Welcome to the 2022-23 NHL regular season, Blackhawks fans. We’ve been talking about the construction of this roster and the prospects of it being good — enough to land a high lottery pick — for months, but tonight it’s GO TIME! Luke Richardson will be behind the bench for the first time as a permanent head coach, and his Blackhawks will do their best. And that’s all we should expect.
Because this is going to be a rough season, let’s wax poetic before this thing even gets going. Joe Sakic is now the president of hockey operations for the defending Stanley Cup champions, but 15 years ago (exactly one week from today), he faced a young kid wearing No. 19 because of him. Let’s flash it back to Jonathan Toews vs Joe Sakic in the second week of Toews’ career.
Puck Drop: 8:30 p.m. CT
Radio: WGN 720 AM
Chicago Blackhawks (0-0-0)
Andreas Athanasiou — Max Domi — Patrick Kane
Tyler Johnson — Jonathan Toews — Taylor Raddysh
Philipp Kurashev — Sam Lafferty — MacKenzie Entwistle
Colin Blackwell — Jujhar Khaira — Buddy Robinson
Jack Johnson — Seth Jones
Jarred Tinordi — Connor Murphy
Filip Roos — Alec Regula
Colorado Avalanche (0-0-0)
Artturi Lehkonen – Nathan MacKinnon – Mikko Rantanen
Evan Rodrigues – Alex Newhook – Valeri Nichushkin
Andrew Cogliano – JT Compher – Logan O’Connor
Anton Blidh – Lukas Sedlak – Ben Meyers
Devon Toews – Cale Makar
Sam Girard – Josh Manson
Bowen Byram – Erik Johnson
Alex Vlasic appears to be out after blocking a shot earlier this week.
Jake McCabe is not playing yet.
Caleb Jones is on IR (shoulder).
Gabriel Landeskog, Darren Helm and Jacob MacDonald are on IR.
What to Watch For
Well, for one thing there will be a banner raising before the game. The Blackhawks will be on the wrong end of the hardware parade on the ice this year, watching Nathan MacKinnon and his enormous new contract bring the Stanley Cup onto the ice before officially handing it back to the National Hockey League.
This is Luke Richardson‘s first regular season game as a permanent head coach in the NHL. No easy task for a guy, even if he appeared in over 1,400 regular season games as a player. The speed, skill and depth of the Avs make this a nightmare matchup for a rebuilding Blackhawks team. But hey, maybe they’ll be hung over from getting their rings?