What: Chicago Blackhawks 2011 Training Camp
When: Saturday, September 17-October 6. Media day and physicals are Friday, September 16.
Who: A training camp roster will be released on Friday. Last September the Hawks had 57 players come to camp.
Training Camp Schedule: For the first three days of practice the roster will be broken up into three teams. Two will practice while all three will scrimmage each other in between practices. From then on the Hawks will hold two practices per day eventually reducing the roster to practice just once per day. On game days the Hawks will hold practices for players participating in the game and for everyone else. For away games they will fly to and from opposing cities on the day of the game. Those who don't travel will practice in Chicago. All practices through October 1 are scheduled at the United Center and closed to the public except for Saturday's training camp festival which is sold out, and Sunday's schedule, which takes place at Johnny's IceHouse West located at 2550 W. Madison. All practices at Johnny's are open to the public.
Cutdowns: Can happen anytime in camp. The first set usually takes place a week or less into drills and games. Several other cuts will occur between then and the first game of the season. The Hawks need to pare down their roster to the maximum 23 players allowed by Wednesday, October 5 at 2 pm.
Preseason Games: The Hawks will play seven games beginning with a matchup with Edmonton on September 20 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in Canada. Their preseason home opener is Friday, September 23 against the Washington Capitals. They'll play home and home series with Washington, Pittsburgh and Detroit in the preseason.
Game Rosters for Preseason: Not every regular player will play in every preseason game. Usually it's a mix of veterans and young players with more of the stars playing at home. The collective bargaining agreement states that a team can dress no fewer than eight "veterans" in any preseason game so expect several "regulars" to dress for every game. A goalie rotation will take place after the team decides how much time starter Corey Crawford needs or wants to prepare for the regular season. Expect the final preseason game to mimic the roster for opening night or come very close to it.
Training Camp Competition: The most obvious camp battle for a roster spot will occur between goalies Ray Emery and Alexander Salak for the right to back-up Crawford. Expect each to get about two preseason games worth of action with the decision probably coming late in camp. Other camp competitions will include who plays center on the bottom two lines as well as where wingers line up within the top 9 forwards. Youngsters Ben Smith and Marcus Kruger have a leg up on other prospects having seen time in the playoffs last season but Jeremy Morin could make some noise and there is always a surprise player or two who impresses. However, it would be difficult for a “come out of nowhere” guy to make the team since the Hawks have plenty of veterans to fill those spots. Expect newcomer tough guys Dan Carcillo and Jamal Mayers to make their presence known, either dropping the gloves in intra-squad scrimmages or more likely during preseason games.