SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Even without the Patrick Kane situation the Blackhawks would be looking at a challenging season.
Important cogs like Patrick Sharp, Brandon Saad and Johnny Oduya are gone because of the salary cap. The season after winning the Stanley Cup – and short summer celebrating winning the Stanley Cup – are notoriously difficult to overcome, and the Hawks will have to manage that while working in a roster with questions up and down the lineup.
That process will officially begin Friday when the Blackhawks open training camp on the Notre Dame campus. It’s a training camp that figures to have more competition, more importance, and maybe a few more name tags and introductory handshakes.
“We felt that the guys that are coming in this year bring something where they could fit in in key positions and make a difference and that’s who we’re looking forward to in this training camp, that we could find out and be excited about going into this season,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “But we did say that we’re never going to get tested like we’re going to be when we begin this season. We welcome that challenge.”
The Blackhawks also see it as an opportunity for the new guys like Artem Anisimov, Marko Dano, Trevor Daley, Ryan Garbutt and Artemi Panarin to contribute and get acclimated. Jonathan Toews is eager to see that process play out during camp, even though some think this could be a difficult season for a team trying to reload.
“I think for us, we see it as opportunity for young guys to come in and really show what they can do,” Toews said.
Like it was this summer, the roster was stripped after the 2010 Cup because of the cap, but the Hawks still expect to contend while maintaining some stability.
“That’s a difficult task to do,” Toews said. “And obviously, no one out there wants to help our organization in that regards but it is what it is and as players we’re going to come in ready to tackle those new challenges and find ways to continue to have that success the way we’ve had in the last number of years.”