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FEATURE: Chemistry Builds as Blackhawks Roster Begins Taking Shape

With the core of the 2019-20 roster emerging, players set their sights on locker room chemistry

by Carter Baum @CarterBaum / Blackhawks.com

Over the course of the last 10 days, the Blackhawks Training Camp roster has been carved down from 55 players to the 30 that remain in the final few days before the team's big preseason trip to Berlin and season-opening stop in Prague.

The players who remain, regardless of when, are expected to make up the larger pool of Chicago's roster throughout the 2019-20 season. Some will be sent to Rockford in the coming days, while others told they're joining the big club on the cross-Atlantic excursion. At some point in the year, though, this final group could all see NHL time. 

"We're in that middle ground where it's nice to focus on the guys that are immediately in the mix for our team, but it's a lot of guys to manage in one practice," Colliton said after the first day of a single on-ice session Monday. "Eventually that won't be the case anymore, but it is nice to be able to spend a little more time with only the guys who are potentially going to play for us."

"It's a good week when you're out there with a lot of the young guys and everyone's going hard," Jonathan Toews said of the contrasting phases of camp. "(But now) it's it's obviously nice to start narrowing down our group and we can be realistic about who's going to be here and we can start working on what it's going to take to be a good team this year."

Video: Colliton on Faceoffs, Injury Updates

In the locker room, the smaller group allows for the bonds and chemistry to start forming without split rosters or larger groups - something that will only strengthen with the roster heading abroad on Thursday evening. 

"Everyone's around each other more instead of being two groups," Andrew Shaw said of the final few days in Chicago. "Everyone's eating at the same time, on the ice at the same time and in the gym at the same time. We're getting to know each other and I think this Europe trip is going to be great for us as well - a lot of team bonding, a lot of fun and a lot of business as well."

"I think we're excited to spend some time together," Toews continued. "They were showing on the Jumbotron the other night, you know welcoming all the new players and it was a never-ending list of guys coming into the room this year. That's something we want to get after too is getting to know each other and work on being a tight team and get that chemistry going."

Video: Shaw on Building Chemistry

With one more preseason game on Wednesday against Washington, the 30-man roster will have to be cut down a little more. It remains to be seen exactly how much with a few extra bodies likely being taken on the voyage abroad, but by opening night on October 4, Chicago will have to be down to 23 active players. 

"The guys who are in (Wednesday's roster), it's another chance to leave an impression, but those decisions aren't final," Colliton said. "There's going to be changes throughout the year. We tell these guys that you build a body of work and ultimately you'll earn what you get … those guys that would consider themselves bubble guys, yeah, of course it's a chance to make one more impression."

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