Blackhawks

Current, former Hawks ready to go as season returns

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Current, former Hawks ready to go as season returns

The what if game was part of the lockout lexicon last week, when a potential deal was looming. What if things get done ASAP and players are looking at a very brief training camp? Like perhaps a week, or just a little more?

Well, be it the excitement of getting back or counting the workouts theyve already done, players said a shorter training camp is just fine by them.

I cant speak for everyone but most of us would be ready to go, former Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell said. Im sure first couple days will be tough, but were all hungry to get going.

Many players have been skating at Johnnys IceHouse West for a few months now. Current and former Blackhawks who have been consistent participants include Campbell, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, Jamal Mayers and Troy Brouwer. For them, the informal skates, which were Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, were a good way to stay in shape.

A lot of guys are skating as hard as they can, staying in as much of a game shape as possible, Brouwer said. Camp is going to be intense; guys are going to be pushed pretty hard. I have no doubt the intensity and pace will be high when the season starts.

MORE: Details of tentative deal reached between NHL, PA

Still, theres a big difference between skating and doing drills and game action; and theres no way to simulate it other than going through the real thing. In that respect, those who played in Europe these past few months (including the Blackhawks Patrick Kane, Bryan Bickell, Viktor Stalberg, Michael Frolik and Michal Rozsival) will have an obvious edge.

The rest will have to adjust quickly, but Campbell doesnt see it being a problem.

Im sure the first three or four days are going to be tough days; the bodys going to be worn out from that. But itll catch on pretty quick, Campbell said. Hopefully everyones ready, especially our team (the Florida Panthers). Hopefully we can go forward and get off to a good start.

The fact that this hockey season is finally starting at all may be just the motivation most players need to be perfectly fine with the brief camp.

Its always tough to re-create that game-like situation, that intensity, Brouwer said. Guys may be sucking wind the first couple of games. But theyll be so amped up to get back that the pace of play will be high.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Nick Schmaltz isn’t the only one returning; guess who is back in the booth?!

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Nick Schmaltz isn’t the only one returning; guess who is back in the booth?!

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Tracey Myers and Pat Boyle discuss Nick Schmaltz returning to the Blackhawks line-up on Wednesday night and which player is looking forward most to his return?

They also weigh in on Corey Crawford’s incredible start to the season and why he’s the major reason why the Hawks begin the week in first place in the Central.

They also discuss who is the biggest Hawks rivalry right now, which new defenseman has impressed the most and how is Connor Murphy dealing with being a healthy scratch at times this season?

Plus, they discuss someone other than Nick Schmaltz returning to work on Wednesday night.

Listen to the full episode in the embedded player below:

Eddie Olczyk expected to return to the booth this week

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USA TODAY

Eddie Olczyk expected to return to the booth this week

Eddie Olczyk will return to the broadcast booth for Wednesday's Blackhawks-Blues game, according to USA Today's Kevin Allen

The news comes six weeks after the Chicago legend began chemotherapy for colon cancer. And although he made a brief, emotional return on Oct. 7 -- putting on the headset to join Pat Foley for a moment during intermission -- he will provide color commentary for the entire game on Wednesday. He'll call the rivalry matchup alongside Doc Emrick on NBCSN. 

Olczyk, who grew up in Palos Heights and attended Brother Rice, will take the mic again the following night as the Blackhawks welcome the Edmonton Oilers to the United Center. As for the rest of the season, he plans to work when his health allows. 

“We have some dates that we have highlighted and hopefully I will be strong to do the job,” Olczyk told USA Today. “If I am not feeling good, I just have to be honest with everyone and tell them I can’t do it.”

It'll be nice to see Edzo back at work, providing dynamite analysis and passing along tips to all those young hockey players out there.