Blackhawks

Blackhawks expecting 0-4 Sharks to be desperate in home opener: 'We need to be desperate, too'

Blackhawks expecting 0-4 Sharks to be desperate in home opener: 'We need to be desperate, too'

The Blackhawks have had a five-day layoff since their season opener in Prague and they're ready to jump back into game action. That's too much time to sit on a loss, especially this early in the season.

But Thursday's home opener can't be a game the Blackhawks take lightly because of their opponent's record. And they don't plan on it.

The San Jose Sharks come to town still looking for their first point of the season through four games. It's the second time in franchise history that they've started a season 0-4-0 and first time since the 1993-94 campaign.

"They're going to be a desperate team," coach Jeremy Colliton said after Wednesday's practice. "We need to be desperate, too. It's a chance to play our first home game and we want to get started on the right foot with our home schedule and establishing that it's a difficult place to play. But also if you have a good start it makes a big difference as the year goes on. We got to start collecting points. We're going to be aware that they're going to be a desperate team and we're going to need to respond."

The Sharks lost their fearless captain Joe Pavelski over the summer, but re-signed Erik Karlsson and Joe Thornton, and added seven-time 30-goal scorer Patrick Marleau, who turned 40 in September, to the group on Tuesday. It's essentially the same team from last year and there's no reason they shouldn't be among the playoff contenders again this season, aside from their subpar goaltending.

The Blackhawks are preparing for the team that made it to the Western Conference Final last season, not the winless Sharks through four games this season.

"They're always a good team," Alex DeBrincat said. "Maybe some unfortunate bounces for them so far. We've got to play hard and make sure we don't give them anything and worry about our game."

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Recently retired Kris Versteeg to be honored before Blackhawks game

Recently retired Kris Versteeg to be honored before Blackhawks game

Kris Versteeg recently retired and now the Blackhawks are honoring him with the team’s “One More Shift.”

Versteeg began the season with the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs, but retired in November after playing six games for the IceHogs this season.

The 33-year-old wrote an emotional letter to the Blackhawks organization after requesting his contract with Rockford be terminated.

Versteeg will be honored before Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Wild. He will join the team on the ice for the national anthem and highlights of his career will be featured in the United Center.

Versteeg won two Stanley Cups with the Blackhawks, in 2010 and 2015. He is part of the Blackhawks celebrating the 10-year anniversary of that 2010 Cup win. Brian Campbell was given the same treatment on Nov. 21.

The first 10,000 fans into the UC can get replicas of the 2010 ring.

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Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane visit recovering Chicagoland hockey player for the holidays

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USA Today

Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane visit recovering Chicagoland hockey player for the holidays

Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane recently surprised recovering hockey player Payton Bruns in the hospital, spreading some cheer across Chicagoland this holiday season. The players spent time with Bruns and his family talking hockey and his recovery.

“I had no clue that they were coming,” Bruns told the camera.

Bruns cited Kane as one of his favorite players, making this moment even sweeter.

You can watch the heartwarming video here.

Bruns, a senior at Lincoln-Way East High School in Frankfort, broke two of his vertebrae sliding into the boards while chasing down a loose puck this past September. He was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery and has since been recovering and doing physical therapy at the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab in Chicago.  

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