Throwin’ Spray: Blackhawks October preview

By Jeffrey Bartl

Throwin’ Spray, a phrase from “Here Come the Hawks” and title of the semi-daily post on, will feature quick-hitting Blackhawks- and NHL-related news and links. Today, Blackhawk Up previews the Blackhawks’ October schedule.

There won’t be much in-between talk from Blackhawks fans in October. If the Blackhawks get off to a fast start, you’ll hear: “See? We don’t need Havlat OR Hossa! The ‘Bulin Wall? Ha! Huet is a rock!”

If we’re treated to a slow start, expect: “Damnit! I knew we should have kept Havlat! How can we sign Hossa when we know he’s injured? And I miss Khabibulin. Huet sucks.”

The problem is, neither statement would surprise me. With Martin Havlat and Nikolai Khabibulin gone, Marian Hossa sidelined and Cristobal Huet (left) as the new undisputed No. 1 goaltender,  October stands as kind of a crapshoot — especially given the difficulty of the schedule.

In the first month of the season, the Blackhawks will face all three of their playoff opponents (Flames, Canucks and Red Wings), get re-aquainted with Havlat (Wild) and Khabibulin (Oilers) and square off against the revamped Montreal Canadians — all after starting the season with two games against the Flordia Panthers overseas in Finland. Yikes.

Here are some highlights of October’s schedule. View the full monthly schedule here.

Oct. 2 and 3: vs. Flordia Panthers in Finland

The ‘Hawks kick off their season overseas with back-to-back games against the Panthers, who finished with 93 points but lost out on the Eastern Conference’s 8th seed in a tiebreaker to Montreal. But star defenseman Jay Bouwmeester fled north of the border, weakening Florida’s blue-liners.

Oct. 8: at Detroit Red Wings

Hey, Chicago. Welcome back to the States! Your prize? The reigning Western Conference champions who kicked your asses in five games roughly four months ago — on the road!

Oct. 12: vs. Calgary Flames

Two days after their home opener against the Colorado Avalanche, the Blackhawks welcome the improved Flames to the United Center. Dion Phaneuf and the newly aquired Bouwmeester form one of the top defensive lines in recent memory and still have former Hart Trophy winner Jerome Iginla. After losing a tight 1st-round series to Chicago in the playoffs, Calgary will be looking to make an early season statement.

Oct. 14: vs. Edmonton Oilers

A Blackhawks goalie had a 25-8-7 record with a 2.33 GAA last season. His name is Nikolai Khabibulin. He plays for the Edmonton Oilers. Welcome back to Chicago. Crap.

Oct. 21: vs. Vancounver Canucks

The second of a four-game homestand brings the hated Canucks to town. You all know my disdain for the Sedin twins, and the 2nd-round playoff series didn’t do much to hinder my hatred for this team. Maybe the ‘Hawks can make Roberto Luongo cry again. That would be neat.

Oct. 26: vs. Minnesota Wild

A Blackhawks right wing had 77 points last season to lead the team in scoring. His name is Martin Havlat. He plays for the Minnesota Wild. Welcome back to Chicago. Crap.

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