Now is the time for the title defense.
The party is officially over. Just like any other sport with a defending champion, the Blackhawks have a huge target on their back. To some, they are still regarded as a finesse team. Remember how the Boston Bruins and the Detroit Red Wings tried to muscle up on the Blackhawks with physical play? Even though it didn’t work, teams will continue to try this tactic because a team wants to be known for dethroning the defending champs (see Vancouver Canucks). Boston, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Los Angeles along with the Anaheim Ducks want a piece of the champs. Those teams I mentioned have no qualms in knocking the Madison Street Hockey Club down a few notches. You best believe talk of the Blackhawks will reign true in all of the NHL’s training camps.
Since training camp started yesterday over at the University of Notre Dame, the team has put everything that happened last season out of their minds so that they can focus on keeping the Stanley Cup in Chicago. The easy part, believe it not, is winning a Stanley Cup. The hard part is keeping it. The main core of players knows what it takes to win a championship, lose a championship and to regain it. Ask them if the road to repeat is difficult. Especially in a city where the teams don’t win as often as they should.
The team regulars along with recent draft picks such as Ryan Hartman, Teuvo Teravainen, Kyle Beach (When will he ever make the team), Phillip Danault and Drew Leblanc will be in attendance. That should make for one exciting training camp. I would love to be at those scrimmages.
I don’t think that Coach Joel Quenneville will tinker too much with the lineup outside of finding a second line center and someone to replace Michael Frolik on the penalty kill unit. The team has a core group of players along with the young players.
General Manager Stan Bowman received a contract extension recently. Under Bowman’s watch, the Blackhawks have won two Stanley Cups.
Team President and CEO John McDonough recently said this about Bowman’s contract extension:
Stan has been an integral part of our organizational success and we are proud to reward him with a well-deserved extension. From the amateur levels to our team in Chicago, Stan has a great system in place as we all strive for consistent excellence throughout the organization.
Things are looking up for the Blackhawks. Remember, not too long ago, things were rather dreary. Let’s see if the Bowman and Quenneville can keep a competitive team on the ice.
Follow me on Twitter @evanfmoore