Back in the NHL, the Chicago Blackhawks are preparing for their preseason games
Obviously, training camp and preseason games are all about practice and preparation for the regular season. But there is some added intrigue this year. The Chicago Blackhawks have 3-5 open forward positions for the taking. This means there are a lot of youngsters (and veterans) who will be fighting for a roster spot.
This next week, we’re going to see and hear a lot about young guns like Ryan Hartman, Mark McNeill, Nick Schmaltz, Vincent Hinostroza, Tanner Kero, Tyler Motte and Kyle Baun. Brandon Mashinter and Dennis Rasmussen were on the team last year, but they certainly don’t have a guaranteed spot this season. Newly acquired Jordin Tootoo is in the same boat.
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At least a few of these names could be future stars for the Chicago Blackhawks. It’s always intriguing to watch and see who will come out on top. And of course it’s human nature to pick favorites. It’s only natural to find yourself rooting for certain players.
In other preseason news, defenseman Duncan Keith has been at training camp from the onset, after sitting out the World Cup to continue to rehab his right knee. Assistant coaches Mike Kitchen and Kevin Dineen want Keith to ease into things, just to be safe. But he appears to be having a hard time with that.
The coaches seem to be getting their way, because it was announced yesterday Keith would not participate in the first four preseason games. He has not been ruled out for the final two games, however. And everyone has their fingers crossed that he will be able to start the regular season.
Despite the early absence of Keith, new defensemen Brian Campbell and Michal Kempny should be participating this preseason. I’m sure they’re anxious to get used to their new teammates and surroundings, as well as get comfortable with the new systems.
Let’s see. What other reasons are there to watch the Chicago Blackhawks’ preseason? Patrick Kane will likely be back with one or both of his old linemates, Panarin and/or Anisimov. With Crawford at the World Cup, we’ll get to see a little more of netminder Scott Darling. Will Richard Panik really earn himself a spot on the first line? It will be nice to see Brent Seabrook again. How will the defensive pairings play out? The list goes on and on.
So, grab your popcorn and beverage of choice and find a comfy spot on the couch. As a Chicago Blackhawks fan, this week promises to be interesting and entertaining. Whether the World Cup or preseason action is your thing, you’re guaranteed a dose of at least one or the other over the next six days! Sit back, relax, and enjoy the fact that “hockey is here.” And remember, there’s only 15 more days until opening night!
Let’s Go ’Hawks!!!