Analysis

What To Watch: Chicago Blackhawks vs Detroit Red Wings

By Samuel Boland
ST. PAUL, MN - FEBRUARY 10: Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88), left, and center Jonathan Toews (19) before the faceoff in the 1st period during the Central Division game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Minnesota Wild on February 10, 2018 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by David Berding/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ST. PAUL, MN - FEBRUARY 10: Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88), left, and center Jonathan Toews (19) before the faceoff in the 1st period during the Central Division game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Minnesota Wild on February 10, 2018 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by David Berding/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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Today the Chicago Blackhawks will be facing off against the Detroit Red Wings in their second preseason matchup of the season. Here’s a few things to watch during the game.

The puck drops at 6:30 CT tonight on WGN. The Chicago Blackhawks will hope to win their first preseason game after losing their first on Tuesday night to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Incase you missed that game, we’ve got you covered with our five thoughts following the contest here.

Tonight is the first time this year we’ll get to see Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews on the ice. That is exciting in and of itself, however here’s a few other things to watch during tonight’s second preseason game.

1) First Look at the First Line

After a down season for the Chicago Blackhawks’ first line, shared between Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad, coach Joel Quenneville felt he needed to shake things up.

As a result, Toews skated with newly signed veteran Chris Kunitz and second year player Alex DeBrincat throughout training camp. Last season, DeBrincat led the team in scoring. The presence of a sniper like DeBrincat playing alongside Toews could open things up for the center trying to regain his scoring touch.

Additionally, this is our first look at Kunitz in a Chicago Blackhawks uniform.

Kunitz can still produce offensively, however his average time on ice has decreased steadily from season to season since the 2013-14 season where he hit 19:09 and then went to17:53, 16:49, 15:31 and finally 11:57.

Kunitz’s ability could make him a good fit for Toews and DeBrincat, however looking at those numbers the soon-to-be-39-year-old doesn’t look like he’s in much shape to be playing first line minutes.

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Coach Q seems to think otherwise, however time will tell if Kunitz will be skating with the first line throughout the entire season.

Tonight’s out first chance to decide for ourselves, so I recommend watching 14, 19 and 12 whenever they’re on the ice.

2) Boqvist In, Jokes Out

The London Knights, Adam Boqvist‘s OHL team, open up their regular season this Friday, September 21st. As a result, it’s a decent bet that tonight could be Adam’s last night in a Blackhawks uniform this season.

Boqvist initially gave himself two to three years to be fully ready for the NHL, however after experiencing prospect camp, training camp and one preseason game he’s sounding a little more confident.

"“I don’t know,” he said. “I hope I can make it sooner. I know lots of people do it now, directly after they’re drafted. But I need to be bigger and stronger to prepare my body for 82 games or more. Hopefully, I can do that in London.”"

If there’s one thing to pull from that quote it’s that Boqvist is a mature kid. He doesn’t want to force anything and is prepared to put in the work to get him in the best shape possible when he enters into the National Hockey League. Hopefully, this year in London serves him well.

Though his first preseason game didn’t go exactly as he may have hoped —  Boqvist posted a 28.6 percent Corsi per Natural Stat Trick — he certainly turned some very important heads with the way he played.

"“He’s got some confidence in his game,” Quenneville said. “He’s very aware, he’s got a great skill-set. I love how he has patience with the puck, how he shoots the puck, and I commend him on how he’s handled things.”"

Boqvist continues to learn from the older guys on and off the ice and his development through this year will be one we’ll be sure to keep you informed on. That said, I highly advise you to watch Boqvist while you can.

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