The Blackhawks will play their first game since winning the Stanley Cup title on Wednesday in Winnipeg, Manitoba, as they take on the Tampa Bay Lightning in their preseason opener.
Patrick Sharp was born in Winnipeg while captain Jonathan Toews grew up there and continues to reside there in the offseason. Duncan Keith is from the area as well. All three will play in the game while Marty Turco will make his Blackhawk debut.
"I'm very excited," Toews said Tuesday afternoon. "I can't remember the last time I played a real game at home. It hasn't been since I was about 15 years old. It will be a lot of fun to have a lot of family and friends at that game."
It wasn't that long ago that Toews brought the Stanley Cup to Winnipeg.
"No doubt about it, there will be a lot of Hawks fans there," he said. "Obviously a lot of people came out to see the Cup and showed their support this summer. They've been advertising a lot over the summer so it's a city that's hungry to see some good NHL hockey. It should be a good atmosphere."
Joel Quenneville acknowledged this might be a home game, calling Toews "the equalizer," but there's more than a preseason win at stake.
"You always play to win, but it's a great opportunity to find things out," Quenneville said. "As the game progresses, you just have to go with your gut ... usually you can [do both]."
Turco will split the game with Hannu Toivonen. Highly regarded prospects Igor Makarov and Jeremy Morin will play as well.
The Hawks released a roster for the game which includes 17 forwards, 8 defensemen and 3 goalies. On the roster are forwards Kyle Beach, Fernando Pisani, Jack Skille, Troy Brouwer, Viktor Stalberg, Jake Dowell, Bryan Bickell, Evan Brophey, Rob Klinkhammer, Nick Tarnasky, David Gilbert, Marian Hossa, and Patrick Kane, to go along with Sharp, Toews, Makarov, and Morin.
Goalie Corey Crawford is on the roster but isn’t scheduled to play.