CHICAGO -- The reunion of the 2010 Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks began in earnest Thursday in the Windy City with a dinner between some current Hawks and now Florida Panthers.
It will continue today at the United Center, when Florida's Kris Versteeg, Tomas Kopecky and Brian Campbell will return to the Madhouse on Madison for the first time as visitors since they celebrated that Cup title in 2010.
Versteeg, in fact, is one of the few from that team who never had seen the Cup banner in the rafters until this morning at the Panthers' practice; the last time he'd been inside the arena was Game 5 of the 2010 Cup Final.
Now he's back, along with a host of other former Hawks -- and their presence gives this matchup a unique feel.
"It's going to be like an inter-squad scrimmage," said Versteeg, who took a few moments before taking the this morning to remember what it was like when he was part of the most talented young teams in the League. "I didn't get to see the banner raised last year and it's the first time I got to see the banner, so it was a pretty neat experience just seeing what you accomplished with a team. I'm excited about the game tonight, though. I'm excited to really get this thing going."
Here is how the lineups might look like tonight for the Blackhawks and Panthers:
Life's about opportunity and how you respond to that opportunity, and obviously he must have some swagger about him, some confidence about him, because he was solid. He made some good saves. He was 6-foot-3 on every shot, which is a good thing for a goalie. He played well. We got a win.
— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock on rookie goaltender Garret Sparks, who made 24 saves in his first NHL start, a 3-0 win vs. Oilers
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