Blackhawks Begin – Opening Night vs. Sens
The day is finally here.
It was a long offseason for the Blackhawks that didn't come without a little bit of scrutiny and controversy.
The Corey Crawford situation appears to almost be coming to an end, however, I still don't expect to see him until November.
For now, this is your Chicago Blackhawks team hitting the ice vs. the Ottawa Senators:
Scratches: Hayden, Davidson and Forsberg (backing up).
It isn't exactly how I thought it would pan out, but really happy for the guys making their debuts tonight.
Hoping Luke Johnson, Dominik Kahun and Henri Jokiharju got a little bit of sleep last night.
Not sure about Kahun, but what I've really liked about Johnson and Jokiharju is just how confident they are in their game and speaking to the media.
Johnson makes sense as he's 24 years old (actually making him the 8th oldest forward on the team).
Jokiharju, who can be heard screaming directions at his elders on the ice (in a productive way) is mature beyond his birth certificate. I'd rather have him be an overconfident kid. The Hawks are going to need him in the top 4 this year.
The biggest concern for me, outside of a potentially shaky defence and goaltender, is that 3rd line of Kunitz-AA-Kampf.
The real issue is going to be that no one can carry the puck on that line. Keep an eye on how effective those guys are through the neutral zone. I would be shocked if they weren't instructed to dump and chase.
If they can get a cycle going and kick it out to the point, that would be a good formula for them because all three of them crash the net well.
This is where the Hawks really needed Dylan Sikura to be the puck carrier through the neutral zone and over the opposing blueline.
I don't think that line last long. There just aren't a ton of options for Coach Q unfortunately.
Speaking of Joel – I'm going to be very curious to see how he and the coaching staff have tweaked the system. I know we've watched some exhibition games, but I want to see the full roster when it really matters in the regular season.
The Senators obviously went through a lot of drama this offseason and now have an uphill battle of a rebuild.
Gone are Karlsson and Hoffman and with that being said, most are predicting this Ottawa team to be near the bottom of the league again this season.
These are professional athletes with a lot to prove though and will be coming out with a chip on their shoulder to prove people wrong.
Let's hope the Hawks just start on time and have the energy level to match for sixty minutes.
As I did last year, here is a brief overview of both teams. These are stats from 2017-18 obviously:
Blackhawks: 33-39-10 (76 points)
* 229 GF = 22nd
* 256 GA = 22nd
* 16.0% PP = 28th
* 79.1 PK% = 20th
* 49.3 FO% = 21st
Who we got tonight: Ottawa Senators
Season Matchup in 2017-18:
Chicago – 2-0-0
Ottawa – 0-1-1
28-43-11 (67 points)
* 219 GF = 25th
* 284 GA = 30th
* 16.6% PP = 27th
* 76.2 PK% = 26th
* 50.3 FO% = 14th
* Sniper(s): Duchene & Dzingel – 23 goals
* Producer: Stone – 62 points
* Tough Guy: Borowiecki– 64 PIMs & 226 hits
* JL's player to watch: Alex Formenton – dude can skate… like really fast. Loved him for Team Canada last year at the WJHC. He's a keeper for OTT.
* Notable Injury: Bracy Tkachuk will not play tonight due to a groin strain.
See ya on the message boards and on Twitter tonight – Let's Go HAWKS!