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Distraction-Free Blackhawks Can Focus Again On Winning

agoldschmidt
CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 13: A general view of the United Center during pregame festivities of game 1 of the first round of the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Nashville Predators on April 13, 2017, at the United Center in Chicago, IL. The Nashville Predators defeated the Chicago Blackhawks by the score of 1-0. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 13: A general view of the United Center during pregame festivities of game 1 of the first round of the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Nashville Predators on April 13, 2017, at the United Center in Chicago, IL. The Nashville Predators defeated the Chicago Blackhawks by the score of 1-0. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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CHICAGO, IL – APRIL 13: A general view of the United Center during pregame festivities of game 1 of the first round of the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Nashville Predators on April 13, 2017, at the United Center in Chicago, IL. The Nashville Predators defeated the Chicago Blackhawks by the score of 1-0. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL – APRIL 13: A general view of the United Center during pregame festivities of game 1 of the first round of the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Nashville Predators on April 13, 2017, at the United Center in Chicago, IL. The Nashville Predators defeated the Chicago Blackhawks by the score of 1-0. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Chicago Blackhawks training camp is full of “healthy expectations,” finally putting some pressure on what matters most; winning.

Here come the ‘Hawks!

Today marked the first day of practice that will lead up to training camp at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend Indiana.  Faces, new and old, gathered at the United Center and spoke to the media about this year’s team.  A few players like John Hayden and Tommy Wingels made some nice plays but it’s all premature at this point.

Many of the questions that folks from the media asked the team and the Blackhawks front office involved pressure.  There’s always the question of how much competition is truly facing a team stacked with high paid stars, but this year there may be some relevance.

More from Blackhawk Up

GM Stan Bowman was visibly frustrated with the lack of progress the Blackhawks made last year and was embarrassed with the result of another first round exit.  Here at training camp, the addition of a handful of solid veterans on PTOs and some talented young system players make for a scenario where they could legitimately push for a roster spot.

Blackhawks fans should be glad the season is starting this way, with healthy competition.  The ‘Hawks are no strangers to training camp distractions, such as the Patrick Kane situation years back.  There’s nothing worse than a vibe that looms a locker room that prevents a team from focusing on hockey.  Just look what the Avalanche are going through with Matt Duchene.

It’s encouraging that the ‘Hawks got a couple players like Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp to return who know the system and can be leaders for a team that got younger over the summer.  But this team is far from perfect.  There are a lot of questions that surround the team.

Next I’d like to explore some off-the-beaten-path questions that may have some impact on this year’s training camp.

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