Blackhawks’ dark season continues with trip to play Jets


The dark clouds hovering over the Chicago Blackhawks have not dissipated.

Even after earning their first victory in 10 games this season — 5-1 over Ottawa on Monday — the week has continued to bring fallout from the team’s 2010 sexual abuse scandal.

The Hockey Hall of Fame has covered video coach Brad Aldrich’s name from those engraved on the Stanley Cup after the assistant was accused of sexually assaulting a player during the team’s run to the championship that season.

And Friday’s trip to Winnipeg will bring back more difficult memories. Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff, Chicago’s assistant GM and senior director of hockey operations at the time, is the only person placed at a May 2010 meeting of Blackhawks executives about the assault of former first-round draft pick Kyle Beach that is still employed in the NHL.

Cheveldayoff, who was termed a “minor player” in the incident by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, told reporters at that 2010 meeting the allegations were presented as harassment rather than assault.

“Kyle was failed by a system that should have helped him, but did not,” Cheveldayoff said Tuesday during a news conference in Winnipeg to discuss the league’s decision to not discipline him for the scandal. “I am sorry that my own assumptions about that system were clearly not good enough.”

The Blackhawks (1-8-2) have the second-worst record in the league, ahead of only rebuilding Arizona (0-9-1).

Chicago blew a two-goal lead in a 4-3 loss Wednesday to visiting Carolina despite two goals from Alex DeBrincat, a goal and an assist from Patrick Kane and Marc-Andre Fleury’s 28 saves.

“We had good spots,” DeBrincat said. “We were up 3-1. We have to find a way to win that game. We just have to battle hard for the full 60 (minutes). We let up for a couple of minutes there, and there were a couple in our net. (We) have to figure out how to hold a lead.”

Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton said it was just another hard lesson for his team.

“But I would like us to stop learning hard lessons and respond with a change in how we think about the game,” Colliton said.

The Jets are coming off a 4-3 shootout victory Tuesday against visiting Dallas as Mark Scheifele scored the deciding goal in his return from the league’s COVID-19 protocol.

The Jets went 4-0-1 in the absence of Scheifele, their leading scorer last season.

“I guess COVID only makes you stronger,” Scheifele joked. “It was awesome to be back for the boys. I had a blast. It was huge to get the win and so fun to be back. It was my first game back in front of the Jets fans again, so it felt even better.”

Paul Stastny, Josh Morrissey and Pierre-Luc Dubois scored in regulation for Winnipeg.

Eric Comrie stopped 24 shots for the Jets as starting goalie Connor Hellebuyck missed the game after his wife gave birth to a baby boy Tuesday morning.

This will be the first meeting of the season between the Central Division rivals.

–Field Level Media

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