5 takeaways from the Chicago Blackhawks’ shootout win, including the race for Macklin Celebrini and Petr Mrázek’s contract talks

Once upon a time, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers still dressed like walking creamsicles — and played like them too — they often hosted what Tampa Tribune columnist Tom McEwen coined “the Repus Bowl” (Super spelled backward) for last-place teams.

It’s anyone’s guess what you’d call a slap fight between the bottom of the NHL barrel. The Sham-ly Cup? The Holy Fail of Hockey?

The Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks earned whatever title you’d give the error-prone, listless display they put on during the Hawks’ 2-1 shootout win Tuesday at the United Center.

Only Cole Guttman’s greasy power-play goal and a couple of fights managed to liven up the sleepy first two periods.

“It just seemed the game was sloppy back and forth,” Hawks coach Luke Richardson said. “But getting on the scoreboard early on the power play was huge just because of the way the game was.”

The Sharks found a spark in the third period, and Ryan Carpenter scored off a below-the-goal-line pass from Justin Bailey to send the game to overtime.

The Hawks couldn’t close it out in the extra frame despite a four-on-three power play, and it took a nine-round shootout full of near misses to settle it. Boris Katchouk finally backhanded the game-winner from 9 feet.

“It was interesting, that’s for sure,” Richardson said. “We found a way to get it done. It wasn’t a pretty night for both teams, but we grounded out and got it done and it was a nice goal to finish it.”

Defenseman Nikita Zaitsev left in the second period.

“Not sure yet,” Richardson said about the injury. “He just couldn’t return to the game today. We’ll have to see how he does going forward.”

Here are five takeaways from the win.

1. If it’s a race to the bottom, the Sharks hold the edge.

They entered the game with the best odds of landing the No. 1 draft pick at 20.4%, and the Hawks were second at 15.8%, according to

After the Hawks’ win, the Sharks’ odds ticked up to 20.7% and the Hawks’ dropped to 15%, so did the Hawks lose by winning?

At stake is securing the best odds to win the draft lottery and select phenom forward Macklin Celebrini. Of course that was the prevailing thought last year for another kid from the Vancouver area named Connor Bedard, but the Hawks lucked out there despite having the third-best odds.

Speaking of numbers, attendance was listed at a season-low 16,401, 83.2% of capacity. But some of that can be blamed on temperatures that hovered around zero.

2. Petr Mrázek: Contract? What contract?

The Hawks goalie made some dazzling stops, including a great pad save on Alexander Barabanov’s tip-in attempt in the first period. Mrázek held the opponent to two goals or fewer for the fourth straight start.

“I’ve been feeling good, playing a lot of games,” he said. “Like I said before, being healthy and focusing on just hockey, it’s fun. Playing every game puts you in the game.”

It also draws attention.

The Hawks have to decide whether to extend Mrázek beyond this season or dangle him on the trade market. A couple of other veterans on expiring contracts — Jason Dickinson and Nick Foligno — agreed to extensions within the last week.

“We’ll see what’s going to happen,” Mrázek said. “I’m happy for both of them. They deserve it and they had good words in the locker room.”

Mrázek played coy when asked whether his agent is engaged in talks with the Hawks.

“Ha ha, good one, right?” he said with a laugh. “You have to ask him, to be honest. I haven’t talked to him for a few days.”

3. How crazy was that shootout?

The shootout more than made up for a mostly dull regulation. Kevin Labanc, the fourth shooter, scored to put the Sharks on the cusp of a win.

But Hawks newcomer Rem Pitlick answered with a goal against Mackenzie Blackwood, and Mrázek kept the Hawks alive by poke-checking fellow Czechia native Tomáš Hertl as he tried a backhand move.

So does that make it a poke-Czech?

“I watched a few things — he does a lot of moves,” Mrázek said. “He beat me a little bit there. ... That was the last option for me.”

Dickinson almost celebrated his new contract with a pool-style trick shot in the fifth round — ricocheting the puck off the post, then off Blackwood’s back — but it came to a stop on the goal line.

In the seventh round, Taylor Raddysh narrowly missed wide left and Mrázek made another poke-check on Henry Thrun. Zach Sanford, another Hawks newbie, fooled Blackwood with a backhand move in the eighth but hit the left post.

In Round 9, Katchouk wasted no time with a setup, waltzing in with speed and backhanding a goal. Mrázek sealed the win with a pad save against Filip Zadina.

“Yeah, we had it all,” Guttman said. “It shows a lot of skill, a lot of different ways that the guys can put the puck in the net, and it was inches away a couple different times.”

Mrázek was “both” happy and relieved after Katchouk scored.

“And I still had to stop Zadina, right?” he said. “A guy from Czech also, so I was really excited for that. l was hoping he was going to go (for) the last one and I would stop him.”

4. Cole Guttman made a gutty play — without the puck.

Kyle Burroughs boarded Lukas Reichel as Reichel slid to a stop with his head and neck awkwardly exposed.

Guttman immediately launched into Burroughs and put him in a headlock as Burroughs wrestled Guttman to the ice.

“That’s just part of the brotherhood and part of who we are,” Guttman said. “We have each other’s backs and everyone would do it for one another, and you see it all throughout the season.

“It happened with me earlier with Dickinson, so he stepped up for me. … So it shows how tight we are and what we’re made of.”

5. Battle of the Vlasics, Part 3.

Hawks defenseman Alex Vlasic and his cousin, Sharks defenseman Marc-Édouard Vlasic, faced each other for the third time and the first since meeting twice in April 2022.

“The first time in Chicago, his family was there,” Marc-Édouard said. “It was pretty cool.”

Alex said before the game that family would be attending Tuesday: “They’ll be excited to see him. … Kind of like (Seth) Jones, I’ve been watching him for so long, so being able to play against him is great.”

Alex has come a long way since those first two meetings, now playing in the top pairing with Jones.

“I hear it’s going very well for him,” Marc-Édouard said. “He’s had a good start to the year.”

He gave his own scouting report of Alex: “I know he’s had a couple of injuries the last couple of years — head, shoulder, ankle. Big guy, can skate good defensively. … I haven’t followed all of his games, but he seems like he’ll be a very good player for a very long time.”

Alex, 22, said he’s a longtime admirer of Marc-Édouard, 36.

“I was talking about it with (Jaycob Megna) the other day, because he played in San Jose a little bit with him,” Alex said, “but (Marc-Édouard) was on the top pairing with (Drew) Doughty on the Canadian Olympic team when they won gold (at the 2014 Sochi Games). He’s pretty much done it all.

“He was one of the biggest factors that played a part in me wanting to become a hockey player and wanting to make it to the NHL.”