Thanks to the NHL’s division realignment, some rivalries will be created or reinvigorated in the upcoming 2013-14 season. Unfortunately, others, such as the rivalry between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings, will take a back seat. Despite meeting in the playoffs last season for an incredible seven game series, the teams will only meet four times this year, two of those meetings coming in the preseason, and one win already in the Blackhawks’ column.
The big question going into this season will once again be goaltending. With a decisive Stanley Cup Championship now under his belt, Corey Crawford looked at ease in net, and he seems to be adjusting to smaller pads fairly well. Although he only needed 19 saves to do it, a rare Corey Crawford shutout is good news to start the preseason.
Goaltending, and certainly physicality, are not something the Blackhawks are known for, but during last night’s game, both phases showed excellence. Brent Seabrook had an excellent game, being the third star and tallying an assist. Both him and partner Ryan Stanton registered a team high +2 rating, with both Patrick Sharp and Ben Smith goals coming in the second period.
Unfortunately for the team, defenseman Michael Kostka was lost in the first period with an injury suffered on a boarding penalty by Red Wings left-winger Teemu Pulkkinen. Pulkkinen will face a preliminary hearing, and according to the CBA, will have an in-person meeting, with a suspension possibly longer than five games.
Bad blood being started in the preseason is nothing new for the NHL. Just a few days ago, Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Paul Bissonnette left the bench after Jordan Nolan of the Los Angeles Kings hit Bissonnette’s teammate, Rostislav Klesla. As a result, Bissonnette will serve a 10 game suspension.
Although retaliation was not immediately seen yesterday, the Blackhawks were able to keep up with the Red Wings in hits, and despite only seeing Detroit three more times, expect that hit to be resonating, and the physicality that defines the rivalry to remain.
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