Hossa and Wilson Head to the Hall, NHL Puts COVID-Stricken Senators On Pause, and Other Blackhawks Bullets



It was a weekend full of nostalgia and “you still got it 👏🏻-👏🏻…👏🏻-👏🏻-👏🏻” for former Blackhawks legend Marian Hossa. His career, cut-short due to a skin condition, culminated on Monday night with his induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame. He joined fellow former Blackhawks legend Doug Wilson as part of the Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2020. Also heading the 2020 Class was Jarome Iginla, Kevin Lowe, Kim St. Pierre, and Ken Holland.

•   After 1,309 NHL games and three Stanley Cup Championships, Hossa will forever be enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame as one of the greats.

•   It’s been sparse appearances for Hossa in an NHL or North American setting since his retirement four years ago. But over the weekend, seeing him back around the game and even playing again, was a sight for sore eyes. Everywhere he played, Hossa was a fan favorite.

•   Unbenounced to us all until his retirement, Hossa dealt with a serious skin condition his whole playing career. It reached its breaking point with Hossa during the 2016-17 season, which would end up being his last. Last night in his induction speech, Hossa thanked the medial and training staff in Chicago.

•   Hossa also made mention of late-Blackhawks equipment manager Clint Reif, who passed away during the 2014-15 season and the team dedicated their run that year to Reif and his family.

•   Also joining Hossa in the Hall on Monday night was former Blackhawks defenseman Doug Wilson. From 1977-1991, Wilson played 938 of his 1,024 career NHL games with the Blackhawks.

•   He was a four-time Norris Trophy finalist, winning the award for the league’s best defenseman once in 1982. Following his playing career, Wilson has been a member of the San Jose Sharks front office since the 1997-98 season, serving as the team’s General Manager since 2003.

•   With Hossa and Wilson, that now makes 38 former Blackhawks players that have named to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

•   The night wouldn’t be complete with the NHL looking foolish, even when they believe they are doing the right thing. Closing his speech at the ceremony last night, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman mentioned Kyle Beach and the sexual assault he experienced while with the Blackhawks.

•   Bettman and the NHL have dragged their feet to properly address the situation at every step of the way, including acknowledging fault in the way that Beach’s situation was handled by the league and the NHLPA. So fitting for Bettman to close a special night with hollow words.

•   Speaking of the poor handling of Kyle Beach’s allegations, the NHLPA has their legal team set to conduct its own independent review into Donald Fehr and the association.

•   More legal battles ahead. Fun stuff.

•   Want more fun? The NHL has had to postpone all Ottawa Senators games through at least November 20th.

•   The Senators have nearly a dozen players and coaches combined that are in COVID protocols. With the league postponing at least three Senators games, they have now initiated the ability to back-out of participating in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

•   The league has until January to make the final decision whether or not to go through with participation, but having games postponed already in mid-November isn’t a great indicator of a sustainable path forward. It’s not a death-blow to NHL players at the 2022 Winter Olympics, but it’s the first punch.

•   Speaking of COVID issues, the majority of the league has seen attendance decreases to begin this season. A number of factors can be contributing, but I’d venture a guess that COVID worries and restrictions are keeping a good chunk of fans at home this season. The Athletic’s Sean Shapiro has more in a team-by-team breakdown:

•   In which, the Blackhawks are their own category.

•   If the Blackhawks continue their winning ways, though, you could start to see more fans coming back to the United Center to support a wining team on the ice, even if off-ice issues will take more than winning hockey games to get over.

•   One thing that I wouldn’t put past the organization to attempt to put butts in seats is bring up a “marquee” prospect before they are ready. That prospect this year is 2020 first-round draft pick Lukas Reichel. He’s been playing very well in Rockford to begin the season and looked like he had a chance to make the NHL roster out of training camp. His progression has been going in the right direction so far in the AHL, but at what point does it make sense for him to be with the Blackhawks? The Athletic’s Scott Powers breaks it down:

•   I’ll reiterate, I feel like Reichel will be with Chicago by Christmas. Think of it as a holiday gift to the fans. But a gift that I feel Reichel is on his way to deserving.

•   Speaking of the IceHogs, they have added another assistant coach to their staff with the addition of Jared Nightingale.

•   In other “prospect” news, Russia’s Max Shalunov noticed a hat-trick in his most recent game for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl in the KHL.

•   I can’t wait for the day that I can officially stop pretending to care what Max Shalunov is doing.

•   Closing today with the official closing of a career for former Toronto Maple Leafs Captain Dion Phaneuf.

•   The former NHL 2009 cover athlete was once a top-five defenseman in the NHL over a dozen years ago, but that will unfortunately not be how many will remember his career.

•   Either way, congratulations to Phaneuf on a memorable career!

•  The Bulls are HOW GOOD now?!





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