Five Players to Watch in Blackhawks Home Opener vs Sabres

By Ericka McFee
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Oct 12, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) makes a save on Buffalo Sabres right wing Drew Stafford (21) as defenseman Brent Seabrook (7) and defenseman Duncan Keith (2) are nearby at the United Center. The Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Buffalo Sabres 2-1. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Five Players to Watch in Blackhawks Home Opener vs Sabres

If you are a fan of hockey in general, and not just our beloved Blackhawks, you will probably be on cloud nine tonight. Every single team will be in action at some point this evening.

But let’s talk about the most important game to us Hawks fans – the home opener! We’re hosting the Buffalo Sabres today, and it would be easy enough to write them off. After all, they had the worst record in the league last season, with a franchise-worst 51 regulation losses and the fewest goals-for in the post-expansion era at 150. They also lost their first game of this season to the Columbus Blue Jackets, although with a 3-1 score, it wasn’t a total rout like the Los Angeles Kings received on their banner-raising night: a 4-0 shutout at the hands of the San Jose Sharks. (Cue obligatory smug Hawks fan face.)

Back to the Sabres, and specifically their series record with our Hawks, history seems destined to repeat itself tonight. The Hawks haven’t lost to the Sabres at all since the 2009-10 season, and hasn’t lost to them at home in the Toews-Kane era. Moreover, the Hawks currently have a 4-game streak of winning home openers.

Nonetheless, there are (at least) 60 minutes of hockey to be played at the United Center tonight, and the Hawks certainly need to show up. Here are five players to look out for in tonight’s game.

Jeremy Morin

Oct 28, 2013; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Chicago Blackhawks forward Jeremy Morin (11) against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The Blackhawks defeated the Wild 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The game roster had not been released at the time of writing this post. But if he doesn’t end up as a healthy scratch tonight, look out for Jeremy Morin to try redeeming himself a bit from falling for penalty bait in the game against the Dallas Stars, and generally try to stay out of Coach Quenneville’s doghouse. He certainly doesn’t want to make anyone regret putting him on the season roster, or give any reasons to send him back down to Rockford, although it would be crazy to do so. Morin actually (gasp!) shoots the puck, and can create some good scoring opportunities for other players. As long as he doesn’t let opponents get into his head to draw silly penalties, and just focuses on his game instead, he adds a great level of offensive firepower to the team.