Tonight the Chicago Blackhawks lost their first preseason game of the season to the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1. I’ll give you my five thoughts following the loss tonight.
No. 2 The Blackhawks did well moving away from Berube
The Chicago Blackhawks traded J-F Berube this past summer to the Columbus Blue Jackets. If you didn’t know he was an ex-Blackhawk before the game, the fact that he was still wearing his Blackhawks mask during tonight’s game was a pretty solid indication.
Though saying he “can’t stop a beachball” may be an overreaction, Alexandre Fortin walked in and put one five hole on Berube before the game was a minute old. It wasn’t a pretty goal, though it remained the only one Chicago would tally for the remainder of the game.
The Blackhawks played Ward and Delia for roughly 30 minutes a piece and both looked better than Berube did.
No. 1 Henri Jokiharju (with Gustafsson?) looks NHL ready
After news broke that Connor Murphy would miss eight weeks due to a back injury, the door to the NHL was blown wide open for Jokiharju to walk (or skate?) through. It’s always been thought that Jokiharju would crack the roster opening night regardless of whether or not he was actually ready.
The good news is, it looks like he just might be. He started the night off with Blake Hillman as his partner, however he played in a few different defensive pairings but looked comfortable in all of them. Defensively Jokiharju made a lot of smart plays and demonstrated a good stick throughout.
Though he was quiet offensively tonight, Jokiharju played a big chunk of the second period with Erik Gustafsson which generated a handful of scoring chances.
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In that time, the Blackhawks had what was probably their strongest shift of the night. Jokiharju and Gustafsson were a huge part of it as they moved the puck well in the offensive zone and generated a multiple chances from the point. If Seabrook and Keith end up playing together this season, Jokiharju and Gustafsson is a defensive pairing I’d very much like to see.