Happy Friday! We’re another week closer to the start of Blackhawks training camp and the eventual start of the 2022-23 regular season. Although not much going on at the Blackhawks these days, I shot an 87 on the golf course yesterday. Oh, and we got to speak with new Blackhawk Max Domi, who had some exciting things to say about new head coach Luke Richardson.
- Signing Max Domi in a vacuum doesn’t move the needle much for Blackhawks fans, especially as the team looks to tank this season. Still, they need bodies on the ice, and at one year, $3 million, Domi seems like a good fit, especially after hearing him talk about his decision to come to Chicago.
- During his first meeting with the Chicago media on Thursday, Domi told us that the opportunity to play with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews was a key factor in his decision to come to Chicago. Domi spent his high school years watching Kane and Toews win multiple Stanley Cups with the Blackhawks.
- Domi can now skate with two of his childhood favorites, but it’s what he had to say about new Blackhawks head coach Luke Richardson that got me excited.
- Domi played for Richardson for two seasons while Richardson was an assistant under Claude Julien’s staff in Montreal. Domi said when the Blackhawks hired Richardson, his decision to come to Chicago was made.
- The veteran forward explained why he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to play for Richardson, calling him one of hockey’s most respected coaches and “one of those guys you can’t wait to get fight every night”.
- Hearing things like that about Richardson is exciting. Here’s why:
- 1) The respect Richardson shows his players, the example he sets and the work ethic he instills will all be critical in developing the waves of young Blackhawks prospects who will be under his tutelage in Chicago .
- 2) When it comes time for the Blackhawks to dip their toes back into the free agency pool and add some top talent that can be the finishing touch to the eventual roster, like, say, a Marian-type signing Hossa, having a head coach respected by NHL players who will want to come and play for him is a huge bargaining tool for Kyle Davidson and the Blackhawks.
- I know Blackhawks fans are having a hard time finding things to excite them these days. Still, Domi’s assessment of Richardson and his confidence that other NHL stars feel the same way (Domi mentioned Shea Weber and Carey Price by name) is an excellent critique of the new head coach, who, according to Domi, was hired by an original franchise of six “error-free.”
- In other NHL news, the San Jose Sharks will retire Patrick Marleau’s No. 12 on Feb. 25 when the Blackhawks are in town. Marleau played 21 seasons with the Sharks and 23 in the NHL. Marleau had 1,197 points (566 goals, 631 assists) during his more than two-decade NHL career.
- The NHL will get a supplier from New Jersey after its contract with Adidas expires after the 2023-24 season.
- Adidas resumed manufacturing NHL jerseys after its deal with Reebok expired ahead of the 2017-18 season, and Adidas will not seek to extend its original seven-year deal. Here is a statement from the NHL:
“The NHL and Adidas look forward to continuing to work closely together over the next two years and ensuring a smooth transition to the new authentic NHL uniform supplier, to be announced by the NHL at the appropriate time. “
- Nike now owns the rights to MLB, NBA and NFL jerseys, but it’s unclear if they would also be interested in taking over the NHL. There was early speculation that a hockey gear company like CCM or Bauer could replace Adidas, and there’s also Fanatics, which has been in partnership with the NHL since 2005 and owns the rights to a wide range of apparel. and NHL headwear, including replica jerseys, since the 2017-18 season. Fanatics also manages the NHL’s online retail site and operates on-site retail at many NHL events. So I would also consider them as an option.
- The Rockford IceHogs have moved into a new state-of-the-art office space at 401 E. State Street in downtown Rockford, Illinois.
- They also have a new player announcing Thursday that they have signed forward Morgan Adams-Moisan to a one-year contract.
- Luis was at Bears Training Camp on Thursday, and he has a lot to know for anyone heading to Halas Hall today!
- That’s all for today, have a nice weekend!