Welcome to the November edition of Blackhawks Bytes, a series featuring quotes and comments from players, coaches, management, journalists and fans alike concerning everything Chicago Blackhawks. The purpose of this ongoing column is to capture a slice of the existing outlook, attitudes and culture surrounding the team. Please join me as we have some fun with the everyday, albeit fascinating aspect of human nature; the power of words.
After a better than expected 4-3-2 record in October, the Blackhawks have come back down to earth a bit in November. They’re currently 2-7-2 this month, with two more games to go. While a few games have been outright blowout losses, others have been relatively close contests where the team just hasn’t been able to pull out the win. It’s been a frustrating stretch. But the Blackhawks have no choice but to carry on, and try to keep a positive mindset moving forward.
Richardson’s Approach to Keeping the Team Focused
Head coach Luke Richardson has the difficult task of trying to keep the players upbeat despite the losses adding up. He speaks to his approach on keeping the team focused.
The Blackhawk’s first-year bench boss makes it clear he doesn’t believe in yelling and screaming; the players will just tune out to that. I especially like what he says about treating the players like men, “well they are men”. He obviously feels it’s important to establish trust and a two-way respect between the players and the coaches.
Lastly, Richardson touches on how players must overcome their mental hurtles, or they won’t be in the league for long. So he’s taking advantage of this difficult stretch to emphasize cultivating resilience and mental toughness. So far, this appears to be working. The Blackhawks are still playing hard and fighting to win games. Hopefully they’re gaining some mental fortitude in the process.
Latest News & Highlights
Murphy’s Shoutout to Teammate Roos
Next, I’d like to share a humorous anecdote defenseman Connor Murphy revealed about his fellow blueliner, Filip Roos. This is Roos’ first NHL season, and the 23-year-old has been deployed mostly on the Blackhawks’ third defensive pairing. He’s rotated in and out of the lineup, contributing a goal and two assists in 10 games.
When asked, Murphy was complimentary of his new teammate.
Roos has been really confident with the puck, and he’s got that ‘Swedish swag,’ which is fun to see. He’s got skill to his game. He’s used his body too. Sometimes you don’t see as many skilled players playing with the physicality that he brings.
(from ‘3 things we learned from Chicago Blackhawks practice, including another young goaltender getting a shot and Filip Roos’ ‘Swedish swag’’, The Chicago Tribune – 11/2/22)
Ah, what does it mean to have Swedish swag? Murphy expounded (with mostly a straight face).
Swedes are always good-looking guys. (Adam) Boqvist was all tatted up the sleeve. Not to get on any other Europeans, but Swedes are always the best-looking, cool dressed. They’ve got swag.
Poor Roos wasn’t even sure what to make of all this. “I don’t know what it means, really. If that’s cool, I’m good with that.”
Murphy is an alternate captain and a leader in the locker room. He’s certainly going above and beyond to make his new teammates feel welcome!
Speaking of Murphy, he got engaged to be married earlier in the month. He proposed in Lincoln Park on an unseasonably warm day. What a beautiful backdrop for such a momentous occasion.
Murphy’s fiancée is a nurse that grew up in the Chicagoland area. The 29-year old defenseman seems absolutely thrilled she said yes. Congratulations to Connor and Kristina!
Salutations to Hossa
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Marian Hossa’s jersey retirement ceremony on Nov. 20, where his No. 81 was officially raised to the United Center rafters. The Blackhawks went all out for this gallant affair!
Eddie Olczyk broke away from his new broadcasting duties with the Seattle Kraken to personally emcee the celebration. Former Blackhawks Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith, Patrick Sharp and Niklas Hjalmarsson were all on hand, along with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, to round out the “magnificent seven” players who won three Stanley Cups together. Oh, and the Cup was present as well!
Hossa gave a heart-warming speech, and then stood with his parents, brother Marcel, wife Jana, and three daughters (Mia, Zoja, and Emma) while the banner was raised. Of course, one of the best quotes from Hossa was when he referenced this was just the first of many such ceremonies. “Something tells me, very soon, I’ll be flying back to Chicago to raise a few more of these jerseys.”
It was just a wonderful night all around, despite the Blackhawks losing 5-3 to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Hossa even tried to do his part there, interrupting Richardson’s pre-game press conference to wish him good luck.
Would you look at how red the normally unflappable head coach looked?! Even Richardson is a little star-struck by the man dubbed as “the perfect hockey player”.
It hasn’t been the best month for the Blackhawks on the ice. But they’re doing their best to have the right attitude and support each other by having a little fun in the locker room. The players are people too, and some momentous milestones occurred for current and former Blackhawks. All in all, there’s a lot to be thankful for in this month of Thanksgiving. Keep it here at The Hockey Writers for all the latest, and be sure to tune in for more Bytes in December!
Gail Kauchak has covered the Chicago Blackhawks as a content writer since 2014. She previously wrote for Fansided’s Blackhawk Up, and has been part of The Hockey Writer’s team since 2017. It’s not always easy to balance life’s responsibility’s with one’s passion, but Gail’s doing her best to make it happen. Quote to live by, “Follow your dreams, and good things will happen.” Wait, maybe it’s “Good things happen when you shoot the puck!” You get the idea.
Follow Gail for her unique commentary about this storied franchise. And be sure to catch her and the rest of the Blackhawks’ crew on their weekly Blackhawks Banter show, as well as follow her on Twitter.
I’m a journalist who specializes in investigative reporting and writing. I have written for the New York Times and other publications.