Connor Murphy gave Kevin Korchinski simple advice Tuesday: Don’t worry about mistakes, rely on your instincts and enjoy the moment.
But Korchinski, smiling and relaxedbefore his first NHL preseason game, didn’t seem to need it much.
“Hockey just comes to me,” he said. “It’s what I love to do. So just going out there, I’m going to try and have fun and play my game.”
Even with veterans Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Seth Jones all in the lineup for the Hawks’ preseason opener –a 4-1 lossto the Blues –it was Korchinski, the defenseman drafted seventh overall, who attracted the biggest spotlight.
After all, it’s the top prospects like him who will determine how the rebuild pans out.
“He has been great in practice,” coach Luke Richardson said. “He moves very well. Obviously [he’s] a quick skater, very fluid. We’d like to see him shoot that puck a little more and not look to pass first. That’ll open up things for him later.”
Richardson, standing behind the Hawks’ bench for the first time, paired Korchinski with Murphy, Alex Vlasic with Seth Jones and Ethan Del Mastro with Caleb Jones, giving each prospect a veteran to help them along.
Having the confidence to establish his shot has been a point of emphasis for Korchinski, and he made smart decisions when to shoot and when to pass during his 19:02 of ice time Tuesday.
He will likely land back with the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds this season, although a few Hawks regular-season appearances are possible. Nonetheless, every pro experience –like Tuesday –matters.
“[There’s] stuff you can’t get away with at this level that maybe you can in juniors,” he said. “[I’m learning] little tips like that [about] what to do.”
Mike Hardman has missed the last two days of training camp with a groin injury, but Colton Dach and Paul Ludwinski (concussion protocol) returned to the ice Monday.Kane skated on a line Tuesday with newcomers Max Domi and Andreas Athanasiou,while Toews skated on a line with Tyler Johnson and Taylor Raddysh.So far in camp, Richardson has creatively used video from the Lightning and Avalanche in the Stanley Cup Final in his lessons. Of course, that will change after Tuesday.Read More