NHL 2013 champions gear up for a new season
by: Kaitlyn Conrad/Photo and Web Editor
October 1 is a big day for all National Hockey League fans; the start of the NHL regular season. This Tuesday evening will host three games. Maple Leafs vs. Canadiens, Jets vs. Oilers, and Capitals vs. Blackhawks.
While southern Illinois has quite a number of St. Louis Blues fans, many Illinois residents from all over the state have been following the Chicago Blackhawks ever since they entered the Stanley Cup Playoff last spring and then took home the trophy in a last minute rally of goals in their game against Boston.
A lot of pressure could be put on a team that just won the cup but many of the Blackhawks players are not making that their main focus. “When you win the Cup, the talk is always about repeating. We don’t want to think about that yet,” said Jonathan Toews, the captain of the Blackhawks, in an interview on September 11, 2013. Toews said that he is focusing on the start of the year.
Joel Quenneville, the Blackhawks’ head coach stated that, “The objective here is that we’re preparing in the right fashion, focusing on what we have to do to get off to a strong start. We wanna make sure conditioning is something we get out of training camp, and coming together as a team so we can get off the best start is something we are looking forward to…”
The Blackhawks seem to be getting their preseason off to a good start, with a win in their game opener against the Detroit Red Wings, winning 2-0.
The first three months this year will also serve as a crucial time for all NHL hockey players as the USA Hockey team will be evaluating which 25 players will make the roster for the Olympics. “There has to be a body of work that you look at when evaluating players,” head coach of the USA Olympic Hockey team, Dan Bylsma, said. “There’s no trial, there’s no on-the ice time here, there is a body of work from each player here. Having said that, the next three, four months is the key time to establish that. How you’re playing for the three, four months will be important.”
One great thing about this upcoming season is that hockey fans from all over will get to experience the full 2013-2014 hockey season, whereas last year hockey fans has to agonize about when or if the 2012-2013 season would start. The former season had delayed its original start date of October 11, 2012 due to a lockout forced by the NHL franchise owners after the ending of the league’s collective bargaining agreement. Training camps did not start until early January 2013, about four months later than the initial date, and the season was reduced to 48 games.
Information about any NHL team can be found at NHL.com. You can follow game updates and Chicago Blackhawks news on Twitter, @NHLBlackhawks.