Hockey is back. We’re finally together again, the barns are packed to the rafters full of rowdy fans, slugging pints, shouting obscenities, and having the time of their lives. It’s a beautiful sight to see.
The Chicago Blackhawks are also back. Jonathon Toews has returned to the lineup after his season off, we somehow managed to trade a fresh bag of Illinois air for the reigning Vezina Trophy winner, we stole Seth Jones from Columbus. For all intents and purposes, the offseason treated us very kindly. However to kick off the regular season, early season favourites in the Colorado Avalanche looked to ruin the Hawks trip to the Rocky Mountains and spoil the high that we as a group have been riding since the late summer.
Right off the puck drop, the Avs showed exactly why they’re starting off this season as the odds-on favourites to hoist Lord Stanley come next spring, and within a handful of down and backs up the ice, Jack Johnson kicked off the season scoring for the Avalanche, cruising past the changing Blackhawks D to dunk a nifty little forehand-backhand past Flower. The worst part was, the second goal from Colorado followed so quickly that the Blackhawks Social Media Rep didn’t even have time to break us the bad news about the first.
The Hawks would bounce back and sustain some pressure in the Avs end until coughing up a bad turnover to Landeskog, who casually strolled up the ice, and found rookie Bowen Byram who made absolutely no mistake finding twine for the first time in his NHL career.
After getting thoroughly worked up and down the ice for the first ten minutes of the game (Yes, we went down 3-0 in ten minutes), the Hawks finally settled down and looked to make some moves in the right direction. Fleury settled in and looked rock solid after being left more or less alone early on, and the Hawks picked up an extra man opportunity late in the first, where Kubalik unleashed an absolute MISSILE through traffic to get the Blackhawks on the board for the season. The period finished off with a few more yummy little chances for the Chicago lads but to no avail, and the Avs carried a 3-1 lead into the break.
One thing I will say, I assumed I was going to be writing about how amazing it was to have Toews back. It is amazing, but Kirby Dach was everywhere on the ice and it’s equally as delicious to have him healthy and back in the lineup. He was present in the offensive end and played rock solid on D, manufacturing not one, but two breakaways in the 2nd frame (neither of which found the back of the net, one of which went back the other way for a Nazem Kadri goal for the Avs). The pieces are there, and kicking off the season against the betting faves to win the whole thing is never an easy thing. All in all, no one likes to start the season on a loss, and definitely not a loss where you get the doors blown off in the first ten minutes. The Blackhawks won the last 50 minutes of the game 2-1, but as we are all well aware, the games are a full sixty, and you gotta play em all to take home two points.
But now, we let it go. It’s Friday. The best day of the week. We half-ass our workday, staring at the clock till that sweet, sweet 5:00pm hits, sending us off into a weekend of gluing ourselves to the couch and watching sports.
On this beautiful October Friday, the Hawks are staying on the road and heading into the Prudential Center to take on the Devils, who kick off their campaign at home. The Devils bolstered their lineup with the addition of Dougie Hamilton, and Subban is still as big of a worm as ever, to add to an extremely young core of guys that make this team unpredictable and potentially dangerous. However if we learned anything last season, the Hawks REALLY hate losing two in a row, posting a pretty solid record in games immediately following a loss last season.
Flower is still that guy, Captain Serious is back, the lineup is healthy, and Patrick Kane is still alive. Things look very good for the Hawks going forward this year, and I’ll be riding along with a smile on my face that the lads are back. Let’s go Hawks Nation.