucks and then it becomes de rigueur to say that on this site. I think it would be a great loss to lose Strome. Save for Kane, he is the best passer on the team.

  • October 5, 2021 at 9:26 pm
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    SS you call others out for needless negativity then do it yourself. Please don’t try to tell me your the only one who respects the game and can stand behind that.

  • October 5, 2021 at 10:11 pm
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    I don’t think I said I am the only one who respects the game. I just went back through my posts and don’t see that anywhere. Feel free to point it out.

    Needless negativity? We all are entitled to our positions on the board. I welcome negative statements as well as positive ones. I have no problem taking issue with any and all statements, if i feel I have reason to bring a counter-point to the discussion. I sense most here feel the same way, including you, as witnessed by this particular discussion!

    To discount the lack of effort in Patrick Kane’s defensive play is certainly your choice and right. I don’t dispute that at all. To expect more from a player who is certainly capable of playing defensively at a level considerably more helpful to his team than he usually plays, for me, is just pointing out what is really hard to be disputed. He doesn’t pass the eye test defensively, not mine and not many others. I’m not alone on the board with this view, but I do find that there are more defenders of his lack of effort than people apparently unhappy with it. I concede they have the right to not expect him to play hard at both ends of the ice.

  • October 6, 2021 at 9:17 pm
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    wtf this board.

    man i miss hossa.

  • October 7, 2021 at 11:27 pm
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    Keith never bought into Coll’s “system”… Good he is gone.
    Kane is one of the greatest Offensive players in the game, bar none… But a lazy ass on defense…
    But lately he has finally been showing a little effort on D..
    S.S.—- spot on, my brüther.
    Go Hawks !!!!!!!!!

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