Monday, Sept. 12, 2011
Posted: 5:12 p.m.
By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com Blackhawks InsiderFollow @TraMyersCSN
The months of anticipation are now down to days. As the Chicago Blackhawks filter back into the city and some back onto the Johnnys Icehouse Ice so do the expectations.
The Blackhawks roster doesnt look anything like it did last season. Theres a lot more depth, a lot more experience and yes, just in case you havent read it before, a lot more physical presence.
The new guys havent been integrated on the ice yet, but the on-paper potential still begs the question: is the 2011-12 team looking more like the 2009-10 Cup winning team?
Weve got grit, character, leadership and experience. (New guys are) complimentary to guys we had with our core, coach Joel Quenneville said Monday. We learned a lot from (last year). I think the guys that are coming in, it wont take them long to fit right in.
Thats good news for the Blackhawks, who dealt with who-fits-where issues for quite a while last season. It was a young roster, too, so it was as much figuring out fledgling games as it was where they went in the lineup.
This season theres none of that. The new guys are veterans. Theres no doubt what Daniel Carcillo and Jamal Mayers are here to do, no doubt that everyone knows what they do.
We have some guys who want to be third- and fourth-liners, John Scott said. I think last year we had third- and fourth-liners who wanted to be first- and second-liners so everyone knows their role this year. Thatll help and lead to a more balanced team.
Theres also no doubt which area was addressed most, and the tough guys remaining from last season appreciate the help.
I know me and (Troy) Brouwer were top hitters (last year), now we have Jamal and Carcillo and a few others who like to throw their weight around, Bryan Bickell said. Itll definitely help out our team to have those guys behind us.
When the coach says it wont take long for new guys to fit in, its a good sign. The Blackhawks are back to being what they were two seasons ago, a skilled team with enough muscle to keep opponents honest.
The balance is back. The long playoff runs could be, too.
Bryan Bickell is fully healed from the right wrist surgery he had at the end of April. Bickell suffered two severed tendons early in the Blackhawks series against Vancouver.
I think its back. Im out here to golf and know the golf swing hasnt changed, said Bickell, who played in the 12th annual Four Feathers Golf Invitation on Monday. It took a month to get back to somewhat normal, to lift weights a certain way. Right now its what it used to be like and Im ready to go.
Look at Toews
Quenneville said he got to watch newly acquired David Toews, Jonathans brother, play a few days ago.
I liked what I saw in him, he said. Hes got a great pedigree, coming from a great family and he seems like a real good kid.
Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.