Current, former Hawks ready to go as season returns

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Current, former Hawks ready to go as season returns

The what if game was part of the lockout lexicon last week, when a potential deal was looming. What if things get done ASAP and players are looking at a very brief training camp? Like perhaps a week, or just a little more?

Well, be it the excitement of getting back or counting the workouts theyve already done, players said a shorter training camp is just fine by them.

I cant speak for everyone but most of us would be ready to go, former Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell said. Im sure first couple days will be tough, but were all hungry to get going.

Many players have been skating at Johnnys IceHouse West for a few months now. Current and former Blackhawks who have been consistent participants include Campbell, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, Jamal Mayers and Troy Brouwer. For them, the informal skates, which were Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, were a good way to stay in shape.

A lot of guys are skating as hard as they can, staying in as much of a game shape as possible, Brouwer said. Camp is going to be intense; guys are going to be pushed pretty hard. I have no doubt the intensity and pace will be high when the season starts.

MORE: Details of tentative deal reached between NHL, PA

Still, theres a big difference between skating and doing drills and game action; and theres no way to simulate it other than going through the real thing. In that respect, those who played in Europe these past few months (including the Blackhawks Patrick Kane, Bryan Bickell, Viktor Stalberg, Michael Frolik and Michal Rozsival) will have an obvious edge.

The rest will have to adjust quickly, but Campbell doesnt see it being a problem.

Im sure the first three or four days are going to be tough days; the bodys going to be worn out from that. But itll catch on pretty quick, Campbell said. Hopefully everyones ready, especially our team (the Florida Panthers). Hopefully we can go forward and get off to a good start.

The fact that this hockey season is finally starting at all may be just the motivation most players need to be perfectly fine with the brief camp.

Its always tough to re-create that game-like situation, that intensity, Brouwer said. Guys may be sucking wind the first couple of games. But theyll be so amped up to get back that the pace of play will be high.

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks win in Minnesota

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks win in Minnesota

Here are some of Tuesday's top stories in Chicago sports:

Wednesday on CSN: Illinois State and Loyola host in Valley doubleheader

Jonathan Toews has five-point night, including a hat trick, in Blackhawks' win over Wild

Report: Bears seeking trade partners for Jay Cutler

Bulls Talk Podcast: What is the Bulls' approach at the trade deadline?

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred open to idea of Cubs hosting All-Star Game at renovated Wrigley Field

White Sox Talk Podcast: 1-on-1 with executive vice president Ken Williams

Northwestern's offense nowhere to be found as Illini complete sweep of season series

Quick Hits: Blackhawks respond the right way in win over Wild

Under-the-radar Reynaldo Lopez impressing White Sox: 'He's got some stuff'

Why Sammy Sosa compared himself to Jesus Christ in candid interview

Quick Hits: Blackhawks respond the right way in win over Wild

Quick Hits: Blackhawks respond the right way in win over Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild have faced each other a lot the past few seasons, especially when you factor in the postseason series. But if we got a whole series like Tuesday night's game, I don't think anyone would argue against it.

Great energy, great action, great performances, including a big one from the Blackhawks' captain. But we'll get to that soon enough. Here are the notables from the Blackhawks' 5-3 victory over the Wild.

What Worked: The Blackhawks' second-period response. The last time the Blackhawks were here they took a lead but watched the Wild come back with a fury. You wondered if the same would happen on Tuesday night after Mikael Granlund's power-play goal tied the game 1-1 early in the second. But the Blackhawks turned up the intensity, retaking the lead just 41 seconds later (Richard Panik) and putting the Wild on the defensive the rest of the period. The Blackhawks outshot the Wild 13-5 in the second.

What Didn't Work: The penalty kill. The Blackhawks only took two penalties on Tuesday night but they were both costly. The Wild – namely Mikael Granlund – made them pay with two power-play goals, including one with less than seven minutes remaining in regulation. The Wild have shown this season that they won't go away quietly in any game. They just about came back in this one, thanks to their power play.

Star of the game: Jonathan Toews. Yeah, you're all shocked at this one, aren't you? The goaltenders stole the show in the first period by the end of this one, it was all Toews all the time with a five-point night that included his fourth career regular-season hat trick. Coach Joel Quenneville said during Toews' struggles that he figured the captain would turn it around at some point. And here we are. "Jonny's done so many things for us," Quenneville said. "An amazing player, as competitive as you'll ever find. What a great leader, great captain."

He Said It: "We want to get that top spot and chasing that [Minnesota Wild] team, it's a huge win on the road. Hopefully we can keep playing that same style. It's a lot of fun to play. We have all four lines going and we're doing a lot of good things. Hopefully we can keep this going." Nick Schmaltz on the Blackhawks' current game.

[SHOP: Buy a Jonathan Toews jersey]

By the Numbers: 

400 – Career victories for coach Joel Quenneville behind the Blackhawks bench. 

7 – Consecutive road victories for the Blackhawks which, according to them and Elias Sports, ties a franchise record originally set Dec. 9-29, 1964.

13 – Points for Richard Panik (six goals, seven assists) since Jan. 22.

100th – Career game for Dennis Rasmussen.

2 – Career five-point games for Jonathan Toews. His previous one came Nov. 25, 2011 against the Anaheim Ducks.