A quiet summer had a few notes of interest late Monday and early Tuesday
This has been a boring summer of late, hasn’t it? There’s been so little to care about since the NHL draft came and went. But there are a couple of interesting tidbits out and about right now.
First of all, the Chicago Blackhawks and defenseman David Rundblad mutually parted ways late Monday. Rundblad’s tumultuous two-plus seasons with the Blackhawks, which saw him come into and fall out of favor with coach Joel Quenneville.
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Last season, Rundblad fell so far out of favor the Blackhawks loaned him to a European team. Yet somehow he was able to find his way back into the lineup during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, with the team’s blue line in total disarray.
Rundblad, whose contract was expected to be buried in Rockford or somewhere else, would have cost $100,000 against the books in 2016-17. Now he costs nothing, as the Blackhawks terminated his contract with agreement from Rundblad.
Hopefully Rundblad can get a fresh start somewhere, whether it’s at the NHL or AHL level, or even overseas. He posted three goals and 13 assists in 63 regular-season games with Chicago and no points in eight postseason contests.
— Another Blackhawks-related note is the announcement of the preseason TV schedule. Each of the Blackhawks’ six preseason games will be on television and broadcast on WGN Radio.
The Oct. 1 game against the Blues, Oct. 4 game against the Red Wings and Oct. 8 game against the Blues will be on Comcast SportsNet. The preseason opener against Pittsburgh on Sept. 28 will be on Comcast SportsNet Plus, as will the Oct. 2 tilt against Detroit (the latter will switch to regular CSN in progress). The Sept. 30 game against the Penguins will be on WGN TV.
If you want a chance to see some of the youngsters try to crack the big-league roster, these games are for you. For the first three or four games, the Blackhawks won’t be close to icing their regular roster. It’s also a return to some form of actual hockey.
— One other interesting note out and about today has to do with Twitter. According to the Denver Post, Twitter is set to live stream NHL and MLB games in the near future.
Twitter is doing this with NFL games this upcoming season, with 10 Thursday Night Football games on the social media platform’s docket. It’s not clear which NHL and MLB games will be broadcast, but the contract is for one of each per week.
It’s also not clear if the NHL contract with Twitter starts this upcoming season or in 2017-18. I would guess the MLB contract starts in the 2017 season, since the current campaign is over half finished.
It’s going to be really interesting to see how well viewed the NHL games are on Twitter. As is well known, the NHL lags behind the other three “major sports leagues” in terms of widespread interest. A large part of this has to do with Commissioner Gary Bettman and his cronies being generally (though not always) clueless about marketing their product. This is a huge step in the right direction, however.
I don’t know that this will be exactly like the NBC schedule for games. The games Twitter is showing will be those that are normally available only in the two featured teams’ markets. So we can expect to see some different teams in these streamed games.