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Blackwood Will Miss Kahkonen



Credit: Dean Tait/Hockey Shots

Mackenzie Blackwood didn’t want to see Kaapo Kahkonen leave.

“I loved Kaapo as a partner and a teammate, a good friend of mine,” Blackwood told San Jose Hockey Now in Philadelphia. “It’s part of the business when stuff like this happens, but I’m happy for him, for the opportunity that he’s gonna get there. I wish him all the best, but I’ll definitely miss him around here.”

Blackwood and Kahkonen, who didn’t know each other before, formed a great friendship over the course of this season, despite competing with one another for playing time. Both enjoyed rebound years with the San Jose Sharks and were involved in trade rumors throughout this season. Blackwood, however, is signed next season, so pending UFA Kahkonen was eventually dealt to the New Jersey Devils for Vitek Vanecek and a 2025 seventh-round pick at the Trade Deadline.

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Funny enough, Blackwood was with the Devils from 2018 to 2023, before the San Jose Sharks acquired him last summer.

“I told him there’s a lot of great guys over there, so I’m sure he’ll get along well with them,” Blackwood offered on his former club. “That team is filled with good people.”

Blackwood-Kahkonen was a bright spot on and off the ice. On the ice, they provided reliable puck-stopping for the worst team in the NHL. Off the ice, they formed a perhaps unlikely friendship.

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While Blackwood resisted the “fire and ice” characterization of their personalities, he recognized that he and Kahkonen were seemingly different people. Yet, shared opinions and time together allowed them to bond.

“He’s a lot quieter than I was, but at the same time, our outlook on things was pretty similar,” Blackwood said. “I would say I open my mouth a bit more, but our opinions were pretty similar.”

Plus, Blackwood deeply appreciated the determination that Kahkonen carried into this season.

“I really love his demeanor,” Blackwood said of Kahkonen. “He’s got good character, just a really likable guy. For whatever reason, we got along well, and it was lucky that we got to be together for that short period of time.”

Blackwood knows that the San Jose Sharks, enduring a trying season, will miss Kahkonen.

“He was always even keeled,” he highlighted. “It didn’t matter what situation he was in, he’s the same guy… He always had a funny couple of funny one-liners every morning to lighten the mood, so that will be missed.”

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