It wont be the same as Opening Night at the United Center; far from it in the stands, anyway.
But for the Chicago Blackhawks, their simulated game tonight will be as close as they get to a preseason contest and game-like preparation for this shortened 2013 season.
The Blackhawks will face the, well, Blackhawks -- or more likely some Rockford IceHogs -- as they simulate their game-day routine tonight. Seven more players from Rockford will come up to play in tonights game, as coach Joel Quenneville will see his lines in action.
"We're going to have a three-period game," Quenneville said, who added it will be complete with referees. "It's more for the guys to get more familiarity with the lines, defensive pairings and special teams time as well. We'll get the pace. It'll be a real game, real intensity."
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For players, it's some semblance of a game, which is something.
"It's a good thing," Marian Hossa said. "Lots of guys haven't played for a long time and we need to get that routine going and finally practice our power play and penalty killing. We'll have some structure tonight, and we're going to use it."
For Patrick Kane, it may be getting readjusted to the smaller North American ice again. And a little more time with new linemates Dave Bolland and Patrick Sharp.
"I think for all of us, we want to get into game shape," Kane said. "Well get a lot of ice time, get everyone in. It's just fun to play in a game atmosphere with penalties, everything."
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Players skated constantly throughout the lockout. But as many have said, it doesnt make up for the game situations and the timing needed every night. The Blackhawks, like every other team, has scurried in this brief training camp to get their timing back. Is it back yet?
"We're going to see tonight," Hossa said. "We'll play a more 5-on-5 type of game. We don't have much time so it better come quickly."