The Hawks will play the new seasons first game tonight against the Edmonton Oilers. Yes, it is time. An item of great importance to myself is that the game, which will take place in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (say that 3 times fast), will be streamed live exclusively on ChicagoBlackhawks.com starting at 8:00 pm. John Wiedeman and Troy Murray will handle broadcasting responsibilities.
This pleases me very much, and I hope it leads to future streaming opportunities.
Another item of importance is the roster, which looks as such:
26 D. TOEWS
19 J. TOEWS
I am really interested to see many of these players skate in a game setting, but especially to see what the Toews brothers might offer as a pair. Olesz, Saad, and McNeill offer up some curiosity as well, so I look forward to seeing if they seem like reliable opportunities for the year to come.
It is nice to see guys like Smith and Kruger in there too. We have an idea of what they offer, but their places on the roster are not final just yet.
The goalie dual just got interesting with the spot as CC's back-up in question after a great camp performance by Emery. Tonight is going to be a night of close observation and judgement on my part.
On defense, Lepisto is the large focus for myself. He has talked about it and SB has backed it up, that he possesses some offensive skills that he has not been able to showcase on prior teams. I will be anticipating those skills on display tonight.
Montador's puck-moving contribution is also up for debate, but with less skepticism.
Many questions loom over tonight's showing of skills. How has Leddy improved over the off-season, or who will capture and hold onto the vacant center position (or should I say positions) available?
One question also on all of our minds is the status of newly contract heavy Patrick Sharp, who will be missing all of the preseason festivities and most likely some of the games that count. After receiving an emergency appendectomy, Sharp is expected to make a full recovery in around 3-4 weeks. It is a shame, but part of the game and the Hawks can use that time to test out other options for the center position and preview the newly acquired plethora of depth.
Game faces everyone.