The Blackhawks held their first scrimmage of training camp Saturday at their annual festival of training camp. And while a United Center crowd nearly full a lot of noise, it was a little quieter than usual behind the benches. Indeed, Joel Quenneville is still in Toronto, Team Canada’s assistant coach at the World Cup of Hockey.
“It’s definitely weird,” forward Ryan Hartman said.
Quenneville with nine other day opening locks are still absent from the camp, with perspective Ville Pokka. Patrick Kane, Michal Kempny and Pokka will join the Hawks Tuesday (although Kane will not play in the preseason of the first game Wednesday against Pittsburgh). But seven other Hawks – Jonathan Toews, Corey Crawford, Marian Hossa, Artemi Panarin Artem Anisimov, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Marcus Kruger – are still in Toronto. And Duncan Keith (knee) is still as skating in practices.
So while Quenneville is not there to impress (or disappoint), the first 7-10 days of camp present a huge opportunity for the next generation of Hawks try to win a place in the lineup.
“It certainly opens up,” Hartman said. “It is 10 [less] guys that they look, and what kind of opens for us to make plays and to present what we can do.”
assistant coaches Kevin Dineen and Mike Kitchen is running camp while the boss is away. Dineen White team beat the team of Red Kitchen 4-1 on Saturday, with Spencer Abbott scoring twice for the white team and Vinnie Hinostroza scoring twice in extra time of 10 minutes, 3-on-3 for Red .
“That’s what every organization talks with their players [in Toronto], there is a great chance,” Dineen said. “There are a lot of eyes on guys, upcoming exhibition games, opportunities [on] special teams. They’ll get a few things they normally would not. The opportunity is there for the players, and you must enjoy it. But do not build too much into it. you can not go there and think you’l play like Duncan or Toews or something. go out and play your game and show us what you have. ”
Brian Campbell looked sharp in his return to the United Center, back in his familiar No. 51 jersey. Dineen said his fitness test on Thursday, “returned spectacular in terms of its ability to play a lot of minutes.”
“I’m biased on Soupy because I had three years in Florida and I know what he can do,” said Dineen. “The composure he has there. I think he played with some of these children.”