Blackhawks

Blackhawks feeling optimistic going into 2019 training camp: 'The confidence is a lot higher'

Blackhawks feeling optimistic going into 2019 training camp: 'The confidence is a lot higher'

There's always a high level of optimism at the beginning of NHL training camp because all 31 teams are starting the season with a clean slate. But the feeling in Chicago, specifically, is certainly different than it has been in years past after missing the playoffs for two straight years.

The Blackhawks missed the postseason by six points in 2018-19 despite everything that went on, which included an early-season firing of the second-winningest coach of all-time in Joel Quenneville and the hiring of 33-year-old Jeremy Colliton and two eight-game losing streaks. It was also a summer full of activity, whether it was trades, free-agent signings or securing the No. 3 overall pick and drafting Kirby Dach.

The roster looks different, and it's created some positive energy throughout the locker room.

"That's a good question," Patrick Kane said, "because I think the confidence is a lot higher than it's been the last couple years just in the roster we have and I think just having Jeremy at the helm now in light of what he did with us last year, the run we had at the end of the season, the way he wants us to play, the communication was great so I think we have a lot of positive things going for us right now. Just have to put it all together."

Jonathan Toews echoed those sentiments.

"Everyone's confident we can get started, moving in the right direction right at the start of the season here," he said. "Everyone's eager to prove themselves coming off another long offseason. Guys put in a lot of work and training camp, just looking at the way it was today, it's going to be tough. We're going to have to work to get ready but I think guys are excited to be back together."

While there is an optimistic feeling around the group, the Blackhawks know the season isn't played on paper. They have their work cut out for them. The Central Division is as deep as ever and most teams in the Western Conference got better, not worse.

"Every year you start out optimistic and this year is no different," Duncan Keith said. "Everyone is excited to be back, get the season going again, but we know the league, every team is good. The parity in the league now is probably as good as it's ever been. We look at other teams and they've improved too, so focusing on ourselves and what we can control, I think we feel we're in a good spot, a good position to have a good start. It's just a matter of playing hard, working hard right now, executing, getting on the same page as quick as we can and carrying that off into a good start into the season."

The Blackhawks won three Stanley Cups in six years from 2010-15 and haven't experienced that same level of success since. They've gone through a couple years of retooling and it resulted in long summers, but the Blackhawks are hoping the roster has been built back up to a point where playoff contention is the benchmark this season, at the very least.

"It seems like a restart for us," Kane said. "We had our little run there, had a couple down years. Now it's like hopefully we can pick it back up."

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Blackhawks honor Dave Bolland with “One More Shift” Friday

Blackhawks honor Dave Bolland with “One More Shift” Friday

Former Blackhawks forward Dave Bolland will be honored with “One More Shift” on the ice at United Center this Friday prior to Hawks matchup against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Bolland will stand with the team during the National Anthem and skate on ice in full gear. Along with time on ice, the United Center will also honor Bolland by showcasing his career highlights throughout the arena.

The Blackhawks will be celebrating the 10 year anniversary of their 2010 Stanley Cup win at five games this season, coinciding with “One More Shift” nights to honor individual players.  The United Center Atrium doors will open at 4pm, giving fans a chance to look at the interactive photo opportunities and historical items on display. Bolland will participate in a Q&A in the atrium at 6:30 p.m. before he hits the ice.

Dave Bolland was drafted by the Blackhawks in 2004 and spent ten seasons of his NHL career in Chicago. Bolland played with the team during two Stanley Cup championships, scoring the game-winning goal in the final minute of Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals against the Bruins. Bolland played in all 22 playoff games in 2010, garnering 16 points (eight goals, eight assists) which shared fifth among Blackhawks skaters in the postseason. Bolland recorded his best season of his career during the 2008-09 campaign with the Blackhawks, skating in a career-high 81 regular-season games and recording career highs in goals (19), assists (28) and points (47).

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Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Blackhawks show urgency vs. the undefeated

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USA Today

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Blackhawks show urgency vs. the undefeated

The Blackhawks finally got on the board for the season and did so in front of the 500th consecutive capacity crowd at the United Center.

Pat Boyle, Jamal Mayers and Charlie Roumeliotis break down the impressive performance by the Blackhawks against the undefeated Edmonton Oilers and discuss how Jeremy Colliton’s message got through to Alex Nylander and the rest of the team.

Plus, after an impressive performance in net, should Corey Crawford get the next game vs. the Blue Jackets? And what does the future have in store for Kirby Dach? Jamal makes a bold prediction.

0:54 – Blackhawks finally show urgency in 2nd period

2:47 – Penalty kill starting to show some life

5:00 – Thoughts on the Shaw/Strome/Kane line

6:43 – Blackhawks eliminating some defensive breakdowns

9:23 – Big rebound performance from Corey Crawford

11:36 – Colliton’s message to Alex Nylander got through

15:21 – Brandon Saad has been a pleasant surprise early on

17:15 – Dominik Kubalik’s impressive performance

18:31 – Will Kirby Dach be with the Blackhawks all season?

22:42 – Does Crawford or Lehner start vs. the Blue Jackets?

Listen to the entire episode here or in the embedded player below.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast

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