Chicago Sun-Times

Hawks blow out DeBrincat’s Senators


Alex DeBrincat walked into the United Center visitors’ locker room Monday, looked at the Blackhawks’ lines written on a whiteboard on the wall and squinted.

“I guess I don’t know too many names on there,” he said.

Indeed, of the 20 players who dressed in the Hawks’ 5-0 rout of the Senators, only 10 ever played a game with DeBrincat during his five-year tenure with the Hawks and only five played more than 40 games with him.

Further reducing the weirdness of DeBrincat’s return was that it came 63 games into the season — and one of the previous 62 was the Hawks’ visit to Ottawa only a few weeks ago, when he got to catch up with Patrick Kane before Kane’s departure.

Still, DeBrincat and MacKenzie Entwistle — who became fast friends in recent years — went out to dinner Sunday night. They dished out some lightheart­ed snark to each other after the morning skate.

“He’s always taking my heat,” DeBrincat said. “I don’t think he’s giving it to me too much. Even though he’s way bigger than me, I think if we were to fight in this game, I’d come out on top.”

The Senators had surged back into the Eastern Conference playoff race recently, winning five consecutiv­e games and 12 of their last 16, but things did not go well against the Hawks.

The Hawks generated tons of odd-man rushes and dominated the goaltendin­g battle. Alex Stalock made 35 saves for his second shutout of the season, while last-minute Senators starter Mads Sogaard allowed five goals on 21 shots.

New Hawks pickup Anders Bjork had three primary assists in the second period alone, Seth Jones scored for the third and fourth times in his last three games and DeBrincat failed to bury any of his seven shots on goal.

DeBrincat said he plans to wait until the summer before potentiall­y beginning new contract negotiatio­ns with the Senators.

Athanasiou survives

Andreas Athanasiou was the lone Hawk involved in trade rumors — and one of only four pending unrestrict­ed free agents (with Jujhar Khaira, Jarred Tinordi and Stalock the others) — who didn’t get dealt before the deadline.

“Whether it’s on your mind or not, you have no control of it, so you have to go with whatever happens,” Athanasiou said. “It’s part of the business, one way or another.”

General manager Kyle Davidson insisted after the fact that he was never “actively pursuing moving” the speedy winger.

No playoffs for Guttman

The Hawks surprising­ly didn’t use a paper transactio­n to make Cole Guttman, who had 30 points in 39 games with Rockford this season, eligible for the AHL playoffs.

“It’s definitely a little sad,” Guttman said. “Going and joining them on a playoff run definitely would’ve been a great experience — especially experienci­ng the pro-level playoffs. But there’s other things we’re figuring out right now, and I’m excited to be here.”

He implied there are other plans in the works for his spring. Playing for the United States at the IIHF World Championsh­ips in May would be the most logical explanatio­n, although that’s unconfirme­d.

Guttman presumably will spend the rest of the season in the NHL, where has performed well. He entered Monday with three goals in 10 games and a 53.3% expected-goals ratio at five-on-five.

“Every day I get a little more comfortabl­e,” he said. “[I’m using] days of practice to gain some confidence on the ice with all these guys and then get to know the systems even better.”

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 ?? CHARLES REX ARBOGAST/AP ?? Seth Jones (center) celebrates with Jarred Tinordi and Anders Bjork (24) after scoring one of his two goals in the second period against the Senators.
CHARLES REX ARBOGAST/AP Seth Jones (center) celebrates with Jarred Tinordi and Anders Bjork (24) after scoring one of his two goals in the second period against the Senators.

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