lucas richardson saw the conclusion of his first development camp as coach of the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday at Fifth Third Arena.
Now you can take a breath. Something like.
“I’ve been doing really well the last few weeks,” said Richardson, who was formally introduced by the team on June 29. “This is great. This is what we live for, hockey. It was great to see the young players putting in a lot of effort this week.”
He added that it’s great “to get here and start meeting the staff of the organization and dive right into the feel of hockey.”
After a week of drills, the Hawks’ draft picks, prospects and other invited players showcased what they learned in camp during a practice.
It was tied 3-3 after two periods after Landon Slaggert took a high post and Victor Stjernborg scored a penalty kick against Mitchell Weeks to tie up the game for the White Team.
But the Red Team prevailed with winger Joseph Serpa’s 3v3 goal, his second scorer of the day.
Filip Roos and Slaggert also scored for Team Red. Aidan Thompson and Nils Juntorp added goals for Team White.
It’s unlikely that any of the camp participants aside from defenseman Alex Vlasic will make Richardson’s opening night roster, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t make an impression.
“There were a lot of players to look at,” Richardson said, “but a young player like (25th overall pick Sam) Rinzel, he looks like a tall, lanky guy coming off the ice, but when he gets on the ice he really has great footwork, speed, and skating. He has a lot to work on as a young defenseman, like everyone else, but that’s something you can recognize and I think he was a huge steal in the draft for us.”
Richardson focused on the seventh overall pick in the draft, defenseman Kevin Korchinski.
“Kevin had a great camp here as well, as our No. 1 pick and he’s a guy that can move the puck, has good gap, good sticks,” Richardson said. “Not to compare it or anything, but a Keith Duncan, if you can try to emulate his game at that level, that’s someone that if you get a chance to see some footage of him, that would be really helpful because he’s going to be a guy that moves the puck and can add to the offense,. He is a good skater, he has mobility and a good stick”.
Here are three things we learned from the camp.
General manager Kyle Davidson described his recent conversations with Kane and Toews as “healthy”.
It remains to be seen how the two would characterize those discussions given that they have been dead set against dismantling the team. But Davidson has done just that, sacrificing Alex De Brincat, kirby dach Y Brandon Hagel by draft picks and prospects.
Richardson said he spoke with the pair of locker room leaders, though luckily for him they’re all still in the getting to know each other phase.
“I had a good chat with them this week, just passing through the gym, but also kind of a meet and greet in a private office, just so we can sit down and relax and talk,” he said. she said. “We haven’t dived into anything too deep yet.
“I just wanted to let you know who I am, what it’s all about and hear about what you’ve been thinking and feeling over the last week, a lot of changes and things like that. Did you know? They seemed ready to go and really excited to have open communication.
“But they’re also motivated, they said they’re motivated to get their game and the team’s game to where we can be as successful as possible this year.”
Thursday, assistant coach Kevin Dean explained the merits of zone defense. It is an ideology shared by Richardson.
“A lot of times there’s a lot of communication and reading,” Richardson said, “but zone defense in general is going to be a lot more structured than man-to-man where you’re flying all over the place.
“I think a very well-structured hard defensive zone is preferred, where you stay in your zones, you’re passing players,” especially with younger players, Richardson said. “But everything is when it’s your time to kill a play and get the puck back, we have to be really strong on that.”
When asked about the offense, Richardson remained broad.
“Offense will come if we can play quick defense,” he said. “If we can get our forwards to have that mentality, it will help our (defenders) have a better gap and stay out of the D zone and transition better in the neutral zone to have more attack and lead to more attack.
“We want to give some room for creativity to players like Patrick (Kane), obviously one of the best in the league for years, but there are areas and times in the games for that. … We have to take risks.”
Richardson doesn’t have much history with many of the Blackhawks, but he knows free agent acquisition Max Domi of their time together in Montreal.
The two joined the Canadiens in 2018 (in Domi’s case, via a trade from the Arizona Coyotes) and were together for two seasons before the Columbus Blue Jackets traded the rights to Domi on Oct. 6, 2020. .
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With DeBrincat traded to Ottawa, Domi is one of the candidates expected to help cover the loss of a 40-goal scorer.
“Max has great speed and good vision and sees the ice well,” Richardson said. “I definitely want him to bring that speed here.”
Domi, whom Richardson described as “almost too selfless,” had nine goals and 23 assists in 53 games for Columbus. After a trade in March, Domi finished the season with the Carolina Hurricanes and had three goals and three assists in 14 playoff games.
“Sometimes you have to throw that puck to get people to honor you, so that opens up other people to make those plays,” Richardson said. “That’s something we’ll talk about.”
The Hawks also signed Andreas Athanasiou, who will also be counted on offense.
“I think free agency definitely helped,” Richardson said. “Adding some speed up front is really huge.”