It’s here! Yay! The Chicago Blackhawks return to the ice tonight at the United Center to raise the banner commemorating their 2014-15 Stanley Cup championship. Following this ceremony, the ’Hawks will get right into it against last season’s Presidents’ Trophy-winning team, the New York Rangers.
Let’s get to it with five thoughts ahead of the tilt.
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5. Emotions will be high, but not exactly unfamiliar
This will be the third banner-raising ceremony for the ’Hawks since 2010. They have split the previous two games that have followed such ceremonies, so it’s anyone’s guess on how much it actually affects the team.
One could argue that the ceremony will light a fire under the ’Hawks and give them a boost for the first game of the long 82-game schedule. It’s no secret that the ’Hawks kind of struggle to keep the intensity high during the regular season, but the whole pageantry of tonight could get things kicked off in a positive way.
The emotions will be a bit different this time, however. This will be the fist banner ceremony without Patrick Sharp. This will be the first time that a member of the “true core” will not be there following a Stanley Cup championship.
In a way, it’s a sort of mini-end of an era, but not quite a complete end. Once again, this could have positive or negative effects in regards to tonight’s game.
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On the positive: The raw emotions of being without one of their previously longest-tenured players as well as a leader, in Sharp, is the sort of beginning of a new chapter for the ’Hawks — a new chapter that is filled with a bit more doubts than the ’Hawks are accustomed to.
Perhaps getting the idea of getting this “new chapter” off to a good beginning will be enough to propel the ’Hawks to a win tonight.
On the negative: Emotions are overwhelming. Emotions combined with unfamiliarity on the roster and facing a very good hockey team in the Rangers might make grabbing a ‘W’ in tonight’s game a bit too tall of an order for the ’Hawks.
We shall see.
Next: Thought No. 4