Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks To Host Toronto Maple Leafs In 2018-19 Home Opener

By Colin Likas
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 23: Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates during the introduction before playing the Boston Bruins in Game Six of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Air Canada Centre on April 23, 2018 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 23: Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates during the introduction before playing the Boston Bruins in Game Six of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Air Canada Centre on April 23, 2018 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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The Chicago Blackhwaks won’t have it easy with their 2018-19 home regular-season opener, as they learned Wednesday they’ll square off with the Toronto Maple Leafs

We’re getting into one of the busier portions of the NHL offseason this week, and more Chicago Blackhawks news has come out today. Coach Joel Quenneville’s crew will open its 2018-19 home slate with a matchup against the Toronto Maple Leafs, on Oct. 7 at the United Center.

To be clear, the press release on the Blackhawks’ website doesn’t say whether or not this game will open the Blackhawks’ regular season at large. The entire 2018-19 slate is set to come out tomorrow, so this tilt with the Leafs could be the second regular-season event, perhaps.

Regardless, it’s a cool matchup early in the year. The Leafs are becoming more and more of a playoff threat with their young, fast talent. Led by Auston Matthews, there are plenty of entertaining athletes wearing the blue and white right now.

For the Blackhawks, it would be a nice test to open the year (or come early in the year). As we know, such challenges don’t always show signs of what’s to come. After the Blackhawks thumped Pittsburgh to open the 2017-18 season, it was mostly downhill from there.

Still, the Blackhawks are working to become a quicker, younger squad. Facing off against an opponent that has been constructed in that mold would show how far  — or not — the Blackhawks have come in their mission.

What else is going on?

More from Blackhawks News

Well, the NHL Awards are tonight in Las Vegas. Zero percent chance we’ll be seeing any Blackhawks winning a trophy, as they have no award nominees. But there will still be some cool moments at this annual event.

Among those, some members of the Humboldt Broncos hockey team are expected to be in attendance. You might remember this group being involved in a horrific bus crash in April that killed 16 people.

Good on the NHL to reach out to these kids and bring them in for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It has to have been a rough last couple months for the surviving Broncos, and this is an event at which they can share their stories and garner some much-deserved love from the NHL community.

As I mentioned above, the complete regular-season schedules for 2018-19 will come out tomorrow. Then we’ve got the NHL draft on Friday and Saturday in Dallas. The Blackhawks are slated to select both eighth and 27th in the first round.

There have been suggestions — by those both in and beyond the know — that the Blackhawks could do something with one or both of these picks beyond drafting young talents. Perhaps one or both could be packaged in a trade involving Marian Hossa’s contract, or someone like Artem Anisimov.

The Blackhawks are in dire need of immediate defensive help (if they still think they can win know with the present core), so a move could be made there. A move for a proven backup goalie could be in play. Perhaps another center, too.

Next: Blackhawks Can Top West In 2019 With Key Moves

Regardless, rumors and takes will heat up in the near future regarding the Blackhawks. Should be interesting to see how everything plays out over the weekend.

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