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Blackhawks look to young 'D' as they face Rangers

by Brian Hedger

RANGERS (0-0-0) at BLACKHAWKS (0-0-0)


CHICAGO -- After leaning heavily on his top-four veteran defensemen in the run to the Stanley Cup last season, Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville knows it's time for his young defensemen to show they can handle an increased workload.

The Blackhawks start the season Wednesday against the New York Rangers (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN) with several in the mix. Trevor van Riemsdyk is starting his second NHL season and David Rundblad has only played parts of two four seasons. Ville Pokka, a healthy scratch Wednesday, and Viktor Svedberg, likely to be recalled from the American Hockey League soon, are rookies.

"I don't think anybody has that luxury of just saying, 'We're going to wait, wait, wait,'" Quenneville said. "It's a competitive business here. Everybody wants ice time. Everybody wants more opportunity and greater ice time as well, so their performance will dictate a lot of decisions we make, and I think they're all at a stage of their career where we'd like to bump them up more and get more ice time, and our top guys get down to under 25 minutes a game and distribute it a little bit more."

They know it too.

"You want to be able to be relied upon and have the coaches trust you," said van Riemsdyk, who missed most of his rookie season with injuries. "We have (some) guys who have solidified themselves as some of the best defensemen in the world, and some of us younger guys, it's easy to learn from them just being around them and all they've done and accomplished. Hopefully we can pick up as much as we can from them and raise our games to try and get to their level."

The Blackhawks made three transactions involving defensemen Tuesday. They assigned Svedberg to Rockford, recalled Pokka and placed veteran defenseman Michal Rozsival on long-term injured reserve.

Goalie Corey Crawford will start for the Blackhawks. New York didn't hold a morning skate, but Henrik Lundqvist is expected to make his 10th straight start in a season-opener for the Rangers.

Here are the projected lineups:


Rick Nash - Derick Brassard - Mats Zuccarello

Chris Kreider - Derek Stepan - Kevin Hayes

J.T. Miller - Oscar Lindberg - Viktor Stalberg

Dominic Moore - Jarret Stoll - Jesper Fast

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi

Marc Staal - Dan Boyle

Keith Yandle - Kevin Klein

Henrik Lundqvist

Antti Raanta

Scratched: Tanner Glass, Dylan McIlrath, Emerson Etem

Injured: none


Teuvo Teravainen - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa

Artemi Panarin - Artem Anisimov - Patrick Kane

Bryan Bickell - Andrew Shaw - Kyle Baun

Andrew Desjardins - Marcus Kruger - Ryan Garbutt

Duncan Keith - Niklas Hjalmarsson

Trevor Daley - Brent Seabrook

Trevor van Riemsdyk - David Rundblad

Corey Crawford

Scott Darling

Scratched: Viktor Tikhonov, Ville Pokka

Injured: Michal Rozsival

Status report: After starting training camp as a center, Teravainen is back on the wing to start the season. It's the opposite wing than he finished last season, shifting on the left side of Chicago's top line. He'll start out playing with Toews and Hossa. "It's pretty awesome, of course," Teravainen said. "I heard it's called 'The Lottery Line,' so I just won the lottery, I guess."

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