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Blackhawks Buzz: Chicago opens preseason slate vs. Detroit

by Brad Boron / Chicago Blackhawks

The Blackhawks and Red Wings split their two regular-season matchups in 2013-14, with the Blackhawks earning three points (1-0-1). Marian Hossa led the way with four points (2G, 2A) for Chicago in those two meetings.

Brad Richards: Although rosters for tonight’s game have not been announced yet, it’s possible that Head Coach Joel Quenneville will want to try out his new-look second line, which new addition Richards could center between Brandon Saad and Patrick Kane. The trio looked strong in training camp scrimmages, with all three displaying the kind of chemistry that any Blackhawks fan would hope to see from three of the team’s top offensive skill players.

Corey Crawford: The Blackhawks’ starting netminder is no stranger to the Red Wings, and has had plenty of success against them. The 29-year-old is 12-2-3 in 17 career games against Detroit, allowing just 1.89 goals per game with a .940 save percentage. Quenneville says that Crow will likely split the game with new netminder Scott Darling, providing a great opportunity to hone his game before the season begins on Oct. 9.

David Rundblad: Without many openings on the blue line, one of the storylines to watch this preseason will be the competition for who is inserted into the Blackhawks’ rotation at the bottom pairing, and which player (if any) gets the lion’s share of the games. One of the d-men in the race is Rundblad, who was acquired from Arizona by trade at last season’s deadline. The former first-round draft pick only saw five games of action with Chicago last year, but with a full offseason and camp under his belt to get acclimated to the team’s system, he could garner more consideration for ice time.

While there is no indication which way Coach Q will go with his lineup Tuesday night, a number of prospects looked impressive in the team’s camp scrimmages at Notre Dame. 2012 top pick Teuvo Teravainen made some very nice plays, including a highlight-reel tally, while Phillip Danault, Stephen Johns, Adam Clendening and Joakim Nordstrom got on the scoresheet as well.

After losing an incredible 408 man-games last season due to injury, Detroit has been dealt a couple of tough blows early in the camp. For one, top prospect Anthony Mantha was announced out of action for 6-8 weeks with a fractured tibia, as well as Pavel Datsyuk, who left Monday's exhibition game vs. Pittsburgh with a shoulder injury. That’s in addition to the still-unsigned Daniel Alfredsson, who injured his back in voluntary practices and whose future with Detroit is up in the air. Though with those injuries comes theirs benefits: the Wings have 19 forwards on their training camp roster who have some NHL experience, and many of whom are either all-world players like Henrik Zetterberg and Datsyuk, or up-and-comers like Riley Sheahan and Tomas Jurco.

New Detroit Red Wings Assistant Coach Tony Granato served as an assistant for Joel Quenneville in Colorado between 2005 and 2008, between Granato’s stints as the Avalanche’s head coach (2002-04, 2008-09).

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