Hockey season is finally back in full swing. Preseason has just begun, meaning the regular season is just two weeks away.
The past three days has shown us some new faces that we could see on the Blackhawks roster this season as players show what they've got in hope to make the final cut.
If you've followed the Hawks this offseason you know that this is a different looking Hawks team. It's not radically different, but different nonetheless.
We will be seeing a younger Hawks team with less experience and depth, but they won't lack the intensity, both on the offensive and defensive side, that made them so effective last season.
Let me first say that I was extremely happy to see the Hawks give Joel Quenneville a three-year extension.
Not only does he bring a 97-44-19 record, to Chicago, but he also brings great talent to get his players play the way he wants them to.
Quenneville has the eye to not only see, but to fix problems with one simple roster or line change. It's a win-win situation for both parties.
There's new faces in the net for the Hawks this year. The decision to release Antti Niemi and sign Marty Turco has received the most criticism and media coverage, and is still believed, by many Hawk fans, to be a bad decision.
Turco, while a veteran, hasn't had the best of playoff luck, and that seems to be the big turnoff for most fans.
While in Dallas, Turco wasn't surrounded by the best defense in the league, and having a good defense means just as much as having a good goalie, if not more.
With Turco in Chicago behind one of the best defenses in the league, there is no reason not to be optimistic about a good year for the veteran.
Defensively the Hawks have changed less. They still have Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Brain Campbell, and Niklas Hjamarsson.
Defense is the strong suit of the Hawks' game, and the team needs them to be strong and consistent in order for this team to live up to expectations fans have set up for this team.
The Hawks' defense was the least changed, and for that reason, there is no need to be scared of a defensive breakdown this season.
The big changes occurred on the offensive side of the spectrum. This is where we see many new faces. As of right now, not even top prospect, Kyle Beach, is guaranteed a spot on the final roster.
If there is any spot for concern it's in the forward position. The new faces are going to shake up the great chemistry the players had last year, bringing doubt to whether this team can bring the same intensity they brought last season.
The core is still there though, and that should say that this team won't fall off the "one of the top teams in the league" list, but it will definitely be hard to repeat last season.
This year's team will definitely receive some criticism if things appear to be going downhill, but the fact of the matter is they're a young team, just like the team they had two years ago.
Many of the players then weren't experienced enough to win the Stanley Cup, but look what one year did.
While the Blackhawks might not be the same dominant team as last years, there's no reason not to expect to see them play great hockey this year and years to come.