Sure, it's early, but tonight's Hawks-Wings clash still carries weight for both sides

Updated: October 8, 2009, 12:33 PM ET
By Pierre LeBrun

Nothing like an early-season test between Original Six rivals to get the juices flowing.

Detroit hosts Chicago on Thursday night in its home opener at Joe Louis Arena. The Red Wings are trying to avoid an 0-3-0 start, while the Blackhawks hope to make an early statement in their bid to wrestle away the Central Division crown.

It's early, to be sure, but when you talk about sending messages ...

"Every game against Detroit for us is real big," Blackhawks forward ...

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