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Blackhawks notes: Long European trip to begin 2019-20 season

The Blackhawks and Flyers will open 2019-20 in Prague. | Chris Szagola/AP

The Blackhawks will begin next season with an extended stay in Europe. The NHL announced they’re opening in Prague against the Flyers after spending the last week or so of training camp in Germany.

The Hawks will play an exhibition against Eisbären Berlin on Sept. 29 and start the season Oct.  4 at O2 Arena. It will be a 2  p.m. puck drop on a Friday.

“It’s nice to go and see some new places and go over to Europe and represent the NHL and try to help grow the game a little bit,” Patrick Kane said at the morning skate Thursday. “The Blackhawks are always a team that’s involved in a lot of these big events. We take pride in that, and we’re looking forward to heading over there.”

The opener counts as a home game for the Flyers, so the Hawks will still get a full home schedule at the United Center.

While the Hawks have been prominent in the NHL’s outdoor games during the last decade, they haven’t been picked for an international event since opening the 2009-10 season in Helsinki, Finland. They split two games against the Panthers that season before charging to a Stanley Cup.

The upcoming trip is especially meaningful for Hawks winger Dominik Kahun, who was born in the Czech Republic and moved to Germany when he was a child. Kahun began his professional career in Munich in 2014 and played for Germany in the IIHF World Championship last year.

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“It’s unbelievable,” he said. “To have a chance to play in my home country with the Blackhawks, it’s going to be special. . . . Both games are going to be unbelievable for me.

The Hawks also have center David Kampf from the Czech Republic, though he is a restricted free agent this summer.

The rest of the Hawks’ 2019-20 schedule is expected to be announced in August.

Caggiula getting close

Winger Drake Caggiula took the ice at the morning skate for his first work with the team since suffering a concussion Feb. 27. He was not in the lineup for the game against the Flyers but is progressing toward a return.

He has done some medical testing but hasn’t been cleared to play. He was winded when he got back to the locker room and has some work to do on his conditioning after not skating for three weeks.

“It’s always tough missing time . . . but especially down to the wire here and pushing for the playoffs,” Caggiula said. “You always want to help out in any way that you can. It’s an unfortunate injury. It’s part of the game. You’ve just got to find a way to get healthy and move forward from it.”

Caggiula went down when Ducks winger Rickard Rakell blasted him into the boards from behind. Rakell was ejected, but the NHL did not fine or suspend him. Caggiula said he had no comment on the play.

Caggiula and coach Jeremy Colliton said there’s no expectation for when he’ll be back, and Colliton added that he isn’t sure where Caggiula will fit in the lineup.

He was playing on the top line with Kane and Jonathan Toews and had seven points in 21 games.