ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Chicago Blackhawks fell to the Minnesota Wild 7-4 at TRIA Rink in Minnesota on Sunday in Game 2 of the 2023 Tom Kurvers Prospect Showcase.
Here are 10 observations from the loss:
1. Connor Bedard stole the headlines with a hat trick on Saturday against the St. Louis Blues, but he did not play in this game. A wise organizational decision. Wyatt Kaiser also sat out. They proved enough in the first game.
2. Colton Dach had a strong two games. He scored a goal on Saturday and added another on Sunday, along with an assist. He certainly made his presence felt, too.
3. Ryder Rolston was one of the standouts against the Wild. He scored a goal, drew a penalty, nearly scored a game-tying goal in the third, and created countless other chances. I’m intrigued by him. He’s a nose-over-the-puck skater.
"I thought he was more of a presence today," Rockford IceHogs head coach Anders Sorensen said.
4. Kevin Korchinski ate a lot of minutes in the two games. He's never going to be a shutdown defenseman — that's not his game — but he does use his skating ability and long reach to his advantage by covering so much ground.
"I liked his game," Sorensen said. "I think when he defends with his feet and his stick, he's really effective. When his angles are really good — and I thought they were for the most part — and again, it's two games, they're just getting into it, so let's not be too hasty with what our thoughts are on them, but I really liked him."
5. I thought Paul Ludwinski and Sam Savoie had some solid chemistry together, particularly on the penalty kill. They almost scored a shorthanded goal in the first period, and they helped kill off a penalty in the second together, too. A small sample size, but encouraging.
6. Nolan Allan is a very physical defenseman but sometimes he goes out of his way to make a hit and it can get him into trouble. He might be able to get away with that in juniors, but I’m not sure he can in the NHL. That will be a learning curve for him as he makes the transition to pro hockey. He understands he's going to have to find that line.
"As a physical guy, I don't want to put myself in bad positions where they could get an odd-man rush or take myself out of the play," Allan said. "Like you said, it's about picking your spots and defending our zone hard, I guess. I've always been a little bit more aggressive like physical play but I think it's grown on me and I've developed that part of my game."
7. With Bedard sitting out, Martin Misiak was promoted to the top line. He went from third-line wing on Saturday to first-line center on Sunday. He's played both positions over the years. He scored a beautiful goal off a redirection in this game, which he admitted isn't something he practices often. He did, however, have a strong day in the faceoff circle.
"I was really good today, to be honest," Misiak said of his faceoff percentage. "I lost like two. But guys on the wings helped me, too. They got a lot of 50-50 pucks, so it's with their help as well. It's not always a one-man thing. We did a pretty good job as a line."
8. Speaking of his linemate, Nick Lardis was noticeable. He's a really good skater and has an underrated shot, which showed on the opening goal of the game. It was an extra special weekend for Lardis, who grew up wearing the Blackhawks jersey around the house, and now he was able to do it for an actual game.
"Yeah, obviously yesterday against St. Louis, putting it on for the first time, it felt pretty cool," Lardis said. "It's obviously pretty cool when it's your favorite team growing up."
9. Louis Crevier scored a goal in Saturday's 5-0 win over St. Louis, and I thought he had a fine game against Minnesota. He has taken some nice strides since being taken in the seventh round of the 2020 NHL Draft. A nice recognition too by the Blackhawks in letting him serve as the team captain for the day.
10. Take these observations for what they are, which is to serve as a summary of the weekend. I wouldn't put too much stock into them when it comes to formulating opinions on players. Blackhawks training camp begins on Thursday, Sept. 21 at Fifth Third Arena, and the prospect showcase merely served as a ramp-up for that.