Blackhawks looking for new momentum in new season, along with new success

Tessa Martyn, Staff writer

After an upsetting end to a great season last spring, where the Blackhawks faced a first-round sweep against the Nashville Predators leaving the team with a mark. A mark that would shape an offseason of change as they prepared for the new season. Although the organization witnessed a short and sour experience last spring, it’s safe to say they were ready for the new season.

The Blackhawks faced The Pittsburgh Penguins at the United Center on October 5th for their home opener where they absolutely demolished and obliterated the defending champs. The Blackhawks came out with a lot of fire, speed and hunger to win. The final score was 10-1 in favor of the Blackhawks where they set the tone for the new season to come. The Blackhawks had scored a total of 5 goals, 4 of them being scored within a span of 2:55 minutes of the first period, trying to burn out the United Center’s lamp. Goals of the first period were scored by Brandon Saad (2), Ryan Hartman (1), Nick Schmaltz (1), and Patrick Sharp (1.) Later in the game 5 more goals were scored by Patrick Kane (1), Richard Panik (1), Nick Schmaltz(1), Brandon Saad (1), and Brent Seabrook (1.)

The Blackhawks set a franchise record for most goals in a season opener, in the building’s history and quickly became known as the fifth team in NHL history to score at least 10 goals in a season opener and first since Calgary during the season of 1989-1990 where they won 10-7. A little fun fact, the last time the Blackhawks faced a defending Stanley Cup champ team in a season opener (1/13/2013 against The Los Angeles Kings at their arena), they went on to win the Stanley Cup.

Throughout the night there were many key components that contributed to the successful outcome. They started the night by honoring beloved Bryan Bickell with their “one more shift” campaign, who has and continues to battle with Multiple Sclerosis leaving him unable to continue playing the game he has loved all his life but allowed him to retire as a Blackhawk where his hockey career in the NHL all started back in 2006-2007. Later in the evening, Patrick Sharp’s 1st period goal resulted in his 600th NHL career point and Brandon Saad scored 3 goals resulting in a hat trick. He has started the season with 2 hat tricks under his belt. One in preseason and one in regular season. It is safe to say that Brandon Saad is back!!! Welcome home Saader!!! He also became known as the second Blackhawk to tally a hat trick in a season opener, the first being Bobby Hull against The Toronto Maple Leafs in 1965. He isn’t the “man-child” anymore, he is just “the man.” It’s been great getting the 2015 dream team back together.

Ryan Hartman became the first player in Blackhawks history to score the most points in a season opener with a grand total of 5 points and as of October 7th, the Blackhawks and Toronto Maple Leafs are the first teams since 1989 to score 15 goals through the first 2 games of the season. The players to watch for would be rookies John Hayden, Alex Debrincat, and Nick Schmaltz. John Hayden and Alex Debrincat have been exciting to watch, both aren’t afraid to lay hits on other players and are both confident in their abilities on the ice. Once the puck gets to them, they just take it and do their thing. Nick Schmaltz has been able to produce a few goals in the back of the net and he has been effective and makes his time on the ice count. However, Nick Schmaltz seems injury-prone, he could potentially be a breakout player once his injury from Saturday nights game subsides. Another player, I see that could be a huge asset to the team is Lance Buoma. His physicality could get him far throughout the season.

If there was any indication from their home opener, their fate come spring looks much better than what they faced last spring served by The Nashville Predators. Last season, they were out-classed by division rivals, they looked older, slower, and past their prime as a team. It was a scary sight to see for Chicago Blackhawks fans. Their changes during the offseason and their home opener performance goes to show that they can win the stanley cup again this season with a little effort, determination, and continued successful outcomes.