Hawks Thoughts - Season Opener vs Stars
I didn't realize that CSNChicago's Blackhawks column by Tracey Myers and Chris Boden was titled "Hawk Talk," so I had to change my blog title to "Hawks Thoughts." Let me know if you have any other suggestions as I'm not crazy about it at the moment.
Last year, the Chicago Blackhawks lost a grind-it-out battle against the Colorado Avalanche in OT from Paul Stastny's game winning goal in their season opener in Colorado. This year, the Blackhawks hope to avoid a similar fate tonight when they face off against Mike RiBeiro and the Dallas Stars.
Notable starters for the Blackhawks who will be out of the lineup due to injury tonight include Dave Bolland (upper body injury), Viktor Stalberg (leg injury), and Ben Smith (concussion symptoms). Brandon Pirri gets the call from Rockford and it looks as though the Blackhawks will dress seven defensemen. According to Blackhawks Hockeybuzz Insider, John Jaeckel (whom you should all follow for Blackhawks updates), John Scott is not expected to play tonight.
You can bet that Kane will have another go at Center in between Marion Hossa and Andrew Brunette, while Toews will center rookie Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp. Those two scoring lines provide a helluva lot for Hawks fans to get excited about tonight. The 3rd line will most likely see Brandon Pirri centering Bickell and Frolik, though depending on how Coach Q is feeling, he might shake that line up a bit by swapping Frolik and Pirri. You never know what SuperStache is capable of in-game.
Steve Montedor has improved each preseason game and Blackhawks fans should expect him to continue this growth as he gets more accustomed to his new team. The nerves will eventually settle down and the stable defenseman with an offensive upside will be more present as the season continues.
One optimistic point to take into account for Blackhawks fans tonight is the absence of former Star, Brad Richards, who signed with the Rangers over the summer. This should help reduce the offensive threats on an aging Dallas aquad, however, Jamie Benn, Mike RiBeiro and Brendan Morrow still have the skill to put a lot of points on the board, so they should not be overlooked. Benn is expected to have a huge season this year, so Hawks defense will have to focus on shutting him down in tonight's game.
Former Blackhawk Adam Burish and Nicklas Grossman are doubtful to play tonight due to groin issues, which might reduce the amount of tussles involving Dan Carcillo.
Arguably, the Hawks have a much stronger squad in many departments on paper, however, the Dallas Stars were known for making significant late game comebacks to either grind out an extra point or get the win last season. Hawks will want to establish a lead early and then maintain good defensive pressure without letting up their attack. Despite Dallas' age, they still have some speed and tremendous grit, which Hawks shouldn't really have much trouble matching provided they can get their legs moving early on.
I will unfortunately be out of town and unavailable to watch the game tonight, but I will be keeping up with updates via Twitter and various other mobile apps.
Get pumped. Let us all rejoice as the greatest sport on Earth resumes tonight for the city of Chicago.
Hawk. Hawk. Hawk it up!
Follow me on Twitter - @MCBHawks