EDMONTON – After waiting quite a while to play a real game, just about everything went right for the Blackhawks on Saturday.
Their offense was clicking right from the start, Corey Crawford held his own in goal after missing most of training camp, and Jeremy Colliton’s team had a 1-0 lead over the Oilers in their Best-of-Five preliminary round series.
But one play in the second period now has them a bit shorthanded for Game 2 on Monday.
At the 7:41 mark of that period, Drake Caggiula hit Edmonton’s Tyler Ennis, which was close enough to the head to draw a look from the NHL. On Sunday, they decided the hit was worth of a one-game suspension for the physical forward, which he’ll serve on Monday.
“It was just kind of a ‘Bang-Bang’ play. He went hard. I don’t think he was…definitely wasn’t trying to catch him in the head but he did,” said Colliton when asked about his reaction to the suspension. “So the NHL made the decision.”
It takes a force off of Colliton’s third line, since Caggiula is a player whose not afraid to get physical to disrupt the opposition. Personally for the forward it’s difficult since he misses a chance to face his former team in a playoff setting for at least one night.
Edmonton traded away Caggiula on December 30, 2018 to the Blackhawks in exchange for Brandon Manning and Robin Norell. He had nine goals and six assists in 40 games for the Blackhawks before the season was paused back in March, logging 11:25 in Game 1 against the Oilers.
“He works hard every single shift, he lays the body,” said forward Dylan Strome of Caggiula. “He does whatever it takes, he’s a great playoff player and a great guy to have on your team.”
But because of one bad moment from a great win, they’ll have to do without him on Monday.