The Chicago Blackhawks finished last season with a bitter taste in the mouths of players and fans alike. A playoff exit always hurts but the 2016 exit stung worse than most, it was a dramatic drop from the NHL’s elite to a team swept out of the first round by the eighth seed in the Western Conference.
It was the first time the Hawks looked like their dynasty could begin to crumble down. Add on top of that the offseason losses of Marian Hossa, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Artemi Panarin due to injury and cap reasons, it appeared as if Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews’s $10 million contracts were finally going to cripple the team the way most projected they eventually would.
Though the Hawks are still expected to be a top team in the NHL, this season was filled with doubts before it even began. I guess someone forgot to tell the Hawks.
For the first time in franchise history, the Hawks scored 10 goals in a season opener in their 10-1 victory over the two-time defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins. It was also the first time the Hawks scored 10 goals since the 1988 season.
Kane was front and center in the victory tallying four points on the night. The Hawks goal scorers on the evening were Kane (1), Ryan Hartman (1), Nick Schmaltz (2), Richard Panik (1), Brent Seabrook (1), and returning Blackhawks Patrick Sharp (1) and Brandon Saad (3). Given his previous success with the team and chemistry with Toews, Saad was an offseason acquisition to get excited about and he showed why by tallying a hat-trick on the night.
The Hawks offense came out of the gates strong in their home opener. Hopefully we’ll be hearing “Chelsea Dagger” on repeat all season long at the United Center.