Finally healthy, Blackhawks' Gaudette focused on improving

  • The Blackhawks' Adam Gaudette scores past Florida Panthers goaltender Spencer Knight during the first period Thursday at the United Center.

    The Blackhawks' Adam Gaudette scores past Florida Panthers goaltender Spencer Knight during the first period Thursday at the United Center. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 5/1/2021 8:17 AM

For a long time, newly acquired Blackhawks forward Adam Gaudette knew something just wasn't right physically.

He'd get sick in the morning and throw up all the time. He'd drink a shake after a game, then couldn't eat for hours.

 

He was losing weight and constantly tired.

This went on for years, with no one able to diagnose the problem.

Mentally and physically exhausted, Gaudette's performance on ice was suffering.

Finally, he reached out to a nutritionist he'd been working with since high school, telling her, " 'I have this blood work. I haven't had a chance to look at it with anyone. Can you check it out?' "

Soon after, the problem was diagnosed. Turns out Gaudette, whom the Hawks acquired from Vancouver at the April 12 trade deadline for Matthew Highmore, was told he had a Candida overgrowth -- or yeast infection -- in his stomach.

He was prescribed medication, put on a vegetable-rich diet and began feeling better.

"I still add in red meat every now and then, but it's mostly chicken and fish, nuts, seeds, beans," Gaudette said. "Biggest thing is to stay away from added sugar: Gatorade, snacks. That's probably the hardest part, but I'm working my way through it."

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Gaudette, who scored a blue-collar goal to open the scoring during the Hawks' 4-3 OT loss against Florida on Thursday, was drafted in the fifth round by the Canucks in 2015. The high-scoring forward, who hails from Braintree, Mass., poured in 56 goals in 75 games during his last two seasons at Northeastern while skating on the same line as former Hawk Dylan Sikura.

He quickly ascended the Canucks depth chart, scoring 5 goals in 56 games in 2018-19 and adding 12 more in 59 games in 2019-20.

This season was a rough one for Gaudette (5G, 4A in 35 games with Vancouver) as he was hit hard after being infected with COVID. Making matters worse, some fans made harsh comments on social media.

"There's a lot of (stuff) going on and a lot of disrespectful things that were said about me and my wife that were just not true," Gaudette said. "I have a great relationship with those guys (in Vancouver). I have a lot of close friends. Got along with everybody really well there. Coulda happened to anyone."

GM and president of operations Stan Bowman said the Hawks are trying to "recapture" some of Gaudette's success last season. The 24-year-old has played in two games thus far and certainly impressed at times against the Panthers while skating with Dylan Strome and Dominik Kubalik.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"He did well," said coach Jeremy Colliton. "Made some plays, found a way to jump on some loose pucks, just like he did when he scored. So happy we were able to get him in."

Gaudette will be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer. He's looking forward to the off-season when he can focus solely upon getting better on the ice.

"I'm really excited about it because I finally have this problem (solved) that I've been dealing with for years that I didn't even know (about)," Gaudette said. "Even this season I was able to put 10-plus pounds on while playing just because my diet was better. I had more energy; I was able to work out more.

"This whole problem ... was a big mental battle and physical battle as well. Things are just going to come easier for me this off-season."

Then we'll find out just how sick he can make Hawks opponents next season.

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