Blackhawks ready for emotional night

Blackhawks ready for emotional night
October 1, 2013, 7:30 pm
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CHICAGO -- The last time the Chicago Blackhawks had a Stanley Cup banner raising in 2010, they fell to the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in their home opener.

Capitals right wing Troy Brouwer was on the ice for the Hawks in that game and said all of the hoopla surrounding the start of tonight;s game in the UnitedCenter could be a “distraction” to the home team.

Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane doesn’t agree.

“I’m sure that’s what they think,” Kane said, “but we’re going to enjoy the ceremony, enjoy what happened last year and everything that’s going on tonight. But our main focus is playing the game tonight against Washington.”

Since the 1927-28 season, the reigning Stanley Cup champion is 50-21-14 in its season opener.

Left wing Brandon Saad the Hawks have talked a lot about not letting tonight’s ceremonies become a distraction. He also has a theory on why no team since the Detroit Red Wings of 1997 and 1998 has won back-to-back Stanley Cups.

“It’s something we talked about quite a bit,” Saad said. “We don’t want to come in sluggish. We had a lot of success last year, but we need to turn the page and move on.

“I think the biggest reason teams have hangovers, or whatever you want to call it, is because they’re too high on themselves. We have to check back into reality. Everybdy’s gunning for us and we have to have a big season.”

The Hawks are expected to skate around the UnitedCenter ice one last time before handing it back to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

“It’s going to be a fun night seeing it for the last night,” Saad said. “But they’re taking it back. It’s a new year and we’ve got to earn it again.”

Here’s a quick look at the projected lineup for the Hawks:

Forward Lines

Bryan Bickell – Jonathan Towes – Patrick Kane

Patrick Sharp – Michal Handzus – Marian Hossa

Brandon Saad – Andrew Shaw – Jimmy Hayes

Brandon Bollig – Marcus Kruger – Joakim Nordstrom

Defense Pairings

Duncan Keith  - Brent Seabrook

Johnny Oduya – Niklas Hjalmarsson

Nick Leddy – Michal Roszoval


Corey Crawford [starter] – Nikolai Khabibulin