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Chicago Blackhawks launch a new season to defend Stanley Cup

By Colleen Boyle

The Chicago Blackhawks and the National Hockey League (NHL) launched a new regular season last week. The Blackhawk’s overtime loss last Thursday in Colorado resulted in the first point of the season.

The championship team went on to face Detroit on home ice. After an emotional ceremony of raising the Stanley Cup Championship banner, the Chicago Blackhawks and fans felt let down with the home ice loss ending in 3-2 in favor of central division rivals, the Detroit Red Wings.

Marty Turco, goaltender acquired as a free agent from Dallas Texas in the off-season, fails to capture a win in the first two regular seasons games but not without stopping some great scoring chances.

In the third regular season game, goaltender Corey Crawford managed to pull off a win even with a shaky start to the game, letting in two goals in the first three minutes against Buffalo Sabres.

While Crawford rebounded to only let one more goal in the net, Patrick Kane got a hometown welcome from the Buffalo crowd when he scored Chicago's first goal against the Buffalo Sabres and against his former teammate on the American Olympic team last February, goaltender Ryan Miller.

Missing from the Chicago Blackhawks for the first three regular season games is defenseman Brian Campbell. Injured in the preseason game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on October 1st, it is rumored Campbell will remain on the injured reserve list for four to five weeks.

Without Campbell, the Blackhawks are missing one of the top defensive players on the power play special team. Usually partnered with Campbell, Niklas Hjalmarsson was given a match penalty in last night's game, a five minute penalty (served by Bryan Bickell), and forced to leave the game early after a dangerous boarding hit on Buffalo Sabres Jason Pominville. Taking off the ice on a stretcher, Pominville was conscious after the hit but was rumored to have suffered a concussion.

The NHL will decide the next day whether or not the hit is deserving of a suspension. With Campbell on the injured reserve and Hjalmarsson likely to be suspended, Coach Joel Quenneville will have to already reach back to the American Hockey League (AHL) Rockford Icehogs ranks to fill any gaps.

In the game against Buffalo Sabres, Marian Hossa scored two goals, the second being the game winning goal on a great breakaway in the beginning of the third period. Rookie defensive player Nick Leddy tallied his first NHL goal in the first period of the game at only 19 years old.

The offseason shaped a new Blackhawks team while maintaining the same core as last year’s Stanley Cup championship team. The offseason saw the departure of Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd (soon made an alternate captain), and Brent Sopel to the Eastern Conference team, the Atlanta Thrashers.

Other departures include Adam Burish, a free agent who signed with the Dallas Stars; Kris Versteeg traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and veteran John Madden signed with the Minnesota Wild. Colin Fraser was also traded to Edmonton Oilers.

Another big change was the loss of Antti Niemi, the surprising rookie goaltender that became the team’s backbone through the playoffs til winning the Stanley Cup. Niemi signed with San Jose Sharks after the Blackhawks declined to match the arbitration decision made by the NHL.

While many Blackhawks fans were surprised at the amount of changes, most of the team and the fans were in bliss as the Stanley Cup appeared all over Chicago and at a large taper parade on Michigan Avenue.

Additions to the team includes defense man John Scott, a towering 6’8 in height from the Minnesota Wild. In the trade with Toronto, Chicago Blackhawks picked up offenseman Viktor Stalberg. Fernando Pisani was acquired as a free agent in August and has already dressed for two of the regular season games on the offensive 4th line.


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