Alright hockey fans – there’s only 13 regular season games left and this season will be over.  Has the season been a disappointment or did we expect this?  In reality, the Blackhawks are certainly not the worst team on the ice and lately they can be downright entertaining at time.  Maybe it’s time to look to the future for this franchise and say goodbye to this season on a good note.

Bringing up the new talent.

Watching the game between the Blackhawks and Arizona Coyotes on Saturday night, it was nice to see new names out on the ice wearing a Blackhawk sweater.  Welcome to the big leagues, Wyatt Kaiser.  With 16:11 of ice time against the Coyotes, Kaiser showed us why he’s NHL material.  Kaiser didn’t score any goals  but he played his part against an equally young and improving Coyotes’ squad.  Lukas Reichel joined in as well and the future talent for this franchise seems to be on the right track at this point.

For a team on the mend after trading away legends such as Patrick Kane, head coach Luke Richardson has his players doing exactly what they’re supposed to be doing – playing hockey until the very last game of the season.  If the Blackhawks are supposed to be “tanking” right now, they don’t necessarily show it.  In fact, the Blackhawks are slipping away from the “Bad for Bedard” sweepstakes and maybe that’s a non- issue since finishing in last place doesn’t mean that you will be able to gain the first draft pick in the NHL lottery. The Blackhawks have already surpassed both the San Jose Sharks and Columbus Blue Jackets and nipping on the heels of the Anaheim Ducks right now in the standings and if they go on a final winning streak, they may even overtake Montreal or Philadelphia in the final standings (if these two teams fall apart here at the end of the road.)

Are the Toews’ retirement rumors true?

With the departure of Patrick Kane, the next big question on the minds of both Blackhawk fans and the front office is whether or not Jonathan Toews will ever be back wearing a Blackhawk sweater- or any team sweater next season.  Toews missed the entire 2021-22 season with effects of long-term Covid and Chronic Immune Response Syndrome and currently is suffering another bout of these debilitating illnesses which have shut down his season.  With trade talks swirling around Toews throughout the season leading up to the NHL trade deadline earlier this month, it seemed like a “done deal” that Toews would be heading out to another team with a sentimental nod to his hometown Winnipeg by joining the Jets.

Illness and imjuries have plagued Toews this season and the trade deadline came and passed without any movement.  The latest rumors point to Toews possibly looking at retirement once this season is over –  a player can only play as long as his or her body allows and for Toews, retirement may be his best long-term health option.  This means that Luke Richardson & Company will have to start looking for a top line center quickly to replace Toews should he step away from the game.  Add another piece to the rebuilding puzzle as the Blackhawks work towards relevancy next season.

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