The Blackhawks opened up training camp at Fifth Third Arena on Friday morning. Here are five takeaways from the first day of action:
1) Dach is docked
Training Camp opened with the news that Kirby Dach is in the concussion protocol. Dach was injured after taking a hit in the Traverse City tournament finale on Tuesday. It’s impossible to predict a timetable for concussion recovery, but if he is out for an extended period, his chances of making the team would go down dramatically.
2) de Haan long shot to start season
Defenseman Calvin de Haan is expected to be out two to three weeks (groin strain/shoulder surgery recovery). That timeline suggests de Haan would miss all of training camp and would likely not be available for the opener in Prague.
3) Shaw next to Kane?
The offseason changes have certainly impacted the locker room. Andrew Shaw’s locker is once again next to Patrick Kane’s stall. This will produce plenty of chirping and media congestion that rivals the Edens at rush hour. The two were also together on the same line on Friday. Kane said: “I've always really liked playing with Shawzy. He works hard, gets pucks back. Plays a pretty simple game, gets to the net, creates a lot of space out there. Good first day.”
4) Captain Motivated
Jonathan Toews has already produced a resume that will land him in the Hall of Fame someday. He enters his 13th season in the NHL after putting up career-best offensive numbers a year ago. So, what did Toews think about being snubbed by NHL Network's list of the current Top 20 Centers in the game and does he use it as motivation?
“Honestly, kind of, yeah,” said the Blackhawks captain. “If I saw my name at the top of the list, I wouldn’t really key on it too much. But the fact that it’s been a few years since our team has had playoff success, you kind of start losing a little bit of that focus and attention again. It’s not what’s important, but there’s no doubt in the back of your mind you want to prove yourself as one of the best players in the league and on your team. So when you see that, I think it definitely sinks in a little bit, for sure.”
5) Most competitive camp in the last decade?
Over the last decade, the Blackhawks have produced three cups, plenty of salary cap headaches and very few roster spots that are up for grabs at the start of a season. That is not the case for this training camp. Two years of failing to make the playoffs and a bevy of offseason moves has set the table for the most competitive camp in recent memory, especially at forward.
“We have a lot of depth, a lot of players. You can make an argument that 9 or 10 guys could be on the team,” GM Stan Bowman said. “Now, that's not going to be the case. There's going to be some good players that don't start the season here. But that's not to say that they won't be here two weeks later." He added that there is a “group of players we know they're going to be here all season but there's other players that are constantly trying to prove that they are the guy and I think that competition is going to help our team.”Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.