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Friday, September 23, 2011
Hawks' regulars to face Caps, Ovi

By Jesse Rogers



The Chicago Blackhawks will host the Washington Capitals in their preseason home opener Friday night and several Hawks' stars will make their 2011-2012 debut.

Slated to play for the first time this preseason are Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Andrew Brunette, Dave Bolland and goaltender Corey Crawford. Second-round pick Brandon Saad will play in his third consecutive game as he continues to impress the coaching staff.

The other forwards who will dress for Friday's game include Brandon Segal, Marcus Kruger, Jonathan Toews, Jamal Mayers, Viktor Stalberg, Ben Smith, Jimmy Hayes, Rob Flick and Rostislav Olesz.

On defense the Hawks will also employ Steve Montador, Dylan Olsen and Brian Fahey. Alec Richards will back up Crawford in goal. Crawford is expected to play the entire game.

Capitals' star Alexander Ovechkin is scheduled to play in the game but former Hawk Troy Brouwer did not make the trip.

The Hawks are 0-2 in the preseason, losing 4-1 Thursday night to the Pittsburgh Penguins after dropping a 4-2 decision to the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday. Friday's game will mark the first time the Hawks have a large contingent of "regular" players dressing for a preseason game.

Absent from the lineup are Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa. Coach Joel Quenneville said both players are slated to play in the final three exhibition games as Kane continues to nurse his surgically repaired wrist while Hossa was late to camp due to the birth of his daughter while also mourning the death of friend Pavol Demitra.

Saad is the only Hawks' player to dress for all three preseason games so far. Quenneville has signaled him out as a prospect who's had a very good training camp so far. The two first-round picks drafted ahead of him in 2011 have already been sent back to juniors. It would still be a major surprise if Saad made the club out of camp.