The Chicago Blackhawks return to the United Center on Saturday night for their first meaningful home game since Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals, and there will be plenty of pomp and circumstance as the champs celebrate winning the Stanley Cup by raising a banner to the rafters.
"It’s a special night with the banner going up," Patrick Kane said Saturday morning. "Saturday night in Chicago, there is no better place to be."
The best thing for the Blackhawks about Saturday night’s home opener -- after the banner raising ceremony -- might be their opponent as the Detroit Red Wings -- picked by some to supplant Chicago as Central Division champs -- should keep the Hawks focused.
"They’re pretty good," Kane said. "We obviously saw that last [Friday] night. They pretty much dominated Anaheim, so for us it’s going to be special from about 5 p.m to 7 p.m. But once that ceremony is over it's time to get to work."
To get a win, the Hawks will have to "tighten" things up from their season-opening loss to the Avalanche on Thursday, according to Duncan Keith.
"A little sloppy in some areas," he said. "Our whole team game. We are looking forward tonight to shore it up."
Joel Quenneville said a better puck possession game will help the team defense and of course he wants his players to be ready after the potential emotional ceremony.
"It’s going to be fun a night, a great night but we have to stay focused and worry about beating this team," he said.
Nick Boynton is in the lineup after serving a one game suspension for a throat-slashing gesture. He said it stunk not playing on Thursday and is looking forward to Saturday night.
Jordan Hendry will be a healthy scratch against the Red Wings. He played only 5:30 against the Avalanche.
With the loss of Brian Campbell for a month, Joel Quenneville said breaking up Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook is always an "option" but doesn’t plan on doing so. He did indicate that the bottom four defensemen could all see time together on Saturday.