The Hawks may be a little rusty with ten players having returned from Olympics action. Chicago lost 2-1 last night to the tough New York Rangers at MSG. Nothing to be too bummed about, but for the fact that it seems as though every team with olympians has struggled upon returning to action. The Blackhawks’ top players all went to Sochi and most of them ended up playing through to the medal round that wrapped up last weekend.
The Blackhawks now turn their attention to the Penguins at Soldier Field on Saturday Night. The Pens lost last night as well, while still managing a point by losing in a shootout. Both teams were expected to meet in last years’ Stanley Cup Finals before Boston changed all that with an improbable sweep despite being the lower seed. Both teams again are at the top of their conference and nothing but a championship is expected by both clubs. The game tomorrow night will be aired on NBC at 7PM and should be the highest rated regular season game in some time.
One has to wonder how long it will take for the best players to return to true form. The Olympics were much different than the NHL games because of the bigger ice surface, the different style of play, the different teammates, and the officiating. With a game as hyped as tomorrow nights’ game, the fear is that it won’t live up to its billing because of the Sochi hangover. The Blackhawks and Penguins could be playing in snow and wind under the lights with close to 80,000 people watching. I don’t think the people tailgating tomorrow night and braving the cold are gonna wanna see a 2-1 shootout that leaves everyone dissatisfied. I know I’ll be watching as it’s sure to be the best game in a while with so many of the best players on the ice at the same time. An astonishing 17 Olympians will compete for the two teams at Soldier Field.