The Chicago Blackhawks started the 2018-19 season on Friday at MB Ice Arena. Training camp is officially underway. While this is an exciting time for hockey fans, Hawks fans have reason to be skeptical.
For starters, general manager Stan Bowman didn’t do much to update a roster that finished last place in the central division last year. In fact, Bowman actually still has a decent amount of money to spend. The hope is he has some kind of trick up his sleeve for the trade deadline or even, next season.
There was a lot of information revealed on Friday afternoon. Let’s get into it.
Corey Crawford still not ready
After an offseason surrounded by plenty of controversy, Corey Crawford made his return to the team.
Well, kind of.
Crawford was on the ice but still isn’t 100 percent. The goaltender is dealing with symptoms of a concussion he suffered sometime last year.
“Last year was a concussion,” Crawford said. “I’m still getting over symptoms. Most of them are gone but I’m not cleared yet, so until that happens I won’t be back in.”
Having Crawford on the ice was encouraging sign. It’s unknown if he will be able to suit up on Opening day Oct. 4th, but things are heading in the right direction.
“I’m feeling good. Mike Gapski, our head trainer, has done a ton to help me out getting all the treatment that I need. I’m trying to get back as quick as possible, but I’m close. I’m really close.”
Murphy and Seabrook Injuries
The Hawks, for the first time in a long time, will be more transparent and descriptive of their injuries. They announced on Friday that defenseman Connor Murphy will around eight weeks because of a back injury. While defenseman Brent Seabrook will miss a week due to an abdominal injury.
Seabrook’s issue seems minor, but Murphy’s injury does cause for some concern. Murphy was supposed to take a step forward in 2018-19, but he will miss all of camp, which could have a negative effect on his outlook this season.
Last year, Murphy played in 76 games, scoring two goals and recording 12 assists. He averaged 16:22 minutes of ice-time.
Speaking of defensemen, the Hawks first round pick in 2017 Henri Jokiharju was paired with future Hall of Famer Duncan Keith in practice on Friday. That could very well mean that Jokiharju could start this season in the NHL, and Murphy’s injury could be a big reason why.
Is it too early for Jokiharju to be in the NHL? That’s a great question, but the Hawks don’t have any other options at this point.
We know head coach Joel Quenneville was going to change up the lines at some point in 2018, but his ‘blender’ is alive and well.
Here are the lines that were seen at Friday’s practice:
The Saad-Schmaltz-Kane line could be really fun. By fun, I mean dominant. Check out this video from practice today.
Great shift by Saad-Schmaltz-Kane: pic.twitter.com/azw4x5HLOH
— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) September 14, 2018
Brandon Saad is going to need to have a big year if the Hawks are going to return to the playoffs. Last season, Saad was mediocre at best. Hopefully, his time with Patrick Kane will give him some confidence.
Be on the lookout for more Blackhawks notebooks throughout training camp. Until next time.
Follow Nick on Twitter–Featured Photo Credit: NHL.com
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