Members of the 1996 Stanley Cup team -- including then assistant coach Joel Quenneville -- will be honored before the game. According to Quenneville, it just adds to the excitement.
"It's amazing how quickly 15 years goes past you," he said. "We'll get a little [recognition] before the game, but once it starts it's back to trying to beat each other up."
The lines remained the same as they have been over the past two days. This is how the Hawks will line up for their opening game:
Nineteen-year-old Nick Leddy said he was a "little nervous" after Thursday's morning practice. He said he probably won't take the traditional afternoon nap between practice and gametime, but he says he's ready for his first NHL contest. Quenneville says Leddy should be ready for a faster pace.
"We'll keep an eye on him," Quenneville said. "We've got some guys who have been in those shoes. It's a delicate position to enter as a young kid. He's earned the right ... [We'll] see how he handles it [and] watch his ice time. He's going to get reasonable minutes right off the bat here."
Rock Star Treatment
The Hawks have hired traveling security. Mike Higgins, who works security at the United Center, has been hired on by the team. The Hawks are believed to be the only team in the NHL with traveling security.
Nick Boynton made the trip to Denver but is suspended for opening night after making a throat slashing gesture in a preseason game.
Going back to their days as the Quebec Nordiques, the Avalanche have the best winning percentage in the NHL on opening night. They are 17-6-7. In home openers, the franchise is 21-5-4, including 7-1-2 at the Pepsi Center. The Blackhawks are 35-30-18 in season openers, and have lost four of their last five, including last season in Finland. They are 15-21-6 in openers on the road and 29-42-12 all-time in their first road game of the season
The Hawks were 3-0-1 last season against the Avalanche. Three of the games ended in a shootout.