Chicago Blackhawks Raise Another Banner, But Fall to NY Rangers
The New York Rangers didn't follow the script. This was supposed to be the Blackhawks night. A Patrick Kane goal was waved off late in the 3rd period as the Rangers held off the defending Stanley Cup Champion, Chicago Blackhawks for a 3-2 opening night win at the United Center in Chicago on Wednesday night (10/7).
It's become a pretty familiar tradition in Chicago. For the third time in the past six years, the Blackhawks had a big opening night extravaganza to celebrate the past season's championship. Players arrived at the United Center in limousines, strolled down the red carpet as they were cheered on by fans, and watched another banner get raised into the rafters. The ceremony included one last hoist of the Stanley Cup by Captain Jonathan Toews. In a symbolic move, Toews gave the cup the traditional smooch, sat it down and gave it a couple gentle pats before skating away, as if to say, "I hope to see you again."
It's a long season. 82 games. So one loss doesn't make or break. But, the Blackhawks made massive changes in the offseason due to salary cap restrictions. It's going to be a major challenge to have all the new faces gel with the championship core. There was a lot of discussion this past off-season about whether or not the Blackhawks are a dynasty. If they can repeat as champions, something that hasn't been done in the NHL since 1998, there will be no more debate. That would be 4 championships in 7 years in a salary cap era with parity at an all-time high. They say it's the toughest trophy to win in all of sports. The Blackhawks have gotten pretty good at it.