The Blackhawks will kick off their preseason slate with a game at the United Center against their long archrival the Detroit Red Wings. There are several story lines that Blackhawks fan should be monitoring.
The first item is that Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa will not be playing in tonight’s contest. Toews is dealing with a lower body injury and according to reports should not play until this weekend. Hossa is likely to play Thursday versus the Pittsburgh Penguins. They are both being held out for precautionary measures.
Second item to watch for in tonight’s game is Teuvo Teravainen centering the top line with Patrick Kane and Bryan Bickell. It will be intriguing to see how Teravainen will be playing against rival red Wings. Expect tonight’s game to be more physical than the Blackhawks inter-squad scrimmages. Teravainen has excited Blackhawks fan throughout training camp. We shall see what he needs to improve upon before returning to Finland for the season.
The third item to watch for is the younger players fighting for roster spots. Jimmy Hayes, Jeremy Morin, and Ben Smith tonight could be taking their first real step in proving they belong with Blackhawks. Brandon Pirri will not get his shot tonight because he has been dealing an injury. Hayes has been on fire this camp and hopes to follow in Bryan Bickell footsteps. Morin needs to keep improving this camp to show he belongs with the hawks. While Smith needs to keeps the momentum going from last season Stanley Cup appearance.
The fourth item to watch for is Corey Crawford in the new goalie pads. This will be the first time Crawford faces opposing shooters with the new goalie pads. Crawford is expected the play the whole game tonight. His conditioning will also be tested in a full 60 minute game.
Lastly Blackhawks fans should be watching the success of the power-play. The last time the Blackhawks were on the ice the power-play was…just plain bad! The coaching staff has assured the Blackhawks fan faithful that the power-play has been improved. Tonight will be the first real test for the Blackhawks power-play. Let’s hope to see some improvement.
If you will not be attendance tonight at the United Center, you can listen to the game on WGN radio or the WGN radio App. The game will not be on TV.