Blackhawks begin training camp with newfound optimism

Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19), right, moves the puck with right wing Patrick Kane (88) during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Winnipeg Jets, Monday, April 1, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)

by Scott King
@ScottKingMedia

Despite the news of first-round pick Kirby Dach missing Day 1 of training camp under concussion protocol and other injury news, the 2019-2020 Chicago Blackhawks kicked off the year on a good note.

“I think the confidence is a lot higher than it’s been the last couple years just in the roster we have,” Patrick Kane said following group one’s session on Friday.” 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.”

A lot of the positivity is coming from GM Stan Bowman’s offseason moves. Bowman signed Vezina finalist Robin Lehner to share the net with Corey Crawford, traded for defensemen Calvin de Haan and Olli Maatta and brought back Andrew Shaw, among making other upgrades.

Kane seems quite pleased in bringing Shaw back.

“It’s great,” Kane said. “Today we were with me, him and Quenneville out there, I thought we had a little bit of chemistry so it was a fun day. Those guys work hard. I’ve always really liked playing with ‘Shawzy.’ He works hard, gets pucks back. Plays a pretty simple game, gets to the net, creates a lot of space out there. Good first day.”

Chicago captain Jonathan Toews, who had his best NHL season last year with a career-high 35 goals and 46 assists, echoes the sentiment.

“I think everyone’s confident we can get started moving in the right direction right at the start of the season here,” Toews said. “Everyone’s eager to prove themselves coming off another long offseason.

“I think guys put in a lot of work and I think 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. I think guys are excited to be back together.”

“I think we have a good team on paper and obviously we have a great coaching staff that can give us the right systems and I think we’ll have a really good year this year,” Alex DeBrincat added. “I think if we’re able to gel together right away we’re going to start off good and hopefully role with it.”

Injuries

Center Kirby Dach missed the first day of training camp under concussion protocol.

Defenseman Calvin de Haan is expected to miss two to three weeks with a groin strain and shoulder surgery recovery.

Forward Philipp Kurashev also missed the first session and is day-to-day with a left knee/shoulder contusion.

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