With the puck drop on the 2013 season set for January 19th, 2013, teams had very little time to reconvene and get prepared for the season. Many players were in Europe playing for teams during the lockout, to stay prepared for a possible NHL season, others were staging on-ice workouts to stay in some form of game shape. Whatever it was they were doing, they came from all-over the world to rendezvous for a very abbreviated training camp. Patrick Kane arrived ready to go, fresh off his time playing in Sweden. Bryan Bickell was raring to go, after spending the lockout, playing in Austria.
Many analysts felt that the Hawks would have an advantage due to the fact that the Hawks 2013 team was practically the same overall cast of players from the past two seasons, and it would take them less time to get acquainted and regain familiarity with one another. Well, this might be one time I could have used the term “experts” rather than “analysts”, because they were far from wrong.
The Hawks traveled to Los Angeles to take on the Kings, on the same day the Kings would raise their banner commemorating their 2011-2012 Stanley Cup Championship, to the rafters of the Staples Center. Perhaps, a bit a foreshadowing? Whatever it was, the Hawks came out to a surging start to the game with Patrick Kane scoring the first goal of the season, and in the end surging to start the 2013 season. The Hawks defeated the Kings 5-2, to spoil their banner raising ceremony.
It was a big tone setting win for the Hawks, and it’s role as a tone setter would be extra important, as the condensed post-lockout schedule would bring about some heavy-lifting as the Hawks would play again the following night, against the Phoenix Coyotes. The Hawks would play 6 games in the first 9 days, 9 games in the first 15 days, and 10 of the first 12 games would be played on the road. Not an easy schedule, by any stretch of the imagination.
24 hours after the opening day victory over the Kings, the Hawks would head to the desert, to take on the Coyotes, who embarrassed the Hawks out of the 2012 post-season. The pleasure of dealing with Raffi Torres would not be there, as he was still serving his suspension for his dirty hit on Marian Hossa, from the previous post-season. A true revenge would be staged on the scoreboard, and that’s exactly what the Hawks did, in a 6-4 victory. Oh yeah, Hossa scored a goal too.
After the impressive 2-0 start to the season, while on a difficult trip out west, the Hawks were headed home to Chicago to take on the rival St.Louis Blues. Jim Cornelison lead a very stirring, very loud Star Spangled Banner, to a hockey starved crowd, at the United Center. The fans would not go home hungry, as the Hawks went on to defeat the Blues, by a score of 3-2.
The Hawks were off to a 3-0-0 start to the 2013 season, which they couldn’t have asked for more, especially against 3 top-notch opponents. The Hawks were on a roll, the question was how long could they keep it up?